Audiences reared on Western animated features may have never before seen anything quite like The Illusionist
. Adapted by French director-animator Sylvain Chomet from an unproduced live-action script by the late Jacques Tati, and set in 1950s Europe, it’s the tale of a middle-aged vaudeville magician appropriately named Tatischeff, en homage
to his creator. This stage entertainer is a bit of a one-trick pony: his entire repertoire seems to consist of variations on making handheld objects appear and disappear, and -- once per show -- whipping a hefty, bite-happy rabbit out of his top hat. World-weary and sick of being second-billed to teenybopper rock ban...