‘The Illusionist’ marvels while ‘The Last Kiss’ sucks a little bit

“The Illusionist”

3.5 Stars

Directed by: Neil Burger

Starring: Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel, Rufus Sewell

In turn-of-the-century Vienna, a great magician, Eisenheim (Norton), reunites with his childhood love, Sofie (Biel). Engaged to an abusive, power-hungry prince (Sewell), Sofie and Eisenheim must escape his too-evil-to-be-real clutches and live happily ever after. Sound too clich? to be true? In the world of magicians, nothing ever is as it seems.

With the popular rise of performers like Criss Angel and David Blaine, it is no surprise that a movie about magic and tricks would come to theaters. That being said, Angel and Blaine both perform wild, daring stunts in front of live audiences all the time without the help of movie-making magic. However, their tricks are much more shocking and clever than the crappy antics shown in “The Illusionist.”

Despite uninspiring magic of the hand, the movie itself is magic for the eyes. The entire cast of characters performs flawlessly. Even Biel (who I, in particular, had doubts about) is beautiful and bewitching.

See “The Illusionist” for its delightful cast and its enchanting plot. But don’t expect the tricks to even come close to an episode of “Mind Freak.”

“The Last Kiss”

2.5 stars

Directed by: Tony Goldwyn

Starring: Zach Braff, Jacinda Barrett, Casey Affleck, Rachel Bison, Eric Christian Olsen, Blythe Danner, Tom Wilkinson

“The Last Kiss” is a movie about four guys and the trials and tribulations of their relationships. All the stereotypes are covered: the sex-crazed bachelor (Olsen), the heartbroken underdog, the unhappily married guy (Affleck), and the guy in the committed, probably-going-to-get-married relationship (Braff). Also throw in a na’ve college girl and a set of parents on the verge of divorce to the rest of the melting pot.

This movie covers all of the bases to make sure every viewer can relate to the happenings of the characters, yet it isn’t a very memorable movie. There are a few laughs, maybe a few tears and lots of drama. The movie is full of cheating, lying, babies, guilty consciences and lots of sex, but nothing particularly memorable.

It is difficult to explain “The Last Kiss.” In a way, it’s like the movie “Garden State” without the quirky characters, strange images and satisfying feeling you get at the end. “The Last Kiss” is a movie about the lives of other people, and you aren’t quite sure why you should care about them.