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DVD Review: 24 Years of Living Next Door to Ellis

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DVD Review: 24 Years of Living Next Door to Ellis
Tim Ellis and Sue-Anne Webster offer a brilliant, hilarious and entertaining DVD that’s filled with first rate, commercial effects. The premise here is that a nosy neighbor, played by Webster, is constantly spying on Ellis in his home and figuring out and explaining his tricks. It’s loads of zany fun and Ellis and Webster often make the explanations as entertaining as the tricks. And beyond tricks, there’s useful advice on working venues and more.

The Kruger Kard Trick is a card stab that uses a Freddy Kruger-style razor-tipped hand. Ellis offers an entertaining presentation where he channels the evil Kruger of the movies. As in any card stab, this one leaves a mess. It’s not difficult to perform-it’s all about character, which Ellis flawlessly executes.

Hi Tek Deck is a card trick where the deck becomes a virtual computer. The magician shows a “computer” card that controls the deck and ultimately causes all of the cards to turn into a spectator's selection. This one, which relies on a gimmicked deck, is easy.

The Magic Matrix

As the name implies, in Coins Across, a series of coins travel, one at a time, from one hand to the other. At the end of the routine, Ellis performs a first rate vanish. The hilarious and entertaining explanation is right out of the “Matrix” movies and is downright brilliant. On the downside, the gag causes the explanation to suffer a bit. The trick is adequately explained, but there are nuances and details that are missing and could have been useful to viewers.

Divide & Conquer is a mind-reading trick that relies on a good visual code that can be subtly communicated by a confederate audience member. 7D is a fun card revelation with lots of built-in humor. It’s similar to the “Insurance Policy.” The Barehand Coin Vanish is an easy and mystifying coin vanish that relies on simple sleight of hand and a bit of preparation. At the end, the hands are completely empty.

Spiral Bound demonstrates how to make a gimmicked notepad for mathematical predictions. No routine here, just the workings on the gimmick. In The Big Deal, a spectator cuts a deck and deals a blackjack. Another easy card trick.

The Magic Business

Rubberband Restoration offers a solid, visual effect. Here, a rubberband is broken and tied back together, and then the knot is popped off, effectively restoring the band. Rounding out the effects is a performance-only segment that shows Ellis & Webster’s Coca Cola themed routine that concludes with the Healed and Restored Soda Can.

Two segments discuss business. Tricky Trick offers a slick and intriguing method to obtain an agent's attention and eventually work for that agent. The useful Floorshow Magic video talks about show setup, sound systems, microphones and more. There are some valuable tips here from a couple of pros who are often on the road.

Ellis and Webster present a new music video based on their entertaining “6 Card Rap.” This time, it’s a “Music Video Dance Mix” that takes in lots of scenic Australian locations. However, the new video is not as good as the original found on the Ellis in Wonderland DVD. Another entertaining segment offers footage, mostly shot by Ellis, that follow the pair as they travel the world on a lecture tour.

24 Years of Living Next Door to Ellis is another outstanding DVD from Tim Ellis and Sue-Anne Webster. The effects are entertaining as well as commercial, and straightforward to perform. If you’re looking for impressive knuckle busters, don’t look here. But if you want entertaining tricks that come from the repertoire of some successful pros, there’s lots to like on this DVD.

-Wayne N. Kawamoto

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