Once the filmmakers have dispensed with a grueling expository preface set in Arthurian England, this shameless Harry Potter knockoff is a pretty tasty bucket of popcorn. Bad wizards led by Alfred Molina (magnificent as ever) plot to steal a magical dingus resembling a Russian nesting doll from good wizards led by Nicolas Cage (punching way above his average). The outcome of the struggle depends on Jay Baruchel, who's got Daniel Radcliffe beat for nerdy charm, playing an untried young conjurer who must learn to believe in his powers. The tone is both goofier and darker than the Potter pictures, and some of the magic battles built around New York City landmarks are eye-popping; there's also a genuinely affecting romance between Baruchel and fetching newcomer Teresa Palmer. Jon Turteltaub directed.
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Writer: Lawrence Konner, Matt Lopez, Mark Rosenthal, Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Teresa Palmer, Monica Bellucci, Nicole Ehinger and Peyton List
The Sorcerer's Apprentice