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Movie magic and Hollywood dreams

Gail Choice | 7/14/2010, 5 p.m.

"The Sorcerer's Apprentice"
For those of you who love Disney Pictures and actor Nicolas Cage, here's a great movie for you to see this weekend, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." Described as an innovative and epic comedy adventure, this movie is sure to be an audience pleaser for children and adults alike. By the way filmmakers, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Jon Turteltaub are the fellows behind the "National Treasure" franchise. Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) is a master sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan trying to defend the city from his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina).

Balthazar can't do it alone, so he recruits Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), a seemingly average guy who demonstrates hidden potential, as his reluctant protégé. The sorcerer gives his unwilling accomplice a crash course in the art and science of magic, and together, these unlikely partners pit their powers against those of the fiercest-and most ruthless-villains of all time. It'll take all the courage Dave can muster to survive his training, save the city and get the girl as he becomes "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."

In theaters now.

Pharrell Williams and "Despicable Me"
If you haven't seen "Despicable Me" then you're missing a very funny, dastardly dirty, unexpectedly tender film.

Steve Carell ("Get Smart," "Horton Hears a Who!" and television's "The Office") stars as Gru, a very mean, nasty man who has set his sights on stealing the moon. Such a dastardly plan needs a great deal of help to make it happen, enter his army of mischievous little minions, little yellow globs of one-eyed and two-eyed workers of evil ... when they want to.

Every plan, however, can be derailed, when the unexpected happens. Take three little orphan girls desperately hoping to be adopted, who have the unhappy fortune of knocking at Gru's evil door.

Without their knowledge, Gru hatches an evil plan, and they play a key role. For Gru it's the moon or bust--what a despicable character. And his adversary is no better. Evil reigns, but love conquers all.

Pharrell Williams (Grammy Award-winning artist of "The Neptunes" and "N.E.R.D.") had been interested in scoring music for feature films for some time. Although he's produced for such super stars as Usher, Kanye West, Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake, Shakira and Madonna, he was ready to spread his wings. A long- time animation fan, Williams landed the gig by expressing his desire to his friend and music supervisor, Kathy Nelson. She found him the perfect opportunity, Williams says, "What I like about the philosophy on 'Despicable Me' is that the filmmakers don't make children's films. They make films for humans that use some of the tricks and treats of youthful entertainment, but at the same time, there's an amazing storyline."

Williams composed several original songs for the film, including the title track, "Despicable Me."

He says, "I've never made a song about having a bad day and being in a super bad mood. So, I thought I would make it really fun but, at the same time, if you were to hear it without the lyrics, it would sound like this track that you'd want to hear coming out of someone's truck."