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Welcome To The Firm by The Underground Collective & Big Blind Media - DVD
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A DVD from Jamie Badman and Colin Miller - the people who brought you the smash hit Heirloom, (plus Panagram, Sensory Perception and The Underground Collection Books 1&2)
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Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on April 2nd, 2010
(This review is for Welcome To The Firm by The Underground Collective & Big Blind Media - DVD)
Everyone knows that if I were a woman I would want to be the father of Owen Packard's pet fish. OK I know that makes no sense, but that's what happens to me when I think of Owen too much. All creepy-awkwardness aside, I'm a fan of Mr. Packard and BBM which is why it bums me out to say that this DVD is not on my high recommendation list.
I've always liked the funny side-lines and stories that BBM throws in when they produce a magic video, and you cannot deny that they've got some of the best DVDs on the market when it comes to production value. This one, in particular, during the opening sequence felt like a Hollywood production until we meet the actors . . . super bad acting as one of the magi featured on the video is looking in the trunk of the car at his victim.
Then we have the premise of "We're the mafia, and you've betrayed us, so you have to watch us do card tricks." Sure that's funny, and I get the joke that often for audiences of poorly practiced performers, it feels like punishment to participate in pasteboard prestidigitation (I think I've met my monthly quota on alliteration). However, I don't think they pulled it off in this episode.
Putting all that aside, I could feel good about recommending this DVD if the effects were better. I'll be talking about whether or not each effect "speaks to me." I base my level of spoken-to-ness on two criteria. 1) How good of an effect I perceive the trick to be, and 2) How versatile the method is. If I find virtue in either method or effect then the trick will have "spoken to me" on some level.
Underground Poker - Simply stated, this is a long-winded Poker Routine that simply didn't speak to me. Like most effects on this DVD, it requires a pretty hefty set up, and the effect is rather dry. There are a few nice moments, but nothing really revolutionary here. There are plenty of poker effects out there that require a lot less of a set up. However, if you're doing a longer set piece that's centered on gambling, you may find value here.
Misdirection Monte - This is a four card monte with a pretty solid kicker. This one spoke to me slightly on both effect and method. You'll learn a nice little switch here that has a lot of value.
Lisp Aces - Is a butchering, in my opinion, of Henry Christ Aces. I was not spoken to on this one. It felt as though the trick was longer and more drawn out and less entertaining than the original.
Ace Assins - Not bad. It's a little movey and a bit contrived, but does have a couple of "wow" moments. A small bit of speakage.
Hollywood or Bust - Now, this one spoke volumes to me. The effect and method both have virtually unlimited application. This is a very clever principle that Collin Miller stumbled upon. Even the story of how he discovered it is entertaining. It's a temptation to recommend this DVD strictly based on this idea alone.
Katch The Kopper - A triumph routine with a little bit of speakage. There is a clever sort of move that is used for this effect that I really like. In the Explanation, Jamie Badman said that this move is pretty much only useful for a triumph like effect. I think he's right, but it would be fun to try other applications.
Smash and Grab - There wasn't much of a presentation. It wasn't entirely logical. You learn a couple of moves, but the whole thing just seemed a bit contrived as though they had an idea for a decent move and they threw together a routine to try and demo the moves. However, the control is pretty darn clever and spoke to me on some levels.
The Enforcers - A collectors routine . . . do we really need another one? Silence . . .
Underground Poker - Not Recommended
Misdirection Monte - Worth Consideration
Lisp Aces - Not Recommended
Ace Assins - Worth Consideration
Hollywood or Bust - Best Idea on the DVD and one of the best ideas I've seen in a while
Katch The Kopper - Worth Consideration
Smash and Grab - Might slightly be worth consideration
The Enforcers - Not recommended
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