November 12th, 2009 9:01am
|I guess I'm the only one of our official reviewers that can give this a fair review. Jeff and Eugene are too close to Max. I don't think the others really know him. Me? I've had several lovely dinners with Max and he stayed with us on his last visit to Phoenix. So I feel I have some insight into Max and his life, but am not close enough for this review to feel biased.
I'm going to use a modified version Max's own criteria for my review. Three questions need to be answered: Who is this person? What are they doing? Why should I care?
Who is Max Maven?
Max isn't easy to nail down. Anyone as intelligent and eclectic as Max is bound to have a complex personality. Regardless, the film does a really good job in this area. Not only do we get a lot of Max's history, we get to see how the events of his life have made him who he is. There's only so much that can be covered 48 minutes, but I feel they did a good job of pinpointing some of the most important moments that created this Fabulous Monster (taken from the subtitle of the film).
What story is Max trying to tell?
To help explain Max's story we're presented with a glimpse into his recent theatrical production: "Max Maven: Thinking in Person — An Evening of Knowing and Not Knowing." This is where the 48-minute timeframe limits our understanding of his work. The show is meant to be a complete theatrical experience. But because of the biographical nature of the film, we are only presented with clips. I'm not sure that the disjointed nature of these clips really provides a true sense of the "Max Maven experience." For that, you need to see him work live.
Why is Max's work worthy of our time and attention?
I think we should care because Max cares — deeply. Max is absolutely committed to his art. He lives it every moment of his life. He has probably contributed more to our art than anyone in history. As best I can tell, he does this selflessly. Much of his writing can be found in magazine articles for which I doubt he gets paid.
In watching this film, I was constantly reminded of the commitment Max has made to his art. It's apparent in all of his work, on stage and off. Not only does he love the art of magic, he wants to leave the art of magic better and stronger than he found it. This, I think, is why Max Maven's life and work are worthy of our time and attention.
Product info for Max Maven - A Fabulous Monster
Author: Donna ZuckerbrotAverage Rating: (2)Retail Price: $20.00
Meet a living enigma. Max Maven is a man who seems to know what you are thinking, he is known for performing what seem to be miracles with no possible explanation. He's famous among magicians - he's probably invented more magic tricks than anyone in the history of a field filled with eccentric genius. Can Max actually read minds or is he creating illusions based on his mastery of certain psychological insights? This profile of Max Maven is built around his lifelong exploration of the twilight regions of human psychology and some of the lesser known regions of show business. We join Max in a performance that is clever, intriguing and very mysterious.
Running Time Approximately 48min