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Movie Review: “It Chapter Two” & “Brittany Runs a Marathon”

“It Chapter Two” is darker, scarier, and longer than the first. “Brittany Runs a Marathon” is a heartfelt dramedy that you sprint to see. Check out my full review of both films in video below.

“It Chapter Two” & “Brittany Runs a Marathon” hit in theaters September 6.


Top 10 Best Films of 2015


10. The Revenant
As most of my colleagues have said, The Revenant isn’t a film, it’s an experience. Though, I can’t say it would be high on my re-watch-ability list. It is quite possibly the most unforgettable film this year. Largely due to an epic bear fight, in which images of that sequence are forever burned in my brain. Leonardo DiCaprio gives his most physically demanding and best performance yet! This film is beautifully shot, and with little dialogue director Alejandro G. Iñárritu still manages to captivate audiences through the entire 2 hours and 36 minutes.

9. Spotlight
Though this is a kind of slow burn film, it is worth patiently waiting for these reporters to gather all their research on the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Church. As Spotlight nears its conclusion with the Boston Globe publishing one of the most shocking revelations in history, you’re in for a powerful and emotional ending that I didn’t even expect to be so moved by.

8. The Hateful 8
I don’t know how Quentin Tarantino keeps doing it, but The Hateful 8 is just another great work of art by the iconic director. His dialogue never ceases to amaze me. As we watch the first half of the film trying to figure out the mystery among these peculiar characters, we wait in anticipation for the mind blowing second act that ends in true Tarantino style.

7. Room
For those who haven’t heard of this film, please do yourself a favor and see it right away! After being held captive in a room for over 5 years, we are shown the emotional trauma that follows after finally escaping and entering the real world. Room features an Oscar-worthy performance by Brie Larson and a breakout performance by Jacob Tremblay.

6. It Follows
These days horror films are rarely interesting and hardly scary, but It Follows manages to tell an original and clever story along with many scream-out-loud moments. The soundtrack only adds to this surprisingly, entertaining thriller that will leave you thinking twice before having unprotected sex.

5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Overall I have enjoyed almost all of the Star Wars films, but man, the recent piece to the saga is amazing! I can’t help but geek out talking about it. Not only is it a great continuation of the story filled with non-stop action and excitement, but all the new characters are likable and blend in perfectly with the return of the old.

4. Trainwreck
A good comedy that can make you truly laugh out loud and provide originality is like finding a diamond in the rough. And this year that diamond is Trainwreck. Amy Schumer has brought a whole new level of funny with the comedy about a commitment-phobic woman who never thought monogamy was possible, until she meets the one guy (Bill Hader) worth trying to commit with. There’s humor, there’s heart, and there’s Hader.

3. Inside Out
Not since Toy Story has an animated film hit me so hard with the reality of how sad growing up can be. Let’s put aside the fact that this script is smart and beyond creative. Inside Out is a bitter-sweet tale that reminds us of how simple our emotions were when we were kids and how much easier it was to stay joyful. Though there is a gloom to getting older and life’s changes, Inside Out also shows us the positive side of broadening our emotions.

2. The Martian
Well done Ridley Scott!!! Finally you make up for the crap that was The Counselor and Exodus: Gods and Kings. The past two years we’ve seen a visually stunning space film with Gravity and a confusing, long space film with Interstellar. But it’s 2015 that has brought us the best space movie yet! The Martian is the whole package film. Surprisingly enough, there is a lot of comic relief and the script does an excellent job of explaining the science in the film without going over the audiences’ head. With a running time of 2 hours and 24 minutes, the film never loses steam. The Martian is a beautifully shot and hilarious thrill ride.

1. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
I wish this film got more recognition. Might be hard to remember back in July when ME and Earl and the Dying Girl came out, but it has stuck with me since. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon tells this story in such a John Hughes like manner that it almost feels nostalgic. This isn’t just a film about a girl with cancer. It’s her story told through point of view a new friend who is just now getting know her. With its awkwardly realistic dialogue, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is funny and incredibly moving.

Top 5 Worst Films of 2015

5. Adult Beginners– A less funny and messy version of The Skeleton Twins.

4. Jupiter Ascending– What a waste of perfectly good special effects.

3. Aloha– What a waste of a perfectly good cast.

2. Hot Pursuit– Still wondering why Reese Witherspoon was an accomplice to this crime.

1. By the Sea– What the f***!?!?



Movie Review: “The Skeleton Twins” Provides Enough Meat on the Bones of this Indie Gem

Girl Most Likely was a disappointing, failed attempt at the indie genre for Kristen Wiig.  So much so, that my standards were kept low when walking into The Skeleton Twins.  But, once again, Wiig’s unsurprising chemistry with another SNL alum creates an on-screen bond that immediately pulls you into their story.

The Skeleton Twins (directed by Craig Johnson, and written by Johnson and Mark Heyman) solely focuses on its two title characters.  Bill Hader channels his inner “Stefon” as Milo, the snarky, gay, depressed out-of-work LA actor.  He opens the film with an attempted suicide that reunites him and his twin sister Maggie (Wiig), who he hasn’t seen in 10 years.  Like her brother, Maggie is also unhappy, but hides her depression behind her marriage to a happy-go-lucky, Luke Wilson, to whom she has had trouble staying faithful.  Maggie insists Milo stay with them until she knows he is okay.  Milo agrees to come back to New York to live with Maggie for a little while.  At this point, the two of them attempt to revisit their past, try to make adjustments to their disturbed selves, and finally realize how important it is for their well-being to have each other in their lives.

What really makes the thematic material in The Skeleton Twins so grasping is that it has such an understanding on a siblings’ connection.  Throughout the film it’s referenced that the two had a rough upbringing, which has forced them to rely on one another since childhood.  Even though Maggie and Milo are miserable with their lives, their presence together is a silver lining.  The two not only share a bond, but also understand each other completely.  They make jokes, get high, and even have one of the best scenes this year, a sing-a-long to Starship’s “Nothing Gonna Stop Us Now.”

The Skeleton Twins’ grim tone throughout the film is balanced with its uplifting message of how sometimes the person in your life who completes you can make you realize why life is worth living.  There is also enough comic relief through Wiig and Hader’s hilarious, witty banter for you to continuously have a laugh.  Watching these two on-screen together is a rare treat no one should miss.

Rating: 4.5/5

The Skeleton Twins opens in select theaters September 19.

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