• Strictly Films

Weekly Roundup Episode 48: Spring Training is BACK

Welcome to another edition of Weekly Roundup! Surprisingly enough: Spring Training is next week... Feels great to be typing those words. Baseball fans will rejoice in Arizona and Florida in ballparks, enjoying Americas past time. Sure the whole limited capacity maybe aggravating, but let's just appreciate the little things, as those little things will soon become big blessings. Hoping to enjoy my RedSox this Spring Training, as I live near their Spring Training facility so hoping to look forward to some relaxing quality time at the ballpark, cheering on my team.


Before that pain in the ass came and ruin people's lives for a temporary period of time, I was working at four games during Spring Training in Vegas. It was a yearly event that used to be hosted at Cashman Field, they took a year off due to the minor league team relocated to Las Vegas Ballpark in DownTown Summerlin... A Major Much Needed Upgrade! For those people in Vegas that complained about this ballpark being built: Have you ever went to Cashman Field?! Have you seen that part of town?! Me and my sister went to the ATM before a game and we thought we were about to get stabbed... Trust me, this was a much needed investment.


Anyways I worked during The Big League Weekend event, featuring the Indians vs The A's and The Cubs vs The Reds. How was it like working during those weekends?! Paradise. Walking into that ballpark those four mornings, watching ball players warmup playing catch, loving the view from that beautifully built baseball field... I mean you couldn't beat it. The customers were all extremely friendly and nice as it correlated to the baseball type atmosphere you're used to getting at a game, the staff and managers were all super nice and cool. But the best part?! The Breaks. Not only do you get a 30 minute paid break, you also can enjoy 30 minutes of free baseball and can enjoy 50% off on concessions which these were top quality concessions... This was honestly the best freaking job, what more could you possibly ask for?! It's such a damn shame I couldn't work the entire Vegas Minor League season, as that pain in the ass canceled the season... I would've been having the time of my life there, it is what it is, but still... DAMN IT!


At least those glorious two weeks of working there, brought me some fond memories. Got to be around friends I haven't seen in years Gavin, Angel, Brayden, and Preston. Amir Garrett relief pitcher of The Reds was walking near me, as I waiting to get through security into work. I also broke the record for my company in sales for one day... I'm too good with dem numbers B A B Y. I always feel a little sad thinking about what could've been, but at the end of the day... Like a failed relationship: Appreciate the Memories and Move Forward... That's all you can do. I hope everyone I worked with during my time there is doing well, you all were terrific individuals. I'm happy that the minor league team in Vegas is coming back this season and bringing in fans as well, that's what I love to hear... Saying Yes to Life, Saying No to Fear. Well I guess all I can say now is... Play Ball. Let's talk about some movies.


Earwig and the Witch Grade: D+

Studio Ghibli is back, as they attempt their first 3-D animated film! I actually started to watch a few Studio Ghibli films from last year, as I ended my holdout from Anime films as I gotta admit... There's a few good films here.

Honestly: The animation may not be great, however it's not necessarily a bad first attempt. It almost felt like a college kid excelling at his animation course... Sure it needs some tweaks, however for the class the kid is miles above everyone else. It felt reminiscent to Scary Godmother as terms of animation and style since it has spooky elements with Witches and Spells. However Spooky Godmother was made in 2003, while the other was made in 2021... It does bring back nostalgia vibes, however as 3-d Animation has advanced over the years, it's not quite up to par with today's standards.


Honestly what killed Earwig and the Witch for me was the plot, as I felt this was honestly pretty boring. It's just a girl dealing with a couple douchebag magic people, as they do things for an hour that doesn't really lead to anywhere. Even when the story is actually leading to somewhere of interest, the film abruptly ends, as you question why cap off your film there?! Are they anticipating a sequel to this?! Why would you suddenly stop where the story could possibly get good?! I don't understand what was the point in making something that's just... Bland. It's not a terrible story by any means, just barely anything happens and when something is about to happen... They just stop.

Overall, Earwig and the Witch was crap. I don't recommend this film even if you're a fan of this production company.

Palmer Grade: B+

The new Apple TV Plus film Palmer centering around an ex convict Palmer (Justin Timberlake), maturing over the course of time thanks to a young boy Sam (Ryder Allen) who likes princess's and likes wearing dresses.

Palmer was actually a surprise, as I actually really enjoyed this one. Justin Timberlake delivers honestly one of his best performances of his entire career, the character can feel extremely relatable in some sense, as you honestly get attached to this character and his relationship with this child. The story was by the standards, however it does a really good job in making you care about our characters and hoping both of them get on towards a better life. Both individuals are troubled and get picked on in some capacity, both are misunderstood as their both pretty good individuals that just wanted to be treated like everyone else. Seeing Palmer blossomed over the course of time and caring for this kid was wonderful, as he finally succeed to his potential as a person finding his way towards love.

Overall, Palmer was a pretty good film. I actually highly recommend checking this one out, can be found on Apple TV Plus.

Made in Italy Grade: C

This honestly reminded me a lot of Netflix original Falling Inn Love, only without the romantic element.

Honestly the highlight of this entire film was Liam Neeson's performance as the kids father, as he actually tried in this comedic drama film. Liam brought out his acting chops as he delivered in some emotional moments, including the third act when broke down in tears over the lost of his wife... Really helped elevated this entire film.

The story of this film was pretty uneventful for me, as I was honestly quite bored by it. It also doesn't help that there is inconsistency in tone shift throughout the duration of this film. One moment it wants to be a serious drama about a father and son's declining relationship, which brings the son to wanting to sell this house so he can have his gallery back. The next thing it wants to be a silly comedy... It should've never been a comedy, because the comedy in this is honestly stupid. It maybe better than Falling Inn Love, however quality wise both are on the same boat.

Overall, Made in Italy was just ok. I wouldn't recommend this one, I think you can find something better to watch.

Hunted Grade: D+

Getting through my remaining week of Shudder, as I had to watch some titles before my account expires.

Hunted was something else I must say. I actually liked the concept of this film and it also had a nice setup. It was a unique kidnapping setup, as the man whom was making out with the woman, tricked her as the driver got in and drove off... That was different. Oh I almost forgot: I enjoyed the introduction story by the camp fire, that was kind of cool. There is also one cool death sequence featuring an arrow, then the aftermath of one being struck by the arrow was also cool.

As time went on with Hunted... This is honestly a pretty bizarre film. It doesn't help that the antagonist’s performance is over the top, it also doesn't help that the character itself is just... Stupid. He once was a military paramedic, as now he's a psychopathic amateur porn filmmaker that likes torturing women in his films... What the hell is this?! His mannerisms and how he treats everyone including his brother, are just so bizarre that it's hard to take it seriously or even enjoy it. A weird transition of the woman escaping, then it cuts to a goofy anime cartoon and a weird gas station clerk, which then makes a very stupid choice no one would make... UGH! It's just a bizarre stupid movie, with bad performances, bad characters, and it's not much entertaining as well.

Overall, Hunted was crap. I don't recommend this film.

The Queen of Black Magic (2021) Grade: B-

I didn't know this was a remake till I saw the original popped up on the screen a few slides before.

This honestly was kind of a cool movie. The plot is pretty thin however everything that follows makes sense, but it's elevated by the horror element. Creepy vile disgusting imagery that really gets under your skin. Makeup design was actually on point, especially the main antagonist who looked pretty bad ass. It's also worth noting that the characters as written made logical sense, fairly written as you understand why this entity is haunting everyone, as there is a much more evil presence than just the woman.

I think the horror element regarding gross out/torture elements was getting a bit too much, as it needed to be toned down a little especially in the finale. Still what I gotten out of a low scale, thin plot horror flick... Not half bad.


Overall, The Queen of Black Magic was fairly decent. I recommend checking this one out on Shudder. -Mitch Smietana

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