• Strictly Films

Weekly Roundup Episode 35: From Florida With Love

Welcome to another edition of Weekly Roundup!! I’ve been here in Florida for the last 5 days, I gotta say.... The culture change compared to Vegas during the Covid era is far different. They’ll be some still wearing masks, including myself over the force of habit, since it was mandated almost everywhere. But basically: No one really cares about masks here. I’ve been in grocery stores, restaurants, and heck even a church service. Unless they are employees or ones serving in churches... Not many people wear a mask. Lovely Church Service by the way, exactly what the doctor ordered regarding navigating your way to accept whomever is in office, and know that you can’t control what is set in stone, but can control to how you respond.

But the vibe really is much more positive, friendly, and most certainly kind. Even those who wear a mask or don’t wear a mask, are not judged or stared down in utter disappointment with dirty looks. Pretty much everyone here accepts each other despite of differences, as they still deliver upmost kindness... Wow, it’s like I’m reminded to how awesome humanity once was back a good five or six years ago. I do miss all my family, friends, and acquaintances back in Vegas, hope everyone is well and safe during these dysfunctional times of this years election... What a mess that’s turning out to be, but who cares we should be focusing on loving each other instead, that’s far more important. But let’s focus on what we’ve been missing this last good week, due to not having WIFI in my new home until now... NEW 2020 FILMS TO DISCUSS!

Relic Grade: B+

Natalie Erika James brings us her first full length feature film with Relic, as this is honestly quite an impressive debut I do say so myself. There has been a divide amongst critics and audience, where the critics really enjoyed this film, while the audience... Not so much. Mainly due to the fact this was marketed by the trailers as a terrifying film, but it’s more of a dark depressing drama with some horror elements.

Where the horror aspect really is effective, is how our main character Edna (Robyn Nevin) and this house that is consistently falling apart, as this is an accurate portrayal of one whom is going through dementia. The thought of dementia lingering ones mind is certainly a terrifying experience, as you’re losing clear sight of your memory, who your family members are, and even who you are as well. I thought this film did a really good job bringing in an extremely depressing tone, followed by some clever horror elements of the house breaking down and even caving in, as walls and structures of the house are closing in, making it hard for one to manage a way to navigate out of some areas. One effective horror element as well, was where Edna ends up in her final form... As it was extremely haunting yet disgusting as well.

Relic may suffer some pacing issues here and there, but it does a well done job by just about everywhere you turn. Solid cinematography, great performances including Robyn Nevin, Emily Mortimer, and Bella Heathcote. Well written script as for a debut... It’s extremely impressive and even so bold, as not many would attempt a deep thought revoking horrific metaphor regarding an extremely frightening mental illness. Good year for films about the horrors of dementia, first The Father now Relic.

Overall, Relic is a pretty damn good film. I highly recommend checking this one out, definitely worth the rental price.

How to Build a Girl Grade: C+

Speaking of Vegas: I held onto this Library rental for a good couple months, as it took me forever to sit down and watch it, as I finally did so on nearly my last day living in Vegas... To my local Windmill Clark County Library in Las Vegas I deeply apologize for this excruciating long wait to return this damn DVD.

Been waiting since TIFF 2019 when this film was announced to watch this, due to Beanie Feldstein being in it, as the hype of her being a standout in last years outstanding comedy Booksmart. How to Build a Girl does have some positives. I found this film at times to be funny, through it’s ridiculous nature of one becoming a sudden Rock n Roll critic. I felt this film does a fair job poking fun at critics in general, whether they’re too kind with their criticism as they feel like they can never post a bad review, and even when they’re completely diabolical as their judgement is over the top harsh.

With How to Build a Girl my main issue is inconsistency with the plot, as it’s a bit all over the place, especially regarding where our main character Johanna (Beanie Feldstein) goes through her whacky journey. It’s more towards her exclusive piece, as her piece wasn’t good enough so the company fires her on the spot... Though they could’ve just brought her back down, where she was bringing the company business in the first place?! Made no sense. After awhile Beanie’s performance started to lose me, as she was a bit out of control, to where watching her got extremely obnoxious. As far as the ending, stating what was the meaning behind the entire film and the title... I didn’t care for just how it just literally explain the entire thing, as they didn’t let the audience think for themselves. For what it is: It’s engaging to say the least, as it’s wild nature keeps you invested.

Overall, How to Build a Girl was fairly average. I guess it’s fine for a recommendation, it’s fairly weird so be prepared.

Hubie Halloween Grade: C-

Adam Sandler sworn if he did not get an Oscar nomination for his role in Uncut Gems, he will purposefully make the worst movie ever made. I’m not sure if Hubie Halloween was the film Adam Sandler was planning on purposely making to be awful, but by the performances, plot, and how these characters are written... It almost feels like this was the one.

Hubie Halloween does offer some genuine laughs, in which you laugh by just how stupid this entire thing is. Especially the character Hubie (Adam Sandler), a safety volunteer whom wants to keep people safe during Halloween, is extremely kind to one another, loves soup, and his soup Canister has all these neat gadgets... He’s a very ridiculous character, especially this weird voice Sandler is doing.

This is easily this years Jexi: A film that is so stupid, yet it’s hard to hate due to it’s somewhat humorous nature, despite the level of stupidity. There is a serious side plot line, involving Hubie’s romantic interest Violet’s (Julie Bowen) son, in which his fellow siblings are extremely concern by the fact he’s not home babysitting, while he’s out and about trying to get the K from a girl he likes... I don’t understand the importance of this side plot. The kids look fairly old enough to watch themselves alone, as they should not get in the way of this kid trying to get at the attractive girl from the local coffee shop. Same can be said to the poorly developed romance Hubie and Violet... It is dreadfully terrible, as nothing was thought out. One more thing I want to point out is the logic issues, regarding whom was the victim in all those whom were kidnapped during this Halloween... None of it makes any sense, due to the lack of strength our reveal has, in order to get these deeds done. Hubie Halloween was a film in which I can understand the love or hate, because it has something for everyone to like or dislike indeed.

Overall, Hubie Halloween was... Something?! I guess you might have to see it for yourself, to believe in the level of stupidity this was on, but in some ways a good thing.

Yes God Yes Grade: B

Me and the main character of this film Alice (Natalie Dyer) both have something fairly in common... We’re both extremely slow, when it comes to vulgar slang.

Yes God Yes is an extremely short feature film running at a mere 78 minutes, yet for it’s running time audience will surely want more as this was an effective comedy film, regarding the overly strict nature regarding religion. As an independent follower of Christ, growing up in a fairly Christian/Catholic household: A lot of elements in this story hit right at home, as I can not only relate but laugh along with the overly extreme absurdity regarding guilt and what or what not to do to receive God’s Love.

The comedy was hitting on all the right notes, bringing in solid laugh out moments of poking fun but also doing it in a respectful way, that doesn’t disrespect one’s religion. The storyline was mainly centered around a retreat Alice is partaking in, as her mind and body explores towards temptation, while also discovering many leaders and even the father of this retreat... Are sinners as well. I enjoyed majority of the characters, as they contribute towards a moral purpose for the story, while also this film does have a heart, as it displays a lovely message as well. This was definitely be a comedy surely many will love for comedic purposes, but also delivering a cute story as well.

Overall, Yes God Yes is a solid comedy film. I recommend checking this one out, especially if you need a good laugh following the stress of this election.

The Social Dilemma Grade: B

As my father storms into my room, as he praises the latest documentary film known as The Social Dilemma, a film centered around the toxic environment of social media and how it’s destroying everyone’s decency and sanity... Which explains why people have lost it destroying businesses, buildings, and livelihoods for no apparent reason. Why people have suddenly treat this years election, like it’s the end of the world and the last hope for all to be united... Even though you could’ve done that awhile ago, but you choose to be rude and miserable and make up excuses for being the way you are. Why people have treated these presidential candidates, a couple of aging 70+ year old men, whom are both flawed like everyone else are now treating them like they’re either God’s or the antichrist... This is how ridiculous most of you look and sound, which is why you all need to delete your social media accounts, get off your ass, and go get a life.

The Social Dilemma t’was informative, explaining just how the usage of Artificial Intelligence has brought permanent damage to how modern day society reacts. Since Artificial Intelligence doesn’t have a mind of it’s own... It has flood tons of false information and whacky conspiracy theorists, that those whom have the slightest common interest in a subject matter mainly politics, are suddenly brain washed thinking some of the most dumbest things one with common sense has ever heard of. As one whom had followed Fox News since the beginning of the Election, as I wanted to partake in this years process by following a consistent news team just my personal opinion, since other outlets are too biased... Every now and then I get hit up with videos of sometimes weirdos in their basements, trashing Democrats, trashing movements, and discussing a bunch of nonsense including trashing Cuties and Unpregnant... I didn’t ask for any of these videos as they were “Recommended” and I did watch a couple, as it’s some of worst content I’ve ever received, thinking to myself, “So this is why people are whacked out: You watch garbage like this.”

As I said just how damaging social media is on the youth regarding Mental Health, the statistics in which young girls fall into depression and into suicide, was very heartbreaking to hear. What is kind of interesting is some of that lead to insecurity, by how they wish they looked based on their Snapchat filters... I thought it was more towards the amount of attention including likes and in the comment section mostly, so that was new to hear. The 6X Fake News comes out faster, than reporting actual accurate news was a crazy stat, but given the fact some relatives repost these weird news outlets no one has ever heard of before... I can understand why that is. I did like the final conclusion of this film, thought it was a solid clear forward message, as there should be more stricter laws and regulations put into place, so they can handle this problem as everyone will gain sanity once again. Maybe get rid of Artificial Intelligence and hire actual people to do these jobs, because ya know... Artificial Intelligence has brought nothing but destruction towards our world, get rid of that garbage.

Problems lie within the fictional tale this film was showing, as some elements were pretty ridiculous as I couldn’t take much of it seriously. Especially regarding this one scene, where the Artificial Intelligence sent the young man a notification, that his ex girlfriend found a new boyfriend... It was utterly ridiculous. The whole thing with the Artificial Intelligence make believe man characters felt extremely corny, despite trying to provide examples of how their effecting society, still felt out of touch with the films tone. It’s not a life changing documentary that has your mind blown, but it’s at least a good documentary that gets it’s moral purpose done, while executing it’s important message.

Overall, The Social Dilemma t’was a solid documentary. I recommend checking this one out.

Dick Johnson is Dead Grade: B

I’ve heard many people rave about this recent Netflix original documentary film, so I had to check it out for myself. The subject matter is about a film makers father, getting prepared for his death, as they test run many accidental deaths. While also being inside a coffin, having his own pretend funeral, or having their own version of the afterlife.

What I like about Dick Johnson is Dead the most is how original this film is. It feels like it’s own category, in which you can’t really compare to anything else because it’s not made like anything else you’ve ever seen before. Even though Dick Johnson clearly knows this all just for fun, it really hits him deep when he tested out an accidental death consisting of fake blood, as Dick compared it to his past heart attack. That moment felt surreal to Dick as he comes to realize that could be his own reality, which pretty much brought a terrifying thought of him actually dying at any point. I also liked how this film shows us tricks film makers use, in order to execute brutal sequences, which was pretty neat. I think everyone involved with this documentary should feel extremely proud, as this one does well in creating an original piece of art, while also making the audience feel something they’ve never experience before.

Overall, Dick Johnson is Dead is a solid documentary film. I recommend checking this one out. -Mitch Smietana

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