I love movies and I love magic so I love movies about magic. Here are my favorites.
5. Now you see me.
Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson reunited after Zombieland to star in one of the most confusing movies in recent memory. Now You See Me revolves around four magicians who pull off elaborate heists as the Four Horsemen, in the hopes of getting into an order of “actual magicians” called The Eye. The film features many great sleight-of-hand tricks and blink-or-you’ll-miss-it moments.
The supporting cast features Mark Ruffalo as the FBI agent tracking the Robin-Hood-inspired Four Horsemen, and Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman in roles that surely made them a nice paycheck. While the performances are functional and the magical elements inspired, the script is inane and silly at best. Now You See Me is excellent popcorn entertainment, but signs of anything below the flashy surface are merely an illusion.
4. Hocus Pocus
The Sanderson Sisters are one of the most beloved trios in cult cinema. Played by the talented Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Milder, and Kathy Najimy, the witches have one goal: to be young and pretty again.
Hocus Pocus is a great Halloween movie for kids of mostly all ages. Filled to the brim with extravagant costumes, silly spells, and buck teeth, it’s hard not to smile while watching the film. The performances are perfectly campy, though they work better for those with a bit of nostalgia. Fans of Sabrina the Teenage Witch or Halloweentown won’t be disappointed. Viewers are also treated to Bette Milder performing “I Put a Spell on You” as an added bonus.
3. The incredible Burt Wonderstone
A brilliantly funny riff on magicians with a scene stealing Jim Carrey on top form. Superstar magicians Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) have ruled the Las Vegas Strip for years, raking in millions with illusions as big as Burt's growing ego. But lately the duo's greatest deception is their public friendship, while secretly they've grown to loathe each other. I love this film.
2. The Illusionist
Edward Norton and Jessica Biel couldn’t save this movie from being overshadowed by a superior 2006 film about magicians. But that doesn’t mean The Illusionist is a bad film; in fact, it’s quite good.
Set in 19th century Vienna, the film tells the story of the illusionist Eisenheim (Norton) and the means in which he will go to be with his true love, Sophie (Biel). Because Sophie is a duchess, and Eisenheim a peasant, their love is forbidden and Sophie is set to marry the despicable Prince Leopold. The lovers hatch a plan to use the powers of illusion to free Sophie from her arranged engagement and the city of Vienna of Leopold’s reign.
The Illusionist features excellent scenes of magic that range from typical stage acts to summoning dead spirits
The Prestige is far and away the most awe-inspiring film about the craft. Christopher Nolan followed up his intro to Batman in Batman Begins by collaborating with Christian Bale once again in this 2006 film.
Superior to The Illusionist is nearly every way, The Prestige tells the story of rival magicians and their quest to pull of the greatest trick. Starring Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine, and featuring David Bowie, there are truly dramatic and highly intelligent moments in the film.
The twists and turns of the narrative are some of Nolan’s greatest and the many scenes of magic with sleight-of-hand and escape artistry rank far above most films with magicians. Caine’s speech about how magic works to trick the audience is still the best example of the art. Before checking out Doctor Strange, make sure to give this film a re-watch, or if you are seeing it for the first time, don’t look up the ending.
Have to give a shout out to Harry Potter films, normally they would take all spots but I will just say they are awesome.