Category Archives: comedy

Coup de Cinema (2011)

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Coup de Cinema is about a group of filmmakers at a production company hijacking the film they’re all working on because “man, does it ever suck and we’re tired of making crappy films, so let’s heist it to make it not of the suck”. Sounded fun – film within a film, deliberately bad acting because the film they’re originally working on is so god awful – good stuff! It ended up being pretty cute too – totes adorbs as I like to say. There were a few less cute moments, however, that weighed it down a bit.

A film crew hijacks their company’s current production and improves it behind the director’s back.

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How dare you suggest we would heist your movie? We call shenanigans!

Let’s start with the good:

  • Buster Owens is the BEST. He’s the guy in the red jacket vest thing up above and he is my favorite character here. The actor is wonderful and his character is…honest, for a lack of a better way to put it. He rings true. Totes love him.
  • I love how this film conveys the sense of fun & passion involved in film-making. You need both to make a film and this has it in spades. I also enjoyed the involvement of the pretentious assholes because, man, do you run across those in the film/theatre community. The representation of film-making is pretty spot on is what I’m saying.
  • The film within a film is HILARIOUS. Like, I’m not entirely sure what the plot is but it involves some Indiana Jones-ish character, a damsel in distress, ninjas (I think?), a jungle, and terrible dialogue. I would SO watch that movie.
  • The director of the original terrible movie is so delightfully clueless and arrogant. He has some great one-liners – “maybe it’s not working because they’re in an evergreen forest in winter and they’re supposed to be in a jungle?”…Director: “no. no, that’s not it”.
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I am the best character in this movie. K, thx, bai

Now, for the not necessarily bad, but things I liked less:

  • One character starts out sounding distinctly NOT Scottish, but by the end is very Scottish?? Am unsure if my hearing has gone to shit or if that was a thing. While confusing, I definitely enjoyed his later accent.
  • At one point, the heisting crews’ video files all get deleted from the computer. They go to great lengths to recover it (stalking & a foot chase around town), but I couldn’t help thinking “Why don’t they just recover it from the computer itself? Nothing is ever truly gone, even if you delete it. That would’ve been way less work.”
  • There are definitely some silly elements happening in this film, none more so than the ending. The melodrama is laid on thick and it was a little much. As much of a dick as the clueless director was, what he does at the end seems a bit over the top and not entirely in character? And then everything is resolved fairly quickly which is a bit unrealistic. “Aww, you just tried to commit violence at me? It’s cool, man. Totes.” is basically what happened.
  • I hate the main character, Miles. I legitimately and adamantly did not like him. He’s an asshole. What made me dislike him most though was the running theme of him liking a friend of his. I have no idea if this was his best friend or a former girlfriend or a new friend – that wasn’t clear. What was clear was that he dug her, heisted the movie to impress her, and was a total jerk to her. Not only did he throw a tantrum when he found out she had a boyfriend and didn’t like him (seriously grow tf up dude) but he was kind of a jerk to her the whole time. He insulted her livelihood, ffs. I wouldn’t go out with him either.
  • The whole “Miles likes his friend” plotline felt entirely unnecessary. It didn’t add anything to the film; it was kind of distracting tbh. We kept getting scenes every once in awhile of them talking awkwardly on the phone and it took away from the actual heist story. I don’t know if it was just used so she could be the catalyst for Miles wanting to heist the film in the first place, but I think there could have easily been another catalyst that fit into the overarching themes much more smoothly. I think Miles being “what the actual bloody hell kind of films is this production company making? Oh god, oh god, my eyes.” was really reason enough to heist a film to make it better.
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Not interested, dude. You’re kinda a jerk.

So. Overall, Coup de Cinema is a fun film. It had a lot going on for it, but there were definitely elements that needed some work. The majority of the characters were a blast, Buster Owens is a doll, and I’m glad I watched it. Just, maybe next time make the main character a bit more likeable.

The film is currently on Amazon Prime Video, so you can watch it for FREE! Go on, hop on over and check it out. (Just be sure to yell at Miles a lot like I did. ;))

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Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell

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Let me preface this by saying that the only reason I watched this (the ONLY reason) was because of the title. 😂 I haven’t watched a Tremors movie since I saw the original with my parents way the hell back in 1990 (my mother loving Reba McEntire was the only reason we watched THAT one). I hated the original – the worms totally freaked me out as a kid, lol – but this title was just too great to resist. And, oh, it did not disappoint. So much badness, so much hilarity. *sighs*

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Ass blaster!!!

There was so much going on – and having missed the majority of the series, so much I was confused about – that I took notes. Enjoy the stream of consciousness that is Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell.

  • Oh, hey, Michael Gross! Watcha yelling at that IRS guy for? Oh, you are going to lose your country store for some reason. No worries, I’m sure that won’t be an issue in 10 minutes or so.
  • Well, hello there, Jamie Kennedy! Where the hell have you been?
  • Yikes. Worm thingies in the Arctic.
  • Wait? Flying tremors thingies?? Called “ass blasters” -WTF?
  • Pretty sure I would’ve had a reaction to going down in a plane with an alcoholic pilot, but sure, okay. Not an issue for Gross or Kennedy. They’re hardcore.
  • “Arctic heatwave” – seems to be an oxymoron…
  • Calls meeting an ass blaster whilst in the plane “a dogfight” when really they just let the thing run into them, lmao. Nice save. 
  • DARPA has trained dolphins to carry bombs & has created cyborg insects?? Jfc.
  • Ass blasters breathe fire?? Why are there dragons? (Are these things SERIOUSLY called “ass blasters”??)
  • Awwww, look at Jamie Kennedy macking on the Elizabeth Olson lookalike
  • “trying to get sweet with me” are words I have never said nor will I ever say.
  • “I have balls of steel. My balls are stainless steel. My balls are in the Guinness book of balls.”
  • The ass blasters have sonic voices now too? The fuck happened to this series, lololol?
  • Dude, they explode into fire when they die. Pretty. And kickass.
  • And their sonic voice thing lasts after they die and causes visions? So confused.
  • Gross has a tapeworm that’s causing the sonic voice headache/visions?
  • Every woman working in the field of science/geology/wtf-scienceology is really pretty, but all the men in these fields are very much NOT.
  • Aw, they did a JAWS tribute! Graboid in the water!
  • Wait, he ALSO has a parasitic organism on top of the tapeworm they removed? And he’s infected with a toxin from a graboid? 
  • Graboid PTSD sucks
  • Have to extract antibodies from a live graboid to save Gross. Because, of course.
  • These people are so dumb. They’re not even carrying swords or knives to cut off the graboid tentacle thingies. Just guns. They could’ve saved that girl if they’d just had a freaking sword, for fucks’ sake. Or an ax. A sharp object is my point.
  • Obviously, this truck will outrun the graboid/ass blasters!
  • Did they just leave that guy out there on the water tower thingie by himself? Nice.
  • Time to go on a worm hunt!
  • Oh good, the guy they ditched on the tower is still alive. You go, guy!
  • No, I’d rather die than go pantsless because I’m not wearing underwear!
  • How is a guy pissing such a huge distraction for the worms?
  • Wait, Gross is Kennedy’s father?? When did this happen?
  • He named the worm “sally soul-smasher” after his ex. *giggles*
  • Who’s gonna pay for all this damage?
  • Oh, they’re making bombs now! Okay.
  • Guys, now is not the time for family drama…
  • Uh-oh, looks like tower guy is gonna get eaten.
  • Ew, graboid goo.
  • What does DARPA have to do with the IRS?
  • How dare you try to save my life, you bastard!!
  • So lost on what their great plan is.
  • Huh, okay. I guess that plan to catch it didn’t suck.
  • Thank fucking god someone used a freaking sharp object.
  • Could’ve lived without old man butt…
  • Aw, all that work to save that old cranky jerkface and he’s gonna die anyway?
  • Wait, no, now he’s living? 
  • “How do you not die? You never die!”
  • EW. Why are you kissing the guy covered in graboid goo? Save it for when he’s clean!
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Name a more iconic father/son duo. Go on, I’ll wait.

And there you have the gist of TREMORS: A COLD DAY IN HELL, a delightfully terrible film about giant worm thingies that not only jump out of the ground but now also apparently fly and spit fire (because, of course, they do). There’s family drama and stupid situations and idiot people doing idiot things – pretty funny stuff! No clue how this one holds up to the rest of the TREMORS series, so feel free to fill me in, because I’m honestly kind of curious. Now excuse me while I go watch something good. 😉

Do Me a Solid for My B-day!

Ahh, September is such a crazy month! Pretty much EVERYONE I know has a birthday this month (including my beautiful and amazing niece, who turned 7!), so things get busy. And TODAY is actually MY b-day, so I’m here to ask any & all my lovely buds in the Portland area for a birthday gift (that honestly is more a gift to YOU!).

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Remember the kickawesome, amazeballs, “OMG WTF?”, swoon-worthy, “everything is magical” movie NEIL STRYKER & THE TYRANT OF TIME from the Portland Film Fest? The one I fell in love with (and the one where I fell in love with Darrel Freeway ;))? WELL, guess what? Turns out, there is ONE MORE showing TOMORROW, Friday, September 23rd of NEIL STRYKER, in Portland, at Clinton Street Theater, at 8PM, with the Oregon Independent Film Festival! (That was A LOT of commas…) So if you love me – if you love movies – if you love yourself – you’ll get thee to the Clinton Street Theater tomorrow at 8PM, if you’re within, say…a 60 mile radius? 🙂 You WON’T regret it. (C’mon, I would never steer you guys wrong. Right, E?? ;)) Get your tickets HERE, then get your asses in those seats, and prepare to *giggle* said asses off.

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And thank you in advance for making me a very, very happy birthday girl. 🙂 (If you do go watch, come back and share your review because I really wanna *squee* with people over this one!)

You guys rock. ❤

Middle Man

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mid·dle·man: /ˈmidlˌman/ – a person who arranges business or political deals between other people.

Also known as the go-between, or the manipulator, or the “wait, what did I just really agree to, asshole??” guy. And in Lenny Freeman’s case, it refers to a hitchhiker named Hitch (yes, I know), who may or may not have roped him into a deal with the devil himself. Oops.

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Take me back to the start…

Lenny Freeman’s dream of being a famous comedian is about to become a nightmare. Not only is he stuck in a dead end accounting job, Lenny has a bigger problem — Lenny is not funny. When his mother suddenly dies, he quits his job and heads to Vegas in search of fame. But along the way, a mysterious hitchhiker lures him into a desert-town killing spree with a dark and twisted result – as the bodies pile up, Lenny actually becomes funnier and funnier.

Another Portland Film Fest selection, MIDDLE MAN definitely shows us that the devil is in the details (sometimes literally) and you should, perhaps, be careful what you wish for. Personally, I don’t know what the big deal is to Lenny – couple of dead people vs. guaranteed stardom…?? (Kidding, kidding! #totes) And to think it all starts with one jerkface heckler (don’t be jerkfaces, people. It leads nowhere good!). And everyone, just don’t pick up hitchhikers, especially ones named Hitch, because C’MON! And if a person you just met starts trying to convince you that they can absolutely be your manager and help make you famous, etc. etc., just NO. And for fucks’ sake, if you wake up after a night of drinking with a new friend and there’s a dead person in front of you that you don’t remember killing but your new friends says, yep, you must’ve – RUN. AWAY.

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Oh shit!

I guess it’s not entirely Lenny’s fault. He was stuck living somewhere in the 50s and didn’t seem entirely aware of the dangers of now. (And by that I mean, kind of how my parents like to pretend that we all live in an episode of THE ANDY GRIFFITH show). No, Lenny seemed to be a very kind, but VERY oblivious to anything not related to him, sorta guy. Hence why his stand-up act wasn’t very good. He grew up listening to comedians from the Ed Asner/Milton Berle era(s) and never moved past their comedy into his own style (a style which should’ve apparently included a lot of misogynistic sex “jokes” according to his competition at the club). BUT when people started dying, Lenny kept getting funnier and funnier.(Maybe he got their funny as it left their bodies?)

I liked the style of this film – where it was set in contemporary times but with Lenny’s car, attitude and certain styles of clothing, etc. seemed to be a throw-back to the 50s. The nostalgia was definitely strong with this one! And the desert landscapes were absolutely GORGEOUS. (Desert = scary because desert has sunshine, but desert is also so so pretty.)

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And at the beginning…

Jim O’Heir could NOT have been anymore perfect as “Lenny”. Oblivious, slightly charming, freaked the fuck out, happy, panicked, slightly crazy…his portrayal of Lenny’s rise to “stardom” and subsequent downfall before the fact was A+. Andrew J. West as “Hitch” was an endearing ball of sunshine…no, wait. I meant to say, one crazy motherfucker. We, the audience, know something’s off with him early on, but he manages to keep his homicidal tendencies on the down low from Lenny for at least…I dunno, like 15 hours? West plays “Hitch” as constantly on edge, walking a fine line between “will I fuck you up?” and “oops, that was totes an accident! Kinda…”, a line that another actor well might have stepped over early on in the film. West kept it all tightly reined in till needed though and was magnificent. He was definitely my favorite thing about MIDDLE MAN.

Unfortunately, overall, despite it’s dark comedic overtones and West’s fabulous performance, I wasn’t a huge fan of MIDDLE MAN. While I understood the point of all the death, I also got bored watching essentially the exact same thing happen 3 or 4 times. The ending – the very last scene – was so fucking kickass that I’m still thinking about it, but otherwise, I found the film kind of “meh”. It was in no way bad and was actually quite well done, so I think it was just the length and repetition that soured me on it. Still, I definitely think it’s worth watching, especially if dark comedy is your thing, so check out the trailer and then tell me your thoughts!

Neil Stryker & The Tyrant of Time

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What madcap, steampunk, nonsensical adventure was this?? NEIL STRYKER & THE TYRANT OF TIME is like DOCTOR WHO on crack (and we all know that DOCTOR WHO is already on something, so hot damn!) and the result is absolutely GLORIOUS. Like, hi, move over Indiana Jones, a new action hero has stolen my heart – and he’s ridiculously emotionless, gravelly voiced and entirely capable of handling himself around robots (because YES, THERE ARE ROBOTS IN THIS MOVIE!!!). (And yes, I WILL apparently be using my caps lock key a lot.)

So Neil Stryker is a dude, on suspension from his job as…okay, I never really understood exactly what he did but kind of like the military + secret government operation + spies thing? Unfortunately for the world, Neil’s ex-mentor, the MAD scientist – complete with white lab coat, crazy sticky-uppy hair and crazy goggle glasses – has finally set in motion his dastardly plan to go back in time through the time portal he created to…steal a bunch of toys on Christmas Eve and have THE SEX (as E. would say) with Mrs. Claus! NOOOOO!!! Along the way, the mad scientist also kidnaps Neil’s son, so there’s that. Also the mad scientist is MAAADDDDD, which just leads to all sorts of shenanigans and tom-foolery. Oh, and he has a sidekick (of course) named Darrel who’s robotically challenged, musically inclined, and sneaky planning his own…uh, sneaky plan. 😉 Darrel is actually my favorite character of the whole piece (sorry, Neil! I love you but I love Darrel more because he sings!), which makes sense, because his vibe is the epitome of “bad boy”, which media and society has conditioned women to view as totally normal and moreso, absolutely romantic (“omg, he got so mad he punched a wall? That’s soooo romantic – look how passionate he is about you! *sighs*” *rolls eyes so hard they fall out of head*). Anyway, despite his bad boy vibe, Darrel is more cartoon villain than romantic villain (think Dr. Horrible), so whatever, I dig him.

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In fact, the whole movie is a cartoon come to life, with over-the-top…well, EVERYTHING. It’s a complete and total farce, and it’s AMAZING. Guys, there’s cars that fly! Robots! Goblins!! (I honestly have no idea WHY there were goblins, got totally lost there, but dudes – goblins!!- and they were adorable and evil and so cute, and then there was the Russian guy and the vodka…like The Fireys in LABYRINTH! Kinda…). There’s time travel! Souvenirs! Explosions! HEADS exploding! This movie has it ALL. It’s an 80s throwback that hits its mark perfectly.

In fact, those super kickawesome, evil, adorable goblins? Looked like they were right out of the Henson labs. They were brilliant. This film was shot entirely in Oregon and parts of Washington over the course of 9 years, and every single set, effect, every puppet was created by a Portland artist. Now THAT is what I like to see in homegrown cinema. Especially when the result is something as laugh out loud funny and enjoyable as this.

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See how cute this little guy is?!?

The sets were kick ass. The small amount of CGI was almost perfect (the explosions were a little off and fake looking, but they also might have been that way on purpose to fit the 80s theme, I’m not sure). The costumes were fabulous. The actors – ugh, I don’t think there was anyone in this films that I DIDN’T like and that rarely happens. Nic Costa (Darrel) captures the “sidekick craving more” trope perfectly. Rob Taylor as Neil Stryker is hilariously apathetic as the hero (anti-hero?) of the piece. And Rob Taylor as the Mad Scientist is ridiculously funny at being woefully inept. Oh yes, you did read that correctly – Neil and MS were played by the same guy – and I had NO freaking clue till the end of the movie when the credits came around! Not one inkling. Holy fuck, I loved this movie.

Currently playing at the Portland Film FestNEIL STRYKER & THE TYRANT OF TIME is a side-splittingly funny piece of comedy that had me alternately shaking my head at the melodrama, then giggling uncontrollably. With a bit of everything, it’s a madcap adventure of the very best kind – and there damn well better be a sequel in the making. I’m willing to follow Neil Stryker through the universe and time, so c’mon guys, let’s get to more adventuring!

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Oh yeah, and watch the trailer below to get a taste of the wacky wildness that is Neil Stryker!

Neil Stryker and the Tyrant of Time TRAILER 2016 from Rob Taylor on Vimeo.

Guess Who’s Back? Back Again?

Shady’s back – tell a friend! *dance break* Oops, sorry, got a little excited there for a minute…Anyway, I’m back (for today at least. and later this week. then hopefully forever and ever and ever like that creepy clowndoll you can’t get rid of but being ill makes life rarely go as planned, so we’ll see. right? 😉 ) WHY am I here? To let y’all know that the Portland Film Fest is back!!

Remember AIMY IN A CAGE from last year? The mind-blowingly, amazingly, freakishly, insanely beautiful love child of John Waters and Marc Caro/Jean-Pierre Jeunet (that is currently on Amazon Prime – hint, hint, nudge, nudge)? It was one of the AMAZING pieces from last year’s festival and this year’s line-up promises to be just as interesting! I’ll be covering the festival and reviewing films from it for the next couple of weeks, and there’s just so much diversity going on here – there are films on pinball wizards; accountants dying to be stand-up comedians; Ovarian Psycos; pot growers; guys with allergies to the sun; haunted Mediterranean islands; politically-conscious indie musicals (YES!!!); family dramas; goat farming; gang life vs. street fashion; superstar role models; and MORE…*deep breath* Whew, that’s a lot of film! Obviously, I can’t get to them all, but I’ll be getting to as many films as I can. If you’re IN Portland, however, I HIGHLY suggest you go watch these beauts for yourself!


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The fourth annual Portland Film Festival will take place August 29 – September 5, 2016, at Portland’s iconic Laurelhurst Theater, and will include over 20 educational panels & forums, 12 archival presentations, and many parties, events, and industry networking opportunities throughout the week. Established in 2013, the Portland Film Festival is one of Oregon’s largest film festivals, and was named “one of the coolest film festivals in the world,” by MovieMaker Magazine. This year, the festival has programmed a near equal balance of films from men and women, furthering the festival’s commitment to supporting diverse voices and visions.

“This year’s screenings, panels, and programs are an exciting cross-section of icons of classic cinema, engaging new filmmakers, and the best of modern indie film. We’re truly proud to bring this year’s eclectic program to local audiences. We’re also thrilled that, for the first time, all of our films will screen at Portland’s historic Laurelhurst Theatre. This year’s festival will be a not-to- be-missed event,” said Josh Leake, Portland Film Festival Founder and Executive Director.

The festival will present two opening and closing night films (a documentary and a narrative film on each night) and feature films in the following sections: Narrative Competition Feature, Documentary Competition Feature, Narrative Spotlight, Stranger Than Fiction, Tribute: Visionaries, and Milestones. New this year, the festival has created a section to screen classic films from the 70’s and 80’s, and will also be honoring two iconic writers, Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club, Choke) and William F. Nolan (Logan’s Run).

Visit their site for full deets and list of films!

Counseling: Episode 2 – Creativity

After last week’s spot of “teamwork”, can the boys handle a bit of creativity?

 

Counseling – The Webseries

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What’s this? The webseries I co-wrote is FINALLY here? It premiered TODAY?? Indeed it is and indeed it did!

COUNSELING tells the tale of Matt and Tom, who seek the assistance of counselor, Dr. Robbins, in order to become more upstanding members of society. Does it go well? Does it go poorly? Do they become the most upstanding of upstandingest people ever? Well…as I say in my interview:

I really wanted to write two really awful people and make people really like them.

Take that as you will. 😉

So head on over and check out my interview, then watch the premiere episode of COUNSELING below! (RATED R for language and crass humor – aka E., I think you will like)

Total Performance

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Ahhh, now THIS was a film I enjoyed! Total Performance was the total package, y’all. It had the right amount of comedy and drama; the acting was fab and I REALLY dug some of the camerawork, yo. So what’s it about? Well, that’s part of what makes it so fun…

The film is about Cori, an actress, but her main gig is a little bit different. She works for a company that employs actors to play opposite real people who want to rehearse a difficult conversation. A breakup, a firing, or even an embarrassing confession: the company that she works for provides a living, breathing ‘sparring dummy’ for their clients. Essentially, she gets paid to go around fighting with people. It’s awesome. There are some obvious pitfalls, of course, like with ANY job, but for reals, how easy is this gig?? We see Cori on a few jobs…we see her on a date…we see her on an actual audition…we see hope in the comedic yet oddly touching and sad ending. The film is under 20 minutes but as time flew by, it felt as if it was only 5 minutes.

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I found Tory Berner (Cori) utterly fantastic. Her face is SO expressive and she has this almost wide-eyed naivete about her that’s completely charming. I would watch her in just about anything. My favorite shots were done during the date scene. They weren’t anything fancy but something in them resonated. In fact, I think you’ll find that the whole film resonates as it’s so easily relatable to all.

That said, you should head over to Facebook and give ’em some love, and  to find out where you too can watch this stellar TOTAL PERFORMANCE!

Please Punish Me

Please Punish Me

PLEASE PUNISH ME, is a super cute comedy about a guy getting his ass whipped. Yeah, I realize that the words “ass whipped” and “cute” aren’t typically used together but really, trust me on this one, guys. It’s the story of a businessman who is so overly blessed, that he seeks to be “punished” for his curse. Thus entering the “Punish Me Palace” in the above photo. Cute S&M, who knew?

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PLEASE PUNISH ME is just under 15 minutes but it gets its job done well. The characters were more well-rounded than some I’ve seen in recent “features”, and while the film doesn’t necessarily take us anywhere new or special, that’s totally fine because you’ll be enjoying the ride nonetheless. The businessman is a fabulous character – love the actor (David Sackal, I believe) – who is just so miserably unhappy because of his neverending happiness. It’s a fun concept to play around with, for sure. Then there were the secondary characters of the “Punish Me Palace’s” receptionist and (I guess) head dominatrix (?), who were both equally funny and stole their scenes. You’ve also got some REALLY nice camera work going on here. I absolutely LOVED the closing shot of the businessman’s dominatrix laying her mask down on the bed. It doesn’t sound like much, I realize, but it was beautiful. And you can never go wrong with whippings. Just sayin’. 😉

Kudos to writer, Tom Paolino, and director, Chris Esper, on an incredibly well-made (and funny) short. Keep up the awesome work guys!