4 Best Movies to Watch by Adrian Martinez

Staff & contributors
Stressed by adolescence, 16-year-old Craig Gilner checks himself into a mental-health clinic. Unfortunately, the youth wing is closed, so he must spend his mandated five-day stay with adults. One of them, Bobby, quickly becomes his mentor -- and him his protege, while Craig finds himself drawn to a fellow teen, Noelle, who just may be the cure he needs to forget an unrequited crush. Starring Keir Gilchrist and Zack Galifianakis, It's kind of a Funny Story is based on a novel of the same name.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Aasif Mandvi, Adrian Martinez, Alan Aisenberg, Ato Blankson-Wood, Bernard White, Billy McFadden, Dana DeVestern, Daniel London, Emma Roberts, Jared Goldstein, Jeremy Davies, Jim Gaffigan, Karen Chilton, Keir Gilchrist, Lauren Graham, Leo Allen, Lou Myers, Macintyre Dixon, Matthew Maher, Molly Hager, Morgan Murphy, Roddy Skeaping, Rosalyn Coleman, Stewart Steinberg, Thomas Mann, Viola Davis, Zach Galifianakis, Zoë Kravitz, Zoe Kravitz

Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

Rating: PG-13

The entirety of Pieces of April takes place on Thanksgiving Day, a busy holiday meant to bring loved ones together. Sure enough, April, the eldest Burns daughter, takes great pains to prepare a nice dinner for her visiting family. But we soon learn that she is motivated less by excitement than by dread: she's long been estranged, disowned even, by her uptight mother, Joy, who is only agreeing to come because she's sick with cancer. April seems to be on a reluctant mission to fix their fraught relationship, but pesky (albeit funny) mishaps, both on her and Joy's end, keep getting in the way. 

Shot digitally and very closely with hand-held cameras, Pieces of April looks as intimate as it feels. It's a snapshot of an era and of a particular family dynamic, one that relatably relies on both love and scorn to keep going. It's an excellent, honest, and underrated gem of a movie.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family

Actor: Adrian Martinez, Alice Drummond, Alison Pill, Anney Giobbe, Armando Riesco, Birdie M. Hale, Derek Luke, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Jamari Richardson, John Gallagher Jr., Katie Holmes, Leila Danette, Lillias White, Oliver Platt, Patricia Clarkson, Rusty De Wees, Sally Leung Bayer, Sean Hayes, Sisqó, Stephen Chen, Susan Bruce, Vitali Baganov

Director: Peter Hedges

Rating: PG-13

One wouldn't expect to see Count Dracula's youthful-looking helper at your local 12-step self-help group for people in codependent relationships, but Renfield holds more than one surprise up its sleeve. By translating the working relationship (or master-slave, since the latter doesn't get any pay) into the vocabulary of common relationship counselling parlance, the film actually elevates its symbolic status. Even more, I'd dare call it a hoot. Not that many vampire films have managed to make a proper comedy out of the figure in question, and Renfield with its simplistic appeal puts to shame even the artsy Netflix production El Conde, which also came out earlier this year. With Awkwafina in the mix and iconic lines such as "I don't want your murder cookies", how can you resist?

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

Actor: Adrian Martinez, Anil Bajaj, Awkwafina, Ben Schwartz, Bess Rous, Betsy Borrego, Brandon Scott Jones, Brian Egland, Camille Chen, Caroline Williams, Chloe Adona, Christopher Winchester, Derek Russo, Gabriel 'G-Rod' Rodriguez, James Moses Black, Jenna Kanell, Joshua Mikel, Keith Brooks, Lacey Dover, Lena Clark, Lucy Faust, Marcus Lewis |, Marvin Ross, Mike Harkins, Nicholas Hoult, Nicolas Cage, Rhonda Johnson Dents, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Stephen Louis Grush, Susan McPhail, T.C. Matherne, William Ragsdale

Director: Chris McKay

Rating: R

Unfrosted is the kind of bonkers treat filled with movie references, physical gags, and too-many-to-count stars that’s easy to sink your teeth into and enjoy for what it is—in the beginning, that is. It’s helped by snappy visuals and a colorfully accurate rendering of the ‘60s too. But then it wears you down with the same jokes and flimsy story, until eventually, you can’t help but ask: are you really dedicating an hour and a half of your life to watching *check notes* a Pop Tart get made? The filmmakers don’t make it any deeper than that sounds, sadly, even though there’s more drama and flavor involved in the real-life competition between Post and Kellogs. I’m not saying Unfrosted is a bad film—to be honest, I laughed out loud in many parts—just that you won’t be able to get over how overbudgeted and ultimately hollow it is.

Genre: Comedy, History

Actor: Adrian Martinez, Alex Edelman, Ali Wentworth, Amy Schumer, Andy Daly, Aparna Nancherla, Bailey Sheetz, Beck Bennett, Bill Burr, Bill J. Stevens, Bobby Moynihan, Catherine Last, Cedric the Entertainer, Cedric Yarbrough, Chris Rickett, Christian Slater, Dan Levy, Darrell Hammond, Dean Norris, Drew Tarver, Earthquake, Eleanor Sweeney, Felix Solis, Fred Armisen, George Wallace, Gregory Burke, Hugh Grant, Isaac Bae, Jack McBrayer, Jack Murillo, James Marsden, Jaxy Boyd, Jeff Lewis, Jerry Seinfeld, Jessica Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan, John Forest, John Slattery, Jon Hamm, Ken Narasaki, Kue Lawrence, Kyle Dunnigan, Kyle Mooney, Lauren Peters, Maria Bakalova, Mark Kwak, Max Greenfield, Melissa McCarthy, Mikey Day, Nelson Franklin, Patrick Warburton, Peter Dinklage, Rachael Harris, Ronny Chieng, Sarah Burns, Sarah Cooper, Sasheer Zamata, Sebastian Maniscalco, Shane Carpenter, Spike Feresten, Susan Elle, Tad Griffith, Thomas Lennon, Thomas Silcott, Tony Hale, Will Allan, Winter Bassett

Director: Jerry Seinfeld

Rating: PG-13