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The Independent Critic

Joe Burke
Running Time
20 Mins.
Michael Weinberg, Derrick Trumbly, Leah Morrow, Meghan Murphy

 "Coop's Night In" Review 
Cooper (Michael Weinberg) is at THAT stage in life...21-years-old, living at home and working retail hoping to get out of his parents' home sooner rather than later. When Max (Derrick Trumbly), his best friend, wakes him up at 1am he's understandably pissed. Max comes over and, before long the two of them are joined by Kate (Leah Morrow) and Coop's dream girl, Liz (Meghan Murphy). Another forgettable night soon becomes unforgettable.
This short film from writer/director Joe Burke at first appears to be a self-indulgent tale of young adults who either don't want to or don't know how to grow up. Burke allows us to judge these folks before digging his way beneath the surface of these young people whose fears, anxieties and attitudes are remarkably real.
The ensemble cast is uniformly strong, led by Weinberg's quietly assured performance contrasting with Trumbly's more histrionic spin as Max.
Burke's dialogue is rock solid, giving all the characters an authentic feeling and the overall atmosphere screams of those heartbreakingly serious talks we all had when we were in our 20's and just trying to feel our way around life.
Only the hand-held camera work keeps "Coop's Night In" from being a truly stand-out short film. Too often, a captivating moment of dialogue or vulnerable scene would be interrupted with the quiver of a camera that would instantly interrupt the connection to the characters.
Despite the issues with cinematography, "Coop's Night In" is a solid example of the quality work being done within the world of microcinema. Behind a strong script, Burke and his ensemble cast have combined to create a memorable short film and promising cinematic future for all involved.