Monday, July 25, 2005

Another Mindfreak Review

A reality show about a tattoo parlor in a Vegas casino and magician who calls himself "Mindfreak'' - what better ways to say TV's summer doldrums are upon us?

Illusionist Criss Angel is a better bet, though his show manages to be entertaining largely in spite of him.

Angel is indeed highly skilled. Like "Street Magic'' star David Blaine, from whom he borrows heavily, Angel pulls off some impressive illusions on the street. The levitation-themed debut show features a couple of particular stunners.

Buffoonish, industrial-music presentation hobbles the show, as when Angel proclaims, "I am the mindfreak'' in the self-screamed theme song.

The camerawork is absolute garbage and leaves much more room for doubt than is necessary. Angel is uneven himself. He looks like a "Slippery When Wet''-era Jon Bon Jovi, but has the charisma of a telephone pole. The romance diesevery time he speaks or tries on his goggle-eyed "mystic'' stare.

He also barely resists proclaiming that he has actual supernatural powers, which would make him this week's most annoying TV dweeb. One John Edward is enough.

The show has an identity crisis, too, wavering between atmospheric magic and behind-the-scenes reality goop. It appears everything comes down to whatever best feeds Angel's ego at the moment.

Like Blaine, his act ranges from close-up tricks to death-defying stunts, with mixed results and several old chestnuts along the way. But when he's good, he's very good.

And in an age when TV magic consists largely of anticlimactic, one-shot specials, this ongoing exposure to the art is a treat.

"Criss Angel Mindfreak'' A&E Wednesdays at 10 p.m. (Two and one half stars out of four.)

John Ruch



Blogger stacy said...

CrisS AngeL RockS!
:) I LovE HiS ShoW

ThE StuntS AnD ThE TrickS ArE AwesomE. I WisH I CoulD DO ThaT. I CaN OnlY DO MagiC... IF I EveN TrY TO.
NothinG ElsE TO SaY...
- Stacy

7:25 PM  

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