Jun 06, 2013

    Quick takes


    Crime thriller/116 minutes

    Rating: 3.5/5

    FOUR street magicians are brought together by a mysterious figure, and for their first show as The Four Horsemen in Las Vegas, they rob a bank while on stage. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) and Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) appear to be executing some larger game plan, even as FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol agent Alma Vargas (Melanie Laurent) chase after them.

    Director Louis Leterrier (Clash Of The Titans, 2010) works with a light touch here and keeps things moving along.

    The Four Horsemen are quickly sketched out in compact little scenes at the start of the movie and the casting helps to establish their personalities. Some of the mumbo-jumbo about the power of secret society "The Eye" feels hokey and the romance between Ruffalo and Laurent is a little awkward, but these are minor quibbles.


    THE HUNT (R21)

    Drama/110 minutes

    Rating: 3.5/5

    LUCAS (Mads Mikkelsen) is a divorced father living in a small Danish town and working as a kindergarten teacher. He and his best friend Theo (Thomas Bo Larsen) enjoy drinking and hunting. One day, Theo's daughter, Klara (Annika Wedderkopp), who is enrolled in Lucas' school, tells the principal about an event that will change Lucas' life.

    Director and co-writer Thomas Vinterberg turns the screws of tension slowly and naturalistically. Lucas, an innocent man, is accused of child molestation. Vinterburg does not turn Lucas' persecutors into nutty paranoids or witch-hunters. They are normal, liberal folk, acting on their doubts and fears.

    If there is a fault with this film, it is that Lucas is a rationalist saint, willing to become a martyr for a cause if necessary.

    Luckily, Mikkelsen is a fine-enough actor that Lucas becomes human, a man as foolishly stubborn as he is principled about staying on in the village to clear his name.