Here is my in-depth review of CineMental by Nikolas Mavresis
When I review a product, I’d like to judge the product by itself alone. I will try to put myself into readers’ shoes and give the most honest review.
I paid full price of the product, and come with no affiliation with any magicians or dealers, thus as a consumer I want my readers to have full information about the thing they may be getting.
I will provide what is not said on the advertisement and details beyond the product itself.
If the product is good, I say it out loud. At the same time, if there is bad about the product, I don’t hesitate at all to say it.
I believe by giving you the most transparent information, you will have better knowledge to judge.
Helping my readers is my biggest goal with this review.
**WHAT YOU GET?**
You’ll get a custom deck of cards in the movie theme. The artworks on the cards are abstract representation of different famous classic movies, designed by Phil Smith
A link to the online tutorial is also included in the box.
**QUALITY OF THE GIMMICK**
The printing and design of the cards are fabulous. It looks like a souvenir deck but in good quality because it is printed by USPCC. It doesn’t feel or look like a magic prop at all. The deck also comes in a matching design box so it indeed enhance the overall theme nicely.
The decks come in 2 parts, each serving a different purpose. The principles are camouflaged in a very clever way, though it’s not original because there is gimmick deck (MSP by Anton James) out there using the exact same system. But I like this deck better because movies are meaningful and it’s easier to remember.
By the way, since the whole deck is necessary for the routine to work, you may want to keep it off from table where people have put the drinks on, because it may make the deck wet.
All in all, I am satisfied with what I receive. The quality, design, and the secrets of the deck are all top-notch in industry.
**QUALITY OF THE TUTORIAL**
The effect is well explained in the 41 minutes & 34 seconds long video. It is shot in a studio from a straight-ahead angle mainly, with occasional closeup shots. Though the video quality is nice, but it is too closeup so that sometimes you cannot see the deck on the table at all. Most of the shots are at chest level.
Length (minutes) of the main parts (I literally counted):
In Studio Performance- 4:38
Multiple Spectators Performance- 3:38
Multiple Spectators Explanation- 4:26
Live Performance- 4:42
Additional Ideas- 7:57
Final Thoughts- 4:16
‘In Studio Performance’ starts with a performance in studio for a single spectator. It is the main routine and was performed brilliantly. Even I am aware of the principles involved, I was still fooled because the performance is so smooth. You can return to this section later to learn about how to enhance your performance. However, one thing I am not particularly satisfied is the shuffle at the start of the effect. That was not convincing.
In ‘Explanation', the main routine is explained in details. The explanation is very clear. However, when they mentioned about the cue card, they are distracted by the card box and start talking about how nice the box is without going in-depth what the performer should do with the cue card if something is forgot. The solution maybe obvious to some learners but I would expect they give at least a way to learners with less experience.
In addition, when they talk about the setup, it sounds they are rushing and the reason is not very well explained (maybe they are too excited to go into teaching the effect). You will have no problem at learning how to set up but you may wonder why.
In ‘Multiple Spectators Performance’, a second routine using one part of the deck is performed. It is a well thought-out routine and the principle is well disguised.
In ‘Multiple Spectators Explanation’, the second routine is taught with good details. There is a nice subtlety taught to make a secret maneuver easy to do. It’s a nice touch that I’ve never seen before. There are also other small details discussed. All in all, I am quite satisfied with this session.
The live performance is not particular impressive but nice to have.
In ‘Additional Ideas’, one idea about what should be done when the performer forgot writing the prediction is taught. The idea is interesting but it’s not particularly elegant as the idea sounds very ad hoc. Then some ideas of shuffle are discussed. However, it’s not much helpful and I am quite surprised that they even forgot the name of Charlier Shuffle. Overall, I don’t think this session is very helpful to learners because it’s neither inspiring or deep enough.
To conclude, the production quality of the tutorial is OK-ish good as information is enough for learners to understand the secret and routines. Both effects are impressive. But there are more to be done with camera-work and idea session.
The routines are almost self-working though some memory works are involved.
There is no sleight-of-hands involved at all if you skip the shuffle. Beginners can do it almost immediately once they know the secret. (You don’t have to remember anything if you use the cue card)
There is no angle issue at all.
There is no strict requirement for clothing. But you may want to have pocket accessible to you.
**ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECT**
I will include my analysis of the effect in my product review. In this analysis, I will present my view on the strength and weakness of the effect. And will also go deeper with magic theory in mind.
Both routines in the tutorial looks like mental magic. As the effects are enveloped in the theme of movies, there are many presentational angles possible with human sensory reception. Since the trick is self-working, some performers may be tempted to rush the effects. Never do this! Since the method is well hidden, the effects should not be rushed at all. Good presentation can make this trick from good to great.
On the other hand, it’s a trick about movie but not all of us are movie lovers. Therefore, there is an inherited weakness in this effect that audience may not have emotional attachment to what they are seeing. Therefore, it’s better to pick audience who loves movie. You can ask before starting the effect.
- Emphasizing that you don’t touch the shuffled cards at all, you can allow audience to deal cards on the table and still be able to know the selection. This approach is completely hands-off and will fool even magicians.
- It’s better to cut a few cards from bottom to top of the deck in the 2nd phase. This makes the phase more safe with bigger leeway.
- You don’t have to reveal the movie by naming it, you can play the music or even show the trailer in some creative ways to make the revelation more dramatic.
**PROS ABOUT THE EFFECT**
- The deck is super clever
- Strong routine with unique presentation
- The price is very reasonable
- The deck can be used for other routines
**CONS ABOUT THE EFFECT**
- Many parts of the tutorial can be improved
The product is nicely produced and the secret is very clever.
There are at least few things you can use with this deck and thus it is not a one-trick pony.
There is no difficult sleight-of-hand involved and therefore suitable for any levels of performers.
I am satisfied with the quality of the product. At US$35, it is bang for bucks for this amazing effect.
Product Quality: 10/10
Video Quality: 7/10
Effectiveness of Tricks: 10/10
Cost Performance: 10/10
Final Score: 9.5/10
Thank you for reading.
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