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The Art of Pain (2008) Online

The Art of Pain (2008) Online
Original Title :
The Art of Pain
Genre :
Movie / Comedy
Year :
Directror :
Matt Brookens
Cast :
Marshall Bean,Lauren Ashley Bishop,Greg Brookens
Writer :
Matt Brookens
Budget :
Type :
Time :
1h 28min
Rating :

A lazy painter learns that great art comes from pain as his life is ruined by a ninja.

The Art of Pain (2008) Online

INSPIRE AN ARTIST, RUIN HIS LIFE - The peace of the mall movie theater is about to be shattered! Jack, a stagnated painter, must train new theater employee Marcus, a rage filled, motorcycle-riding martial artist. Marcus hits on Jack's actress girlfriend Sharon, and really gets the goat of comic-loving sci-fi geek, Nick. More tensions flare when Jack's boss announces a coveted career launching painting contest. Turns out that Marcus studies the art of Ninja under the diabolical, pastrami-loving Nobu. After dishing out a nasty kung fu beat down, Nobu decrees that until Marcus can demonstrate his creativity, he will never earn his black belt. With a psychotic need to prove himself boiling up, Marcus latches onto the words of his hero, zombie film maven George Romano: "Great art comes from great pain." Suddenly, Sharon and Marcus are in bed together and Jack has found some gut wrenching inspiration to paint with. Wowed by his friend's new zest for art, Nick presses Jack to begin ...
Credited cast:
Marshall Bean Marshall Bean - Peppito
Lauren Ashley Bishop Lauren Ashley Bishop - Sharon (as Lauren Bishop)
Greg Brookens Greg Brookens - Nick
Danielle Brothers Danielle Brothers - Martha Russell
Dale Chapman Dale Chapman - Nick's father
Wesley Chu Wesley Chu - Lead ninja
Keith Compton Keith Compton - Fratty McFrat
Anders Erickson Anders Erickson - Jack
Elliott Fredland Elliott Fredland - Rex
Kiel Frieden Kiel Frieden - Shoved theater patron
Nihilist Gelo Nihilist Gelo - Marcus (as J. Scott)
Jake Hames Jake Hames - Charlie
Patrick Higgs Patrick Higgs - Brother Francis
Arvin Jalandoon Arvin Jalandoon - Nobu
Lloyd Kaufman Lloyd Kaufman - George Romano

The movie theater where The Art of Pain was shot at is the historic Landmark at the Century Mall. The director, Matt Brookens, wrote the screenplay while working there as an usher. "I always wanted to see what would happen if somebody were to fall off that ledge in the middle of the mall," states Brookens. "I finally got to throw someone off in the film!"

User reviews



The Art of Pain was an interesting film. The story goes like this. Bad boy wants to impress his sensei and get his black belt. Sensei wants him to achieve something significant for him to receive the belt. Bad boy gets a job at the local cinema and meets girl. Bad boy figures out a way of achieving something great in life by tormenting her artistic boyfriend and becoming his muse. I don't want to spoil the rest of the film so I'll stop there in terms of content, but within the film are some funny moments (look out for the scene where the main girl is at the theatre practising in her role as a prostitute). It has some cool martial arts scenes, a vision of zombies taking over the cinema, and some good small roles like the projectionist, lloyd Kaufman as the director of the zombie film, and the sensei who is hilarious. The main problem with the film is it has no focus and ends kind of unexpectedly. The climax kind of sucks. It has potential as an independent movie and I would like to see what the directors come up with next, and the actors were decent enough. Hopefully in their next movie it sticks with one genre and stays strong throughout, instead of trying to put too much in and losing credibility as a great independent film. It is definitely worth the watch for its originality, but don't expect an independent masterpiece.


As a fan of independent film, I have screened the work of plenty of hopeful young artists, looking for some attention and a chance to make a living at something they love. Just by sheer odds, there are going to be a good number of stinkers in the bunch, but also some genuine surprises. "The Art of Pain" happened to be one of the latter.

Jack is an aspiring illustrator and painter who bides his time in a minimum wage movie theater job with his friend Nick and girlfriend Sharon. The arrival of a new employee, Marcus, creates chaos for everyone, particularly Jack, who Marcus adopts in a twisted attempt at creating his own legacy.

"The Art of Pain" takes its inspiration straight from the world of B-movies. A lot of movies like to ape martial arts and zombie film conventions, but most of them forget to build some character and story in to keep your interest beyond cheap thrills. The story of the slacker artist is also overdone by young filmmakers, but this version brings a new thematic twist with Marcus, an antagonist who is actually seeking to leave his creative mark on the world just like the hero, Jack. The result is a movie that delivers some fun through in its winking nods to genre, but not at the expense of the characters and a building plot.

Not to say "The Art of Pain" is a perfect film. It might benefit from slight trimming and some newbie mistakes stick out for those who watch movies relentlessly. The performances are above average for this kind of low budget film, but some are broad and others are more subtle.

The film is incredibly ambitious in terms of visual design. The opening sequence is a tribute to kung-fu films made to look vintage (a la "Grindhouse"). Marcus seems to ride in out of a 50s biker film, complete with a rear-projection backdrop. There is at least one elaborate visual effects-driven montage, and also a fun little sequence featuring creature illustrations that move among people. Some might be distracted by the variety, and the work isn't always perfect, but it's encouraging to see a first feature that understands the language of film visuals.

But in the world of independent film-making, I believe it all comes back to character and story, and the makers of "The Art of Pain" already have a good understanding of how these things affect audiences. I am eagerly anticipating the follow-up to this one.



Viewing "The Art of Pain" is a mind-boggling experience. Constantly things are happening that are not expected. If all you want is ridiculously expensive effects on giant screens in multiplexes and don't care too much about either plot or characterization I advise you to see the next new over-hyped blockbuster. If you understand that some films are made for less money but care for an interesting story, unexpected twists, great acting, good dialog and an original script (not to mention inventive directing of a kind that several overpaid Hollywood directors can take a hint from), "The Art Of Pain" is the one to check out!! At first people may expect a film that is like many in it's supposed "genre", as all the elements fans of modern horror are looking for are there. A brilliant twist of this film, however, is that they are never used in a way remotely like most other titles. The ninja's are a beautiful metaphor for the ridiculous way westerners are into everything that comes from various eastern cultures and make it their own – including an obviously American sensei who merely uses his eastern way of life as an excuse to release his cruelty. It is not strange that one of the pupils of his lessons that are way too far removed from their origins doesn't understand what it is all about anymore. Zombies in an empty movie-theater seem to represent their own audiences, resulting in a feeling of vertigo from the maelstrom of art and life imitating each other. Comics, always popular with many "genre-movie" fans find their way into this script in a natural way, with a fine nod to "Skunk Ape", the first film Brookens made with his brother Greg -who plays a beautiful part in "The Art Of Pain"- and which is available on the DVD "The Best Of Tromadance vol. 3".

"Great art comes from great pain" is a line delivered by a brilliantly cast Lloyd Kaufman (not without a lot of pain himself from being blacklisted by the big conglomerates and thus having great difficulty to have his masterpieces made available to the general audiences). Indeed the fact that the best art painter Jack delivers in the film is the result of pain suffered and inflicted by a third party seems to wonderfully depict the way the movie business works.

The hellish boredom of a job that is absolutely not fulfilling resulting in the lack of inspiration once the real life can start after office-hours is something many viewers will be able to relate to. The need to do something more with your life, but feeling drained out of all energy by a seemingly senseless day-job is something I experienced for quite some years.

In the 30 minute "Skunk Ape" it was already very clear the Brookens Brothers had a superb Pythonesque sense of humor, and a way of making the most seemingly far fetched subjects come together in a storyline – here their abilities are even stretched much further. The many layers that can be read underneath the story are a great thing in themselves, but the way the film builds to unexpected heights is unique. It certainly doesn't take a straight road. For a careless viewer the story might develop slowly, but in the end everything turns out to be there for a good reason as we reach the unexpected finale. The brilliant life-like dialogs make every second interesting, and the whole thing so much more realistic. There are moments where the film works like a Frank Zappa composition, never restricting itself to the limits of just one "genre". When you are dragged into the seriously delivered acting and the suspense of the storyline, you are suddenly put on the wrong foot entirely as at moments you least expect it the film suddenly bursts into hilarious and surrealistic humorous scenes that are sometimes even so short the next tense scene has already started before you have fully realized there was something different there for a while.

The DVD also includes deleted scenes, bloopers (including some with Lloyd Kaufman), another wonderfully insane short film by the Brookers Brothers ("Son of Rony"), a trailer for "Skunk Ape" introduced by the two brothers and more!! One superb package no serious fan of interesting independent cinema could do without! (Available at www.artofpainmovie.com/DVD.php)


"The Art of Pain" was selected as a winner from an international field for its imaginative plot, as well as the exciting pace of the action. Not only is it funny and well-written, but the acting, directing, special effects and technical aspects rival anything Hollywood has done lately--and you can learn something too. That's what I like about the Brookens brothers' films. They are not just a lot of silly action and mindless babble; they have a lot of thought behind them. Those who know Chicago will recognize many of the local landmarks. Greg Brookens is a master of timing and one of the best comic actors I've seen in any film, independent or studio. The rest of the cast was also very good. This film proves that you don't need to go to Hollywood to find talented actors and filmmakers.


What nonsense is The Art of Pain? An art movie which no one is supposed to understand or what? The plot was stupid, the acting plastic and dialogue clichéd. Come to think of it, there wasn't a plot at all. I paused every now and then to wonder whether I was watching a comedy, a thriller, an action movie or something written by an 8 year old to cheer his mum for her birthday party. This movie is not only not worth the film it took to record it, it's not even worth the paper used for the draft. There's only one way to go for the people involved after making a movie like this and that's down. All the way down to movie nowhereland.


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 last 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.


Art of Pain is an excellent example of all that is good in Independent film-making. A fun, amusing, well made feature that gives the viewer 90 minutes (or so) of solid entertainment. A mashup of styles and genres that does what films like this are supposed to do, entertain.

With quirky writing and cleaver dialogue the film pulls you along and keeps you chuckling all the way through. It's a film for people who get IT whatever IT is. And IT can be different for different people, that's why it's so good.

Definitely catch a screening if you can and hopefully you'll be able to grab it on DVD sooner rather than later.


It is obvious some folks do not understand campy and fun - not sure why some critics have been so harsh - delightful is deserved - maybe silly would be accurate. But overall a fun experience - keep up the work folks - I for one enjoyed watching a new genre being born. While not all actors were as accomplished as you would hope for the overall cast was more than adequate and I am guessing that the budget of the production did not allow for extensive casting or re-shooting. When you are watching the film you have to sit back and take in the concept and enjoy the idea that is being presented. With most movies - even the big budget extravaganzas you can find holes or weaknesses if you look at it hard enough but it is a movie - sit back relax and be entertained - and I found this movie entertaining.


THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER Posted Sep 25, 2008 @ 12:00 AM Artistic endeavor: "The Art of Pain" â€" an independent, feature-length dark-comedy film (with ninjas, zombies and starving artists).

Where you might have seen me or my work (or will soon): Our film is rocking the festival circuit right now. It recently won Best Feature Comedy at the Route 66 Film Festival in Springfield. In October, it'll play the Eerie Horror Film Festival in Erie, Penn., as well as the Thriller! Chiller! Film Fest in Grand Rapids, Mich. Can't make it? You can always get the limited edition DVD at www.artofpainmovie.com.

Day job: Graphic designer â€" a handy skill set that gets me work in any city and definitely helps with the movie posters and ad campaigns.

Twenty-word description of myself: Male bipedal omnivore, age 32, 6-feet 1-inch, green eyes, brown hair, 190 lbs., known for odd film-making behavior and kicking (butt).

Behind-the-scenes interests: Songwriting, drawing crazy cartoons, tortoise husbandry, unicorns and my hot GF.

Family: My younger brother, Greg, stars in "The Art of Pain" and lives in Chicago. Our mom, Connie, and our dad, Ralph, do the Springfield thang.

Time spent in Springfield: You mean time served in Springfield? That's how I felt about the place growing up. When I was 20, I moved to Chicago to attend Columbia College for film. This summer, having completed "The Art of Pain," an opportunity arose to make the move to Los Angeles â€" since I heard rumors they do a lot of movie-making out there, I took the plunge. So far, what I love most about Hollywood is the feeling that anything can happen. As the rest of the country enters fall, I realize that I have come to deeply appreciate Springfield. Where else can you get a horseshoe or Vic's Pizza? Springfield is like the Shire from "Lord of the Rings." Take care of it! First film-making moment: In Springfield, Greg and I were filming a scene in front of that Pink Elephant statue (the one with the glasses and martini glass). The scene involved an insane, rage-filled golfer slaughtering a confused hobo. It was the first of many, many film moments I've had where I stop and think, "My life is freakin' weird!" Proudest film-making moment: When "The Art of Pain" premiered at the Sunscreen Film Festival in Florida this year, we won the Audience Award. The cast and crew (who have become some of my best friends) and my family were there with me. We couldn't have asked for a better kick-off for the film. What a great reward for our hard work! Most embarrassing film-making moment: We shot "The Art of Pain" at a movie theater where I used to work. For a couple scenes, we needed the popcorn machine running. Well, I forgot to turn it off and we burned the whole batch to a crisp. Then, at 6 a.m., after all the cast and crew had left, my old manager made me stay behind to scrub the popper and restock the corn. "Ya missed a spot, Mr. Big Shot Director!" Something my colleagues don't know about me: I just got a phoenix tattoo on The Learning Channel's show "L.A. Ink," to commemorate "The Art of Pain." If I made the cut, it should air late November or early December. Corey Miller free-handed it on my shoulder and it looks freakin' sweet. Please don't tell my dad â€" he hates tattoos.

Something artistic I'd love to try: Web-isodes! Also, I want to make a 3-D movie with dinosaurs.

Something artistic I'd never try: Remaking a classic film that I love. Oh wait, that's not artistic! Filmmakers I look up to the most: Joe Swanberg. That guy can make an entertaining, creative film with no money.

Favorite filmmakers: My brother, Greg Brookens, the Coen brothers, David Lynch, Judd Apatow and, yeah, Steven Spielberg (though he's so "uncool" now).

Influences: The Internet, Apple computers, high definition, industry trends, cheap beer, my friends, pop culture and science.

Dream project: When I'm more seasoned, I am dying to do an epic fantasy/sci-fi trilogy in the vein of "Lord of the Rings." If Peter Jackson can start with "Bad Taste," I have hope.

Most important lesson learned: Swallow your pride, set the ego aside and remember, "It's who ya know!" Advice for those who'd like to do what I do: Be like the phoenix and rise from the ashes. CAW CAAAWW!!! Also, think marathon, not sprint.

Why I do it: Watch my film, "The Art of Pain" â€" it's all there!


I've been following these guys' careers for awhile now. Their Troma film 'Skunkape!?' was one of my all time favorite films for a long time with it's original comedy and a good take on an old legend.

So when I heard that they were making a full length feature, I knew I had to see it.

The movie is great as a comedy, but what really makes it stand out for me as that you feel with the characters. What happens to them matters to you, you want to see all of them succeed in what they are doing.

The humor was top notch and original. The ninja school segments were defiantly my favorite parts of the film. Matt Brookens knows what he's doing and what he's doing is pure art.

Lloyd Kaufman's cameo was really good. When he's guest starring in films, his cameos sometimes feel forced, as he's just there to be there (like Stan Lee with some of the Marvel films), but here, he's actually an important character. And you feel just as sorry for him in the film as the rest of the cast.

What can I say, except that I can't wait for the next movie by Brookens and his friends.

Plus, the special features was really entertaining. They have a couple of short films here (like the Son of Roni) that are so hilarious, you are going to love every minute of it!


There is a reason this won the audience choice award after its premiere at the 2008 Sunscreen Film Festival. It had the courage to do the demented. The dramatically unheard-of. The sorts of things that would make Hollywood producers scratch their heads and wonder how anyone could like it.

The Art of Pain is not a genre film, but includes numerous genre elements, and while a familiarity both with the conventions of both kung-fu and zombie movies add to the experience, no previous knowledge is really necessary to enjoy the taste of each this movie affords you; the characters flippantly discuss the purpose of the zombie film enough so that anyone could walk away feigning some sort of university expertise in the matter, and fights are fights--AOP's martial arts sequences don't compete with Tony Jaa, but are fun and furious and serve the story and style of the film perfectly.

As with any good film, at the heart of this story are some memorable characters: the happy-go-lucky lazy artist-turned tragic hero; the lovable comic book nerd whose only real-life skills are selling popcorn and playing the accordion, but who dreams of writing pulp comics about hot scientists and mythical beasts; the James Dean-style rebel who gets kicked out of ninja school for having a bad ninja attitude. Was that all one sentence?

The film's movie theater setting spoke personally to me, having worked in that business for a while. They realistically captured the essence of the theater-drone experience, from the boss, to the creepy projectionist, to the bathroom cleaning--though admittedly, I never had to clean zombies out of the bathroom.

This has become one of my favorite movies. If you come prepared for a weird, clever, original comedy, you will not be disappointed.


I was so unfortunate to have a friend that got hold of one of the copies at the festival. He was so proud that he made me watch it which i really count as intellectual assault! The acting is really poor, the plot is weird and just because you arbitrarily mix up genres doesn't mean you create a new one.

Don't believe the reviews on this one, the film crew seems to be pretty desperate and busy on writing them to make a few people watch it.

Nice effort guys, but everything you create is Disappointment. Solicit this film for what it is, a senseless, stupid, no-point-making, B-Ninja-Zombie-Trash-Film.

There are people out there who could like stuff like that, THESE are your customers, not the people you make expect Oscar-worthy performances with your crap!

2/10 for 2 to 3 benevolent laughs


Easy. The people who produce, direct, and act in the garbage review the movie themselves. Since very few people want to waste their time reviewing garbage, they don't bother to refute the stupid, obviously skewed reviews. Its pretty easy to spot these turd movies. If you haven't ever heard of it before, and it has any ten star reviews, some unethical [email protected] wrote a fake review for it to sucker you into watching it. This movie was so bad I couldn't get through the first twenty minutes of it. I didn't pay a dime to see it, but I felt as if the producers owed me my $14 back. If this movie made it to the theater and it sold one ticket, it would probably have made a profit. I'm betting everyone in the movie probably worked for free just so they could say "I was in a movie!". I think the production company trolled the soup kitchens for the acting and filming staff, paid them in garbage and cardboard, and they still didn't get their money's worth. I give this production 28 thumbs down, which means I had to hack off 26 human hands just to show you, the reader of this review, how strongly I disliked this movie. Avoid this steaming pile at all costs.