Film reviews and round-up

Undated Film Still Handout from The Bling Ring. Pictured: EMMA WATSON as Nicki. See PA Feature FILM Coppola. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Studio Canal. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Coppola.
Undated Film Still Handout from The Bling Ring. Pictured: EMMA WATSON as Nicki. See PA Feature FILM Coppola. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Studio Canal. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Coppola.

In Now You See Me (Cert 12A) four professional magicians are recruited by a mysterious controller to use their different skills to pull off audacious robberies.

There is cocky illusionist Jesse Eisenberg, feisty escape artist Isla Fisher, wise-cracking mentalist Woody Harrelson and young pickpocket Dave Franco.

As their dazzling coups - all of whose victims are revealed as corrupt s- capture the public’s awe and admiration they manage to stay one step ahead of exasperated FBI agent Mark Ruffalo, Interpol colleague Melanie Laurent and magic debunker TV pundit Morgan Freeman.

As though sensing the futility of trying to impress audiences with magic on screen because we know anything can be done with CGI effects, Transporter director Louis Leterrier maintains a bewildering pace with complicated set pieces and multiple chases.

It’s all slick and spectacular, and if the final reveal seems a bit of a cheat most of what has gone before has been enjoyable hokum thanks largely to the appealing cast which also includes a sardonic Michael Caine as the group’s wealthy sponsor.

In The Bling Ring (Cert 15) Sofia Coppola explores the young generation’s obsession with celebrities, consumerism and social network - and doesn’t really offere anything very revealing.

It is based on a Vanity Fair article about a group of Hollywood teenagers who used social network and gossip websites to find when celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom and Meghan Fox were out and broke into their homes. By the time they were caught they had stolen nearly $3 million worth of clothes and valuables.

But we never really understand why they did it - was it envy or greed or some skewed motive to give their pampered existence some meaning? And why did they think they could could keep on getting away with it?

That said, it seemed it took a while for the celebs to notice there was stuff missing or evidence of a break-in. Coppola suggests that the young thieves and their victims were equally stupid.

The trouble is the kids, four girls and one boy, are so shallow they make no impression as characters.

It means the young cast are unable to make much impression, apart from the most recognisable face, Emma Watson, After her cameo in last week’s This Is the End, she has to be congratulated for being able to pull off roles that take her as far away as possible from Harry Potter’s Hermione.

Ian Soutar