Now You See Me (PG-13, 116 minutes, Lionsgate): If there was an instruction manual for heist movies, the directions would include amusing the audience members with witty banter, delighting them with a clever crime and shocking them with one final never-saw-it-coming twist. The makers of the entertaining and confounding Now You See Me have all those components in place. The problem is that, in focusing on what makes a good caper, director Louis Leterrier forgot about character development, carefully constructed tension and believable plot points. The film opens with an Oceans Eleven-like montage introduction to four magicians. Theres the egotistical card-trick pro Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg, basically playing Mark Zuckerberg again), con man and lock picker extraordinaire Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), underwater escape artist Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) and mentalist Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson). The four are brought together by an unknown person who offers a reward if the magicians team up and carry out some large-scale deception. Contains strong language, action and sexual content. Extras: commentary with Leterrier and producer Bobby Cohen and a Now You See Me Revealed featurette. Also, on Blu-ray: extended directors cut featuring 16 minutes of restored footage, a history of magic featurette and deleted scenes.
The Iceman (R, 105 minutes, Millennium Films): Its somewhat difficult to judge Michael Shannons performance in The Iceman, a movie based on the true story of Richard Kuklinski, a serial killer and mob assassin. Kuklinski, who died in prison in 2006, murdered, by his own imperfect recollection, 100 to 200 people, without apparent compunction. That or possibly that he sometimes froze his victims bodies before dumping them was the reason for his chilling nickname. Contains bloody violence, obscenity and some sexuality. Extras: making-of and behind-the-scenes featurettes.
Stories We Tell (PG-13, 108 minutes, Lionsgate): Sarah Polley begins her documentary with an epigram from Canadian author Margaret Atwood. But this rich, sensitive, densely layered piece of poetic nonfiction also conjures a famous aphorism of William Faulkner: The past is never dead. Its not even past. Polley, an actress who has pursued an accomplished directing career with the fictional features Away From Her and Take This Waltz, brings the past to vivid, astonishing life in Stories We Tell, an excavation of her own family that hinges on a long-buried secret, how its reverberated with everyone its touched and the contentious ways they explain it. . Contains thematic elements involving sexuality, brief strong profanity and smoking.
Also: Empire State, Petunia, Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie, Slightly Single in L.A., The Stranger Within, The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Fourth Season, The Best of Warner Bros. 20 Film Collection: Thrillers (from The Public Enemy to Inception, box set celebrating Warner Bros. 90th anniversary), The Jesse Stone Collection, Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest, Song of the South: Duane Allman and the Rise of The Allman Brothers and DCI Banks: Aftermath (BBC).