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Hot Button Misdirection: ‘After Earth’ and ‘Now You See Me’ Faked Us Out on the Issues

now you see me 05This weekend’s two major openers had something in common: each deceived us as far as being relevant to current hot-button issues. It’s a strange thing to fake, I know. Marketing mainstream Hollywood fare as having political messages would seem to be misguided. And the fact that both were sort of a misdirection anyway, that probably annoyed anyone who would go to see After Earth or Now You See Me because of the promise of substantial contemporary context. I can’t be the only person who is more interested in studio pictures when they at least address if not also deal with real world problems. I even went to see the Fright Night remake specifically because it incorporated some commentary on the housing crisis and its significance in Las Vegas. Now You See Me sold me similarly on its consideration of the Great Recession and banking crisis. I thought this could be the most timely heist/con-artist film since Nine Queens, which is brilliantly set on the eve of a catastrophic bank collapse (interestingly, while filmmaker Fabián Bielinsky was merely dealing with fears of the times in Argentina, an actual national bank run did occur in a year after it debuted). In the trailer for the new movie, after we see a trick involving a bank robbery we hear the magician characters played by Isla Fisher and Woody Harrelson mention their audience has experienced hard times, losing their homes and cars. It appears as though the movie is about Robin Hood-like illusionists stealing