Friday, March 28, 2008


The normally silent half of the magician duo Penn and Teller gets to indulge in the spotlight a little in this DIARY OF THE DEAD finalist. (A few people were understandably upset by seeing this short make the list, given Teller's "professional" status, but given the rampant amateurism of many of the contestants, I think a little professionalism was needed to balance the scales.) The scenario--written and directed by Teller, along with Ezekiel Zabrowksi--documents the showman's final days as the last entertainer alive in Las Vegas (Penn having already turned into a zombie and shot--a bit I would've loved to have seen dramatized).

While certainly well made, the short is surprisingly bland, failing to mine the same quirky black humor Teller has become famous for. (There's a funny sequence as he tries to perform a magic trick for a zombie, but this fleeting moment is the only part that lives up to its potential.) Instead, it's more of a lone survivor type of story, with Teller making an unlikely protagonist, building to an unexpected, and unsatisfying, melancholy end note.

(See it at

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