The Great Wall
Unlike any American blockbuster you've seen, a conservative movie with action set pieces that are actually inventive and thrilling enough to be worthwhile.
Swann, the anti-hero of Clive Barker's "Lord of Illusions," is a master magician in the style of David Copperfield; audiences attending his performances on Hollywood Boulevard arrive in tuxedos, which is a dangerous trick in itself. "I tell them it's illusion; they believe me," he sighs. Actually, he uses real magic.
His guru was a man named Nix (Daniel Von Bargen). Nix ruled a desert commune with sadism and mind games, and in a prologue we see Swann (Kevin J. O'Connor) and other former disciples arriving at the compound to bring an end to his reign of terror. After Nix massages Swann's skull from the inside (his fingers penetrate the bone), he is shot by a young girl named Dorothea (Famke Janssen). This slows him down enough for the others to screw an iron mask over his face and, thus incapacitated, he can be buried - forever, they hope.
Cut to the present day, and a New York private eye named Harry D'Amour, who with a name like that should be investigating adulteries in hot-sheets motels, but instead gets involved in trickier cases: PRIVATE EYE IN BROOKLYN EXORCISM TRAUMA, shouts the headline in the Post. ("Was the kid really possessed?" asks a friend.
"Yes," says D'Amour. "What by?" "You know. The usual.") He's called West by Dorothea, who is now married to Swann ("in name only"), and is worried about his safety - although D'Amour doesn't know exactly why until it's way too late.