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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. » » Richard Bellars "Urban" DVD Review (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

jkdragoon
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Apologies as I'm slightly new to this forum, so I'm unsure about how the review structure works. I recently attended a lecture by Oz Pearlman at Davenports. Sure, the visual eye-candy and main lecture where all focussed on him (the lecture in itself deserves a review)... But I also met Richard Bellars, whom I've been reading a lot about on this site. I had the privilege of getting hold of "Urban", one of his latests DVDs... Got home... Popped it into my computer and watched almost the whole thing (focussing on the trick parts!!)...
So... This is my 1st attempt at reviewing DVDs. I have a fair number of DVDs from a host of different producers and magicians... I've read about good ones, bad ones... And plain !@$#$^ ones (But I'll try not to go into that). Right... Into "Urban" then... (Credits to FlippingWonderful for Review setup)



Name: Urban by Richard Bellar
Price: £19.99 + p&p
Publisher: Alakazam
Date: August 2006
Length: 1 Hour 29 Minutes (And 52 seconds if you wanna be picky!)
Difficulty: 3-5 (Out of Ten... 1 being easiest)
Rating: 8 out of 10


Contents:

Card Scaling
Learn to scale a card a long way with accuracy

Selective Amnesia
Make someone completely forget something that they have been painstakingly trying to remember but with just a snap of your fingers you can make them believe that the thought never even existed.

Small Change
A rapid fire impromptu coin routine.

Very Ambitious
A perfectly structured Ambitious card routine that has been honed to perfection through countless performances. Do not overlook this - it is not your standard Ambitious Card routine. In Very Ambitious, cards jump to the top, transpose and even restored in your spectator's very own hands after being ripped up. Guaranteed to replace your standard Ambitious Card routine.

Observation Test
Never know how to open when you hit a group of people? Look no further...The Observation Test is a quick, eye-popping, two-phased routine that climaxes with a deck vanish that will hit 'em so hard that they will be begging for the next trick.

Also includes the first trick Richard ever performed on the streets.

--------

Comments:

I didn't know what to expect from this DVD simply because it's a raw, non-Penguin Magic/non-Ellusionist type of DVD (which I'm most familiar with). Thus, I was pretty interested in Richard's teaching style and tricks.

As FlippingWonderful has already mentioned in his post, the DVD is in a two-part form; the first part is concerned with Richard's talented ability at...well... throwing cards. It doesn't get much simpler than that. The second part is a flurry of Richard's tricks. I will say it now... It's a compilation of OLD tricks (which he attempts to credit at the end) with some of his added flare and ideas.

The first thing that struck me was his use of "Jack"... and I'm not talking about the cards here... I'm talking about a real life, amateur card thrower like me (well sort of anyway...). Most DVDs I've seen use "card stunt men/women" that usually aren't seen (e.g. Greg Wilson's "Card Stunts). Richard has taken a kind of "Xtreme Beginners" approach (DVD by Devo) in that he sets a time frame in which to train Jack in the art of card throwing and aims to achieve it. Throughout this section, you see Jack's progress and his improvements. For me, this was a good thing as it allowed me (or will allow me... I haven't started trying it yet!!) to track my progress in relation to Jack's. In this way, it sets a benchmark for any potential amateurs till they become pros. So, in summary, the first part is just throwing card after card after card till you get the technique right. Richard teaches how to increase 'card throwing distance' and when he says distance... he MEANS distance. It's not all power... It's technique too. Which is why I think he should set a Guiness World Record if he has some time (reminescent of some rumour I heard about a guy being able to slice a watermelon with a METAL card). After seeing the actual move (which is difficult to describe), I have my own ideas about how to FURTHER increase distance... But I'll reserve them for now until I can actually integrate them. After seeing Richard throw... I have serious doubts that my tweaks will change anything in him being one of the best card throwers. Anyhow... Nice first part!

The second part was slightly disappointing... reason being that most of the tricks are basic. BUT, his coin routine, "Small Change", is something many should consider adding to their repertoire of coin magic. His handling of the tricks are flawless, from a laymen's point of view. His patter might JUST fool magicians... (But hey... We all know what patter is so if you are a magician and you are fooled... TOUGH!). I loved seeing his take on David Blaine's rendition of Torn & Restored at the end of his Ambitious routine ("...squeeze it like pink play-doh..." Smile Smile). However, I did cringe at the sight of seeing "Selective Amnesia" and will not disclose why (ahem...Sankey 22 Blows...ahem...). BUT I did e-mail Richard about this and he said that the credits will need changing. In my opinion, who cares (but the producers and magicians who's tricks he's used) as long as you learn the stuff, yeah?

This DVD is great fun to learn from... His intro on safety was slightly contradictory (But who doesn't like chucking cards at people when their annoying you!). The teaching is slow and easy to follow (Not exactly Brad Christian material but let's not go into that...). Though I had a few reservations on the crediting of tricks, I choose to IGNORE this part... And say "WELL DONE" to Richard for a great new DVD.

If you're a card thrower... Get this DVD. If you aren't and want to be one... Get this DVD. Even if you're not interested... GET THIS DVD ANYWAY!! I assure you... You'll find something unique about it!

---
JK
jkdragoon
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Apologies...

Just to add (After viewing it!!)... The BONUS section on this DVD was amazing!!
Even with just 3 clips, I was impressed with the stuff that was shown (even better than the Tricks Section in my opinion!).

"Slickflick-Pop Out" is a great little flourish that can be used within an ambitious card routine. After some thought about new ideas for it... "The Politician" by Brian Tudor came to mind (And yes, I know many people hate Tudor's teaching style but he remains one of my most respected CARD MANIPULATORS/magicians). Still, Richard's trick is both 'slick' and SIMPLE to do!

"Twisted & Spun Card"... Hmmmm... To Richard: I oddly remember you saying that you don't use GAFF cards? AHEM! Smile Well still... Combined with the slickflick and constant card spinnning... The final effect is a great stunner for lay audiences!! (There's no way to live... Pick up gaffs now!!)

"Trilogy Streamline"... It was late, and Richard was unable to show me this move live. After seeing the clip, I wished I HAD seen it live. This one, hands-down, baffles me completely... Until I researched it anyway... But it still baffles me as to how it's done!! Richard's performance, though slightly long in terms of patter (I don't know...it was kinda boring at the start!!), earned him a 'standing ovation' from the office workers. Nice work Richard!!

After seeing this... And since my post edit time was over...
I'm hereby changing my score of the DVD to 8.5 out of 10!!

Keep up the good work Richard!!

---
JK
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