Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay There are plenty of dazzling CGI effects in the big summer blockbusters, but few of them can produce the same sense of wonder as a physics-defying card trick performed by Ricky Jay, the subject of Molly Bernstein and Alan Edelstein's relentlessly entertaining documentary. A frequent collaborator of David Mamet, Jay is a prime example of Malcolm Gladwell's "Outlier" concept: He's studied magic his entire life (first performing on television at 7 years old) and he's surely long passed the 10,000-hour mark of shuffling and practicing with cards, his real passion. (The picture excerpts footage from the Mamet-directed Broadway show Ricky Jay and his 52 Assistants, viewable in its entirety on YouTube.) But as the subtitle implies, the movie is also about Jay's mentors, long-forgotten magicians such as Cardini, Al Flosso, and especially Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller, men who didn't teach him everything he knows so much as they inspired him to work hard and learn it all for himself. If you have a spare lifetime to devote, you might be able to figure out how he does his tricks on your own, because Jay ain't tellin' — and that's part of the fun.
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