Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: Full of “Pure Imagination!”

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First off, before I review this, my review is dedicated to Gene Wilder, the man who took on the role of Willy Wonka in this movie. He passed away yesterday and his passing inspired me to review this movie. RIP, and onto the review.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory came out in 1971, and to this day it is still one of the most talked about family films known to man. It is based off the book of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” which was one of those books I always remembered from my childhood, and I can also say the same for this movie. I also saw the 2005 movie adaptation directed by Tim Burton, which I’ll be honest, I actually loved as much as you might hate me for saying it, although that’s another story.

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The premise of this movie is that there is a chocolate company called Wonka, it is known for making the world’s best choclate and candy related products. One day, at the time in which this movie is set, the doors to the factory are locked to let nobody in the factory. Every human employee that once worked there, doesn’t work there anymore, and one day Wonka decides that they are going to let people in the factory for a tour. The idea was that five golden tickets would be inside five ordinary Wonka bars. Whoever finds one said golden ticket will be able to embark on a tour of the factory along with someone they know from their kin. Speaking of the story, the buildup on the story itself to the point where we get to the chocolate factory, is SURPRISINGLY interesting, even by today’s standards. Like seriously, ALMOST half the movie is buildup and it’s entertaining. There are a few cool musical numbers, one was hit or miss but I don’t really care, we got introduced to all of the winners of the golden tickets and each one was intriguing and it did a good job at highlighting their individual personalities. There’s also a cool little subplot introduced along the way.

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The character that the movie focuses mostly on is Charlie Bucket. He is in a poor family who doesn’t really get much to satisfy themselves. Charlie lives with his grandparents (not sure if any of them are great or which side they’re on, but it doesn’t really matter) and his parents. They all live in a small home, the grandparents all sleep in the same bed, and Charlie wants more than what he’s getting. I don’t blame him because he barely has enough to support himself along with his family. Peter Ostrum plays Charlie in this movie and MAN, whoever did casting for this movie deserves a medal because for a child actor, this guy can blow many others out of the gate. The same goes for basically all the child actors present in this film.

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The next character I’ll touch upon is Augustus Gloop. He is essentially this obese kid who never stops eating chocolate. You can tell he has such a fascination with chocolate just by his size. The point where he won his ticket is where we are introduced to somebody who plays a big role in the film, but I won’t talk much about him during the review because some things are better left mysterious. This character along with a few others in the movie are characters I can relate to. I’m not fat, but I find movie theater popcorn and Lays Wavy potato chips insatiable. Right now I don’t really have to worry about it because my metabolism is off the charts, we’ll just have to see what comes up. Granted I don’t have abs but I’m definitely not clogging up space.

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Up next is Veruca Salt. Her character is basically a spoiled brat whose dad is in the nut business. Throughout the movie she keeps bragging about things she wants. One of her recurring lines is “I want it now!” and it really added a lot of personality to her character. Her dad was happy to tend to this girl which if I was a father and my daughter or son was like this, I’d be irritated. There are some connections I can make with Veruca. I want a lot of cool stuff as well. However unlike Veruca I know when to save my money. Also I just tell my mother to never give me an allowance, essentially because I want her to keep her money the way she sees necessary. That one wasn’t a connection, but it’s something I think about.

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Violet Bereguarde is next on the list and she is a world record gum chewer. When it was announced she won her golden ticket on the news she talked about laying off gum and directing full attention to candy bars since they have the “ticket things.” You can tell that this character is a winner based on her attitude and unlike the character the Tim Burton movie, she is very energetic and doesn’t put other people down, which made me like her as a character.

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Last of the ticket winners is Mike Teavee. This guy would be me if I were ignoring society altogether. Do I have a TV problem? Not really. I make an effort to livetweet certain shows on Twitter and I watch TV in my room on my 4K TV past 2 in the morning on some nights but that’s about it. When his character was introduced they NAILED his personality. He eats TV dinners all the time, he’s never eaten at the table, and as everyone is interviewing him, he’s watching TV and ignoring them! The representation of this character is spot on!

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Let’s not forget Gene Wilder’s interpretation as Willy Wonka. This was one of the movie’s highlights. His character flew off the pages of Rohld Dahl’s book and whoever designed his suit can live life on a peaceful island with no intruders because it looks great. One thing I noticed more and more for his character is that he was funny, which was something I never put in my mind when watching this movie as a young child. There was this one line when one child got into a disasterous situation and their parent told everyone (mainly Willy Wonka) to help them out of the situation and Wonka just says “Help, police, murder.” Not to mention, it’s a dark joke in a family film! A joke of that tone worked a light film such as this!

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Inside Wonka’s factory, there were tons of areas to explore. One in particular being the chocolate room. To this day, that set still dazzles me. It’s large, feels like a real place despite how glossy it is, and it just sucks you in and makes you become Veruca Salt and say something like “I want a choclate room! I want a chocolate waterfall! I want eatable grass! I want it now!” Although I can imagine you wouldn’t be saying that out loud. This is also where Willy Wonka sings “Pure Imagination,” one of the other highlights of the film for me.

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Another thing a lot of people still think about when this film is mentioned today are the Oompa-Loompas. In the movie they do these musical numbers and they are all very similar. Does it matter? No. Because it is all very catchy that you don’t care in the end. Fun fact for those who never read the book, this was actually never in the book, this was an original thought by everyone involved in the movie’s production. I don’t really care because it was still all very well done.

However this film does have flaws. They are those sort of flaws that maybe you don’t notice at first but you may grow to notice them in the meantime if you look hard enough. Two of them have to do with vehicles. A boat comes along the choclate river. There are eight people left, not including Mr. Wonka, and if the two people who haven’t left before the boat arrived were still here, they would have to stand on the boat. However the boat had JUST enough seats for everyone onboard. So that’s one flaw, and the other is the scene where everyone is about to go into the Wonkavision room, they take a vehicle that seems to run on and spray cola related materials. The problem I found with this vehicle is the same problem I found with the other vehicle. The seating capacity is just enough for everyone. Also, just a thought, why did you need to take that vehicle to the TV room when you could have easily walked through the path to it. For the scenes in place, it seemed that the door at the end path of the second vehicle could have possibly lead into the Wonkavision room. If not, maybe everyone didn’t want to waste time walking to the room, which I get, you don’t want to waste tape, and it may feel unneeded in the very end.

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Willy Wonka and the Choclate Factory may be one of the best movies of the 70’s, and I hope years from now it is still talked about so future generations can see it for themselves. Gene Wilder, if you were still alive today I wish you could have seen this, because I’m going to give Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory a 10/10. They call this a family movie, but honestly, almost every time I watched this movie, I watched it by myself, and I don’t regret any of the times I watched it. Stay tuned for more reviews. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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Ride Along 2: A Movie with the Right to Make You Laugh

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Ride Along 2 is the sequel to the 2014 comedy starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube as two members of same police department. Kevin Hart is a recently graduated rookie and Ice Cube is a detective. Ben, played by Kevin Hart is aspiring to become a detective like James, played by Ice Cube. Despite his aspirations James doesn’t think Ben has what it takes to become a detective, but after incessant begging to make something of himself on the force, Ben is taken alongside James to Miami to follow up on a lead. The situation that starts out rather simple eventually expands into an epidemic. Meanwhile, back at home, Ben is getting married in a few days to James’ sister played by Tika Sumpter and Ben has to make sure he’s home on time for their wedding.

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Kevin Hart is probably one of the best comedians in our day and age. He is hilarious, he has a good stage presence when presenting his material, and he is excellent in movies. At this point, there is no wonder how this guy is in a substansial number of movies nowadays and this movie supports that.

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I don’t really like Ice Cube as much as I like Kevin Hart, but I find the guy to be a great actor and I liked him in the first Ride Along. He displayed the serious type of personality and when you place him and Kevin Hart together and put them in a movie such as this, it can make for a good movie. Everytime I saw the two on screen it made me laugh and I couldn’t help but think of this as if it were real.

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As I mentioned before, Tika Sumpter returned to reprise the role of James’ love interest, Angela. Her side of the story didn’t really add too much to the plot, I still enjoyed her character and what she had going on during her screentime. However if you see her side of the story with Sherri Shepherd’s character in the movie, along with some of Kevin Hart’s side as well, it’s almost like it’s only in there to have humor. I have no problem with that, after all when you’re watching a comedy, humor is a key piece to finishing the puzzle but in the end the movie kind of could have done without it, or at least most of it, because there were some points I found to be necessary. Granted the wedding side of the story was necessary, and if the movie focused more on Ben trying to make it back for the wedding, it probably would have ended with a better result. It’s not a big issue for me but it’s on my mind.

Did Ride Along 2 make me laugh? Yes. Did it make me laugh more than the first one? Based on my memory, no. It was almost as much as the first one. The humor had a lot of the same elements as the original in play but came out differently. The humor presented in the movie works for the cast working on it and the overall concept. So good job Ride Along 2!

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If I had any other problems with the movie it would be some points with Sherri Shepard’s character, her attitude at times was a hit or miss point for me. The other problem I had with the movie was the antagonist. He somewhat reminded me of Jason Statham in Furious 7 too much and he didn’t seem to stand out as much as some of the other key characters.

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Speaking of key characters, the movie featured a guy played by Ken Jeong. He brought a bit of a charm to the beginning of the film and he had some important elements to the story that made the movie slightly more interesting. When I was 30 minutes into the film, Ken’s character seemed to add some suspense in one way or another and it made the movie boost itself in likability.

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Ride Along 2 is a pretty good action comedy, and also a good sequel. I laughed at a lot of points during the film, Kevin Hart and Ice Cube have great chemistry together, and it is one of the funnier films I’ve seen this year. I’m going to give Ride Along 2 a 6/10. Just to let you all know, I actually have school starting up in about a week, so it may impact how often I post here. I still hope to see some movies throughout that time so I can talk about them with you all. Or at least to myself, because I am able to have a good time here that way too. Stay tuned for more reviews. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Sausage Party: Rated R for Rad

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Sausage Party is an R rated animation starring Seth Rogen (Neighbors, The Interview) where supermarket products are alive and they live there in their separate aisles. These products believe that us humans are gods among them and when we put them in our carts, purchase them, and take them home with us, they believe it is their version of Heaven. Despite their thoughts, it is eventually revealed to the products we see in the movie that it is not what they thought at all and they are doomed to die.
The intro to this movie may be one of the best intros to a movie I’ve ever seen, it starts off with the grocery store in the movie opening and all of the food break out into song and watching all of it go down reminded me of other cartoons or animations when they do this sort of thing. The song itself just told me one thing: This was going to look like a kids movie, for adults. That was something I expected going into this movie and a song like that made me feel positive inside based on its tone.
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The main character is a hot dog played by Seth Rogen named Frank (Makes sense, doesn’t it?) and he is sealed in his package with several other hot dogs, and Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids, The Martian) as a hot dog bun, her name is Brenda and she is sealed in a package of her own and at the beginning of the movie it is established that the two have an attraction towards each other. At the point which this is revealed, there is this hilarious run-on sexual joke. I couldn’t stop laughing and it ends with one thing that really stuck with me throughout the movie’s runtime. If you remember that scene from the trailer where they “touch tips,” that displays importance within the movie and it worked because it played into the movie’s religious skepticism theme. Frank and Brenda’s romantic subplot brought some redeeming qualities to the movie such as one that took place in a supermarket product version of a nightclub, there were some clever jokes brought into the mix and when they got separated at one point it developed the plot and it was done so in a way that wasn’t boring at all. It also introduced some cool characters as well.
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Sausage Party is represented as a comedy and I thought a lot of the jokes were funny, so the movie gets a ton of points there. However I will share with you all that these jokes are not for everyone. Many of the jokes were sexual, had lots of swearing, and offensive in some cases. If you are easily offended in real life, I would recommend that you probably should save your money and not waste it on this movie. This also reminds me, some of the content in the movie is not for everyone either. This movie is rated R for a reason and the movie’s content highly supports that. There’s lots of disturbing imagery that is shown for humor and I personally found it to be excellent in terms of comedy. Although I would imagine if I showed this movie to my grandma one day, I’m imagining she’d either never want to eat again (I’m exaggerating), she’d have lots of nightmares, and she’d probably be covering her eyes at what’s happening on the screen.
One thing I loved about the movie that I didn’t expect was all of the symbolism. Throughout the movie, whenever there was a scene which had food in it the picture was vivid and colorful, but when there was a human, it was grainy and black. It kind of reminded me of The Matrix because in that movie, when you’re watching a scene that actually takes place in the matrix, it has a green pallete added in, whereas in the real world it is blue. I went to see this movie with my dad and sister, we actually never discussed this because it was never on any of our minds after leaving the theater and it is probably something that I’d be more interested in talking about then them.
The end to this movie in all honesty, may just be one of the greatest movie endings I’ve ever seen. The first part is so raunchy and that is something that I would never usually see in an animated feature and it was overall a very entertaining sequence. The second part almost feels like the movie is setting up a sequel that we’ll never see but would be awesome if it did happen in my opinion. It also almost felt like the people behind the movie were breaking the fourth wall and it was gutbusting to say the least.
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Sausage Party is an animated breakthrough. For what I know, this is not the first R rated animation out there, but it’s still awesome. This animation also supports my thoughts on 2016 being an utter goldmine when it comes to animated movies (except for The Secret Life of Pets). I’m going to give Sausage Party a 9/10. As I mentioned before in other reviews, I’m planning to see Equity, however based on how many times I say it, I’m trying to find a time to see it, but I can’t fit it into my schedule. We’ll just have to see what the future brings when it comes to that movie. Stay tuned for more reviews and Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

10 Cloverfield Lane: A Cloverfield Movie That Has Just About Nothing to do with Cloverfield

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10 Cloverfield Lane is not a sequel, not a spinoff, but appears to exist in the same universe as the 2008 found footage film “Cloverfield.” The movie was directed by Dan Tractenburg, who directed a short called Portal: No Escape, which is based on the hit series of games created by Valve. The movie stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead (A Good Day to Die Hard), John Goodman (Argo), and John Gallagher Jr (Oliver Kitterridge).

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We are first introduced to Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character during the intro, which was a pretty cool opening by the way, and all of sudden, shabam! She gets into a car accident, next thing we know she’s trapped in a room located in an underground bunker, John Goodman comes in and claims he’s trying to keep her alive and she must stay where she is if she wants to live. Although in the meantime he starts to make Mary’s character have suspicions of what she’s gotten herself into so she wants to leave. Overall I will say that this character’s performance feels real and happened to be one of the movie’s best qualities.

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As I mentioned recently, John Goodman is playing a survivalist in an underground bunker in this movie. When I first saw him, I thought of him as an a$$hole and it worked for his character. Then all of sudden he calmed down during the movie but it doesn’t last because later on he goes back into a$$hole mode again and I no complaints about it, the moods matched with the character although at times him being an a$$hole may have been overexaggerated.

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The best thing about this movie to me was John Gallagher Jr’s character. He too was trapped inside the underground bunker and at one point the three main characters are having dinner and John Gallagher Jr. is talking and the topic at hand has to do with wondering what you wanted to accomplish before you die that you haven’t done. John Gallagher Jr. says he wanted to get tattoos at some point, however he hasn’t done that in his life and it made me think of things I want to do before I die. If it were me thinking about this topic, I would say the following: Go to San Diego Comic-Con, make a Hollywood movie, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever do this but win the lottery.

One thing that makes my head spin about this movie is there are like just a few correlations to Cloverfield. However despite the correlations, those are either unnoticable unless you are a true fan, or something along the lines you having your eyes glued to every pixel on the screen, and it makes you question whether this really should be deserving of the Cloverfield name. I am not a true fan, and I actually had to Google search possible correlations between the two movies. The ending makes me wonder even more, like, literally, it made me think more than I had to, and this all drags the movie’s score.

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10 Cloverfield Lane actually looked extremely thrilling from the TV spots I saw around the time of this movie’s release. Did I get those thrills? Yes. Although you know what I also got? Mind-boggled. It’s a movie that says Cloverfield on the title, but there’s not much to do with Cloverfield other than being scary, and perhaps some easter eggs. I’m going to give 10 Cloverfield Lane a 6/10. I really enjoyed the movie when I first saw it, but the more I think about it, the worse it gets, and I’ll be honest, finding a score for this movie was rather hard. It could change soon, you never know. Other than Equity, I have no planned movie reviews at the moment, we’ll have to see what happens. Stay tuned for more reviews and Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Fifth Wave: More Like The Fifth “Lame”

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The Fifth Wave is a teen angst sci-fi film based on a popular young adult book series. It was directed a guy named J Blakeson, and stars Chloe Grace Moretz as Cassie Sullivan, a teen girl trying to survive throughout several disasters, or waves.

My first encounter having to do with this movie occurred on December 19th 2015, the first time I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens. One of the trailers that played before the movie began was the trailer for this movie and when watching I thought too much of the story was revealed ahead of time. I was right. When I watched the trailer, it revealed the first four waves, which makes sense because this movie is called The Fifth Wave. However it felt like the move made the first four waves a little longer than necessary. I’m done with the story for now and my head is just spinning just talking about it.

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Cassie Sullivan is a dull character. Sure, Chloe Grace Moretz did a good job with the material given to her, but that doesn’t mean the writers for this movie get a free pass. They managed to make her have lots of fear inside her and it worked for her character, but if there were a world where I could actually run into or meet fictional characters, whether it be from a movie, a book, a play, whatever, I wouldn’t hang out with this one. By the way, a world like that already exists, it’s called Comic-Con. I’d choose not to hang out with her because while she seems to have the qualities of a good hero, she doesn’t seem to unleash those qualities much. Sure, she cares a lot about finding those close to her, but I’m talking about some of the things she does with other characters in the movie.

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Nick Robinson (Melissa & Joey, Jurassic World) is also in this movie, he plays this teenage boy and he adds a bit to the story considering he is in an army attempting to fight back against the movie’s invading antagonist. That’s all I’m gonna say about him. Keep it in mind.

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Alex Roe plays a guy named Evan Walker in the movie, and this character is one of the worst characters I’ve ever seen in a movie. This guy is a straight up a-hole, and yet the movie tries to make him look like he’s an important hero. The one thing that I imagine people raving about when it comes to this character is his physique, but since I’m a straight male who just likes good movies, I can’t grab onto that. At one point this character is reading the protagonist’s diary when she’s not alert. It’s revealed later in the movie, and whenever they talk about it in the future, it makes me think of this guy as a creepy stalker more and more. He’s a love interest for the main character which is baffling because to her, there is absolutely nothing she likes about this guy except for his body based on what I can tell from visual storytelling. Based on everything I’m seeing, Nick Robinson is a more likely love interest than this guy! Is this written because of the stereotype that girls like bad boys? If so, I detest it. Great job writers! You’ve made a success in failure! Then again, I’m a boy, these guys are probably trying to appeal to girls, which grows in obviousness considering the main character’s a girl. Like that hasn’t happened in a teen angst film before, especially ones that were originally books.

 

Oh, right.

You know I’m OK with these movies having lots of female leads, it works for them, it’s just something I noticed.

Before my head blows up–err I mean before I give my score, lets get into something. For like a fifth of the movie, I was able to hear everything clearly, but visually I had no idea was going on. I watched the movie on a 4K TV that I bought months ago, and it was first introduced to Best Buy shoppers in January, it’s not the most expensive model on the market, but it’s great nevertheless. On my 4K TV, everything looked terrible when I was watching stuff happen at night. I almost couldn’t tell who anybody was, what they were doing, etc. Granted I was watching in full HD and not 4K but still it’s unpleasant. I’m guessing the director had an idea to make the scene match with the movie’s tone (dark), and he wanted to make every frame look black, and I have something to say. GIVE THIS GUY A FEW LIGHTING TIPS! Maybe I’m overreacting, I didn’t have my TV at the brightest settings, but it was certainly brighter than standard so it’s an issue in my book. If there’s anything else wrong with this movie, I found a physics problem, some of the score is odd, pacing felt quirky, and I don’t have enough evidence based on script observations but I believe there’s a logical error on a phone screen randomly shutting off.

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The Fifth Wave is in a genre I never really got myself into, but when it comes to criticism, genre doesn’t always matter. The movie itself matters, and the matter is that The Fifth Wave was a waste of an hour and fifty-two minutes of my life. I’m going to give The Fifth Wave a 2/10. I never read the book so I can’t judge that, but as far as the movie goes, this honestly doesn’t surprise me. This movie had horrible marketing to begin with, and the movie was released in January, one of cinema’s monthly death traps. I’m going to see Equity at some point soon, and I don’t have too much else planned. Stay tuned for more reviews and Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Suicide Squad: So “Bad” It’s Good!

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Suicide Squad is the latest film in the DC cinematic universe. It has main roles played by Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Karen Fukuhara, and Adewale Akkinuoye Agbaje. I could have said starred but I wouldn’t say some of these people “starred” in the movie, mainly because some of the big names I saw on the poster for this movie, were not in it as much as other characters or they didn’t have as much of an effect on the story.

The plot of the movie is essentially several baddies are trapped in prison, and all of a sudden Viola Davis gets an idea of turning said baddies into superheroes. As I watched the movie, I realized this came about based on what happened at the end of Batman v. Superman, which I won’t spoil for those who haven’t seen it. When I saw that, it made me think a couple of things: I’d recommend watching Batman v. Superman before seeing this movie if the chance comes around, and that despite how I knew this was technically a part of the DC cinematic universe, I had no idea how much Batman v. Superman would play into this movie. Overall, pretty cool concept.

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Let’s talk about these “bad guys.” I’m not gonna get to all of them but I’ll provide some detail about some. Starting off with the movie’s main character, Deadshot, played by Will Smith. I thought this guy had some pretty cool lines in the movie, and the relationship between him and his daughter was interesting to see throughout the film and it felt real. We’ll get back to that at the end.

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Margot Robbie plays Harley Quinn in this movie, and she was by far my favorite character in the entire film. I loved how throughout the flick, it really displayed her insanity and her personality was dazzling. She had some of the best lines in the movie, and it almost seemed like I was watching a “lovable idiot” type of character. Also, do you remember Joel Schumacher’s “Batman & Robin?” If you haven’t seen it, don’t. Although if you have, you may remember Poison Ivy, and she basically looked, acted, and sounded like a seductive porn star. Granted she tried to use dust to get people to fall in love with her as a power, but even if she wasn’t using it, my opinion wouldn’t change on that scenario. That was very out of place for a movie such as that and felt kind of awkward at times. In this movie, you kind of get the same vibe from Harley Quinn, mainly because of her backstory, but it works here because it’s a darker story and it seems to be more serious than Batman & Robin. I also heard some people say Harley Quinn is basically a sexual object in this movie. I can see where people are coming from, but as of right now, here’s how I stand on that. If the sexuality aspect adds something to one’s character, or if there’s a valid reason that I for one can stand by for it to exist in the movie, I can approve of people putting it in the movie. That applies to Harley Quinn. Before I move on, I find Margot Robbie playing a character that is sexualized in this movie rather interesting, because I once read her quotes on IMDb and from those quotes, it made this girl playing Harley Quinn become surprising. I say that because when I heard about the sexual objectification thing, it didn’t match with the real Margot Robbie’s personality. There was no full frontal nudity or anything in the movie, just some scenes where she wore sexy clothes and there was a pan up her body as she was in her underwear putting some clothes on. Also as I first saw her character, it’s basically like looking at a sex slave. Then again I’m talking about the girl who had sex with Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street so whaddya know?

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Now that the rant’s over, I’ll move onto Killer Croc, I liked him in this movie. After doing some research, Killer Croc in this movie looked a lot like the interpretation in the comic books, so I give props to everyone behind this movie for that, and think fans of the source material will be pleased.

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Let’s move onto The Joker. First of all, this personally wasn’t a huge letdown to me, but I imagine it would be to some, he’s barely in the movie. Although for the scenes that he’s in, Jared Leto had a good interpretation of The Joker and it looked like he had lots of fun in his role, and that’s something I can appreciate from him as an actor. Then again, who DOESN’T want to play The Joker? I would kill for that!

Something I loved about this movie was the soundtrack. It had songs that basically encompassed of a mix of pop, rock, and metal. They all made me feel like I was watching the right movie for it. However one thing I wonder about it is if “Guardians of the Galaxy” wasn’t released before this movie came out, this movie wouldn’t have gone down this route. This is because both movies have similar concepts. One thing Suicide Squad’s soundtrack reminds me of is when I heard “Hooked on a Feeling” play during Guardians of the Galaxy. This especially came into play during this movie when I heard songs like “Spirit in the Sky,” “Paranoid,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

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One thing that stood out to me in the movie are the cameos. This isn’t exactly a spoiler because it was revealed before the movie came out, but if you get mad, I’m sorry. Batman was in the movie, and seeing him was a blast. There was one scene at the beginning of the movie where Batman was on the top of the Jokermobile, the Joker was inside with Harley Quinn and she says that Batman was “ruining date night.” It’s a funny line along with a cool 30 second chase. The Flash also had a cameo in the movie, and that was basically a flashback, and that reminds me of one thing. This movie has tons of flashbacks.

I heard some people complain about the flashbacks, but to me, I thought they were fine and had some good visual storytelling. They moved the story along quite well and they made some of the characters more interesting. If this movie had an alternate title, it could be called Flashbacks: The Movie.

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Suicide Squad is redeeming quality in a summer of disappointing blockbusters. Is it the best DC movie ever? No. That personally belongs to “The Dark Knight.” Is it an entertaining film? Of course. Would I see it again? I’d say so. I’m going to give Suicide Squad a 7/10. Also I would like to remind everyone reading this that there is one thing I haven’t talked about that I’m going to talk about below, that’s because it is kind of a spoiler for the movie.

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

I mentioned before that Deadshot has a relationship with his daughter in the movie that played into quite a bit of the story. That’s fine and all, and I actually thought it made Deadshot a likable character. However I noticed a story problem. At one point it is revealed that his daughter sent him some letters when he was in prison. It turns out that these letters were in the hands of El Diablo, another character in the movie. Seeing all of these letters, Deadshot gets emotional and it is a motivator to get him to join the others in the climax of the movie, but there is no evidence on how exactly these messages got in El Diablo’s hands. I mentioned in the last paragraph I gave the movie a 7/10, and in all honesty, I still would have given the movie the same score even if the hole was nonexistent because while it did kind of irk me, it was forgivable because segments that came later in the movie made up for it in my opinion. I’m not sure what my next review will be, my weekend is mostly busy, but if I can go at some point, I’m going to see Equity. Also just a random update I actually never touched upon, I mentioned posts back that I’m planning to review the Star Wars saga before Rogue One comes out in December. I’m probably not actually going to do that, but I might do something else Star Wars related before the movie comes out. Stay tuned for more reviews. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Zendaya as Mary Jane: What Were They Thinking?!

Before I start this, I would like to apologize for what I said last night on Twitter about the situation I’m about to dive into. There was no racism intended, when I said “don’t call me racist,” that was a signal saying, “I’m not trying to be racist, but this is something I don’t see as a necessity.” If I hurt anyone in the black community, I meant no harm, I only criticized a casting choice, nothing more.

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Last night, it was revealed that Zendaya (K.C Undercover, Shake it Up), will be playing Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Many fans of the comics lost their minds over this for multiple reasons. The most common reasons included the actress being black, and the actress not being a redhead. What do I think about Zendaya as Mary Jane? Read below!

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I never read one Spider-Man comic book, but I know enough about them to back up my statements. I’d like to start off with the redhead thing. While I get why fans are complaining over the hair color, there’s a simple solution to that. Just dye it! Either that or paint it red or something! I mean, if you look at Kirsten Dunst in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, the actress herself was never a redhead. Although if you look at the character in the movie, her hair is red because some changes were made to the actress. As far as the skin color goes, that’s a different story.

I don’t want to sound racist, and if I do, I’m sorry. In the comic books, Mary Jane is a white woman, not black. With that in mind, that already sets Zendaya as an odd casting choice in a movie like this. I mean, I never complained about Black Panther being played by a black guy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but that’s because I didn’t really pay much attention towards Black Panther. If anything, I see why the people behind this movie want Zendaya in the film, that reason being for diversity. I get why that’s the case, but it doesn’t work in a movie like this, where basically everyone who is a fan of the source material wants this final product to look like the source material. Not to mention in general, I would call something like this lazy. If there’s a reason behind this, I want to know. Remember the new Ghostbusters movie? Everybody was complaining that there were women as the starring roles. It was said that some of these people were just outright woman haters. I didn’t approve of the casting choices either, but not because I hate women. It’s just that women as starring roles in a Ghostbusters movie doesn’t entirely fit depending on how the characters are written, and after seeing the trailer, I came to that conclusion. Oh and that reminds me, I don’t mean to digress, but Amy Pascal, one of the producers of Ghostbusters 2016, is producing this movie. She better not be behind another childhood destroyer. I could be wrong about this, maybe Zendaya could kill it as Mary Jane and make me not care about the whole lack of source material reference thing, we’ll just have to wait. I mean, Tom Holland made Spider-Man look awesome in Captain America: Civil War, so at least you have that being brought to this movie!

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If there were an alternative cast member to Zendaya as Mary Jane, I wouldn’t have a final answer yet. However Zendaya is DEFINITELY not my first choice. If I offended anyone, I’m sorry, I’d be willing to have an open discussion about the casting choice, but if not, that’s fine. You do you. Is all hope lost for Spider-Man: Homecoming? No. Only some of it is, I’m still gonna go see the movie, but this dropped my hype for the movie. If they try to stick to everything else being like the comic-books, I might be OK in the end, but I don’t like this. If you don’t like Zendaya being Mary Jane simply because it doesn’t resemble the character we’ve gotten from source material, I get where you’re coming from. However if you don’t like Zendaya being Mary Jane simply because she’s black, and you absolutely hate black people, I don’t appreciate that behavior. I’m seeing Suicide Squad today, I’m gonna have a review of that movie up pretty soon. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Bad Moms: Here’s What Yo Mama Does

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Bad Moms is a comedy written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the same people who wrote The Hangover (2009), which is one of my favorite comedies of all time. The movie has leading roles played by Mila Kunis (Family Guy, That 70’s Show), Kristen Bell (Frozen, Veronica Mars), Kathryn Hahn (The Visit, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), Annie Mumolo (About a Boy, This is 40), Jada Pinkett Smith (Madagascar, Gotham), and Christina Applegate (Anchorman, Married with Children).

The essential plot here is that three moms have had enough with everything surrounding them in their daily lives, such as their kids, their jobs, their husbands, and PTA meetings. In order to relieve their stress they decide that they are trying to get away from certain daily situations, go drink, be lazy, etc. Let’s dive into the mama mode, shall we?

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Mila Kunis is the first mother you see during the movie and she actually had her kids at a rather young age. In terms of her performance I thought it was presented well and the focus on her character seemed to cover what a mother’s daily life could contain. However, there is a relationship drama in the movie that I won’t go into detail about in the movie involving her, and there seemed to be what could have been an interesting plot device having to do with her and her mate, but it’s not really touched upon.

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Kristen Bell plays a stereotypical stay at home mom, there were a few scenes during the film where I was like, “Yeah, that’s the reality,” because it seemed to be true to what you’d think of when you look at a stay at home mom. When there was one scene where the mom was on the phone with her husband I was like, “Wow, good job guys.” They’ve gotten the atmosphere correct with her house, and the amount of stress that comes out of this girl seems to be close enough to what one might think about when it comes to a stay at home mom.

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Kathryn Hahn plays a single mom and while I don’t really remember much of her character as much as the other two in this movie, she did a good job in the movie and I have to say something about her voice. I know single moms, in fact MY mom is single at the moment, she doesn’t act like this, but I can picture a certain stereotype of mothers that are like this and within this group of mothers, this character here almost sounds like she can go on a pedestal for how well written of a character she was. Based on what you can tell I liked some of the characters.

One thing I sort of like about this movie is how the children are represented. Mila Kunis’s kids seem to be a proper example of dependent children, granted there are some moments where I think they focus a little too much on it and it’s like you’re putting too many eggs into one basket, but it seems to be presented in a fine manner.

Also, if you’ve read my review for the Ghostbusters remake I mentioned that every man in the movie is moronic. That is not what I have to say with this movie, only certain men are, and unlike Ghostbusters, you can understand the women for making jabs about them. There was one where I figured the bashing was a little questionable, but this is a quest for stress relief so it’s kind of clear.

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Last but not least before I rate the movie, this movie is a comedy and it did its most important job, making me laugh. Granted I didn’t laugh hard, but I did laugh. So far this has the be one of the better comedies I’ve seen at the movies this year, but if you compare it to The Hangover, it can’t win in terms of humorousness. Maybe that’s just me talking because I’m a guy, and The Hangover probably caters more towards guys, but in the end this is how I feel. The movie had humor that was jabs at other people, a lot of swearing (many others found it funny, I just thought it was there), multiple montages, and a hint of slapstick humor as well. I found decent amount of it funny, and I liked what I saw.

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Bad Moms is probably a good movie if you’re a mother and you feel like you need a break, because these characters are probably just like you. I’m not a girl so I can’t be a mother, and I’m rather young so I can’t really be a father, but even as a teenage boy I can find some joy and likability out of this film that doesn’t exactly cater to my demographic. After all, when I look for movies, I’m not looking for films that aim towards my demographic, I’m looking for something I can enjoy and talk to you viewers about. I’m going to give Bad Moms a 6/10. Guys, just so you know, I said before that I’m TRYING to see Suicide Squad, I just can’t find a good time to do it. Also, for potential future reviews I’m going to see Equity, it came out last month but it just came to a little independent theater in my area so I figured I could see it there. If there’s any other films that are coming out that I WANT to see, but not sure if I can at a perfect time, those include Sausage Party, the FIRST EVER R rated animation, War Dogs, a comedy starring Miles Teller and Jonah Hill coming out next week, and if there’s any other movies I haven’t mentioned that I may come across in the meantime, we’ll have to see what happens. Stay tuned for more reviews! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer 2: This Looks Awesome–OMG IT’S DARTH VADER!

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During the 2016 Summer Olympics on NBC, the new trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was revealed, I turned on the TV and saw the last couple of seconds because some people said it was on, I didn’t see the whole thing, but then I IMMEDIATELY went to YouTube to see if it would show up. It wasn’t long before I watched it, I went through a combination of fanboying and analyzing with constructive criticism and then I got to the end of the trailer and that’s when I screamed like an elderly woman who won the lottery. I’ve received hints on this already, but Darth Vader is in this movie. It’s happening folks, he’s here! Let’s jump right in.

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Darth Vader was in this trailer for like half of a second, but I’ll be honest, that half of a second I saw with Darth Vader, as he’s looking away from the camera, standing in a room, with a single breath, I couldn’t help but get really excited. I loved Star Wars since I was a child, despite how Phantom Menace is one of my least favorite movies ever made, with that in mind, seeing Darth Vader made me feel not only like a kid again, but like someone who could be around any age at all and got their biggest wish granted by a genie. One thing I do wonder although is what he does in the movie.

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I do realize that this movie doesn’t really involve much to do with Darth Vader, in fact if you seen the trailer, you may have noticed Grand Moff Tarkin in it, and I saw a menacing look on his face. It gave my the thought that he will be the signature cause of chaos throughout the film. That does bring me back to Darth Vader though, what would he do in this movie? So they revealed him in the trailer, that’s great. What really matters now is his screentime. I’m hoping that he can do a little more than something along the lines of a cameo appearance. That’s all I want.

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The leading protagonist in Rogue One is played by Felicity Jones (Girls, The Theory of Everything), and her name is Jyn Erso. I can already tell that this woman is going to be rather brave in this movie, but one thing that I want more of out of her than what I’m seeing out of this trailer, is fear. When you have a character that doesn’t fear anything at all, it sometimes works. However, if that were the case with a movie like this, a prequel to one of the greatest tales of fiction known to man that probably won’t end well, it may end up coming off like a cartoon. I don’t imagine she will come off that way in the final product, but to me, this is something to think about for now.

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One thing I love about this trailer is the display of all the ships and the landscape of the planet you see in the opening shot, it just makes me feel like I’m on another planet. Yes, it is technically another planet, but when people say something along these lines, it is most likely out of exaggeration. This film has CGI, but it doesn’t even look fake. It looks clean and it looks like something practical.

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After seeing the trailer, I can already imagine the movie’s tone from just those two minutes. Dark, daring, along with a hint of pressure. If this movie were coming out like, I don’t know, tomorrow, I would go on Fandango, get my ticket, rush to the theater, skip the concessions, and trot into the auditorium like Usain Bolt. I cannot wait for December, and for those of you reading this who haven’t seen Star Wars, what have you been doing with your life? Seriously, watch it, it’s a good time (except the prequels, although personally I love Revenge of the Sith). Stay tuned for more upcoming reviews, and I do plan to review this when it comes out in December. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Divergent Series: Ascendent: Straight To TV?!

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One of the more popular novel franchises read by young adults today is the Divergent series. I never read those books, but I’ve seen all the movies. The first one was great and had slick action, likable characters, and superb dialogue. I honestly liked the second one better, that one is Insurgent. The movie was not as great in terms of screenwriting and there was kind of a hole in the story with Tris and her hairstyle being different than her first movie, but I thought a lot of the visuals were excellent and it felt like the movie utilized the green screen to high potential. Now, they split the final book into two parts (rolls eyes). I saw the first part, “Allegiant” on opening weekend and it was an atrocity. Keep in mind, I’m not the only one who thinks this. The movie currently has 13% on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert’s website gave it a 1.5/4, Metacritic gave it a 33, and I even remember my sister saying she wasn’t a fan of the movie. Not only did the people who got the chance to watch the movie mostly end up disliking it afterwards, but they were part of the small chunk of people who even viewed the movie in the first place.

Based on brief research, one thing noticed about each Divergent movie is that for each movie, the earnings from each opening weekend progressively declines as we get further in the series. In terms of US earnings, the first movie made $54,607,747, the second one made $52,263,680, and the third film dropped dramatically to a disastrous total of $29,027,348. For a big budget film, the first two totals are OK, not the best for an opening weekend but certainly not bad. However when your total is as low as the third one, you may have problems. Why did the film get as much as it did on its opening weekend? I don’t have enough research, but I have some assumptions towards this. There were plenty of other movies to see that were out at the time of this movie’s release and it was rather unusual for the month of March, which is one of those months where movies aren’t worth seeing as much as they are in the summer or the holidays. These movies included Zootopia, Deadpool, and 10 Cloverfield Lane. One more thing I can imagine is that some people were mad when they heard the final book would have a movie split into two parts, which I’ll be honest, kept me from seeing the final two Hunger Games movies to this day. For the people who did see it, I imagine they mostly consist of hardcore fans of the Divergent books, people who liked the previous installments of these movies, and people who goes to the movie theater throughout a significant course of their lives. I belong in the last two classifications (despite not liking Allegiant). Out of all of these assumed folk, I’m willing to bet some saw bad reviews of this movie and didn’t care about seeing it, some wanted to wait for the home release so they can text during the movie, some probably didn’t care at all, or some probably forgot or was unaware this movie even existed. According to Wikipedia, Allegiant has a total of around $179.2 million in the box office, therefore it made higher than its budget on the movie, which was around $110 million. Despite that, it’s possible that the guys behind the movie may not have as much to work with as they have before to create the perfect movie. It’s not surprising, Lionsgate said the poor box office performance is why they want to make a TV movie.

Also, something that lowers my anticipation for this movie, is that they are going to make a TV show after the movie is over. If you’ve ever watched almost any movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you may notice that they all have scenes setting up another movie during the end credits. Unless there is a scene in the credits that sets up the TV show, or no setup for the TV show at all, or if the universe is set up in a spontaneous or compelling manner throughout the film, I’m not going to be pleased. It just goes to show what is happening with many movies today. Instead of being actual movies, they are setups for other movies or stuff along those lines. Granted a lot of setups I’ve seen were exciting, but if I see another setup during this movie, I’m willing to bet my reaction will be something along the lines of “That is so forced!”

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Even with all of the data I’ve given, I’m personally not happy with the TV movie motive, and I imagine some people can agree with me. I’m the kind of person who thinks that going to the movie theater is the best way to see a movie, no matter how good or bad the movie is, the experience is usually one of the redeeming qualities of the movie. When I watch the movie from home, despite how I have an awesome Blu-Ray player and a 4K TV with a built-in Roku smart player, it’s just not the same because it’s not as huge as a movie theater screen, and the sound doesn’t surround you (depending on your setup) like it does in a cinematic auditorium. What’s worse is that I saw two of these movies in IMAX, so that shrinks the screen and it makes the results disheartening. I didn’t like Allegiant, I’d personally give it a 2/10, but it breaks my heart to see this final installment not go into theaters. Not only that, but since a lot of teen girls like this movie, I imagine it’s just go on the so-called MTV channel. There are men who like this stuff too, and teens, and I mean teens, not just girls, are in your target audience. So if I were you, I’d put this on Syfy. I’m not going to explain much more, but if I had any suggestions to everyone behind this project, you can still put it in theaters as long as you reduce advertising, make the CGI feel less bloated, and not put the movie in large format theaters. Perhaps you could also shrink the runtime in the movie, maybe do a movie that is less than a couple hours long. Some fans of the source material may get a little mad but it may be worth it in the long run. If it were me, I would release the movie in theaters on a strict budget, but if you like this TV movie idea, good for you, it’s just not my thing. Stay tuned for more posts and reviews, I’m trying to see Suicide Squad as soon as I can, but my pals have a tricky schedule so it’ll be hard to go and see it right on the dot. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!