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The Art of Pain (2009)

Anders Erickson , John LaFlamboy , Matt Brookens  |  R |  DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Anders Erickson, John LaFlamboy, Lauren Bishop, Greg Brookens, Lloyd Kaufman
  • Directors: Matt Brookens
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 20
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Zabba Zabba Productions
  • DVD Release Date: September 1, 2008
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B001F4TP3S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #668,778 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Editorial Reviews

Review

FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS- Dem Brookens Boys is back! After introducing the festival world to the legendary Skunk Ape with their short loosely based on the stinky beast, Matt and Greg Brookens give us their first feature film. If you are unfamiliar with the brothers work, let me assure you that this is a cause for celebration. Written and directed by Matt Brookens and starring brother Greg, this feature length outing is jam packed with genre geek droolworthiness zombies, ninjas, comic books, Lloyd Kaufman talking about sticking drugs up his butt, nerd vengeance and a vicious dark comic streak reminiscent of teen suicide comedy Heathers. The Art of Pain has cult classic written all over it. Jack is an ar-teest. A painter. Well, he would be if he could pick up his paint brush again and get to work. Instead, he s content with his dull gig working at a movie theater along with his aspiring actress girlfriend, Sharon, and his aspiring comic book writer buddy, Nick, played by Greg Brookens. Life is rather pointless and uninspiring hustling popcorn and movie tickets until Marcus is hired at the theater. Marcus is a bad-ass, leather jacket clad ninja in training who is unable to meet his sensei s high expectations, thus keeping him from earning his black belt. Marcus sees himself as a failure, so he devises a fiendish little project, something that he believes he can finally see through. His project is Jack and the lesson he will teach him is that great art comes from great pain. So Marcus commences toying with Jack s life, starting with little things like turning his parents against him and stealing his girlfriend. It s enough to stir the master artist within Jack and he begins painting once again, this new pain inspired work held in the utmost regard and awe by anyone that sees it. But Marcus isn t satisfied. He needs to push this project further. And so things get homicidal. The Art of Pain pushes all the right buttons almost immediately. What really makes you spread your legs so quickly to happily receive this film is that only seconds after meeting the main characters, you like them, really like them and you re instantly sold. Lovably quirky performances are what draw you to these people as does the overall sharp comedic tone of the film that is oftentimes off-beat and unpredictable, but always hilarious so much so that you re still laughing when the film turns dark, violent and brutal. Again, much like Heathers, The Art of Pain blends sociopathic behavior with comedy perfectly in that it never pulls more to one side or the other. Both elements compliment each other and make for an entertainingly uncomfortable watch. With his first feature Matt Brookens has arrived. He clearly understands what it takes to entertain an audience, so if you know what s good for you, you ll let him entertain you someday. You are strongly encouraged to feel The Art of Pain. www dot artofpainmovie dot com --Filmthreat.com - Eric Campos

The Art of Pain I think I m going to start this review with one of those checklists of groovy content that Joe Bob Briggs does as a summary at the end of his reviews. So: zombies, ninjas, comic books, murder, Nathaniel Hawthorne parodies, double eye-pokes, swords, cartoon sequences of alien babes battling skunk apes, weed, motorbikes, jazz piano, camp bald cinema managers, hot dogs and Lloyd Kaufman. Do I need to write any more? The Art of Pain is an extraordinarily professional-looking indie feature and not at all the sort of Tromatic, psychotronic malarkey that one would expect from the above list. It s actually a well-crafted insight into the lives of a group of young cinema staff - sometimes touching, sometimes powerful - but with a hilarious ninja subplot and fantasy sequences that tick all the right boxes. www dot artofpainmovie dot com Anders Erickson (Lost Along the Way, Stand Alone) stars as Jack, a talented but bored/frustrated artist who works as concession manager in a Chicago cinema. His team consists of Sharon (actress/comedienne Lauren Bishop who is also a busy voice-over artist), an aspiring actress whom he is dating; Nick (Greg Brookens, brother of director Matt and co-director of several shorts before this), an amiable nerd who is writing an unpublished comic book that Jack is illustrating; and Stacey (Leena Kurishingal) who has occasional moments as a voice of reason but generally isn t given enough to do in the screenplay. Into this team comes pseudo-Brando tough guy Marcus (John LaFlamboy, who was also production designer and one of the three producers), a motorbikin bad boy who never removes his leather jacket, even when in bed. It doesn t take Marcus long to steal Sharon away from Jack, leading to a scene of Jack heckling his ex from the stalls while she is rehearsing a historical play called The Scarlet Letter 2. Marcus also manages to beat up film director George Romano (played by and introducing... Lil Lloyd Kauffman (sic)) who is attending a screening of his latest zombie epic. Manager Charlie (a terrific performance of understated, authoritarian camp from Jake Hames: Stump the Band) wants to sack Marcus but Romano asks for him to have one more chance because he reminds me of me at that age . Later, after smoking too much dope, Marcus hallucinates/dreams that he is being chased through the cinema by zombies including undead versions of his colleagues. What no-one at the cinema knows is that Marcus has a secret: he trained as a ninja under master sensei Nobu, played with straight-faced perfection and a just-silly-enough accent (which Marcus comments on) by Arvin Jalandoon, who is about as Japanese as I am. All the other students were awarded black belts but Marcus was refused because Nobu was not satisfied with his dedication and control. This leads to a number of great martial arts scenes as Marcus battles Nobu and/or his acolytes. Skilfully choreographed and directed, these fight scenes just made me wonder why British martial arts films can t do stuff like this and I think the problem is that British chop-socky flicks concentrate on the moves, approaching fights from the point of view of the actors, rather than concentrating on camera-work and sound effects, considering the audience s point of view first. Also British martial arts pictures could do with lightening up a bit. These things are meant to be entertainment. But I digress. My favourite line of dialogue that I have heard this year occurs in a tense scene where Nobu and Marcus face off against each other, just after Nobu has made a vague threat: Go on. No, I have finished. It was a haiku. Having stolen Jack s girlfriend, Marcus uses his ninja skills to stalk and murder Jack s best friend Nick, a likeable, accordian-playing, floppy-haired innocent. I particularly like... (see site for more) --MJ Simpson - One of the UK's leading genre film journalists

The Art of Pain Inspiration is a coy mistress. Many an artist has grappled with her elusive nature through the ages to achieve greatness. And while muses and narcotics have come to the aid of some struggling for the creative impulse, The Art of Pain reveals a more reliable method: absolute devastation, courtesy of a rampant ninja. Hot off of winning the Audience Award this spring at the Sunscreen Film Festival, Chicagoan writer/director Matt Brookens s The Art of Pain follows the mission of Marcus (John LaFlamboy), a greaser ninja desperate to win the approval of his demanding sensei (Arvin Jalandoon) and, consequently, his black belt. Marcus is told he lacks creativity and distinction, which he decides to remedy by exploiting the same qualities in someone else. After gaining employment at a multiplex, Marcus recognizes his new coworker Jack (Anders Erickson) from high school. Back then, Jack was an avid painter, but Marcus can see that the complacency born of his job and his pretty girlfriend Sharon (Lauren Bishop) are stifling his potential. The combination of an informative run-in with George Romano (actually played by Lloyd Kaufman of the Toxic Avenger series), and a drug-fueled trip that brings the zombie metaphor to life, lead Marcus to hatch a pain-inflicting plan. By systematically destroying Jack s sparse but content existence, Marcus hopes to wrench emotive paintings from him that will land him a contract to produce a mural for a new high rise. Jack s masterpieces would thus make Marcus a winner, apparently in accordance with the distributive property. His first step in releasing Jack s untapped talent is to start tapping his girlfriend, which leads to a hilarious public falling out between the lovers as well as an artistic awakening. And Marcus s tactics only get more brutal from there. Centering as it does on artistic impulses and the creative brain, The Art of Pain intuitively manifests this world in the relationship between Jack and his geeky best friend Nick (Greg Brookens). As the pair brainstorm about a comic they re making together featuring the mythological Skunk Ape, animated characters spill across the screen. Additionally, their shared visualization of the great beyond and even their commonplace conversations teem with the originality that Marcus covets. Meanwhile, Marcus inhabits a completely different universe from his coworkers. Ample showdowns with his sensei and fellow students take place in Chicago, but they achieve the imperial kung fu vibe. This is mainly thanks to the actors expert handling of the fight choreography, which often includes authentic weaponry. Marcus s appearance at the mundane movie theatre is thereby initially hard to fathom, but later on, his guerilla attacks profit from his eccentric image. The Art of Pain is built on a sadistic premise, but it s great fun watching it unfold. Characters like Peppito the perverted projectionist (Marshall Bean) and Charlie the effete manager (Jake Hames) pepper the theatre scenes, threatening to steal several of them. Also riotous to behold is the sheer number of ways someone can get his ass kicked; new weapons are literally invented for the cause. With an alchemized mixture of gore and jest, The Art of Pain has the ability to gag, slay, and -- above all -- entertain. www dot artofpainmovie dot com --duleynoted.net - Erin Duley

Product Description

About The Art of Pain INSPIRE AN ARTIST, RUIN HIS LIFE -- Jack works an easy job at the movie theater with his pal Nick, a sci-fi geek, and his aspiring actress girlfriend, Sharon. He used to be a pretty good painter, but there isn t much inspiration in this zombie-like existence. All of that is about to change. Enter Marcus, a surly ninja-in-training with something to prove. Fueled by disgust for Jack s apathy and a cruel sensei, Marcus takes it upon himself to teach a brutal lesson: Great art comes from great pain. What follows is a bloody trail of seduction, murder and maiming that only a ninja can inflict. Now, painting in a frenzy, Jack must fight not only for his art, but his life. For more, check out www dot artofpainmovie dot com WINNER- Audience Award- Sunscreen Film Festival 2008 WINNER- Best Feature Comedy- Route 66 Film festival 2008 BEST COMEDY- Action on Film Fest 2008 (nominee) OFFICIAL SELECTION- Delray Beach Film Festival 2008 OFFICIAL SELECTION- Audience Choice Film Festival 2008 OFFICIAL SELECTION- Oak Park Film Festival 2008

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bring the Pain...Home September 23, 2008
By Erin
Format:DVD
A must-see movie for anyone who's ever complained that zombies, ninjas, and disgruntled theater employees don't share enough screen time. Hilarious characters, high-impact fight scenes, and a twisted-in-a-good-way plot make "Art of Pain" a jim dandy of a discovery.
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