Is Dunkirk the Best IMAX Experience Ever?

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! If you followed my blog at all recently, you may know that I loved the movie “Dunkirk,” it’s not perfect, but I even think it has a slightly higher replay value than “Wonder Woman,” which I actually gave a 10/10 in my review for it, by the way, it’s still a 10/10 must see in my book. I originally gave “Dunkirk” a 9/10, which still stands, but the fact is I might watch “Dunkirk” more than “Wonder Woman,” at least that’s what my mind says for now, because “Dunkirk” is a very unique survival story whereas “Wonder Woman” has some cliches, although those cliches are done in a way to make you feel like you’re experiencing something totally new or fresh, kind of like in 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Not to mention, despite the villains being better than numerous MCU villains we’ve gotten over the years, they didn’t exactly reach a level of greatness. In my review for “Dunkirk,” one thing I touched upon, was the experience itself. “Dunkirk” is being released in 6 different formats, I only saw the movie once so for now I only got to experience “Dunkirk” in one format. The formats listed are IMAX 70mm, standard 70mm, 35mm, IMAX laser, standard IMAX digital, and traditional digital. By the way, there are no 3D options for this film, only 2D, which can be a plus considering the extra fee you’d usually have to pay for 3D. I did a post last month recommending that you should see “Dunkirk” on film, although today we’re gonna talk about IMAX because when I saw this movie in IMAX, it was a fairly unique experience, and this is coming from someone who often goes the movies and sees a good number of them in the IMAX format. When I went to see the movie, I got to experience it in IMAX 70mm in Providence, RI, IMAX 70mm is suggested to be the highest format possible. Slate has a very informative and excellent video on this whole format comparison and it is almost hard to say it better myself, the link is available below if you want to watch it.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2017/07/25/we_watched_dunkirk_in_standard_digital_and_70mm_imax_to_see_if_viewing_format.html

Now if you were planning on seeing “Dunkirk” at some point, first off, do it now while it’s still in theaters, it’s a great movie and deserves to be seen in the theater! Second, one of my biggest recommendations is that you avoid traditional digital projection. Why? Simply because you’ll be missing details or a scope from this movie that you could see in any other format. I’ve gone into depth about this before, but I need to bring it up again. When I brought it up for the first time, I said that you must see this movie on film. While that is true, today I’m going to talk about IMAX, specifically. Yes, even digital! And I actually want to talk about IMAX in depth, which I’ve done before, but this is gonna be informative.

Before we get into projection, I want to talk about one of IMAX’s screens. This is an IMAX digital screen. If a movie is being played and projected to cover the whole screen, the aspect ratio would be 1.90:1. The main purpose for these screens is to retrofit multiplex theaters such as Regal or AMC for “the IMAX experience.” Is it worth the money? To me, only in a number of circumstances. For example, if there’s a big movie out and I want to go to a super enormous IMAX only to find out they have no tickets left for the movie I’m see, that happened to me when I saw “Rogue One” on opening night, or if I want a bigger screen and tuned up audio than what you’d get in a normal theater. The digital IMAX experience is by no means, a terrible experience. It still has the traditional IMAX surround sound which moviegoers love, it still has a big screen, although it’s not as big as other IMAX screens and it’s only slightly bigger than a traditional movie theater screen. To compare, screens under the IMAX digital treatment, have been measured in feet, I have a local IMAX screen which has been marketed to be “eight stories high.” Is that an exaggeration? Possibly, but if you check out the screen in person, it’s pretty freaking huge!

Right here we have the IMAX digital projection system. This has, unfortunately, been cheating many moviegoers over the years. Not only is it small projection by IMAX standards, not only has it been used on small IMAX screens, but it also has been used on IMAX’s big screens as well. We’re gonna be talking about a couple more projectors in a moment, but let’s get something out of the way. The traditional IMAX aspect ratio, AKA, the aspect ratio you’d see while watching documentaries on IMAX’s big screens in museums, aquariums, and a few other places, is 1.43:1, and part of “Dunkirk,” was shot in order to be featured in that format. That means, no matter what you see on an IMAX screen like this, that is if the theater is using digital projection, there will be black bars on the top and bottom of whatever you’re seeing. In fact, there’s even this one movie I went to see in IMAX, in fact, IMAX brought back “The Wizard of Oz” for a week once. I have not seen “The Wizard of Oz” in IMAX anywhere, but it was only available for IMAX digital projection. So I would imagine that if you went to see this movie in a true IMAX theater, some folks might not only be distracted by black bars on the top and bottom of the screen, but also on the sides.

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Here we have what most folks, including me would refer to as “true IMAX.” This screen can be completely covered with an image which has an aspect ratio of 1.43:1 and the projectors that bring that image to life are actually the clearest IMAX has to offer. IMAX digital, when showing a movie, can create a 2K image with a dual set of projectors, whereas IMAX laser, an IMAX digital superior, also has a set of two projectors, but can fully project a 4K image. IMAX 70mm projectors can project images at a much higher quality. The contrast ratio is lower than the other projectors, but it’s not really that bothersome to me. I have a 4K TV in my room which has a lower contrast ratio than a 1080p TV I once had in my room, and I never recalled something like that bothering me. Granted it was only slightly lower, but still. In fact, when comparing the contrast ratios of these projectors, they are all not really too far apart from each other. The images you can see on this projector can be shown at a rate of 18K. These projectors have also operated in IMAXes with a 1.90:1 screen. A few years back, the Chinese Theater in Hollywood retrofitted one of their cinemas with IMAX technology including the IMAX digital projection system. Although in 2014, they did a special engagement for Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” which made them one of the theaters to feature the movie in the IMAX 70mm, so an IMAX 70mm projector was hooked up for this occasion. What did it look like on the screen? I don’t know. I imagine it looked nice, but I wouldn’t know if the curtains had to cover part of the screen to truly immerse the audience or what. As of now, they have the IMAX laser system. And I hear that they aren’t the only non-1.43:1 theater to have this. The Empire Leicester Square IMAX in London has a laser projection system as well.

Just an FYI on the traditional IMAX projection systems. The first one I’ll introduce is the Grand Theatre projector. This is an IMAX 70mm film projector, not only that, but it’s also the one intended for the largest of the IMAX screens. The top right picture contains a Small Rotor projector. This projector also plays IMAX 70mm film, although it is meant to be projected towards slightly smaller screens. Despite the screens being smaller, it’s still bigger than the screens you’d find at your standard multiplex’s IMAX digital theater. The last projector, displayed on the bottom is the IMAX laser projection system. As mentioned, this is clearer than IMAX digital. Granted this still digital, but it’s clearer digital.

Another theater I’ve yet to go over is the IMAX dome. These are also referred to as OMNIMAX. I don’t go to these theaters that often, in fact I’ve only been to one twice and they were both on school field trips. Unlike most theaters which has you looking at either a flat or slightly curved screen, the OMNIMAX will allow you to look upward at a screen that is basically showing you images in a fish eye perspective. IMAX screens are never flattened in any of the theaters which IMAX equipment exists. They are either curved or domed. And yes, domed is actually a word, I didn’t think it would be. Although if you don’t want to look at an IMAX screen that looks more like a TV screen or a traditional movie theater screen, OMNIMAX would be a good option. And to my knowledge, pretty much all of the OMNIMAX theaters operate with IMAX 70mm projection equipment. I heard La Geode, a dome in Paris which uses IMAX technology has made some upgrades over the years, but they still have the IMAX 70mm equipment for what I know. If you guys know of an IMAX dome that DOESN’T currently have IMAX 70mm technology, let me know about it in the comments section.

IMAX is also well known for its audible sound systems. IMAX theaters usually have 6 channels of surround sound in, but recently they’ve been installing 12 channel sound systems, both of which sound amazing and they totally shake the whole theater at times.

I know I’m going on for a while about this, but to get to my main point, I needed to talk about IMAX in general. As mentioned before, I saw this movie in IMAX 70mm film. I mentioned in my review for “Dunkirk” that this movie must be seen on film. Honestly, I think it should be seen any way you can see it, but you should seek out ways to see it that aren’t traditional digital projection. IMAX has digital projection, but since it’s technically a one of a kind theater, I wouldn’t say it has traditional digital projection. Let’s start off with the reason that can apply to every IMAX theater in the world, the sound.

I just recently mentioned that the sound is amazing in IMAX regardless of whether you’re in a theater that has 6 or 12 channels of surround sound. I’ve been to the IMAX many times in my life, and I’ve experienced a lot of movies there that really made me feel like I was in the action just on sound alone. There have however been few movies that have done that more than others. These include movies like “Interstellar,” “Night at the Museum,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and “Jurassic World.” “Dunkirk” is no exception to this. I can still recall when this movie started, it put me RIGHT into the action. After all, this movie, is basically, all action. It’s just one battle/survival sequence for nearly the whole runtime. Now I saw “Dunkirk” in an IMAX with 6 channels of surround sound, so imagine how much more audible this movie would be if I were in a theater that had twelve of these bad boys! I actually live ten minutes away from an IMAX with 12 channels of surround sound, so if I see “Dunkirk” there, just think about what would happen! This is one of those movies where I was also able to believe the sound. There have been movies where I’ve been impressed with sound editing, but sometimes it might either be sounds we’ve heard before, maybe one sound choice doesn’t work, or it just sounds too theatrical. Pretty much all of the sound in this movie, felt real. All of the bombs in this movie, sounded like real bombs. All of the gunfire sounded like real gunfire. There are some other really good sound choices during this movie. If you saw the first announcement teaser and remember all of those soldiers on the boat, the sound in that scene is awesome to say the least and it really built the tension.

Also, no matter where you see it, look forward to how the movie looks. This movie looks GORGEOUS. Not only is the cinematography a thing of beauty, but at times, it can really put you in the movie. This is partially because most of the movie was shot in the IMAX format, which as mentioned, can allow the whole screen to be covered. This at times will allow for a more immersive experience, especially if you’re seeing this movie in a 1.43:1 theater. At times, I felt like I was having all sorts of flyers going around me, the paper kind, not the plane kind. Also at times I felt like i was on a beach. One other example of how the IMAX technology is utilized is during the scenes featuring the fighter pilots. In “Star Wars” one of the best sequences in those movies happen to feature dogfighting in space and it is pretty fun to watch. It’s fast paced, it’s got terrific sound, it’s adventurous. Here though, it’s none of that, but I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. OK, I take that back, the sound’s actually not bad at all. In “Dunkirk,” it’s absolutely realistic. At times, you might look inside the cockpit of the fighter plane and notice the pilot and it’s just very crammed all over. Then you look outside and it’s almost like you’re the pilot and you’re just trying to concentrate on your enemies. The gunfire from the plane also sounded authentic and it didn’t feel Hollywoodized. Very little of this movie has sequences with black bars. You can look at other movies like “The Dark Knight” and possibly appreciate the IMAX sequences you get, but it takes up about thirty minutes of a movie which is two hours and thirty-two minutes long. “Dunkirk” is shorter than “The Dark Knight,” an hour and forty-six minutes to be specific. Although “Dunkirk” has more footage shot in the IMAX format and covers the screen for about eighty minutes of the entire movie, which means you get more time dedicated to greater immersion.

The only downside I can say I have with seeing this in IMAX 70mm, and this is something I actually noticed when watching “Interstellar” in IMAX 70mm as well, is that while the movie sounds beyond amazing, it might actually prevent you from hearing or understanding some dialogue. This was a minor issue though. When I was watching this movie, there was actually less I could understand. Partially because of the accents, which I’m able to let slide, and also because of the music. Don’t get me wrong, the music was spectacular. I love the work and effort Hans Zimmer put into this movie’s score which was really engaging, but sometimes it was overpowering and I couldn’t hear some dialogue. It’s a minor issue though in my book. I imagine that would probably be different when experiencing this movie in a different fashion. Also, another reason why this is a minor issue to me is because I wasn’t able to connect with any character during this movie.

As much of a disconnection with characters sounds like a negative, to me, it’s a positive. Because from what I gathered, this movie isn’t about the characters, it’s about the event itself, and despite how the movie didn’t take much time to build characters, I still rooted for all of them because their ultimate goal, is just to survive, and I gotta say given the situation they’re in, rooting for them makes lots of sense. I just want to say something, Michael Bay should take notes from this movie. Because if you watch any of the movies from his “Transformers” series, you might notice how he doesn’t make it mainly about the transformers and basically gives human characters more spotlight. In every one those movies, you have either Shia LeBouf or Mark Wahlberg playing their own version of “Mr. Relatable” and the Transformers are essentially there with their own story to provide the movie’s action even though there’s more focal points of the movie with that. If Michael Bay toned it down with the human characters and put in more robot action, these might be better movies. I’m not saying the human stuff is terrible, it just isn’t all that necessary. With that being said, this movie which is a focal point of the post, is “Dunkirk,” it doesn’t have any person’s name in it, it’s just “Dunkirk.” Sure, this movie can be called “Dunkirk” and still work with relatable characters in it, but the take without any sort of character development personally worked for me because let’s face it, war is brutal. War sometimes doesn’t give you much time to sit around and talk or have chats during battle. This movie doesn’t really give any of the characters any time to relax, therefore it doesn’t give you any time to relax, and I felt like I was at war the whole time, partially thanks to the ridiculously cool IMAX experience I had. While we’re still talking about this, the only thing missing was the blood, however the movie is still realistic enough even without blood.

No matter where you end up seeing the movie “Dunkirk,” you’ll probably end up having a good experience, but why settle at good? Standard digital projection at this point may be considered good, but any other format can provide a better experience and when it comes to IMAX specifically, this movie was made for it per se. I’ve seen a lot of movies in IMAX, immersion is a factor that has often applied to the IMAX experiences I’ve witnessed, and it is not really hard for IMAX movies to allow you to immerse into them, but this one, made me feel like I was literally in it, as if it were super immersion. Is this the best IMAX experience of all time? It’s most certainly one of them, maybe not the best to me, but it’s VERY CLOSE, but it could be the best to some people. I personally thought “Interstellar” was the best IMAX experience I’ve encountered, not to mention the best movie experience I encountered. I still remember the beginning of the movie when I heard the Indian surveillance drone flying by. It was almost as if the sound of the drone entered one ear and flew out the other. Also, if you can a place that has IMAX 70mm equipment and it’s being used for “Dunkirk,” go there. There are BARELY any movies played in that format and this is one of this year’s couple movies playing in IMAX film, if you want to know the other one that’s actually going to be “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”  On a last note, go see “Dunkirk,” just do it, in fact based recent critical responses, you’re probably better off taking your kids to see “Dunkirk” as opposed to “The Emoji Movie.” Thanks for reading this post, and speaking of IMAX, I’ve actually just encountered some interesting and shocking news concerning IMAX because it involves an alteration that probably nobody saw coming. That, as a matter of fact, is how IMAX plans to calm down a little bit on 3D releases. I might do a post on that, I’m not sure, but we’ll see what happens. Also be sure to stay tuned for more movie reviews, including possibly one for “The Emoji Movie,” a review I don’t want to do, but I’ve been requested to do it, so I may as well get that s*itshow out of the way. Stay tuned for more great content! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Emoji Movie Scores 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, IS IT REALLY THAT SHOCKING?

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! One of my last posts of 2016 had to do with “The Emoji Movie.” In that post, I dove into the sheer awfulness of the teaser promoting the movie, along with the idea of the movie itself. By the way, if you’re interested in that post, the link for it is down below. There was also another trailer for this movie, which by the way, was better, but that didn’t get me any more excited for the film. This flick has a cast with names I like, including TJ Miller (Silicon Valley, Deadpool), Anna Faris (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Mom),  Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation, X-Men), and even Sofia Vergara who I like despite how I think “Modern Family” might as well just be the single most overrated show, if not in the territory for sitcoms, ever made. The animation overall, at least from what I’ve seen, isn’t all that bad either. Aside from these statements, I can’t really think of any other positives I can give based on what I’ve witnessed other than one example of toilet humor from the main trailer. Why am I doing this post? Well, this isn’t a review of the movie, I haven’t seen it. Other people have though, and so far the results are not looking good.

The Emoji Movie: How is This a Thing?!: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2016/12/27/the-emoji-movie-how-is-this-a-thing/

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As of now, this movie has 0% on Rotten Tomatoes! This is something that I don’t normally see with many films. Although there are films that currently stand among this category, including “Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2,” “Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back,” “Fred: The Movie,” “Max Steel,” “The Ridiculous 6,” “Beethoven’s 4th,” “Mulan II,” “The Fox and the Hound 2,” and “United Passions,” a movie so poorly received that The Guardian’s own Jordan Hoffman said in his review “as cinema it is excrement.” Haha, love that quote. I just want to remind everyone, that there’s this one movie that came out last year in January, which was also animated. That my friends, is “Norm of the North.” I never saw it from beginning to end, although if that’s something you’re interested in (laughs), it’s free on Amazon with Prime Video. Many people consider this to be one of the worst animations ever made, especially when you consider the fact that it was in theaters. It currently has a 3.7/10 on IMDb, along with a 9% on Rotten Tomatoes. I know “The Emoji Movie” literally just came out, but this could be worse than “Norm of the North.” A lot of people disliked “Norm of the North” due to it’s animation and content displayed in the movie. I can only imagine how this movie would be compared to that. The animation looks decent in the trailer, so either it looks like crap in some scenes of the movie I don’t know about, or everything else is beyond horrible and the animation is just fine.

I wasn’t even expecting this movie to be good, I was just hoping the folks over at Sony Pictures Animation would put at least a shred of effort into this movie, and speaking of underwhelming animations, Sony Pictures Animation came out with a movie last year as well, which also has to do with something iconic related to phones. That, ladies and gentlemen, is referred to as, “The Angry Birds Movie.” Much like “Norm of the North,” I didn’t see this, but I heard it wasn’t too great. It got decent ratings on IMDb, 6.3/10 to be specific. But this film does have its haters, haha, I kind of just made them sound like trolls. This film was considered underwhelming due to how it seemed to display conservative propaganda, from my view from watching the Cinemasins video on this movie I have no idea if the people behind this movie ere even go for that or what. There’s also how it seemed to make particular viewers think that some of the movie might actually be a little over the edge for certain children, and other reasons. Also, you have to consider the fact that this was written by the same screenwriter who wrote the first two live-action “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movies.

This almost makes me think that in the near future, we’ll be seeing more movies based on stuff having to do with your phone or other electronics. What’s next? A movie about Twitter where we have to root for the blue bird who has some necessary story arch? A movie about Snapchat where we have to root for the ghost in the middle of the yellow square? A movie based on Subway Surfers where there’s a subway surfing competition? A movie based on Jetpack Joyride which is basically an escape movie the whole time? A social media mascot cinematic universe? People are saying that movies based on video games are crappy, let me just remind you that I have an idea for a video game based movie and I do think it has potential, but I don’t have time to get into that. Movies based on Emojis is probably, on paper, one of the dumbest concepts I’ve heard for a movie, AND IT GOT GREENLIT! AND RELEASED! IN THEATERS! IN REAL-D 3D! Just be glad Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” came out last week or else this would receive a greater chance of being an IMAX movie!

So I was right, this movie is very likely to be an abomination. If I go see this movie, I wonder if I’ll just mark it as the worst movie of the year. I can only imagine what would happen from here. As much as I don’t want to see the movie to maintain my utter sanity, I also feel like seeing it just to see how truly awful it really is. If I don’t see this in the theater, I’ll more than likely buy it or rent it when it comes out on home video. If there’s anything else left to say, it’s this. First off, f*ck you Sony and Sony Pictures Animation for releasing this. Second, to this movie, I gotta say, good luck at the box office, good luck. Who knows? Maybe my ten dollars could go towards this movie, only time will tell. Thanks for reading this post, and also be sure to check out my latest review for the movie “Dunkirk.” Just click on the red box that will take you to the review, or who knows, maybe if you scroll down, that review will be right below this post. I love the movie, I highly recommend it, but also recommend you read the review just you know what to expect going in. Also, be sure to look forward to my future reviews, I mentioned I MIGHT review this movie, not sure though. Although I will say I do want to check out “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” and “Atomic Blonde” because they do sound intriguing. Stay tuned for more great content! And since we’re talking about Emojis, this is a reminder to everyone to not be a 💩😶, if you don’t know what that means in your native language, unless you speak Emoji, comment down below and I’ll leave a response to that comment saying what that means. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Dunkirk (2017): A Bloodless, Yet Realistic Depiction of War

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Now before we begin my review for “Dunkirk,” I want to remind you that this movie is playing in several formats all over the world. If you want more information on that or if you want help on deciding how or where you should see the movie, I’ve got a couple links down below. The first link is to a post I did about a month ago concerning this movie, and if you aren’t satisfied with that, the second link is to a Vox article on the same topic, and personally, even though the first link is my own work, I will admit I think the Vox article does a better job on showcasing all of its information and including all of the necessary details whereas I might leave certain things out or focus on certain ideas more than others, so make your pick. Nevertheless, both of these are informative reads and don’t worry, neither of these contain spoilers for “Dunkirk.” Anyway, on with the review!

MY POST: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/why-dunkirk-must-be-seen-on-35mm-film-70mm-film-imax-70mm-film-or-imax-laser/

VOX ARTICLE: https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/7/19/15985474/dunkirk-explainer-format-imax-digital-70mm-35mm-buy-ticket

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“Dunkirk” is directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Interstellar), one of my favorite directors of all time. The movie has characters played by Fionn Whitehead (Him), Aneurin Barnard (War & Peace, Citadel), Kenneth Branagh (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Henry V), Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises, Mad Max: Fury Road), Mark Rylance (The BFG, Bridge of Spies), Barry Keoghan (Rebellion, ’71), Jack Lowden (Denial, The Tunnel), Tom Glynn-Carney, and Harry Styles, which if you’re a dad and you have a teenage daughter, there’s a chance to your misfortune that she probably dragged you to a concert he has performed at one point.

This movie is based on a true story which took place during World War II. Basically, the entire movie revolves around a battle which the Allied soldiers of Britain, Belgium, and France are surrounded by the Germans. At this time, the Allies are trying to flee away from the beaches and harbor of Dunkirk, France.

If there’s one thing I was anticipating about this film, perhaps near the top of list of things to anticipate in this film, it was the experience itself. This movie was shot partially with IMAX cameras and the rest was shot with standard 65mm cameras. No matter where this movie was going to be shown, it was probably gonna end up looking beautiful based on footage I witnessed before going to see this film in the theater, but if it was shown on a high quality projector, it might just be like looking at something with a naked eye. Now I saw this movie at a theater which is over an hour away from my house, it’s an IMAX theater and it’s located in Providence, RI, and I went for a number of reasons. To see the film the way Christopher Nolan intended, to see the film on film, and possibly catch details that my friends seeing this movie at a standard theater like AMC, Regal, Showcase, Carmike, Warren, Cinemark, Alamo Drafthouse, or Santikos won’t see if they actually happen to check out this movie at a theater like that. As I’m writing this review, not only do I recommend you see this movie on film, preferably on higher quality film, if you see this in digital, unless it’s IMAX probably, especially laser, you may as well be missing out on a film experience to remember. Because this may be in my top 5 (wild guess) movie experiences, based on picture and sound, I’ve ever encountered. Regardless of what you think of this movie in terms of content or story, this will definitely be something to remember based on senses. Also, if you want a link to where you can find all of the theaters playing the movie in 70mm, including IMAX, here’s a link to where you can find them, and I’ll give credit to these guys because the image displayed above showing a format comparison, that’s something I found in this link.

http://nofilmschool.com/2017/07/christopher-nolan-dunkirk-70mm-release

Before going into the theater, I’ve seen a number of a reviews for this film, and one complaint I’ve often heard is the lack of characterization in this film. Now, THAT IS TRUE, there is a lack of characterization. But you know what? I don’t f*cking care! Because believe it or not, it actually works! Let’s face it, this is a film about war, this is a film about survival. There’s action throughout the ENTIRE movie, not to mention this is based on true events. I can imagine some people talked with others during this scenario a little bit, but I think there aren’t many times when someone makes friends or just has time to chit chat when they’re in the middle of a big, loud battle of a war. Don’t get me wrong, characterization can work in movies, but not every movie needs it. And there definitely have been times where it didn’t work. Just look at the “Star Wars” prequels! I got to say, this is one of those movies I really appreciate, even though I barely know anybody’s name or much of their background aside from which side they’re on.

This paragraph is gonna focus one of my biggest fears going into this film, and then I’m gonna drift off track a bit, then we’ll get back into gear. You may be curious, what is this big fear? Well, ladies and gentlemen, that fear happened to be, Harry Styles. If you don’t know who Harry Styles is, he’s actually never acted in a movie before. He’s done few things prior to “Dunkirk” in terms of acting, but ultimately, he hasn’t really done that much. What does he typically do? Well, if you are aware of the boy band, One Direction, Styles is actually a singer-songwriter for the band. I have NO INTEREST in One Direction, in fact I’m not a teenage girl who has posters of hunks in his room. I’m a teenage boy with posters of superheroes in his room. On the topic of teenage fangirls going into this movie, many of them, based on tweets I read, were looking forward to see Styles on the big screen. In fact, when they were watching this in the theater, apparently they thought to themselves, and this is, in writing, my very own Harry Styles fangirl impression: “OMG! GIVE THAT HUNKY HARRY ALL THE OSCARS! 😍💞” Based on this evidence before going to the theater, I honestly thought this was pure fangirling, although at the same time maybe they were complimenting his performance. I’m not insinuating every Harry Styles fangirl will like something just because Harry Styles is in it, maybe some do, I don’t know, but this did sound like pure fangirling. Now I will admit, I’m a fanboy in many aspects. I’m a fanboy of “Spider-Man,” “Star Wars,” “King of the Nerds,” Christopher Nolan, IMAX, JK Simmons, “Portal,” Howie Mandel, Curtis Armstrong, Robert Carradine, Gal Gadot, and many game shows. Although as a fanboy, believe it or not, I don’t automatically fully appreciate something just because there’s something specific attached to it. I might fully appreciate something if there’s something specific DONE RIGHT attached to it. What do I mean? For “Star Wars,” something I consider done right for example is the most recent film in the franchise, “Rogue One,” and something I consider wrong in the franchise is “The Phantom Menace.” For Gal Gadot, I think she’s sexy, I love her as Wonder Woman, and I will even say she partially saved “Batman v. Superman” from being a total catastrophe, although she was in the movie “Criminal” which came out in 2016, which was rather underwhelming, she was alright in it though.

Sticking with the original topic, how was Styles in this movie? He wasn’t bad at all, as far as his performance went, fangirls, this your warning to keep your cool, it didn’t stand out. I’m not complaining when I say that, but you also have to consider who else was cast in this movie. And I’m not saying they were better, OK, I actually am saying that, but that’s not my point. My point is that you have a lot of characters in this movie, and they were mostly white males with similar hairstyles. You may as well also consider the whole characterization thing I mentioned not long ago, the fact that Harry hasn’t done acting all that much, and performances across the board had many similarities. Besides, this movie revolved around men at war. By the way, out of all the Harry Styles look-a-likes in this movie, I gotta say Fionn Whitehead probably gave the best performance out of all of them. After seeing this movie though, I will say I wouldn’t mind seeing Harry Styles in more movies. His acting is certainly better than his singing. Then again, I’ll mention, I’M TEENAGE BOY, WHAT CAN I SAY? Although I gotta say there is a performance that stood out to me.

The guy on the left, Tom Glynn-Carney played a character in this film. It may be the red sweater talking, I don’t know, but I liked his performance. It felt really authentic, I felt like I was at a doctor’s office going into some medical procedure and the doctor said to me, “Don’t worry sir, you’ll be alright,” although in reality he’s about to shove some crap inside me I can’t even describe, and probably don’t even want to describe. I’m not saying that’s how his character was in the movie, it’s just what his character, performance-wise, reminded me of.

Since I’m bringing up fears I had going into this film on this post, I’ll bring up more. Another fear I had, is the fact that the film was PG-13. This wasn’t really a huge fear of mine, but it was still there. In films containing some sort of war such as “Saving Private Ryan” or “The Patriot,” you might expect some blood, therefore contributing to the R rating. Although then again “Lord of the Rings” has a lot of war in it and yet for what I recall that barely has any blood. In fact the extended edition of “Return of the King” is actually said to have the highest body count ever recorded in a movie. After seeing this movie, the sound, the effects, the atmosphere, and the performances all felt realistic. There wasn’t much blood, I did see some, but it wasn’t all that much and it wasn’t moving. By the way, if you watch this movie, look forward to the dogfights, seeing this in full frame IMAX from first person perspective is as the kids call it now, lit. I’ll even go as far as to say that these moments in first person are actually more fun to watch than the entirety of “Hardcore Henry,” and that movie was basically in first person from beginning to end!

Speaking of the film’s highlights, Hans Zimmer scored this film. If you ask me, it’s hard to choose a favorite movie composer, however, it is easy to say which movie was composed best out of all the ones I’ve seen. That to me, would be “Interstellar,” also directed by Christopher Nolan and composed by Hans Zimmer. Now this is the seventh project these two have worked on together, and yes, I’m also including “Man of Steel” even though Nolan didn’t direct it. He did write and produce it though. I’ve seen a lot of films these two have done and I’m impressed with a lot of their work. “Dunkirk’s” soundtrack, much like others I’ve heard from Zimmer, along with all the sound I heard in this movie, made my ears have orgasms! Is the music exactly hummable? I wouldn’t say so, however if I listen to it a few times, I might have it down. Although it was awesome nevertheless. This score also does something you might hear in the “Interstellar” and “Inception” scores. If you pay close attention when watching the movie or when listening to the soundtrack, you may hear ticking and tocking. It’s almost as if it’s saying that time is not on the side of the hero. Although when it comes to displaying time, “Interstellar” does that best out of these three scores, which is saying something since the “Inception” soundtrack has a song literally called “Time.”

One of my personal favorite one word movie quotes comes from “The Matrix,” and it’s Keanu Reeves’s character of Neo saying “Whoa.” And BOY was I uttering that throughout the movie. Although when I said “whoa,” it was more of a soft exclamation than a declaration. I mentioned I love how this movie was presented in terms of clarity and how it was shot, but I also love the sound. The first bullet that goes off in this movie, literally set me up for nonstop action and motivated me for what’s to come. The sound overall felt real, especially the bombs and planes. This is just a fraction of the incredible immersion I felt from this astoundingly audible and picture perfect film.

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In the end, I enjoyed the crap out of this movie. I don’t watch many war films, but this is one of those films, that was a visual experience. I’ve had many of these films which I came across throughout my lifetime. There’s “Interstellar” (YES, I’M MENTIONING IT AGAIN, I’M SORRY, IT’S THAT GOOD OF A MOVIE), “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Matrix,” “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Gravity,” “La La Land,” the entire “Lord of the Rings” saga, and “Terminator 2: Judgement Day.” There’s very little dialogue, you don’t really get to know the characters, and while many other movies or TV shows work because you get to know the characters, this movie works because you DON’T get to know the characters. The technical aspects in this movie AUTOMATICALLY make me want to run all the way back to the theater to see this again! This is one of the LOUDEST movies I’ve witnessed in my life! I want to buy the Blu-Ray, although if there’s a 4K edition I’ll probably snatch that. What else can I say except, Christopher Nolan has done it again! This is not my favorite flick from Nolan, but it is certainly some of his best work. I’m gonna give “Dunkirk” a 9/10. I’m giving this a 9 because this is a movie that I would HIGHLY recommend. Definite seal of approval from me! The characters aren’t developed, but I don’t care, because given the situations the characters are facing throughout the movie, it was enough for me to root for them. And I’ll say, this MIGHT, and I say MIGHT jump to a 10 later. It’ll probably depend on the movie’s replay value and if I pick up on any details I may have missed the first time I watched this movie, and part of me is willing to bet I did miss something. Also, PLEASE SEE THIS IN A THEATER IN THE LARGEST FORMAT POSSIBLE OR ON FILM. Don’t pirate this movie, don’t wait for Netflix, this film IS worth your money. Thanks for reading this review, as you can obviously tell, I really appreciated the movie, and right now I might put this in my top 5 best of the year. As far as upcoming reviews go, pretty soon I’m gonna try to see “Atomic Blonde” or “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.” Stay tuned for those reviews if I ever get around to them, and I hope I can get those out soon. …Wait a sec, I feel like I’m forgetting something… Oh right, that piece of crap. If you want me to see the horse’s ass I like to call “The Emoji Movie,” leave a comment with the hashtag #GOSCREWYOURSELFEMOJIMOVIE and while it’s not guaranteed I’ll see it, the chances of me seeing it will definitely increase the more users I see commenting. Leave a comment if that’s something that interests you.

Also, if you are interested in Christopher Nolan much like myself, or if you want to know my thoughts on his movies, be sure to check out my reviews for “Interstellar,” “Inception,” and “Insomnia.” The links are down below, check those out, and stay tuned for more reviews! I hope to see this movie again, hopefully in the theater, I know a theater close to my house is playing this in 70mm film and another is playing it in IMAX laser, we’ll see what happens! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“INCEPTION” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/07/19/inception-2010-beyond-your-wildest-dreams/

“INSOMNIA” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/insomnia-2002-a-movie-thats-better-the-second-time-watching-it/

“INTERSTELLAR” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/07/04/interstellar-a-beautiful-intense-breathtaking-brilliant-sci-fi-marvel/

The Big Sick (2017): Kumail Nanjiani Plays Himself for Two Hours, and It’s Not Bad

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“The Big Sick” is directed by Michael Showalter and stars Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley, Central Intelligence), Zoe Kazan (What If, Ruby Sparks), Holly Hunter (The Incredibles, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice), and Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond, Ice Age) in a movie which is marketed stating that it’s based on “an awkward true story.” This movie, starring Kumail Nanjiani, as actually about Kumail himself, and this is actually based on the relationship between Kumail and the movie’s love interest, Emily, whose relationship has some blunders having to do with their cultural differences.

Going into this film, I didn’t really know what to think, I believe I do remember seeing ads for this film on TV, and I like Kumail Nanjiani. I’m also a huge fan of Ray Romano, even though in my book he hasn’t really done much of anything worth remembering in recent years. And if you know me well enough in real life, I’m not the type of person who flocks to the theater for rom-coms, although I did see something special in this movie considering it’s based on a true story involving one of the movie’s stars, producers, and writers, not to mention it has excellent scores given by Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb users, Metacritic, etc.

Usually when I talk about characters in a movie, the traditional thing I do is find an image of them related to the movie they’re in. For Kumail Nanjiani’s character, you may notice I’m doing something a little different. Why? Well, as I mentioned earlier, Kumail is playing himself in this movie. In other movies, this would usually be a complaint from some people, like how Melissa McCarthy, Ed Helms, or Adam Sandler might play the same character from movie to movie in some way, shape, or form. Although here, since it’s based on a true story involving an actor playing a past version of himself, this should be the one of the easiest acting gigs in the entire universe. So how does Nanjiani do? He does quite well, I didn’t like him as a character at first, but watching him in this movie, it felt nice seeing him grow as a person. His character was a shining star through this movie, and at times I felt his pain. There’s also one action that happens just about a quarter of the way through the movie as the main plot is developing that took this movie from being good to great.

While we’re on the topic of actors playing themselves, we can’t say the same for the actress playing Emily in this film, however this is Emily in real life. In the movie, she’s played by Zoe Kazan, although I couldn’t find a picture of her in this movie where she’s alone, so this is what you’re gonna have to settle for. Anyways, Emily in this film had some of the funniest lines, I thought she was a truly compelling character, and I thought she brought a lot to the table, although when I say that, consider how she’s a main character in this movie.

As much as this is ultimately Kumail Nanjiani’s movie, he’s one of the people that came up with an idea for it as a whole, I gotta say that in terms of aspects I thought were compelling throughout the movie, Holly Hunter is probably at the top of my list. Casting, GREAT JOB! I have no idea how much this character relates to the actual story, but nevertheless, seeing Holly Hunter as Beth at several points of the runtime just made me want to see more of her. If this were a film released during the fall, Hunter would have a higher chance of being up for an Oscar in my book.

Also, let’s not forget, Ray Romano. As mentioned, this guy hasn’t really done much of anything worth mentioning, and by that, I mean anything relatively acceptable, since “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” back in 2009. He was on Parenthood, which I heard was good, although it’s not aimed at my demographic and I never watched it. I saw him as a guest on an episode of “Kevin Can Wait,” but I completely forgot about it because the show was barely watchable. I can officially say, Ray’s back! I thought he aced his role, I was able to buy into his character, and he played a really good older dad character.

The chemistry shown between Kumail and Emily throughout this movie was believable, and if it wasn’t believable I probably would have taken major points off of this movie’s score, because this is based on true events involving the film’s main character, who is being played by the same person who experienced said events, not to mention that guy wrote and produced the movie with someone else who’s crucial to the film itself. I can’t exactly tell you I’m a guru who oversees every single detail of every person’s life and confirm that what is being shown on screen is entirely true, because I don’t know everything. There’s a good chance that someone could be reading this right now and I don’t know who it is. Granted since WordPress allows you to view what country a reader is from, or the name of the source they found this post, or perhaps a search term somebody used, I might get to know something about a certain reader, but not every detail is revealed. All I can say is, this movie set a very believable mood throughout. Some of the dialogue almost crossed the border to cheesy but it doesn’t go overboard with it and who knows, maybe those cheesy words were spoken.

As far as other complaints in this movie go, I do have a couple. First off, let’s talk about the editing. Overall this movie is well crafted and doesn’t have many flaws when it comes to editing. Although just because it doesn’t have many flaws, doesn’t mean it can’t have a few. There’s one scene in this movie which we see Kumail on a cell phone, it just cuts randomly a couple times, and yet we’re still looking at the same subject, the subject being Kumail in the same situation. It almost reminded me of “You Can’t Have It,” a movie that only 23 users on IMDb gave a verdict to, including me, only that movie had a s*itton more jumpcuts than this movie did, by the way don’t watch “You Can’t Have It.” That’s just a minor problem I have and on the subject of minor problems, is the product placement. I get it, films need product placement sometimes. But I remember seeing numerous scenes with a laptop in it, and just about every time, there was a MacBook. Oh yeah, the same goes with an IPhone. I remember seeing an IPhone in a lot of this movie’s scenes as well. Granted I recall seeing a Dell laptop too, but I think that was only one time. I might be somewhat OK with this if every single product shown here is true to the story, although it might remain as an issue. Although I don’t think something like this would be true because I’m looking at the technology and from my memory, the technology probably looked a little too futuristic. There’s a black IPhone in the movie and I believe it’s a newer model because I RECALL seeing the home button not having a square on it, which is a flaw for this movie because in real life, this movie takes place in the 2000s based on research, and the first IPhone with a home button to not have a square on it was the IPhone 5S which was released to the public in 2013. MAYBE I’M WRONG, MAYBE I’M IMAGINING THINGS, BUT THIS COMPLAINT STANDS *FOR NOW.* However, this movie is from Amazon Studios and when it releases on home video, it’s very likely that this movie won’t take a long time to become free on Amazon so I could probably watch it again and see if I was imagining things or not.

In the end, “The Big Sick” is worth seeing. I thought the performances all around were excellent, I thought this movie was well written, and there were little to no issues overall when it comes to this movie. Admittedly, it starts off rather slow, but it didn’t take much longer until my eyes were glued to the screen. I’m gonna give “The Big Sick” an 8/10. Thanks for reading this review. This Tuesday, I’m going to see the movie, “Dunkirk” in IMAX 70mm, words can’t describe my excitement! Also, I just want everyone to know, in case it actually interests you, “The Emoji Movie” comes out this upcoming Friday, July 28th. I have no intentions to see it, but, I would imagine a lot of you would want me to see it because of how atrocious this movie looks, so I DON’T KNOW if I’ll deliver on this, we’ll see what happens. But, if you want me to see “The Emoji Movie,” and I’m also not saying I’ll do this opening weekend if this manages to be a common request, leave a comment to this post with the following hashtag, you can include it by itself or in a comment with other words in it: #GOSCREWYOURSELFEMOJIMOVIE. I’m not saying it has to be all capital letters, but you get my point. I interacted with some people in my school, and they want me to see this movie. I’m wondering if I’ll even do that, but I might do this movie review for you if I get enough requests. And besides, “Atomic Blonde” is coming out the same weekend and I kinda wanna see that, not to mention “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” is out now too. Anyway, stay tuned for more reviews, and if you want to increase the chances of a review for “The Emoji Movie,” get cracking in the comments section. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Disaster Artist (2017): THIS IS ACTUALLY BEING MADE! WOO! (Plus Teaser Review)

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! If you have paid close attention to the title of this post, you can tell I’m really pumped about what I’m going to discuss. If you have followed this blog for awhile, occasionally you might see angry posts about certain movies being made. I did one on the “Jumanji” reboot having a video game instead of a board game back in March and during the same month I did one on an announcement going around concerning a possibility that “The Matrix” was gonna be remade. Before that, I did a post in December about the fact that “The Emoji Movie” is a thing that exists. And no, since then it has not been canceled! It’s actually coming out July 28th! I wasn’t fond of those ideas and my opinions on said ideas are represented quite clearly in my posts dedicated to them. However, today is gonna be a little more positive. Today we’re gonna be talking about an upcoming movie called “The Disaster Artist.”

If you are unaware about this film, it is about the making of “The Room,” which is considered to be highly regarded as one of the worst films ever made. I haven’t seen “The Room” from beginning to end, I know what it’s about, I’m well aware of its overall cheesiness. Nevertheless, I’m really f*cking stoked for this film. Before we dive any further into this topic, I’ll explain the overall concept of it to you right now.

“The Room” is a film from the early 2000s, it is directed by Tommy Wiseau, who also wrote the film, and played the lead character of Johnny. The plot of the film is that Johnny is a successful banker living in San Francisco with his fiancee, Lisa. However, Lisa eventually is unsatisfied with Johnny and decides to seduce Johnny’s best friend, Mark. The concept of this film is pretty simple, however, many viewers found this film’s unintentional humor to be spinning in a wheel of complexity. And it probably gave the idea to many people, when they see a movie with the word “room” as such a defining part of the title, it would probably be bad.

Oh yeah, this happened during the following decade.

There are tons of screenings for this movie around the world, in fact Tommy Wiseau is currently doing his “Love Is Blind” tour which he does screenings for this movie, people get to meet him in person at a number of them, and there’s a Q&A session. There are probably a number of things people may think of when it comes to “The Room,” one of the biggest things I personally, and perhaps a high number of other people think of is some of the dialogue. Some of the movie’s most infamous lines are listed below.

 

JOHNNY: YOU’RE TEARING ME APART LISA!

 

LISA: Did you get your promotion?

JOHNNY: Nah.

*PAUSE*

LISA: You didn’t get it, did you?

 

JOHNNY: You betrayed me! You’re not good. You, you’re just a chicken. Chip-chip-chip-chip-cheep-cheep!

But perhaps one of the most famous lines, if not THE most famous line from this movie is from the beginning of a scene that takes place on a rooftop. It goes like this:

JOHNNY: I did not hit her, it’s not true! It’s bulls*it! I did not hit hit her! (Throws water bottle on ground) I did NOT. (Turns face) Oh, hi Mark.

In fact, for the teaser of this movie, we get to see this moment of the movie as if it were just being created. Since we’re on this topic, let’s talk about the trailer.

After we see a couple of logos, we cut to Tommy Wiseau, played by James Franco (Spider-Man, 127 Hours). He’s coming out of a door onto a rooftop. You can see he’s got his wig on, and if you know about “The Room” that wig might be stuck in your mind. There’s a green screen around Tommy and you can also see a black guy holding a mic. Tommy doesn’t remember his line, and the director clarifies which line Tommy has to say, then the scene starts all over again. Believe it or not, Tommy has to ask what the line is AGAIN. Then we see the THIRTEENTH take of the same scene! Did this actually happen? I don’t know, but I’m curious to know if it actually happened. At one point, the production is BEGGING for this s*it to end, and they’re all saying what the line is. Then, they get to, I’m not kidding, TAKE 67! Tommy comes out the door, then he says “I hit her!” Just wow! The director wonders if the line should be changed, then it cuts to him saying action, repeatedly, only because Tommy can’t hear him say action! The title shows up for the movie, and we get to Tommy perfecting the line. Everybody applauds based on what happens and the trailer ends.

The vibe of this trailer is perfect and it gets me super excited for this movie. It doesn’t feel dark, it’s almost somewhat goofy although serious if you ask me, and it honestly makes me wonder what really happened behind this set of the movie. Even though this trailer does explain the concept of this film, it does leave me wondering what this film is gonna be like. Is it gonna just focus on the production of this movie? Is it gonna involve Tommy’s personal life? I don’t have a clue. As far as other compliments go, the costumes are great, James Franco is probably gonna make a good Tommy Wiseau, and whoever came up with this idea is a movie god. By the way, James Franco’s brother, Dave Franco, is also in this movie and he’s playing Greg Sestero, the guy who plays Mark in “The Room.”

Another fun fact about this movie, it actually comes out a week before the new “Star Wars” film, December 8th to be specific. So while I imagine this movie would do OK on its opening weekend, I’m apprehensive towards how it’ll do afterwards. And to be completely honest, as much as I am a huge “Star Wars” fanboy, not to mention one who is certainly hoping to go see the new “Star Wars” on opening night, I’m actually currently a bit more excited to see this film instead of the new “Star Wars.” Why? Because this movie has better marketing. I liked some aspects of the teaser for “The Last Jedi,” but ultimately, the teaser was not only painfully average, but it made me wonder if it’s just gonna rip off so many elements from “The Empire Strikes Back.”

Also, if this movie’s good, which I bet will be the case, I want to see another movie on the making of another awful movie. One story I’m curious to hear about, is possibly the making of 2015’s “Fantastic Four,” otherwise known as “Fant4stic.” I saw this movie in the theater and it wasn’t that good. Although I did like it better than a number of other people, which is saying something, because many people consider this to possibly be the worst superhero movie ever made, if not the worst Marvel movie ever made. What made this movie pop in my mind was the fact that “The Disaster Artist” could have an interesting story behind it when it comes to the movie’s production, and if that is executed well, I might want to know more about “Fant4stic,” especially when you consider this tweet from Josh Trank, the director of “Fant4stic.”

By the way, if you go to his Twitter right now, that tweet has been deleted. I want to know, what was this “fantastic version” of “Fant4stic?” This is a story I want to see, not the fantastic version of “Fantastic Four.” OK, yeah, I actually do want to see that and I think everyone else does at this point, but nevertheless, I would like to know how this movie came together and maybe if there was any studio interference when it comes to this movie. Oh, and yeah, if this movie actually comes to life, don’t ask FOX (the studio behind “Fant4stic”) to do it, they’ll probably shoot you out of a cannon towards the Pacific Ocean, leaving you to drown.

Right now “The Disaster Artist” is one of my most anticipated movies, I haven’t seen “The Room” in its entirety, but I feel like I should now before I go see this movie. Also, I want to know, what is the worst movie you’ve ever seen? Or, what is a movie you can think of that’s so bad it’s actually good? Me personally, I think of “Batman & Robin” when it comes to this topic. Also, stay tuned for more content, including an upcoming review for the movie “Dunkirk,” it has now been confirmed I’m going to see this movie next week in IMAX 70mm film, I’m super excited, look forward to my review. Also this weekend, I might go see “The Big Sick,” starring Kumail Nanjiani, stay tuned for that review as well if I get around to seeing that movie, and stay tuned for other content on this blog! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Inception (2010): Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Welcome, one and all to the final review in my series of Christopher Nolan films leading up to “Dunkirk.” Before we begin, let’s just get one thing out of the way. If you want to read the reviews for other Christopher Nolan films I’ve done, the links to them are down below so if you want to read those, go ahead. These reviews are for “Interstellar” and “Insomnia,” which is kinda funny. Every title of a movie I reviewed directed by Christopher Nolan, including this upcoming review, starts with “In.” Anyway, the links are down below.

“INTERSTELLAR” (2014) REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/07/04/interstellar-a-beautiful-intense-breathtaking-brilliant-sci-fi-marvel/

“INSOMNIA” (2002) REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/insomnia-2002-a-movie-thats-better-the-second-time-watching-it/

Today, we’re gonna be talking about a highly appreciated film of Christopher Nolan’s, that my friends, is “Inception.” Fun fact about Christopher Nolan if you never happened to be aware, a lot of his movies are considered to be instant classics, and if you look at the top 250 movies on IMDb, a number of Nolan’s movies make the list. These films include “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Memento,” “The Prestige,” “Interstellar,” and “The Dark Knight,” which is actually in the top 4 below “The Godfather Part II,” “The Godfather,” and “The Shawshank Redemption.” If you didn’t know, “Inception” is yet another one of those movies. What do I think of it? Find out in my review!

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“Inception” as uttered recently, is directed by Christopher Nolan and it stars Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, The Departed), Joseph Gordon-Levitt ((500) Days of Summer, G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra), Ellen Page (Juno, Hard Candy), Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins, The Last Samurai), Tom Hardy (Star Trek: Nemesis, Layer Cake), Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later…, Batman Begins), Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose, Nine), Tom Berenger (Training Day, October Road), and Michael Caine (The Prestige, The Cider House Rules).

This film is about a guy who can take the ideas of others, and he’s able to do that with dream-sharing technology. At one point, he’s told that he must implant in idea in the mind of a CEO. If you look this movie up on IMDb, that’s basically the gist of the film, but to me, this film is about a lot more than just that.

If you remember my review for “Interstellar,” I mention there that it’s a movie that has a high replay value. I don’t rewatch this movie as much, but I still enjoy it. In fact, the first time I watched it, probably around the end of 2014, I recall falling asleep. Granted it was late, but still, I fell asleep. Then I gave it another chance in 2016, I was blown away. Now it’s 2017, I’m still blown away. In my review for “Interstellar,” I uttered that it’s a movie that everyone should watch at least once. That’s also the case with this movie. Rewatching this movie, I was glued to the screen. In fact, one of the reasons I consider “Interstellar” to be so likable is how well it has aged, I know it just came out, but still. In fact, now, I like it better than I did when I first saw the movie. It took me a while to grasp some of the things the movie was going for, or at least fully appreciate them. Almost every single time I watch the movie, I either find something I haven’t seen before, or become engaged throughout. Having watched this movie less, I still wonder if there’s a missing link that is keeping me from appreciating it more, although that would be saying something because there’s already lots I appreciate about this flick. We’ll dive into more about that later by the way.

Before we get into anything else, look at this image. This is from one of the first shots in the entire movie, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character of Cobb is lying down on sand, waves are coming in, and you can see his hair is a bit wet. When I first saw this during my recent rewatch I instantly thought this, and I’m not saying this is a negative because it does sound like something you’d hear on “Mystery Science Theater,” I said, “Oh, Jack survived!” If you ever saw James Cameron’s “Titanic,” which also has Leonardo DiCaprio playing the lead male, you’d definitely get my point. Speaking of which, let’s talk about his character in general.

Cobb is essentially the main dude who steals the ideas of others through dreams, and the way I see his character at times in this movie is the same way I see a professor. Not to say he’s boring or anything, it works. This is shown very well during the beginning of the film, especially during the sequence when he’s talking to Ellen Page’s character of Ariadne at the cafe. At times Cobb reminded me of a scientist as well, and that comparison can be shown with a conversation he has after Ellen Page vanishes from a room. When I think of certain aspects of this character and put them on a list, it almost seems as if this character has no weight. Although that’s not true. There’s a part of this movie dedicated to his relationship to Marion Cotillard’s character of Mal, and particular aspects of said relationship made me care so much for Cobb as a character. By the way, I love Mal’s voice in this movie.

I don’t hear many conversations about this movie in real-life, although if there are conversations about this movie in real-life, I’m a frequent person who starts those conversations, and one thing I usually don’t talk about in this movie is the action. This movie has one of the coolest action sequences I’ve ever seen in my life! I won’t go into detail, but there’s this one sequence where some characters are in a hotel hallway, and it starts rotating, it’s almost like a video game!

Fun fact about this film, there is actually a character in this film who goes by the name of Yusuf. He’s played by Dileep Rao, whose face you may recognize if you’ve seen “Drag Me to Hell” or “Avatar.” But I’m gonna give a little backstory about me before watching this movie. Dileep Rao interests me as an actor because while my first encounter with this guy was in the movie “Avatar” when I watched it in the theater, his name latched onto me in a different way. As you may know, I’m a nerd, and part of that has to do with my love for game shows. One of my favorite game shows, and I believe it’s a choice you’d all agree upon, is “Jeopardy!.” With that being said, Rao’s first ever TV appearance was on “Jeopardy!.” Not only that, but he also won a game. He appeared on the program in 2002, and his episodes aired on June 7th and June 10th. His total winnings are $34,400 along with an extra $1,000 as a consolation prize for when he lost. I saw his games on YouTube and I recall the description of the video saying he was in “Avatar” and that helped me recall his name. Overall, he gives a decent performance in this movie. As the movie is coming towards its end, he plays a key role.

If you have seen a number of movies before, you may have judged it for its lack of logic as a criticism. Here though, it actually works. It’s explained throughout the movie, that dreams can create things that are impossible to create, and I can believe that. I can probably remember some of my dreams and they’re not all realistic to the highest extent. The lack of logic in this movie sometimes ends up partially contributing to the plot and makes the movie more enjoyable as a whole, it’s like a superhero movie except nobody really has any superpowers. In fact, I’m gonna give you a little story about my life. I live near a number of shopping centers, and one of them is the Burlington Mall in Burlington, MA, otherwise known as one of the filming locations for the 2009 comedy “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.” Now that mall had some changes over the years, but around the early 2000’s, probably around when I was four or something, I always had a dream that I was going into a mall that basically resembled the Burlington Mall, the floor pattern in the mall, at least on the first floor was different to what it looked like back in the day along with how it looks now. In fact, it almost looks similar to a floor pattern that used to be in Roosevelt Field in Garden City, NY, I never went to that mall, I just know about it. As far as the second story’s floor pattern goes, I can’t exactly tell you if it was similar to how it was before its renovation during the 2000s, but I’m not sure. In fact, if you have ever been inside the Burlington Mall, you might walk towards the center and notice a bank of two scenic elevators, not only did they look different in the dream, they looked different from each other. One of them I recall having a single slide door, as opposed to reality in which case both elevators have two-speed doors, and one of them was something I can’t even describe. Partially because it’s hard to remember to the most supreme detail, and it sounds totally impractical. It was like the size of a trampoline, and you could probably see inside the shaft and it was pretty big. Also, I recall multiple times, I went outside the mall in my dreams and there was a McDonald’s or something, I believe I was at the mall with somebody, probably with a stuffed duck I had and actually still have today, #nostalgia. The voice of the person by my side spoke to me saying the McDonald’s was gonna blow away, and the McDonald’s actually blowing away, or at least the roof, one or the other, is something I remember happening. That popping in my head must have been an effect from watching something on TV as a child which a house blows away. I don’t recall what it was, if you ever seen something on TV which a house blows away, can you please leave a comment as to what it is?

One thing I noticed in this movie that I didn’t notice any other time while watching it is something that shocked me to the core. There’s this one scene where Cobb is interacting with Cillian Murphy’s character of Robert Fischer, Robert’s told to give the first six digits that pop in his head. These digits are important to the overall plot of the film. The digits are 5, 2, 8, 4, 9, 1. This movie plays around with those numbers a lot. In fact there are a few Easter eggs I noticed with these numbers I didn’t even realize existed until my recent watch. Just watch the scenes in the hotel and see what I mean.

Like a good chunk of Christopher Nolan films, the score done here was composed by Hans Zimmer. There are so many great themes that are actually stuck in my mind after watching this movie and there wasn’t a bad moment when it came to the movie’s music. In fact, when it came to the finale, the music was almost getting me to the point to making me want to bite my nails. By the way, the finale was not only epic and raised the stakes, I gotta say when it comes to editing, this is one of the best edited finales I’ve ever seen in my life.

One of the biggest motifs I noticed throughout this movie had to do with trains. There’s at least one moment through each of the movie’s acts that a train appears. In fact, one of those moments made the movie suddenly become more of a masterpiece, by the way, I’m not gonna get into it, although if you know what I’m talking about, it has to do with a quote with these words in it: “You’re waiting for a train.” Also, a little sidenote, when I was watching this movie once, there’s one moment in the beginning when Cobb says “I don’t like trains.” I just spoke to my screen saying, “Well you aren’t my friend!”

I’ll be completely honest, when it comes to the movie “Inception,” it’s really hard to talk about everything. Because there are some details that I want to talk about that are in spoiler territory, and when it comes to the characters, I wouldn’t say they are weak, but I would also say when watching this movie, I got more out of Cobb’s character as opposed to anyone else and everyone else is just there for the ride. However, this movie does blow my mind and that’s enough for me to say, this movie in its own way, is a masterpiece.

In the end, I’d say “Inception” is definitely worth a watch. This is definitely some of Christopher Nolan’s finest work. There are definitely occasions which I will find myself watching this movie again and I gotta say on a sidenote, I love the effects in this movie. This movie feels totally original and I believe it may have contributed to maybe some ideas used in Marvel’s “Doctor Strange.” Yes, that movie’s based on a comic book that came out long before it, but still. I’m gonna give “Inception” a 10/10. I mentioned some of the characters feel like they’re put in the background, although I don’t really think it’s a terrible thing. The overall plot doesn’t entirely revolve around them, they are there experiencing an adventure much like Cobb is. This is a movie that I feel can’t be recreated, and if it ever is recreated, it can’t top what’s shown in this flick. Thanks for reading this review, I’m gonna have my review for “Dunkirk” out pretty soon. If I don’t go see it this weekend, hopefully I can see “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” which is based on a graphic novel series of a similar name. Also, I’m not sure when this will happen, but my mother and I have plans to go see Kumail Nanjiani’s new movie, “The Big Sick.” I’m not sure when I’ll see it, but we have agreed to go see it nevertheless. Stay tuned for more upcoming reviews, thanks for sticking with me throughout my series of Christopher Nolan reviews, and I’m super excited for “Dunkirk” right now! Also, remember, stay tuned for more review series if the opportunity comes up to make them. For example, in September, Tom Cruise has a new film coming out called “American Made,” so I might review some Tom Cruise films beforehand. We’ll see what happens! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

ANNOUNCEMENT: I’m Going to Terrificon at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT!

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Before we dive into the overall purpose of this post, I want to start off by giving a little free promotion. I did this in a separate post before, but this one is gonna be briefer than a full length post. You may know what I’m talking about, you may not. But this promotion is for Curtis Armstrong’s new memoir, “Revenge of the Nerd.”

“Revenge of the Nerd” is a memoir detailing Curtis Armstrong’s life from when he was a child, to his career in show business. If you don’t know who Curtis Armstrong is, he’s a pretty awesome guy, and you may have seen him in possibly some of your favorite TV shows and movies. These include: “New Girl,” “Supernatural,” “Moonlighting,” “King of the Nerds,” “American Dad!,” “Risky Business,” “Revenge of the Nerds,” “Better Off Dead,” “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” and the one EVERYBODY, and I MEAN EVERYBODY KNOWS AND LOVES, “The Clan of the Cave Bear.” I preordered the book back in November, it arrived at my house recently, and when it comes to my progress in the book, I made it to the triple digit pages, so I can verify this is a page turner. This memoir came out on July 11th, so pick it up at your local bookstore now, and find out more about the life of a guy who has worked with Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Zooey Deschanel, Jamie Foxx, and Seth MacFarlane.

Alright, now with that out of the way, let’s get into an announcement here. One of my favorite traditions is going to conventions. I haven’t gone to many in my life, I’ve gone to Rhode Island Comic Con twice and I went to PAX East once. However, that’s about to change. Because I’m going to Terrificon!

Terrificon is convention scheduled to take place from Friday, August 18, to Sunday, August 20, at a rather well known casino in Connecticut, Mohegan Sun. I’ve been here many times in my life (not to gamble), but I was always there for fun. This time is no exception to that, except that I now have a real reason to go and I am actually attending an event there for once and not just shopping and dining. For the record, I’m not a guest on the lineup. However I will be there. If I have any hardcore followers who want to say hello to me at the time I’m there, don’t hesitate.

This year at Terrificon they have a number of guests coming. Some of these people include: Burt Ward, who you may know as Robin from the 60’s “Batman” show, Lee Meriwether, who you may know as Catwoman from the 60’s “Batman” show, Dean Cain, who you may know as Superman from “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” and the Comic Book Men, AKA Mike Zapcic, Bryan Johnson, and Ming Chen. Speaking of Burt Ward and Lee Meriwether and the “Batman” TV show, this con is actually being dedicated to Adam West.

You may remember about a month ago, Adam West passed away. I didn’t watch much of his “Batman” show, but I was disappointed to hear this as a “Family Guy” fan. What makes this even more disappointing is that Adam West was going to various cons with Burt Ward, and this was going to be one of their stops. If you ask me, just about any con right now, could be dedicated to Adam West and make sense, but it makes double sense here. If you had Adam West on the guest list, and he can’t come due to his death, you may as well recognize the occurrence of his death. Not only that, but there will also be a special screening of the 1966 “Batman” movie. I actually never watched that before, and I’m rather curious to check it out, so that should be fun.

I know this is a shorter post than usual, which actually may be a relief to some people. However, I just wanted to get this out, to see if there actually is anyone interested in my work and see if they actually follow me well enough and would probably recognize me in person. I dunno, it’s almost like a PSA more than anything. Plus I feel I should say I’m going because I like bragging to others that I’m going to cons, and Terrificon actually follows me on Twitter, so I feel like I should pay them back. Also, just a reminder, as of right now, I have tickets for SATURDAY ONLY. I’ll probably give an update in the future if I get tickets for either Friday or Sunday, but for now, I just have tickets for Saturday. Thanks for reading this post and I want to know in the comments, if there are any conventions that you’ve gone to that you think I should check out, doesn’t have to be near me (I live in Wakefield, MA by the way), what are they? Also, stay tuned for next week because that’s when I’ll have my review for “Inception.” Stay tuned for that along with more great content! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Insomnia (2002): A Movie That’s Better The Second Time Watching It

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! If you have read my blog at all last week, it’s possible that you may have come across my review for “Interstellar.” If you never heard of the film before or don’t know when it came out, that’s not a new release, that’s actually from 2014. I reviewed it because the guy who directed that movie, Christopher Nolan, has a new film coming out on July 21st. It’s gonna be in theaters everywhere including special presentations in various film formats. Today, we’re gonna review yet another one of his movies. But before we get into that, I want to say if you actually want to read my review for “Interstellar,” click the link down below and that will take you to the review.

https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/07/04/interstellar-a-beautiful-intense-breathtaking-brilliant-sci-fi-marvel/

Today we’re gonna be talking about one of Christopher Nolan’s earliest films, “Insomnia.” This film came out in 2002 and considered by many to be one of Christopher Nolan’s worst movies. Although based on ratings I’ve gathered for this movie, that doesn’t mean much of anything because it’s still got a good rating of 7.2 on IMDb with most of the individual ratings coming in around the 7/10 range, which can suggest that the movie’s watchable. Without further ado, let’s start the review!

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“Insomnia” is as mentioned recently, is directed by Christopher Nolan, and stars Al Pacino (Scarface, The Godfather), Robin Williams (Jumanji, Aladdin), and Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry, The Gift). This film is a thriller and is about homicide detectives who are investigating the murder of a local teenager.

A couple things before we dive into this film, I have watched this movie once before, I thought it was alright but it definitely could have been better. But then I kinda remember doing two things at once (maybe, I don’t know). Although I thought I’d give it another shot because it is a Christopher Nolan movie and that is what I intend on reviewing for the next few weeks before “Dunkirk” hits theaters. Also, in case you didn’t know, this is actually a remake of a 1997 Norwegian film which has the same name as this one. I can’t really compare this movie to that one because I haven’t seen the other interpretation, but IMDb says it has an overall slightly higher score compared to the 2002 movie of 7.3/10 with most ratings coming in the 7/10 range, although it also suggests less people, at least those who use IMDb, saw the 1997 film and more saw the 2002 film. Now let’s dive into some characters, starting with Al Pacino.

In Christopher Nolan’s interpretation of “Insomnia,” I took a glance at the cast for this movie, and noticed the characters overall have different names, and I can understand that. This is based on Norwegian film and this is kind of being directed to other audiences. Al Pacino plays a character named Will Dormer. Al Pacino is playing another lead role who occasionally uses a gun. And that’s not the recurrence of an Al Pacino role. In fact, to even support what I said, you know how in some movies Al Pacino would do this over the top voice that sounds like Nicolas Cage if he knew which movies to actually be a part of? For example, in “Heat,” when he shouts “She got a GREAT ASS!” Yep, he does it here. Here if it were some other actor, it probably would have taken me out of the movie, but Al Pacino made it work because it’s almost like his trademark. Also, the way his character was written was rather investing throughout the film, and once it concludes, it totally works.

Next up, we’re gonna talk about Robin Williams in this movie, who gives a good performance as his character, Walter Finch. One minor complaint I have when it comes to this movie is something I noticed on the cover of my Blu-Ray I own for it, along with the poster. Robin Williams’s name is on it. And yeah, I get it, Robin Williams is a pretty big name, but he’s not really in the movie at all until the runtime approaches the second half. If Williams’s name was gonna be on the poster, I’d personally put it on the end, where Hilary Swank’s name is. After all, Hilary Swank is pretty much in the movie from beginning to end, much like Al Pacino. It reminds me of when I watched “You Can’t Have It” back in March. Rob Gronkowski, the tight end of the New England Patriots, was supposed to be in the movie, he was even in the center of one of the posters which contained a lot of characters, but he doesn’t even show up until like the final seven minutes. It just felt unnecessary and ruined a movie that while technically incompetent, still had an interesting story and a lot of likable characters. Although despite what I said Williams’s character wasn’t all that bad. When I was watching this movie for the first time almost two months ago, Walter Finch may have been my favorite character after finishing the movie. Speaking of which, let’s dive into a little more depth.

I want to talk about something I saw in the film and connect it to reality. In the movie, the murdered teen girl had a personal connection with Robin Williams’s character. Now Williams is playing a writer, he makes books. He mentions at one point, he was at a signing which the girl attended, they eventually talked, and they met a few more times after the signing. This scene actually got me thinking and made me ask a few questions to myself. Now, if you didn’t already know, one of my personal biggest idols is Curtis Armstrong, who you may know from content including “Revenge of the Nerds” and “Supernatural.” I met the guy in person before, he’s a fun dude, and personally, if I could hang around with him more, I would. After all, we have some stuff in common when it comes to our personalities. In fact, I’m actually meeting him again in just one day after this is posted. At one point, Robin Williams reveals that the girl showed him her writing when she became comfortable with that idea. For the record, she was interested in writing and a big focal point for her as a writer was poetry. He’s soon asked how the poetry was as a whole, and he replies to the person asking, saying it wasn’t good. Not long after he says the girl never knew his true thoughts about it, and he doesn’t know why he would spit something like that out of his mouth. Now I’m an aspiring screenwriter, I also enjoy writing on this blog, and I’ve been told these reviews, when it comes to my overall writing ability, have proven to be some decent material. If I wanted someone to judge me as a reviewer or as a screenwriter, I would want them to be as honest with me as possible. I would want to know if I’m the skyrocketing overlord of my craft or if I’m the pathetic ass of my craft. Although when it comes to this movie, I could understand where Walter Finch, the character played by Robin Williams, was coming from. Let’s say if I were a celebrity and I were at a convention as a special guest signing autographs and doing photo ops, I would love to meet my fans, I would love to see the stuff that they put all of their time and effort into. However, one thing I don’t want to do to my fans, is let them down. If I had a fan that came up to me at a convention, and they showed me a short review or something like that, I would love it if they’d ask for constructive criticism. I mean, heck, you guys know Doug Walker? The Nostalgia Critic? He’s at conventions all the time! If I showed him a review of mine, I’d want him to respond back to me with full honesty. I want him to tell me if it sucks, I want him to tell me if it’s awesome, I want him to tell me if it’s OK. A big thing I wondered about this movie, is what this girl was like as a person. Was she too shy to ask for constructive criticism? Did she ask for constructive criticism and never receive the truth? I’m actually curious about this. In fact, I’m even aware of my own mistakes without anyone else pointing them out. I make numerous errors on here. Here are some actual examples you may or may not have noticed from reading this blog.

Top 10 WORST Movies of 2016
“How does movie exist?!”
CORRECTION: How does this movie exist?!

“Transformers: The Last Knight” Review
(ON THE TOPIC OF CHARACTERS BREAKING THE FOURTH WALL BY PLAYING MUSIC IN SOME WAY) “I don’t recall seeing that type of humor anywhere. The closest I can say that has come to this, is during one scene from a “Family Guy” episode called “Baby, You Knock Me Out,””
CORRECTION: More than one “Family Guy” episode I witnessed was like this, “Blue Harvest” is another example.

“The Fate of the Furious” Review
“As far as other news goes, there is a TV movie coming out on HBO this Sunday, that movie is called “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” it’s based on a book by Rebecca Skloot, and focuses on the true story on the discovery of and research dedicated towards the HeLa cell, which changed cancer research forever. I MIGHT review it, I might not, I don’t even know if I’ll even see it, but if I do see it, there may be a possibility of an upcoming review concerning the film.”
CORRECTION: The movie premiered on a Saturday (By the way, I did see it, never reviewed it)

And yes, I know WordPress allows you to edit these things, at the moment I have no intentions to, because I feel I should reveal that I, am human, and I’m fallible.

Now let’s talk about Hilary Swank. She plays a character named Ellie Burr. I don’t have many complaints with this character. Some things that stood out about her is her outgoing presence and her name. And while I do think she may be the weakest of the three big names on the poster, I did enjoy her character in the movie. Although she did remind me of Optimus Prime from “Transformers,” a little bit. Weird comparison, I know. But believe me, you know how I mentioned her name stands out to me? She said her name multiple times during the movie, I mean it was necessary, but still, before she said it on multiple occasions, it almost felt like I just heard it not too long ago. You could almost dub in Optimus Prime’s voice in multiple moments of the movie and you will either hear something like “Optimus Prime,” or “My name is Optimus Prime,” or “I am Optimus Prime.” In fact, despite remembering how I technically enjoyed Hilary Swank’s character in the movie, moments containing her throughout are starting to fade from my memory.

Another minor complaint I have about this movie is the score, which is done by David Julyan, who also composed music for other Christopher Nolan flicks including “Following,” “Memento,” and “The Prestige.” I’m rather disappointed to say this because this is a Christopher Nolan movie and I usually like the scores I hear in them. At times in this movie, the score totally works and it matches perfectly with a scene, especially at the very end. But at other times, it feels like a scene should have no music whatsoever and yet there is music playing. Also, at times, the music played in certain scenes that are paced faster than others don’t really give any fast paced vibes and feel more like music that belongs in a particular segment of “Manchester by the Sea” or something.

I’ll say this and this isn’t really a spoiler or anything, but at one moment in the film, Al Pacino shoots his partner. It was kind of intense when I saw that and it felt extremely realistic given the circumstances the characters were going through. Seeing Al Pacino try to deal with this in the aftermath was rather compelling and added a bit to the overall story in terms of benefits. This leads to something else in the film that almost sounded illogical at first, but from the purpose of storytelling, it made the overall story a little more compelling than it already was.

If I have any other compliments to give towards the film, I’d say that the final shootout was awesome. I won’t go into detail, but this is one of the moments where the music (or lack of music) worked. Seeing the two sides going against each other in battle was investing and it had me glued to the screen. It was a very short fight, but it was also sweet. Some of the cinematography in this movie was pretty cool too, especially during the opening. From what I can gather, none of this film was done on a green screen, and I could definitely tell, and films like these are why I love when films are shot on location. Granted, I do enjoy all of the popcorn superhero films, but when a director wants to shoot a movie in the real world, only good things in my mind would come as a result.

In the end, “Insomnia” is definitely not Christopher Nolan’s best work, but that doesn’t mean the movie’s bad. There’s a lot to like about it. The cinematography, the characters, the performances, the editing, the dialogue. Although the film has numerous flaws, and some of them in my view, happen to be character quirks, but despite those quirks and flaws, I had a good time watching this movie. Watching this movie the second time was definitely more enjoyable than it was the first time. I’m gonna give “Insomnia” a very high 7/10. I was almost gonna give this an 8, but given time to marinate, this isn’t a movie I’d watch over and over again. Sure, it was an enjoyable ride, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t feel like something I’d be putting on in my Blu-Ray player in a week from now. Thanks for reading this review. I’m not sure if I’m gonna be seeing any movies this upcoming weekend, after all, I am going away to a family reunion. However there is a theater nearby in the town I’m staying in for a few nights, and who knows, it’s possible I could catch a movie there if there’s nothing else to do. Like, if it’s a rainy day or something.

Also, next week, I will be doing my final review in my Christopher Nolan series leading up to “Dunkirk.” That review is going to be for the 2010 flick, “Inception,” the film about a thief who is experienced in stealing ideas from others in dreams. Stay tuned for that along with more reviews! Scene Before is your click to the flicks, and before I end this post, here’s a funny line from “Insomnia.”

What has two thumbs and likes blowjobs? (POINTS TO HIMSELF WITH BOTH THUMBS) This guy! -Fred Duggar

Revenge of the Nerd: A PROMOTION (Plus a Personal Story)

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Today I little wanted to do something for someone I admire. If you remember months back on this blog, I did a post on the TV show, “King of the Nerds,” a reality competition on TBS that aired from 2013-2015. I honestly want it on the air longer, but that’s not something I want to talk about right now. One of the hosts of that show is Curtis Armstrong.

Even you haven’t seen the show “King of the Nerds,” you may be familiar with this name. If you don’t know the name, there’s a chance you may know the face. Aside from “King of the Nerds,” you may have seen or heard Armstrong in “New Girl,” “Supernatural,” “Ray,” “Risky Business,” “Revenge of the Nerds,” “Moonlighting,” “Dan Vs.,” and “American Dad!.” In real life, Armstrong, seemingly has numerous qualities of a nerd. Although I am looking at his IMDb and it kind of says otherwise, “I’m not an improv guy. I’m not a nerd, I play one on television.” He’s also revealed to be a bibliophile, Beatles fanatic, and Sherlock lover. I also consider Armstrong to be a fine role model and one of my all time biggest idols.

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I’ve also met him in person at Rhode Island Comic Con in 2015. The moment I met him and got a picture with him is currently my profile pic on WordPress along with other social media including my Twitter and Google accounts. I mean, why not? It’s a picture I personally revere. Not to mention, I’m wearing my favorite t-shirt, a “King of the Nerds” t-shirt I won in a contest which shows the hosts, Curtis Armstrong and Robert Carradine, and it shows them in a bunch of different colors and facial expressions. You may also notice I have sunglasses as well, those also have a “King of the Nerds” logo. When I met Curtis I didn’t show that part to him, it could’ve slipped out of my mouth, but who knows? The same day, I actually got an autograph from him. Then I came back the following day to tell him he was the best part of the con. I wasn’t lying when I said that. Curtis was nice, we talked together more than I did with other guests, not to mention when I was talking to Curtis, it felt like I was talking with an actual person. I’m not saying the other guests weren’t friendly or nice. It’s just when I talked to Curtis, it almost felt like he didn’t want me to leave. Did he want me leave? Probably, there were other people waiting in line, and that always is a justifiable reason to leave. But I was having fun with him and I would imagine he was having some sort of fun with me. I felt that when we talked on the last day of the con, when we left, it almost felt as if I was in a movie. Curtis said he’ll see me “next time.” If that were a movie, it might as well be called “Jack and Curtis,” it would be less than 4 minutes long and probably wouldn’t make it to theaters, although it would definitely have more substance than the new “Transformers.”

I may be rambling here, but I feel it’s worth it, because if you’re new to this blog, or if you just want to hear a personal story of mine, this is one I enjoy telling, and it makes sense for what I’m doing. Because Curtis Armstrong has a new book coming out in a few days. This book is going to be called “Revenge of the Nerd” and it features the subtitle, “Or… The Singular Adventures of the Man Who Would Be Booger.” Why am I doing this? With everything Curtis does for me, I feel the need to do things for him, and this is one of those things.

“Revenge of the Nerd” is an autobiography Curtis has begun creating earlier this decade. This is going to contain some information on his early years in Detroit, a city which actually coined the term “nerd.” There’s also gonna be a focus directed towards his acting career, including some things behind the scenes of some of Curtis’s various projects.

I have not read this book yet, nor has many other people, so I can’t really give my own thoughts on it, it’s actually yet to come out. The official release date for this book is next Tuesday, July 11. This seems like a short promotion, and yeah, I did basically say just about everything worth saying about the book itself, however I’m not done.

Curtis has been going around various places promoting his book, in fact, when the book releases, there are more promotions coming up. I actually have a list right here. Right now, Curtis is actually at Indy Pop Con, in Indianapolis, but once that’s over, plenty of more promotions are on the rise.

NEW YORK, NY: Barnes & Noble Tribecca (July 11, release date of the book)

BOSTON, MA: Brookline Booksmith (July 12)

PORTLAND, OR: Powell’s Books (July 13)

PASADENA, CA: Vroman’s Books (July 18)

CHICAGO, IL: Chicago Flashback Weekend (August 4-6)

TULSA, OK: Circle Cinema *INCLUDES REVENGE OF THE NERDS SCREENING* (August 26)

BURBANK, CA: Monsterpalooza (September 15-17)

HUNT VALLEY, MD: Monster Mania (September 29-October 1)

PROVIDENCE, RI: Rhode Island Comic Con *INCLUDES REVENGE OF THE NERDS CAST REUNION* (November 10-12)

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: 80’s in the Sand (November 13-18)

You know how I mentioned, looking back, I felt like I was in a movie when saying goodbye to Curtis? Well, my plans which are set for this Wednesday may as well be considered the sequel. In case you guys wanted to know, I’m going to at least one of these promotions. I’m gonna be going to the one in Boston on July 12, and it’s quite possible I’ll be at Rhode Island Comic Con from November 10-12. I mean, I went the past two years, so why wouldn’t I be there? If you didn’t know, Armstrong is famous for playing Booger on “Revenge of the Nerds,” and he often finds people who recognize him as Booger, he’s not offended at all, he’s actually delighted by it. So viewers, I want to know in the comments, out of curiosity, do people ever call you nicknames? This can also include ones people don’t call you much anymore. Also, I REALLY want to know, have you ever had a nickname that had some sort of relation to something disgusting? For me, I don’t recall receiving any disgusting nicknames throughout my life, but I want to know if you’re any different. I’ve received some nicknames throughout my life including J-Man, Dr. J, Jackson 5, and Dr. Ees. Also, guys, I got another Christopher Nolan movie review coming up pretty soon. Stay tuned for that. As far as new theater releases go, I’m not sure which movie I’ll see next, maybe “War for the Planet of the Apes” even though I haven’t seen many of the other movies. Only time will tell. Stay tuned for more great content! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

TAKASHI: Excuse please, but why do they call you “booger?”

BOOGER: *Picks his nose* I don’t know.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017): The Spidey Reboots Continue

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“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is directed by Jon Watts and it has a cast including Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Laura Harrier, and Zendaya. This film is the sixth standalone “Spider-Man” film to hit the big screen. You may have seen the interpretation of this web slinger once before in “Captain America: Civil War,” but ultimately, this is Spidey’s own movie, hence the name “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” The overall plot of this film involves Spidey trying to balance his life in school, while at the same time, having to take down the Vulture. Oh yeah, and Iron Man’s there too.

Going into this movie, I was pretty excited. I’m not much of a comic book junkie, but I do enjoy Spider-Man as a character, and pretty much every aspect of him resonates with me as a person. He’s a nerd, he’s smart, he’s trying to just get his life together, and he’s kind of an outcast when it comes to society despite having a number of friends. Although at the same time, I was worried, because the trailers did reveal a little more than I had hoped they would, and this movie was being advertised almost as an “Iron Man” film. I mean, you could argue that “Captain America: Civil War” qualified as an “Iron Man” film but to me, it actually worked there because part of the title is Civil War, signifying that there is a war among the Marvel heroes, and it still focused a bit on the story of Captain America and what he’s got going on during various portions of this film. If you watch the trailers for this film, you might as well think it should be called “Spider-Man: Homecoming (Featuring: Iron Man).” However, this movie isn’t really like that. Sure, Iron Man is in some of it, but it’s not like he’s taking up a good portion of the movie’s runtime.

Let’s talk about Peter Parker in this movie, now if you have watched all the other big screen “Spider-Man” flicks, you may be aware that in at least a portion of each series these flicks are part of, Peter’s a teenager in high school. That’s no different here in this movie. Parker establishes at one point in the movie that he’s 15 years old. Why do I mention this? Well, one thing people point out about the other flicks, is that Parker is being played by someone pretending to be a teenager, but they’re really in their twenties. For the record, Tom Holland, the guy playing this interpretation of Spidey, is actually 21 right now. I would imagined he would have been 19 and 20 throughout the process of filming this movie. After all he was 19 when “Captain America: Civil War” came out. So while it is not exactly age accurate, it is closer to being age accurate than the past Spider-Men we’ve received. Now, I gotta say, I have nothing really terrible to say about Tom Holland as Spider-Man, at times, when he’s in the suit, he reminded me of Andrew Garfield’s interpretation of Spider-Man. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, I liked Garfield’s interpretation. It was like the comics, he had all sorts of technology, he had some quips, which we’re gonna get to. Speaking of Andrew Garfield, I mentioned I had some cons with his interpretation as Peter Parker. I can’t say the same for Tom Holland. It was never awkward, it was fluid, and it felt like I was watching an actual nerd at times. Some of this is shown through his various complications he’s received through his personal life. Speaking of his personal life, let’s talk about one of Peter’s friends.

One character in this movie goes by the name of Ned Leeds, he was played by Jacob Batalon, and there was a point in this movie where I wanted some sort of technology that existed which could allow me to jump into a movie’s universe. I could go into this one, find Ned, and give him the finger! I mean, at times, I liked his character, he was a nerd like me, but there were times in this movie where it almost sounded like he was jacked up on caffeine and he was just, I don’t know how to describe him. Simply put, he was annoying. He eventually finds out Peter is Spider-Man, not a spoiler, it was shown in the advertising, and after that, he starts asking all of these questions, and it’s just too much to handle.

Let’s talk about Peter’s love interest in the movie. In Raimi’s trilogy, the love interest was Mary Jane Watson, played by Kirsten Dunst. In Marc Webb’s films, the love interest was Gwen Stacy, played by Emma Stone. In this universe, the love interest is Liz Allan, played by Laura Herrier. If you remember before this movie came out, rumors were going around saying the love interest in this movie was going to be Mary Jane, played by Zendeya (Shake It Up, K.C Undercover). However, none of that’s true. Sure, Zendeya’s in the movie, but she is neither the love interest, nor is she Mary Jane. Zendeya actually plays a character named Michelle, although at one point she does say people call her “MJ.” Anyway, back to Liz. When it comes to all of the love interests in every “Spider-Man” series we’ve gotten so far, I must say the relationship between her and Peter may be the most authentic. Is it my favorite? I don’t know, but in terms of coming close to a real relationship, this is something Peter and Liz have going for each other.

Now let’s get to where Marvel usually leaves a bit to be desired, the villain. In this movie, the villain is the Vulture. He’s played by Michael Keaton which I actually find rather interesting considering how he once played Batman. He’s one of the better villains I’ve seen Marvel put out recently. He’s not the best Spider-Man villain I’ve seen in all of cinema, that’s a close call between Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock and Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin. His relationship with Peter in this movie is interesting, he was almost terrifying at times, and his motivation was pretty clear.

Going into this film, I knew about this, but Happy Hogan (left), played by Jon Faverau, is also in here. What I didn’t expect is how much of a crucial role he’d have in the film as a whole. I’m not against it or anything, I’m just saying. Overall, I had no major problems with him, although he pretty much did the same actions as Tony Stark throughout the movie so there’s not too much separating the two characters in that sort of aspect. The two were basically mentors to Peter. The relationship between Peter and Tony was a bit more prominent, but there was a relationship between Peter and Happy too.

I want to talk about the movie’s screenplay and how it was presented. Multiple people wrote this movie, and while I do think they did a fine job, it could have been better. I’ll just put it this way. In “Captain America: Civil War,” Spider-Man, at least in my opinion, was the best part of the movie. Why? Pretty much every single line of dialogue uttered by him, mainly during the big throwdown at the airport, was comedy gold. Almost every line from Spidey was a quip, and they were all hysterical! Sure, you get some chuckle-worthy quips here, but nowhere near as good as “Captain America: Civil War.” And this kind of sucks because you have an entire movie dedicated to Spidey, as opposed to a movie that has him for about ten or so minutes. Now, if you read my reviews, you may be thinking I’m an idiot, because I happen to revere Tobey Maguire’s Spidey and I mentioned before that he doesn’t give too many quips and it works for him. Here’s the thing, it was established in “Captain America: Civil War” with this Spider-Man that he’s a s*it-talker. These are two different universes.

On the topic of humor, there was this one line given in the movie. A bunch of people are going on a bus, I honestly can’t recall who said this, it could’ve been Peter, I don’t know. But they’re all headed to Washington DC for Nationals, and one person talks about protesting and that’s a reason why they’re on this bus to DC, this is followed by a reply from someone else saying that protesting is patriotic. When I heard that, I couldn’t help but think about the following ideas. 1: This was one of the later days of shooting and Trump was in office. 2: The writers pretty much predicted Donald Trump would win and they had the balls to write this. 3: This may be anti-Trump propaganda. 4: This could have been a reshoot just to get that line in because Trump was in office and the people behind this movie wanted to insert a joke per se. I don’t know, but this almost sounds like the movie just wanted to bash against Donald Trump. I’m not against bashing Donald Trump, but that line was cringe-worthy and just all around forced.

Another problem I have with this movie involves Spider-Man’s suit. Tony Stark has a form of control over it, which yeah, it’s almost in the same way you operate a kid’s bike. That’s fine and all, but the problem with that is, at one point, Peter turns it off. Yes, that’s a spoiler, but I assure you, it very likely won’t affect much of your experience watching this movie. The thing I consider to be wrong with this is how the suit operates when turned off. There’s this artificial intelligence thingy inside the suit essentially, and it’s pretty much the Spider-Man equivalent to JARVIS. The mode Peter turns off is referred to as Training Wheels. Peter and Tony never get into an argument over this, but that’s not worth talking about. What I do feel like talking about is the fact that Spider-Man has an assistant in his suit, it’s basically helping him. It’s giving him advice on all sorts of tactics and stuff like that. If you have a mode called Training Wheels, wouldn’t that have the voice? Spider-Man has to figure out everything on his own without that voice. I mean, you could argue that the mode is called training wheels because Spider-Man doesn’t have access to all of the advanced s*it. But even with that, how does this resolve the artificial intelligence problem? Let’s look at it this way, there’s a sequence in “Iron Man 3” where a bunch of people are falling out of a plane and Iron Man has to save them. He has JARVIS who’s actually able to assist him. He asks JARVIS how many people are in the air, JARVIS replies saying a number somewhere in the teens, I believe it was thirteen. Tony then asks how many people he could carry, JARVIS responds telling him he can only carry four people. Tony is able to use his artificial intelligence to his own benefit and Spider-Man can’t, because, it’s too advanced for him. That’s like telling a student that he or she can’t refer to a textbook when they’re doing their homework.

Speaking of artifical intelligence problems, there’s more. At one point in the movie, Spidey actually tells her about Liz, and how he feels about her. Now, I won’t get super-spoilery, it might be minor-spoilery, but it’s not gonna affect much of your experience. Peter Parker actually TELLS her about Liz, but at no point does it reveal Peter SHOWING pictures of Liz or anything like that. At one point later in the movie, I won’t say when, the AI says that Spider-Man should kiss her. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT SHE LOOKS LIKE! WHY ARE YOU SAYING ALL OF THIS CRAP?!

One thing I have a very minor problem with is the movie’s title. It’s called “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and based on the content presented in the movie, it’s called that for a reason. During the movie, there’s this homecoming dance, but that barely has anything to do with the movie. If you want a better title, I’d go with “Spectacular Spider-Man,” “Spider-Man: The Inspired Hero,” “The Web Slinging Spider-Man,” “Spider-Man: Rise of the Vulture,” or “Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.” As far as other complaints go, I was going to say there was one point which one of Iron Man’s suits come in and rescues Peter from an incident, and I began to question how it even knew where Peter was, but another part of me says that Tony might be tracking Peter and it happens to be something movie isn’t telling me, so I’m wondering if that complaint will either stand or fall.

In the end, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is somewhat fun, but overall, it could have been a much better “Spider-Man” experience. There were some things I liked in the movie, and quite a few things I didn’t like in the movie. I haven’t even talked about Aunt May, I’ll say she was average. Certainly better than the last Aunt May we had. Considering how “Spider-Man” was established in “Captain America: Civil War,” this film was rather disappointing. By the way, if you don’t know my thoughts on “Spider-Man 3,” I believe it gets too much hate, and honestly, when compared to “Spider-Man 3,” I’d actually rather watch that instead of “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Sorry guys, this is just how I feel. I’m gonna give “Spider-Man: Homecoming” a rather low 7/10. This might drop to a 6 sometime in the future, I’m honestly not sure. This film had a lot of good things about it. The high school scenes felt rather authentic, the villain was great by Marvel standards, I liked Tom Holland, but he was given better dialogue in “Captain America: Civil War.” Oh yeah, and Ned is just a chatterbox that I wanted to punch in the face. I may be judging this film rather harshly, but the thing is, this is Marvel Studios, who are usually known for making good movies, nine of them being at least 8/10 in my book, so this ultimately somewhat let me down. Sure, Sony was involved, but Marvel Studios collaborated so I feel something like this is worth mentioning.

Thanks for reading this review, Christopher Nolan’s newest movie, “Dunkirk,” comes out in two weeks, so right now I’m doing a series of reviews dedicated to past Christopher Nolan films, this week I reviewed “Interstellar,” I haven’t made a final decision on what my next review should be, but you’ll see what I decided on when I finish the review. Although if you do want to check out my review for “Interstellar,” you’ll either see an icon that can take you to the review, or that’ll be the post below this one. Also, since this is a review for “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” I’ll have links down below to all of my other “Spider-Man” reviews. Check those out if you’re interested, I had fun making them, and I hope you have as much fun reading them. Stay tuned for more reviews! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“SPIDER-MAN” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/03/18/spider-man-your-friendly-neighborhood-2002-movie/

“SPIDER-MAN 2” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/spider-man-2-best-superhero-movie-to-date-spoilers-for-this-movie-spider-man-1/

“SPIDER-MAN 3” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/05/11/spider-man-3-2007-is-it-really-as-bad-as-everyone-says/

“THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/06/06/the-amazing-spider-man-2012-is-it-really-so-amazing-spoilers/

“THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/07/02/the-amazing-spider-man-2-2014-a-crappier-version-of-spider-man-3-spoilers/