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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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Jimeuax
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The only harm is when people ask REAL magcians to replicate Camera tricks in the real world--------------cheers!------Jimeuax
unilogo
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I Will agree with EVERYONE here in bits and pieces. It was DROP DEAD AMAZING and it was DROP DEAD HORRIBLE. More or the less AMAZING.

Now I knew what was awaiting me in this forum. Hurting magic because all of us average magicians can't do it. Some stunts looked beyond fake. We could all tell there was too much camera editting.I'ts all true but guess what , it is PERKS OF DOING A SHOW ON TV SINCE 1995 FOR A BIG NETWORK!

Seriously what were you expecting?"Pick a card , any card "....tricks? A levitation with a broom , as shown in his 14 year old picture? Were you expecting we would be able to do any of those things? I know the response is NO.

We know what people want now in days. This gives us an EXTREMELY AMAZING lesson. MAGIC HAS TO MOVE ON. That is the bottom line. We have to start working to create the impossible with modern edge.Most of us don't pull bunnies from hats for the same reason! I don't see how you can complain.

You want to be as amazing as angel? Most of those things can be done without stooges as banacheck pointed out. We should give PLENTY of credit to him because he WAS there. I know I found several ways to do a lot of those. That inspiration was priceless and now thanks to this "horrible" show I am thinking about ways to move magic into the future. Seeing the TRUE power of patter. How my magic has changed lifes while even angel's stays in "trickery."

Don't think of this as a strike to magic. Think of it as the way magic has to be performed now in days for the people watching us.

I know I will take the lesson. You can too....or stick to the SAME old stuff.

Bravo to Angel. Despite all the so called "harm." He did start what he set out to do atleast with me.

Will continue to see it through out.

It is amazing how simple words had so much power over my brothers watching. I had them by the hand , and they were seeing me as this sage. For lack of better words. They knew there is trickery. They saw angel as the way I have to go. They saw him in me. They saw what magic was about . After I was explaining to them. They saw magic. The way it is suppose to go.

I hope magicians learn from our current mistakes. It is something most magicians today lack. Be an original.

This is amazing.

Enjoy magic.People want to see angel instead of your rising cards, king rising, stigmata , coin bite, haunted hanky, silks, doves, etc...they can pay millions for a private show . Or they can enjoy what you are presenting to them. I think they will take the latter.

You are magicians still. Don't let yourself down guys.

People will enjoy you non the less if you are good with what you have. They know if you had super powers you wouldn't be wasting them on coins,cards, levitation, for enterntainment. You are a poor magician. But WE LOVE IT.

Keep your head high. You can do good for the future of magic. I believe in people. I believe in you.

Good luck guys.

Have a great day.
IllusionJack
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I enjoyed MIND FREAK. It definately had some originality to it!

All of the close up tricks were just cool ... the ring in the ice cube, the napkin butterfly. One of the suprising ones was the card that pushed itself out of the pile and rose up to Criss' hands. They do this at magic shops EVERYWHERE here in Las Vegas yet Criss was able to do it well, with charisma, and showmanship, and get a great reaction out of it. The guys at the Houdini's shops around here do this ALL DAY every day and each time I watch them, they basically get no reaction out of the audience whatsoever!

As for the big stuff, the fire seemed to be a bit Copperfield to me. But I like Copperfield, and the fire stunt was cool. GREAT SHOWMANSHIP here. He lit up, and walked around the circle, getting close to people, and was just great. I imagine it would have been very cool to actually be there and see this. Then, with the kicker ending - very fun! It was a stunt - but they put in some magic to make it magic. Good.

The levitations were sweet. I mean I can honestly say that I do not know how it was done. Right in the middle of Fremont Street - trust me, it's impossible to keep passerby out of this area, and so I would imagine it looked in person as it did on TV. If not, it would have been revealed to a number of people.

I enjoyed the Fremont Street levitation the most... the escalator / Aladdin hotel hallway was cool too. The ones that were clearly digitally assisted did not impress me as much.

I have a few friends who worked on this production. A buddy of mine was a DV camera operator and has told me that though he was not into magic before, he got to learn a lot about it during the production. He also told me that the stuff we see on TV looked just as good in person, for the most part... and that the people who see it on TV will think "camera trickery!" when it just isn't so.

Another friend of mine, Steve "Tiny Daly" Bubbles (of showgirls of magic fame) plays the transgendered old woman in the desert sequence. He also talked about how cool Criss' stuff looked during the shoots.

Anyways, I like the show so far and look forward to seeing more of it. I hope Criss is able to open his stage show "Mind Freak" at the Wynn as is rumored.

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MagicbyCarlo
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Quote:
On 2005-07-21 01:51, Randwill wrote:
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?

I think this is a common criticism of TV magicians. It stems from the idea:

"I am or I know a better magician(s) than Chris Angel (or fill in the blank). I have better chops or know someone that has better chops and can perform tricks without editing, etc., so why should he have a TV special?"

The answer to that is complex. “Our guys” may not have the star power or marketing to be Television material. They may be, like myself, too old, too fat, too generic, too pimply faced, unattractive, or without contacts or connections that can make that happen. Angel is driven and has made his way to this pinnacle by keeping his eye on the prize. He didn't get there with camera tricks.

One thing that I certainly agree with is that LIVE magic is the only way to really experience magic and that the medium of television is a poor representation of magic. However, if it's all you can get, it's better than nothing.

Does Chris Angel have real chops? My guess would be yes. I'm sure; in fact; I know that Angel has performed for live audiences in New York and elsewhere. So that’s really not the issue, is it? If you have a problem with the tricks on this special you fail to realize that TV requires larger than life, spectacular, shocking, extraordinary or unusual subjects to draw the dollars of sponsors. It’s not just about you, me and the other magicians; it’s about what will sell sponsorships and advertising.

As far as Angels style is concerned; well, the house of magic has many different rooms with many different styles, some will suit your tastes, and some will not. Thankfully there IS diversity and those that are willing to take a chance and be different. If Angel would have come out and done billiard balls, dove productions, card manipulation and a snow storm (apparently magic contest faire) he would have solicited a whole other set of detractors. He may not be “one of your guys”, but he is apparently, like Lance Burton, one of Johnny Thompson’s guys and so far Johnny has been pretty good at spotting winners.
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Randwill
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Quote:
On 2005-07-21 01:29, Banachek wrote:
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.



You ARE kidding, right? I mean this IS a magician's forum. The actors in the voodoo doll segment were less than convincing. In any case, it was pointless. People watching on television can't "feel" the hand of a person on television getting hot. The ring to ice cube presentation was ludicrous. If you can't present the vanish of the ring and re-appearance of it in the ice cube in one continuous take there is absolutely no point to it. Similarly the butterfly in the napkin. Does the guy not even know a good switch or was it so bad that it was edited out at the cut?

Doug Henning knew that the television audience was sophisticated enough (way back in the 60's) to realize that anything could be made to appear to happen in film or television. His earliest specials were performed live and with a disclaimer that what you were seeing at home was what the audience at the live show was seeing. And it was true.

If a man on television gets in a box and the camera cuts and then he's across the street on top of a car, nobody under 10 years old thinks that was a MAGIC trick. And for you 10 and unders, here's what I mean; when the shot cuts, he gets out of the box and goes across the street and climbs on top of the car. Then he is taped standing on top of the car. The two shots are edited together and presented as a representation of something that didn't really happen. You have not seen a magic trick. It's no more magical than when a character gets in his car in a movie and is next seen sitting in his office. If you see a magician get in a box and then re-appear elsewhere in one continous camera take, you have seen a magic trick.

For that matter, with skillfull digital blending they could have made that garbage can-to-roof thing LOOK like it was in one take, but they didn't even bother. To me, that's insulting.

I don't know, maybe it's the dumbing down of America we hear about. It's all about hair and good looks and attitude and bad boy clothes and jewelry and glitzy production. It sure ain't about doing magic.
MagicbyCarlo
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Quote:
On 2005-07-21 02:07, Michael Dustman wrote:
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.



Michael, as usual you make great points! I think the days of the Gary Ouellet type magic specials are gone for now.
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Mark Storms
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First of all I would like to say that I enjoyed these two programs of mindfreak. However there were some things that surprised me.

Coming into this show as if it were only a one time thing I would have thought. "Why is there so much filler". Where is the bang,bang,pow one after another magic that blaine or cyril structure their shows with. I felt dissapointed as all those who I was watching with lost interest and went to do something else while I watched the shows intently. And they all have been interested in at least some magic programs I have shown them before. Knowing that this is a series I wouldnt complain so much about the slow pace structure.

I was surprised by all the tricks that involved editing. I have an idea of how of the first levitations were done but the on where he goes up about 5 feet in the air while standing straight just seems too unreal. I have to say that the use of heavy editing does set the bar a bit too high for all the rest of us. However this could be good because it would encourage us to strive to improve.

I was interested by the voodoo doll trick and have a possible method. I think that I would be pretty creeped out if someone came up to me on the street offering to show me something with a voodoo doll. NO! get away from me. Im sure he got a lot of that trying to shoot this one.

The best effect on the program was the PK/floating thought of card. The only answer to knowing the card is preshow work. If so then the "where are you from?" was a nice touch.

The promised coin in soda can was not shown!!

I was also surprised when I got on here and saw all the top names that consulted for these programs. I must say with a line up like that I have nothing but great expectations for the rest of the series. It sounds great! Congratulations Criss!
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MagicbyCarlo
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Randwill,

This rage will not change the entertainment tastes or minds of the sponsors. It's like peeing into a headwind.

Look at mainstream TV - Survivor, Big Brother, Fear Factor (should be called GAG Factor), The Apprentice, ect.

That ought to spell out what Television producers and audiences want. Compared to most of the crap on TV, I'll take Mindfreak, any day.
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Randwill
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Quote:
On 2005-07-21 02:24, unilogo wrote:
Seriously what were you expecting?"Pick a card , any card "....tricks? A levitation with a broom , as shown in his 14 year old picture?


No, I understand that a lot of the old classics effects are outdated for today's television audience. I'm not perturbed over his choice of material. It's that he didn't really do some of the tricks he "did".

The butterfly in napkin, the ring in the ice cube, the garbage can-to-roof were all presented with edits. He didn't really perform the tricks. It was like a representation of what a magician does as you might see it in a movie. You know, where they wanted it to look like Tom Cruise was the magician character, and they didn't have time for him to learn to actually perform the tricks, so they cut it to look he was performing the tricks.

I'm not saying Angel CAN'T do magic. I just didn't see much evidence on these shows.
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The best effect on the program was the PK/floating thought of card. The only answer to knowing the card is preshow work. If so then the "where are you from?" was a nice touch.



Yikes, you're just giving Banacheck ammunition when he says we're guessing wrong around here. The floating card was not PK. It was IT and it wobbled just like everything wobbles when it is attached to IT.
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I was disappointed watching Mindfreak, and my wife fell asleep during the first half hour. It would be nice to watch magic on TV without camera cuts.

I am not a big David Blaine fan, but I enjoyed his magic on TV more than Criss Angel. Blaine comes across with more personality.

When Criss performed the ring in ice cube trick, A&E plastered a promo at the bottom of the screen telling us we were watching Mindfreak. When the woman handed Criss her ring it hid part of this transaction. I don't understand why networks do this... especially while watching magic.

The one piece of magic I did enjoy was the levitation from the floor to the chair.
I have never seen this performed before. At least the cameras didn't switch away during this.

I am going to continue to watch this show. I hope to see less camera cuts, a stop to the promos at the bottom of the screen, and most of all more personality from Criss. Personality is a big part of magic. Before I get slammed... I don't know this man and he may be a very nice guy. He just didn't impress me tonight with his lack of personality and most of his magic.
Mark Storms
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Randwill- I know it was IT but, the beginning of the effect was PK (object moving without physical means). Then it was taken out of the pk category and into the floatation category when it floated to his hand. This is why I said PK/floating.
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Randwill
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Quote:

When Criss performed the ring in ice cube trick, A&E plastered a promo at the bottom of the screen telling us we were watching Mindfreak. When the woman handed Criss her ring it hid part of this transaction. I don't understand why networks do this... especially while watching magic.



Yep, those promos are annoying, on all shows. But the point is moot in this case since the camera cuts to a different angle between the time she hands him the ring and it is revealed in the ice cube. Hours, or days, could have passed between those two takes.
jynx
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I am not much of a poster on this forum but I do read a lot of posts. I have to put my two cents in on this one. First off, I would like to congratulate Criss Angel on having his own TV show. I would like to congratulate Banachek, Luke Jermay, and everyone else who had something to do with the series. I can't believe people can always find something to complain about when it comes to magic on TV. If you don't like it turn the channel and don't watch it ever again. It's that simple. I'm sure that most of you who thought so negatively about the show will continue to watch the episode to come and will still find something bad to say about it. How many of you can actually sit there and critize Criss' show when you don't have a TV show of your own? I read somewhere that the show was to be in between the lines of reality and non, and from the posts I read the job has been done. Everyone coming up with their own ideas of how an effect was done. I am not saying that the ideas were right or wrong. Hey, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I respect every opinion posted whether I agree or not. I for one can say that I was there for the burned alive demonstration and it was an experience that left me speechless and it is something that I will never forget. I would like to personally thank Criss Angel, Banachek, and the whole crew for making me feel welcome when I was there and thank you for the show for us the viewer to watch and enjoy....
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Wow. Some good criticism, some ridiculous criticism, and some in between. But overall I'm with Banachek on this one, filled with incredulity at some of the responses.

First, I'm one of the editors on Mindfreak, which means that I'm fairly limited in what I can legally say here. I'm also a magician and have had a great time working on this show.

I want to address a few things, especially one comment that has come up in various forms on this thread: "If you can't present the vanish of the ring and re-appearance of it in the ice cube in one continuous take there is absolutely no point to it. Similarly the butterfly in the napkin. Does the guy not even know a good switch or was it so bad that it was edited out at the cut? "

My response: welcome to 2005, folks. We're competing with: hundreds of tv channels, video games, DVDs, movies, the internet... and an audience that has been watching MTV style editng for over 20 years now. And our audience is not magicians. As a magician, I realize we are a small niche audience. We are gonna watch the show and talk about it on the chat boards because it's magic, and it's on national TV. But the audience a show needs to survive in today's market is much broader than that, and that's who the show -- ANY show -- ultiamtely has to appeal to.

I recently watched one of Blaine's specials for comparisons, and found the pace of editing on his show deathly slow. Yet at the same time, I am a weekly visitor to the Magic Castle and LOVE live magic. The difference is: what works great live does not work well on TV.

For example: I've seen the raw footage. And you'd better believe that I watched the entire "ring in ice" trick from beginning to end in one take. And I have NO CLUE how he did it. It wasn't camera trickery, the women weren't stooges... I mean, I really don't know! And I don't WANT to know, that's part of the charm of magic!

So why didn't we leave it as one long take on the show? Because each act has to be around 6-8 minutes long. And that trick alone would have eaten up half an act.

It's fascinating live! But the pace of a live performance that is happening right in front of you can not sustain on a modern TV show. There is too much competition, and people will change the channel.

So why do we expect the audience to buy it? Because there IS a live audience watching every one of these tricks, and their reactions tell you what they saw. We show it to the TV audience too, we just have to shorten it. Do you think the women would have reacted that way if he had stopped taping, run to the kitchen, returned with an ice cube and dropped it in their water? They are the witnesses that tell you it WAS a live trick.

Yes, I have seen Criss do live magic. In our office. All the time. And yes, he is very good at it and has a wide range of magic he does well.

And you better believe we'll continue editing the shows to be as exciting as we can make them, and I'm sure I'll hear the usual complaining from the magic web sites, and that's life. If you don't like his personality, fine. His trick selection. OK. His tendency to mix in stunts as well as magic? That's your opinion, and I won't argue with it.

But if you assume "editing" = "camera tricks" then you can stop watching televised magic now, because the days of televised live performances are over. It's not a ratings war between 3 networks anymore, it's a fight for eyeballs with competition numbering in the triple digits.

I love live magic and I'll keep watching it every week at the Magic Castle. But boy am I glad that's not what magic looks like on TV. Because an unedited version of Sam the Bellhop or Cup and Balls -- as fun as it is live -- would get the show cancelled faster than you can say zero ratings.
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Filmyak,

AMEN!! From a person who also works in the TV business (and spent many years as an editor) I wonder if any of the critics here have ANY IDEA WHATSOEVER as to what goes into making an honest-to-goodness nationally televisied program, whether it be magic related or not...how long it takes, how many people are needed, how unimaginably complicated it can be! What everyone here is calling "camera tricks" I call "production".

By the way, what, exactly, is a "camera trick?" I've been working in TV for more than a decade and have yet to come across that term in my professional work. Anyone?

Here's what many people on the board don't get...this show is not being made for US. It's not being made for a group of (mostly) amateur magicians to sit around and Monday-morning quarterback every aspect of the production. It's being made for 12 year olds in Amarillo, 300 pound housewives in Omaha, doctors in Tulsa, ice cream truck drivers in Shreveport and mailmen in Toledo. None of whom, mind you, have any idea what a double lift is or who Erdnase was or what you're supposed to do with a handful of sponge bunnies.

GEEZ, why can't anyone just sit back and appreciate the fact that magic is on television?
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Overalll, I enjoyed seeing it as there is so little magic on TV...and he was entertaining. I enjoyed the levitations very much...especially the back-bend one and the chair. Liked the Voodoo Doll. I will keep watching...I had only two dissapointments...it may not have affected others, but it diminished my enjoyment.

I watched it with several non-magicians, and all were dissapointed by the camera cuts. You don't have to be a magician to realize that once Angel leaves your view, something might have happened...for me, and the people I watched it with, the "magicness" immediately evaporated with each camera cut during the ring, butterly, garbage can, etc.

For me, it was a bit to contrived / serious...he lost me with the whole "teaching people how to focus their energy and levitate" thing. And we were laughing out load with all of the pre-fire drama with him and his brother. As one of my friends exclaimed, "get over yourself!"
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The Good: Usually anytime a new magic special or series comes on, it renews interest in our precious art form which is good for magicians everywhere. I believe that this series will much do the same, and perhaps send a little more business our way.

The Bad: In my opinion - too many stooges, too many edits, and an almost outright claim of actual supernatural powers. I did however like the fact that his mother, and some of the other people on the show continuously used the word "illusion", but Criss however, seemed to teater more towards actual mystic powers most of the time.

The Ugly: Too many stooges, and too many camera tricks. Not to mention I'm going to be hearing, "Can you levitate like Criss Angel" for the next 10 months or however long this series ends up running. I was particularly disappointed by the stooges that were passed off as regular bystanders. While this probably creates a good magical experience for most laymen, I found it to be somewhat annoying. I'm also getting sick of the camera edits in these street magic specials.

All in all, I'd say it will end up being good for magic, but I guess time will tell. Either way, he's been able to market himself much as Blaine did to a good network, so good for him in that respect. I'd just like to see fewer edits, camera tricks and overall bad camera work. Being that Criss was the producer, you can't really say that it was the network making him do it. I'd also like to see what would happen if he had spectators saying things like, "Banacheck should kiss his #$@ or Penn and Teller should kiss his #$@ or David Copperfield should kiss his #$@, or Dai Vernon should kiss his #$@, or Blackstone should kiss his #$@ - I think you get the point. The shot at David was pretty unprofessional, no matter what you think about him.
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Criss Angel had a live show in NY when I lived there that was very well received. Unfortunately, I was never able to see it.

I am amazed that people have to gall to second guess the word of Banachek! He's only one of the top mentalists of our time and was a consultant on the show. Don't you think he would know a thing or two about how the material was presented?

I had mixed feelings about the show but was happy to see magic back on TV.
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gregor
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Chris Angel was not bad last nite,
however I was biding my time between effects.
In my opinion, "my opinion" it did smack of camera editing, However I do understand the TV folks thoughts of "ya gotta hit the lay audience quick and hard" but even with that thought,why show a dozen levitations? why show his mom and brother worrying about the fire thing.why show the practice of the fire thing.
it seems everything today must be, Extreme this,Extreme that,reality this, reality that.I watch tv to get away from reality.The "Honeymooners" lasted a short time because it was to real.
even the aminmal planet channel has it's most extreme series.(this is NATURE, people)
I love the classic magic style, but would General Grants bird act work on TV?
would Norm Nielson's violin? would Fantasio's cane and candle act? NO, after 10 years of computer animation, digitally enhanced special effects and virtual video games.neither kids nor adults can stand just 'pure art' of any kind.nor can they stand anything slow or methodical.I would much prefer, Blackstone Jr. but we are fed drek.
I will say that he is better than Blaine, even laymen know that he's a lot of pre-setup.Blaine does absolutely nothing that myself or my magic buddys can't do, and have been doing for years. Chris is doing things that I don't do.
I own a magic shop,every kid knows the blaine levetation, lets see how many folks want this levition now. they want to do the big stuff, with out learning from the beginning. typical tho,folks these days want everything without working towards the goal. immediate gratification,but lacking a sense of accomplishment.
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