Kultur // 2005 // 96 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Eric Profancik (Retired) // December 3rd, 2005
"This here, folks, is my crowning stunt!"
"Is that not a dramatic stunt?"
Actually, no, it's crap; nothing more than a cheap and lame parlor trick.
I've heard of the Amazing Kreskin, as I believe most of you have. For some reason, I associate him with his many appearances on Merv Griffin more than with his time with Johnny Carson, David Letterman, or Regis Philbin. In all the times I've seen his quick bits on talk shows, I was never particularly impressed with his "abilities." This taped "performance" at the Friar's Club in New York further reduced that impression. It was the most tedious, dull, and sad performance of magic to which I've ever been a witness.
I love magic. Outside of that extreme Goth magician and David Blaine, I think I've seen every TV magic special in the past twenty years, including the magician on Fox who revealed all the secrets. I've even shelled out good money to see David Copperfield in person. By leaps and bounds, what I saw Kreskin perform on this DVD was the worst display of prestidigitation in my life. The man lacked any semblance of personality, charm, wit, or skill. I did not even believe I was watching a magic show -- it all felt more like an infomercial. "Buy my DVD and learn how to impress your friends!"
Several times now I've used the word "magic." For the record, Kreskin does not consider himself a "magician," or call what he does "magic." He calls himself a "mentalist," using the power of suggestion to influence his audience. Whatever. Let's just say it's easier to type "magic" than all that other stuff.
This DVD appears to be a special show constructed by Kreskin as an extension of his book "How to Be (a fake) Kreskin." He starts off with his best John Edwards bit, where he tosses out random words and sees if anyone in the audience will bite. If they do, he'll read their mind. After a few minutes, he moves on to hypnosis -- but he says it's not hypnosis, just the power of suggestion. Then he does a few extremely unimpressive magic and card tricks.
And then we segue into the point of the DVD: how to pretend to do what Kreskin does. Kreskin performs a trick, does it again, and then shows you the secret. I could see every answer a mile away, and I tend to think everyone else will too. The best phrase to describe this all is "a cheap parlor trick." Not that he's trying to rip you off (unless you buy this DVD); but because, whatever finesse and polish he may have had, he has lost it and should no longer be trying to wow an audience. The bits are old, we've seen them before, and his stage presence is nothing better than a corner hustler's -- though I think the hustler might even be more believable.
Kreskin is highly impressed with what he does, but you will not be. You will learn nothing from this disc, and you even might become turned off to magic.
Adding further insult to injury is the amateurish production level. Was there any pre-production work done? I'd have to say no, because people were in the wrong spots, cameras always captured the wrong angles, and a microphone was never around when you needed it. And where did this audience come from? They certainly don't look like the type to frequent the Friar's Club, being an odd mixture of Kreskin "plants," easily impressed people, and a few bored folks.
This bare-bones DVD has a full frame transfer that is far less insulting than the material it showcases. Colors are accurate (if not bold), blacks are at respectable levels, clarity and sharpness are acceptable, and I detected no errors. Audio is a simple Dolby Digital 2.0 mix that allows you to hear everything (that is miked) without hiss or distortion.
If you like Penn and Teller, then you will hate Kreskin. He may purport to be showing you some of the secrets of the trade, but he isn't. Nobody does this lame stuff anymore. If you have any love of the fine art of magic, do not come anywhere near this DVD. It is an absolute waste of time and money.
Review content copyright © 2005 Eric Profancik; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* IMDb: The Amazing Kreskin
* Official Site