Ashley's Pesky Neighbor

Bruce Von Stiers

Although she's mostly been cast as a dancer in films, Ragon Miller stars in the film Restless. It is a short film that has a home invasion, people getting beat up, a kidnapping, a bank robbery and even murder. In other words, the quintessential crime drama.

The production companies involved in the film were Standing 8 Count Films and Los Productions. Regionrats and The Hideout are a couple of feature films that were produced by Los Productions.

The film was written and directed by Patrick Lazzara. He also produced the film with Carlos M. Jimenez and Auriel Jimenez. Carlos was also the cinematographer for the film. And Patrick stars in the film along with Ragon.

The film opens with Ashley (Ragon) awakening to a noise and finding Martin (Patrick) in her apartment. He has been beat up. He asks for Ashley's help. He needs to lie low for a little bit as some guys are after him. Martin is Ashley's neighbor and you get the impression that something might have happened between them. Or maybe not.

After Ashley gets Martin patched up and lets him stay awhile, he leaves. Then he comes back. That's when the fun starts. He's got a crew with him and they're going to take Ashley hostage. It seems that she works at a bank and Martin and the guys are going to rob it. And they need her help to do it. Things go downhill from there.

I'm going to stop there with the plot as I've really given away more than I probably should have.

Pedro Figueroa is one of the bad guys / robbers / kidnappers. He has been in several short films. Wilson Lamont was another one of the bad guys. He has written and starred in several short films. The third member of the crew is played by Dustin Pewitt, whose credits include appearances on Tosh.O and Solve. Karl Grossmeyer is the final member of the bad guy crew. He has been seen in NCIS as well as a few short films.

Jennae Hoving plays a police detective. Her previous roles include Paper-Mache appearances in Bones and One of Us. Also playing a police detective in the film is Jorge-Luis Pallo. Aside from being seen in the shows The Rookie and Station 19, he played a deputy in Cry Macho. Anthony Richard Pagliaro plays a uniformed police officer at a crime scene. His credits include several films and a few television shows.

Other people helping out on the film were Pietro Milanesi with the music, Christina Holleran as the First Assistant Director and Nichola Mottram as the makeup artist.

There are a couple of things that I want to say about the film. First of all, it was well acted. The dialog was crisp and fluid and the actions between the characters seemed realistic. Except for one instance. During a fight scene between Ashley and Martin, she plants a fist on his jaw, knocking him back. You can kind of tell that the blow never met his face. But other than that, the acting was great.

The second thing that I want to mention is the cinematography. It is exceptional. The reason I say that is that the entire film was shot using an iPhone X. Now, I have seen the commercials for the iPhone, showing that you can make a film using one. But I thought that was just hype. Until now. The scenes were so sharp that they could well have been shot using regular cinematography equipment. In fact, it was so well done that the cinematographer won the award for Best Cinematography for the film at the Silicon Beach Film Festival.

I learned that the filming was done just prior to the pandemic. And that the editing and other post productions elements were handled during phases of quarantine.

I really enjoyed Restless. It didn't quite have the ending I thought it might. Which is a good thing. Too often the plot in a crime film winds down with a cliché ending. Although the ending of this film isn't unique, it adds a little different spin on things and references a conversation from early in the film.

Restless has garnered awards from several film festivals it has been submitted to. It won the Grand Prize for narrative short at the Silver State Film Festival in Los Vegas. And it won a total of seven awards at the IndieXFilmFest. Those awards included Best Thriller and Best Crime Short.

Restless is still making the film festival circuit, so it isn't available to the general public yet. It will probably be released on Vimeo and other streaming services In the meantime, you might be able to catch Restless at one of the film festivals it has been submitted to. Those festivals include Sundance, Tribeca, Dam Short Film Fest, The Los Angeles Crime Film Fest and the Indie Shorts Awards at the Raleigh Studios.

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© 2021 Bruce E Von Stiers