Reviews

Move Zero (Vol 3) by John Bannon and Big Blind Media - DVD review by BGG reviewer EndersGame
Move Zero (Vol 3) by John Bannon and Big Blind Media - DVD
Difficulty Level (1 Easy - 5 Hard)
Satisfaction

The Third Volume of John Bannon's Great Self-Working Card Magic

INTRODUCTION

Self-working card tricks are often considered somewhat condescendingly. But the fact is that strong magic is all about being entertaining, and with good presentation self-workers can be among the most baffling that there is. The Move Zero series from Big Blind Media features some great self-workers from one of the best thinkers in card magic, John Bannon, who is highly regarded for his clever psychological approach. In this series of four videos Bannon doesn't use any sleights, gaffs, or gimmicks, and yet constructs magic that is strong, surprising, and powerful. The first two volumes included eight and ten great tricks respectively, along with a host of other tips and procedures. Move Zero (Vol 3) continues that winning formula with another nine tricks, along with five "trickbag" sections that give additional hints to strengthen your magic.

As with the previous volumes in the series, Move Zero (Vol 3) is available either as a DVD or a digital download, and follows the same basic formula. The video has live performances of each effect to various spectators, followed by an explanation of the trick in a sit-down session with BBM staff. And besides the nine tricks that are covered in detail, there are also additional "trickbag" material and interview segments.

CONTENTS

1. The 32nd Sense: The spectator shuffles the deck and takes out a small group of cards that they count, and then remember the card at that position in the deck - which matches a prediction made before the trick even began! This is a strong trick that is well-structured and can be very fooling.

2. Mousetrap: The spectator merely thinks of a card at a secret number, which is then revealed by appearing in a sandwich between two queens. This uses a similar principle as the previous trick, but an alternate approach to the revelation makes it feel quite different.

3. Candy Crush: The spectator inserts a business card into the deck, and the words "Suit" and "Value" on either side of this card are used to construct a card. They "spell" this card by dealing cards one at a time, and amazingly arrive at the very card just generated! This relies in part on Bill Simon's Prophesy Move taught in the trickbag section, and requires some set-up, but can be very baffling - it's probably one of the more powerful tricks in this collection.

4. Poker Pairadox: The patter here revolves around Texas Holdem as a number of court cards are shown, and after a card is removed by a spectator, these magically arrange themselves into matching pairs. This works well as a poker-themed packet trick, and again makes good use of the Prophesy Move.

5. Origami Poker: Various cards are mixed into each other face-up and face-down, dealt onto the table in a matrix, and then rows/columns are "folded" over, creating a remarkable result where the only face-up cards are a royal flush. I've seen several variations of this self-working method previously, and the poker theme makes it work especially well here.

6. Origami Prediction: This is similar to the previous trick, but instead of a poker theme the outcome matches a prediction made in advance. It's fairly easy to set-up impromptu, and is arguably even more fooling than Origami Poker, given the plot and how fairly the cards seem to be mixed.

7. Big Bad Add: Two spectators are each dealt a hand of cards, from which they both choose one card to produce a two-digit number. Four numbers are so created and then added together to produce a total - which matches a prediction! This requires some basic math procedure, but can be very puzzling and baffling.

8. Cross Purposes: A random packet of cards is taken from the deck by two spectators, who each secretly count how many they have. The first spectator secretly remembers the card in the deck that is at their number, and when you then deal to the second spectator's number, it amazingly arrives at the very card of the first spectator! This has a slight Card At Any Number Feel, with a rather baffling coincidence effect that works every time.

9. Box Of Doom: You state that in a closed box you have as many cards as your spectator has removed from the deck, plus three with enough left over to make 23. Not only are you correct, but you also are shown to have predicted the card they would have stopped on! Often performed with coins, this is a nice version of The Trick That Fooled Einstein, with some great presentation.

Utility Moves: The trick bag section covers five different areas.
● Automatic Placement: Some great thinking from Ed Marlo, which is at the heart of the trick "The 32nd Sense".
● Prophesy Move: This is a classic move from Bill Simon that can be used to deceptively force two cards.
● The Parity Principle: This covers the Cut and Turn Over Two principle from Bob Hummer.
● Vertical Addition: This covers the number prediction used in one of the tricks.
● The Einstein Tautology: This gives a full explanation of The Trick That Fooled Einstein, used in "Box of Doom".

Interviews: As with the previous installments, there are also interview segments where Bannon shares his thoughts on various questions related to magic, such as his philosophy about constructing and performing magic.

IMPRESSIONS

Tricks: This is a great follow-up to the first two volumes. I like the fact that the tricks focus on the ideas explained in the Trickbag section of the video. This particular volume probably has more variation than the ones that preceded it, so it feels like there is more variety in the routines that are taught, and they don't just rehash the same material or have significant overlap. Standouts here are perhaps the opener "The 32nd Sense", along with the two Origami routines, Candy Crush, and Poker Pairadox. I'm still partial to some of the tricks from Volumes 1 & 2 as my all-time Bannon favourites, but I like the fact that the content here feels very different from those.

Utility Moves: While the first two volumes cover more well known self-working methods like the cross cut force, this volume covers methods that are less well known. So the material here will especially be enjoyed by those who already have some experience with more common self-working card tricks, and are looking to learn new content that they may not have come across before. There are some very deceptive and clever methods at play here!

Self-working: As always, this video does live up to its billing that there are zero moves, and the tricks are genuinely self-working. Bannon has a love for tricks that rely on cleverness, psychology, and subtleness rather than sleights.

Accessible: The self-working nature of these tricks means that they are all well within the grasp of relative beginners. They are all relatively easy to learn and to perform.

Strong: Just because something is self-working doesn't mean it is weak. There are certainly some very powerful tricks included here, and even experienced performers will find some great material that they will want to use.

Teaching: John Bannon is a good teacher, and gives careful thought to every element of his performance. I especially appreciate that he explains carefully all the things that go into his presentation. There are many useful tips that he shares that explain the thinking behind his magic, and this is enormously helpful. The trickbag and interview segments of this video are arguably just as valuable as the tricks themselves.

Quality production: Once again BBM has done a wonderful job in their production. They are at the top of their game, and their videos really set the benchmark for high quality filming of magic. The sound, studio lighting, and camera work is all terrific, with multiple camera angles, panning, close-ups, and everything else you'd expect from a quality video. Thumbs up all round.

RECOMMENDATION

The positive comments about the two previous volumes in the Move Zero series also apply to this third volume. This isn't the kind of self-working card magic that involves lengthy counting or boring mathematical atrocities. John Bannon has a very thoughtful and insightful approach to his magic, and relies a great deal on subtle psychological methods that can prove both deceptive and entertaining. Much can be learned from his approach, not the least of which is another great set of card tricks that are sure to astound.

When combined with superlative production values, it is hard to think of reasons to pass up on a quality product like this, which offers more than two hours of footage. If you're looking for strong magic that is relatively easy to learn and perform, and yet has the potential to astound and amaze, you can't do much better than the Move Zero series. Volume 3 is a fine addition to a wonderful collection that showcases John Bannon's genius.

(Posted on 27/12/2018)

Restore Napkin by Yu Ho Jin - VIDEO DOWNLOAD review by DIEGO
Restore Napkin by Yu Ho Jin - VIDEO DOWNLOAD
Difficulty Level (1 Easy - 5 Hard)
Satisfaction

Easy to perform and great reaction garantied

I use to perform torn&restored stuff whenever the situation is ready to it. The Restore Napkin is very good when you are in a strict close-up situation, easy to get in, no problems during performance, start clean and end clean.
It is graceful and magical, just try it !

(Posted on 26/12/2018)

Hare Raising Hats (Parlor Size) by Paul Hallas review by EndersGame
Hare Raising Hats (Parlor Size) by Paul Hallas
Difficulty Level (1 Easy - 5 Hard)
Satisfaction

A re-release of a fun Paul Hallas packet trick - now in parlor size

This has appeared previously, but Meir Yedid Magic has produced a new printing a few months ago on larger parlor-size cards.

The routine plays on an age-old stereotype: the magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. First you show several cards with hats, producing a rabbit from them one at a time. Next, one of four hats disappears. Then as a final surprise, the hats are turned over to show that the backs seen at the start have now changed into images with a large number of baby bunnies.

The cards are excellent quality, and the larger-than-normal size makes them well suited for using in situations where you're performing to a group, such as at a children's party or a restaurant. The subject nature of the routine draws on a classic of magic, so it will speak to all ages, and it's just as suitable for children as it is for adults. The fact that the cards are completely examinable at the end is an extra bonus. Our friend Mr Elmsley does all the work for us, so there aren't really any knuckle-busting moves or sleights required aside from a basic count, and remembering the sequence of the routine.

Recommendation: This is a classic trick from Paul Hallas: easy to perform, engaging, and very practical - ideal for the working magician or amateur looking for a novelty effect that is fun to perform. While not the kind of routine that will drop jaws, it will certainly put smiles on peoples faces, without requiring complicated moves on the part of the magician. Easy entertaining - now that's something that as a magician I can appreciate!

(Posted on 26/12/2018)

Move Zero (Vol 2) by John Bannon - DVD review by EndersGame
Move Zero (Vol 2) by John Bannon - DVD
Difficulty Level (1 Easy - 5 Hard)
Satisfaction

A Second Volume of John Bannon's Self-Working Genius

OVERVIEW

Move Zero (Vol 2) is the second in a series of four videos by John Bannon, in which he teams up with Big Blind Media to bring self-working magic to dazzling new heights. Anyone familiar with John Bannon's body of work will be well aware that he is no ordinary magician. It's especially when Mr Bannon applies his genius to self-working magic tricks that you get a real sense of his cleverness. Self-working tricks often get an unfair rap in magic, but when percolated through the mind of John Bannon, they get a caffeine kick like never before. In this series of four brilliant DVDs, John Bannon will perform and teach you some mind-blowing magic.

The main content of the video consists of the following:
- Performances: The section for each trick first features a performance for different spectators.
- Explanations: During the tutorial section, John Bannon not only explains how to do the trick, but also explains why things are done in a certain way, thus giving insight into the construction of the magic in a way to make it as strong as possible. As a nice touch, the closing sequence for each trick comprehensively covers all the credits.
- Other material: Between the tricks, there are "trick-bag" sections that cover some of the principles and tools that good self-working tricks will use, such as equivoque, basic cuts, and the cross-cut force. There are also "interview" sections covering John's thoughts on a range of magic topics in answer to questions put to him.

IMPRESSIONS

1. Content: Like Volume 1, this is a good collection of self-working tricks. Big Blind Media's aim with the Move Zero project was to make a collection of John Bannon's self-working magic, and they soon realized that he'd produced at least 40 such effects, all of which they considered to be strong and worth including. A number of the tricks are variations on similar themes, and rely on similar mechanics - in this case the Balducci Force. But despite the fact that there is some overlap in material, overall there's still a good spectrum of magic tricks, and the variations do enable you to select the tricks that you think works best for you, rather than including all of these into your repertoire. I especially liked 51 Fat Chances, Chronic, Dead Reckoning, AK47, Bannon Triumph, and Free Willy.

2. Self-working: As John Bannon himself admits, the term self-working can be a misnomer, because every trick needs a good magician to present it well. Some of the tricks taught do require some set-up, although the majority can be performed impromptu. But it's fair to say that what we have here is a collection of genuine self-workers, that rely on cleverness, psychology, and subtleness, and where everything is openly performed, rather than on secret sleights.

3. Difficulty: Because all the tricks in this collection are self-working, they are well within the scope of beginners to learn. That doesn't mean that the quality of the magic itself is inferior. There's some fine examples of strong magic included here, even though the level of difficulty in learning the tricks is not high. They are relatively easy to perform overall as well. Yet while there is excellent material here that beginners can perform, experienced performers will also find top notch magic that will satisfy them as well.

4. Powerful: Self-working doesn't mean weak magic. So don't dismiss this collection just because no sleights are used. There are still some top notch card tricks included, and when performed well they can really produce a big impact. And you certainly can modify some of these tricks to introduce sleights if you think that makes them stronger, e.g. by replacing some of Bannon's self-working forces with your favourite force.

5. Psychology: I really appreciate the presentation and patter that John Banner uses. Much of it is very subtle, reinforcing certain ideas that need to be important in the mind of the spectator; he does this very effectively, and it can make all the difference in performing a trick successfully. John Bannon really knows how to present these tricks well to maximize their impact, and a great deal can be learned from his performances about how to avoid turning these into boring counting tricks. Behind much of his patter are very deliberate choices that emphasize psychological principles, and this kind of thinking is key to being a good magician.

6. Explanations: The teaching section consists of a dialogue that John has with various BBM personnel, and has the feel of a personal sit-down session with a magician. Bannon has the ability to explain things carefully and slowly, so there's no difficulty whatsoever in learning the tricks based on his instruction. But there's much more value to the teaching sections than just learning the method behind the effect in question, because along the way there are many moments of useful discussion that John has with his fellow magician about why he takes the approach he does. So there's a lot of valuable advice and tips that he passes on that have application beyond the trick you're learning, and which you can apply to other routines.

7. Teaching: One thing I really appreciate about this series is that in addition to the routines that are taught, there are extras like interviews and advice. The BBM team knows that John Bannon is highly respected for his understanding about the psychology of magic,and so they've found ways to have him de-construct his methods and share his thought process with us. This will help you develop your own thinking about magic, make us think more maturely about key aspects of magic, and so learn how to craft routines that are genuinely powerful.

8. Utility Moves: The "Trickbag" sections of the video cover some of the techniques that are foundational to self-working card magic. In these sections Bannon covers things like the Balducci Force, Jay Ose False Cut, and Breather Crimp - all useful tools in the right situation. The Trickbag sections do repeat some material already included under the teaching of specific tricks, but I don't think this duplication matters, because it means that you'll learn all you need to know in the explanation of the trick, or you can access the teaching material on a move independently.

9. Interviews: In these sections of the video, John Bannon shares his thoughts in response to questions on topics like his typical process in how he goes about creating new magic, his favourite moves (the Bullet Count - although he tends to prefer trick construction rather than technique), and what have been major inspirations for his magic. I especially enjoyed his emphasis on needing to understand what you like in magic and being able to articulate why, so that you can be selective and critical in your reading. He also gives a hint about his plans for a retrospective collection that covers all his work, to be entitled Cardzilla. But in his own words, he's not dead yet, and first he has some more tricks up his sleeve for further magic releases!

10. Production values: The stellar production of this video is immediately evident with the video case, which features a professionally produced graphic design as the cover artwork, and on the back a list and overview of the contents. The production quality is absolutely outstanding in every respect, and it is hard to think of magic videos that have higher production values that ones like these from BBM. The filming has been done in a studio, and the lighting and camera work is terrific. Multiple camera angles are used, along with panning and close-ups. A montage of images helps retain interest during longer sections of monologue and commentary from Bannon. At times music has been used to good effect to set a background mood. Everything about the video has been put together extremely well, and Big Blind Media deserves major kudos for their excellent work in producing such a high quality product.

RECOMMENDATION

Why should you be interested in another video dedicated to self-working card magic? Well, this isn't your ordinary self-working magic and doesn't stoop to the level of mathematical atrocities. The Move Zero series offers top quality material that is well constructed and thoughtful, and which really capitalizes on important principles of magic. While being relatively easy to perform, these tricks still have the potential to produce real miracles for your spectator. John Bannon has a real gift in understanding the important psychological aspects of magic that can really strengthen a routine, and there's a great deal that can be learned from his clever and intelligent approach to the subtleties of magic.

From a technical and production point of view, the video itself is outstanding. In almost every respect, Big Blind Media has raised the bar for a quality magic video, and it's difficult to think how a superb production like this could be improved. Combined with strong material from a top notch and clever magic thinker like John Bannon, they have created a real winner with Move Zero. And Volume 2 is every bit as good as Volume 1. Congratulations all round, and highly recommended!

(Posted on 24/12/2018)

3-Way Mirror by Sean Yang and Magic Soul review by Simon
3-Way Mirror by Sean Yang and Magic Soul
Difficulty Level (1 Easy - 5 Hard)
Satisfaction

Perfect for purpose

Great for checking angles on close up practice- very good quality

(Posted on 22/12/2018)

Merchant of Magic Customer Service Feedback review by Chris French
Merchant of Magic Customer Service Feedback
Difficulty Level (1 Easy - 5 Hard)
Satisfaction

Excellent

Wow, that was fast!! - I have to say your service is EXCELLENT

(Posted on 21/12/2018)

Winners Dice review by Christopher Taylor
Winners Dice
Difficulty Level (1 Easy - 5 Hard)
Satisfaction

My highest recommendation!

I rarely provide reviews, and I was not asked for this one, but this device is so FULL of potential I have to shout out about it. Its appearance, ease of use and reliability make it so. I KNOW I can double the impact of several of my pet routines with this. There are a good number of ways to increase the ease of using these things that were not mentioned in the instructions too. AND, I have already figured out a way to use Winners Dice WITHOUT THE CUP. My highest recommendation!

Christopher

(Posted on 21/12/2018)

Wonder Pop by Gonçalo Gil and Danny Weiser review by Jo
Wonder Pop by Gonçalo Gil and Danny Weiser
Difficulty Level (1 Easy - 5 Hard)
Satisfaction

Broke immediately

Although the trick looks great in the video,
I’d hardly got it out the box when it fell apart.
It won’t hold liquid and the stick broke off Immediately. It doesn’t seem to blow bubbles well either, meaning trouble getting accurate sized bubbles to Make the trick look authentic. Very disappointing

(Posted on 20/12/2018)

Fooler Doolers Daryl- #3, DVD review by James
Fooler Doolers Daryl- #3, DVD
Difficulty Level (1 Easy - 5 Hard)
Satisfaction

Excellent DVD

As with all Daryls DVDs you can expect a well produced DVD which contains many routines that are easy to master. I recommend all 3 of the Fooler Dooler DVDs.

(Posted on 20/12/2018)

Merchant of Magic Customer Service Feedback review by Gary Frost
Merchant of Magic Customer Service Feedback
Difficulty Level (1 Easy - 5 Hard)
Satisfaction

Customer Service

Excellent Customer Service

(Posted on 19/12/2018)

  1. 3
  2. 4
  3. 5
  4. 6
  5. 7