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It begins with a frantic 9-1-1 call. Moments later, a gunshot. That’s the way to grab a viewer’s attention. And writer/director Chris Carden holds that attention and makes the most of it with “Redemption.”

It’s easy to see what the Johnstown Film Festival judges liked about this short, which took first place last weekend during this year’s event. Carden and his acting team deliver both plot twists and emotional punches in a minimal amount of time. The cast includes a strong performance from Windber native Michael A. Newcomer.

Though less than 10 minutes in length, “Redemption” feels long — not because it’s uninteresting, but because the viewer is left wondering what Pete will ultimately do with that gun in his mouth as the seconds drip by like reluctant beads of water from a leaky faucet. Kudos to Carden for cranking up the intensity with this film.

9 minutes and 38 seconds
Directed by Chris Carden
C-Squared Media


Negative reviews are often the easiest to write.

That’s because when a drink disgusts or repulses, normally you know why. Too bitter. Too sweet. Not bitter or sweet enough.

Oddly, Landshark bucked the trend. I’m not a fan, but can’t articulate why. It’s not overly heady, hoppy, malty, sugary or light. It’s not under-flavored, overly carbonated or uber-heavy.

More than anything, I guess it’s just unremarkable — that hum-along Top 40 hit that’s in everybody’s head even though nobody really likes it.

Apparently this stuff is the “house lager” for Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant chain.

Going by the beer’s generic taste, maybe Buffett should stick to margaritas. This so-called lager is no cheeseburger in paradise.