• Strictly Films

Weekly Roundup Episode 100


Welcome to another edition of Weekly Roundup!


Well happy 100th episode of Weekly Roundup! Who knew that this concept which was originally created to quickly review multiple movies at once on a week to week basis, would then also offer an opportunity to discuss a topic at hand?! I feel these Weekly Roundups have become much more therapeutic if anything… Discussing films, while speaking out your mind freely can really do wonders for your Mental State. 


You know I turn a year older a couple weeks back, as I’ve now entered a year in which brings up a significant milestone in my life. I think about the future of my life ever so often, mostly centered around how exactly am I able going to keep my drive going forward for years to come?! When you get to this place in life, where you feel completed to where if this journey were to end at any moment… You wouldn’t mind because all there is left is an end. That can really take a complicated toll on yourself because when you feel completed… How am I suppose to bring myself to a state where continuing on feels essential?!


You know sometimes this complicated state of mind reflects what goes on in the world around me. We are constantly highlighting negativity, hatred, fear, and death on an everyday basis. When you see this constantly… You’ll have complicated thoughts that maybe moving on with life isn’t the best option as that can be a defeating feeling.


But I’ve come across a fairly intriguing theory on this matter: Most of this energy displayed is not generated in the real world, it’s mostly generated by a fake world known as Social Media. There is a valid reason why so many people feel troubled with their own existence, where they generate troubling thoughts… How can you maintain a healthy sanity, when you spend too much time in a completely fake world?! When you actually turn off the phones and actually have your heads up instead of being down… There is a sense of reality that life offers unlimited amount of reasons to continue, because life is our grand blessing God has delivered us an opportunity for us to live it.


I was watching a Church service the other day from Word of Life Fort Myers, as the service was relatable what was going on with my current life. I feel this service inspired me to finally lift my head up and brought my head up off from this fake world I put too much time in. I’ve struggled getting off Social Media when I wanted to stay off it, much as I like socializing with friends and such, I feel these platforms don’t bring a lot of good to my spiritual state. But for the past week… Been completely off the grid, as I was able to maintain commitment to no longer being hesitant is partaking in going on. 


I’m at an age now where all I really want out of life is to thoroughly enjoy it and nothing more than that. The world will always have issues at hand, but those issues at hand does not reflect how you should be operating your own life, as the more you give in, the more you lose out on life. Life troubles can simply be solved knowing there is a greater force above everything and that is God and Christ… Knowing that truth at hand will bring a great amount of peace to your own life.


So if you want to maintain a stable sanity: Put the Phone Away, Have your Head Up, Go Explore the World Around You, Talk to People, Do as much as you can, Be More Appreciative and Grateful, and Be Yourself… It’s important for people to understand that they can be themselves, don’t listen to the lies that being yourself is a bad thing, it’s a good thing. 100 Episodes down… More to come, let’s talk about movies! 


Entergalactic Grade: C+


I originally thought Entergalactic helmed by recording artist Kid Cudi was a television series, as it turns out it’s a feature length animated film… Least I get to talk about it!


Entergalactic is a film that is heavily a style over substance kind of ordeal, while still presenting a fairly unique experience in the mix. The animation is reminiscent to the animation style of Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse, as with this film it’s not only adult themed but more so a very trippy experience. I found the whole animation very well made, some of the sequences especially when it comes to our character getting lost within themselves, as they go on dates and such were truly fun and creative as well. Cudi’s style which is known for space transitions well here, I’m sure stoners will get a kick out of the out of body experiences as well.


Music for this film is heavily Kid Cudi music, followed by a whole soundtrack specially made for this film as I felt the music and sequences they were presented in were thoroughly enjoyable. The only real compliant I have with the music in terms of what sequence the song is followed, would have to be the finale showcasing Can’t Shake Her. While Can’t Shake Her is my personal favorite song out of the soundtrack, I would’ve prefer She’s Looking For Me as that song fit much better with the current sequence taken place. As far as the soundtrack… T’was solid, had some nice tunes, as I do think it worked better in favor for this film too.


The story however… It’s cute I guess. Wasn’t wowed by the story by any means, it felt more like a standard by the books romantic tale you’ve heard many times before, not really elevating the mind to something worth wild I suppose. I also felt the dialogue was merely weak in this film, it felt like grown adults talking like teenagers throughout as there are some truly cringeworthy moments from time to time. To me by story standards: It truly felt like watching a Adult Themed My Scene or Bratz movie.


As a compliment to the story: At least our main characters Jabari (Kid Cudi) and Meadow (Jessica Williams) were fairly written characters, but more so they were both likable characters as well. Both characters were mainly focused on their career as being in a relationship was their last priority, as surely enough by accident… They found their way to each other. I enjoy the subtle like hearted moments of them getting to know each other, as they develop as a pair over the course of time. While I didn’t like the conflict between the two as I found it childish… I will say the finale was adorable.


Overall, Entergalactic was a perfectly average film. I recommend checking this out, it’s a cute watch while the style truly elevated this experience to it’s full potential, can be found on Netflix.


Mr. Harrigan’s Phone Grade: C-


A short story adaptation from Stephen King, dealing with themes such as feeling guilt for something uncontrollable such as someone dying, while also handling a theme that caters to the toxicity of smartphones and the harmful damages it’ll do to our society as a whole… I guess King has got some demons and is fed up with today’s culture.


I feel the way the film handles the themes is fairly easy to understand, as when it’s presented is just fine. Our lead character Craig (Jaeden Martell) like many genuine wholesome people, tend to believe when someone passes on that they are at fault, as one feels they could’ve done more as a person. Pretty much every single incident where someone he knows or barely knows passes, it’s uncontrollable as there really isn’t much Craig can do. When people have this mindset feeling at guilt: It then brings your mind into a very complicated state, as you start to believe in matters that is far delusional as that is exactly what has happened to Craig.


With regards to the unhealthy nature of usage of smartphone theme… It makes sense. We can complain about how majority of the characters especially the younger characters in this film, were completely non existent. However I felt that was the whole point the film was trying to make towards that theme, as because of smartphones human beings are barely present in the real world. 


Makes clear sense why Craig feels so attached to Mr. Harrigan (Donald Sutherland): With Mr. Harrigan there is someone he actually connects with on a personal level, as it feels like he’s in the presence of a real person. Craig has an extremely difficult time in connecting with anyone at school, he even had to get a smartphone just to “fit in” which doesn’t lead him to any useful connections. You can say the theme indicates that smart phones has truly made human beings less interesting, difficult to connect, leading towards a very extreme state of loneliness. 


While those themes are presented just fine… I feel the story as a whole feels quite bland for my taste. I feel with everything going forward with this story and it’s themes, it really doesn’t go anywhere as you feel a great sense of unfulfillment. Even with the spooky elements, strange coincidences, and the mystery ordeal… It doesn’t really elevate itself thinking there could be a sense of paranormal activity going around, not to mention the film doesn’t put too much time in creating a thoroughly engaging atmosphere towards that side of the story.


I feel the film would’ve been better off if Craig had 0 friends. Understanding of the theme, but all the moments Craig is with his friends it’s like the film pretends that they’re important to the story as they have value, when in reality they’re pretty much a blank page. I feel it would’ve been better if Craig had 0 friends, as most of his connections were with older people instead… Craig felt a better connection with older people like Mr. Harrigan and his teacher Mrs. Hart (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) because they come from a time, where having genuine connection is what actually mattered in society.


Overall, Mr. Harrigans Phone was just meh. I don’t recommend this film, John Lee Hancock has had a mediocre run these past few films, I hope he gets back on track. 


Piggy Grade: C+


What draw me to rent this film immediately upon release, is pretty much what drew everyone towards this film… The Poster. The Poster for a horror film is designed terrifically, as your mind grows a great curiosity as why this woman is covered in blood and how many people did she brutally murdered?! I was given the notion this was going to be an entertaining slasher film, as it turns out… It’s not that kind of film it was advertised judging by the poster.


Piggy is centered around a very sensitive theme in terms of fat shaming. Our main character Sara (Laura Galan) gets harshly bullied by a few girls around her age, simply due to the fact she’s overweight, as they call her extremely terrible names while even attempting to drown her in the process. Fat Shaming truly takes a toll on your Mental Estate, especially one as quiet as Sara whom just wanted to be treated like a normal being and nothing more.


When it comes to the random serial killer at hand… I feel Sara allows this man to go forward with kidnapping these girls, simply due to the fact he actually looks at her like a real person. Sure what this man is doing is terrible, but so were the girls bullying her too, as at least this man actually treats her properly as she feels. I feel by the end of it all, the film delivers a striking a message that just because others are treating you poorly, doesn’t mean you have to co-align with their behavior. It’s a somewhat satisfying conclusion: You rather see someone be the bigger person, than to fall align to their low standards.


The film unfortunately just didn’t wow me as it should have. Of course given my expectations of a fun slasher film wasn’t met, however for a good chunk in the middle it was sort of boring. It just becomes a steadily slow film with not much happening, as I really just wanted this film to kick it to overdrive and become something much more exciting or entertaining at hand.


Overall, Piggy was just average. I recommend waiting for this film to become free on streaming service, it at least is a fairly told story with displaying a meaningful theme at hand.


The Stranger Grade: B


You know whomever created the poster design is great at his job, when you’ve been bamboozled to believe it’s just one man’s face on the poster… Could’ve sworn it was just Joel Edgerton face alone.


The Stranger is a steadily paced film, centered around an undercover cop mission to allow a possible suspect for a child abduction claim, to build up enough trust for the suspect to possibly confess to his wrong doing. I feel where the story is mostly effective, is the physiological aspect dealing with our undercover cop Mark (Joel Edgerton). The film does a solid job in showcasing just how extremely difficult it is for one to keep their composure, dealing with a possible criminal that has done such a horrific crime such as kidnapping a kid or worse.


I felt Joel Edgerton and especially Sean Harris playing the suspect Henry both played great performances, as their performances alone really helped carried this story to it’s full potential. Both had great chemistry, you can even make sense of how Henry allows himself to give into trusting Mark simply by the fact a man with nothing, given an opportunity to make something of himself while also feeling open to share without a sense of judgment of some kind.


I feel over the course of time the film continually builds more and more up, as within each reveal becomes much more darker than what you expect from a someone simple man like Henry appears to be. Especially with the reveal from the dream sequence where one feels disturb but feels it’s not real because it was described in a dream sequence, but as it ties in within the conclusion of this film… It truly gets under your skin, as you know what exactly Henry did as you feel truly disturbed by the thought of it all. It may not be a film that blows your socks off, but at least with everything going for it, it is solid in terms of quality as a crime drama.


Overall, The Stranger was a solid film. I recommend checking this one out, can be found on Netflix.


Blonde Grade: C-


I was bound to drive about twenty-five-thirty minutes away and see this in a theater, but given the bad reviews and the very low rating on Letterboxd… I figure it may not be worth the money and effort to make my way to the theater.


Blonde has actually a few solid elements going for the film. Ana De Armas delivers a fantastic performance as Norma Jeane/Marliyn Monroe, as she completely transformed into the iconic acting sensation in the early 50’s. This is a very challenging role for Ana, especially in crucial moments where Norma is losing herself to drugs that are forced to be taken, but Ana surely delivers a very accurate portrayal of Norma as I expect her to receive recognition come award season.


I liked how the film looked visually, there’s a lot of terrific shots of the older scale buildings in the 50’s, plus the black and white picture looked marvelous. The Composed Score was also thoroughly enjoyable to listen to, a very dark unsettling piano tune that compliments the saddening nature of this film.


I can understand the backlash of this film, given Norma Jeane/Marilyn Monroe’s experience is mostly negative, I mean it is a very upsetting viewing experience to sit through a woman being treated in such a very inhumane way across the board. However that’s really how she was treated in the industry, so what do you expect the filmmaker to do?! Do you want Andrew Dominik to completely lie about her life experience, as it’s a happy fairytale like the movies she played in?! Sure I would prefer to be a little more tamed, but Dominik wanted to show the true dark side of what Norma went through no matter if it’s too hard to comprehend how can human beings be that cruel to someone.


My issues with Blonde comes from pacing, length, and structure wise. The way this film is structured felt completely too loose for me, as it’s not a properly constructed moving narrative, especially with the time jump as Norma as a little kid to Norma showing up for an audition for a part. Length wise…. I felt this film was way too long for me. After awhile it becomes a dull watch for me, especially in the second half where the pacing is extremely slow as it felt like watching a never ending torture porn fest, to the point where you’ve become numb to it all.


Overall, Blonde was mediocre, as I felt disappointed given my anticipation for this film. I don’t really recommend watching this film, saddening watch plus a very artsy fartsy kind of film.


The Curse of Bridge Hollow Grade: C+


Was currently suffering from Food Poisoning from Papa Johns the day before… Never again will I eat Pizza Chain Pizza, sticking to local Pizza places for now on. Anyhow while I was suffering from repetitive vomiting, stomach ache, trouble breathing, and bones aching to the point it was hard to walk… You know this was the perfect time to watch a comedy, as that’s where I gave into watching the new Marlon Wayans horror comedy film The Curse of Bridge Hollow.


Given past Marlon Wayans comedy films released on Netflix such as Naked and Sextuplets… You can understand why my expectations were very low. The last thing I would like to experience is an extremely awful spoof parody film, that only has to offer endless fart jokes. Well what do you know? The Curse of Bridge Hollow is surprisingly none of that, as it turns out to be a tolerable horror comedy film mostly centered to a pre-teen audience.


The story honestly isn’t half bad, I like the whole spooky element of the town purely loving not only the spirit of Halloween, but having a spooky conspiracy theory of a myth known as Stingy Jack. Once the Jack pumpkin gets lit up… It then becomes a genuine entertaining film. I really have to give credit to the special effects crew, as what they did to make the Halloween decorations come to life… Most of these creatures looked pretty cool as they come to haunt the town. Whether it be the Zombies, the Spiders which resembled the likes of Eight Legged Freaks, the Killer Clowns, or Stingy Jack himself… For a low ball horror comedy film like this, I was impressed.


Couple flaws to mention. I felt the comedy aspect of this film wasn’t as strong I hoped it to be, as there wasn’t any laugh out moments. There are a few puns here and there where I chuckled, but other than that, that specific element of the film I wasn’t too fond of. I felt Priah Ferguson performance was kind of bad, as there are many poor line delivery moments that came across unintentionally funny to me. There are some boneheaded character moments that is hard to comprehend, including a character who is claimed to be a Satanist, but then turns Christian at the end of it… I appreciate the transition, but what exactly made him want to switch sides given he’s been speaking to dark spirits earlier?!


Overall, The Curse of Bridge of Hollow surprisingly is an enjoyable average film. I recommend checking this one out, it’s a fun little entertaining film catering to the Halloween spirit, fun for families especially that can be found on Netflix. I bet Marlon Wayans is thanking me for having food poisoning where I can find appreciation for his film… Sometimes a little suffering can go a long way, to bring an actual watchable Marlon Wayans comedy film to the table. -Mitch Smietana   

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