Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Cause It's The World I Know....

   Maybe it is the time of year or recent events. It might even be a combination of both that compels this collection of thoughts. 2016 was the year of the reaper, but it feels like we lost more than just celebrities. It feels like we lost our country, purpose, and place in the world.

  I was truly saddened by the loss of Carrie Fisher and George Michael. I never knew either of them, but the loss of them has made me think. Princess Leia was the first Star Wars action figure my late grandma ever purchased for me. I played a ton of George Michael records on the radio over the years. I still think Freedom '90 is one of the best videos ever made. Video. Another thing that seems lost.

  The other night I was glued to, "Definitely Maybe." It's one of my favorite Ryan Reynolds movies, but it really focuses on the 90s. The time of the first Clinton Presidency and a time where it felt like the world truly had no limits. People still believed that they could be anything and little was holding them back. A lot of us just remember it as middle or high school.

   It was certainly a different time. The fear of job loss wasn't as big of a deal. Maybe I was just too young see that though. It felt like my parents had more money and their dollars stretched a lot farther. I think a lot of people's seemed to. We were a generation of kids poised to change the world for the better. Clinton was a president that actually talked to the youth of a nation. We went to college. We got involved in issues. We took a stand when it was the right thing to do. We broke barriers and focused on ourselves, but still found ways to help other people. We did it all to one of the greatest soundtracks in the history of music. The 90's era was the best for music. It just was. Things felt like they were together. These days it feels like everything is coming a part.

  Don't get me wrong. The 90's were filled with some things that we should regret. The Rodney King beating is still just as disgusting today as it was then. So are the riots that followed. It might've been the lack of social media, but it felt like those horrible things made u grow for the better. It feels like the incidents of racial violence now just tear us further apart. I was always fortunate to be taught to see past color. I never thought at this stage of my life that our country would be this divided over skin tones. Back then, we looked to the future with hope and now it seems to be replaced by fear.

  It feels like we as a people have lost our spirit. We stopped focusing on our own backyards and condemned other people for not doing what we as individuals wanted. It used to be that people were allowed to be different. Some were artsy, some jocks, some alternative, and it seemed to work. You might've been laughed at for being last picked, but it didn't hurt or lead to harm. It was accepted that not everyone wins the game and there were no participation trophies. I am still not sure that those help with self esteem.

  We are more connected now than ever, but we seem to have lost sight of what is in front of us. It happens almost everywhere. News stories come from following D list celebrities. Radio stations are force fed from Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, or wherever. People have ignored their own lives to follow someone else's.  The sad thing is that we probably have not hit the lowest point yet. The good thing is once you are at the bottom, the only place to go is up.

  A new year is on the horizon. I hope that we become a little more self aware. I hope we take a look at our own back yard first. I hope we spend less time sending pictures of our own lives and actually doing something with them. I hope that protests become peaceful and the world becomes tolerant. It has been said that everything is cyclical. If that is the case, maybe adopting the ideas of the past can build a brighter future.


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Rogue One: The Star Wars Story We Never Knew We Wanted

  Almost everyone loves Star Wars. It is a part of American culture. The love for the franchise has always been there, but it had been, "awakened," last year. The Star Wars craze is bigger than ever. This year we are getting a prequel that we never asked for. A story that we didn't really need to hear. A Star Wars with no Jedi or characters we are invested in. We are getting Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and let me start by saying, you will be glad that we did.

    The fledgling Rebel Alliance hears whispers of the Empire building a super weapon and contemplates their next move. An intelligence officer discovers a thief that is the daughter of the scientist building it and sets out to rescue/ capture her. They enlist her help to find a defected cargo pilot and seek out a rebel extremist. The Jedi are gone and this small group of rebels set out on a path that will determine the fate of the galaxy,

  The movie is dark. It has a different tone than any Star Wars we have seen yet. It is far darker than Revenge of The Sith. We see a different view of the galactic war and it is violent. We see how out numbered the rebels are. It shows us new worlds and ties beautifully into the history. Gareth Edwards has created a movie that fits so perfectly with the film that started it all. We get some new ships and new people. The small group of rebels are interesting in their own rights. We get a quick back story on everyone involved, but they all have their moments to shine.

  We see the Empire at the height of it's power and it is so well done. There is internal conflict with the villains. The storm troopers are done in the same form as a new hope. AT-AT walkers, T.I.E. Fighters, the Death Star make appearances. All of them with great accuracy. Rogue One not only tells it's own story, but it introduces new elements of Star Wars lore and they all work beyond well. I wish I could spoil all of the cameos and nods to the films that came before, but it just wouldn't be fair.

  The one character that I will spoil a bit is Forrest Whitaker's Saw Gerrera. He was a character on the Clone Wars cartoon. We get an older version of him in Rogue One. The rebellion and wars have taken their toll on him. The casual movie goer will not know him, but it is very cool to see another part of the over all Star Wars universe brought to life. The film truly gives us some great characters. Donnie Yen's, "Chirrut Imwe," and Alan Tudyk's, "K-2SO," have their moments, but this movie is a father daughter story. It is all about Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones).

   Rumors have been out there that she is really Rey from "The Force Awakens," mother. She isn't. Sorry for that spoiler. She is her own character. She is troubled. She is strong. She is the perfect character to center this story around. Rogue One was a story that most fans didn't ask for. It has cameos. It has some great Vader moments. It has plenty of cool references. It is very much Star Wars. It is also very much it's own kind of movie. The force is strong with this one. So strong in fact that it already has a sequel. It leads perfectly into Star Wars: A New Hope. In this case, the end is truly the beginning.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Life As I Know It... Part 3


   I don't know why I am writing this. Maybe it's the cold meds, the wine, or maybe it's a form of therapy. I certainly can't speak for everyone, but for the last few years I've had a pretty good idea of who I was. I didn't really get attached and I was really good at being alone. It made it very easy to put my job first. We live in a world that sometimes feels like it encourages us to be selfish. I was pretty good at that too.

   I never really saw myself getting married or having kids. Marriage changes people, the divorce rate is insane, and to make it work you have to be honest and open about everything. I clearly wasn't ready for the last one. I also thought that was something that required both people to be in a certain place in life to make it work. Again, I know very little about how to make a marriage work. The few times that I actually had a, "girlfriend," I was never good at that. I have had girls tell me that I make people love me, but then never try and get to another level. Probably true. Somehow, I became ready. Marriage was something I wanted. It was something that I put my heart into attaining.

  A friend of mine said to me, " we all have a domestic instinct about us." I never thought about that until the other day.  As a person who doesn't get close to people, "domestic," was not in my vocabulary. I found myself being domestic. It took awhile, but suddenly I liked knowing that I was taking care of someone. Maybe I was secretly excited that I could.  I didn't hide the broken parts.No situation was perfect, but after awhile, I let her in. I still have my issues. When you aren't happy with your body, you really don't feel comfortable naked in front of any body. Sorry. Too much info.

  Letting someone in also makes you want the best for them. I never thought in a million years that I would come back close to home for work. I really never thought I would bring someone else with me.You see I put a lot into my career. Radio was something that felt like a part of me. I felt like I was good at it for the right reasons. Maybe it dominated my life too much. I really don't know. Sure it had it's stressful moments, but doing it made me happy. I felt like my job provided almost everything for us. I guess I'd eventually learn that it provided too much.

I don't begin to understand life. I know things are never perfect, but I can honestly say that I was not ready for the changes to mine. Unexpected. Emotionally crippling. Stunning to say the least. I didn't think anything could be worse than 2015 until 2016 arrived. When you lose the only two things that you put the most into, it's crushing. The two things that truly and purely loved. It's beyond devastating.

 Love to me has become the greatest lie ever told. Hearing someone say they love you is one thing. Actually believing it is something special. When it doesn't pan out it leaves you empty. There are things in life that are labors of love. Relationships and careers are two of them. When you perform and often exceed expectations, it makes it harder to understand when things go south. It makes you angry. It humbles you. You ask yourself how people are OK playing God with your life. You ask why they don't look past the things that they don't like about you since you obviously put aside the things you don't like about them. You wish nothing, but the worst karma on them and continue to laugh at their continuing failures. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Who am I kidding or not, I am still the one who lost in this story. The few people that are close to me know how much of myself I put into both. Losing them leaves a person uncomfortably numb almost all the time.

  I wasn't ready for the change. I am dealing with it horribly. I know that I am. It is a bad movie that I cannot stop watching. On one side it takes every ounce of restraint that I have not to tell the responsible parties exactly what I think of them. It hurts watching the things you build crumble. When you put your soul into creating something and someone else shows you and exit and allows your creation to become sub par. I am being kind by saying sub par. Careers and relationships are parts of who we are. It is easy to explain when they crumble from earth quakes and disasters. I am sure I made wrong choices along the way. I found out that providing a middle class home, cable, and Internet were but a few of them. I suppose I should've looked harder for a run down shack with heat and water only. I also should've not wanted more for my intellectual properties. I should've settled for just the bare minimum and been happy with it. I shouldn't have tried to prove that I was better than people who did what I do in bigger cities. Some I continue to learn from. Some I still know that I was better regardless of the obstacles in my path. I should have been better at a relationships. I just didn't know how to grow a good thing when I had one. You find out who your friends are when your life changes and your phone stops ringing.

  I go back to why I am writing this. I DON'T EVEN KNOW. It could be the time of year. My grandma passed around Christmas and I have hated the holiday season ever since. Somewhere along the way someone helped me appreciate the season. My family is slightly fractured. I spent so many years being the outsider at someone else's celebration. Eventually, I found  we had our own. We decorated. We shared the season with friends. We had home filled with what I thought was love. Love clearly doesn't last and now there is no decoration. Just a box full of memories that don't see the light of day. I am the only house on the block not festive.

  I never thought that after figuring out what I was supposed to do with my life, I would be so lost. I need to figure out who I am and I don't know where to start. I thought I knew who I was. I don't want to settle. I feel like I gave everything to be left with nothing on all fronts. I am still trying to figure out why I have to not see MY dogs everyday. Sure I spend time with them, but not the way I did before. I want a big light to point me into the right direction. Whatever you do, don't say GOD. He took my grandmother and allowed my addict of a sister to bring an innocent child into this world. He might work in mysterious ways, but he and I aren't really close these days. I truly hope my rambling helps someone else. I hope they don't find themselves in the same situation. Bitterness and regret are not a fun couple to spend time with.

 It's the season of giving and all I want is to receive. I can accept that I am to blame for my situation. I still have wants.  I want direction. I want what I thought was my life back. I'd like to make a little bit of money. I want to figure out who I am. I want to be happy. Most of all, I want to stop being so God Damn lonely.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bad Santa 2 Is Almost as Good

  Most would agree the Willie Sokes aka Bad Santa was a role that Billy Bob Thorton was meant to play. The first was raunchy, funny, and gave us a pretty dirty look at every one's favorite, "good will towards humanity," holiday. There is a challenge to movies like this. It is tough to capture the same magic twice.

  Bad Santa 2 comes close. Billy Bob is still the lowest of human beings, his not so faithful dwarf sidekick (Tony Cox) is out of prison, and his horrible excuse for a mother (Kathy Bates) joins the cast. This time around Marcus drags Willie to Chicago to steal millions from a charity. The problem is Willie's mother is also involved and he doesn't like her much. The head of the charity is corrupt, his wife tries to help Willie, and the same raunchy humor is definitely in play. The location change feels fresh. They also do a good job of blending similar jokes with new scenarios.

 The best part of the movie is an older Brett Kelly as the loveable Thurman Murman. He's older, but still worshiping Willie and he is definitely the heart of the film. If Willie has any form of conscience at all, it is because of Thurman. Make no mistake, he is still a horrible human being, but he does have a soft spot for Thurman. Christina Hendricks is Willie's love interest and their trip to AA is entertaining. Bates as his mother is what you would expect. 

 The story isn't the same, but what we loved about the character is. It's a lot of swearing and still extrememly funny. The original is still one of a kind. This one does feel like it's missing the late Bernie Mac and John Ritter, but there isn't room for those characters in Chicago. They took Santa out of the mall, but still managed to provide new laughs, new people, and kept it under to hours. Not the original, but close enough for a good sequel.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Dr. Strange : The Dr. Is In


 Marvel has spent the last 8 years introducing us to their cinematic universe. They started by grounding it in reality with a millionaire using technology to become a superhero. Science created a monster, super soldier, and a man who could shrink or grow. They moved on to aliens who came to earth and took us to different galaxies. Now we are introduced to the mystic arts or magic for the common people in the form of Dr Stephen Strange. Created back in 1930 he is Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme. He is definitely not Harry Potter.

     If it feels like you have heard this story before, it's because you have. Replace Iron Man with magic and it is very similar, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't work. Stephen Strange ( Benedict Cumberbatch) is a brilliant, but arrogant surgeon. When his hands are injured in a car accident he exhausts his fortune trying to heal himself through medicine. He soon sets on a path to find away to heal himself only to discover a world or more importantly, worlds he never knew existed. Strange becomes caught up in a battle to protect the earth from threats the rest of the world are oblivious to.

   Cumberatch looks like he is literally ripped from the comic pages. We see a world of magic and martial arts through his eyes. He is perfect for the part. He is great when he is arrogant and even better when wearing a cloak of levitation and casting spells. Dr. Strange is packed full of comic references that fans or previous films and fan boys alike can appreciate. The Avengers are mentioned and once again Marvel does a masterful job of tying their universe together.

  Mads Mikkelson's villain suffers from a lack of depth, but for this origin story is still good enough. The producers did catch some slack for casting Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One. She is not Asian and in the source material, the character is very much so. Still though, she does a great job. We are also introduced to Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor). In the comic, he is one of Strange's biggest enemies and we get to see him prior to that here. It's a different form of magic than what anyone has seen on film before. It's a little bit Sorcerer's Apprentice and a little Inception.

 The world is a very trippy one. It gives us some cool imagery and one of the most fun chase sequences captured on film in quite awhile. It can some times come across as a bit cartoony and while it is a fun portion of the film, it's also responsible for the part of the film that fails just a little. The main villain in the bigger picture is introduced and it is tough to pull off. The beauty of comics and animation is the ability to do just about anything. The CGI villain (Dormamu) is a bit of an eye sore. Some things are just hard to create and even harder to translate.

   Even with it's minor flaws, Dr. Strange is a fun trip. Rachel McAdams isn't used to her potential, but this is just the origin of things to come. It is a very large scale movie with a very small cast. Big locations, big effects, but a very small cast. It makes it easier to get to know them which is good since Dr, Strange isn't on the same level of fame as The Avengers or Spider-Man. It is a successful expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it's great at keeping your interest. It has humor where it needs to and the right amount of action and drama. In short, another hit for Marvel. He might not be a household name yet, but the doctor is definitely in.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Suicide Squad: Might Not Be A Hit, But Far From A Miss

   Summer means comic book movies with big budgets. The season began with the miss that was Batman V Superman and picked up with the hit that was Captain America :Civil War. The buzz on Suicide Squad has been going all year. People dressed like Harley Quinn will line up for tickets to see their favorite villains take center stage. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is churning out hit after hit. DC has not been so lucky. There is pressure to change all of that in preparation for next year's Justice League. There have been bad reviews and rumors of expensive re-shoots, but now we get to see for ourselves!

 It's a world where Superman, Wonder Woman, and The Flash exist. The government worries that it will need something to counter attack the threat of meta humans. In typical government fashion, they cut shady deals and put together a team of bad guys to do the job. A new threat surfaces and Amanda Waller ( Viola Davis) puts together a team of mostly Batman villains to save the world.

 There are some problems with this. I will elaborate later. The pacing feels off and I think the film suffers from the use of too many flashbacks. The film has the daunting task of introducing the main characters and it's a tough job. You get to see how the show up, but the flashbacks are not enough to give the audience the feel for some of the group. Killer Croc is a bad guy that a lot of Batman fans will know , but the general audience might not get him.

  You would have to live under a rock to not know Jared Leto is the new Joker. People have been out spoken about not liking the new look, but I will continue to defend it. They simply had to go in a different direction than what Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger did. This Joker is established. He is a modern gangster. He is psychotic and ruthless. He is the true anarchist and Leto does a great job. I am not sure if anyone can out do Heath Ledger, but Leto brings a different Clown Prince of Crime to life and it works well. The problem is the film doesn't give you enough of him.

  Will Smith and Margot Robbie steal the show as Deadshot and Harley Quinn. The two are literally ripped right from the comics and cartoons. This should make fan boys happy. Smith still has swagger and is surprisingly great in the role. People were expressing their unhappiness with his casting, but he deserves praise for his run as Floyd Lawton. Margot is Harley Quinn. She has the right look and attitude and is clearly the star of this show. She is the most fun to watch and there is no denying her chemistry with Will Smith.

 The one problem Suicide Squad has is a villain. Yes it's a movie full of them, but I feel like the characters are more interesting than the story. I was not crazy about the film's , "bad guys" and would have rather seen this team in a different scenario. That doesn't mean it's a bad movie. The soundtrack is on point and it is a lot of dark fun.

 We get some great Ben Affleck as Batman stuff! Make sure you stay for the mid credits scene. Characters like Amanda Waller are pulled straight from the source material. The movie also finally gives Jai Courtney a role people will like him in. The film does it's part to set up Justice League and introduces the audience to new characters in a bigger universe. Batman V. Superman was a miss while Suicide Squad is a step in the right direction.  It might not be Guardians of The Galaxy, but it is still light years better than last summer's Fantastic Four.  I'll give it 3 stars.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Star Trek: Beyond a Good Time

 I have to admit, I was never a, "Trekkie." I was always more of a Star Wars guy. I have been a fan of the Abrams reboots. I even liked the last one even though I agree it went, " Wrath of Kahn," too soon. The crew is back with Justin Lin at the helm and for the first time boldly goes where the other reboots haven't gone before. You see what I did there?

 Kirk is struggling with his purpose in the fleet. Spock is struggling with emotion and sense of duty. The crew has been in space for three years. They complete a peace mission and earn some downtime at a orbital space station. After receiving a distress call, they are thrust into a conflict that will either bring them together or tear them apart.

  The film is Kirk's movie. We finally see Chris Pine owning the role. It's taken three films, but it is worth it. The story is simple and goes back to the cinematic story telling that has made the franchise popular. It looks incredible. The space battles are cool and the look is superb. It's on par or better than anything we have seen.

 It does a good job of balancing comedy with the weight of the situation. This cast really gels together and it helps with the pacing of the movie. It doesn't feel like your dad's trek and that is why I like them. They do a great job of handling the passing of Leonard Nimoy and incorporate the original cast.

 Edris Ilba's villain is simple. He isn't frightening and has a twist that you can pick up on a mile away, but it still works. The one flaw I have was the need to make Sulu gay. It isn't because I don't think it's great to have a strong gay character, but he was better served as a strong Asian character. Him being gay is just not needed. George Takei, the original Sulu, is openly gay and felt the same way. All in all, it 's fun and what a summer movie should be. The Trek is back and beyond worth watching.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Legend of Tarzan....Again

This is far from the first time that Tarzan has hit the big screen. He is one of the earliest characters to find his way on television and into cinema. He is a part of American Mythology. He is one of our earliest heroes like Zorro and The Lone Ranger. This might be part of the problem. We will revisit that concept later.

 This time around we join an older Tarzan who lives in his family home with his wife Jane. London is far from the African Congo, but when he is asked to be a special emissary he is called to return. The wild lands have been corrupted by greed and slavery. The home Tarzan left is different than the one he has returned to. When Jane is taken to lure him into a trap, he enlist the help of Samuel L. Jackson to save both his wife and the land he loves.

  When you watch the film, it is hard to believe that it was mostly shot on sound stages. It looks really solid. Obviously swinging through the jungles requires heavy CGI, but the it's the animals that look the best.  The interaction between real and computer generated characters is top notch. It is truly something to appreciate visually. The problem is an odd one. The leads. Alexander Skarsgard looks the part, but doesn't have much dialogue. Margot Robbie does her best to not be a typical damsel in distress, but that is Jane. Samuel Jackson has the most dialogue and is the most expressive. He is almost too Nick Fury for the time period. His character is based on a real person.

   Christoph Waltz is a good  bad guy. He is a liar, a cheat, and need diamonds to purchase an army. His goal is to enslave people for his monarch. Simple. The problem is simple. The plot is simple and drags. Tarzan's origin is covered nicely in flashback. It is a nice movie. It's a little long, but not complex at all. Tarzan suffers from a problem of relativity. He is a hero of a different time. He is your grand parent's hero. I think the movie is great, but I am not sure today's movie goer was begging to see a man swing through the jungle. He might look incredible doing it, but it's a tough sell. 

The Purge : An Election Almost as Scary as The Real Thing.


     The Purge movies strike a chord. This is obvious or they wouldn't keep making them. This year the election is a hot button for a lot of people so why not have this one based around politics. Secretly the government has been using the Purge to eliminate the poor and homeless. It's become a tool to shave billions off of the deficit. When one presidential candidate ( Elizabeth Mitchell) decides that it's time to end the Purge, the twelve hours of legal crime is used to try and end her. She gets help from random strangers and her head security (Frank Grillo). He is still living with the regrets he has about almost doing some horrible things in a previous purge.

   The scary part about these movies is their ability to make you think. A lot of the issues mirror today's state of affairs. We don't have twelve hours of legal crime. Thankfully. We do have a nation filled with racial tension and economically challenged people who can't seem to get ahead.  These movies are great for making you wonder, "What if?" It's violent and filled with creepy characters. The plot is simple. Survive. It is the same thing you've seen before, but that is what makes these things appealing. Enjoy this for what it is and hope that we fix some of the issues in this country so we never end up like this version of the U.S.A.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Independence Day: Redundance

   There are some people who have waited a long time for a sequel to Independence Day. Twenty years. I remember being a kid and walking into see Independence Day, with my friend Tim, and being blown away. It redefined the idea of a summer blockbuster. The look, the emotion, and the cast were all spot on. So here we are twenty years later. Houston we have a sequel...or more like a problem.

    On the twenty year anniversary of the War Of 1996, the world is very different. We reverse engineered the alien technology to build what we thought is a safer world. David Levinson, the former satellite engineer the saved the planet, is now the Director of Defense. President Whitmore is long retired and his daughter is grown up. So is Dillon Hiller. He is the son of the late Capt. Steven Hiller (Will Smith) and has become a pilot too. We have better planes, bigger weapons, and a world at peace. Levinson discovers an even bigger threat and humanity must once again stand against extinction. 

  The old cast is mixed with the new and something is just off. The original players, aside from Levinson and Whitmore, serve little purpose. The new cast seems to lack chemistry. These two things are not the movie's biggest problems. I am not really sure what is? It tries to do too much. It's too cheesy. It lacks heart. It suffers from a weak plot. There is too much CGI. Pick one and they all work to define this debacle. 

  The first movie broke ground. We have better CGI now, but the original some how looks better. The first film had heart. The first cast had chemistry. The cast here is just awful. The original cast is almost over the top on purpose. I hate to say it, but the film reminds me of Sharknado with a massive budget. It really feels loaded with that much cheese.


 One of the best moments from the original was the Whitmore Speech. They attempt to recreate it and rather than be one of the best moments in the film, It bombs. The entire film just feels off. The story lacks depth. It has been awhile since I have been this disappointed in a film.

   Will Smith declined to participate and he clearly knew something that we didn't. They had twenty years to make a sequel to a great film. They through together the same story with more CGI and a lackluster cast. It's a sequel that is just bad. Forget the popcorn and big explosions. This one won't even help you forget about life for awhile, In fact, after this you will want those two hours of your life back. Instead of resurgence, just save your money and watch the original again. You'll probably thank me for it.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Now You See Me 2: Now You Should

The first installment in the Now You See Me series was a lot of fun. I did say series. They have already begun planning a third. The story is a simple one. A group of illusionists expose corrupt individuals for the world to see. The story is simple. The magic tricks are again mind blowing, but does the sequel suffer from a case of, "been there done that?" Yes and no.

 After the first film, the horsemen find themselves with big trouble in China. Evil Harry Potter wants them to steal a chip that can control the world's computers. Dylan (Mark Ruffalo) again becomes entangled with Thaddeus (Morgan Freeman), who he blames for the death of his magician father. They must all foil the villain, clear their names, and discover the truth about the mysterious eye.

 Personally I thought casting Daniel Radcliffe as a villain with no magical powers in a film about magicians was brilliant. Considering he will always be Harry Potter to most people, it was fun to see him in this type of role. The fun with these films is seeing how they pull off the stunts. It can be confusing at times and I really only had one problem with the movie. Mark Ruffalo's character was more fun when you didn't know he was a horseman.

 That being said, the movie is still fun. Morgan Freeman is great, but he always is. They bring back Michael Caine and while it is still the same old villain, it's not the same old story. Isla Fisher couldn't do the film because she was pregnant so they replace her with Lizy Kaplan. Personally I liked Isla better, but Kaplan doesn't hurt the film.

 While the tricks in the first film played a little better, they still work the second time around. The water sequence and card sequences are really fun to watch. I would also watch Jessie Eisenberg play Daniel Atlas a hundred times over before I would ever want to watch him destroy Lex Luthor again. It feels a little like something that you have already seen, but it is still a good time. In my opinion, it's worth the watch. Grab some popcorn and just go have some fun.