DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
Ultra HD
International DVDs
Theatrical
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Sponsored Links

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Criss Angel Mindfreak: The Complete Season Four
Criss Angel Mindfreak: The Complete Season Four
A&E Video // Unrated // January 20, 2009
List Price: $34.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Kauffman | posted March 20, 2009 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
The Movie:
If you've ever been curious what Harry Houdini might be like had he been reincarnated as a goth headbanger circa the early 21st century, the evidence is on clear display in Criss Angel Mindfreak, a consistently interesting if occasionally disturbing study in illusions and the edit being quicker than the eye. While the grungy Greek-American with the broad Long Island accent may not be your father's suave and elegant magician, Angel mixes the up close and in your face style of a David Blane with the showstopping set pieces of a David Copperfield to often stupendous effect. This fourth season includes some great moments that will have you scratching your head at least in "how'd he do that?" questioning if not in awestruck wonder.



Angel has been a fixture in the Las Vegas show community for several years, and the A&E series utilizes that locale for quite a bit of the show's setting. Relatively intimate sequences have Angel sitting with a few people in the Luxor's lounge (while hundreds mill behind, frequently shouting hurrahs) doing tricks like pushing a lit cigarette through a glass table top. Around Las Vegas and environs there are a variety of larger stunt set pieces, like Angel walking on water across Lake Mead (one of the more amazing illusions from this series), or escaping a decrepit older hotel that's about to be demolished.



While the series' illusions are consistently fascinating, what occasionally hampers the show is the outright artificiality, compounded by the unending build ups to the actual trick, build ups that include endless philosophizing and commentary by Angel himself, as well as his brother and erstwhile magical team. You literally could fast forward through ¾ of any given episode and not actually miss the "main event." What saves the show ultimately is smaller interstitial tricks that Angel routinely performs in each episode, fun things like card tricks (he pushes an inscribed card into the ice of a skating rink, where it's lodged under about an inch of deep freeze) or mindreading (a Blane like segment where a word a passing stranger has written on their hand magically transports to Angel's own palm). Some episodes ultimately can't get beyond their outright artificiality, as in the demolition enterprise, which is supposedly "live," with multi-camera coverage. I couldn't help but think that Angel's last second problems with locks that wouldn't open was stagecraft, perhaps suspiciously pre-taped. (Don't make me disappear, Criss, it's only a hunch). There are other times when one has to assume things not going exactly as planned--as in an episode where Angel gets hit by a nail from a nailgun--are real. But there's always a slightly nagging suspicion it's part of the "illusion."



This fourth season does see Angel revisiting a trick that famously went awry at the end of the third season (though jaded cynic that I am, I again had to wonder if that "failure" was another setup for ultimate triumph). Angel revisits a Houdini-esque escape from an underwater cage, something that supposedly didn't work last year and resulted in his near drowning, as repeatedly recounted by his brother, J.D. Though the show often goes to great lengths to describe the near death experiences that Angel is exposing himself to, is there ever any real worry that things will turn out OK in the end?



One of the most appealing episodes in the season is his visits with celebrities like Elvis Costello and Carrot Top, letting them show him tricks (some of which they actually cribbed from him). This outing shows Angel a little less portentous than he can sometimes be, and provides an appealing flipside to his sometimes ominously manic persona.



Criss Angel Mindfreak is magic on steroids (something that Angel himself, buff and toned, seems to maybe have personal knowledge of). It's amazing, in your face stuff that at least will have most viewers questioning the technique of the art. Angel's own occasional foul-mouthed asides (something that his adoring audiences unfortunately shares in abundance, so that the show is a virtual bleep-fest at times) may turn off some older, tamer viewers, but tweens up through 30-somethings are probably the target audience for this show, and they will eat up the more casual, "street" demeanor of Angel.






The DVD


Video:
Mindfreak is presented in a full frame 1.33:1 transfer that's acceptable by television standards. The show tends to use a variety of bells and whistles, image-wise, including "painting" effects, scratches and abrasion (deliberately added), and the like, which gives the show a lot of variety but tends to make commenting on image quality a bit more difficult. Colors and contrast are uniformly strong, and I noticed no compression artifacts on the DVDs.




Sound:
The DD 2.0 soundtrack is nicely rendered, with Angel's New York patois on full display. Some episodes have "guest commentators," and most episodes have a variety of talking heads, like Angel's brother, commenting on the proceedings, all of whom come through crystal clear. There's not an incredible amount of separation, but there doesn't need to be. No subtitles are offered.





Extras:
Two brief featurettes are included on the third disc, one introducing Angel's backup team and the other, a bit more interesting, offering a sit down with his two brothers and mother.




Final Thoughts:
Criss Angel Mindfreak manages to stretch the boundaries of the traditional Las Vegas magic show in consistently unexpected and inventive ways. If the show itself spends too much time on extraenous matters (and who can blame it--it's hard to fill an entire episode with nonstop illusions), once the main trick at hand is offered, you're probably going to be astounded. Recommended.


____________________________________________
"G-d made stars galore" & "Hey, what kind of a crappy fortune is this?" ZMK, modern prophet

Other Reviews:
Popular Reviews
1. Cary Grant Collection
2. Breezy
3. Clockwise
4. Spawn of the North
5. The Sign of the Cross
6. A Different Story
7. The Mirror Crack'd
8. Dr. Who and the Daleks
9. First Snow
10. Carole Lombard Collection I (Fast and Loose / Man of the World / No Man of Her Own)


Sponsored Links
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2020 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use,