The Prestige (2006)

The Prestige (2006) Original Theatrical Release: October 20, 2006
Director: Christopher Nolan

Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and his wife Julia McCullough (Piper Perabo) along with Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) are all assistants to a master magician, all trying to learn his secrets. When something goes awry during a performance and Julia dies, Robert blames Alfred for her death and the two become bitter enemies and eventually master magicians themselves. They are in a magical arms-race, where one tries to outdo the other for supremacy on the stage. When Alfred comes up with a trick the likes of which nobody has seen, Robert becomes obsessed with trying to discover his secret – leading him to dark experiments that no man was ever meant to tamper with.

This is one of those films that sort of flew under the radar. Christopher Nolan hit it big with Batman Begins, but not many people even remember this film or talk about it despite its star power and cool premise. It also came out at the same time as another magician-centric movie called The Illusionist, which some folks consider to be the better film between the two magic movies.

David Bowie as Nikola Tesla was a huge bonus in this movie for me, as well as the always-lovely Scarlett Johansson’s role as Olivia Wenscombe (ironically also a secret agent in this movie, just like she was as Black Widow in Iron Man and The Avengers respectively)….but those are just on a personal level. Bale and Jackman are great at going head-to-head with each other and this is one of Jackman’s best serious dramatic roles to date. It has a heavy sci-fi theme that once you get into is actually really great, and it ends up unfolding like a sort of parable.

Go see it for the actors. Go see it for the great direction by Nolan. Go see it for David Bowie and Michael Caine. It’s good stuff. The only downside, for me, was that it was maybe a little too long in letting the story unfold but on the other hand,  it constantly keeps you guessing and keeps you on your toes.

JOE Rating:

Movie Trailer For The Prestige

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Date Movie (2006)

Date Movie (2006)

Original Theatrical Release: February 17, 2006
Director: Aaron Seltzer, Jason Friedberg

Julia Jones (Alyson Hannigan) is feeling like she will never find someone. Her multi-ethnic parents (Eddie Griffin and Meera Simhan) want her to marry Nicky (Judah Friedlander) but Julia doesn’t want to resort to being with someone she doesn’t love. In comes the dashing Grant Funkyerdoder (Adam Campbell) and she feels like she has met the man of her dreams, but first she has to overcome the schemes of his gorgeous best friend and former lover, Andy (Sophie Monk), who has never quite let him go.

These types of movies generally have been overdone. The first Scary Movie or two were great, but some others (Dance Movie) were just terrible. This is somewhere in between.

Next to Not Another Teen Movie, which I think is a lot better, the jokes in Date Movie generally work but most are considered too lowbrow to have any real staying power. There are some genuine laughs to be had, especially if you “get” this kind of humor (or maybe are a terrible person like I am). There’s a scene where Julia and Grant are out on a date and they “romantically” beat up a bum together and take what meager possessions he has. That’s the kind of stuff you’re going to find in this flick. However, some of the gags fall flat and don’t even live up to the original source material, much less surpass it.

They riff on films like Hitch, Napoleon Dynamite, Kill Bill and more…and that’s kind of where this movie fails. Not because they didn’t do a good job riffing on those films, but because it would have been more successful if they had just stuck to riffing on actual date movies like Hitch and Sleepless In Seattle. That’s why Not Another Teen Movie is so much better. They stuck with their premise.

Hate it. Love it. I think it’s okay, and not the worst thing I’ve ever seen. It’s worth watching just to see Judah Friedlander and Alyson Hannigan, for sure.

JOE Rating: ★★★

Movie Trailer For Date Movie