An Honest Liar
Biography Comedy Documentary History
An Honest Liar
AN HONEST LIAR is a feature documentary about the world-famous magician, escape artist, and world-renowned enemy of deception, James 'The Amazing' Randi. The film brings to life Randi's intricate investigations that publicly exposed psychics, faith healers, and con-artists with quasi-religious fervor. A master deceiver who came out of the closet at the age of 81, Randi created fictional characters, fake psychics, and even turned his partner of 25 years, the artist Jose Alvarez, into a sham guru named Carlos. But when a shocking revelation in Randi's personal life is discovered, it isn't clear whether Randi is still the deceiver - or the deceived.
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Great way to learn about Randi's story
I admire Randi since I was a kid because he was passion about the
truth, and his effort to expose BS. I always hear about he was a
magician, but never got the chance to see him in those days. Gladly,
this documentary tell his story from the beginning to the present, so
there is a lot of footage of his magician days.The story sometimes jumps back and forward, but I think in a good way.
Overall is told chronologically.A long story compress in so few minutes. But don't feel like was too
short or too long.Also is great to see people that was involve in all those stories
talking about it in the present.If you are a fan of Randi, for sure you most watch it.
I loved this movie
This week a stunningly beautiful, brilliant and poignant new
documentary about James Randi comes out and it is as riveting as any
narrative film I have ever seen. "An Honest Liar: Truth and Deception
in the Life of James 'The Amazing' Randi" paints a luscious portrait of
James Randi and a fascinating history of the crusades that he has waged
in the name of honesty - as well as two provocative discrepancies in
his personal life.Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.And sometimes revealing untruths is even stranger than anything you can
wrap your mind around.James Randi is a vigilante. He is exceptionally bright, gifted,
articulate, audacious and relentless in a quest for truth that often
consists of denouncing psychics/magicians who fall below his moral
barometer. He feels that taking advantage of the limitations of
consciousness as entertainment is perfectly acceptable; however, taking
advantage of the limitations of consciousness to scam people for
financial gain or trying to pass it off as "science" is utterly
abhorrent.James Randi devised elaborate hoaxes over many years to prove that
renowned scientists could be easily fooled by magicians into thinking
that such gimmicks as psychokinesis (supposedly moving or influencing
objects with one's mind) were real and not optical illusions.For four decades Randi took particular umbrage with master showman Uri
Geller and publicly implored him in his book "The Truth About Uri
Geller" and on multiple television appearances to stop referring to
himself as a psychic. His main disgust was at the money wasted by
lauded institutions such as Stanford University investigating
illusionists such as Gellar. In the end, it is Uri Geller who sells
fake diamonds on QVC while James Randi's Million Dollar Paranormal
Challenge remains intact.
For me, this is a movie about a great professional magician, sadly
spoiled by a secondary personal relationship plot line introduced about
1/2 way though. This action erases the early cinematic and plot
perfection leaving the whole experience flawed. The movie started aimed
at one outcome, but then switches to a different target. The switch
comes across as contrived, sort of a mixed metaphor.The genre switches from comedy to tragedy, without an epic hero; the
second half tragic protagonist is not Randi. The movie shot a lot of
scene arrows, but at different targets, unnecessarily watering down the
entire effort.I came away liking and profoundly respecting the art and science of
James Randi, who is quite the magician in his own right and time,
turned detective and debunker of charlatans. His personal life was
artfully dealt with at first, then paraded like dirty laundry when it
wasn't. Maybe the storyteller's intent was to debunk the debunker, but
the magic of the reveal was lacking, not consequential, but incidental.
Therefore, the original comedic genre became a tragedy without pity or
fear.I recommend it for the first half alone, the part about the Amazing
Randi, his acclaimed magic and debunking. Still, maybe walk out 1/2 way
though when the protagonist shifts character unnecessarily in a
spoiling way, turning a great wine of a movie sour.
Read more IMDb reviews
"Fighting the fakers"
"An Honest Liar" (2014 release; 95 min.) is a documentary about the
life and works of James "The Amazing" Randi, a magician and escape
artist along the lines of the infamous Houdini. Like Houdini, Randi
later becomes a fierce opponent/prosecutor of those who lie to and
manipulate the public for personal and monetary gain (such as the
so-called faith healers and those who proclaim to channel the dead).Couple of comments: this documentary is co-directed by Tyler Measom
(previously of "Sons of Perdition") and Justin Weinsteiny (previously
of "Being Elmo"). In the early part of this documentary, we get an
introduction as to Randi's background. Let me admit upfront that I had
never heard of him. He left school at age 17 after having seen a
magician's show in Toronto, deciding that he wanted to become "the next
Houdini". By all means, Randi built a fabulous career (there are
multiple clips from the Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson). But
things get a lot more interesting of course, once Randi decides (in the
1980s) to devote his efforts to exposing the cheaters and manipulators.
The expose on self-proclaimed faith healer Peter Popoff is nothing
short of brilliant (and stunning). "We're fighting the fakers",
exclaims Randi. Towards the end of the documentary, when we get a taste
of Randi's current personal life, there are a couple of further twists
which I did not see coming."An Honest Liar" recently opened at my local art-house theater here in
Cincinnati, and I finally had a chance to see it on its second weekend.
The early evening screening where I saw this at was quite well
attended, somewhat to my surprise. In the end, I found "An Honest Liar"
an okay documentary, but not as compelling as certain other recent
documentaries like "Finding Vivian Maier", just to name that one.
Still, if you are into documentaries, "An Honest Liar" is worth
checking out, be it in the theater, or eventually on Amazon Instant
Video or DVD/Blu-ray.