I usually try to kick back and read books. Sometimes I pick a DVD to watch. It is rare that anyone picks a movie that I happen to sit thru and watch. Just recently, someone brought in the Illusionist and a week later the Prestige. Both are faux period film about the time of the early industrial age and when people loved a great magic show.
These two movies have more less the same "magic" but it is the Illusionist that relies more on the "sleigh of hand". It's Romeo and Juliet but the two lovers are happily together in the end because the poison worked as expected and planned. It's interesting how the people in the movie are not driven to a witch burning when the illutionist summons ghosts. It all works out happy.
The Prestige is more in the lines of a fantastic, macabre environment. I'm reminded of movie Kafka (very loosely based the author). Not so much Caro & Jeunet. It's technology gone awry like Frankenstein and hubric pursuit of popularity (it's tough to make a magician's living). If you can't be soul brother number 1, what's wrong with just a little bit of soul? Have some restraint, one of the characters goes mad, just to be in to win it as the top magician. The timeline jumps about like Rashomon or Pulp Fiction, perhaps a tad too much.
Both of these American movies more are ok to me. Nice atmosphere.
What I would highly recommend though are two Lee Marvin movies- John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and The Wild One. To see Lee Marvin play his early supporting roles is a delight. Anyhow, these didn't cost me anything but a few hours of my life.