Desperate Acts of Magic. A great magic movie.

daom_7It is always nice to watch new trends affecting the status quo in magic, and the new indie movie ‘Desperate Acts of Magic’ falls right into that category. It is a fun feature length movie about magic and magicians. There are magicians who can make movies as well as do shows—yay.

By the list of donors in the closing credits I am assuming that the movie was eased into being by a ‘Kickstart’ style of fund raising. This is a nice way to expand the ability of talent to realize the full potential that is contained in our creative community. In my opinion it makes more sense to use this resource for a movie than a one-off show.

There are some funny moments in ‘Desperate Acts….’ that I really enjoyed and laughed at. However the movie doesn’t go for a series of one-liners or desperately easy targets, but instead does have the approach and feel of a traditional indie movie. It has a nice storyline, likeable characters and there is very little dead air involved in progressing the storyline along its arc. This isn’t the case and doesn’t happen often enough in mainstream mega movies.

‘Desperate Acts…’ is currently being promoted by its production company, Gold Cap Films, at various magical events in the magic world and its official daom_11release on DVD is September 10th. I picked up a copy at the recent PCAM Convention and paid $20, it even included a signed poster. As a magic lover and a movie buff I was excited to support the release of the film; I was even happier that I enjoyed it as much as I did.

The movie is a thinly disguised re-tread of the life of its writer, co-director, co-producer and co-editor Joe Tyler Gold. Gold has been busy acquiring a nice reputation for his work in the world of movies and has been adding some great press reaction from ‘Desperate Acts….’ Along with co-producer Tammy Caplan, these are definitely two names to watch for in the future, all the hallmarks for continuing success are present in this movie.

The movie follows the journey of Jason Kant (Joe Gold) as he trades in his job as a computer programmer for life as a professional magician. He falls in love with a savvy street magician Stacy Dietz (Valerie Dillman) and with the help of his mentor Steve Kramer (Jonathan Levit) tries to make his dream a reality. Somehow winning the International Magic Contest in a San Diego magic convention is the first step in this process, and that is where the movie heads thematically and geographically. The journey even includes a brief trip ‘South of the Border’ down Mexico way.

daom_4 All three of the movie’s key players do an excellent job in the movie and I also really enjoyed the performances of Sascha Alexander, William Salyers and Stephen Wastell. A special shout out to John Getz as ‘Don Tarzia’ who I happily recognized from his role in the Coen Brothers great neo-noir, Round Rock based thriller ‘Blood Simple.’ The entire featured cast did a great job on a project that obviously didn’t run to superstar budgets. I for one am bored with the effects of cash in creative projects, give me a fresh vision over big bucks any day of the week.

As a magician I was just as excited by the many guest appearances of magicians that are scattered throughout the movie, they will keep you alert and interested in the proceedings. I won’t give the game away too much but there are lots of our favorite LA magical characters on display throughout the production and you will enjoy spotting them.

The movie is fast moving and fun, however the take away– that the magic world is sexist and magic clubs curiously out of date, are no great revelations to anyone; it is a very pleasant trip. It is great to see such an ambitious (don’t be fooled by ‘DAoM’s’ low key approach, it was a decidedly ambitious undertaking) release from within the magic world.

If you want to be a part of this project it is too late to get your name on the donor’s list after the credits roll. However if you visit the website at you can pick up a DVD of the movie and show your support in this very practical manner, I think you will be very pleased you did so. There is even a director’s commentary version of the movie that I suspect will be filled with the kind of details and incidents that I am longing to hear about the movie, I will be playing it next but I wanted to write this review solely based on the movie.


~ by Nick Lewin on August 23, 2013.

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