Magic Products Review

STRIKE6 by Matthew J.

Written by JOHN TEO

This is a re-release of 6 of the 14 effects previously put up by the same company in a 2-DVD set.  The 6 tricks are now all contained in one 55 minutes DVD.

They are all practically self-working card tricks, but are claimed to be suitable for both beginners and the professional magicians.  To show how laymen react to these tricks, the performance sections take us down to the various streets of London where Matthew Dowden performs before real people.

Although the tricks do not require difficult sleight-of-hand, they do get tremendous reactions from laymen.  Much of the credit must go to the performer himself.  Matthew Dowden is a rather charming performer: he is good looking, has a bubbly character, and is quite entertaining.  This shows that entertainment is a very important factor in a magical performance – the “end” is often more important than the “means”. 

If you are a beginner in magic, you may want to know how the tricks work.  If you are a seasoned performer you will recognized all the tricks.  However, it is interesting to see how Matthew structures and presents each of them to lay people.  He performs all the tricks in the street, with spectators cupping their 2 hands to act as tables for the cards.

The 6 tricks featured in the DVD are:

Compatibility Test – this is a “do-as-I-do” trick with 2 decks presented as a compatibility test between 2 people.

Listen Ear – a simple but effective card discovery.

Poker Puzzle – a chosen card leads to a winning poker hand.

Match.Com – a simple pairing trick is presented as a matchmaking device.

Sole Survivor – a card to impossible location with the chosen card vanishing from the deck to reappear inside the performer’s shoe.

Ultimate Phone Prediction – similar trick to “Listen Ear”, but with an “unknown” person at the other end of a mobile revealing the location of the chosen card.

These are simple tricks that when presented properly, get tremendous results.  (4/5 stars rating)  

LAWS OF ATTRACTION by Shoot Ogawa

Written by John Teo

Impromptu magic is often considered the best type of magic to perform for laymen.  It can be performed anytime, anywhere, and with borrowed objects – exactly what a real magician can do.

“Laws Of Attraction” is a technique that allows you to “magnetise” various objects.  Shoot Ogawa teaches you how to magnetise items found in a restaurant table setting, such as silverware, salt shakers, metal objects and even plastic and paper.

Everything is taught in this one hour DVD.

Shoot Ogawa first wows you with his performance.  He magnetises two coins, then silverware such as spoons, forks and knives, and even the salt shaker.  You will swear he uses some kind of magnets hidden in his hands.  His actions are truly realistic.  You get to see how one object is pulled by the magnetic force of the other object, and how some effort is needed to pull them apart afterwards. 

The thinking behind each trick is important in impromptu magic.  Here, Shoot goes into the psychology of magnetizing objects.  He talks about the weight of the objects (light versus heavier objects) and the sound that the objects should make.  He explains why psychologically it is better to magnetise silverware and metal objects rather than non-metallic items.  However, he also shows how to magnetise paper (bills), plastic forks, deck of playing cards, wallets and credit cards.  He discusses the importance of acting and imagination. 

Shoot teaches three basic techniques, and with these and some variations of them, you can magnetise almost any type of objects.  Yet, you should heed his advice and not be too eager to go around magnetizing all sorts of non-magnetic objects.

The linking rubber bands effect entitled “Crazy Man’s Handcuffs” has already become a classic in impromptu magic.  Shoot Ogawa’s “Laws Of Attraction” is sure to become one in the very near future.  You should start performing it before it is accepted worldwide as the latest classic in impromptu magic!  (5/5 stars rating)

Freefall by Andrew Mayne - DVD

Written by John Teo

This is such a brilliant idea.  You pick up a large paper shopping bag, casually holding it with both hands grabbing onto the sides of the paper bag, not on its bottom – you turn it upside down and only a feather falls out from inside it.  it is quite clear by the way you handle the paper bag that there is nothing inside it.  You can twirl it easily around, 360º between your two hands, yet, whenever you want it, a full-sized bowling ball will fall out of it with a loud thud onto the floor!  This is such an unexpected and impossible production that it makes for a great show opener or closer.  The best part of it is that it is easy to prepare and to perform; and it costs you next to nothing (except for the cost of the bowling ball, which can be obtained second-hand) to put together.

The creative mind of Andrew Mayne goes further, and he shows you how you can produce a fish-bowl (instead of the bowling ball), complete with real fish.

For more intimate performance, Andrew explains how you can produce a heavy piece of brick from an empty paper lunch bag.  Instead of the brick, how about producing a full cup of hot coffee so freshly brewed that you can smell its aroma!

Everything is taught in the instructional DVD.  “Freefall” is such a wonderful idea that allows you to do big scale illusions using ordinary objects for next-to-nothing cost!  You may even come up with some new illusions yourself!  (5/5 stars rating)

Mindfreaks Vol. 7 by Criss Angel

Written by Bernard Sim

Like volume 6, this DVD contains 13 effects with 2 bonus effects from other volumes. This volume is also geared towards a beginner. The effects in this volume are easy to do and some of them are actually quite impressive. You will need to make some simple gimmicks yourself. These gimmicks are easy to make and you will be able to find the materials for the gimmick in your house.

There are some effects which will require more practice (I’m talking in terms of a beginner), such as the “Bottle cap Matrix” which is essentially Chink-a-Chink with coins. Using bottles caps will tend to make the presentation easier. The other effect which will need more practice is “26¢”. This is the transposition of 2 coins in the performer’s hands. There are some simple sleights involved but with some practice, you will be able to do it.

This review is being written with the beginner in mind. Seasoned magicians would know how the effects are done. This volume is highly recommended for beginners. Rating 4/5

Mindfreaks Vol. 6 by Criss Angel – DVD

Written by Bernard Sim

13 effects and 2 bonus effects from another volume are taught in this DVD. I find some of the routines interesting and some of them I wonder why it was even put in the DVD.

One of the effects which I was disappointed with was Cause N Effect. In this effect, a piece of paper is folded and left standing upright on a table, Chris Angel demonstrated static electricity by rubbing his hand on his cheeks, he then move the hand towards the paper causing it to fall. I don’t think a spectator will be convinced that it was static that cause the paper to fall since the hands were moving very fast towards the paper.

Having said that, there are some routines which I think are good. One of them is Melting Coin: A coin is able to penetrate an inflated balloon. You’ll need to prepare the balloon but the effect looks visual and easy to do too. Another one is taught by Jonny Thomson “JT’s Dream”. The performer is able to predict 2 cards that were selected by a spectator. This effect is impromptu and very easy to do.

Most of the effects are found in beginner’s book, for example, Professor’s Nightmare which was named as “Christopher’s Nightmare”. There is nothing new in this DVD and the effects are suitable for beginners. There is also no knuckle busting moves in this DVD; even a total beginner would be able to learn the routines in this DVD.

Rating 4/5 for a beginner. Recommended for a beginner which will be able to perform these routines within a short period of practice.

Mindfreaks Vol. 8 by Criss Angel

Written by Bernard Sim

Volume 8 – the last volume of the current series. Another volume geared towards beginners. Included in this volume are 13 effects and 2 bonus effects from other volumes. There is a mixed range of effects in this volume. These ranges from book test, cards to everyday objects like pen, match box and coins.

You will need to make some gimmicks from household items to perform some of the effect. These gimmicks can also be bought from a magic shop but I think most people would make it themselves since they are not difficult to make.

I like most of the effects in this DVD; it reminds me of the forgotten effects I have learnt when I first started out. If you won Volume 6, 7, 8, you will have many effects in your arsenal. This is highly recommended for beginners. Rating 4/5.