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Non-Review Review: Deceptive Practice – The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay

A veteran magic performer since his childhood, with a career stretching back over half a century, Ricky Jay is an absolutely fascinating subject. Jay is a master magician in his own right, but he’s also a writer, historian and actor. He is this gigantically important pop culture figure, having worked with directors like David Mamet or Paul Thomas Anderson – having appeared in film and television roles unconnected to his stage career. At one point, Jay even reads a poem written about him, The Game In The Windowless Room.

Jay has this incredible diversity of skills and interests, and it’s absolutely intriguing to delve into those interests. Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay suffers a bit from never really pinning down the man himself, but it does demonstrate his long and abiding affection for the artform of magic, as well as some insightful glimpses at the long history and pedigree of this most mysterious performance art.

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Non-Review Review: Deception

I was feeling a little under the weather last night, but we decided we’d stick on a family film at the house where I stay during the week. Browsing the telly listings, we found a film none of us had heard of starring Ewan McGregor and Hugh Jackman. We didn’t hesitate: how bad could a movie starring those two charming actors be?

Well, I’m not in the business of rhetorical questions, preferring pithy answers, so: very.

Deception is just terrible. Really. It goes on and on and on. And then on some more. Let’s establish a little mood. Now, let’s have a montage! And is the bad guy’s scheme or the heroes last minute escape or the heroine’s triple cross anything the audience doesn’t see coming? Nope. It’s con-movie-by-rote. I’m not surprised that the movie didn’t make it to cinemas.

McGregor and Jackman make the most of being hopelessly miscast. Jackman seems for too smooth for an aggressive (and, it turns out, pervy) street hustler. McGregor fares better as the accountant on the road to self-discovery. But only slightly.

And it just. doesn’t. end.

The only deception worth note is that played on the suckers that actually paid to see this movie.

Would you look at that? I’m in the majority on this!

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Deception is one of those con-man themed drama/thrillers that were popular a few years back, starring Hugh Jackman (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Prestige) and Ewan McGregor (the Star Wars prequels, Moulin Rouge, Trainspotting, Down with Love). It was released in the UK and the USA on the 28th April 2008, but I never saw hide-nor-hair of it in any local cinemas.