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Magic on TV, in Movies and in the News

Now appearing. The latest magic that on television, in the movies and in the news.

The Top Magicians of 2013
Who are the top ten magicians of 2013? Here's my list of the top ten magicians who made an impact in 2013.

2013 - The Year in Magic

Now You See Me: Cool Characters - Flawed Film
Now You See Me" is a magic-themed movie that is a stylish thriller/mystery with an intriguing premise and all star cast. I liked it and enjoyed the charismatic - even cool - magician characters.

Interview with Joe Tyler Gold and Tammy Caplan of "Desperate Acts of Magic"
Joe Tyler Gold (the film’s writer, director and co-producer) and Tammy Caplan (co-producer) recently took time out to speak with Magic.About.com about their film, "Desperate Acts of Magic."

Review of Desperate Acts of Magic
“Desperate Acts of Magic” is a romantic comedy that’s set in the world of magic conventions. It’s a quirky independent film with mixed results.

Commentary: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
"The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" which stars Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Jim Carrey, and Olivia Wilde, offers a parody of the Las Vegas magic scene. Is it good for magic? Will it change or reinforce negative assumptions and stereotypes of magicians? Read on to find out.

Opinion: What Makes Great TV Magic?
Prompted by the recent "Masters of Illusion" series, here's what I want to see on a magic television show.

Review: Criss Angel Mindfreak Season Four
It's hard to imagine that there's anything left for Criss Angel to do in his weekly half-hour series, Mindfreak. His fourth season of Mindfreak is quite entertaining.

Readers Respond: What Makes Great TV Magic?
Readers respond to my article on what I think makes great magic for television.

Movie Review of "Is Anybody There?"
With Sir Michael Caine in the cast, "Is Anybody There" has definite star power and it's a good film with first rate performances. Caine stars as a bitter and aging retired magician who is stuck in a retirement home. His counterpoint, Bill Milner, stars as the young son of a couple that manages the home who is intrigued by the deaths that he has witnessed there.

Review: The Great Buck Howard
John Malkovich offers an atypical and engaging performance as magician Buck Howard, actually a mentalist, who has seen better times and is grasping for a long-needed comeback.

Documentary: Women in Boxes
As the magician accepts his round of applause, in many cases, there's a magic assistant who has quietly slipped off stage or remains hidden from the audience's view. "Women in Boxes," a new documentary, unveils this untold story of the assistant who is cut into pieces, levitated, impaled, set on fire and more. It's a mesmerizing and entertaining film with interesting revelations for magic fans.

"Presto" - True Pixar Magic
"Presto," an animated short which released with "WALL-E" and depicts a stereotypical magician and his rabbit, is not only an entertaining film, it offers a lesson to magicians.

Review: Nintendo's "Master of Illusion"
We're not talking about some kind of trading card for kids or the newest role play game. By combining electronic interaction with magic, Nintendo, with the help of Tenyo, unveils "Master of Illusion." With the title, gamers can perform intriguing magic-style tricks with their Nintendo DS handhelds.

NBC's "The Phenomenon" - Final Thoughts
"Phenomenon" pitted contestants against each other "American Idol" style and had judges: Criss Angel and Uri Geller. Television audiences voted via phone or the web - losers were eliminated and the winner, Mike Super, took home $250,000. Was the show good for magic and mentalism? Who came out ahead? Does "American Idol" work for magic? Also, check out our readers' comments.

Presidential Dollar Coins - Where's the Magic?
The United States Mint released the new Presidential Dollar Coin on February 15, 2007. I just got my hands on the new coin that depicts George Washington on the obverse and the Statue of Liberty on the reverse. Will we be seeing new magic with these coins? My take is “no.”

Film Review: The Prestige
Take some of Hollywood’s hottest actors and set them in a compelling plot of intrigue and competition in the world of magic, and you have “The Prestige." While the film's main characters are magicians, there's actually little magic in the film. It's all about the characters, which is a good thing, and their competitive natures and obsessions.

Movie Review: The Illusionist
Is magic real or fake? This question lies at the heart of the historical melodrama, "The Illusionist." While the film is generally entertaining and offers fun twists and turns, it falls a bit flat. And most of the period magic depicted here is impossible, courtesy of modern-day digital effects and video editing, which is a disappointment.

High Tech Magic: Turtle Talk
I've often thought about how technology affects magic and, vice versa, how magic influences technology, but I've just witnessed an amazing illusion in "Turtle Talk with Crush." This interactive activity is offered at Disney's California Adventure theme park in Anaheim, California and it's a fantastic magic trick that combines puppetry, acting and technology.

Criss Angel - Mindfreak - Season One
If you’re a Criss Angel fan, you’ll enjoy watching the entire first season of his Mindfreak shows on DVD. You can once again grimace at those insane feats and marvel at the amazing magic, and the two-DVD set offers some entertaining, but limited, extras.

DVD Review: Criss Angel - Mindfreak - The Complete Season Two
For Criss Angel fans, "Mindfreak - The Complete Season Two" offers all 21 episodes of the illusionist’s second season on television. It’s an entertaining collection of episodes that is filled with magical innovations, puzzling television magic and intriguing and varied themes. And there are limited “extras” tossed-in for good measure.

Review: Disney Live! presents Mickey's Magic Show
Just watching Disney's theme park parades and productions and best movies can often seem like pure magic. And the idea of combining Disney themes with illusion seems like a natural. While "Disney Live! presents Mickey's Magic Show," a touring show, is a very professional production, somehow, the combination of Disney and illusion falls somewhat short of its synergistic potential.

TV Review-Keith Barry: Extraordinary
“This is Extraordinary!” So promised Keith Barry’s magic special on CBS. The show, which showcased mentalism, was most noteworthy for its many Hollywood stars. While the show presented lots of effects that probably left viewers wondering how they were accomplished, the show played somewhat flat.

TV Review-Penn & Teller: Off the Deep End
Eight years have gone by since their last special and it’s great to have the bad boys of magic back on network television. “Off the Deep End” was classic Penn & Teller with a water theme. Throughout, the pair fooled the audience with illusions and then showed how they did them. There were also some edgy takes on classic tricks that weren’t exposed and hilarious setups where audience members were turned into suckers.

Q&A: Director Leslie Danoff and “Saturday at Reubens”
With an impressive career in public television and network news that includes two Emmys, Leslie Danoff independently produced “Saturday at Reuben’s,” a film that portrays a community of real-life magicians who regularly gather in the backroom of a New York City delicatessen. She took time out to talk with Magic & Illusion. And if you’ve seen the film, you’ll find her insight fascinating.

Film Review: “Saturday at Reubens”
“Saturday at Reuben’s” is a wonderful and refreshing documentary by filmmaker Leslie Danoff that lovingly portrays the true magic behind our art, and shows how it binds us all together.

2006: The Year in Magic
We take a look at the year 2006 in magic starting with Lance Burton’s appearance in the New Year’s Rose Parade to Penn Gillette’s debut as a game show host in early December.

The Five Most Significant Magic Events of 2006
New Years is always time to look back as well as forward. After reviewing the events of the year, we identify the five most significant events in magic in 2006. Here they are, in order.

The Best and Worst of 2005
The New Year is always a time of lists and it’s no different here at magic.about.com. In addition to setting magic resolutions, it’s always fun to look back. Here’s some of the best and worst in the world of magic from 2005.

Now You See Me: Cool Characters - Flawed Film
"Now You See Me" is a "Mission Impossible" style action thriller that is based on the world of magic. I liked the cool magicians characters - a refreshing change from the usual geeks - but the movie tended towards too much action at the end at the expense of the magic intrigue.

Interview with Joe Tyler Gold and Tammy Caplan of "Desperate Acts of Magic"
Joe Tyler Gold and Tammy Caplan, co-producers of "Desperate Acts of Magic," recently took time out to talk with Magic.About.com about making a movie about magic. What was their inspiration? What were the challenges of filming magic and featuring it in an independent, low-budget film? Read my interview to find out.

Review of "Desperate Acts of Magic"
"Desperate Acts of Magic" is a romantic comedy that's set in the world of magicians and magic conventions. It's not a great movie, but it's an honest effort to showcase magic in a movie.

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