• Strictly Films

Weekly Roundup Episode 33: Leaving Las Vegas

Welcome to another edition of Weekly Roundup! I do have some rather intriguing news to share, thankfully not making this a huge ordeal like the last time. Whelp once again I am departing from the Las Vegas area, as me and my family decided it’s best we return to the Fort Myers, Florida area once again! I believe we miss the good life out in the beach area in the East Side, as things in Vegas as of now isn’t what they used be... But I thank God it never gotten to the point, where it’s as bad as New York, Portland, and California... SHEESH WHAT A MESS! I’m actually proud of Las Vegas citizens during this whole Covid thing: You didn’t act like complete insane morons during this entire time. For a state in which gets criticized heavily on being last in education... We actually handled our own pretty well, while others crumbled, so thank you Vegas folks we all appreciate you.

I’m happy my return to Vegas as of April 2019 was a flat out success, as I came back and achieved some dreams at hand. It felt also good to reunite with some ole pals of mine, make new friends along the way, create new memories at hand, plus cherish my beloved local theaters once again. If Covid didn’t happen surely things would’ve been much different, especially given the fact working that Las Vegas Aviators baseball gig was bound to be the best job ever... Which in two weeks of working there, it t’was the best job easily. But maybe I need a new change of scenery, where people actually want to live to the fullest than being afraid of everything, followed by more opportunities and a beach view too.

Thank you to all my acquaintances, friends, and family for the warm welcome back you have shown me coming back here, as you all contribute towards my success. Appreciate each and everyone of you, as in due time I shall visit you all once again. I can’t wait to ride my bike around the state of Florida in weeks time, further more let’s talk about movies!

American Murder: The Family Next Door Grade: D+

I honestly struggled immensely trying to finish this film start to finish, as it took me three attempts, which is pretty brutal considering how short this documentary is. I do appreciate the film maker behind this film, as it tried to be something particularly different when it comes to delivering a unique experience. Of course going through the lives of this couple, more centered on the mom through Facebook photos/videos, and text messaging was something particularly different.

However the unique presentation becomes a HUGE turn off for me, as it was honestly an irritating experience to sit through. People whom document their entire lives on social media, from every single little detail like this woman does, drives me absolutely crazy. I’m sure this woman was a good person as she was a good mother to her children and husband, but man oh man witnessing her FaceBook page even though it provides importance to the story left me nauseous. I much rather have people providing an interview discussing the crime at hand, than sitting through this absolutely brutal experience, of witnessing people’s unhealthy obsession with social media.

On paper the substance at hand sounds like a somewhat intriguing crime story. However it honestly doesn’t get interesting until the reveal, as before then it’s honestly a pretty boring documentary to sit through. It’s also worth noting this crime story barely has any meat on it’s bones, sure the crime behind the story is brutal and despicable by all means, but there’s really not much going for the viewer to stay invested, which brings much reason why I struggled to watch this thing.

Overall, American Murder: The Family Next Door was crap. I don’t recommend this film at all, I’ve seen much better crime documentaries and even crime TV shows than this.

Class Action Park Grade: B

What actually brought me attention to this highly fascinating documentary, was while on the job the producer of this film Chris M. Johnson came through my workplace, hoping to set up a private screening for Class Action Park.... Nice guy.

So I finally figured out where Johnny Knoxville got inspiration for his epic flop back in 2018 Action Point, as it involved a crazy water/amusement park back in New Jersey in the 1980’s. This was honestly a dope documentary film, it’s extremely fascinating as you discover just how bizarre care free this establishment was, founded by a guy from Wall Street.

I mean the crazy attractions this man invented were extremely awesome, however extremely unsafe as well. I think the safest attraction by far was the Tank attraction, as you go inside a tank as you shoot tennis balls at other tanks... It became unsafe due to some weirdo putting gasoline in the tennis balls, as they caught on fire. Some of these attractions I can’t bare to imagine how they got approved, I mean they look extremely fun yet are so difficult to manage your safety. It’s no wonder how so many individuals got injured or worst died partaking these attractions.

This whole era in which the park was in, is honestly a cultural shock compared to the likes of today’s society. I mean back then in the 80’s, people were free to live, create, and imagine their wildest dreams and they could make it happen. I mean this guy whom invented Action Park is by no means a saint or a genius, but heck I’ll give him somewhat credit that he did build a gold mine, but also lived his wildest dreams without any care given... Though he’s a jerk for not caring about those that died. Meanwhile were living in a society that is truly FREIGHTEHN to do anything. It kind of makes you think: Is living just to live really living? Sure you should always be safe and cautious, but you should like expand your mind to higher horizons, as you can truly live life to the fullest like people back in these days, whom weren’t afraid of anything. Life without risk really isn’t living at all to be honest... Damn this documentary really brings out some deep thoughts.

Overall, Class Action Park is a solid documentary film. I recommend checking this one out, can be found on HBO Max today!

Black Box Grade: B

Well would you look at that?! After six attempts, Blumhouse finally delivers a good movie to end their miserable streak of shlock, although The Invisible Man was average at least... BUT FINALLY SOMETHING GOOD! Black Box comes from Welcome to Blumhouse collaboration with Amazon Studios, which also features the lead actor from this years Uncorked Mamoudou Athie.

I believe the performances in this film could’ve been better, as I felt the cast as a whole were pretty weak and sometimes unintentionally laughable. I wasn’t too crazy for the entity inside of Nolan’s (Mamoudou Athie) mind, felt too reminiscent to any supernatural horror film in the past. I thought the concluding shot was insanely corny, as they try to leave a cliff hanger for a sequel... Please don’t.

Black Box felt similar to the likes of Insidious and Chappie, you’ll understand why once you watch this film. When all things come together in the plot twist, it’s honestly pretty clever and smart as it brings out such a cool mind bending horror film. The story at hand though goofy at times, however excels bringing a new kind of fear into the horror genre, plus bringing some well executed emotional moments as well. I’m genuinely shocked that this was not only good, but actually left a good impression on me... It’s about damn time Blumhouse.

Overall, Black Box is a solid horror flick. I recommend checking this one out on Amazon Prime!

Nocturne Grade: C

The Welcome to Blumhouse series continues, lead by the adorable Sydney Sweeney as she’s becoming to be a liking in shows like Everything Sucks and Euphoria.

Nocturne had the potential to become an intense suspense compared to the likes of Black Swan, however what honestly kills the momentum to me is the paranormal side of it, involving an evil notebook. It comes off ridiculously stupid, lame horror effects such as a decapitated entity, weird cartoons that can be compared to the likes of Midsommar only it doesn’t work here, and also a bright yellow sun... You’ll see a lot of bright yellow suns. Does it ever make sense? No, but who cares it’s a bright yellow sun, and suns are suppose to be scary? I didn’t care for the double twist at the end.

What works for Nocturne for me is the competitive nature of our lead character Juliet (Sydney Sweeney) and her superior sister Vivian (Madison Iseman). All the time, practice, and hard work Juliet puts into piano playing is for the chance to get into Juliard. Vivian being a much better piano player has given that opportunity and is a shoe in to play for the schools showcase. So I like how the competition aspect is breaking down these pair of sisters, plus Juliet obviously loosing sanity as she continues to win at all cost. If the film focused on just a natural story of how toxic competition is, than throwing in this paranormal notebook nonsense that clearly doesn’t work... I think this could’ve been good, however it gets held back from being just that.

Overall, Nocturne was just ok. I’d give this film a watch, especially during the Halloween season, it’s tolerable to watch.

Books of Blood Grade: D

I’m not familiar with author Clive Barkers horror fiction novels with Books of Blood, as this HULU original film adapted the series into a film.

The one redeemable quality I had with this film is the opening story, regarding the character Jenna (Britt Robertson) as she flees from her home as she doesn’t want to go back to the “Farm”, which is translation for I believe a mental institute. Fair usage of horror that actually kind of worked, bringing a nice creepy vibe towards this psychopath couple’s bed and breakfast. It’s honestly the only story within the three stories that actually worked, minus that extended ending which was extremely unnecessary.

Everything else regarding the opening and the other two stories... It was pretty lousy. The second story in which features a professor whom lost her kid due to cancer, as she gets provided some help from a Cris Angel like medium has got to be the most ridiculous one without a doubt. The reveal had me baffled as I couldn’t stop laughing at the fact someone would go through all that, just to receive something in return... You’ll understand once you watch it. The last story was pretty corny, boring, and filled with cliches as well. I feel they were trying to be a little more darker in tone, but it came off pretty soft as there’s nothing really scary about this thing.

Overall, Books of Blood t’was bad. I don’t recommend this film. -Mitch Smietana

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