My Movie Reviews: Saw 3, The Illusionist, & Illuminated

Saw 3
Jigsaw is back for a third visit into this very popular horror series. I must confess that I loved the first 2 "Saw" movies. The combination of storytelling, suspense, twist, and gore makes these movies as close to a perfect horror movie as you can get. When I kept hearing this 3rd installment was better then the others I couldn't wait to check it out. In true "saw" fashion it features yet again head turning gore, a very intricate plot, and it's trademark surprise ending. After watching it, I won't say it's better then the first two but it is as good. It's really hard to beat the first "Saw" if only because you had no idea what to expect. By now you know there will be a twist at the end that will leave you feeling stupid for not picking up on it earlier. I will say the newest "Saw" was much more gory then the previous two. If you're a fan of the other "Saw" films then you'll enjoy this. If your eyes and stomach can't take lots of blood and human torturing, then go rent "Cinderella 3". 3 Stars

The Illusionist
I was hesitant about renting this one because on the surface it seemed like a "Prestige" ripoff. After some solid referrals, I decided to check it out.

"The Illusionist" is the story of a man named Eisenheim (Norton) and the path he takes through life as a professional illusionist and underlying story of his love for the Duchess Sophie (Biel). Unfortunately he is a peasant and she a duchess, the two are separated at youth but reunited by fate in further years. The Duchess(sophie) is the soon to be bride of the crowned prince thus still separating the two lovers. The story turns into the saddened murder story of Sophie, once she attempts to escape the marriage. The heart-broken illusionist begins to attempt to reveal the truth about her murder.

The story is somewhat predictable as I guessed the ending about half way through the movie. My other problem is the illusions are not explained. They make them so grand that it's a distraction trying to figure out how it was done while also keeping up with the movie. The strongest part of the film was the acting. Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti were outstanding. Although this film is not a s good as "The Prestige" it is worth renting. 2 1/2 stars

Everything is Illuminated
Elijah Wood stars as an OCD American Jewish youth setting out on an Ukrainian quest to unearth his history but it's his tour guides who happen to discover a lot more. Walking the fine line between comedy and drama, the film succeeds by not straying too far in either direction. It deals with difficult topics such as the holocaust, racism, and self-image. Yet, despite these topics, it manages to keep a light feel and connectedness to the viewer. The film's cinematography is certainly above average, with sweeping shots and beautiful color at times. The characters are developed, the story is moving, and the film is a good one. If you like quirky indie films, you'll love this one. 3 stars


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