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Top 5 Magic Movies – Reviewed

Magic movies reviewed

Magic movies reviewed

WARNING: Contains Mild Spoilers

The movies that we know, love, and remember throughout our lives, all take a special place in our hearts. In the movie industry, there are not as many magic movies as we would like and therefore we aren’t able to get the similar experience that we would feel from a magic show, but in movie format. However, with the magic movies that have been released in the previous years I have taken a look at them and put together my ‘Top 5 Magic Movies’ list, which I feel are the best out there.

Note that the average ratings that we use are based on the IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, and Roger Ebert, movie database websites.

#5 The Illusionist
Release Date – 18th of August, 2006
Average Rating – 79%

Some would rank this movie higher than I have, although my reasoning for placing it as 5th is down to how to the input of romance of the movie. While the movie itself is great and was adapted from the novel ‘Eisenheim the Illusionist’, the path of romance for this movie directed away from the magic.

#4 The Prestige
Release Date – 20th of October, 2006
Average Rating – 76%

The movie focuses on 2 19th-century magicians who are no longer together after a previous illusion went terribly wrong. This movie follows them as they battle it out to prove who the best magician among them is. While other magic movies focus on humour and the positive sides of magic, this movie focuses on it from a more dramatic and negative angle.

#3 The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Release Date – 15th of March, 2013
Average Rating – 57%

‘The Incredibly Burt Wonderstone’ brings a comedic value to the magic scene. The movie follows 2 retired magicians who are no longer friends, and brings them back together to reach the top of the magic industry once again. The comedic side of this movie is what makes it what it is, and without the comedic side of things the movie would not make my top 5.

#2 The Harry Potter Series
Release Date – 14th of November, 2001 -> 15th of July, 2011
Average Rating – 76%

While most people would disagree with me placing ‘The Harry Potter’ series as 2nd on my list, as most people would put this as their 1st, and while I love this series just as much as everyone else, I would still place it second to best. The only reason for me placing this series as 2nd is due to how ‘Now You See Me’ is simply an unbeatable movie. The Harry Potter Movie series takes the storyline directly from the book and has it performed exactly as we, the readers and viewers, would imagine.

#1 Now You See Me
Release Date – 31st of May, 2013
Average Rating – 57%

Regardless of the ratings, I believe that ‘Now You See Me’ is the best magic movie out there. Why? This movie takes not only magic, but action and crime, into a movie and gets the most out of them. Magic alone leaves its audience in shock, but this movie brings its fair share of comedic value and action. Think about a movie which has focused on a bank heist. A bank heist alone is a thrilling topic. Now think about a movie based on magic. Magic leaves its audiences on the edge of their seat. Combining both of these values would give you the movie, ‘Now You See Me’. While it has been criticized for its lack of suspense, the magical aspect of the bank heist brings true amazement to the viewers.

When we are watching movies, we tend to watch them while sitting on a seat. For this movie, you will only need the edge.

If you are looking for someone to offer magic or mind reading consultations on a movie or theatre production, please do not hesitate to contact Duncan on 07934 856 696 or email on magic@magicduncan.co.uk

 

Part 6: Astonishment, magic, meditation and controversy

Art of astonishment part 6

Art of astonishment part 6

To deliver magic which leads the participant down the path to the final goal of astonishment – the magician / performer /entertainer must truly believe in what he or she does and not trivialise it with crap patter, unfunny jokes or a plethora of card flourishes. The performer must be 100% confident and congruent with the magic itself.

Have you ever been standing a bus stop, totally immersed in one particular thought, one central point of focus? New people arrive but you do not see them. Sounds persist but you do not hear them.  Your mind has been so focussed on one thought that your sense channels shut down. At that moment they cease to function, and the mind has gone upwards beyond them . The mind has merged with the conscious state. You are left with a stillness of the mind (Except with that one thought you have been fixated on) – something likened to meditation. Fully conscious, fully aware but with magic where the prestige hits……there is not even that thought. You are left with that primal state of uncluttered purity of the mind. All competing thoughts, stress, worries, trials and tribulations dissolve into nothingness and the mind is still. Only when the external stimuli reawaken this moment of pure happiness do we come back to the ‘real world’ with a jolt and the conflicting views of the world come flooding back in as we seek to make meaning of what we have just seen.

Skilled meditators can live in this pure, undeniably state indefinitely. With magic, it is a short sharp shot.

I propose something controversial.

When you take a participant on a journey to the plateau of astonishment, when they reach that point of pure undeniable bewilderment, they will find a happiness, and peace so pure, so rich and un-adulterated, nothing else in the world matters.

Every person from every race, creed, religion and background leads their daily life wanting something. This may or not be something tangible but if you ask somebody what they want and really drill down to the very core of what they want – you will find peace.

“I want to be rich and wealthy”

And after that….

I want financial independence.

And after that….

A beautiful wide and healthy children

And after that….

Good friends, great family, feel safe and secure in my environment

And after you have that…..

Well….

I want to feel happy and content

And after that? (If you drill, and I mean really drill)

Peace.

No matter where the person starts or what they want, no matter how much they want it will all end in peace. We value peace above all else, but because it is not something that is tangible or bought or sold, it is not something that we think about – only when asked, (or quizzed and questioned for a book about bloody astonishment and magic) do we get to the crux of the matter.

So what exactly is this peace? Peace is when there are none of the aforementioned conflicting thoughts, ideas, or agitations. Peace is when the mind is still. To define the peace we also need to identify the movement.

When we were very young. Infants; and as mentioned the world was unfurling before our very eyes are intellectual mind was not engaged. We were merely sponges, absorbing the information from the world around us.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post as much as I enjoyed writing it – feel free to share it with your friends or tell your friends about it. If not, and you want to keep it for yourself, keep your eyes peeled for the next offering – part 7 I think we’re up to now 😉

Part 5. Astonishment, magic and Neuro Linguistic Programming

Art of astonishment part 5

Art of astonishment part 5

Alfred Korzybski whose best known dictum is “The map is not the territory”, that human beings are limited in what they know by (1) the structure of their nervous systems, and (2) the structure of their languages. Human beings cannot experience the world directly, but only through their “abstractions” (nonverbal impressions or “gleanings” derived from the nervous system, and verbal indicators expressed and derived from language). Sometimes our perceptions and our languages actually mislead us as to the “facts” with which we must deal. It is these perceptions which couax the more verbal audience members to speak out with their view of how a trick or effect is done.

Essentially if someone sees a piece of magically performance and immediately starts to dissect the mecahnics and workings of the trick then this they are not seeing, or experiencing real magic. It is a leap of faith for them, to suddenly start believing in magic from this ‘unknown’ magician when the very concept of magic had been banished from their minds along with the tooth fairy, father Christmas and leprecahuns long before they started secondary school. As a result from the moment we start our performance, we should make every effort to shape our performance into a piece of theatre which, if correctly structured, with congruence, authenticity and an air of mystery then hopefully they will buy into this frame, leave their beliefs and misconceptions and the door and enter into a world, where their moment of astonishment may run and run…..

If they react to this correctly ‘dressed’ piece of theatre or magic then the end result should finish with a gaps of amazement, a nervous giggle (the kind that you used to do when queuing up to have your first jab at school from the school nurse) or be left with a moment of absolutely stillness in senses. This piece of theatre, piece of magic, then transcends their pre-conceived idea of a magic trick and enter into a completely different world before the emotion of astonishment starts to crumble, the questions about its impossibility, then possibility and then dissection return as their mind starts in inevitable whirring again.

For me any piece of magic, mentalism or effect should result in a degree of astonishment. My professional set is configured to achieving that. That is why very few new effects ever enter in. Often the proverbial magic trick ‘wheel’ is reinvented time and time again with merely just another spin placed on it. This is not always the case I may add,; occasionally there is something truly unique come to the shelves and webpages of magic dealers but – truly unique pieces of magic or mentalism to create astonishment, for me are few and far between. You may disagree. How many effects have you bought that have not impressed you? Admittedly we look at them with eyes of scrutiny – have they impressed us – no – therefore why would they amaze the audience. This sadly is the case time and time again where we do not even take the time to try it out for overly convoluted mechanics. For some it is this overly convoluted card flourishes which find themselves into performance pieces and add nothing to the final impact of the illusion – and to some degree, detract from it, as the performer becomes ‘a show off’ or ‘a sleight of hand artist’. Now this in itself , is not a bad thing – far from it. I know extremely skilled cardicians who are superb ‘finger flickers’ – but does this add to that final encore of astonishment…….? (I’ll leave that as a rhetorical question). Next blog post – part 6 will look at the more spiritual thinking behind astonishment and how it can be likened to meditation…..