• Strictly Films

Weekly Roundup Episode 95: Summer 22

Welcome to another edition of Weekly Roundup!

Summer Movie Season is coming to a close, as well as Summer 2022 all together. I feel as the years go by: The hype and anticipation of the season of Summer dies down just a bit. I feel it’s the fact that most people, when they become grown adults, don’t see summer like they used to see it like when they were kids. 

Summer was that season in which people finally get a long extended break, a break in which they utilize that time to spend time with their family, friends, and explore above their own horizons whether it be on vacation and such. It really was the time in which the fondest and most memorable memories were made. Now Summer is only viewed as the season of hot weather and nothing more than that… Don’t see too many folks ever happy about Summer at my age, other than those working in hospitality, which is understandable.

To me: I still have that same amount of energy for summer, like I originally did as a kid. I love Summer Time as the center of attention is primarily focused on baseball season, as a lover of baseball I look forward to attending games whether it be the local Minor League Team or take a nice small getaway to a Major League Park to watch my beloved Boston Red Sox play. As one whom mostly prefers being in a high temperature climate… You’d understand why Summer time is my favorite season of all. The idea of being in a setting in which doesn’t consist at least 70 degrees and above makes my body quiver, as the idea of being any kind of cold makes me extremely uncomfortable where I desperately need a blanket. 

But I feel the main reason being, in which I still get excited about Summer Time… Summer Movie Season. From the first Friday of May, to the last Friday of August… Non stop highly anticipated blockbusters and most certainly underrated indie gems, awaits for me to be viewed, enjoyed, and of course plan out dates in which I never fulfill due to my fear of rejection or not having a grand spectacular gesture to ask them out. I feel my excitement and anticipation for Summertime will never die down, as long as Summer Movie Season stays around which looking at the box office numbers of this year… I feel we still have many Summer Movie Seasons to look forward to, in the upcoming years.

So how did my Summer 22 shape out for me this year?! So I had a fair amount of expectations early on planned, while I was living in Florida come Spring Time. I had expectations in which to attend some exciting playoff matchups, anticipating going to a Florida Panthers or a Tampa Bay Lightning playoff game or hoping my Boston Celtics play the Miami Heat for a playoff game in Miami as well. Of course would anticipate still working at my current job in Florida, while occasionally will still go to movies time to time at my local theater, to also continue on with my random but fun filled bike ventures around the city. I was looking forward to attending a couple promotional nights at the local Minor League Baseball facility, in which held Meet and Greets for Brian Baumgartner whom played Kevin from The Office, and one for Jon Gries whom played Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite

I also anticipated finally going out with a couple of my friends Brittany and Tess, they were by far the most fun gals in Naples hands down, as I was looking forward to capturing a memorable fun filled experience with them. I was also looking forward to spending time with my friend Claudia, whom has been constantly been busy with school and such, as I would’ve loved to get to know her more and what not before she left for university. Also anticipating spending quality time with my Uncle and Cousins over down in Fort Lauderdale, which were by far the most fun side of the family. Of course lastly: Going over to Las Vegas to visit my family and friends, while also attending The Weeknd concert over at Allegiant Stadium. So you can see I’ve had a fun filled Summer all planned out and ready to go.

But unfortunately… Disappointment happened, where I was had to leave Florida all together. It’s been months since the move officially happened and still to this day… I’m still rather upset about the whole ordeal. Not only was my original Summer 22 plans mostly wrecked, but also my security, happiness, and livelihood was a bit wrecked as well.

Fortunately: Summer 22 was considerably a really good Summer for me. Though I would’ve rather enjoyed some Hockey and Celtics playoff games, I got to at least attend 6 baseball games two of which were Red Sox games over in Anaheim where the Angels play. I got to attend three concerts: Michael Buble, Carrie Underwood, and The Weeknd which highlighted a consistent set of pretty solid shows.

I got to spend a fair amount of time with family and especially friends. Got to attend my nieces first birthday, which was a nice cute little gathering in which I shall remember it for years to come. Got to hangout with my good ole pal Cam, who has been in the military for a couple years now, so it was extremely special to have him back home doing well and is safe and sound. Got to do a podcast with my buddies Charles and Jorian, whom are hosts for the podcast GamingPop as we discussed music, which I had a blast doing! Got to also spend some quality time with other friends, shouts out: Casey, Charles, The Cohill Brothers, D’Mon, Paul, Greg, and Cisco coming through. Got to experience a little Summer romance this summer, which was a massive surprise within itself. 

Yeah surely I did not receive the Summer I thought I would receive early on, however still ended up with a pretty dope Summer that’ll certainly hold quite a few beloved memories for years to come. At the end of the day: If your Summer consisted of kissing someone, you most certainly had a successful Summer… Let’s talk about movies!

Beast Grade: C

The ole creature feature thriller, in which a human being has brought themselves in a terrible situation, dealing with a terrifying animal that can indeed eat them alive… This genre of film doesn’t come up too often, but usually is an entertaining spectacle. We see these kind of films dealing with mostly Sharks, we also had a few different animals here and there featuring Anacondas, Piranhas, Crocodiles, and of course Big Giant Spiders. In Beast we get a new terrifying animal to the table: The Lion. Not a single animal in the jungle can with stand the fearsome nature of a Lion, truly is a pure predator in which mostly every single animal and being is it’s prey, so this was a nice new addition to the table.

I was spectacle on how the special effects team can capture a realistic looking Lion, as I thought the special effects with regards to the Lion was done extremely well. When you look at films like The Lion King (2019) or The Life Ahead, typically you can tell right away if the Lion looks real or not. Surprisingly enough with this film having the Lion as the center of attention: The film honestly does a really impressive job, where you can indeed question if the Lion is real or not, as it looks that good. 

I felt Beast had it’s moments here and there of entertainment, but I would say this film does somewhat succeed in creating an intense environment. There’s really no room for error when it comes to handling a creature like a Lion, as the animal can literally devour you within seconds. So in a way at least the film kept my interest, as you want to experience just how this small little family gets out of this situation.

Beast however compared to the likes of Anaconda, Jaws, The Shallows, Crawl, and a guilty pleasure of mine Eight Legged Freaks… The film just doesn’t have that fun entertainment value I’m looking for. Sure it has it’s moments, but I can’t help to feel how underwhelmed I was, as I was sitting way too comfortable on my recliner theater seat. 

I do feel the film has a major issue when it comes to creating realism, in terms of how brutal a Lion attack really is. When the Lion claws at Dr. Nate (Idris Elba) legs… Somehow someway Dr. Nate is barely harmed, as he’s able to continue on as normal. Does the film maker not understand just how brutal it is, for a Lion to grab onto you with it’s bare claws?! One would be suffering a massive injury, to the point where they’ll be bleeding out and aren’t able to move a muscle, as this film treats as if it were to get a small boo boo.

There’s quite a bit of baffling decision making by most of the characters in this film. Whether it be putting themselves in more danger or wanting to fend for themselves from a vicious lion with a butter knife… The film really makes the audience fuming in how stupid some of these characters are. Also there are a few dream sequences in which features a African like tribe or family… What is the meaning behind those sequences?! It literally leads to absolutely nowhere, as you question what was the moral purpose of those sequences existing in the first place?!

Overall, Beast was just ok. I don’t recommend this film, I would either rather watch other more entertaining creature features or wait till this hits streaming to watch.

Laal Singh Chaddha Grade: B-

When I heard there was a film in which was a new adaptation of my all time favorite film Forrest Gump… I simply had to experience it myself. I had my doubts about this Hindi adaptation, surely it would be an immense challenge to not only please my liking, but to also capture the same magic as what Forrest Gump did for me. However given how extremely passionate the country of India is with regards to cinema… Surely they wouldn’t completely butcher it. As surprisingly enough: There is a fair amount to like of this different adaptation.

While Laal Singh Chaddha does follow a similar pattern in storytelling like Forrest Gump, the film at least tries to create something different to the table. One element of the story that was extremely different compared to Forrest Gump, is how brutally intense the historical tragedies our main character Laal Singh Chaddha (Aamir Khan) has to go through in his early childhood. Those sequences were very saddening to experience, but it also helmed Laal’s growing up in knowing life is not all rainbows and sunshine, that sometimes the bullying done to him is nowhere near as bad as the world around him, so possibly it helped continued his pure kind hearted spirit.

I also felt the character development between Laal Singh Chaddha and Rupa (Kareena Kapoor) was nicely done, as I would say in comparison I like them more than the development between Forrest and Jenny. I feel it’s because the development between the two felt more equal, where Rupa actually treats Laal better than Jenny did with Forrest, as it didn’t felt one sided at all in that film compared to this film. You understand the reasoning behind Rupa not necessarily falling for Laal just yet, as she has this immense insecurity of wanting financial security, as money felt like an extremely important thing to have for Rupa. It just ties in nice at the end, Rupa just felt like a more likable romantic companion for Laal.

There’s also another new addition to the table, as Laal’s unlikely business partner with a character that resembled the likes of Lieutenant Dan. It’s now that the man Laal saved in the war, was actually the enemy Laal was facing in the war. While the companionship isn’t as wholesome as Forrest’s and Dan’s, as least this unlikely companionship delivered a wonderful message. All this time the partner was trained to believe everyone in which Laal fought for were all terrible people, where Laal made him realize that is most certainly not true and he found peace within himself. As a civilization we’re often flawed because we pass judgment on a whole group of people, without realizing we haven’t met every single person in that group. So if we allow ourselves in being more open to people, not letting these assumptions nonsensical stereotypes get in the way… More than often we shall be surprised in finding beautiful people in every group, so that message was nice to experience.

With regards to the similar story telling beats: There are quite a few moments in which I didn’t feel we didn’t need the same exact moment replicated, like in the original. The whole marathon running sequence was all going fairly well, until they had to for some reason bring in the media team… It didn’t feel needed at all. Ping Pong… Why was Ping Pong ever included?! There has been no indication Ping Pong was considered an activity they participated in, as the film just randomly shoved in a couple random Ping Pong moments, it felt unnecessary.

I felt the War sequence wasn’t as compelling nor intense as the original film. It also features some of the worst set design in this entire film hands down, as you can clearly tell this rock like atmosphere is entirely fake. The whole business Laal took on after his friend tragically passed in the war… Yeah that was pretty ridiculous to experience. I won’t spoil how exactly he gotten successful, but it was so extremely goofy that I couldn’t take it seriously, especially in a midst of miracle where Laal desperately needed.

For what Laal Singh Chaddha is: It’s a film in which does capture some of the magic, you were hoping to experience, while presented in a fairly unique way. Even some of the goofiness appeal to the film kind of worked out just fine, whether it be the track meet sequences or especially what I REALLY enjoyed were those slap sequences… Those were freaking hilarious! Before I forget: The music in this film SLAPPED, I enjoyed the music in this film so much. It’s a nice little feel good film, that doesn’t come off as blatantly offensive to fans of Forrest Gump as those assumed it would be.

Overall, Laal Singh Chaddha was a decent film. I recommend checking this one, wasn’t half bad!  

The Territory Grade: B

The Territory is a documentary film, featured in Brazil where a small indigenous group preserves an significant area of the Amazon Rainforest. Their whole mission is to protect and reserve this area, as the Amazon Rainforest is extremely sacred to nature. However: There is a group of farmers who attempt in seizing this area, in order to built farming crops of their own, with other intentions involved. So this small indigenous group must do all they can, to fight and protect their land, where the main leader is an 18 year old boy.

The Territory in terms of style was well put together, as this film most certainly did not feel like a documentary film at all. The nature shots looked pretty great, as it not only highlights the true beauty of the rainforest, but also shows the immense tragedy and devastation of deforestation this land looks like and what kind of impact it has on the world.

The substance at hand t’was rock solid. I appreciate the film for allowing the viewer to understand both sides. While the indigenous group wants to protect the Rainforest as it’s not only their home, but also has an immense impact on the climate, which temperatures can rise at 6 degrees as the Rainforest keeps the climate cool. However: You also understand why exactly, does the other side want to take over this land, more so the farmers. Most of their intentions has to do with developing more crops, so they can produce more food production, plus in this country it’s one’s dream to own land and to continue on working on the farm. So you can understand their perspective like the indigenous perspective as well, the film does a fairly matured job in that regard.

Unfortunately: Some of the deforestation has some selfish intentions involved, mostly from the political side. Politicians simply want to not only build a city within the Rainforest, but to also wipe out indigenous group completely, as they are in their way of achieving more greed. It’s extremely upsetting to experience, as how can one who works in the field of politics, have a heart so cold where the purpose of being a politician is to help serve the people?! That’s where you have to side with the indigenous people, as all they want to do is continue to keep the Rainforest safe, while continuing living on life per usual.

One element of the film I don’t really understand is the indigenous people’s distaste with White People… Why are they even mentioned at all?! I mean were in Brazil, the whole population features mostly Latin people, so why are White People getting hated on?! Maybe they feel White People are the ones whom are controlling the business ventures of it all, but even then a couple of business executives doesn’t represent an entire race. Not all White People nor do all Latin people want to see the Rainforest go down, you express your displeasure with the politicians and the farmers whom are attempting to take down your land, but you can’t express hate for an entire race.

Overall , The Territory is a solid documentary film. I recommend checking this one out, very informative and most certainly an important documentary to watch. -Mitch Smietana

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