Finding Dory: I Won’t Forget You

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Finding Dory is an animation created by Pixar, it’s the sequel to Finding Nemo (2003), and it focuses on one of the previous film’s supporting characters, Dory. She suffers from short term memory loss, which she has had since youth, and she starts randomly getting certain past memories and all of a sudden, she realizes she lost her family. When this came to mind, she decides she has to go off and find them.

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Let’s talk about the very beginning of the film. It shows Dory in her early years, and she is with her parents, she seems to be learning how to introduce herself to others, and we learn about her short term memory loss (although if you’ve seen Finding Nemo, you’d probably know already). The opening itself was powerful and it is still in my memory. It stuck with me throughout the entire movie. The animation done in this sequence as well was superb, I’m not really a sucker for cuteness, but I did adore Dory in this circumstance. Haha, get it? Adore Dory? She’s aDORYble.

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Ellen DeGeneres does the voice of Dory as an adult, it worked out perfectly in this movie! I remember when I watched Finding Nemo, the voice suited with her character when I watched that, but in terms of the speed and pitch she delivered when she talked, whether the moment was fast-paced, emotional, or anything at all, I was engaged. When I say this, I’m referring to both Finding Nemo and Finding Dory.

The supporting characters in this movie are awesome to say the least. My favorite of them all has to be Hank the octopus. Ed O’Neill does his voice and I think it suits him well. He was one of the funniest characters in the movie, and he moved the plot along well therefore creating a sense of anticipation of what was to come.

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One thing I’ve noticed that Pixar has been able to do lately is to not only create a great film, but provide a good lesson in there as well. There have been a good number of animations I’ve watched over my life that have failed to do such a thing. This film has to be one of the best they’ve done it with so far. I may be biased because I have a disability, but watching this movie, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Wow, this really affects Dory.” Not to mention I could connect with Dory throughout the movie. We don’t have the same disability but still, we have them in general. My mother has no interest in seeing animations, but if she went to see this movie I really think she’d enjoy it. In fact I think it’s one of those movies that kids will like just as much as adults.

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Finding Dory had great storytelling, relatable characters, a few nitpicks that I won’t take too far as it is a movie meant to entertain children, and still shows that Pixar can make great movies. I’m going to give Finding Dory a 9/10. Funny thing about the movie, this came out the same weekend as Central Intelligence. What’s so funny about it? Both films had roles played by Dwayne Johnson. I will be honest, I never even knew he was in the movie until the end credits. This weekend I will be seeing “The BFG,” the new movie from Steven Spielberg, with a score by John Williams, and based on of my most nostalgic books. It’s a great book and I think they are going to get it right with the movie. I don’t want them to copy everything from the novel or my imagination, I just want to see a coherent film. Stick around, because Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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My First MX4D Experience

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Last Friday, I went to see the new Independence Day movie. It started out pretty good but it became an image of dread in my mind once I left the theater. However, the same cannot be said for the experience. On that same day, it was my first time ever watching a movie in MX4D, in Layman’s terms, it can be described as a movie experience where the entire theater essentially simulates everything going on in the movie. This is complete with moving seats, effects, scents, ticklers, etc.

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When it comes to the seats, here are the specs. The chair consists of a neck tickler, a back poker, which kind of makes me worry for my posture. A leg tickler, which can be useful during an action scene where there’s lots of flying tentacles involved. A seat popper, a rumbler, which I’ll be honest, is not the first place I’ve seen something like this. Other effect features includes methods for simulating the blasting of air, rain, wind/strobes, scent, water, rain/bubbles, and snow/fog. Outside of the seats, I barely noticed any difference in sound quality, projection, and screen size. Although there is a neat feature with the lights in the auditorium, specifically the fact that they flash at certain times. If you have seizures, I’d probably recommend you stay away from a place like this. The lights flash whenever something such as a gun or laser fires, or whenever someone takes a photo. A question I bet many of you are probably going to ask at some point about this is “Is this worth it?”

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It’s a known fact that a lot of people don’t go to the movie theater as much as they used to. There are multiple reasons. They may be more interested in watching them on their own TV, streaming services such as Netflix, VOD, and Amazon Video have come into play, some people in the theater are loud or disruptive of the experience, and they often collect discs or tapes. Another reason besides these have to do with ticket price. Around where I go, the morning prices are usually around $6, which isn’t too bad. The matinee is around the $10 mark, which in some theaters, is the early bird price as well. The price for a night showing is $13 at the most. Keep in mind, these prices are for standard 2D showings. The place I went to see this MX4D movie was Showcase Cinemas de Lux in Revere, MA. An adult matinee showing in 2D is $10.50. The price for an adult matinee in MX4D however, is an obnoxious $20.50. I went with someone else that qualified for an adult ticket, and the total came out to $41. I knew about this before showing the ticket price to the person I was going with, but when I told it to him, he freaked out, but dealt with it. For the record, I originally wanted to see the film I was planning to see in 2D as it would be much cheaper in the long run, but the guy who was coming along with me had something to accomplish at the time the show started, so I had to suck it up. How was the theatre itself?

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When I was a kid, I never came to the Cinema de Lux in Revere. This was mainly due to how my parents didn’t usually prefer going along Route 1 (mainly my mom), otherwise known as one of the worst highways ever. Although having been there and noticing they have some of the largest screens in the area, along with some of the best sound quality as well, I wanted to go more often. When I walked in the theater, the screen was noticeably in an aspect ratio between 2.39:1 and 2.4:1, which if you’re aspect ratio illiterate it means that it is one of the typical formats for a movie. If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s an image below of how they would look on a widescreen TV.

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The movie was in the aspect ratio of the screen as I first saw it. I somewhat find it hilarious because I usually first find a movie theater screen in a 16:9 ratio because of all the advertising. This theater still did ads, but the screen was not in the format I was used to seeing. The walls were also different, and I mean that in both a sense among the auditoriums the theater already has, along with what I’ve seen in movie theaters overall. I can only think of one other theater with a wall like this, and I never set foot in it. The walls had a beach on it, which I kind of found interesting, but had not much to do with the experience as a whole. I knew the walls were going to appear the way they were though as I did some research on MX4D prior to going to this particular showing, although I couldn’t say the same for the screen in terms of prior knowledge. Speaking of prior knowledge, I knew a bit about the seats. Although I didn’t know I had to place my feet down on a foot rest. Why? That was near the leg tickler. The person I came along with said he likes these seats in terms of comfort, little did he know he was in for a ride. Sure, he knew this was a motion enhanced experience, but he didn’t know how immersed he’d feel in the end.

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When the show was about to begin, the Showcase intro played on the screen, signifying the movie was about to start. However, once that finished, the movie didn’t start. There was one more title before the movie began. There was an intro for MX4D, and it was meant to show off the effects of MX4D in every way possible. When I saw this intro, my heart almost stopped. I don’t get seizures, and I never have problems with flashing lights, but I saw the lights flashing above on the ceiling, it was something I wasn’t prepared for. I got used to it throughout the film and it added to the experience, but it made me kind of surprised once I first witnessed it. Despite that, once the intro finished, I felt just as prepared for the movie as I am whenever I see the IMAX countdown. I doubt every MX4D experience will start in a way similar to this, but this gave me plenty of chills. As far as the introduction goes, it’s a great way to show off what the company can do to the audience and give them a shock.

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What’s the best part of the experience? I’ve got to say the seat movements. The seats move back, forth, left, and right whenever something in the movie or the camera moves. I saw the opening titles of the film, I felt like I was getting a tour guide of outer space. D-Box does this too, but I’ve yet to see a film in D-Box so I can’t judge it upfront.

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If there are any improvements that I would like to witness out of this experience, it’s the ticket price. It is way too much for one person to handle. Sure you get a lot out of the experience, but there are some people who can get seizures or motion sickness from something like this, also who wants to pay $20 for a movie ticket?! If you’re Donald Trump you might as well come here any time you want, however if you’re a regular Joe than I recommend you come in moderation. Although everything else is superb.

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MX4D is a revolutionary experience. In my opinion, it’s no IMAX though. IMAX has a bigger screen, better sound, more seats, etc. Despite that, MX4D is still a good time every now and then. I will say though, the experience itself was better than the movie I saw throughout (Independence Day: Resurgence in case you didn’t remember me typing earlier). Stay tuned for more content I am going to post on here, pretty soon I’m going to have a review up for “Finding Dory,” the new animation from Pixar, which is a sequel to the 2003 movie “Finding Nemo,” and I’m planning to see “The BFG” over the next weekend, so if I do, I shall have a review for that posted soon as well. Stick around, because Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Independence Day: Resurgence- The Sequel That Goes Noisily Into the Theater

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Independence Day: Resurgence is the sequel to the 1996 sci-fi movie Independence day. This movie in its simplest form involves the people of Earth as they are yet again invaded by aliens, once again on Independence Day.

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One theme I notice a lot in sequels is that they try express the word “big” to such a high degree, this film definitely does that. To quote Jeff Goldblum’s character, or David Levinson, “That’s… definitely bigger than the last one.” Right there he was referring to the mothership when he first saw it in this movie. I also noticed this with the action as well. Not that this is a bad thing, but the action felt bloated. Keep in mind, when I say bloated, I mean it in a good way. There was a lot more flying scenes involved, including a number in first person view, which looked really cool on the big screen.

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When it came to the characters in this movie, that happened to be one of my problems. A good number of them were unrelatable, annoying, unmemorable, or undeveloped throughout the movie. A bunch of the original cast have returned for this movie. I don’t have many notable problems with them on my mind now, but as of this moment, I remember Will Smith more than I remember than any of the other original cast members in terms of being in the Independence Day movies. That’s something to keep in mind because unlike some other original cast members, Will Smith wasn’t even in the second film to begin with. Maybe it’s just because the shots of Will Smith in the first movie looked the coolest, so he sticks out more than other characters, but it’s just something that bothers me. Brent Spiner also returned in this movie, and I didn’t appreciate him. In the first movie, I didn’t really care much about his character, but now for the screen time I’ve witnessed for the character in this movie, he makes me think of John Tuturro’s character from the Transformers movies. Only difference is that this guy is a bit smarter.

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Let’s talk about some of the other characters, or the ones that a person such as me wouldn’t give a crap about. I don’t completely remember Liam Hemsworth’s character in this movie all that well, which says a lot. Liam although had a love interest in this movie and it played into the story a little bit. Not just that, but as one of the main characters of this movie, he is forced to go up against the mothership. Now, for the characters I still don’t care about, but still know more than Liam’s. I actually remember the teen girl from this movie who drove a car without a license, it played into the story quite a bit because it had to do with evacuation. What did I like about her? Nothing. She was a teen in this movie, so she could be playing someone with a mood swing, but I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when I heard her attitude when she was driving. There was basically one scene where I couldn’t help but laugh because it was about her not having a license and not only was it funny in general, but it responded to one of my complaints about the movie.

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Back to positives, the effects in this movie look great. Whenever I saw laser beams I thought they looked pretty good for 2016. Interestingly enough, when I look back on the 1996 movie that came out before this one, the beams aren’t that different. Sure, the beams in the other films look a little fuzzier, but that’s about it. The mothership was good looking and it really gave you a sense of monstrosity. If you look at the scope of the thing, it’s like looking at Smaug in the Hobbit trilogy.

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Independence Day: Resurgence started out as a good movie, then went on a steady decline as I thought about it more. It’s a good popcorn movie, but it is nowhere near as memorable as the original, and this even counts if you aren’t even looking at the screen when watching the original. I’m being serious. I’m going to give Independence Day: Resurgence a 4/10. By the way, this movie is still on my mind, so if it is in my mind for a certain amount of time from this point, it might go down to 3 or lower. If it wasn’t like this, I would have given the movie a 7, but I’m a thinker, it’s what I do.

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Also, just an interesting story, when I went to see this movie, I paid more for this movie per ticket than I ever have in any past cinema experience. For the tickets, it was $20.50 each. Not just that, but this was at 10:50 in the morning, a time where movies are usually cheap! Although there was a reason for that. This was my first ever MX4D experience. I’m going to do a separate post on that, coming soon. Thanks for reading this review, and remember, Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Warcraft: Not to be Confused With, Warcrap

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Warcraft is a movie based on the hit video game known as World of Warcraft, or as some may call it, WOW. The movie derives around the human race and orcs. The individual races happen to live in separate worlds, but somehow there is a portal that connects the orc world to the human world known as Azeroth. The orcs leave their dying world, entering the human world. Although the humans feel that these orcs are monsters that could potentially destroy their world, therefore causing tension between the groups and increasing chances of war breaking out.

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Let’s talk about something here, this movie is based on a video game, and I went to see one movie based on a video game last year and that movie was Hitman: Agent 47. That was probably one of the worst movies I’ve seen all year, and it shows what happens with video games when you turn them into movies, they seem to bomb. I even stand by my statement that Super Mario Bros.: The Movie is my least favorite movie ever made. This movie is better than both Mario and Hitman. Does that mean this is a good movie? I don’t think so. Also another thing that’s on my mind is the box office, if I saw this earlier I wouldn’t be talking about this, but I might as well now. On the opening weekend for this movie in the US, the movie made $24 million. That’s between 6 to 7 times less than the total amount of money it took to make this movie. However in China, the movie made $156 million. It shows a difference in taste in movies between the countries. If I had to guess, this probably happened due to the growth in IMAX theaters the country has seen over the past year, and this movie probably looked like it was going to be eye candy. I don’t investigate deep into the taste of the Chinese when it comes to movies, but I’m willing to bet that they appreciate effects more than story and characters. I’m not saying that’s wrong in any way, it makes them who they are.

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Let’s get some detail between the orcs and humans. The main human in this movie is Anduin Lothar. Right now I kind of regret never playing the games, because if I had played them, I probably would have cared for his character more. Sure his world was being invaded, but you had orcs to care about when it came to their world.

Speaking of orcs, one was Antonidas, played by Toby Kebbell. He was the main orc that revolved around the movie. I have to say that he was very well designed in terms of CGI. One thing I liked about this dude is his voice matching well with the character. The orc was designed to be thick and the voice kept up with the orc’s physique. There were quite a few moments where I felt much more sympathy for his character as opposed to any of the human characters. After all, compared to the humans who had their world disturbed, the orcs had theirs dying, so it was easier to find sympathy for the orcs as a whole. One more thing about that voice though, if they ever plan to reboot Fantastic Four for a fourth time, I want to see him voice The Thing. Yeah, I know, he was in Fan4stic as Dr. Doom, but I don’t care.

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Another character I remember a lot about from the movie is Garona. She is half-orc, half-draenei. One thing I found interesting about her is how similar she is to Gamora from “Guardians of the Galaxy.”First of all, they are both green. Second, they are both portrayed as love interests. There’s more but I won’t mention them because, well, spoilers.

My absolute favorite part about this movie is the visual effects. Knowing that this movie was from a flashy PC game, I was expecting visual effects that are basically the equivalent of the Star Wars prequels and the Lord of the Rings if they got together and had a baby. Although each was a trilogy so maybe they could each have one baby together. That’s basically what I got out of this movie. Looking at fire in this movie was awesome, seeing all sorts of magic in this movie was phenomenal, viewing certain CGI sets was eye candy. I remember seeing the concept art at least a year or two ago, and seeing all of that kind of made this movie go up the charts for me in terms of anticipation. There were times though were the effects could have been cleaned up. There was a huge fight at the end of the movie, lots of smoke and fire, along with characters fighting, it just felt kind of bloated. It works in a certain type of movie. I admit it works here, but the more I think about it today, it almost feels like a headache is rising in my brain.

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In the end, if there is one thing I can take from the movie Warcraft, it’s that I shouldn’t judge it by the title. With a movie whose title has “war” in it, there’s not much war in the movie as a whole. There seems to be more talking in the movie, less fighting, but in the end I just didn’t have a perfect experience. I give Warcraft a 4/10. I’m giving it this score because as far as video game movies go, it definitely could be worse. Not to mention the movie had great technical aspects (except for sound in some instances) and fights, but characterization isn’t something to write home about. I just saw Independence Day: Resurgence today and I shall have a review up for that as soon as possible. Also, that movie was the first I saw in MX4D, or the Motion EFX Experience, so I’m gonna do a post on that sometime in the future. Stay tuned for those and more reviews coming up, so remember, Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Central Intelligence: The Fast Hart and the Furious Johnson

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Central Intelligence is a film starring Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson. This film revolves around two guys who known each other from high school, but a little incident happened to the “then” Dwayne Johnson character, and it was hard to get back up from that. At the same time, Kevin Hart was voted student of the year, he was most likely to succeed, and he was probably the most revered person in the entire school. Keep these in mind when you see the movie. Eventually Kevin Hart is lured into working with Dwayne Johnson for his skills in accounting in order to save the US spy satellite system.

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Years later, these two find each other on Facebook, Kevin Hart’s character doesn’t even know who this guy is, but Dwayne’s character seems to clearly know who Kevin Hart’s character is. Eventually they are both in a bar and they find each other. Dwayne Johnson looks like he lost a lot of weight, he shaved his head, and it seems he buffed up. Kevin Hart lacks hair too, and he was pretty much the same height he was in high school. It turns out that Kevin Hart, despite his success in high school, ended up becoming an accountant, while Dwayne Johnson became involved with the CIA. It shows a role reversal from high school to adulthood. It kind of reminds me of a stereotypical high school, where basically all the jocks are rewarded with praise, while the nerds remain at the bottom of the food chain. So when you look at Dwayne Johnson in this movie from high school to adulthood, it’s kind of like he had a “Revenge of the Nerds” moment, specifically when I refer to the speech at the end of the first movie. OK that happened in a college but whatever, the example works in my opinion. Although in that stereotypical high school sort of environment, Kevin Hart would probably be the one kid who liked everybody and was liked by everybody. He seemed like one of the popular kids that wasn’t actually a jerk.

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As a duo, Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson work really well together. You can tell in a lot of the shots, based on the dialogue of the film, you can tell they were enjoying themselves. I actually happened to see bloopers of the movie, and it seemed like they were having a fun time on set. Throughout the movie there have been moments where I really felt the chemistry between these two. Like when they meet in the bar, it feels like what would happen if two long lost folks reunite.

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There’s also a bit of action in this movie, which honestly was pretty good for an action comedy. The dialogue during the action scenes was pretty funny as well. There’s even a reference to Patrick Swayze in Road House that I couldn’t help but laugh to. Also during the action sequences, the people behind this movie did a fine job with establishing characterization and personality. This goes specifically with Kevin Hart, specifically where he says “I’m out.” This was recurring throughout one scene but apparently Dwayne Johnson doesn’t even listen to him. It shows the amount of fear he had throughout the scene, along with Dwayne’s dare devil personality. It kind reminds me of another action-comedy with Kevin Hart, specifically “Ride Along.” Kevin Hart’s relationship with Ice Cube worked in that movie because of the differences the duo had between each other. Although if I had to choose between the two duos, I’d choose the one in Central Intelligence. In Ride Along, Ice Cube at times seemed like a pretty bland character. Also while the two were different from each other throughout a good chunk of the film, it felt like at times that they were too different. Ice Cube seemed 1-dimensional in the movie for the most part while Kevin Hart’s character developed. Granted unlike Kevin Hart, Ice Cube wasn’t the main character of the film, but it’s still something I have on my mind. In Central Intelligence, both Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart develop in a way which I can approve. I felt like I can appreciate both of these characters because they were both friends before the movie gets serious, while Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in Ride Along for the most part didn’t seem too friendly.

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Kevin Hart is also married in this film. His wife is played by Danielle Nicolett, and while watching the movie, the subplot between the couple was not the most necessary thing in the world (well, a good portion of it). Although I will admit towards the end of the movie, it felt kind of necessary and somewhat gave the movie a few extra points in my book, it was sort of humorous too. This subplot although brought a pretty funny moment involving Dwayne’s character, I won’t say what it is though. Although in the end, part of me feels like the plot played out the way it played out just for the cliche of the main character being in problematic relationship.

In the end, I like this movie. I recommend it to anyone who wants a good laugh. If you’re a fan of Kevin Hart you’re gonna love this movie. If you like Dwayne Johnson as an action star, or as a comic, you’re gonna love this movie. I actually went to see this movie with my mother and sister, they enjoyed it, and apparently my mother said she is the “new Mrs. Dwayne Johnson.” One scene made her think that, I won’t say what. I give Central Intelligence an 8/10. By the way, pretty soon I’m expecting to have reviews up for Warcraft, the new movie based on Blizzard’s video game and Independence Day: Resurgence, the sequel to the alien invasion film from a couple decades ago. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Cinema Seating: Does It Matter?

Today I want to bring up an interesting topic that’s been on my mind for a long time, which is theatre seating. When one goes to the movies, what does one seem to traditionally expect? In my mind, I’m expecting to go somewhere with a bunch of people I didn’t particularly invite, but nevertheless still glad to have with me, and watch a movie with them. It could be good, it could be bad, but I still go for the experience of escaping my own world, and escaping into someone else’s world. Not to say I don’t entirely shut off my brain, I review the films I see and rate them. One thing I always I try to keep in my mind when I go to the movies is, how will I be able to fulfill my experience? In no particular order, I ask myself the following questions: Should I see the movie in 2D? 3D? IMAX? IMAX 3D? What time should I see the movie? What day should I see the movie? Which location should I go to in order to watch the movie? These are questions I always keep in mind, and I usually keep these in mind because it’s inevitable that almost every time I go see I movie, I’m the one choosing the theater. One other question I ask myself is this: “What kind of seats should the theater have?” This is a fundamental concept I take into advantage and thought about during multiple trips. Today I’m going to talk about the concept and dig deep into it. Let’s start with reclined seating.

Since the early 2010’s, the big trend most movie theaters have had is installing recliners inside cinemas as seats, in order to see a movie. When I first found out about this, I thought it would be interesting, and it might add relaxation towards the experience. In fact on my first time attending one of these reclining seat theatres, I was unaware of what I was getting into. I was heading to the AMC Burlington 10 cinema, which according to Cinema Treasures, opened in 1994 with standard seating, and it’s the kind where you go down the aisle so it wasn’t stadium seating. I was going to see “Divergent” with my mother, we got the tickets, our refreshments, and unfortunately our soda wasn’t even in an actual cup, but little did we know that the place was going under renovation. We were walking into theater 3, it was kind of scary walking in because it seemed that the walls were too dark and it kind made the floor uneven with it, therefore reminding me of a haunted house. I didn’t think that was normal because the time prior to this one at this theater (July 2011), it looked a bit different. Then we see the auditorium itself, mom and I were in shock. We sat down on these leather chairs and start reclining, we loved it. The only con I could give towards that experience is that I overheard construction outside while watching the movie. That’s unlikely to happen now that renovation ended but still, it was a minor point. This was going to inevitably become a big thing. Interestingly enough, there was another movie theater nearby that was replacing its older seats with recliners. The location in particular is Showcase Cinemas Woburn. Before going to see “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” which in my opinion was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad movie, I knew that they were putting recliners in this theater. Besides my sister’s friends who were coming with us to the movie, I was probably the only one out of everyone in the group who was aware this theater had reclining seats. I was going into the theater, and I saw the capacity, I felt completely ripped off. I saw a capacity of 48, which I actually now know is not true, because I went to the same theatre to see “Joy” (I didn’t want to see it there specifically, but it was only for timing purposes), I actually checked each theatre one by one, and none of them had that capacity. The auditorium I was in either had a capacity of 40 or 28. THAT’S SMALL! By the way, the biggest auditorium they have at that theatre is a capacity of 146. That’s not a bad capacity in the least bit, but when it came to around 3/4 of the facility’s auditoriums, I wonder if they should have double checked their brains. The experience was just as terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad (haha) as the movie, and the front of the theatre no longer had the amazing neon sign that had the “Wizard of Oz” castle and King Kong on it, so that was another disappointment, which I can’t remember if I found out immediately but was still utterly disappointing. When I left the theater, I said this: “I’m just excited to see Interstellar tomorrow.” Turns out my excitement was fulfilled. I went down with my aunt to Providence, RI, which had the nearest IMAX with 70mm equipment, and it was one of the best movie experiences of my life. For every positive there’s a negative. In case you’ve been living under a rock, most teens don’t like going to the movies. They would rather sit at home, watch Netflix, and check their phone. I can understand that someone may feel this way, although I don’t agree with them, because I collect hard copies and go to the theatre. I do although have a feeling that despite its flaws, reclined seating will make teens want to go to the movies more often. The only thing I hope won’t happen from them though, is constant use of their phone throughout the movie. If it’s an emergency I get it, but don’t go hardcore with it. The next trend I’m going to discuss has been around for a longer time, but just like AMC has been doing with reclined seating, they’ve been trying to expand with the dine-in concept.

If you have ever been in a relationship, you’ve probably gone out for a dinner and movie. Now imagine both concepts at the same time. Several theaters have installed what some like to call dine-in technology. At your seat, you have a trey nearby in which you can place food/drinks on, and it also has a cupholder. Sure, you can just put a bucket of popcorn and a drink on there, perhaps some candy as well, but what about meals? Go right ahead! Now, this is the way most chains do it, however, there are older theaters out there that do it in other ways. For instance, I saw this historic theater in Bridgeport, CT. It has regular seating in the center, and on the sides there are tables similar to those you’d find in a Starbucks. I haven’t been to that theater, but I once saw it online. Also, to go a different route, there’s a small chain called Chunky’s. If you are not from the Massachusetts/NH border area, this is a chain of theaters with three locations: Haverhill, MA, Nashua, NH, and Pelham, NH. Each location has chairs that come out of vehicles, such as Lincolns. These chairs surround a table used to place your food, drinks, meals, etc. Honestly, these theaters wouldn’t be my first choice because I can go to an actual restaurant and end up having a better meal. Not to mention, you can have a conversation with your friends before or after the movie. Surprisingly I’d even choose McDonald’s or Burger King over this, I don’t know why but that’s just on my mind. Although if you enjoy the movies and going out to eat, this is likely to take your interests to new dimensions. Speaking of dimensions, let’s talk about motion enhanced theaters.

Most moviemakers have had the idea of releasing their movies in 3D. A lot of these movies include Marvel movies, Disney animations, The Hobbit, Dreamworks animations, and Transformers. While many people in Hollywood love this technological aspect in movies, the general public either loves it or hates it. Those who love it see it as the future of movies, where everything on a screen pops out at them. Those against it see it as a way for those in Hollywood to grab extra cash out of people’s wallets. Personally, I’m in between both of these classifications. I enjoy 3D, I do think it adds to the experience, but not every movie needs it. In fact, a lot of movies that are released in 3D, aren’t really in 3D, they’re converted. Almost every 3D movie released in 2015 can be used as an example. Let’s list some of these movies. Jupiter Ascending, Mad Max: Fury Road, Jurassic World, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Insurgent, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Terminator: Genysis, Ant-Man, Pixels, San Andreas, Everest, In the Heart of the Sea, and Pan. Want more cash to waste? Let’s go for motion enhanced experiences. One common branch of motion enhancement in the seats goes by the name of D-Box. These seats are known to move along with the movie, which sounds pretty awesome, but I’ve yet to experience a movie with this. Although to my knowledge, not every movie was spectacular with this, because I heard the tickets are around $20 per seat, and the seats sometimes don’t move during big action scenes from what I’ve heard. YouTube user Jeremy Jahns has explained it himself a few years back by using Christopher Nolan’s Inception as an example. “But the second time I saw Inception I saw it in D-Box and the movie’s still amazing but the D-Box, is more like s***box. Inception’s more about dialogue and concept more than action, you see this when you’re in the D-Box seat because there were scenes when my D-Box seat didn’t move for like 30 minutes. It just sat there, kind of like the seat I’m sitting in now. (he was sitting in a desk chair) And at 8 bucks more a ticket for D-Box, yeah that’s like $8 on top of the $10 you already paid for a ticket, I felt ripped off. And all of the movie theater prices for everything do stack, so if you go see a 3D movie in D-Box, that’s 10 dollars for the movie ticket, 3 more dollars for the 3D, and 8 more dollars for the D-Box, which comes out to twice as much as a normal movie theater ticket.” Rants such as these make me question whether this is worth the money. I’d try it because into seeing movies and into discovering ways to experiencing them, and if you are the type of person that is into the experience more than the movie itself, you should go here. The same can also be said for MX4D. I haven’t been to one of these theaters either, but one actually just opened 15 minutes from where I live so I might actually check it out eventually. However it’s around the $20 range so I need to be careful, especially considering it around double the price of a matinee ticket at this theater ($10.50 for an adult matinee), which in my opinion isn’t really that cheap compared to AMC (specifically from showings that start at times before 12PM). The difference between MX4D and D-Box is that there is more provided with MX4D. Not only do the seats move, but you also have random scents, plus there are simulations of precipitation and wind. Personally, I like all of these features except for the scent, because imagine one scene if it forces you to smell a baby’s messy diaper. I wouldn’t mind it in person if I happened to be a parent one day, it would be responsibility after all, but why would you have to make us do it in a movie? We didn’t come for that! Although if you do come for that and enjoy it, good for you, it’s my personal taste (Should I say smell?) and I shouldn’t get in the way of your own thoughts. Thought the gimmicks were over? Nope. We shall move onto my personal favorite gimmick and movie experience, IMAX.

The closest theater to my house happens to be an IMAX theater, not only that, but I have the privilege of one of the few “real” IMAX theaters in existence. It doesn’t have 70mm film like it used to, but now it has laser projection, which is just like 70mm film in a number of ways, only it is in a digital form. In fact, according to Wired Magazine, this theater was one of the top 7 places to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and I actually saw it there, which was in fact one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. One of the best parts of this theater in my opinion happen to be the seats. This theater consists of around 500 seats and they all contain a subwoofer underneath, otherwise known as “buttkickers.” This is exclusive to the location in which I am mentioning along with one more that is 40 minutes away from me. The only difference between the two is that the one closer to me is bigger, newer (2002 vs. 2004), has better projection (dual IMAX digital vs. IMAX laser), and more seats (approx 278 vs. approx 500). These seats are special and what I would call one of a kind. Although if you go into either of these theaters and look at the layout, you may notice how similar it is to other IMAX theaters if you’ve ever been to another one in your life (unless it’s dual digital). In a “true” IMAX theater, it’s traditional that the seats would be placed geometrically to the point where the row curves from left to right towards the center. Not to mention, in front of the front row, there would be a barrier. Below the barrier is ground with a floor on it. In certain theatres, there are seats down below there and entrances/exits. Although if you think about it, you’re technically watching a movie on a balcony because balconies are above ground, you might be on ground, but there could be a concourse below, you never know. The geometrically placed seating in my opinion, is genius. Sure, a lot of other theaters have the same layout, but I’m also saying that this in particular adds to the IMAX experience overall.  It means you don’t have to turn your head as much while watching the movie. That’s the good, now let’s move onto the bad. In 2004, IMAX installed its first MPX projector, while I actually saw it using film, it didn’t have as big of a screen as other IMAX theaters did. On the bright side, the sound was still the same, although the seats weren’t. I can’t complain too much, because I’ve been to one of these so called “liemax” theaters and still had an enjoyable experience, but the seats are in a straight line in each row. It’s kind of annoying because I don’t recall many IMAX theaters that weren’t installed until the 2000’s looking like this. Unless you’re sitting in the center it can be kind of annoying to have to look to the side. This is one of multiple reasons why I’d recommend sitting near the back in an IMAX. There have also been several IMAX ripoffs throughout recent times. The seating layouts are vastly similar. Some of these include: Regal’s RPX, Dolby Atmos, AMC Prime, Carmike Big D, Cinemark XD, AVX, and BTX. Here are some images below of some of these large formats, along with IMAX screens. I won’t go into detail about them but you may probably notice some similarities.

AMC Prime

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Cinemark XD

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Regal RPX

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Carmike Big D

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Bow-Tie BTX

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IMAX (Digital)

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IMAX (15/70mm, laser)

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The screens here overall don’t matter much other than providing similarities, but you may notice that the number of seats in each theater is alike in each picture. Not to mention, in almost every picture, the seats are in a straight line. At these theaters, you’re not getting the same as a traditional IMAX experience. I’d go to these theaters, but IMAX is number one. Also I’d also be careful and see how much each experience costs as well. If you’re not a fan of these so called gimmicks, than let’s move onto something simpler. We’ll begin with traditional aisle seating.

I have one sister in my family, and I’ve been to almost every single one of her dance recitals. Each and every time, it was in an auditorium where I had to walk down an aisle to get to my seat. If you’ve been to an older movie theater, they’ve probably been laid out in the same fashion. I’m not saying new theaters don’t do this too, but it seems to be the common layout of an older theater. Stadium seating seems to be a newer thing, which we’ll get to later. If you can’t already tell, I’m one for big theaters. This doesn’t just mean big screens, high quality projection, all that jazz. I’m a fan of those as well. Although I’m also a fan of theaters with big capacities. If a theater has less than 50 chairs I sometimes freak out because a movie might still be new or popular and with a capacity that small that might mean that you have to get your tickets VERY QUICKLY, this also means if you don’t have smart mobile device such as an IPhone or Android, or a computer, you’re screwed. Sure, you can go to the theater in person, but there may be times where you can’t as well. Maybe it’s not close to your home, maybe it’s not close to where you work, maybe you’re on vacation, etc. It’s worse with reserved seating, which we’ll get to later. This is mostly unlikely to happen and all, but it still bugs my mind. While some people prefer the new and hip reclined seating that many theaters are starting to offer, to me, it’s like 3D. It’s only good under certain circumstances. Mainly the fact that the capacities must be adequate, which I made more than likely made absolutely clear already. 3D is only good if the movie was shot in 3D and not converted (not always the case though), and if the movie uses 3D in a effective way and doesn’t just show it off for shiggles. When it comes to aisle seating, I’m just glad to see a theater that has it, it always has good capacities. The only con I can think of at the moment is that you might have a tall guy in front of you. It might block the view towards the screen as a result. Sitting in the front is no picnic either, but it could be worse, there’s no spikes in the seats. The tall guy thing usually doesn’t bother me, but I know some people hate it. I like aisle seating, but I don’t have anything against those who don’t. If you hate the tall guy thing, go to a stadium auditorium.

Ever go to a ball game and have to walk up a bunch of steps in order to get to your seat? If your two legs function well, good for you, if not, I feel bad if you’ve ever been in that sort of situation. Nevertheless, when you put the type of seating you’d find at a place like a ballpark in a cinema, only good comes as a result. One of the theaters I usually go to has all stadium seating, and I must say that it is one of my favorite theaters because of that. Not to mention it hasn’t jumped on the recliner bandwagon as well. Stadium seating in general is a bit like aisle seating, but the difference is that when you sit down, you may notice you have less of an interference when it comes to viewing the screen. You can have a tall guy sit in front of you and it won’t end up ruining the experience completely. Let’s go onto another advantage, the capacities. I mentioned already one of my local theaters has stadium seating. It has 20 theaters overall. According to Cinema Treasures, the capacities (from 2005 so results are likely to vary) are as follows when it comes to each auditorium in order from auditoriums 1-20: 207, 185, 232, 224, 90, 84, 90, 90, 315, 315, 315, 193, 492, 192, 194, 177, 90, 186, 192, 192. Now you may notice, that these capacities are relatively high. Although you may notice some in the smaller range. While I do think some of these are small, I will state that the theater does a good job at choosing which movies go into which theater because I notice the unpopular movies in the smaller theaters, not to mention the movies that have already been out for a while. Also, let’s refer back to Showcase in Woburn, a theater that used to be aisle seating and now has recliners. the biggest capacity is 146, in this theater it says 492. That’s in theater 13, which is currently an IMAX. At the time of which these stats were pointed out, it wasn’t an IMAX because the digital projection wasn’t put into theaters until 2008. The theater was converted in 2009. The capacity plate says 493 today. Either the capacity plate is wrong and the chairs have always been the same as ever, or someone decided to put in one more chair since they converted the theater. Let’s do some math, what’s 146*3? The answer comes out to 438, if you add the Woburn capacity once more you get 584. What exactly is in between these two numbers? Well, let’s figure it out. To do that, we’ll have to state the halfway point to 146. The result comes out to 73. Let’s take either 438 or 584 and work from there. 438+73=511. This also means if you subtract 73 from 584, the results come out to the same number. These all suggest that the capacity of theater 13 at Danvers is almost 3.5 times more than the Woburn capacity. Am I cheating? I wouldn’t say so, after all, the capacity between theater 13 today is similar to how it was back in 2005. Although if I am, let’s try theater 9, which has the same capacities as theaters 10 and 11. These three theaters all come out to a capacity of 315. Let’s do the math again. 292 is the result of multiplying 146 twice. If you add 23 to 292 you get the capacities of theaters 9, 10, and 11 at Danvers. I won’t go any further with it, because in all simplicity, these capacities are over twice as much as Woburn. As a matter of fact, when Woburn had standard chairs, it was like a normal movie theater. I remember it having enough chairs for a decent amount of people. Some theaters may have been puny but there were decent sized theaters overall. Stadium seating is my second pick behind IMAX, which by the way, has stadium seating. Think this is all over? Nope! We went over what is basically every type of seat you’d find in a cinema, but the thing I never touched upon in a paragraph is reserved seating. A trend which has been going on for years at several events, but movie theaters are now starting to do as well. How’s that going to work? Well let’s see!

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Baseball games. On-ice shows. Concerts. These three events all have reserved seating. When it came to that, I never complained about it because it felt like you were getting to sit somewhere for a purpose. But what about movie theaters? In most movie theaters, you don’t have any balconies or any other special sections that you may see in any random playhouse or theater. Since you don’t, pricing for each seat in the theater doesn’t usually vary. I personally want to debate whether that’s a good idea because there are some people who prefer the back, some who prefer the middle, and some prefer the front. Also maybe you should make the seats a bit cheaper if an attendee is handicapped, although in that case maybe the attendee should avoid ordering online tickets. Now if you recall my paragraph on motion-enhanced seating, I mentioned one of the bigger names in that particular industry is D-Box. Why are they relevant here? They usually do reserved seating, although it’s occasionally different than your average reserved seating system. In just about every reserved theater nowadays, each one is usually with recliners. Sometimes I question why they just do it with that and not standard seating. Although with those recliners, they are taking up the entire theater. With D-Box, they take up about 20 or so seats in the theater. The rest of the theater is regular seating. Why is this the case? Not sure. If I had to guess, it’s probably to save a few bucks when it comes to seat installation. Now, back to the recliners. Most of the theaters in my area now have recliners, AMC, Showcase, Regal, they all have recliners, a while back, I would have said it’s awesome, NOW IT SUCKS. I mentioned this in the beginning, but let’s get real here. Showcase Woburn, the closest ACTUAL movie theater to me, has 14 auditoriums with small seating capacities, and reserved seating. Keep that in mind. Imagine you’re coming here with others, let’s say you’re going to see a new movie that has been pretty trendy lately. You go to buy tickets online, it BARELY has seats left, but there are enough for you and the others you’re going with. Although, they are split up from each other. If you like that sort of thing, good for you. Although when I go to movie theaters with other people, I like to sit with them, NOT away from them. Sure, you go to the movies to see a movie, not to talk to a friend, but movie theater chains, CAN YOU LET US SIT WITH OUR FRIENDS? Seriously, let’s say it’s date night, you want to go to the movies with your girlfriend, and suddenly you realize the movie is nearly sold out, on top of that, there are no seats next to each other that are vacant. How romantic indeed. Nice job, movie theaters. How do you solve this problem? Simple, just get rid of reserved seating.

Does seating matter? Maybe. I personally try not to get too fancy when it comes to seating, I’ll take my traditional seating and go, maybe IMAX. If you have a favorite theater seating type, mention it on Twitter, along with the theater that best exemplifies quality with this type of seating. Mention with the handle @JackDrees, and maybe I’ll retweet it. Hope you stick around, because Scene Before is your click, to the flicks!

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising: The Women Next Door

“Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” is the sequel to the 2014 movie “Neighbors.” If you’ve seen the last movie you probably remember that a couple played by Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are living in a house and there’s a fraternity that moves in next door, and the couple has some complaints about the new neighbors. Although this time instead of a fraternity, it’s a sorority living next door.

Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne also have a kid in this movie (well, technically it’s the one from the first movie) and it is kind of hilarious to look at throughout at the beginning. I know this is a comedy so some of it is supposed to be far fetched, but despite that you’re able to buy the fact that these two are a realistic couple and their chemistry works well for the movie.

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Let’s just get something out of the way here, I never been in college. I never attended due to age, I never had any attempts to visit anyone in a college so I basically know almost nothing about what happens in college in person other than what I see through the media and research. This made me kind of shocked during the movie to find out sororities don’t party. It made me kind of feel bad for the sorority in this movie despite their viciousness towards the main characters. Sure, I always picture fraternities partying more than sororities because of the typical maturity level between males and females, but it kind of got me interested to see what was going to unfold throughout the film.

Remember Zac Efron from the last movie? In case you don’t remember he was part of the fraternity from the movie, it turns out in this movie, he joins forces with the couple and helps them try to stop the sorority from causing possible havoc. It shows some character development for him between movies and some maturity as well. This kind of adds something to the movie a bit in terms of characterization because Zac’s character is kind of dependent and it’s not really coy to watch in my personal opinion. It made me feel bad for both the couple and Zac’s character.

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In terms of humor for this movie, this movie pretty much followed the same formula as the first movie. A lot of the jokes were sexual, and some happened to develop the plot. There’s even some comparisons between boys and girls when they are young, yes some sexual jokes were there too. I personally had no problem with these jokes because it made sense for the type of movie I was seeing, not that I ever had a problem with these type of jokes but I think you may get my point. Some jokes in fact happened to be a homage to the first movie, I won’t say which because I don’t want to ruin the effect if you go see the movie yourself.

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This movie overall is very similar to the first in terms of character motivations, although how they get there and what revolves around them happen to be a little different. The lines in this movie although compared to the first movie are rather unmemorable. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising gets a 7/10. Personally, I would give the same rating to the first movie basically because it is almost the same movie and while it is a hilarious comedy at times, it’s definitely no Hangover or Anchorman. In terms of comedy sequels, my favorite is probably Night at the Museum 2, this was good and would be one of the better sequels I’ve seen for the genre, but it doesn’t match with the previous movies I mentioned. Stay tuned for more reviews, because Scene Before is your click to the flicks!