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David Blaine: Street Magic (1996)

TV Movie  -   -  Documentary
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 449 users  
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Title: David Blaine: Street Magic (TV Movie 1996)

David Blaine: Street Magic (TV Movie 1996) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Laughter and Amazement
21 October 2002 | by (Cleveland, Ohio) – See all my reviews

After magic went so high-tech following the Harry Blackstone era, it looked like there was nowhere left to go.

During the latter half of the 20th century we had the most entertaining Doug Hemmings, whose impish personality and showbiz savvy won over many fans.

This was followed with David Copperfield, who started small, then grew to a gargantuan size, levitating railroad cars and making elephants disappear. By the time he involved the Statue of Liberty as a foil, that seemed to signal the "end of the line" in terms of subject material.

How refreshing it is to come across David Blaine, walking through the streets, inviting pedestrians to participate in his fun tricks. "Ordinary" folks appear to be great sports and to fully appreciate Blaine's brand of illusionary style.

What this skillful magician has done is to "rescue" magic from its "runaway," over-produced image of late, and return it to the smaller-scale format. The camera crew here picks up the intricacies of Blaine's card tricks, as well as the astonished reactions of both participants and spectators.

Harry Houdini learned somewhat early on that it's not so much what you do, rather what you make others believe you do. "Dress it up" and make it interesting: display a degree of vulnerability, revelation, doubt, suspense, humor and style. Thus, it's not in the "steak" but in the "sizzle" that counts.

Blaine has accomplished this, picking up in some cases where Houdini followers left off (I don't recall any of these big-name illusionists performing the mind-bending self-levitation). What's more, Blaine walks around not in tux but T, along with jeans and sneakers. He looks like a smart "42nd Street slicker" performing his stunts, only without the "tin cup."

What great tricks they are! He seems to have honed his skills to perfection, and his "cool" style delivery only adds to the amazement of the audience. What appears to be a theatrical combination of advanced magic, metaphysical acumen, and Hindu meditative concentration, Blaine is a most refreshing new personality to the magic scene. This film nicely captures the sheer fun and amazement he brings to his appreciative audience through this age-old craft.


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