Tag Archives: Melanie Laurent

‘Now You See Me’: The Magic Behind the Movie

Now_You_See_Me_Blu_RayNow You See Me may have opened at number two with a modest $29.4 million, but three months later, the film is still in theaters, has accumulated over $300 million worldwide, and earned itself a sequel. And that’s all before the Four Horsemen wow the crowds on home video. In honor of the film’s September 3 DVD and Blu-ray release, we take a look back at some of the best behind-the-scenes magic tricks, straight from the Now You See Me 5 Pointz set.

Producer Bobby Cohen pointed out, “If I do a magic trick in front of you right now, if I pull a rabbit out of a hat, it has power, right? Because it’s right in front of you. But, a movie audience, if they see you pull a rabbit out of a hat, they go, ‘Well, you know, you did a CG thing or you turned the camera off and then you put the rabbit in and turned the camera back on.’” Sounds pretty accurate, right? That’s one of the major challenges Cohen and company faced with Now You See Me, but the filmmakers also had a plan to ensure they pulled it off. Cohen elaborated, “The way to make a movie about magic work is that the whole movie itself has to be a trick, and so that’s sort of what we’ve done. We’ve constructed the whole movie as if it has sort of the three acts of a great trick, and that was really fun to do.”

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Review: Beginners

There’s great danger in opting to stray from the conventional linear storytelling method. Not only do you run the risk of lacking a constant pace and confusing your viewers, but simply forcing them to think too much. Oddly enough, that isn’t the case in the least with Beginners. Yes, the piece gets the wheels in your head turning, but it uses its main character as a vehicle so, curiously, it’s the character that winds up doing the thinking for you, making the film a beautifully consuming experience.

Ewan McGregor is Oliver, a 30-something guy who was once funny and made for good company, but now walks around with a grey cloud over his head and a Jack Russell named Arthur by his side as a result of the passing of his father, Hal (Christopher Plummer). It isn’t until Oliver’s pals drag him out to a Halloween party that Oliver finds a little light in this world, an actress named Anna (Mélanie Laurent). However, with the wonders of budding love come memories from his past, namely ones of his unusual and inhibited mother and the final days of his father during which Hal puts to use his newfound status of being out of the closet.

Beginners is a nonlinear tale that roots itself in the present, focusing on Oliver and Anna’s relationship, but regularly jumps back to the past. We get mere glimpses of a young Oliver by his mother’s side as well as a more in-depth look at the days following his 75-year-old father’s official change in sexual orientation to the discovery of a cancerous mass in his lung up until his eventual death. Writer-director Mike Mills does a beautiful job interweaving every stage of Oliver’s life so as to enrich the character and make every scene in the film quite multidimensional.

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Interview: The Concert’s Melanie Laurent

Most of us know Mélanie Laurent as one of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, but Laurent had a lengthy resume even before then. But being that they were all foreign films, very few in the US experienced her work. With her new international star status that’s all changing and now we’ve got the chance to see her latest release, the French film The Concert.

“I knew the movie of the director, there was a movie made before, and I was really honored to work with such an amazing director,” Laurent explained. But Radu Mihaileanu wasn’t the only thing that drew Laurent to The Concert. “The script was really amazing because it’s popular and emotional and a challenge with the violin, so I was really excited to be involved in that project.”

The story is about a former conductor, Andrei Filipov (Aleksei Guskov). In his heyday he directed the famous Bolshoi orchestra, but when he was publically criticized for including Jewish performers in his group, his renowned career came to an end. Now he’s merely a janitor where the Bolshoi perform. However, one day, that works to his advantage. He intercepts a fax inviting the Bolshoi to play at the Châtelet Theater in Paris and opts to seize the opportunity for himself, reassemble his old musicians and head to Paris pretending to be the Bolshoi.

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