Jesse Eisenberg

Now You See Me 2

Once again starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine, The Four Horsemen have returned. This time they are joined by Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Ratcliff. That’s right Harry Potter is in a new magic film! Trying to re-enter the world but they are being held back by The Eye. Now the Eye has a new mission for them, and when things go wrong, they have Horsemen decide to venture out on their own to attempt to reclaim their lives without Dylan Rhodes (Ruffalo)

This film blends the first film, with a little bit of Oceans 11. With all but Isla Fisher who had to back out due to her pregnancy, the cast has all returned and all have a great chemistry.  The story is definitely a little bit more ramped up as most sequels are. It brings the magic on a lot stronger than before, but they don’t make it to unbelievable. Even when a trick seems too off the wall, they immediately explain it to you. Which is something I like; I did not want this to become a fantasy type of franchise.

Seeing the first one, and then watching it again before this one, I’m not very sure this really needed a sequel, or better yet even a third which is apparently already coming. However they found a way to make me continue to stay interested in these characters, and genuinely be excited for this adventure. As far as another, I do not know if it is needed, but maybe they can capture that magic again.

One of the best things about this franchise is the cast. They all work so well together. The entire cast. Jesse Eisenberg is dialed into this character more than any other that he place. He isn’t so much himself like he normally does; it is just the right amount of him, toned down to the perfect level. If he could’ve done this for Lex Luthor, that probably would have made BvS better. Dave Franco is someone I want to see in more films. This kid has so much talent. I would love to see him really branch out into more films.

The new comers are pretty good, and fit their roles. Most just bit parts like Sanaa Lathan and Jay Chou. But Lizzy Caplan is a good replacement for Isla Fisher. While you feel her not being there, Lizzy’s character is a lot of fun and makes for a new take on their comedic relief. Daniel Ratcliff is really good as our new villain. He is creepy, and off putting and flat out weird. And it makes it so much fun.

The problems with this film lie in the script. There are some story problems, and some plot whole issues that come up on pretty regular bases. The most glaringly of these being Isla Fishers characters absence. A big plot point of the film is The Horsemen wanting to come out of hiding and claim their lives back. They are stuck and live together in a hide-a-way house. Yet Isla’s character was allowed to leave and not come back…. Yes I know they needed some way to explain her absence, but could you not come up with something that did not go against your plot so much?

The film also drags a lot. It really could have been sent back to the cutting boards 2 or 3 more times. There were plenty of times that I found myself just waiting to get through a scene or a segment. SO much to the point that I even nodded off a few times. There are a lot of exposition scenes that I get why they are there, but I feel they could have re worked the dialog to make it run a lot more smoothly.

Maybe this is something I missed, but the post credit scene in the first film, I don’t know if that just had something to do with that film, but certainly had no connection to this film. This kind of confused me. I had just rewatched the first film, and watching that scene I figured the plot of this one would have something to do with that junk yard fun house place they showed up at. But nothing.

For the most part Now You See Me 2 is an enjoyable film. It has its problems, but they are not so bad that you cannot find enjoyment in this film. You may not need to rush out to see this, but when you do you will have a good time, and go home happy. A fun film, in the same world as its predessceor. If you liked the first you are going to enjoy this one too. If you did not enjoy the first, you wont like this, plain and simple. I gave it a score of 2.8, no bonus, which leaves the Jeebus Score sitting at a 2.8. Not great, but not bad. Maybe wait to catch this one FXx? But what say you? Sound of in the comments and let me know what you thought of the film!

The Jeebus Score explained

The Jeebus score is out of a possible 5 points with a .5 bonus. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Entertainment Value, Story/Writing, Performance, Direction, and Production. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 5.5 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

American Ultra

American Ultra reunites Jesse Eisenberg with his Adventureland Co-Star Kristen Stewart, in a stoner comedy-action-thriller-spy film. The story follows a stoner (Eisenberg) who is in fact a government agent who doesn’t know that he is. When he is marked as a liability to the government’s program, he is targeted for extermination. When his original trainer, played by actress Connie Britton, activates him, he becomes a highly trained killing machine, and the government deploys any means necessary to eliminate him, while all he really wants is to do is propose to his loving Girlfriend (Stewart). The film, directed by Nima Nourizadeh, has a few laughs throughout, and decent performances, but suffers from a lack of known identity. It seems that the Nourizadeh doesn’t know what tone or genre he wanted this film to be. As well, the writer, Max Landis, didn’t know where to really go with the finish. With shaky cam action and a lack of character development, American Ultra will fall a little short this weekend.

Oddly enough, the stand out in this film is Kristen Stewart. An actress that is ridiculed for not only not having any facial expression, but literally no personality in her films, shows tremendous range in this outing. I really enjoyed her character arch, and where they went with her. She has emotional responses to each situation in each scene, and she pretty much carry’s the film. Another stand out is Topher Grace. While the character is overly cartoony, and doesn’t necessarily fit in the film, he is kind of fun to watch and be around.  John Leguizamo is always a joy to see on camera, his minor cameo is a lot of fun

The rest of the cast is functional. Nothing impressive or stand outish, but functional. I don’t think anyone else could’ve done better with the roles, for each of them feel like they were written for different films, and just thrown in here, so the cast is a moot point.

When the jokes and situational comedy hit, they are funny. There were numerous times that I found myself laughing at Eisenberg playing this stoner who finds himself in an awkward situation and has no idea how he knows how to handle himself. While what seems as just muscle memory, he does some pretty brutal kills. It is violent and fun to see. It is almost a cross between Pineapple Express and Kick-Ass.

The problem mostly lies in the filming and story of American Ultra. The action sequences are shot with amazingly annoying shaky cam technique. Which directors who don’t know how to shoot action correctly try to pass off weak action scenes in an obnoxious style. Choppy editing makes some of the action hard to follow, and what could be really fun action sequences are ruined by lazy film making.

The story is all over the place, it goes from stoner comedy, to action comedy, to dramatic thriller, back to stoner comedy, to violent action, and then to spy thriller. It is just way to over the top at times and then suddenly grounded. While there are funny moments, they are split between a boring story arch that revolves around Connie Britton’s character and another CIA Operative played by Tony Hale that was completely cartoony and took me out of the film every time he was on screen. Every character in the film feels like they were written for a different genre of film or a different movie all together

While Eisenberg does a good job at being the stoner, he is still just Jesse Eisenberg on weed. There is nothing special or new to this character, and the development of him is weak. And all though Topher Grace is fun when he is on screen, he is a complete cartoon, and doesn’t fit in the world around him. Bill Pullman’s overly serious character is a waste of his cameo and even in his small screen time, is over used, and almost unimportant.

All in all American Ultra is a passible film that has a few laughs but falls short when it comes to substance. While it was nice to see Kristen Stewart actually does some decent acting, that isn’t enough to actually make the film a good one. I’m giving it a Jeebus Score of 2.6 with a .2 bonus for Stewart’s performance and John Leguizamo, rounding out My Jeebus Score for American Ultra as 2.8 out of a possible 6. What about you Jackass Nation? Are you planning on catching American Ultra this weekend, or another film? Sound off in the comments, and as always, keep on nerding.

The Jeebus Score explained

The Jeebus score is out of a possible 6 points. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Acting, Entertainment, and Casting, and a max of .5 for Dialog, Cinematography, and Direction. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 6 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.