I’m not sure Now You See Me is a real movie—I’m pretty sure it’s part of the massive viral marketing campaign for last weekend’s huge Arrested Development revival. Evidence: it stars Michael Cera look-alike Jesse Eisenberg, new A.D. cast member Isla Fisher, and the plot concerns both the theft of money and cheesy, Vegas-style magic—I mean illusions. (“A trick is something a whore does for money. Or cocaine.” — GOB Bluth.) Here then are 10 certifiably real movies about magic anyway.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
If they’d made that Arrested Development movie, and it was solely about GOB and his rival magician, Tony Wonder, this would be that movie.
The ghost of a man played by a notable actor hamming it up (Ian McShane) helps a cute young girl (Scarlett Johansson) and her bumbling friend (Woody Allen) solve a mystery. Fun fact: Woody Allen wrote this in 1971 as a Scooby-Doo spec script.
It’s about movies, and magic…but really the “magic” of “movies.” Awww….
The Geisha Boy
Jerry Lewis stars in this Japan-set Jerry Lewis movie, combining two surefire crowd pleasures: dazzling magic tricks and casual racism.
The Escape Artist
This forgotten ’80s flick demonstrates the best and only reason to use magic: to take down mayors—bad, bad mayors.
Death Defying Acts
Guy Pearce plays the great Houdini, and Catherine Zeta Jones plays a psychic/con artist. Two sides of the same coin—one side just gets to wear a sweet cape.
Anthony Hopkins plays a lowly card-trick-based magician whose act really starts going places when he incorporates ventriloquism into his routine. Sellout. He is punished for his crimes when the magic turns real, and the dummy starts getting all murdery, as it goes. It’s the scariest Anthony Hopkins movie since The Human Stain.
The Great Buck Howard
Magicians endure a sometimes unfair image as being kind of creepy, which is why they cast John Malkovich in this probably.
Once in a great while, a weird thing happens in Hollywood where two movies with very, very similar, and very specific plots are developed and released at almost the exact same time. In 1997, the volcano-based Volcano and Dante’s Peak came out; a year later, it was asteroid movies Deep Impact and Armageddon. In 2006, the film community inexplicably decided that the world needed two movies about 19th century magicians. The Prestige was the one with David Bowie playing Nikola Tesla.
Or was it this one?