10 Good Magic Movies

Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 5:17 am

I’m a big fan of Gob Bluth and the members of the Gothic Castle from Arrested Development, so I put together this list of 10 good magic movies in their honor. The next time you’re preparing to hold a knife between your teeth to the strains of Europe’s “The Final Countdown,” be sure to watch one of these good magic movies beforehand to get some inspiration.

The easiest way to track these movies down is to become a Netflix subscriber. They have hundreds of thousands of films available on DVD and Blu-ray, and your selections will be shipped right to your front door (postage is prepaid by the company). I’ve been a member since 2005, and I can assure you that their business model is as magical as the tricks depicted in the motion pictures below (plus, we get a small commission that helps keep the site running).

The Illusionist (2006) – As the 19th century comes to a close in Vienna, a master magician (Edward Norton) pursues his forbidden love of a noblewoman (Jessica Biel), despite the fact that she’s supposed to marry the nation’s sinister Crown Prince (Rufus Sewell). Twists and turns abound, and Paul Giamatti co-stars.

Magic (1978) – After his magical fails miserably, entertainer Charles “Corky” Withers (Anthony Hopkins) disappears for a year and then reappears with a successful new act featuring a ventriloquist dummy named Fats. But things aren’t as great as they seem, because Corky constantly hears Fats talking to him, even when they’re not on stage together. Co-starring Ann-Margret and Burgess Meredith.

The Prestige (2006) – Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale are rival magicians who attempt to outdo one another with increasingly elaborate (and dangerous) tricks and off-stage deceptions. This leads to seduction, murder, the involvement of mysterious scientist Nikola Tesla (David Bowie), and a particularly delightful climax. Also starring Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, and Andy Serkis.

The Man From Beyond (1922) – Harry Houdini stars as a man frozen in the ice of the Arctic for 100 years. After being found and thawed out, he assists the descendent of his true love in discovering who kidnapped her father. The film is silent, but fans of Houdini will still get a kick out of watching him perform some of his most famous tricks.

Death Defying Acts (2007) – A combination of supernatural and romantic themes, Death Defying Acts revolves around Harry Houdini’s (Guy Pearce) offer to award $10,000 to any “psychic” who could communicate with his deceased mother and learn what Houdini said to her on her deathbed. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays a Scottish con artist who, along with her daughter, sets out to claim the reward.

Houdini (1953) – A biographical look at the life of legendary magician and escape artist Harry Houdini. Tony Curtis plays the lead role, and Janet Leigh co-stars as his wife, Bess. The end is a major departure, however, as the real-life Houdini died from peritonitis brought on by a blow to the stomach.

A Shock to the System (1990) – A dark comedy about a middle-aged executive (Michael Caine) who gets passed over for a promotion and decides to start murdering his way to the top. As his victims start piling up, he imagines himself to be a sorcerer performing feats of magic. Worth seeing for Caine’s delightfully dry humor.

The Wizard of Gore (2007) – A remake of Herschell Gordon Lewis’ groundbreaking 1970 splatter film, The Wizard of Gore stars Crispin Glover as Montag the Magnificent, a magician who kills women on stage only to have them appear fine at the end of the trick. Later, however, the women–played by Suicide Girls named Flux, Nixon, and Cricket–are found dead of the exact same wounds. Also starring Kip Pardue, Bijou Phillips, Jeffrey Combs, and Brad Dourif.

Magicians (2007) – British comic duo David Mitchell and Robert Webb star as a couple of feuding magicians who must set aside their differences and team up for a magic competition. Featuring cameos by real-life magicians Aladin, Scott Penrose, and Patrick Page.

Penn & Teller Get Killed (1989) – World-famous magicians Penn & Teller star in this darkly comic look at their everyday lives, complete with assassins, fake stabbings, and a finale where the body count just keeps getting higher and higher. For fans who’ve never heard Teller talk, you’ll get your chance near the end of the film.

If you found this list of good magic movies to be helpful, then be sure to take a look at the following articles from Only Good Movies. Also, don’t forget to visit the Netflix website and sign up for their free trial membership.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 17th, 2010 at 5:17 am and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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