Saturday, March 29, 2008

It's A Kind Of Magic

I believe people can be put into two groups, you are either a fan of magic or you are indifferent to magic. Before this past Friday, I was definately in the former category. But on Friday night, I went to see David Copperfield. And somehow, I am still in that same category.

Don't get me wrong, I am fascinated with famed magician Harry Houdini but that is more about the strange details of his death that fascinated me more than anything. The rumoured death from punch actually appears to be true.

Anyway, the Copperfield show started with a large screen indicating all of the accolades Mr. Copperfield has won from being knighted in France to being named the top magician of the 20th Century (not sure who would have finished second, Doug Henning?)

Copperfield then showed a collection of clips from TVs and movies that reference himself. The funniest were clips from Conan O'Brien which were a parody of Copperfield complete with the hair and the intense state into the camera.

it was too bad he didn't include Copperfield's brief appearance during a cold open from an episode of Scrubs which I thought was pretty funny.

Copperfield is probably best known for his made-for-tv specials where he "made" the statue of liberty. I don't know, since it was on TV, I didn't find it all that dramatic.

There is also the time he "walked through" the wall of China. If you didn't see it, you are probably thinking about how he could have possibly done it. Well, there was a lot more to it, take a look.

A show called Trickbusters theorized on how this was possibly done. The show is pretty cheap but they do a credible job of explaining it, take a look.

I guess I should talk about the Copperfield show itself. It certainly was entertaining. He does a good job of being slick while not appearing too slick. The part that always gets me in magic shows is the use of the audience. I figure they are either hired for the show...or simply play along just for the thrill of being in the show. Even though, they really know what happened.

For instance, the show's finale involved Copperfield throwing out 13 giant beach balls into the audience. Who ever was holding it after the music stopped was to come on stage. 9 of these 13 people were then put into a box in the middle of the stage. A curtain surrounded the box and then "poof", they were gone. They then showed up at the back of the room. Obviously they were taken under the stage and around to the front. So they really know what happened. Why aren't they talking about it? Why arent they being interviewed? Why isn't there blogs written by these people?

I have to admit, as I was watching Copperfield speak to the female members of the audience, I thought back about this document I saw on the website TMZ. It detailed how his staff were to handle female audience members that Copperfield felt would be good for "future projects". Take a look, it is kind of creepy.

All in all, I was glad to have seen the show. It was something I could say I have done. I mean, he is the Michael Jordan of magic...but still. It isn't really magic. They are tricks designed to fool the audience using lights, angles and his team of assistants.

Top 5 Songs with the word Magic in the title
1. Magic Carpet Ride (Steppenwolf)
2. Magic Man (Heart)
3. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic (The Police)
4. Do You Believe In Magic (The Lovin' Spoonful)
5. That Old Black Magic (Louis Prime & Keely Smith version)

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

They call the wind...Mariah

I can't believe I am writing about was all I could come up with. I hadn't written in a while. Janet Jackson was scheduled as the musical guest for this week's Saturday Night Live. Theoretically, her first live appearance on television since the imfamous Nipple-gate at the Superbowl in 2004.

Well, Ms. Jackson has the flue and will not appear on Saturday Night Live. Her replacement, Mariah Carey. To me, this is like trying for Bryan Ferry and getting David Bowie instead. Not that I am a Carey music fan...but to me, Jackson's career has been in a downward slump since that Superbowl whereas Carey's career has actually been on an upswing.

In 2001, Carey almost killed her career by starring in a film called Glitter. A movie so bad that it routinely still ranks among critics' worst ever films. She won a Razzie award as worst female actress that year. On top of that, her record sales were slipping and there were whispers of her having voice problems.

In 2005, her comeback album The Emancipation of Mimi was released and it was a monster. It debuted at #1, was the highest selling album of the year, it went 6 times platinum, it had two #1 hits and ended up winning 10 grammy nominations. Needless to say, it was the biggest release of her career.

Not that she hasn't had a lot of success in her career. You would not believe some of the numbers I researched on wikipedia. She has had 17 #1 hits which ties her with ELVIS PRESLEY for most #1 hits by a solo artist. On top of that, Carey's singles have combined to top the charts for a total of 77 weeks. This is second only to Elvis' 79 weeks and ahead of the Beatles who were at 59 weeks.

Wow, I am really not that much of a fan. I have one song of hers on my IPOD and that's it.

Top 5 Mariah Carey songs.
1. Shake It Off

2. Without You

3. Bringin' On The Heartbreak

4. Vision Of Love

5. We Belong Together (only because the video makes me laugh & not in a good way)


Monday, March 03, 2008

Nothing perfect about this Perfect Stranger

Did you ever see a movie so bad that it actually made you hate movies for the next month? I have a feeling that is what I will be suffering after spending Sunday night watching the film Perfect Stranger with Bruce Willis and Halle Berry.

When I say Sunday night...I actually mean Sunday afternoon and Sunday night. Not that it is a long movie...I just needed a break after about half an hour because the film was just so horrible.

Before I get into the film...let's talk about Halle Berry. Is there an actress with worse movie choices than her? Is there a more overrated actress on the planet than her?

Looking at her filmography...she has done so many bad films that I had actually forgotten some. She was in The Flintstones! We all know about the disaster Catwoman was. A film that tanked so badly that the plans for a spin off of her character "Jinx Johnson" from the James Bond film Die Another Day were nixed.

Top 5 Worst Halle Berry Films
1. Perfect Stranger
2. The Flintstones
3. The Rich Man's Wife
4. Gothika
5. Swordfish

Getting back to Perfect Stranger...I knew going in this was going to be a bad film. The trailer for the film is so confusing, you really don't know what the film is about. And after seeing the movie, I realize this is the most manipulative trailer I have ever seen. There are parts edited to make it look like it is part of one scene which aren't even close to being true.

The first problem with the film is the first 20 minutes. Berry plays an investigative journalist and the writer of the film clearly has no concept of how journalism works. I never understand this, films that get the art of journalism wrong. Do the writers/producers/directs not understand that these films are seen and written about BY film critics who also happen to be known as JOURNALISTS! If you want a guarantee that your film is going to be trashed by the critics...get journalism wrong...films critics will lambaste you.

The biggest problem with the film is the last 20 minutes. Basically one of 5 people could be the killer. And the choice of the killer is so arbitrary it is like the name was picked out of a hat. There is then a 10 minute long voiceover by one of the characters explaining how this person was the killer. The obvious reason for this voiceover is to explain why that person was the killer because no intelligent thinking audience member would believe it.

And the final scene...the height of ridiculousness...the killer has to kill the only other person who knows the truth. And after that person is killed, the final shot is of a heretofore unseen neighbour who has obviously witnessed the whole thing. Like they are setting up a sequel or something.

The problem is that I have reviewed this film like it's a "so bad it's good" type of thing. really IS that bad. Don't worry, I have taken steps as your faithful narrator to contact the Academy and demand they rescind Berry's Academy Award that she received for Monsters Ball. It is a little service I am happy to offer.