Archive for the Cartoon Category

‘Cosplay Melee’ Premiere: Swing for the Fences!

Posted in Action, Anime, Cartoon, comedy, Comics, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, Historical, horror, Movies, Musical, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2017 by aliciamovie

Cosplay_Melee_online

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

So the SyFy channel is taking another stab at the fandom with the mostest, the cosplayers! You know, those insane peoples who like to make their own, often movable, skit-able, even stage and screen-ready costumes, to bring their favorite fandoms to life! One can’t even say it’s a kids or younglings game anymore, in the premiere episode one of the contestants was over 40. This is a fandom that people of all ages, genders, colors and backgrounds love, and is generally acknowledged by true cosplayers as all-inclusive, meaning no-one should ever be excluded or discouraged from cosplaying, for really any reason. (The so-called Ambassadress of Cosplay, Yaya Han, got herself some disapproval after she claimed on the short-lived SyFy show Heroes of Cosplay that cosplaying isn’t necessarily for people with larger body types. And that was the nice way of re-wording what she said.)

Cosplay is officially a full-fledged fandom these days, rather than any kind of hobby. And it would have to be, considering cosplay can now cost you would not believe how much money, often to make a single costume replication absolutely spot-on perfect, and yet still be able to wander around conventions wearing it the entire time, of course posing for multiple pictures too. Cosplayers rarely get paid (I wanted to say never but times are changing and cosplayers are being hired to advertise video games and such now), and the making of these fan-atical costumes require a ton of work, time, and energy. I think everyone should try it, but honestly not everyone can do a good Cosplay. If we’re gonna have a game show based around the ability to Cosplay, it had better be good, better, best, a passion, an obsession, a love that is almost scary. And that’s actually what this new show seems to be presenting, thank goodness.

We have a host who is also a judge, Yvette Nicole Brown, of Community fame and apparently a huge fangirl of all things geeky; LeeAnna Vamp, named as one of the “Best Comic-Con Cosplayers of All Time” and nerdy fashion model, fan-atic, and all-around jane of all things geekery; and Christian Beckman, builder, costume designer, creator, President of Quantum Creation FX, Inc., his creations have adorned movies like Tron: Legacy, Men In Black 3, and Ender’s Game, just to name a few. Basically, we have the “everyman, I love everything” Judge (Brown), the “make it pretty” Judge (Vamp), and the “make it work” Judge (Beckman); that totally works for me.

Four contestant cosplayers come in to the lab, very similar to the one they have for Face Off, they get given the theme for this contest, and then they go by rounds to get to this weeks winner. The pilot episode theme is Space Opera, and the opening challenge is to begin from the head down, with a helmet or headgear for your original character from whatever fandom you’ve chosen. On to our contestants!

Fred, the eldest at some 40+, loves him some SciFi, and of course the gateway drug to that world was inevitably Star Trek, so guess which space opera he picked for his character. Xavier is the tall and very quiet black guy, the huge Star Wars fan who’s already made a fan-film from the ‘verse and making that armor was what got him into cosplaying in the first place, so his characters theme is chosen too. Grace is a cop in real life, somehow even with that incomprehensibly long red hair, so she chooses a bounty hunter character in the Guardians of the Galaxy universe, where badass women abound, as it should be. And finally, Alicia of the mermaid hair is mildly uncomfortable in this genre, so she chooses the world of Chronicles of Riddick for her character, with their Necromonger armor as inspiration.

The first round concludes and while I didn’t agree with the judges’ elimination choice (as often happens on these kinds of SyFy shows), I stuck around to see what the remaining contestants would come up with and who would win the $10,000 prize. Round two consisted of mechanical parts being presented to the players, that they had to make some sort of flying jet-pack doohickey with as part of their characters’ costume. Hot glue, flying craft foam and mayhem ensue.

In the end, the quiet Star Wars fan who was bullied as a child took home the win, as his costume was the most cohesive and easily read as being from the Star Wars universe. The judges were all kind and helpful and reluctant to choose one over another and thereby eliminate anyone, but I felt that’s simply because they wanted to encourage the players to continue doing what they love, cosplay, and not play up any lack on their part that caused the loss of the contest.

So far it’s a fairly standard SyFy contest show, in the vein of Face Off and the like, that you could actually learn cosplay techniques from if you pay attention. Not everyone has access to giant portable heaters and hot glue guns and craft foam with designations like they came from an aircraft carrier, but the show is making sure to name at least some of the things they’re using, and sometimes suggesting cheaper alternatives. It’s a fun little show and worth giving a try at least once.

Celebrate all the fandoms and fan-atics with Cosplay Melee on the SyFy channel, Tuesdays @ 10/9c!

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‘Re: Life in a Different World from Zero’: Return by Death can really kill you!

Posted in Action, Anime, Cartoon, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, horror, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2016 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

So, high school student Natsuki Subaru is transported suddenly to another world, where there are fairy cats and RPG-like markets and all sorts of odd creatures, including the Half Elf girl Emilia, who may be Natsuki’s destiny.

The anime moves rather painstakingly slowly in the beginning, and it seems like a fairly standard other-worldly trope of modern-day boy gets whisked away to some fantasy setting to have an epic adventure. But then, very suddenly, Natsuki dies. And resurrects, to find himself repeating the same hours earlier when he first got here, meeting Emilia and others and the events that lead up to his death. And again. And again. Because it turns out, Natsuki has been blessed (or cursed, it depends on who you ask) with this odd ability, Return by Death. Which literally returns Natsuki Subaru to a previous “save point” when he dies. The save point does move eventually, so Subaru isn’t stuck repeating exactly the same day over and over, but he is forbidden from telling anyone about this strange ability, lest some shadowy Witch person who’s taken a personal interest in Subaru stretch out the hand of fate and take the life of whomever Subaru told.

Okay so, the anime has taken a rather odd turn, cool beans. That’s it for the odd turns, right? Totally not even close. Re: Life is one of the most unique anime I’ve ever come across, and that says quite a bit, considering how much anime I’ve watched over long years. Natsuki takes a job as a kind of butler in the mansion of a friend of Emilia’s, to try and learn his way around this new world he’s apparently stuck in, and starts making friends of sorts. Here he meets Rem and Ram, a pair of maids who work in the mansion as well, but have all sorts of hidden talents and plans. One of them eventually develops an obsession with Natsuki, who of course only wants to love and be loved by Emilia, but all of this is but one of the several main plotlines floating through the anime we have to figure out.

Now what? We somehow went from butler to leader of the revolution, or at least savior of the peoples of this new world, from some ill-explained cult of witches and this one bug-fuck insane guy, who declares his name as Betelgeuse Romanee-Conti, but also a Sin Archbishop of the Witch Cult, who represents Sloth. Whew! To say that this guy is the epitome of insane contortionist villainy only hints at the beginning of the way Betelgeuse proceeds to screw Natsuki and his pals over and over, in all kinds of screaming almost Bleach-like bedlam.

As we head towards the end of the season of this convoluted anime, Natsuki has managed to shake his fears and concerns about returning to his regular life, the only thing he wants is to save Emilia and everyone else he’s come to care for, perhaps even getting Emilia elected to governance in the process too. Natsuki still encounters a ton of problems getting people to listen to him – he’s still experiencing his curse of Return by Death, which means he gets to watch his comrades DIE over and over, only to come back and do it again, trying to stop whatever happened from happening again in a kind of desperation that you and I could only have nightmares about. There are a few episodes in which Natsuki does little other than scream and sob and rant and rave about everyone dying so much on his watch, and the extent of his pain and emotion is something rarely seen in any anime; it’s that well done.

The anime studio White Fox, known for the Steins;Gate anime among other things, produced Re:Life and put a ton of effort into making a show as faithful to the manga source material as possible. The noted composer Suehiro Kenichiro was hired to provide the soundtrack for the anime to director Masaharu Watanabe’s very exacting specifications, and while the music has a distinctly un-anime feel to it, I thought that was yet another thing that made Re:Life truly unique and really hot damn cool.

Re:Life in a Different World from Zero is a truly involved anime and hard to wrap your brain around, not for the faint of heart or casual anime fan, that’s all true. But the depth of emotion, the characters and even the happily convoluted plotline, is so worth it if you like deeply involved stuff.

Re:Life can be devoured by you brave souls on Crunchyroll!

‘Danganronpa 3 The End of Hope’s Peak Academy’: Twice the pu-pu-pu!

Posted in Action, Anime, Cartoon, comedy, drama, Foreign, horror, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2016 by aliciamovie

danganronpa-3

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Okay so before we go any further into this awesome finale of the Danganronpa anime series, you should be reminded that the show is just that – a series. We have the crazed black-and-white bear with the killer smile, Monokuma, who traps a bunch of talented high school kids together and has them Battle Royale each-other to death. The events of Danganronpa 3 take place after the video game the series is based on, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, for the Playstation.

So those of us who remember Makoto Naegi from the original series will find his familiar milksop never-ending hope springing back up again in the first half of the season. The animators of D3 did something incredibly clever, and I would bet back-breaking, with the finale season, splitting the show between the Future Arc storyline and Despair Arc storyline.

We begin with the future, which is technically the present. The world has seriously gone to hell in a handbasket, Monokuma-bots with terrible weapons are everywhere, and the Future Foundation has called a meeting which Makoto Naegi is forced to attend. The evil Enoshima Junko, the mastermind behind Monokuma and all his machinations, was roundly defeated by Naegi, that’s true. But the fact that he let Enoshima’s followers, the Remnants of Depair, go freely, has the Future Foundation highly suspicious of his motives. But before further accusations can be levied, Monokuma attacks the building to force the Future Foundation and everyone else inside to one final killing game!

Meanwhile, going on at the same time in a past timeline, we have Despair Arc, everything in the beginning that led to Enoshima’s diabolical plan and effectively, the beginning of the end, how we got here. Hope’s Peak Academy is the school that some secretive government peoples made, to train elite High Schoolers in their Ultimate Talents, whatever they may be. There is even the Reserve Course, for normals who want to pay a ridiculously high tuition fee to attend class with the other Elites. Chisa Yukizome is their new teacher, and she and her former classmates who are also Elites, have plans for her class at Hope’s Peak Academy. Enoshima Junko is unsurprisingly in the same class, and has all sorts of nasty plans of her own, ultimately leading to what is known in the past and the future as The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History that of course originated right here at Hope’s Peak Academy!

It’s very important, for the pace of storytelling and the manner in which the purported final chapter comes about, to watch the show in the original intended format of which it was aired. That is to say, watch the beginning of Future Arc first, then the first episode of Despair Arc, and continue on in that manner for the rest of the show – it’s fairly self-explanatory.

As for the actual pair of stories themselves, I think I enjoyed Despair Arc more than Future Arc, but then I usually like origin stories and I already got kind of tired of having to sit through Naegi’s special brand of always having hope while being singularly ineffective when it comes to physically saving the people he cares about. Despair Arc has more intrigue and you can really eat up the despair and the insanity of a burgeoning Enoshima too. That’s not to say giant robotic killer Monokuma in the Future Arc aren’t a literal blast, as well.

Keeping the same tone as every other Danganronpa video games and anime and stories, while at the same time giving a gritty if not semi-realistic backstory, in simultaneous animes no less, is a terrific feat for the folk at Danganronpa, and will be hard for anyone to top. While it’s a shame the anime seems to have finally ended, at least it went out with a giant crazed BANG!

Danganronpa 3 The End of Hope’s Peak Academy can be caught on Funimation!

Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2014 presents Surrealism, Madness, Exploitation Shorts

Posted in Action, Cartoon, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, horror, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2014 by aliciamovie

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The Odd Ones

A simple tale of cannibals in the backwoods and revenge on bullies thrown in the bargain, the Odd Ones is a fine little horror sendup from a 15-year-old director!

Review Rating: 7

Director: John Capizzano

HIFF trailer

 

Lady and the Tooth

A very abstract cartoon that featured, as far as I could tell, a toothless young man who wanted very much to impress his tribe and a lady friend by stuffing as many teeth from other people into his mouth as possible!

It visually looked like something you might find in Dexter’s childhood abbatior, but I wasn’t thrilled.

Review Rating: 6

Director: Shaun Clark

Website

 

The Headless Nun

Another one of those highly abstract shorts, featuring an escaped thief who happens to have, yes, a headless nun in the passenger seat of his car.

I didn’t get this one at all, but then the psychedelic mushroom-laden visions towards the end made it at least like an odd trip.

Review Rating: 6

Director: Nuno Sa Pessoa

 

Sinnside

Welcome to the candy store of your worst nightmares. Children are always welcome, the more the better, but the store already has adult patrons sitting at designated tables, and the kiddies get to pick which treats they want to eat! Or is it, which monster will eat them?

This short was astounding and quite possibly the best of the entire block. If ever there was a short that deserved full-length feature film treatment, this is so it.

Review Rating: 8

Director: Miguel Angel Font Bisier

 

The Stomach

A spirit medium will put you in contact with your beloved dead ones for a price, that’s pretty standard. What isn’t standard, at all, is where the spirits house inside the medium, hence the short name.

A nice little “gotcha!” of a gangster supernatural story.

Review Rating: 7.5

Director: Ben Steiner

Trailer

Kira

She’s pretty, smart, and deadly, she who is known as Kira (Killer In Red Attire, according to the director) will take you on the worst date of your life! Like Dexter, Kira is hardly someone you’d expect to turn out to be a murderer. Such a pretty little thing, she calmly explains to you her need to eat as she fries up your tongue (as least she cooked it) for the first course!

I really enjoyed this short and it was a great one to end this shorts collection of Surrealism, Madness, Exploitations!

Review Rating: 8

Director: Shaun Menzie

More info

Justice League: DOOM

Posted in Action, Cartoon, comedy, Comics, drama, Fantasy, Movies, Sci-Fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2014 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Warner Bros Animation, DC Entertainment

MPAA Rating: PG 13

Director: Lauren Montgomery

Review Rating: 8

The Legion of Doom, formed on a plan run by villain Vandal Savage, squares off against the Justice League!

So, for anyone who may not know, Vandal Savage (Phil Morris) is a bad old man. Really old, truth be told. And being old and rich and nasty, Savage has a plan to rearrange the world in his own image. First, we take out the entire Justice League so they can’t prevent what’s about to happen next. Then, in theory, a solar flare that Savage is enhancing in his major villain-like way will destroy we’ll say a good third of the Earth’s population. And then, Savage and the Legion will be free to divide up what’s left into their own little fiefdoms, lorded over by Savage himself, forever! But, how to accomplish taking out the JL first? By sending in Mirrormaster (Alexis Denisof) to infiltrate Batman’s computer systems and stealing all the pertinent files on the JL members, that’s how. And then, all hell breaks loose.

Each member of the Justice League gets a fight or confrontation with their Legion of Doom counterpart. Wonder Woman (Susan Eisenberg) fights Cheetah (Claudia Black), who dopes our lasso heroine with something that makes her see her opponent everywhere, including in the faces of innocent bystanders and policemen. The Martian Manhunter (Carl Lumbly) while in his guise as John Jones, gets dosed by a guised Ma’alefa’ak (one of the few other Martians left alive) and gets his unique physiology set aflame. Not wanting to harm anyone else, John has to figure out how to either put himself out or take himself out. Flash (Michael Rosenbaum) gets led to a mistaken train robbery, where he has to deal with a clever bomb that Mirrormaster managed to get attached to his wrist. Slow or stop, and Flash goes BOOM. Green Lantern (Nathan Fillion) has to deal with a hostage situation in a mine shaft, where he gets to enjoy what he thinks are several deaths of onlookers and a confrontation with a villain from his past, Star Sapphire (Olivia d’Abo). Superman (Tim Daly) gets lured to the roof of the Daily Planet to stop an apparent suicide attempt, only to get himself shot with a kryptonite bullet after he thought he had talked the guy down. And finally, the bodies of Batman’s own parents have gone missing, so he’s a bit distracted when the confrontation with Bane (Carlos Alazraqui) comes. After extracting himself from his own personal nightmare, Batman (Kevin Conroy) grabs Cyborg for help and begins trying to put things back in order.

I get to say it, I have to say it, at least once. Meanwhile, at the Legion of Doom!

Because it turns out, well…These plans that the Legion of Doom is actually using, the fact that all these individual challenges against the Justice League are working, however temporarily, yeah, they came from Batman’s own head. In case the JL ever went the way of the Legion, Batman had a plan to figure out how to incapacitate each individual JL hero, all save his own self, of course. So even after all the Justice League heroes are saved from their individual challenges, I won’t say how just recommend watching the show already, they still have to deal with what’s left of the Legion and Savage’s solar flare plan. Even if the entire JL isn’t thrilled with Batman’s hero-turned-bad contingency plans, noone can fault him really for having them – someone needs to think of everything. And as far as Batman not having a contingency plan for himself, if he ever does go too far into the shadows, that’s simply not true, he does – the Justice League itself. Which is awesome.

Amazing Anime of 2013

Posted in Action, Anime, Cartoon, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, horror, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2013 by aliciamovie

attack on titan

Attack on Titan

Decades after humanity was nearly wiped out by the Titans and built their sturdy walls, the Titans return to wreak havoc! Based on a manga by Hajime Isayama, this anime explodes out of the TV in every single episode! Eren Yager is a boy with a past even he doesn’t remember, who of course wants nothing more than to join the military and kill Titans with his adopted sister Mikasa and his friend Armin. Training with the Vertical Maneuvering Equipment is hard, but it looks truly bitchin when Eren and pals get the hang of it and start fighting back! Yet their world, as bleak as it is with the Titans crushing walls and morale all but nonexistent in the ranks, is about to be turned yet again, when Eren discovers he himself has the power to turn into a Titan! Attack on Titan also wins for the best Score!

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Sword Art Online

Not since .hack has there been an RPG Anime worth it’s salt, til now. SAO is a brand new virtual reality Role Playing Game introduced to the world in 2022, where players jack in via their Nerve Gear helmet and experience a much more real version of the gaming world. A little too real, matter of fact, when SAO’s creator Akihiko Kabaya pops into the game and informs everyone playing that they’re all stuck there! Reach the 100th level of the games tower and defeat the Final Boss, and you can leave, but beware, if you die in SAO, you die in real life. Our hero Kirito and our heroine Asuna, who’ve managed to fall in love and make as best a life they can for eachother in these circumstances, are now faced with further trials, as the Real World begins conspiring to keep them apart!

danganronpa

Danganronpa

The school is called Hope’s Peak Academy and is very exclusive, taking only what are called Ultimate students. (Ultimate Lucky, Investigator, Super High School, etc.) Somehow average student Makoto found himself here, being informed by the most psychotic teddy bear you’ll ever see called Mokona, that the only way to leave Hope’s Peak is to kill all the other students there and be the last survivor. These Ultimate students are all funny twists on stereotypical Anime characters – the huge male fighter with the flowing hair in a Sailor Moon schoolgirl uniform; the plain Jane who happens to have a split personality of a perverted old man killer; the Gothic Lolita doll who’s a coward; the total jock character who happens to be a girl; even a Stoner goofoff who’s actually rather smart. Every time a murder is committed, Mokona holds a farce of a trial to see if the other students can figure out and accuse who did it, and then punishment is handed down like the harshest schoolmaster ever! Rumor has it the show is up for a sequel season in 2014 too.

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Log Horizon

Not a contender for the best RPG Anime out there, but since SAO finished, Log Horizon has become the next best thing. Like Fairy Tale if the Anime was made into an RPG-base, LH is based around the same general ideals that seem to be inundating the RPG Anime world. Basically the worlds largest online RPG suddenly becomes a lot more real when the players get sucked literally into the game and have to fend for themselves on the inside now. The Anime focuses mostly on the machinations of Shiroe, awkward young man in the Real World, but a right bastard of a genius when it comes to strategizing inside Elder Tale, and his struggles to carve out a place for himself and his friends!

GITS Arise

Ghost in the Shell: Arise

A four-part OVA as a prequel re-imagining of the Ghost in the Shell universe, Arise is really great for any GITS fans who miss the show. The animation style is a bit different, and so are a lot of the voices, but there the differences end. We have all our favorite characters – the Major with her eternally blue hair, Director Aramaki with brown thinning hair instead of grey, Batou before he was part of the Unit, Paz and Togusa and everyone oh my! The major war is finally over and all our disparate parts are feeling the aftermath sting, since most of our Protags served in the military in some form or fashion during the war. With cybercrimes on the rise, Aramaki is being pressed (and creating his own pressure) to make a specialized team with intent to go on the offensive against the corrupt in their city! We’re even introduced to the Tachikoma precursors, which Aramaki named Logicoma, who is of course adorable.

Reviewed by Alicia Glass 

Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2013 – Shorts

Posted in Action, Cartoon, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, horror, Movies, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2013 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Cold Turkey

Director: Thor Arnarsson (Iceland)

Rating: 8

Adam is a cannibal, yet he feels badly about it and genuinely doesn’t want to devour his entire town by the time he’s 50. So over the course of a month, Adam determines to quit cold turkey, not realizing the physical and mental consequences.

I very much liked this one, and it was a great opening running start to the film festival.

Out There

Director: Randal Plunkett (Iceland)

Rating: 7

Rob wakes from what turns out to be a rather bad car accident, missing his pregnant fiancé. He lurches around trying to find her and figure out what happened, only to be horrified by devil worshippers and…monsters in the woods!

A bit of a slow starter, relying heavily on mood, and a clever way to get the audience involved in the story despite it being foreign and subtitled.

All night

Director: Sanns Dixon (San Diego)

Rating: 7

A kind of take on the Caller-Inside-the-House scary story, an operator at an all night call center is bothered by a determined stalker.

I think the short should’ve actually been longer, in order to establish mood so crucial to a story like this being told.

 

Lamb’s Blood

Director: Adam Anderson (San Diego)

Rating: 7

An odd take on a purportedly Pagan ritual involving a candle and some bad spirits, this short has a heroine determined to get her man, no matter what the cost.

The effects and the way the story is presented could use some work, but the acting was just fine and one can easily grasp the Gotcha! at the end.

 

Shelter

Director: Eve Edelsen (USA)

Rating: 8

A battered woman with a unique problem visits the animal shelter, determined finally to follow her ironic dream of becoming a veterinarian.

Now that’s cute and I love it. Who says shapeshifters need to be all understanding and junk?

El Chupugcabra

Director: Aaron Koontz (USA)

Rating: 7.5

There’s this pug dog straight from Hell, see, and you must never ever ever feed him marshmallows. Despite the warning the pug is adopted, and of course a disbelieving father hands over the gooey treat, just to see all Hell break loose!

Completely farcical, and yet still enjoyable.

 

Bedtime for Timmy

Director: Thomas Nicol (USA)

Rating: 7

Claymation Timmy takes his bedtime seriously, even to taking a sword with him. What Timmy doesn’t know, is that the monsters under the bed have a sense of humor.

It’s very short and there are no real words, but it’s clearly an easily understood happy little Horror Short anyway.

 

Sanctimony

Director: Dimitris Vavatsis (Greece)

Rating: 8

A pair of priests are playing a game with a torture victim. However, it may not turn out to be the game you think.

A slower foreign burn, but the Gotcha! at the end is marvelously universal.

 

Stay at home Dad

Director: Andrew Kasch & John Skipp (USA)

Rating: 7

A Stay at Home dad gets a Hell of a lot more than he bargained for when he volunteers for an experiment that allows him to breastfeed his own child.

The link shows the entire Short, and be advised, it is rather R rated. Funny, if a bit unpolished, with great potential.