PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Now You See Me” (PG-13) — Four magicians (Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Jesse Eisenberg and Dave Franco) are paid by a wealthy investor to do a magic show in which they empty a bank vault in France and shower the money all over their audience in America. Various law enforcement agencies are not so impressed, and an international investigation starts — trying to pull back the curtain on what appears to be some kind of heist cover-up deal.
This movie is more obsessed with plot twists than entertaining the audience. Everybody knows that magic tricks are a lot less impressive when they’re in a movie — you got out of those handcuffs with editing, Jesse Eisenberg, not sleight of hand or magic. The film tries to inject thrills through swirling cameras and super-plot-twists that don’t delight as much as they annoy.
“From Up on Poppy Hill” (PG) — Umi is a thoughtful girl living in Japan in 1963. While her country is gearing up for hosting the 1964 Olympics, the devastation of World War II lingers. In the scenic port town of Yokohama, Umi raises flags in her front yard in remembrance of her father, who died at sea. Shy Umi and her flags catch the attention of a classmate, and a romance starts to grow between the two kids while they learn about past and future, youth and age.
Studio Ghibli has long been recognized as one of the finest animation outfits in the world. Their films are usually poignant, touching and wondrous. This time around, legendary director Hayao Miyazaki provides the script, and gives the directing duty to his son, Goro Miyazaki.
“Stories We Tell” — Some stories we tell a million times over, and they change just a bit each time just as our memories of the events change. This unique documentary collects stories from the filmmaker’s (Sarah Polley) family, showing that stories and memories often are contradictory, and the truth is hard to be sure of. The documentary has a double-investigation, as the Polley’s interviews begin to look into the secrets kept by the long-past mother of the family.
“Somm” — There is a certification so prestigious and so difficult to attain that less that 200 people have passed the exam in 40 years. The Master Sommelier Exam requires that you know just about everything about every wine in the world — what to eat with it, where it’s from and even how to pour it. This documentary isn’t just for wine aficionados. It has that appeal of watching people commit to a dream and work to make it come true despite ridiculous odds.
“The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Fourth Season”
“Spartacus: War of the Damned — The Complete Third Season”
“Scandal: The Complete Second Season”
“Criminal Minds: The Eighth Season”
“Person of Interest: Season Two”
© 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.