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The Illusionist

Well, we waited a week. It's not really comparable with The Prestige because the through lines (that is the point of the movie) is so completely different. It's an ok film. Quite pretty and the acting (even Jessica Biel--which was actually pleasant, because I thought it was going to be Jessica Alba) excellent. I love Rufus Sewall, and Norton and Giammatti keep rising with each film I see. It occurred to me that Sewall has now played two depraved sons of rulers who thought themselves better than their governments. He played Charles II in a made for TV. Of course, everyone seems to have played Charles II from Sam Neil to John Malkovich. It was a basic love story and the twist was pretty obvious.
I've been lurking at IMDB quite a bit this week and I agree with the assessment that although the "magic/science" of The Prestige is impossible, it is nevertheless explained and "plausible" within the film. Only some of the tricks are explained here and it's somehow dissatisfying that some are and some aren't. That lovely CGI makes them appear like real magic, but then we're told (not shown--the ultimate storytelling no-no) that they are illusions.
The Illusionist is a pleasant film and had I not seen some amazing films recently, would probably have gotten a higher rating from me. The Prestige is a much more ambitious film, both as a story and in cinematic terms and would be remarkable at any viewing.

Speaking of, Children of Men comes out next week on DVD. It was still playing in the same theater where we saw Pan's Labyrinth. I can say this now since most people have seen the film or at least heard about it. I don't want children, I don't like children, I'm a little afraid of children (maybe a lot afraid). I think the human race is an experiment gone wrong that God should wash down the sink. That said--the moment in COM when Kee and Theo carry the baby through the crowds of rebels and soldiers and everyone goes silent and just reaches out to touch or just see this miracle; when all you hear is the sound of the baby crying, is such a spiritual moment that I wept as if I had not heard a child for 18 years and as if that was the thing I wanted most in the world. Now that is filmaking/storytelling. I'm glad to see at IMDB that most of the posters agree. When we saw it in the theater as a preview with no advance hype at all I don't think that most of the audience felt as my husband and I did. We were clutching each other and shaking. I guess it's good that we have pretty similar reactions to films.

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