Sleight and all the images you see in this review are owned by WWE Studios, BH Tilt, High Top Releasing, and Universal Pictures
Directed by JD Dillard
If I ever decide to write a screenplay, I have two ideas. One of them I’m still gonna keep to myself, but the other was a fake-documentary about a street magician who ACTUALLY had magic powers. I hadn’t really thought of it past that point (no idea what the conflict would be), but when I saw the trailer to Sleight it looked like someone had made a much better version of my idea and I couldn’t wait to see it. That kind of magic (or should I say MAGIC!) has always been of great interest to me, whether it’s Penn & Teller’s unique brand of magic comedy, the soft spot I have for at least the second Now You See Me movie, or even Zatanna from DC Comics who is one of my favorite super heroes of all time. Mixing that with a sort of low key X-Men origin story seemed like the kind of movie that would easily be one of my favorites of the year, and that’s saying something considering how good the movies have been so far! Does this manage to exceed my expectations as a pseudo-superhero movie with card tricks and drug dealers, or does this all devolve into a mess of poorly thought out ideas and wasted potential? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the adventures of Bo (Jacob Latimore); a mild mannered young man with a little sister Tina (Storm Reid), a penchant for magic tricks, and a side job selling drugs to keep a roof over their heads. Now that last thing might sound rather risky to be doing, even if he doesn’t have much of a choice (both his parents are dead), but then again… who else would be better at hiding drugs than a master of sleight of hand!? Well I can think of at least ONE kind of person who’d be better! A master of sleight of hand who ALSO has super powers! Now he doesn’t make his powers obvious, but he clearly is using some sort of subtle manipulation of objects around him that no actual magician would have, so on top of being bad ass with a deck of cards he can ALSO avoid police suspicion with the way he can hide his products. This has led to him being a rather good dealer which is good news for his supplier Angelo (Dulé Hill) who wants to bring Bo deeper into his organization. On top of dealing with that and his kid sister, he also manages to meet a nice girl named Holly (Seychelle Gabriel) who he wants to be there for as well but Angelo pulling him closer keeps pushing him further away from them. Eventually things come to a head with Angelo and Bo has to find a way to get out from under his thumb once and for all, even if it means doing something he’s never wanted to do with the gifts he’s been given. Will BO be able to protect everyone he loves before Angelo takes everything away from him? What exactly is the nature of his powers and how did he get them? I wonder what his magician name would be. Bo the Benevolent?
Incarnate and all the images you see in this review are owned by Blumhouse Tilt, High Top Releasing, and Universal Pictures
Directed by Brad Peyton
I go to see a lot of movies, and I don’t think I saw a single trailer for this at any of them; not even other horror films or Blumhouse productions. That seems pretty strange though considering they’ve got a well-known actor in here with Aaron Eckhart who may not be quite A list, but should be enough to sell a movie like this, and yet it seems to have slipped completely under the radar. That’s usually a bad sign, but it’s not always the case as films like last year’s We Are Your Friends was a movie I never heard of until I went to the theater to see it, and that turned out to be pretty solid; especially compared to other Zac Effron outings like Dirty Grandpa and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Maybe the same is true for this little horror flick. I mean… it’s possible… right? Either way, let’s find out!!
The movie begins as most demon possession movies do with a young child getting his soul hijacked from some horrifying hell spawn with the victim here being Cameron (David Mazouz) who seems to catch it from this homeless woman as the demons here apparently jump from host to host. Naturally, the Vatican is all over this and sends out one of their representatives (Catalina Sandino Moreno) to keep an eye on things, but it soon becomes clear that conventional methods are gonna take care of it this time. Instead, she calls upon… Dr. Seth Ember (Aaron Eckhart)! Who is he? Well he’s some guy who looks to have watched Inception a few too many times and has come up with a new exorcism technique where he goes into the mind of those possessed and convince their subconscious or whatever to reject the monster that is feeding off of their soul. Of course, Dr. Ember isn’t some bright eyed idealist who’s doing this for the good of mankind! He has a DARK PAST full of TRAGEDY and WOE, and the techniques he’s developed were all in service of killing ONE DEMON SPECIFICALLY who has something to do with said tragic past. Of course, it JUST SO HAPPENS (or maybe not?) that the kid is being possessed by that ONE SPECIFIC DEMON, so Dr. Ember begrudgingly takes the case along with his two hipster tech brats Riley and Oliver (Emily Jackson and Keir O’Donnell). Will Dr. Ember finally gets the vengeance that has eluded him all these years? Will he be able to save Cameron in the process, or will Ember see him as expendable in the pursuit of a greater goal? What… exactly did I just sit though?