New to DVD and VOD this week: MAGICIANS: LIFE IN THE IMPOSSIBLE
Christoph Baaden and Marcie Hume’s portrait of professional prestidigitators debuted at Hot Docs this year. It also screened at Napa Valley and Philadelphia. It now comes to DVD and to VOD platforms including iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and YouTube.
Baaden and Hume follow four men whose lives revolve around magic. Each has seen some level of success – Jan Rouven headlines a popular Las Vegas spectacle, Brian Gillis was a regular on Johnny Carson’s TONIGHT SHOW, Jon Armstrong is on the Board of he Magic Castle, and David Minkin has been on television several times – but it’s still not enough. The film follows their efforts to make a bigger mark, noting the sacrifices they’ve made for their obsessions and their desire for more recognition. While featuring likeable enough protagonists, there are unfortunately just too many of them for one film, and they don’t all feel essential to the story being told, lending a somewhat repetitious feel to the project. Were the film to have instead focused on just Gillis and Rouven, for example, highlighting illusionists more or less at opposite ends of their careers, the contrast might have made for an ultimately more compelling film. Still, Baaden and Hume have created a solid survey that does showcase some impressive tricks.