The Five Lives of Criss Angel Mindfreak

The Five Lives of Criss Angel Mindfreak
The Oxford English Dictionary defines "Mindfreak" as... wait, it doesn't. That doesn't stop veteran douche/illusionist Criss Angel from employing the term as a noun to describe himself (as in, "I am the Mindfreak, there's no reality") and a verb to describe the effect of his douche-y illusions (as in, "You've just been Mindfreaked, bee-yatch!"). Collecting five draining episodes from Angel's A&E TV series, Criss Angel Mindfreak, this DVD collection features Angel at his most representative ― planning elaborate, "death-defying" stunts and illusions that he will inevitably defy, while over-using adjectives like "insane" and "crazy," and dressing like a cross between Tommy Lee and a Mountain Dew commercial. Spectacles featured in this set see Criss being buried alive under 5,000 pounds of snow, "transposing" himself from the roof of a hotel to its parking lot and mass levitating a group of willing participants. Angel and his crew spend the time between an episode's centrepiece illusion performing "magic" in the streets of Los Vegas, usually impressing easily-impressed college kids with some card trick or other sleight-of-hand. But the most irritating thing about Angel, besides his glam/goth getup, revised Anarchist corporate logo, "Mindfreak" moniker, gaudy bling and, well, basically everything about him, is the way in which his show tries desperately to prove that there's nothing up his carefully-tattered sleeves. Angel will boast that his illusions are captured using "continuous shots," as if he is offering up some high degree of transparency to an audience deeming themselves savvy to trick photography. But magic's number one imperative has always been misdirection. Angel's insistence on "continuous shots" and "spectator point-of-view" cameras only works to distract us from the more complex smoke-and-mirrors routines executed by his team of consultants and stunt specialists. Special features are sparse, amounting mostly to behind-the-scenes fare boasting to Angel's dedication to his craft, training regimen and the idea that he may, in fact, be magic. Whatever happened to not paying attention to the man behind the curtain? (E1)