• Strictly Films

Weekly Roundup Episode 38: Happy Thanksgiving


Welcome to another edition of Weekly Roundup! Happy Thanksgiving everybody. Thanksgiving is a day in which human beings contribute one day out of three hundred sixty-five days, to be grateful for what they have and whom they have in life. It’s recommended that we should do this everyday, but at least this holiday gives people an excuse to be grateful and to be kind to one another.


They’ll be a rare few that don’t celebrate this holiday due to history, which I understand. However: We don’t stay in the past, we continue moving forward. Everything in life is flawed, however it’s best to celebrate how far we’ve come in terms of progression. They’ll always be work to be done as we strive to endure God’s vision of Peace, Love, and Happiness. But remember to never lock yourself in chains regarding the past, the past is set in stone, so don’t beat yourself up because of the unfortunate outcomes of history. Let yourself free from those chains, as you think of ways to create a better life for you and others today and tomorrow. After all: There is so much worth celebrating as today, compared to the past.


Alrighty no long talk this time around, I got about hundreds of Thanksgiving messages to deliver to all my beloved acquaintances, friends, and family! It’s time we talk about movies!


Fatima Grade: B-

I’ve been waiting awhile to watch Fatima, ever since watching the trailer during my last go around at the theaters before they got shut down. Fatima was originally supposed to hit theaters around Easter, yet the pain in the ass said “YEAH GET OUT OF HERE” as Fatima had to go to a PVOD release in August. Fatima would’ve given Easter weekend two legitimately recommendable religious films, two years in a row dating last year’s release of Breakthrough.

This is honestly an interesting based on true events story. Sure there are some rather corny sequences, where characters act like cartoon characters and are just the biggest pricks on this earth. However it stands firmly on it’s own, as I was interested in these kids discovering a spiritual like figure in Virgin Mary, where no one else can see other than them, as this cause a major outrage in the countries small community. I enjoyed the conclusion I thought that entire sequence was extremely cool, shot fairly well as it was insane as I truly believed it happen.

I do believe some of the performances could’ve been better, I did however thought the main child actress Stephanie Gil had a solid performance. I also didn’t care for the back and forth sequences between the writer and the nun, I thought those were very uninteresting as I just wanted to see the main story instead.

Overall, Fatima was a fairly decent film. I recommend checking this one out.

David Byrne’s American Utopia Grade: B

Ever since I heard This Must be the Place, playing in the background while watching Lars and the Real Girl... I fell in love with that song by the Talking Heads. To think Hamilton would be the stand alone concert film, David Byrne the lead singer of Talking Heads comes out of nowhere, with his concert/broadway adaptation of American Utopia and this KICKED ASS!

The music in this concert film was extremely satisfying, reminds you just how great music was and even currently is. David Byrne and his extremely talented group of musicians, were lights out in their performances from song to song. Hard to pick the weakest performance, I thought every single tune was pretty good in my book. The production and costume design were top notch, I enjoyed the choreography as well, some sweet simple dance moves.

I guess one particular flaw is indeed American Utopia is just another concert film. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but as I was watching this very late at night, it didn’t make me want to keep watching till it was over. Like I was perfectly fine with turning it off and resume it the following day, I think most concert films have always had this problem that it’s hard to be far more than just a concert film. Still David Byrne’s American Utopia was definitely a treat, I honestly didn’t know this was the main guy from This Must Be Place so it was dope unexpectedly hearing it again.

Overall, David Byrne’s American Utopia was a solid concert film. I recommend checking this one out on HBO, you’re gonna have some fun with this one.

The Beach House Grade: D

I was interested in The Beach House solely on the poster, as I was wondering what could’ve possibly happen to that young woman on the beach stairway?! Surprising enough... Another dangerous outbreak situation movie.. How many of these are we going to get this year?! Unlike Sea Fever and Spontaneous, where there is actual interest, a plot, characters worth caring about, and fair usage of fear... The Beach House has none of those qualities, in fact this was rather boring.

The biggest strength of The Beach House is certainly the visuals, at times this film can be visually stunning, with great usage of color that pays attention to detail within the ocean waters. However sometimes the visuals can go over board, as they basically mess around and try to be too cute with it. Before we get to the conflict, I would like to point out why didn’t Emily (Liana Liberato) and Randall (Noah Le Gros) never question why Randall’s father’s ex was at this beach house?! Either Randall’s father is in an affair situation or he let’s anyone use this beach house whenever. I found it odd to just find this woman out of nowhere, thinking “Oh it’s just my father’s ex, what a coincidence, nothing weird going on here.”

When the conflict comes about... This film becomes much worst, as it reminds me of one of those obnoxious zombie films that I hate dearly. The horror sequences are executed terribly, it’s not scary to the slightest it just comes off rather stupid and obnoxious. A poor creature design in the third act, that was laughably bad. I think what I find troubling is the fact this film could’ve messed with the audience mind, as they could question if the edible is making them experience all this crap or if it’s real? Unfortunately it doesn’t want to do that, it just wants to give us an unexpected outbreak film that is honestly stupid to watch. The interest level just wasn’t there for me, it was honestly boring as I was very happy when it ended.

Overall, The Beach House sucked. I don’t recommend this film at all, just watch Sea Fever or Spontaneous instead.

Host Grade: D+

Host became a standout hit for Shudder, bringing new life towards the horror streaming service. I’ve enjoyed Unfriended, Searching, and Unfriended: Dark Web was ok, so these found footage films based around a computer screen are kind of my thing.

Host has a run time of 56 minutes, barely hitting feature length film time, as it’s shorter than an episode of Luca Guadagnino’s We Are Who We Are. Some horror sequences when the film does get going does work, some tricks here and there were honestly fun. For it’s run time it’s fairly paced, despite some boring sequences the film doesn’t feel slow so that’s good to see.

Unfortunately for me Host was kind of rushed and not thought out. It’s worth noting that five girls whom are in their twenties and one gentleman in his twenties, are discussing this whole process of talking to spirits with this elderly woman who seems to be an expert. This woman doesn’t fit in with these group of young individuals, plus what influence them to do such a thing?! I understand they’re in quarantine, however there is no setup in place as to what brought them towards this idea in the first place. Say what you want about Unfriended; but the characters in Unfriended are far from bland when it comes to personality wise. All these characters are extremely dull, where there is no sense of personality or charisma by anyone, maybe the lone gentleman but that comes very late into the movie when he does shine in one lone scene.

As far as the reveal, to how this demonic spirit came about... It’s honestly hard to believe it’s real. Like I don’t believe this to the slightest, nor do I think it could be possible to be achieved as it comes off extremely unrealistic and blasphemous. I also think there are a couple horror sequences that come off extremely stupid and corny, especially this creature design which obviously looks ridiculous. I understand Host is getting praised since this is the first film, made from a Zoom Call... But who really cares?! It doesn’t justify the poor quality in your own half ass story. There is a reason why Zoom calls aren’t made into movies: The Film Making quality glitches in and out, as it produces some poor film making sequences. I appreciate the fact it was accurate towards it’s source material, however for a movie it just doesn’t work compared to likes of Skype or FaceTime. Also worth noting the mask and elbow sequence... Yeah, I think when your life is at risk by a demonic spirit, it really doesn’t matter following Covid protocols anymore. You might as well get a hug out of the way because who cares at this point, that demonic spirit is not going to back off just because you’re following CDC guidelines. I can understand the appreciation for this film, however for me... It’s just whatever.


Overall, Host was just lousy. I don’t recommend this film. -Mitch Smietana


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