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Weekly RoundUp Episode 12: Insomnia Kills The Soul

Welcome to another edition of Weekly Roundup! Good news: They found a working treatment for the virus. Bad News: Everyone only thinks of the negatives, as they live in misery... I hate society. You know what I don't hate? New Films to Talk About!

Ema Grade: B

One can argue a film like this deserves it's own full review, but I've been having a hectic schedule with the festival and other reviews, so I'll quickly discuss this one. The streaming service Mubi was kind enough to have a premiere of this film, I wish it could be shown on the Mubi app on my 4K television, but the IPAD works too. I now wish I saw this in a theater or my 4K television because this film is absolutely breathtaking to watch from a visual standpoint. I love the great variety of colors, the intriguing set pieces, and of course how the epic dance sequences were shot. A lovely score with a solid cast all around. I felt the film is a bit heavy on the style over substance wise, as far as the story I think it's good, however it can feel a bit much. Sometimes the story didn't make much sense, Ema's (Mariana Di Girolamo) relations were a bit far out there. Plus the ending of this film, where Ema reveals her involvement with her adopted son's new parents were... Sus aha. I didn't like how the film explained why she did the stuff she did, I rather have the audience think about it, as it just comes off a bit silly. The film in terms in quality is solid all around, a well made film, solid performances, solid score, and solid script... I'm very happy Mubi got to share this piece of art with us, in a time of need. Overall, Ema is a pretty solid film and I recommend checking this one out.

The Half of It Grade: C

The poster reads “A Different Kind of Love Story” but is it really? While The Half of It is getting critical praise and love from the audience, I can’t help to think of just how mediocre this film is. The concept of this film isn’t original at all, as I’ve seen quite a few romance films, of someone helping a friend win someone’s heart. Only to discover they become attracted to them in the end, I’ve seen this too often now a days. Sure the attraction of one’s sex is different here, but other than that what exactly does this film do differently than what the other films have done?! The story itself has a rare couple sweet moments, more so in the end. However the story can be at times a bit nonsensical, cheesy, and even at times not realistic. When Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) gets bullied briefly, as it doesn’t really make much sense as to why people bully her. Ellie is just a normal kid living in a quiet town, while helping her classmates cheat on their papers... I don’t see how one like her can get bullied at all. Earlier we talked about how the film Selfie gave an accurate portrayal on social media, as films lack understanding of the platform. In this film I’m reminded again, by a scene where #NerdAlert was posted by a classmate on their instagram story... This is never happens, why can’t film makers actually understand social media? The film also has a few references towards communication amongst teenagers, like texting and especially emojis that I felt a great amount of cringe watching. Other than our romantic figure Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire) and Alice’s father, I really didn’t care for the characters. I felt a great amount of uncomfortably of the leading man Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer), as I just couldn’t stand watching this character. The film wants to make you laugh by the awkwardness of this character, but I found myself wanting to turn away because this is not how a human being whom is extremely shy due to the beauty of woman acts like. I didn’t care for Alice Chu at all as a character, her reception of love doesn’t make much sense at all. I felt if this film would’ve had Alice’s father gotten a shocking divorce, then you can see why Alice has a great amount of indifference of true love. But her mother passes away, why does she have a great amount of distrust in love?! The supporting characters are BAD! I really don’t understand the hype around this film, it felt like another basic romance film from Netflix that a fair amount of elements are too ridiculous to take seriously. Overall, The Half of It is just ok, if you’re living in the east during the snow storm then sure watch it.

Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution Grade: B+

In the amount of four days, we have seen two great documentary films of 2020. One being My Darling Vivian, the other being a Netflix original documentary film Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution. I’ve argued about how Netflix documentary films have became stale in the style department, but man oh man Crip Camp really has been the standout in both departments. Style wise I found this to be an enjoyable viewing experience, doesn’t do anything ground breaking, but watching square footage in black and white was really awesome. Substance wise: This film was extremely fascinating, heart breaking, and emotionally satisfying. I felt the camp site part of this film to be really cool, however I wish there was more. The film is called Crip Camp, but honestly we’re more involved in those of disabilities getting a bill signed so they can have equal rights, than being on the camp site. That’s really the only complaint, the whole movement was extremely inspiring. What these people had to go through to be seen and heard was truly riveting and inspiring. The impact on the camp really inspired some of these individuals, to realize hey it feels good to been seen as a normal individual, why can’t we have the same out in the real world too?! The journey will not only make you invested, but you sometimes tend to reach out for a tissue now and then, to cry of sadness or joy... I got choked up in the end as well. Overall, Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution is a great documentary film and I highly recommend checking this one out on Netflix.

I do apologize for the delay of this Weekly RoundUp (T’was a couple days late). Blame the kitty cat whom wouldn’t let me get any sleep nor get much done... Cats are Evil Folks, they sure are evil. But we had a nice time making a promo video for my homie Charles’ podcast ZoleMan TV on the Gram, check Zoleman TV Podcast out on YouTube. But I’m back home now, so expect more reviews very soon. -Mitch Smietana

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