' ' Cinema Romantico: One of the Secrets of Magic Revealed, Maybe

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

One of the Secrets of Magic Revealed, Maybe

“What is magic? Focused deception. But deception meant to entertain.” This is how J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) describes the art of illusion in “Now You See Me”, Louis Letterier’s 2013 film centered on a gang of magicians and their obligatorily amazing tricks. And there is plenty of deception in “Now You Can See Me”, sure, there has to be, so much deception, in fact, that characters explicitly discuss everything distracting from what’s really happening. But “Now You Can See Me” also wants you to know what’s really happening. And so it tells you what’s really happening, as so many movies do these days with one of those Nolan-ish moments of quick-cut flashbacks stacked on top of a This Is How It All Went Down monologue. It not only shows no faith in the audience to put the puzzle together, it explains the magic trick.

That would not sit well The Alliance of Magicians. You remember them, the gaggle of sleight of hand artists on the old Fox cult classic “Arrested Development” that cut infamous illusionist G.O.B. (Will Arnett) loose when he inadvertently exposes the myriad secrets of the Aztec Tomb. The Alliance of Magicians demanded to be taken seriously, and to be taken seriously, they wanted to keep their illusions in house, because to let them out into the world was to strip the illusions, Herbert L. Becker-style, who was the dude that published the book called All the Secrets of Magic Revealed which might be the most Debbie Downer book title of all time. You had to reveal all the secrets? Not just 5 or 10 or 250 but all of them?

I’ve never understood this impulse, frankly, to break the spell that a magic show casts. And so I know that “Now You Can See Me 2” that they will painstakingly ensure that whatever titanic sleights of hand they proffer for our entertainment, they will unmask the deception, telling us how they did what they did. And it already bums me out. And so you probably think I won’t go. And yet, I will go, if only because in this case, and this case only, the rules have changed. There is one trick whose inner-workings I am simply desperate to know. I can’t help myself. It’s so bold, so snazzy, so chic, so David Copperfield as Lady Gaga that I have to know. You do too.

How on earth did Lizzy Caplan make this coat work?

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