Thursday 24 Apr


William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

No Holds Barred

RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Drama · The Illusionist

The Illusionist

Nice trick

Rod Lott February 9th, 2011

If I could play God, when the Best Animated Feature envelope is torn open at next month’s Oscars, the winner wouldn’t be the presumed lock of “Toy Story 3,” but the dark horse, “The Illusionist.”

Don’t get me wrong: I liked “Toy Story 3.” I just feel like I had seen it before (it is a sequel, after all). All too often, I think good animated films like Pixar’s are overhyped, because when one considers the other crap our children drag us to — i.e. “Yogi Bear” — something like “Toy Story 3” at least isn’t painful by comparison.

Go see “The Illusionist,” opening Friday, but leave the kids at home — not because of content, but because the PG-rated film has nothing that will be turned into items on next year’s Christmas list. The French work is near-silent, adapted by Sylvain Chomet (“The Triplets of Belleville”) from a story by the late Jacques Tati, that country’s king of comedy.

Unquestionably based on Tati, the title character is a past-his-prime magician who finds that his style of entertainment is no longer in vogue in 1959 Paris, where rocking guitars have usurped pulling rabbits. While traveling, however, he gains his biggest fan in a teenage girl; together, they form a surrogate father-daughter relationship.

Its plot is admittedly slight, but blossoms with immense heart and warmth. With so little dialogue, Chomet lets the story be told in its splendidly hand-drawn visuals, with a wonderful score echoing each emotion, but shorn of audience manipulation. No pushed pixels here; this was painstakingly crafted by hand, with a sheer love for the medium that bathes its every frame. —Rod Lott

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