• Strictly Films

Weekly Roundup Episode 49: A Year Later and Still Here

Welcome to another edition of Weekly Roundup! Before we start: My condolences goes out to all the families, whom lost their loved ones to suicide from all the events taken this past year and early 2021.... You all deserve better.


It's been a full year since the pandemic would end up making me lose both jobs. One job would be gone for good as the Minor League season was canceled, the other hoping to be shutdown for a couple weeks... Which that turned into months. Though I would miss out on a big financial year and miss out on securing financial security through unemployment for the time being due to the fact they said I didn't work long enough... Still makes no sense, but it is what it is. T'was extremely grateful to be in a comfortable position regarding finances, as my money saving skills truly paid off.


The real challenge up ahead was most certainly mental stability. My eternal belief believes human beings need to be productive in some shape or form, in order to maintain a healthy mind. Whether it be writing, regularly working out, picking up a hobby, or going out. When one is bound to go out to space, one must pass an isolation test, in which you can be trusted in isolation over the course of many months, years without losing your mind completely. Not only is it extremely rare for one to go out to space due to intelligence and schooling, but it's also extremely rare due to the fact human beings are not made to be in isolation for a great amount of time.


When you have human beings in isolation in a house 24/7, as you influence fear, paranoia, and stress into their lives... You're simply asking for mental health struggles to come onto their lives, begging them to experience depression, drug addiction, and of course suicide tendencies. During that first month, I've experience lashing out in frustration towards myself and to loved ones in which they didn't deserve it, while also hoping everyday when I go to sleep that I wouldn't wake up anymore, while losing a family friend due to suicide.


When you're living a life in which doesn't have much of a moral purpose to continue, as those influence that you can not go to escapes to ease the pain you’re dealing with, can't provide for your family and make an honest living, while those highly suggest you can't be around others as you have to be at home, while not experiencing life to the fullest, as you're stuck at home worried while feeding toxic poison to your mind known as social media in which influences negativity, hatred, and violence... What am I suppose to tell myself?! "Oh there is so much that life has to offer, you must continue going forward." Knowing damn well there is absolutely nothing to live for during this time period, I really just wanted someone to come up to me and shoot me, I couldn't take this anymore.


I thankfully came back to earth, when I went out for the first time, walking around my complex in early April. I felt a sense of relief, but also realized I've wasted a great amount of time living in fear. While I do acknowledge that the virus is real, I also acknowledge that before the virus... We could die at any given moment, by an unlimited amount of ways, whether it be sickness, driving, or heck even on a plane. Before the virus we were all living pretty much care free, despite we could at any point die by just about anything, we all remain living life to the fullest the way God intended us all to be. So reflecting on this... What exactly made human beings changed their tone, on being more hesitate to live life?! Truth be told none of these people have any idea what's best for you, how I can tell is they have no idea who any of you are, they contradict themselves everyday, as they've made countless mistakes like you and I. There are only two people in this world that knows what's best for you: Yourself and God. Truth be told: God doesn't contradict or make mistakes, God has sent everything in stone and he's given us the gift of free will, as we determine who we want to be and how we want to create our stories. Instead we have chosen to continue on writers block and let those who shame on God determine how we live... A lot of you need a reality check and realize why exactly did I wasted valuable time, away from my loved ones, creating timeless memories, developing greatness due to the expense of those that honestly don't give a flying damn about you and I, as they use us as a statistic for their own personal use.


I'm going to stop right there, before I go on an epic Kanye rant, but at the end of the day man... We're all going to die someday, there is no escaping death and you know what?! That's ok, death is apart of life and sometimes it's a beautiful thing if you look at it from a deeper perspective. What truly matters in this lifetime is having pride and being yourself, while doing whatever you want to do in life before your story is over. Don't ever let the world determine who you want to be and how you want to live life, truth be told it's not worth it, especially when those people honestly don't give a flying damn about you, they're just bitter miserable pricks who will never be happy. Me and God will always accept you no matter how the public eye looks at you, we love you, we're here for you, we want you happy, and we want you to be yourself because no one does you better than yourself... Alrighty time to talk about movies!


Silk Road Grade: C

As I went ahead and retrieve the Silk Road RedBox DVD from my parents room, my dad says, “How come movies now a days are all made like B-Movies?!” I ignored the statement and had to see it for myself... From the film making quality, to the abnormal freeze frame, to transitions... I understood what he meant.

Silk Road has a very intriguing crime story, featuring a website off the dark web in which people can successfully buy, sell, ship, and receive drugs compared to the likes of Amazon. It’s also worth noting the fair amount of talent ensemble, has certainly not gone unnoticed. I mean you got Jason Clarke, the two kids from Love Simon, Darrell Britt-Gibson has been in ton of good films, and also... Paul Walter Hauser?! Sure maybe none of these are big names that can draw out box office numbers, however this film isn’t working with scrubs as we’re working with legitimate talent with an intriguing crime story.

Unfortunately Silk Road reminiscent towards the likes of a LifeTime film, regarding production value, cinematography, a fair amount of dialogue issues, and bumbling editing choices that compares the likes of an amateur... Sheesh, it’s such a surprise how a fair amount of talent and a storyline that deserves to be told, ends in a result of mediocrity. One thing that raises an eyebrow, is how the main character Ross (Nick Robinson) felt his illegal website in which will help people sell and buy drugs was bound to make the world a better place... Huh?! How is giving people access to dangerous drugs, to become a junkie, die from a drug overdose or die from a horrific reaction from the drugs going to help the world?! Ross could’ve had an argument if it dealt with something harmless like marijuana, I don’t condone marijuana but I could see his point as marijuana has helped others with stress and such. But Ross sounds like a bumbling idiot thinking people taking dangerous drugs such as cocaine, meth, Ecstasy is going to make a valid difference in the world.

Overall, Silk Road was just ok. I would suggest waiting for this to hit free on a streaming service.

Wrong Turn (2021) Grade: B

I've never seen 2003's Wrong Turn, from the trailer the similarities seem to fall on traps mostly. This version of Wrong Turn though does has traps, looks different as it features a violent cult that leaves no trace.

I honestly had an enjoyable time watching Wrong Turn. It's an entertaining little horror flick, that has some fun slasher sequences, and though the story isn't particularly bringing anything new to the table regarding the genre, still manages to bring a fair amount of interest while being elevated by the slasher sequences and the trap sequences. Couple logic issues here and there, I also thought how this film wraps up was pretty stupid, it does have a weird payoff but I still would've just cut to black. The film maker knows the moral purpose of Wrong Turn as a low budget franchise horror film, as I felt they did a fairly good job with this reboot.

Overall, Wrong Turn (2021) t'was a solid flick. I actually recommend checking this one out, it can be found for rental.

Falling Grade: C

Falling: A movie about a stubborn, selfish, angry old man who yells at everybody, as he makes his son feel terrible about himself and about being a homosexual for almost a couple hours... There ya go, that's the movie.

Some may say Falling is a bit of an Oscar bait kind of film, as I can rightfully agree as the narrative feels repetitive in it's nature. There are a fair amount of editing issues, in which flashbacks are not properly placed, as we should've endured the breaking point later on in the story of a flashback encountering the father pushing John (Viggo Mortensen) as a teenager off a horse, rather than reoccurring John as a young child eating a duck he shot earlier in the day. There's not much information how the father gets custody of the kids in the first place, I think the mother of the children got in an accident, however there's not a single scene that shows the accident or shows the initial reaction of the children expressing sadness or emptiness even.

The narrative is also repetitive in terms of pacing, as we're treated basically the same scenes over and over again. Like I said: Majority of the film is an old man yelling at everybody, as it doesn't really lead to anything, sometimes you question the son as why he continues taking care of or even being associated with this man, where he could just move on and be happy with his life rather having this man being a burden on him. The closing shot is... Huh?! It's a very awkward way to end your film, as the message doesn't really resonated as to what the film is actually trying to say at all. It may not be good, but certainly not awful by any means, it's just a mediocre directoral debut from Mortensen that luckily will not be remembered other than the old man screaming at everyone.

Overall, Falling was just ok. I would not recommend this film, maybe spend time with your grandparents instead.

The Map of Perfect Little Things Grade: C+

A few minutes in, all I can think of was "Oh no, it's Groundhogs Day... Again." Of course this narrative is getting a bit old, not too long ago this narrative was done again by Palm Springs from last year, as we're revisited to it yet again.

For awhile this film was pretty mediocre, as I was getting insanely bored by it. However the film does redeem itself near I would say last 35-40 minutes?! I felt the film did a pretty good job in creating a nice message, of letting go and coming to terms of losing a loved one, as you have to move forward and continue life even it’s painful to endure losing somebody you love. The romantic arc was done fairly well, as it was kind of cute how it started and how it got developed to this point. The other complaint I would like to add is the closing shot... I would've much rather close it out with the romantic rain shot, the other closing shot was unnecessary as now you want to know who's the dog owner now.

Overall, The Map of Perfect Little Things was fine. If you like these narratives, in which replays the same day over and over again, then sure I would recommend this one it's kind of cute. If you're over this narrative... Yeah I would suggest skipping, not missing much.

Dead Pigs Grade: B+

Dead Pigs has been on my radar for quite awhile, heard about it from other critics maybe a couple years back as it finally gotten a U.S. release.

Dead Pigs follows a storyline featuring a family in which three family members get their own storyline, a woman feeling regret of a DUI crashing into an outside fruit market, and an American businessman feeling lonely in a foreign land. I really enjoyed the storyline of each family member, as it was throughly entertaining, funny, and even a bit strange due to the circumstances... It brought a fair amount of energy, making it an engaging watch.

The storyline featuring the woman and also the businessman both felt a bit underwhelming, however one felt fairly completed than the other. The woman's storyline was kept very minimal, you don't really go through the turmoil and regret the way the film would hope for, since the woman kept herself engaged with the young man of the family. Still when it's reintroduced again, as the woman found out one had passed away due to her drunk driving... At least it was kind of completed, I surely would've liked for the film to introduce the woman whom lost her husband because of the woman who was drunk at the wheel, that way there could be some kind of emotion towards this scene.

Meanwhile the businessman storyline had potential, however the film can't quite execute it correctly. I would've hope the businessman would end up trying to develop a relationship with Angie (Zazie Beetz), whom helped the businessman secure a gig at a model runway show. It would've made much sense since they both got along, so meeting up for a drink after would've worked much better, as he hope this could be the closure he needed in this lonely world he's currently living in. But unfortunately the businessman instead talks with one of the models of the runway show, which then led to the model asking the man a thousand dollars to sleep with her, which then the storyline goes absolutely nowhere after that... Just a very odd choice, which makes me question why exactly was this storyline used in the first place?!

Still Dead Pigs has a fair amount of variety to offer, from lovely visuals, to a fun composed score, to wonderful performances, fun story, and just a flat out entertaining film. Cathy Yan the director of this film also did the Harley Quinn film from last year which I didn't care for, but with Dead Pigs it has certainly certified that Cathy Yan can make a pretty good film when full control of the project itself.

Overall, Dead Pigs was a pretty good film. I recommend checking this one out, can be found on MUBI. -Mitch Smietana


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