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Thompson on Hollywood

'Now You See Me': More Abracadabra, Less Explanation, Please

Learning the inner workings of a magic trick is almost always a bit of a disappointment. The magician's flourish is what makes the show fun--see the nuts and bolts of his or her work, and the sense of wonder shatters. It's fitting then, that surprise hit "Now You See Me" reflects the profession upon which it focuses: it's most fun during the trick, and much less so when the curtain is pulled back for us. Still, it's a fun summer fluff movie that transports and maybe even wows a bit--as long as you don't look too close.
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • June 2, 2013 4:50 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Review: 'The Internship' Stars Vaughn and Wilson in Profoundly Unfunny Google Comedy

Isn’t it just so ironically hilarious that Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson come off as such unwanted guests in “The Internship,” Shawn Levy’s divided-generations and generation-dividing comedy? Not really. In the film, which for some reason co-stars Rose Byrne, the “Wedding Crashers” duo play unemployed, overage cadets aboard the Google mothership, trying to get jobs at America’s No. 1 place to work (according to Fortune magazine). As any proctology patient will attest, even the most unfunny experience has something to teach us. In the case of “The Internship” it’s how truly polarized the generations seem to be.
  • By John Anderson
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  • June 2, 2013 4:43 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Arthouse Audit: 'Hannah Arendt' Leads New Openings, 'The East' and 'Kings of Summer' Open Just OK

Early summer specialized releases are falling short of the initial grosses of breakout films from the last two years. But several films representing a range of audience appeal (primarily younger-oriented) are showing varying levels of strength. A surprisingly strong New York gross from the German film "Hannah Arendt" (Zeitgeist) is the initial standout entry.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • June 2, 2013 4:29 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekend Box Office Top Ten: Falling 'Fast & Furious' and Sleeper 'Now You See Me' Trounce Shyamalan/Smith Combo 'After Earth'

With the help of an unexpected sleeper success ("Now You See Me") and a continued decent showing for "Fast and Furious 6," the combined weekend gross for the top 10 again rose above last year's ($150 million, up from $133) even with the disappointing initial numbers from "After Earth," which was expected to be #1 this weekend.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • June 2, 2013 1:02 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Netflix's Revived Cult Favorite 'Arrested Development' Brings Baggage

"Arrested Development" is not a sitcom that suits TV-love-at-first-sight. Like many of the better television shows, it's based on layers. Any series that rewards serious, devoted, eagle-eyed fans would bring an onslaught of criticism upon its return. Is the wrath that has met Netflix's revival of the canceled series simply a product of viewer investment in the initial iteration of the series? Or does it hold merit as a valid criticism of this installment?
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • June 1, 2013 4:29 PM
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  • 9 Comments

'After Earth' Fails to Open at Number One, Lags Behind 'Now You See Me' As Top Newcomer

As Sony's "After Earth" opened Friday, an irresistible force (Will Smith, with a two-decade record of #1 openings) met an unmovable object (director M. Night Shyamalan's declining box office and critical appeal), and the latter won. "After Earth," top-heavy with Smith family involvement (Smith's co-star is his son Jaden) looks to end up in third place for the weekend with a below-expectations $9.8 million for Friday.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • June 1, 2013 2:37 PM
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  • 4 Comments

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