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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magic names and the media » » Criss Angel Mindfreak series? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Greg Arce
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Quote:
On 2005-07-20 05:56, JohnLamberti wrote:

If the shows were just nothing but people going around killing and screwing...


Where do I buy a ticket? Smile

Greg
One of my favorite quotes: "A critic is a legless man who teaches running."
Slim King
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This is on tonight right? I got to see him shoot some scenes here at Universal when he did one of the other specials. I liked the behind the scenes view. Makes me want to do one myself. Can't wait to see what the editing gurus come up with on this one.
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
atrudo
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This sounds great. I find myself liking some of his stuff but not all. This might change my mind though.
David Bilan
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Float me off to heaven... I enjoyed levitation more than burnt offerings.

Will it be a hit? I need to see a couple more weeks worth...
Yes, I am a magician. No I did not make my hare (hair) disappear... it just took early retirement.
Decomposed
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Wow, I must say I loved it tonight! Nice cameo of Banacheck also.

The street levitations of strangers were very good! Or were they strangers? Only Mindfreak knows:)
Slim King
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I liked the part where they said that David Blaine should " Kiss His !@#!" LOL
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Daniel J. Ferrara Jr.
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Better wear my loops to work tomorrow... Since I won't be able to perform the levitation everyone will be asking me about...
Sean W. Burke
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Quote:
On 2005-07-20 23:13, Slim King wrote:
I liked the part where they said that David Blaine should " Kiss His !@#!" LOL


I must admit that this was pretty funny too, but didn't this strike you as somewhat unprofessional? Especially since this could have been edited out since it was obviously not live. There really is no excuse for including this comment in this show especially with Angel being the director and producer. I personally am not too crazy about Blaine. As much as I want to pull the hair out of my head when someone asks 'Have you ever seen that Blaine guy?', I simply smile and reply yes. Honestly I wouldn't be to surprised if this comment was a bit contrived.
Randwill
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Some thoughts on the Criss Angel "Mindfreak" programs which aired on A&E this evening. The first episode has been shown before, I believe, but I saw it for the first time tonight.

And I see I didn't miss anything. No actual magic was performed. All three "tricks" relied on camera edits and/or stooges. Very disappointing and not good for magic.

The second half-hour program was an improvement with it's focus on various levitation techniques.

Category one; the leviation to chair, to a low ledge and on an escalator, was a clever idea. I had not seen this before. It's weakness being that the performer must be facing away from the audience. Also the angles are limited.

Category two; the in-front-of-a-large-object-with-camera-push-in-at-the-finish levtations. Large plant and newspaper racks sold separately.

Category three; the very angly lean-forward levitation.

Category four; wires in a controlled situation with stooges pretending to be awed. This seems like pretty small potatoes when you consider that David Copperfield can fly all around the stage.

Category five; Finally a levitation that he can perform for real people in the real world. The leaning-backward levitation. Although, stricly speaking, not a levitation since his left foot remained on the ground. Still, pretty impressive, and most importantly to me, and many people here I expect, something I hadn't seen before.

Category six; the female-stooge-leaning-back levitation. I guess this was included for those of us who noticed he couldn't lift his foot in the Category five levitation. However this seems contradictory and anti-climatic. But boy, those "spectators" can act. For some reason he repeats this one at the end with another "helper". I guess this version is supposed to be seen as better, since she floats higher off the ground. That's specious reasoning dad.

The butterfly-in-napkin trick belongs in the first all-camera-edit show.

The floating-selected-card would have been more impressive if it didn't have to be performed 10 feet away from an audience behind velvet ropes. But that's the card they always pick isn't? Either that or the QH.

I don't usually speak ill of other performers, but this guy hurts us I think. The other school of thought would say he peaks muggles' interest in our craft. So maybe it's a draw. What do you think?

And who is Richard Cohn?
Dirko
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I liked the show. I also think there was a lot of camera work but I still thought it was good.
Fred E. Bert
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Watching Mindfreak tonight brought me back to my teenage years, watching Copperfield specials on tape in slow motion and trying to figue out how the !@#$ he does those things! I love that feeling!

Daniel - I'm with you, I'll be limiting myself to Loops as well. But that's ok. You don't have to be able to do what that other guy on TV does. You don't even have to know how he does it (but they won't believe you if you say you don't know). I have done very simple tricks and gotten the exact same reaction every time: "You're better than [insert name of popular TV magician here]." It's not that I'm better than the guy. I'm not. It's the simple fact of seeing it live, in their hands, for the first time, since most people's experience of magic has been watching it on TV.

So put those Loops to work! Although if you use enough of them, you could maybe levitate your receptionist! But don't forget to send her back to a "happy place" before you do! Smile
dcullen30
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Blaine's special on Halloween will be way better. In doing a series like Criss Angel people will get bored. I watched it with a bunch of laymen and they hated it and said they would never watch him again. Blaine has better chops and it a million times better then this MINDFREAK MINDFREAK.

Someone should enter the AOI film festival and shoot a film of Blaine Vs Angel
Slim King
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Angel wants some kind of "Magic-Off" between himself and Blaine. I saw him say so on TV once. Everyone ignored him...soooo...He's trying it again. Maybe some help from Mohamed Ali might be in order. Float like a butterfly....oh...maybe he did listen to Mohamed????
I REALLY DO WANT THIS SERIES TO BE SUCCESSFUL!
It could help everyone.
Where was that coin thru can effect everyone was talking about?
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DustyDave
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I kinda liked the show. It's just really nice to see any magic on TV. I also agree with, you, Slim that the success of this series would be good for our community.

The production is top notch.

I'm not sure if I like this guy's personality, though. He sure seems edgey and 'in your face"

He did have some impressive levitations. None of the David Blaine type where maybe you can come off the ground a few inches. This guy was flying! I know it has to be some sort of gimmick, and I was watching really close for any clues. When he levitates about 15 feet off the ground, I'm thinking that the way he is hanging doesn't look quite natural. But then I can't recall seeing anyone levitating that high that I could compare his "naturalness" to.

I will say one thing for sure; If you think David Blaine needed help pulling off some of his tricks, wait'll you see this guy!

Later, Dusty Dave (who can't even levitate a card yet)
Michael Dustman
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To each his own I guess. I hope this series does well. It will help magic in the long run. And I don't get how some can be so critical of our craft getting out there. WOW...jealousy does rear an ugly head.

Personally, the endurance stunts such as burned alive, frozen in ice, standing on a pole are all kind of ridiculous in my book. But personality wise, talking to the camera, seeing a personality, and what else, I would lay my money on Criss taking Blaine any day of the week. The only thing I can say good about Blaine at the moment is at least when his specials air, my phone rings with strolling gigs.

But come on...can't we support one of our guys hitting the big time? I'm amazed.....
Banachek
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Amazing how some come to conculusions about some effects. I can tell you I was there and some of these conclusions are just wrong. But to be expected when one can't explain and effect. Amazed no one is talking about the little effects like the voodooo doll or ring in ice cube.

I am surprised to not have seen, wow, thanks Criss for brining magic back to where it should be. In the forefront of the TV audience.
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Pele
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I'm with Randwill and Dcullen. I thought it was pretty sad, and worse, so did the people I was watching with. By-n-large I'm a sideshow gal. I know magic but it's one of those things I admit I am not good at, so I don't do it (respect and such). However, my 10 year old son sat through both MindFreak shows, saying how each stunt was done. His friends had more fun mocking the presentations, and even they figured some out. My friends were far more interested in that the kids figured the stuff out, than they were in the show itself.
That is pretty sad.

The biggest issue my friends had, even beyond the obvious placement of the levitations against large concealing objects was his full body burn. Everyone kind of found the sensationalist approach to something we can see in almost any action movie, or done better in the Cirque Du Soliel "O" show in Vegas pretty insulting to our intelligence.

I am not a fan of Angel's demeanor and attitude. In fact, I have a hard time when any claims they are going to "revive" something that isn't dead. His whole statement about magic not being mainstream is wholly unsupported by not only the amount of working magicians in the world, but he was in Vegas, where there is one on every corner.
His condescending nature, without it being supported, leaves a bad taste in my mouth. At least when P&T do it, I find it supported and funny.
His presentation is too contrived and forced.
The confrontational approach is immature and does not come across as unprofessional. We know there is competition amongst performers, but this is not a boxing arena.

Of the "illusions" the one that failed miserably for me was the levitational backbend. First of all, yogi's and several bellydancers can do that unaided (if you are interested in Bellydance at all check out Rachel Brice for it). The move is called a Turkish drop and with training and body control, a person can lower themselves into that position completely unaided. It is *really* impressive. However, there was a bit on Criss Angel's version that got screwed up in editting. When he stood up, his shirt remained sticking straight out in the back instead of falling back down naturally. The camera moved around so that the back of the big guy it white blocked it but not fast enough. There it was for all to see.

Overall the worst to me was the "surreal desert world" with the "freaks" who weren't really, and they didn't get used for anything. I saw that entire presentation used better on a tattoo documentary recently, and at least they really were freaks interviewed.

I know performers of all styles rely on the suspension of disbelief by an audience. However, that requires charisma and a conviction that I simply do not see in Criss. There also needs to be a full presentation to pull it off. My apologies to those who worked on the show, as I am sure you are wonderful and all, but the presentations are lacking, especially for television.

A 10 year old should be awed by magic. S/he should find wonder in it and be amazed.
I was. !@#$, my dream was to marry David Copperfield (I know, the point now, mock later! lol). Criss Angel did not do this for any adults or children that I know, whether in the know and with it, or not.
And *that* is truly sad.
If, of all the truths in the world, you choose one and follow it blindly, it becomes a falsehood and you a fanatic.
MagicbyCarlo
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All in all Mindfreak 1&2 struck me as average to good.

I always have reservations regarding near perfect television magic. To my magician’s mind they always seem to smell of stooges, camera tricks, editing and set ups. But in this age of video recording and slow-motion playback reconstruction I can't blame anyone for using these tools. From a magician's stand point I get the feeling that some of the "street" effects weren't really street. I actually had no criticism of the effects; they were good magic for TV. I also like that Angel has a unique character. It's a little creepy for me, but so was the Zombiefied Johnny Thompson. Yikes!

The levitation sequences were cool. All of the methods seemed solid and I think weren't transparent to non-magicians.

If I have one criticism it is that I think using special effects in the cut sequences weakened the reality factor, but then again maybe that's what they were trying to achieve a blurring of the lines.

I'm not completely sold on this special from a Mr. Magician stand-point, but I think the production was very professional and well done, and I am happy to see Chris Angel putting magic out for a new generation of creepy Goth kids. Kudos to him on his success.

Chris Angel is not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but he will create a buzz among those who see him.
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Randwill
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Quote:

But come on...can't we support one of our guys hitting the big time? I'm amazed.....


I guess I don't think of him as one of "our guys." Most magicians don't have the luxury, of not having to actually perform tricks to be on television like Angel. Henning, Copperfield, Blaine and all those greats I used to see on Ed Sullivan's show actually had to perform magic to be on television. That is to say, they didn't do things that could ONLY be done on taped television and present them as if what they're showing you is what happened.

Ninty-five percent of what filled up Angel's show was not magic.

What I don't get is, why use camera tricks to make a butterfly appear in a napkin? If you're going to fake it, why not levitate Mt. Everest. Why not flame-on and fly to the top of the Empire State Building and have your body explode into a rainbow or sparks and streamers and balloons and candy? Why not make Los Angeles disappear. All these things can be done. On television.

"Our guys", or "my guys" at least, can do a one-handed top palm, a mind-blowing Ambitious Card routine, roll 4 silver dollars across both hands at the same time, the Sylvester Pitch, Sam the Bellhop, the Cups and Balls with live chicks as the final load, ect. In person. Live. Right before your very eyes. That's the performance of magic.

From what I've seen, Criss Angel is image and marketing. Has anyone ever seen him do real magic tricks?
Michael Dustman
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Rand,

I agree with you on your last point. Your guys are my guys. Give me the close-up magic that was done so well on the World's Greatest Magic Specials. Every year, we got to see great Cups and Balls. One year it was Ammar, one year it was Gertner, one year it was Dave doing the coffee cups and fruit. Those are my preference. But the problem is, nobody is putting that on tv these days. Is it because it has been there, done that? I don't know. But in the absence of it, I want to support the guys who are getting out there.

At the end of the day...we are on the same page. All the tricks you mentioned were done on television and done quite well. But for some reason, the powers that be in broadcast television want the new and unusual. Blaine, Angel, THEM, etc. What was it about good classical close-up magic that went to the wayside?

I have said long ago, I hate when the "big event" airs on some of these latest shows because I then get asked, how does Blaine live in the box, or survive in the ice, or now...Angel survive being set on fire. They aren't magic, and I wouldn't even say they are illusions (although the kicker to the fire burn was unexpected). I have to reply that they are more endurance stunts than magic. Would I have liked to seen more good close-up magic during the half-hour? Of course. But Criss has about 14 more episodes to go, and I still believe in my heart, it will be good for all of us to support him.

I will be interested to check back in here after he does the bullet catch. There have been some great bullet catches done and raved about on this board. P&T, Banachek, etc. But even though I haven't seen Criss's angle on it, I can almost guarantee that some will come on here and bash him, simply because he is modern and mainstream.

Maybe I'm wrong and in the minority, but any magic (barring the Masked Magician) that receives exposure on television has to be good for the rest of us, and that is why I feel the urge to cast my support.
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