• Strictly Films

Weekly Roundup Episode 34: AFI Festival Leftovers, The Storm of Summer 2013

Welcome to another edition of Weekly Roundup! Halloween is almost here: A Time where Trick or Treating, Costumes, Pumpkins, Spooky Stories, Horror Films, and especially the most gorgeous women show out thrive around this time of year. Speaking of Spooky Stories, Horror Films, and Gorgeous Women: I do have a story of mine that involves all of those.


Back in Summer of 2013, was a time where I got acquainted with my friend/brother for life Adam Baeza. As our friendship was establishing to major heights, so was his love life as he got acquainted with a very pretty ting whom happened to went to my school, but transferred to his school the following year... Adam is surely worth switching schools for, I mean mans is the best. The girl Adam was seeing at the time, had a very attractive best friend, as I figured this would be a FANTASTIC opportunity for a double date. Me, Adam, and the two bad tings somewhat arranged a double date, to see the new upcoming horror flick of the entire summer The Conjuring opening day. The anticipation for this film was at an all time high, as there was those whom have fainted partaking in watching this film, so of course this could only mean one positive in mind... A Bad Ting will surely be wrapped around my arms.


So it was opening day for The Conjuring, I'm all swagged out with a typical t-shirt, cargo shorts, and Chicago Bears snap back ready to go, as I made a dope Vine inspired by the Versace song remix featuring Drake. As far as the weather... It was surely NASTY out. Twelve mile an hour wind, severe rain and thunderstorms. As it looked extremely dangerous outside, was there ever a doubt in backing out, as I should just stay home and be safe?! ABSOLUTELY NOT. A sure fire Double Date was on the line, as I couldn't say no, as I say YES to risking my life out in one of the nastiest storms of the summer.


Here I was in the passenger side, as my dad drives through the storm, as only a truly insane person would be out and about as that person would only be described as myself. We thankfully arrived at our destination, as I went outside soon to be soaking wet before entering the theater. I asked for one for The Conjuring, showed my birth certificate to the box office lady, as BOOM BAM POW I'm in B A B Y. So how we arranged this Double Date, was we would all meet at the showtime we choose. Before going inside the auditorium, a couple friends whom knew me from Twitter dabbed me up named Sergio and Carlos. I asked them if they’ve seen Adam and the bad tings, they said they have not, but wish me luck as they knew all about the date from the looks of my tweets. Looked all around the auditorium for Adam and the bad tings, as no one was to be found, as the movie was about to start. I then gave up minutes after, as I watched the film all by myself, with no bad ting to be hold.


After that terrifying experience I just had partaking in The Conjuring, I tweeted Adam and the tings where were they?! Apparently my date didn't know we were still going, as Adam and his ting went to another showtime. As one who would be in pure disappointment, I honestly felt just fine because The Conjuring was that fire, I didn't care too much as I let it slide, forgiving all of them at ease. To this day I always wonder about what would've happen if that Double Date went through, in which I did risk my life for, as my date went on to become a model moving forward... Oh well at least I still have Adam as a brother for seven years now. Alrighty let's discuss some AFI Festival Films that I've watched, but haven't gotten enough time to discuss, as I've been busy packing for Florida shall we!


Piedra Sola Grade: C

The biggest strength Piedra Sola was going for, was the tremendous cinematography as visually this film was absolutely stunning to watch. Just the images alone felt very striking and truly personal to me, as sometimes the film looked like portraits of some kind. I kind of enjoyed that one shot of the men, holding up a wooden man and horse as it looked pretty rad.

Substance wise for the beginning it looked like it was going to be a fairly interesting story, centering around a village losing their llamas to pumas. So this village believes that if they openly sacrificed their llamas, that the pumas will go away. But as time went on, I felt this film was barely going anywhere, as when the herd sacrifices the llamas, it then becomes honestly nothing after that. Felt very art housey like, as there wasn't much going for what was partaking in the story.

Overall, Piedra Sola was just ok. I would just watch for the visuals alone.

Apples Grade: B

Someone mentioned that the filmmaker of this film Christos Nikou, was surely going to become the next Yargos Lanthimos, as right away I was looking forward to whatever this is. Whomever mentioned Christos would be the next Yargos, was honestly on the money, as this felt similar to a film Yargos would normally make.

Apples is a serious drama, with some effective moments of comedy. The comedy material in this film is quite odd and sometimes dark, but surely brings out the comedic chops I'm looking for as I found it quite funny. Though it does capture a weird comedic vibe, it's worth mentioning just how serious of a drama this is, as it explores some rather important themes.

This film is more about a man named Aris (Aris Servetalis), whom lost his wife as he wish to never have a memory again, which is why he faked having an amnesia to be in this facility. Aris tries to prevent himself from gaining an effective memory, including partaking in Apples which Aris is told they are good for having a lasting memory, as Aris switches out for Oranges instead. As time goes on Aris realizes that being controlled by these professionals, rather than having a mind of his own really isn't all that enjoyable, no matter how much he wants to forget everything because of the lost of his wife. If you're a fan of Yargos' work, you're probably going to really enjoy this.

Overall, Apples is a damn good film. I highly recommend checking this one out.

I Carry You With Me Grade: C+

Sony Pictures Classics has been featured a lot in these festivals I've partaken in, whether it be the New York Film Festival and the AFI Film Festival. From The Truffle Hunters, to French Exit, to Nine Days, to The Father, and now I Carry You With Me... I practically have been granted a showcase from them.

I Carry You With Me can be in the future have some considerations for some Oscars if it releases this year, as this is one the most Oscar Baited films I've seen in awhile. It's worth noting that this story at hand how it’s written, can be extremely important to some regarding the Latino community and of course the LGBTQ community as well.

For me I wasn't that impressed with I Carry You With Me, as I thought this was the most generic basic films, which is unfortunate because the story on paper has potential to be great. How this film was edited got on my nerves, as the timelines keeps shifting back and forth all over the place, where you just want everything to be properly constructed. Sometimes it's hard to even just think of where we are in the story, as it goes from present day, to childhood, back to teenage years, back to present, back to childhood... Felt like a mess.

Worth noting this one supporting character is introduced and for awhile you think he'll make some rather impact, but unfortunately gets forgotten in the third act. There are problems within the third act, including how some scenes were shot as it felt like I was watching a reality show, or how it just abruptly ends as it felt such a forgettable end that no one is going to remember at all.

Overall, I Carry You With Me is just average. This would be fine for a rental in the near future, make sure it's not a $20 rental.

Farewell Amor Grade: B

This film comes from the good folks over from MUBI, as certainly that streaming service enjoys pure cinema.

Farewell Amor follows the likes of Wonder, where the film develops each lead character in their own segment, making sure each character has significant screen time so we can properly understand what they're like and what they're going through. It's a simple tale of a mother and daughter reuniting with their father/husband, whom had to depart for the America so his own family can have an opportunity for a better life. But during that time Walter (Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine) had been seeing another woman, as not only was this frown upon, but regarding their culture's strict religious views this is surely a sign of pure shame.

Farewell Amor hits on all aspects with consistency. A nice looking film, fun composed score, solid acting all around, and solid written script as well. It's definitely a film you can sit, relax, and enjoy at ease.

Overall, Farewell Amor is a solid film. I recommend checking this film out when it becomes available, if you're a film lover do subscribe to the MUBI streaming service. -Mitch Smietana

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