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21 entries from January 2008

Two very different movies

We saw two films today. One was the Will Smith blockbuster 'I AM LEGEND', which was filled with amazing effects in the spectacular setting of a deserted New York City. It was good, very violent and ultimately unsatisfying.


The other was on DVD, 'THE WILD PARROTS OF TELEGRAPH HILL'. This is a documentary about a flock of wild parrots living in the heart of San Francisco, and a homeless musician (Mark Bittner) who befriends them. It's truly a wonderful, heartwarming film that will make you laugh and cry, and really get to know and love the different parrots and their personalities in a way no other nature film has. It's  entertaining and informative in so many different ways. All I can say is go rent the DVD and have a box of tissues handy. (Even Craig Mitchell will like this one! *g*)

You can visit the official movie site here, or Mark Bittner's site here.

Movie Fakers

Avh_large We spoken about this topic in the world of magic before, apparently there's a company we could refer to now as 'Movie Fakers'. Their real name is 'The Asylum' and they have been distributing cheap c-Grade films since 1992. (Check them out on Wikipedia).

In 1997 they started producing their own, all with low budgets between $250,000 - $800,000, with titles like 'MAX KNIGHT-ULTRA SPY', 'LEGION OF THE DEAD', 'JOLLY ROGER: MASSACRE AT CUTTER'S COVE'.

After the success of the Peter Jackson's 'KING KONG', they brought out their own $1m version 'KING OF THE LOST WORLD'. The $20m movie 'THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE' was a financial blockbuster, so Asylum brought out their "version" 'EXORCISM: THE POSSESSION OF GAIL BOWERS'.

Asylum must have realised they were onto something. Consumers bought the direct-to-dvd titles in stores, mistaking them for the real thing or thinking they were sequels or prequels of films they enjoyed, and because Asylum's film cost so little to produce, they started making money almost immediately.

And so, came titles like:

  • UNIVERSAL SOLDIERS (Nothing to do with the Van Damme UNIVERSAL SOLDIER series)
  • WHEN A KILLER CALLS (Came out at the same time as the remake of WHEN A STRANGER CALLS)
  • DRAGON (Coincided with the release of ERAGON)
  • THE HITCH HIKER (Released the same time as the remake of THE HITCHER)
  • 666: THE CHILD (Came out when the remake of THE OMEN hit cinemas)
  • SUPERCROC (Same time the Aussie fim ROGUE came out)
  • HILLSIDE CANNIBALS (Similar to the remake of THE HILLS HAVE EYES)
  • PIRATES OF TREASURE ISLAND (Main character just like Cap Jack Sparrow)
  • INVASION OF THE POD PEOPLE (Hmm... some say better than the Nicole Kidman INVASION, but that's just being mean!)
  • 100,000,000 BC (Due out at the same time as 10,000,000 BC)

When Spielberg brought out his $132m feature 'WAR OF THE WORLDS', because the book was public domain, Asylum brought out their own $1m version of it at the same time. Plus they're bringing out 'WAR OF THE WORLDS: THE NEXT WAVE' this year...

Asylum director Leigh Scott Scott defends The Asylum, saying that it is also just doing what numerous other people are doing (I think I've heard that argument somewhere before) and the United States consumer advocate noted that, while it is very misleading and unfair to customers, it is perfectly legal and, from a business standpoint, very clever.

Are these movies actually any good? Most get a rating of 1 out of 10 on the IMDB, but take a look for yourself...





TRANSMORPHERS (with a massive $250,000 budget!):

Take a look at the preview trailer for the upcoming CLOVERFIELD releasing on Jan 17:

And here is the trailer for Asylum's MONSTER releasing on Jan 15:

Young Frankenstein - THE MUSICAL!


At the World Premiere in Seattle

Following up on his success with 'The Producers', Mel Brooks new musical 'Young Frankenstein' has hit Broadway (two months ago... but I just heard about it today) and given us a reason for another trip to New York...

Montage from 'Young Frankenstein'

Initial reports are that is almost a verbatim translation of the movie to the stage, and the sets and staging are sensational. The only let down, according to some reviewers, is that the songs are "bland and forgettable". You can buy the soundtrack and listen to samples here at Amazon, but it's not available  on iTunes yet. (At least not iTunes Australia).

'Together Again' sung live on NBC's TODAY SHOW

'Roll in Ze Hay' sung live on NBC's TODAY SHOW

'Roll in Ze Hay' sung live on NBC's TODAY SHOW

The Next Uri Geller

It began on Israeli Television, last year it was on NBC in the USA, on January 8 it starts on German TV: 'The Next Uri Geller'. You can read about it in German here, or take a look at Geller's website here. Contestants on the German version include David Goldrake,

What does this mean for us Aussies? It means it's even more likely that 'Phenomenon' will appear on Australian TV, most likely in the second half of the year.

Start polishing your crystal balls and flexing those spoons!

The Wizard Jacobs

Has anyone caught the performances of 'The Wizard Jacobs and Goblin Sprightly' at Sovereign Hill? Drop us a note in the comments section and tell us all about it. Apparently they do two shows daily plus a main street segment throughout the school holidays.

Plus, inkeeping with the John Edward 'Crossing Over' show being presented at 'Australia Zoo' (which appears to be sold out according to Ticketek), Sovereign Hill offers a "Bookings Only" show called 'Beyond The Veil'. I like the way they say it "was popular in the 19th century" and "are you being tricked?"

Beyond the Veil – A Supernatural Experience

Bookings Essential

Keeping in touch with friends and relatives who had ‘crossed to the other side’ was popular in the 19th century – and still is! Hear strange stories of the supernatural. Will you believe what you see and hear? Or, are you being tricked?

Oh Brother...

We mentioned on December 11 that Gold Coast magician Christopher Wayne is auditioning for the Big Brother house, there's another Gold Coast magician in the mix here called 'Tim' (who's been doing magic since he was 2). You can check out his video here - so far he's had 13,274 views compared with Christopher's 4,305, but they both only have a rating of 3 stars so get in there and vote for your favourite!

Oh, and if you don't have a favourite, you can still have until January 7 to upload your own audition video.

The Cull

Well it's that time of the year again, January 1 and out with the old and in with the new! Time to cull the list of 65 "Referring Sites" of other magic blogs down by removing those that have been inactive for at least 4 months.

First to go is Annabelle's Mohana Thoughts, the thoughts of a female mentalist in Florida, last post in July.

Next is b d erland's blog, (a South Korean magician) but only because it's better known as Ye Olde Magick Blog and there's no point in having it listed twice.

Conflagratio seems to have disappeared completely.

Mark Jensen's Days of Wine & Neurosis hasn't posted since June, hope he starts again though, and the same goes for Dean Atkinson and his Comedy Magician & Ventriloquist blog and John LeBlanc and Escamoteurettes.

Every Magic Day by Philip & Henry last posted about Blaine in his bubble back in May, and Magic Interviews last added to their blog in July.

Magic Mondays started and ended in June with three posts, and Magic Show and Tell is another blog that's simply vanished.

Magical Musings from Indian has been quiet since April, and MagicForge hasn't posted since reporting on the Blackpool Convention back in February. Morgan Strebler hasn't posted since August, but prior to that his posts were in May and January.

The Genii Blog has gone, (why do you need a blog when you have a forum and a magazine anyway?) and The Greater Chicago Area Magic Scene blog has been deleted and The Magic Den has been "suspended", and Unexpected Wonders has moved to here.

And I refuse to add Dave J Castle's blog no matter how much he asks, though I should add him to Magic Fakers...

So now I've managed to cull our list down from 65 to 80 magic blogs... if I've missed any, let me know.