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Fantastic Fest Reviews: “Halloween”, “An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn” & “Cam”

Halloween (2018)

The opening night film at Fantastic Fest was none other than the highly anticipated sequel, Halloween (2018). Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode to come face-to-face with masked serial killer, Michael Myers, who has haunted her since the traumatic night four decades ago.

The film is inspired by John Carpenter’s classic. But filmmakers David Gordon Green and Danny McBride decided to ignore all the other sequels that followed the original Halloween from 1978, and create a story that changes Laurie’s past. In other words, 40 years later Laurie is a bad ass. Michael Myers is not her brother. And, she’s prepared to take on whatever he throws her way.

Laurie Strode is one hell of a grandma in Halloween (2018). Though her daughter (Judy Greer) still resents her for making her grow up as a survivalist since childhood, her granddaughter, Allyson, (Andi Matichak) adores her. This creates tension anytime the family is all together. It isn’t until Halloween night that Michael Myers returns to wreak havoc, and finally finish the job he started 40 years ago. Only this time he’s up against 3 generations of Strode women.

Halloween (2018) far from a stand out horror flick. We’re basically seeing the same formula just different ways of murder. However, this film is a lot of fun! McBride’s writing shines throughout the film, and it’s the comic relief that provides any sort of originality. But don’t get me wrong, I love this formula and it’s great to see Curtis back in action in a role she handles so naturally. The movie entertains the whole time through and will leave you satisfied.

Rating: 3.5/5


An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn

Surprisingly enough, the people that brought us The Greasy Strangler, which I hated; has now made An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn, which I really liked a lot. Jim Hosking is back with a second feature that maintain his same style and his same personal dialect. Only this time, he let go of the nauseating grease murderers and swapped it out for characters we could actually care for.

Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) stars a Lulu Danger, a recently unemployed woman who is unsatisfied with her marriage to sleazy Shane Danger (Emile Hirsch) and life all together. In an attempt to fix the couples financial troubles, Shane steals from his brother-in-law. Which then makes him the target of the world’s worst hitman (Jermaine Clement). But Lulu sees this as an opportunity, she runs off with the hitman in hopes that he can help her track down her old flame, Beverly Luff Linn (Craig Robinson).

This offbeat comedy takes a minute to warm up to. You might not be sure of the flow it’s taking. But once it gets going, it’s actually quite delightful. The all-star cast does a fantastic job, and this might be my favorite performance by Aubrey Plaza. There’s a very unique and corky chemistry between Plaza and Clement that’s almost endearing.

An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn is the light-hearted deadpan comic relief that I was craving during a marathon of graphic horrors at Fantastic Fest.

Rating: 4/5



After letting Cam marinate for a bit, it quickly became one of my favorite films of the fest. Daniel Goldhaber’s feature debut is smart, sexy, and disturbing.

The film stars Madeline Brewer (Orange is the New Black and The Handmaid’s Tale) as Alice, a young web cam girl who is on the rise to breaking top 50 rank on a pornographic site.  Alice lives a normal life by day, but at night she is “Lola” and constantly comes up with wild narratives to spice up her online shows. She is anxious to reach the top and beat out the other cam girls in the network. However, she never breaks her 3 rules: No public shows, no fake orgasms, and never telling “her guys” that she loves them.

Just when Alice is moving up in her ranking, she has an unwelcoming surprise when she sees a girl who looks just like her live on her web cam profile. Frantic and paranoid, Alice is on a mission to find out who has taken her identity and stolen her top rank.

Even though 60 percent of Cam consists of a bunch of web cam girls performing erotic acts, the film is incredibly magnetizing. It’s as if you’re in a trance the minute the film begins and you can’t stop watching. The neon lighting, the shocking sequences, and the captivating performance by Brewer is enough to suck you in.

Cam is the movie you didn’t know you wanted to see. It’s a tantalizing thrill-ride with a bone-crushing end that will leave you wanting more.

Rating: 4.5/5

Movie Review: Should The To Do List be on your Must See List?

Most of us make a list of things we need to do before heading off to college.  We write typical things like, registering for classes, buying a new mini fridge, losing your virginity to a hot life guard…What? Was that last item not on everyone’s list? Well for Brandy Klark, it’s at the top of hers.

While making her valedictorian speech, Brandy is humiliated after getting called out for being a virgin in front of her entire class.  After meeting her dream hunk and now feeling pressured to become more sexually experienced, she makes a to do list of things she needs to accomplish before she starts college.

New to writing and directing for the big screen, Maggie Carey proves that she knows how generate some big laughs.  The film features an all star cast, which includes Maggie’s husband, Bill Hader(SNL) as the lazy, smart ass boss.  Aubrey Plaza(Parks and Recreation) as Brandy Klark, the super controlling, virgin. Rachel Bilson(The OC, Heart of Dixie)  plays the popular, slutty/bitchy sister.  Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights, Heart of Dixie) as the guitar playing hunk with perfect abs. Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development) and Sarah Steele (Spanglish) play the all knowing and supportive best friends.  But it was Johnny Simmons (Jennifer’s Body, The Greatest) character, Cameron who ended up being a surprise stand out.  Usually seeing Simmons play darker roles and not often a lead, it was nice to see him cut loose and go all out as the pathetic, lovesick, lab partner.  He reminded me a lot of a sad, pitiable version of Ducky from Pretty in Pink, except much more crying.

I think that’s why I liked the film so much. It had all the recipes of a John Huges classic, like 16 Candles meets Pretty in Pink in the 90’s.  Only WAY more crude and Molly Ringwald isn’t looking for love, just sex and all the sexual activities that come before it.

The storyline does resemble many other films about losing one’s virginity, like American Pie or 40 Year Old Virgin.  Except, this film lacks the heart that those movies tend to have.  It’s not meant to be a coming of age film, it’s just fun.  Though they do manage to throw in some forced lessons we all already know…Don’t ever screw over your friend for a boy.  And sex should be more about the feelings not just the physical act.

The music is “totally awesome,” as it includes a lot of the hits from the 90’s.  The characters are oddly enjoyable to watch.  It’s hilarious watching Brandy attempt the foreplay( i.e. fingering, hand job, oral, etc.) leading up to the climax. And though it may not seem like the most original plot,there is originality in seeing the “must lose V-Card”  mission from a girls perspective.  A girl’s mind set tends to be completely different than what boys hope to accomplish when losing their virginity.  Maggie Carey does a great job of capturing a huge insecurity girls worry about before having sex, while still delivering constant laughs through out the process.

Rated R for strong crude and sexual content including graphic dialogue, drug and alcohol use, and language.

The To Do List hits theaters today.

The To Do List Red Band Trailer