• Strictly Films

Weekly Roundup Episode 46: Happy BornDay Alexis!


Welcome to another edition of Weekly Roundup! Reliable... When that word comes about, many individuals I've been acquainted with during my entire existence, have struggled immensely to be just that. Whenever I need someone to be there for me whether it be an event or just being there for me in general, it's extremely difficult to call on just about anyone, as either they don't come through or disappoint me briefly. I say briefly because it's human nature really, there's honestly no point in getting worked up on an area often times the majority of society are immense failures at.

However: When the word Reliable comes about, the one person I do think ever so often is my sister Alexis. Throughout twenty four years and four months of my existence, my sister has rarely ever failed regarding being reliable. Whether it be making sure I making it to the school bus ok when I was little, be a helping hand whenever one tears me down emotionally, driving me to important afternoons or evenings, helping me out with my speech delay, or being an open door in which I can openly be myself to... Alexis has always been there.

Our sibling-ship has never been indeed perfect, as there has been a history of confrontations, arguments, fights and such. However despite our unfortunate history... Alexis' love for her big brother still has never changed, in fact her love for her brother feels as if it's gotten bigger over the years. You can say I sometimes don't deserve my sister's love, however my sister always makes me feel as if I deserve the world.

I've been extremely proud of my sister these past few years. Through all the hardship and struggle she had to face with her medical issues, she managed to triumph through adversity. God has granted my sister with many blessings, including three wonderful dogs, a husband, and now a baby on the way. There's really no other person in this world who deserves everything, than my little sister Alexis. It's been an honor to have watched you grown over the years, but more so an honor to be your big brother for 24 of them. Don't know what I do without you, but I'm grateful you have made life meaningful and worth sticking around for. Happy BornDay Alexis, I love and miss you always and forever, hope you have a blessed year, God Bless. Alright time to talk about movies!

Followed Grade: C-

I would really like to know why this is called Followed?! It has nothing to do with Twitter or Facebook, it's more centered around YouTube and an everyday Blogger, should've been called Subscribed.

Followed as a straight forward found footage film, surrounding a blogger trying to gain a sponsor and to receive more subscribers by messing around in a haunted hotel was honestly cool for what it is. I honestly liked how this film looked visually, I liked the lead actor as the way he portrayed everyday bloggers was pretty accurate.

The interest was certainly there, however what holds back Followed is the fact the horror elements was pretty lame and cheap. Can't really fault Followed for the cheapness of the scary imagery due to the limited budget, but every time some strange entity popped up it honestly looked pretty bad. The ending was kind of stupid as well, as it doesn't make much sense everything leading up to it. At least Followed was a more manageable watch than Host was.

Overall, Followed was mediocre. I don't recommend this film, unless you're into found footage films then it's fine for a watch incase you're bored with nothing to do.

Beats Grade: B+

I've been looking forward to Beats for quite awhile, as I relaunched my MUBI account for $1 for three months... Life is good ay?!

You know I hate EDM music with a passion, however making it an illegal crime to listen to EDM... Yeah that's a bit extreme. Beats excels on wonderful cinematography, a dope composed score, a well rounded cast with performances that are at times BONKERS, and a story though indeed a bit wild and over the top, but doesn't skip much of a beat as you'll be enjoying yourself start to finish. As much of a blast Beats is... Having the subtitles on for Beats t'was a blast as well. It's honestly quite thrilling reading the Scottish slang these characters were saying, you can't understand a word these characters were saying without the subtitles but when the words that are unheard of appear... It's honestly hilarious.

Overall, Beats was a pretty damn good film. I highly recommend checking this one out on MUBI or renting on ITUNES.

The War with Grandpa Grade: D

When we look back on the history of cinema, The War with Grandpa will be in discussion as being in the Top 5 most grossing films in the box office post covid/lockdown in 2020... I can't believe this film got people out of the house, you gotta be kidding me.

The War with Grandpa is what you expected it to be... A Joke. It's by your numbers an ole fashion prank movie, as we watch our beloved characters pull absurd pranks on each other, compared to the likes of Junior in Problem Child. At least Problem Child was actually fun and has an enjoyable lead child actor, that the character itself actually has real problems due to his troubled up bringing. In this film it's about a whiny brat, as he wants to declare war with his grandpa over his room... Listen I understand his issue, but wanting to set up traps in which he attempts murder on his grandpa, is a bit too much.

I will say The War with Grandpa surprisingly pulls off a couple genuine chuckles, which I was ever so surprised. As the film closes to black, I realize "You know what?! That wasn't as torturous as I thought it was going to be." It's a stupid movie, but at least it's a stupid movie that didn't make me hate myself.

Overall, The War with Grandpa was bad. I don't recommend this film.

Jungleland Grade: B

I thought this was going to be a straight up boxing movie, but it turns out to be much more than that.

It's not even a boxing film, it's more of a martial arts kick boxing film, as you can get a serious beating if not handling yourself correctly. I could've used more fighting sequences, however I liked the story of JungleLand. It's a rather depressing tale, as you get attach to the main characters and the supporting character they try to bring back to this horrible person, as the character development within everyone is done really well. Loved and hate the finale for the right reasons. Loved it due to the fighting sequence was pretty awesome, hated it because of what happens to one of the characters we've been following throughout the film.

Overall, JungleLand is a solid film. I recommend checking this one out, something new to the table indeed.

The 40 Year Old Version Grade: B+

The 40 Year Old Version has been making some noise within indie awards, critical praise, and audience seems to like it as well.

With the Golden Globe nominations announced, I'm kind of dumbfounded as I question why wasn't this nominated in the Best Comedy/Musical category?! Not only does the film bring out some solid comedic chops, but it's also worth noting almost everything surrounding this film is done well indeed. The Cinematography was done extremely well, as it was beautiful and admirable to look at this rough black and white picture of Brooklyn. The cast was all really good, including our main star Radha Black who also written and directed this film. Well written story that not only is engaging start to finish, extremely relatable, but also has rather important things to say. Feels a bit too long, also one romantic element was not really needed, however... This was impressive.

Overall, 40 Year Old Version was pretty damn good. I highly recommend checking this one out on Netflix.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 Grade: B

Aaron Sorkin wow'd audience with his great directoral debut in Molly's Game, as he hopes to do the same in his sophomore film.

The trial that this film was based around was worth exploring, as seven men do get falsely accused of influencing a riot that happened in Chicago. How the story is written is engaging as it has a fair amount of interest, however the story itself can feel a bit underwhelming itself. I wish more was done regarding the past events, leading up to the riot as we barely know much about our characters and also the event itself.

As a court case drama it's good, may not be 12 Angry Men great, but it's still good. The cast was solid as a whole, some have complained about Sorkin's directing, however he did a solid job with the film and his cast. It's weird how I liked this film, yet I expected more.

Overall, The Trial of the Chicago 7 t'was solid. I recommend checking this one out on Netflix. -Mitch Smietana

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