The Kid Who Would Be King (2019): Knights of the Kiddie Table

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“The Kid Who Would Be King” is directed by Joe Cornish (Attack the Block, The Adam & Joe Show) and stars… some kids you may have never heard of. Patrick Stewart’s here though. Anyway, in all seriousness, this movie stars Louis Ashborne Serkis (Alice Through the Looking Glass, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle), Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation, The Girl on the Train), Tom Taylor (The Dark Tower, Legends), and as mentioned, Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation, American Dad!). This film revolves around a young boy named Alex, who eventually finds Excalibur, the sword of King Arthur. Alex eventually comes to a realization that he must use this sword to stop the enchantress Morgana from destroying the world.

I didn’t see “The Kid Who Would Be King” when it came out in theaters. Partially because on its opening weekend, I wanted to go see “Serenity” instead, which was kind of a mistake. I remember seeing the trailer not too long before the film came out and it looked like a fun adventure film for a family demographic. I can dig a solid adventure flick. But unfortunately, due to life, college, and other movies getting in the way, I missed out on this film during it’s theatrical run. And apparently a lot of other people did too. This movie is a box office bomb and made over $30 million, which is fine for an R-rated, small-budget horror film. But having seen “The Kid Who Would Be King,” there are a few effects-heavy sequences that give that traditional fantasy film vibe. According to IMDb, the film’s production budget is estimated to be $60 million. I just bought this movie on 4K recently and I decided to watch it on Thursday night. As I was watching the movie, I didn’t know how to feel. In fact, now that the movie is no longer playing on my screen, there is a massive part of me that still doesn’t know how to feel. But for the sake of not spoiling anything, I cannot go into everything that happened.

This movie is not exactly what I would call a guilty pleasure. Who knows? Maybe it will become one overtime depending on how much attention it picks up in terms of our cultural trends. Maybe the “The Simpsons” could make an episode based on it that would make people go back and watch the movie. I don’t know, I can’t tell the future. But this movie has a collection of decent sequences and scenes, some interesting characters, and cool ideas (some of which MIGHT be better remaining on paper), but it occasionally gets bogged down by one or two heavy plot points. In fact, without spoiling anything, there’s something that really ticked me off about the mother, and it honestly made her one of my most hated characters, probably in movie history. Don’t get me wrong, she’s cast pretty well, and she definitely fits the role’s requirements, but the way she’s written was pretty anger-inducing. Part of me wonders if that’s the intention, but regardless of whether this intentional or not, I still got a bit irritated, which is not good. Without giving away my final verdict just yet, but there were a couple of fluctuations of said verdict. It’s kind of like ordering the same meal at a fast food restaurant repeatedly. Chances are you are not going to be completely satisfied as you may have been at a certain time because it doesn’t always come out the same way.

But one of the biggest perks I can give towards this film may as well go towards the acting, because if one were to pitch to me an idea of a movie with a ton of kids in the cast, I’d probably hesitate on getting it greenlit because there’s that stereotype of child actors being difficult to work with. So I not only have to give props to the kid cast but also the work that director Joe Cornish had to take on. There were barely any moments that any of these child actors felt out of characters except for one. There is one kid who goes by the name of Lance (Tom Taylor) who starts out the movie as a bully, then he befriends the main character, which felt a tad rushed for him, but that’s not why he felt out of character for me. That befriending moment was sort of convenient but it was not my main problem. My main problem kind of occurs during the midway point of the movie.

One of my minor problems in this movie as well has to do with chemistry. The chemistry manages to improve by a tad as soon as the movie comes to a close. But the main problem with the chemistry between our four leads manages to carry through from the first act and extends for a good portion of the movie. The characters almost feel like they’re randomly placed together. Granted, one advantage is that the four leads originally were in duos, and these duos cross over. So these characters, as duos, have chemistry, which to me, works. And this was all previously established before the movie’s main course began.

Another minor problem of mine is that this reminded me a lot of another movie that was trying to go for a similar demographic last year, specifically “A Wrinkle In Time.” I say so because you see the main character at his school, trying to prevent something happening because to him, it’s what he thinks is right. And much like that movie, we eventually meet a weird being that can’t fit into normal, 21st century society. I will say however, unlike the mediocre combination of the odd trio in “A Wrinkle In Time,” this film did a better job with its solo being.

That weird being by the way is Merlin himself, who goes by two identities. Although, without diving into much detail, Merlin may have disguised himself well from the outside, but his fake name, which is exposed during the movie was ridiculous. Why? Because it sounds almost exactly the same as his original name. It would be like if I were trying make a fake ID or something and change my name to have my last name come before my first name! I might as well settle for some fake mustache I can buy at Walmart or something. I mean, I don’t know about Medieval Times as much as other people. However, I would probably assume that Merlin wasn’t the first definition people thought of that would relate to the word “idiot.” Then again, that is his only trace of idiocy throughout the entire film, so he could definitely be worse as a character. Plus another odd thing about this Merlin is that while he is often stereotyped as an old man (which is where Patrick Stewart comes in), he is represented as a young man who looks like he often jams out to rock music (which is where Angus Imrie comes in). The reason? He mentions he can age backwards. I have a question. Can he turn into a baby? I honestly don’t want to see him turn into a baby, but that is a question I continue to have.

As for how this movie concludes, I will admit that this film feels like it goes on for a bit too long. It could have ended at a certain point, but it almost feels like because this movie “needed some big climax,” it just had to continue. Granted, the climax was pretty cool at times, but it almost feels forced or tacked on. And it does partially involve a couple major plot points exposed throughout the film, but I didn’t care about some of those plot points so why should I fully care that we’re getting a flashy climax? In fact, without it, the movie probably could have made its budget back. They would have spent less on it and theaters could have added more showtimes. Although at the same time the movie could end up feeling rushed, so who knows?

In the end, I almost feel confused on my ultimate thoughts towards “The Kid Who Would Be King.” It’s not horrible, yet I am pointing out a lot of flaws. It’s not great, but I am willing to say there are many positives brought to the table. There were even a couple of shots I really liked in this movie. There’s a landscape shot that shows our main characters walking through a field, it’s eye candy on my 4K TV if you ask me. There are a few creative ideas brought to the table, especially with a movie like this that kind of has a predictable formula. But there are some parts of the movie that truly got me angry. Even with that, it’s met with fun action, a likable duo between the main character of Alex and Bedders. Although if I were to have kids one day and sit them down for a family movie night, this would not be my first choice. I’m going to give “The Kid Who Would Be King” a 6/10. Honestly, this movie could also be a 5/10, but I’m not going to give it that. Because this film still manages to be fun while making me slightly irritated. That’s just me. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’m going to have my thoughts on “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” Be sure to look forward to that review very soon. But I will point out something to you all. You may or may not know this, this is my 299th standing post. My next entry to Scene Before is going to be a special 300th post giving you guys an update on my Blu-ray collection! I’ll posting that as soon as possible so look forward to it! Be sure to follow Scene Before with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “The Kid Who Would Be King?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite movie involving Medieval Times? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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What We Know So Far About Christopher Nolan’s TENET (2020)

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! As you may know, I am massive fan of Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Memento). I have seen almost every single one of his films. And if you have been following the news this year, you’d know that Nolan is coming out with a new movie called “Tenet.” Prior to the reveal of the title, this was first leaked as an “event” film. I had no idea what this would entail, and I figured by event, it would be a follow-up to one of Nolan’s recent films such as “Inception” or “Interstellar.” Because let’s face it, whether you like those films or not, they felt like events. And what would be more “event-like” than a follow-up to a Nolan film that received overwhelmingly positive reception and good box office returns? Especially “Inception,” because that movie came out in 2010. What if we got a sequel in 2020? It would be marketed as “the one movie we get every ten years.” And if that’s successful, we’d get another “Inception” in 2030. But that’s not the case, and I’m also not disappointed because originality is ALWAYS something I’m asking for in Hollywood, so I’m proud to see Christopher Nolan deliver it. Without further ado, let’s dive into some things that could easily be gathered about Christopher Nolan’s upcoming movie, “Tenet.”

THE FILM WILL BE IN THE ACTION GENRE
We now know that Nolan’s new movie is an original project. The film is being described as a “massive, innovative, action blockbuster.” Recent news has pointed out a more detailed description of what this film would entail, specifically that it is “an action epic evolving from the world of international espionage.” I personally consider action to be one of my favorite genres, in fact, action is also a genre that Nolan has nailed thus far. After all, he helmed the entire “Dark Knight” trilogy and “Inception.” Both movies have bits and pieces of memorable action scenes and I have a feeling that Nolan can use his prior knowledge and put it into this movie.

THE CAST
John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman, Ballers)
Robert Pattinson (Twilight, Good Time)
Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, The Cloverfield Paradox)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Godzilla, Kick-Ass)
Kenneth Branagh (Dunkirk, Much Ado About Nothing)
Clémence Poésy (Last Love, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1)
Dimple Kapadia (Bobby, Luck by Chance)
Michael Caine (Batman Begins, Interstellar)

Let me just say, of course Michael Caine was gonna be in this. I mean, he’s Michael Caine. Christopher Nolan literally goes to bed every night in a room containing at least three posters. There’s one in the middle that says “MICHAEL CAINE IS GOD,” and it is accompanied left and right by posters for “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “The Cider House Rules.” This is a long way of saying, Christopher Nolan clearly loves Michael Caine and they are working together again. Can’t wait to see what Caine can bring to the table. As for some of these actors including John David Washington and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, I am well aware of their names and have liked them as performers in what they’ve done. I just saw Washington in “BlacKkKlansman” this January and his performance was good enough to get a nomination from me in the Jackoff Awards. As for Taylor-Johnson, I remember reviewing Amazon’s “The Wall” months after it came out and calling it a pile of crap, but I also gave praise to his particular performance. A win’s a win, even when it’s a loss. Yes, Robert Pattinson from “Twilight” is being cast here but for one thing, I have not seen much of his work. In fact, I’ve heard he’s been pretty solid in some indie flicks. And for another thing, if he’s not only being cast as Batman, but also in a Nolan film, I have a feeling his name could grow on me. Only time will tell. But Nolan is not a stranger to odd casting choices, because if you all remember “Dunkirk,” he somehow managed to cast One Direction member Harry Styles, and he turned out to be solid! I’ll wait for the movie, but for the most part, the cast looks promising.

THE FILM IS BEING SHOT WITH IMAX AND 65MM CAMERAS
For those of you who follow Nolan, you’d probably know that he has, no pun intended, experience with IMAX. “The Dark Knight” was the first feature film to be shot in IMAX. Since then, he has used the same technology in “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Interstellar,” and “Dunkirk.” All of those films are shot using advanced IMAX cameras that use horizontal 65mm film. It should therefore come as no surprise that he is bringing the technology up to the plate once again for “Tenet.” Plus, the movie will bring back Hoyte Van Hoytema to man the shots, who also was involved with the cinematography for “Interstellar” and “Dunkirk.” I remember one of the first announced details was that this film was going to be shot in IMAX, and when I hear that about a film, I am automatically intrigued. Also, according to IMDb, the film is also being shot with a Panavision 65 HR Camera, which uses standard, old school 65mm technology. I am pretty interested to see what Nolan would do with the IMAX technology in a film involving espionage. This would definitely provide a big scope for the action scenes when viewed in IMAX theaters and maybe provide a few jaw-dropping shots. I remember “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol” being shot with IMAX cameras, but unfortunately, I never went to an IMAX to watch the movie. I really don’t know how this movie will play out, but part of me hopes to walk out saying “this is a “Mission: Impossible” film that only Nolan could create.” Then again, based on other details I’m hearing about this movie, this might be a bigger idea than “missions, should people choose to accept them.” Speaking of old school technology…

THE FILM WILL BE PRESENTED IN 35MM, 70MM, AND IMAX 70MM
This may have already been implied, but in case it didn’t, “Tenet” is going to be screened not just in today’s traditional digital formats found in multiplexes everywhere, but also in a select number of auditoriums featuring film stock projection. Christopher Nolan’s most recent films have marketed themselves as being “experiences” and part of said experiences involve presentations in analog formats, which honestly, I prefer over digital projection. Seeing “2001: A Space Odyssey” in 70mm last year (twice) was game-changingly epic. It’s partially due to the experience of going into an arthouse-style theater while also having projection that provides greater material than my local chain locations. And since “Tenet” is seemingly being shot entirely using 65mm technology, the film will fit very well when projected on film. Granted, I imagine it will look great almost matter where it’s shown, but there are places where I can probably tell you to see it as opposed to others. Since it is being shown in IMAX 70mm, I can guarantee that the film will have select sequences where the aspect ratio changes to fill the entire screen from top to bottom.

And for those of you who don’t know, this is why I went to a theater over an hour away from my house to see “Interstellar” and “Dunkirk” and people close to me probably think I’m insane.

But it was SOOOOO worth it.

HANS ZIMMER IS NOT INVOLVED
Unfortunately, for all of the Christopher Nolan fans who liked movies such as “Inception” or “Interstellar” partially because of Hans Zimmer’s scores (I’m one of those fans as well), I’ve got some news for you. He’s not gonna be around for “Tenet.” In fact, the reason for this is due to Zimmer currently being busy with another acclaimed director who I happen to like, Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049, Arrival) as he is scoring the upcoming movie “Dune.” As for other movies next year he is focusing on, he is involved with “Wonder Woman 1984,” which I’m currently anticipating. He’s also doing “Top Gun: Maverick,” which only makes me more intrigued for how that movie is going to play out. And he’s also scoring “The Spongebob Movie: It’s a Wonderful Sponge,” which was once scheduled to compete with “Tenet” on its opening weekend, but the movies are now a further distance away from each other on the current release schedule.

LUDWIG GÖRANSSON IS COMPOSING
As for who will be composing the music in “Tenet,” that position will held by Ludwig Göransson. I have slightly mixed thoughts on how this is going to pan out, but I like to remain optimistic. For one thing, Nolan and Zimmer go together like bread and butter. Plus, Ludwig Göransson is also responsible for scoring “Venom,” and the score was not really the highlight of that film. Then again, what was the highlight of that film in the first place? The score felt manufactured, generic, and kinda dull. You know, like the movie “Venom” itself. Although at the same time, he scored another comic book movie, which like “Venom,” I don’t think I enjoyed as much as other people, and by other people I don’t just mean general audiences, I’m also referring to The Academy. Y’know, the gods of the movie industry? That movie by the way, is “Black Panther,” and while I think that movie is tremendously overrated (but still a solid flick) it had one of the better scores I’ve heard from a movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s not my all time fave, but if I were to do a countdown on my favorite MCU scores, “Black Panther” would probably be high on the list. I am quite curious if Goransson will deliver an epic score to remember forever or if there will be some sort of disconnect between him and Nolan that will make me wish Zimmer would’ve been involved. Göransson’s music has been used in recent television programs including TBS’s “Angie Tribeca” and Fox’s “New Girl.” He’s also recently scored movies like “Creed II” and the 2018 remake for “Death Wish.”

PALINDROMES MAY BE AN IMPORTANT FEATURE IN THE SCRIPT
Now if you thought that Christopher Nolan is going to change his ways and simplify his movies, think again. Because from what I’m gathering so far, this movie sounds like it is going to be heavy. For one thing, look closely at the word “Tenet,” and you’d know that it is a palindrome. One of my favorite sci-fi movies of the decade, “Arrival,” directed by the recently mentioned Denis Villeneuve made palindromes play a bit into that movie, and if this movie manages to do the same, I would not be surprised, and I have faith that the palindrome insertion could be more than just a cheap gimmick.

Screenshot (5)

Also, last week, I shared a post on Facebook from a page with the handle @ChristopherNolan.info on what I thought was an official poster for “Tenet” but it turns out that’s more than likely not the case. However, one detail that stood to me regarding what I’ve shared is the number inside the image, 2701072, which like the word tenet, is a palindrome. People have pointed out in the comments that if you rearrange the numbers in that image, you can get the release date for this movie, July 17th, 2020. I also did some research regarding that number and this is not the first time that the account did a post with that number in it. On January 28th, the same Facebook page made a post that was literally just this exact number. Unless they had insider information about this movie and Nolan’s life/career, it’s almost as if they predicted that the title will be a palindrome or the movie would heavily involve palindromes. However, this Facebook page was not the first social media account to post something like this, because data suggests another Christopher Nolan-related account on Twitter by the name of @nolantalkcom did so on January 27th. Based on this information, and based on differences in followers, this is probably a bit of a stretch. I’m willing to bet the operator of that Twitter also operates the Facebook page. If you want to check this out for yourself, click the links below!

@ChristopherNolan.info

@nolantalkcom

THE FILM MAY HEAVILY INVOLVE TIME
Speaking of expected traditions from Christopher Nolan, it would not be surprising if he made time a major element in this film. Heck, one of the posters features numbers from one to twelve with arrows sticking toward multiple twelves. It’s a like an ongoing watch or something! I don’t know how time will play into this film, but it is an action film involving espionage, so maybe there will be some sort of race against the clock. Maybe there’s a bomb that has to be diffused. But knowing Nolan, it may as well be something completely unthinkable.

In a way, this poster almost reminds of “Interstellar” because if you remember the Endurance from that film, you may notice that the ship resembles a clock. “Interstellar” is easily one of my favorite sci-fi flicks of the decade, so I cannot wait to see what happens with “Tenet” and if it could possibly be compared with “Interstellar.”

There are a few other things I could talk about related to “Tenet,” but I already have gone way past scratching the surface when it comes to this movie. I even have a growing theory of this movie being part of a universe that Christopher Nolan previously established, specifically “Inception,” which I think could be a plot twist in this movie based on certain factors. As much as I would like to get into that, it would involve heavily digressing from the main topic, so I might make a separate post for that one day. But only time will tell, so who knows? I’m really looking forward to “Tenet,” and as of right now it is probably my most anticipated film of 2020. Anything Marvel announces next year? Forget it! There is a reason why Christopher Nolan is my favorite director of all time!

So I gotta ask all of you, how are you currently feeling about “Tenet” as we build up to its release? Are you excited? Worried? Could you avoid caring about the movie whatsoever? Do you think Christopher Nolan is a hack who deserves to die? Let me know your thoughts down below!

Thanks for reading this post! This Saturday I’m going to see “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” It’s a film a part of me is REALLY looking forward to from an entertainment perspective, but from a critical perspective, I’m simultaneously nervous. I kinda don’t know how to feel going into the movie, so we’ll just see what happens. But I am going to see it in IMAX, which I think is the best way to see big scale movies like this, so I am still pretty excited. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Booksmart (2019): Olivia Wilde Rocks Our World

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“Booksmart” is directed by Olivia Wilde (Tron: Legacy, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone) and stars Kaitlyn Dever (Last Man Standing, Justified) and Beanie Feldstein (Lady Bird, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising) as two academic besties who feel the need to let themselves have some fun, which is something that according to them, they have failed to do throughout their four years of high school. And as the movie suggests, the two carry the urge to have such fun in just a day away from their graduation.

I saw a trailer for “Booksmart” back in March. And when I saw it, I got a mixed first impression, because I didn’t become attached to the main duo in the two provided minutes. But the concept became increasingly interesting as the trailer came to a close, and it did have one or two funny lines in it. So yeah, I was kinda onboard. Then as the movie’s release date got closer and closer, I noticed all sorts of press screenings and overwhelmingly positive reactions that the idea of wanting to see this movie only became more front and center. In fact, going into “Booksmart,” it felt like I was going to see “Blockers” mixed with a buddy cop film. Granted, everyone seems to be comparing this movie to Judd Apatow’s “Superbad,” but I haven’t seen “Superbad.” I want to see it, but I just haven’t got around to it. Maybe when I pick up the Blu-ray I’ll give it a go. This doesn’t mean I wasn’t still slightly concerned, because the marketing also gave me an impression that this would be like a propaganda piece because you had all of these female leaders in one clip of the movie. I don’t really have a problem with that, but it also gave me the impression that this movie was just gonna go ahead and say “F*CK MEN!” the entire time. Luckily, that’s not the case. In fact, there’s a joke towards the end of the film about the typical “straight white male” that I thought was utterly hilarious. You’ll know it when you see it. And for those of you who are new around here, this is coming from a straight white male.

I mentioned the hype for this movie, and while I know that the comedy genre tends to put out more disposable movies compared to genres like period pieces and screw it, I’ll be biased, science fiction. There is one thing that got me intrigued, and that is the high Rotten Tomatoes score. From a critical perspective, I recall seeing it at 100% at one point. Right now, it’s at 98%. Then I saw a couple of people in the industry such as Ryan Reynolds reacting to the movie on social media with immensely positive thoughts.

As for my overall impression of the movie itself, it was pretty well done. In fact, from a filmmaking perspective, this is better than I ever could have anticipated. I seriously mean that because there’s this one clip with a long take that as far as straight-up comedies go, can probably qualify as a cinematic achievement. But speaking of comedy, not all the jokes land. There’s a lot that do, but it’s not perfect.

In fact, at the beginning, there’s one joke that not only manages to get a head-raising laugh from me, but I thought it was also an effective way to establish one particular character’s personality. If only more jokes were that funny in the movie. In fact, when it comes to personalities, the main duo has great chemistry together.

Yeah, I could totally buy Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein’s friendship, I can buy that the two are academics that put work before partying. Even when there are instances when they shy away from that connected academic/professional personality, their chemistry still manages to work for the way this movie tends to flow. These two are brainiacs who wouldn’t mind having fun, and manage to have each other’s back. In fact, when it comes to how their relationship plays out, it kind of hit me to the core. There are some ways that I’d say that this movie reminded me of a movie that I did not even think I would compare this to, specifically “Lady Bird.” I won’t give much away for either of these movies, and if you ask me from a critical perspective, I’d say this movie is nowhere near as excellent as “Lady Bird,” but it did remind me of that film.

Why was this movie off and on in terms of humor? Well, there are various moments and utterances of dialogue that had me cracking up, but one example of when the movie would slide down a hill is from a recurring gag. There’s this one character played by Carrie Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd (American Horror Story, Scream Queens) who was kind of funny when the movie first started out, but she had this one thing that kept happening in the movie that was part of what made her funny, but the more it happens, the more it feels like I’m being beaten over the head. The ongoing gag did not insult my intelligence, which if anything, since this film is called “BOOKSMART,” I think it would be the most ironic thing in the entire history of the universe if that actually happened, but it was just a slight hindrance to my experience. Lourd played her character with excellence, but the script didn’t always make her presence worthwhile.

But in all honesty, when I first saw the currently incessant TV spots, I was given the impression that while this was definitely going to have elements of a coming of age story, I thought it was going to be a lot goofier than it actually turned out. This felt a lot like “Tag,” where there’s tons of humor intact, but it’s all surrounded by one emotional punch. Maybe it partially has to do with timing because I graduated from high school from last year, and in a way, despite not having that many friends I hang out with, I can kind of relate to the relationship of the two main characters. I’m not saying I’m entirely like them, because I definitely worked hard in high school, but I feel like there are certain points that I felt the need to rebel. Because let’s face it, high school sometimes felt robotic. It felt like what was being taught to me at times was being taught through an assembly line-like process. And when I left high school, I honestly couldn’t be happier. Yes, I’ll miss my friends that I made along the way who I may only talk to through social media in the future. But I won’t miss the times when I went through various obstacles of feeling like I didn’t fit in. I won’t miss the subjects I regretted learning about. I also won’t miss what was quite honestly, a beyond underwhelming senior year. Sure, it had its moments, but as I was becoming an adult, there were times when I felt like I was occasionally getting my own kiddie table. Unlike the main characters of Amy and Molly, I didn’t go to any single party that my classmates flocked to (and yet I somehow won Best Dancer). I don’t regret my choices, but the fact that I’m being treated like an adult in college only makes me appreciate that concept much more.

And speaking of college, I can honestly say that this movie may become increasingly relevant giving what’s happening in the news. Because there’s a segment of the movie where one of the main characters is talking to people who may present themselves as idiots, but somehow managed to get into places like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. This movie premiered at South by Southwest this year, which happened in March, but if this movie had more time to shoot and release perhaps during the holiday season, they could have probably added something to the script about the college admissions scandal that’s been going on. Maybe we’ll save it for a sequel. I would not mind seeing one.

In the end, “Booksmart,” might not be getting an A from me, but it should not frown upon its final, respectable results. I will say that when it comes to the ending of the film, that is one of my core problems that is probably going to stick with me for some time. If it was slightly rewritten, I would have appreciated it more. Because this movie towards the end was going in one direction and I admired it for going in such a direction. However, the last bits of dialogue change that. If you ask me, the exchange was kind of corny and almost left a bad taste in my mouth. It was somewhat out of left field and unexpected. If the movie ended JUST before that, I think the ending would have been solid, and one of the better ones I’ve seen this year. But no! Let’s throw a curveball in there! Wow. Back to back sentences with baseball terms, isn’t that a hoot? Although to be serious, “Booksmart” is funny, charming, and definitely gets me interested for whatever else Olivia Wilde has up her sleeves in terms of her directing career. I’m going to give “Booksmart” a 7/10. Thanks for reading this review! I just want to remind everyone if you noticed anything different about my blog, you might notice my domain. While I’m still calling this blog Scene Before, if you ever want to tell your friends about it, tell them to go to http://www.flicknerd.com. Why flicknerd.com? Because nerds rule and flicks are sick, that’s why! As for new content, I am steadily approaching post #300. For that post, I will be providing an update on my Blu-ray collection! Be sure to follow Scene Before with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Booksmart?” What did you think about it? Or, since “Aladdin” just came out and I’m willing to bet most of my viewers saw that this weekend as opposed to “Booksmart,” is Will Smith a good genie? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Cold Pursuit (2019): A Slow Brrrrr

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“Cold Pursuit” is directed by Hans Petter Moland (In Order of Disappearance, Aberdeen) and stars Liam Neeson (Taken, Non-Stop), Tom Bateman (Murder on the Orient Express, Snatched), Tom Jackson (The Diviners, Star Trek: The Next Generation), Emmy Rossum (Shameless, The Phantom of the Opera), Domenick Lombardozzi (Breakout Kings, The Wire), Julia Jones (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Westworld), John Doman (Borgia, ER), and Laura Dern (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Jurassic Park). This film is about a guy named Nels Coxman as he tries to seek revenge against people who ended up drugging his son.

I mentioned at the top that “Cold Pursuit” is directed by the same guy who directed “In Order of Disappearance.” I have not seen “In Order of Disappearance,” but around the time I watched this film, I found this information out. And knowing things about this film, I managed to find out that “Cold Pursuit” is actually a remake of “In Order of Disappearance,” which was made primarily for a Norwegian audience. “Cold Pursuit,” as far as I can tell, was most certainly intended for an American audience. In fact, without giving much away, there’s a cool thing that happens when the movie reaches the end credits, and if you haven’t seen “In Order of Disappearance,” you’ll see further proof of this being a redo of that film. Keep in mind, this is coming from a guy who also has not seen “In Order of Disappearance.”

I did some Internet searching on the original film and found out that it currently has over a 7 on IMDb, which is pretty decent for a film. Most of the user scores are above average range, with many of them being 7/10. For “Cold Pursuit,” it’s currently higher than a 6. Most of the user scores are also 6, slightly edging out over the 7 range. While a 6 is still a win for a movie on some days, there are times when it could equal nothing but trouble. And I can see why this movie is worse than its original counterpart, because while there are some cool quirky elements throughout the film, the movie is just slow at times.

When I saw the opening scene for “Cold Pursuit,” where snow is being shoved around by a bulldozer, it gave me a sense that s*it was about to get real. Unfortunately, everything that went down in “Cold Pursuit” (except for one thing), was not enough to fulfill my appetite. What’s the one thing that did fulfill my appetite however? Well, I hate to be cruel, but the deaths were infinitely creative. And I am not referring to how people died, but every time someone would die, something would come up and it does that for the whole movie. I thought it was a neat gimmick at times. Granted, and I am not sure if this dives into spoiler territory, but I’ll say it anyway, the deaths could SOMETIMES be slightly improved if you actually get a better glimpse at people dying. Just me. I’m not asking for a complete bloodbath, but this movie is rated R. Let us see some more stuff on screen sometimes.

Speaking of stuff we see on screen, let’s talk about Liam Neeson. I mean, this movie is basically Liam Neeson doing Liam Neeson things. His mannerisms are present and he definitely takes no names whatsoever. And while for me, this may be a hindrance regarding some actors like Melissa McCarthy, Liam Neeson never really gets tiring. One thing that may make him interesting is that the dude’s over sixty. He’s getting to that point where he is the superior version of the crazy old dude telling kids to scram out of his yard. Plus, his Irish accent is freaking killer. I mean, it’s similar to when Tom Cruise plays typical Tom Cruise. It usually avoids getting old, and both are crazy men who like to take baddies down. This is not to say that “Cold Pursuit” is Liam Neeson’s all time best work, I personally think “The LEGO Movie” might be, but still.

I also kind of like the bad guy in this movie. His name is Trevor “Viking” Calcote, he’s played by Tom Bateman, and while he definitely has some cliches of someone representing the idea of greed, I dug some of the execution of his character. This is especially true when you see how he treats his son. Because let’s face it, without going into too much detail about the movie, the way he treats his son is the same way White Castle would treat big hamburgers. They would much prefer not talking about them, or ever bringing them up in a conversation, similar to how when the son and “Viking’ talk to each other, there’s an intentional disconnect in chemistry.

When it comes to chemistry and execution of a few of the movie’s characters, those are the definite highlights of “Cold Pursuit,” that is, aside from the deaths. Unfortunately, it does not have many other highlights. I originally watched this movie on Friday, so I had time to gather some of my thoughts together before making a completed review. And I’m kind of glad I took that time. When it comes to the action in “Cold Pursuit,” it feels like the atmosphere of the movie itself. It’s all kinda dull, and it doesn’t really feel like there’s much to it. Unfortunately, much like this movie, it did not send chills down my spine.

And it’s almost like this movie didn’t always know what it wanted to be, because one of the taglines for this film is “Revenge is best served cold.” Doesn’t that sound like something out of a cheesy 1980’s action film starring Patrick Swayze and Arnold Schwarzenegger that takes place in Alaska or something? This movie could have been cheesy fun, but it wasn’t, it was serious garbage.

But I will give credit to one more thing about this movie before finishing this review off, and that happens to be the location choices. Everything looks beautiful on camera, especially when it is all surrounded by snow, which occasionally gives the movie the theme of “real s*it,” which I mean in a way describing various situations, but not the movie itself. Although then again, maybe it does describe the movie itself, because the movie is in fact, real s*it.

In the end, if you’re gonna watch “Cold Pursuit,” I recommend putting on some gloves, a hat, a jacket, whatever you can get to bundle up for the lackluster experience that this movie truly is. Liam Neeson is alright, the actors for the most part, while well cast, gave me a rather mixed collective reception. And I don’t feel like I’ll end up remembering this movie all that well. In fact, it was almost a waste of time. If it were not for the coolish death moments, all hope would be lost. This movie would be… Don’t say it… DON’T YOU DARE F*CKING SAY IT!…

…Ah, screw it.

LIFELESS! OK, lifeless!

I’m going to give “Cold Pursuit” a 3/10. Thanks for reading this review! I just want to remind everyone that pretty soon I am going to be doing an update on my Blu-ray collection, so please be on the lookout for that! I also recently bought the 4K for this year’s “The Kid Who Would Be King,” which I missed in the theater, however now that I own it, I have the chance to watch it and review it for the first time. Once I get around to watching it, and I’m not sure when this will happen, I will have a review for it. Please stay tuned! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Cold Pursuit?” What did you think about it? Or, what is a movie that you think should have been more cheesy? Weird question, but I’m going with it. Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019): He’s Knowin’ He’s Back

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“John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” is directed by Chad Stahelski (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Safe) and stars Keanu Reeves (Point Break, The Matrix), Halle Berry (Catwoman, Extant), Laurence Fishburne (Ant-Man and the Wasp, Ride Along), Mark Dacascos (Hawaii Five-0, Dancing with the Stars), Asia Kate Dillon (Orange Is the Black, Billions), Lance Reddick (Bosch, Fringe), Anjelica Huston (Tinker Bell, Transparent), and Ian McShane (Kung Fu Panda, American Gods). This film is the third installment in the extremely kick-ass “John Wick” franchise, where Keanu Reeves comes up with new, inventive ways of annihilating people. And it’s f*cking awesome. In this fast-paced, killer installment, John Wick has a multi-million dollar price tag on his head. Throughout the film, he must survive at every turn, and avoid every hitman/hitwoman in New York and beyond.

I have a pretty good relationship with the “John Wick” franchise thus far. While I may not enjoy the franchise as much as some other people, I am most certainly able to recognize its stance in the film industry today. In a time where many action flicks tend to have editing jobs where each fight/battle sequence tend to cut at the same speed at which Usain Bolt can run, “John Wick” is a breath of fresh air. It is a franchise that I adore for its frequent attempts to shoot long takes featuring badass, raw choreography on attention-grabbing setpieces. The lighting in some scenes from “John Wick” really gives a sense of some s*it going down, and I think it translated to another action movie I like from this decade, specifically “Atomic Blonde” starring Charlize Theron. Then again, that should not be too surprising because one of the co-directors behind the original “John Wick,” David Leitch, eventually went on to direct “Atomic Blonde.”

And when it comes to “John Wick: Chapter 3” in terms of anticipation, it grew like a weed. While “John Wick: Chapter 2” was not the best movie of 2017 (although it was good enough to get an honorable mention in my end of the year countdown), the ending seemed to have promised something big in this franchise’s future. Therefore, I began to have high expectations that I thought this installment would potentially deliver upon. And deliver it did! “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” may just be the best “John Wick” movie yet. Granted, I may need some time to marinate, partially because I just saw the movie. But having seen it, this had two hours of superb action, compelling characters, and stakes that I rarely feel in movies nowadays. But I will say, the movie’s not perfect, and this is a minor problem, perhaps one that I could eventually take back, but it’s a problem nevertheless.

“John Wick” is a great franchise. It’s not for everyone, but I think it is definitely up there with my personal favorite action-oriented franchises. But much like other franchises such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “John Wick: Chapter 3” could slightly differ in a final verdict for those who are not as highly exposed to the franchise compared to more avid viewers. I feel my connection with “John Wick,” my anticipation for this movie, and the fact that I recall how “John Wick: Chapter 2” ended all contribute to my partial joy towards what was happening on screen. Because if you’re like me, chances are you saw the end of “John Wick: Chapter 2,” and felt that there were promises to be kept. If you have not seen “John Wick: Chapter 2” at this point, and I am mainly referring to the ending when I bring this up. I would still recommend “John Wick: Chapter 3,” but I am willing to bet your experience will be enhanced having background knowledge on John Wick’s character.

Speaking of John Wick, let’s just talk about him. Just when you think he cannot continue to find new ways to be the most insane ass-kicker in movie history, you would be proven DEAD wrong. In fact, I saw this movie with my dad and we came out agreeing that he and I basically witnessed the club scene from the original installment multiple times in this film. Regardless of what you may think of this movie as a story, there is no denying that John Wick, or Keanu Reeves, as an action star, is nothing short of sick. It is some of the most intense action I have witnessed in a movie in a long time, and I would recommend watching this movie on the biggest screen possible just for that. When that 4K Blu-ray comes out, I might need to blast the volume on my television!

Although at the same time, John Wick is not the only badass in this movie, because he is accompanied by Halle Berry, who much like Wick, has tricks of her own when it comes to action. Sadly though, I wouldn’t say from a story perspective, that I had much of a reason to care about her character. There was one moment in the film where I actually did, but it’s just a single moment, nothing more. Still, props to Halle Berry and the crew behind the film for making her come off as a force to be reckoned with.

But speaking of forces to be reckoned with, you know how in the first “John Wick” that the main character did what he did in that film because of the loss of his puppy? I had no idea on how prominent dogs would be in this franchise. I say that because as one who usually fears dogs, I could not help but appreciate what this movie did with them. You think Keanu Reeves and Halle Berry know how to kick ass? BRING ON THE F*CKING DOGS! This movie might now have my favorite scene featuring a dog (maybe aside from Up)! I will not go into much detail, but when you turn an animal associated with cuteness into something along the lines of a speedy great white shark, I cannot help but appreciate it. I’ll savor the flavor for you all, but look forward to this. I almost want to sit someone down who would probably usually avoid action movies and market this to them saying “Oh, it’s family flick with dogs in it, you’ll enjoy it!” I kind of want to see their reaction.

And as usual, the direction in this movie when it comes to action is spot on. There’s tons of spectacular setpieces, along with the thousands of sick, but realistic moves done by many of the movie’s characters. The film was shot on location, which I love, it added to the immersion factor that I love seeing in movies nowadays. And as usual, the camera only cuts when necessary, it doesn’t have ADHD, each displayed shot takes its time before moving onto the next. This movie, just like the first two “John Wick” films, is how you do action, and I might just think that this film might be the best in the franchise when it comes to action. However, when it comes to story and character development, it falls flat at a couple points. In fact, this movie partially reminds me of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” because the beginning and end are pure adrenaline-rushes on their own. But the middle portion of the movie tends to slow down, and gives its audience a moment to breathe. It’s not really the highlight of the film, but it does feature a moment that is kind of shocking. Look forward to it.

In the end, “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” is everything that an R-rated, white-knuckled action flick is supposed to be. Interesting characters (despite some of my prior criticisms), great sequences, surprises, stakes you can feel, and mind-blowing shots. There’s actually a shot in the film that sort of reminded me of “Skyfall” when the movie takes place in Shanghai. If you have seen that movie and gotten yourself to the theater to witness “John Wick: Chapter 3,” you might know what I’m talking about. Again, is the story perfect? It’s not, it definitely serves the purpose well for the most part, but there are minor flaws. Although if I had to judge “John Wick: Chapter 3” simply based on action, this might be a 10/10. But still, as of right now, I still have to marinate, but this is my favorite installment in the “John Wick” franchise thus far, and I’m going to give “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” a 9/10. Thanks for reading this review! I just want to make an announcement to you all that I am reaching 300 posts pretty soon, and I already have a plan for what I’m going to do on that. I have decided like for my last number milestone post, I would show off my Blu-ray collection. But I’m actually going to present it in a different way than last time. I’ll have the post up as soon as possible, and I cannot wait to share it with you all. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite installment in the “John Wick” franchise? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

What THE BIG BANG THEORY Has Meant To Me: A Nerd’s Perspective

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WARNING: The following post DOES NOT spoil the final two episodes of “The Big Bang Theory”

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Here on Scene Before, I like to make special occasions for myself to talk about TV news. Sadly, I have still yet to see a single episode of “Game of Thrones,” therefore I cannot talk about the chaos or excitement that may be going on in its final season. However, there is another show that recently concluded that has meant the world to me, “The Big Bang Theory.” A show that has literally impacted my life to the point where I wanted to write my own version of how its eighth season would begin. And no, I do not have available copies of this, they’re on a computer I cannot currently access. Also, I have no intention on sharing them with you anytime in the future, some of them kind of associate with cheese.

This is not going to be a review of the finale (although I do give my thoughts on it). I review movies, not TV shows. If I watched more TV, I might consider doing an analytical review, but that is not going to be the case. Instead, this is going to be a story of my life and how it connects to “The Big Bang Theory” in general.

My first exposure to “The Big Bang Theory” is most likely in 2009. I didn’t watch it, in fact, I wouldn’t do so for another 2 years. However, in 2009, my parents introduced me to a guy who I would come to know as “Sheldon.” A name that found particularly interesting. Why? Well, if you were born in the late 1990’s, chances are you grew up at some point watching “Spongebob Squarepants.”

When you dedicate part of an episode to mocking the character “Plankton’s” first name, which, as you may have gathered, is “Sheldon.” How can you not think of this character as you observe another Sheldon?

On November 5, 2011. I was in the living room watching TV with the rest of my family and my parents decide to catch up on “The Big Bang Theory” since it is currently on our DVR. We then turn on one of the many interestingly-named episodes, this one in particular being “The Pulled Groin Exploitation.” While I had no real attachment to anybody after this half-hour experience, plus another half-hour dedicated to the follow-up episode, “The Wiggly Finger Catalyst,” I enjoyed what I saw. The first episode contained a funny bit at a wedding involving “The Chicken Dance.” I got to look at Sheldon Cooper being a railfan, which is a character type I’m honestly surprised to this day that we even got on mainstream TV, or even TV in general. The second episode was very intriguing, even without knowing who the characters were simply because one was constantly interacting with another character who happened to be deaf. Also, going back to that railfan thing. I consider myself a railfan as well. For all you mainstream people, that means I am fascinated by trains. I didn’t even realize it then. Sheldon was me.

There are arguments to made involving other TV shows and forms of media, that I have embodied traits, mannerisms, words, and phrases from its characters. And I certainly have embodied traits of Sheldon as I watched “The Big Bang Theory.” I found him to be fascinating as I watched various episodes, therefore he became stuck in my head. There was no denying he was smart, which was a kind of man I myself aspired to be. I didn’t aspire to be a scientist, but I would aspire to at least have the collective knowledge that Cooper contains. After all, one nerd aspect that has rarely been touched on the program, probably because in some ways, it is not always seen as a nerdy thing, is game shows. Ever since I was a young kid, I would continuously watch shows like “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” “Wheel of Fortune,” “Jeopardy!,” and “Family Feud.” And the day that I discovered the Game Show Network was the day that I personally felt like I discovered the holy grail of life. In fact, aside from “The Big Bang Theory,” the amount of regular “new episode” programming I happen to watch is kind of small. There’s a certain level of commitment to regular TV programming that I usually tend to avoid. This is why I usually watch game shows. You usually don’t need background info from a prior episode or season to know what exactly is going on. The fact that “The Big Bang Theory” has allowed me to commit to a regular TV program for as many years as possible is a true feat. How many times do you watch a show on TV and stop watching religiously because you missed an episode or two? That happened to me with “The Middle.” It’s a good show, but there’s a lot of competition and shows like “The Big Bang Theory” became more attractive to me. And as a movie reviewer, commitment to TV is only getting more difficult. Yes, the DVR is a good invention. But as someone who prefers watching TV live as if it were an event, I have missed a lot of what might seem to be good television.

But in reality, another reason why I keep coming back to “The Big Bang Theory” is because there are a lot of situation comedies out there, but they all have this feel to them that kind of makes you feel like you’re looking at the same characters over and over. Yes, “The Big Bang Theory” is not exactly the definition of an exception to this rule, but it comes really close. A lot of situation comedies that I have seen over the years seem to have never made a “nerdy” group too prominent. Sure, you have special stereotypes like Urkel from “Family Matters,” but that’s about it. Although you can also consider Lisa and the Comic Book Guy from “The Simpsons.” “The Big Bang Theory” however, has Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, Rajesh, Bernadette, Amy, Stuart, and more unmentioned characters. It’s like I’m watching the “Revenge of the Nerds” of sitcoms. It made nerds relevant and cool, and if it were not for shows like this, I don’t think a show like “King of the Nerds” would have seen the light of day, or at least a second season. Part of me even wonders if we would even have things like the Marvel Cinematic Universe if it weren’t for “The Big Bang Theory.” Yes, superheroes are cool, but they’re traditionally meant for a nerdy demographic. This show managed to present itself fairly well to a mainstream audience to a point where they might as well have picked up nerdy interests along the way. Now I mention mainstream audience, and when it comes to this show, one of my friends made an interesting comparison about this show with another popular sitcom, specifically “Friends.” As nerds, he and I seem to agree that “The Big Bang Theory” has lost its touch over the years. Personally, in this last season, I think there have been a number of great episodes to feel like it has gotten said touch back, but that’s not the point. My friend said that the show has become less about nerds being nerds (even though there are occasionally nerdy activities or references) and has simply become “Friends” but with nerds as the main characters. I can sort of agree with that statement. It’s now more about the relationships between the characters more than anything else, which is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact as the show went on, I gave enormous praise for the program having some of my personal favorite bits of character development in anything I’ve seen. Whether it is between Sheldon and Amy or Leonard and Penny or even Rajesh and alcohol, it all adds up to be a work of art. In fact, speaking of characters, let’s talk about them.

I already mentioned I embody Sheldon, and I can honestly almost confirm that the creators behind “The Big Bang Theory” spent years trying to spy on my every behavior. Because let’s face it. Sheldon is practically a young child on the Autism spectrum. I myself have high-function autism, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. He and I cannot stand when people are arguing in a distance which I can hear everything that’s happening, which REALLY sucks because I have sensitive ears. I still have many fears that remain from my childhood (dogs, loud noises, needles). But then again, who doesn’t fear needles? He’s obsessed with collecting comic books as I am with collecting movies. He’s always afraid of change, and there are very rare exceptions in which I would be willing to accept change. I also to this day don’t have a driver’s license! Just for the record, I’m 19 years old, and Sheldon, who started off the series in his twenties, still didn’t have his back when the show kicked off. I’ve even been told as a kid that I mumble a lot. I don’t always think that’s a bad thing, I think that just makes me look like I have informative words to say. Granted, I wouldn’t say everything about myself completely links me as a Sheldon Cooper wannabe.

This is why we move onto Leonard Hofstadter. If Sheldon is the part of me that resembles my thoughts that make me feel like a child. Leonard is me as I grow up. I started watching this show in middle school, and I kind of became aware that at this point I probably had no chance with girls. As far as I know, boys and girls would hang out together, but based on how boys wouldn’t hang out with me (I thought homework and my 39″ TV were more important every night), why should I even have a chance with girls? Granted, as middle school began to conclude, the thought of wanting a girl to hang out with became more prevalent, but if you knew me in person, you’d probably consider putting a “kick me” sign on my back. Although that is hard to know for sure because I was generally a well-liked as a person in school, and some people appreciated me at one point for being “the guy who likes game shows.” Plus, I grew up in an area where pretty much everyone to my knowledge would treat others with respect. There are various exceptions that I have witnessed throughout my life, but for the sake of not calling people out, I shall remain silent on that subject. But when you consider how the show starts out, with Sheldon and Leonard heading into their apartment and they end up meeting their new neighbor, Penny, and Leonard begins to crush on her, it’s almost similar to what my fantasy was in life.

“Our babies will be smart and beautiful.” –Leonard Hofstadter

I wouldn’t call myself the worst looking guy in the world, but there is no way that I am Channing Tatum-level attractive. I think a good chunk of women would probably not want to go out with me if they found out my interests. In fact, I have almost evolved to the point where I don’t really need a woman to be happy. Maybe that will change once I graduate college, maybe start my life’s work, and I need a new purpose or something, or if I become close with someone in college, but the future is unwritten, and I cannot control it. In fact, much like Leonard, I still have yet to have my first kiss.

“…Maybe you’re graduating and you still haven’t had your first kiss. By the way, nineteen, Geraldine Coco, wherever you are thank you.”

For the record, I turn 20 this November.

I might even resemble a little bit of Howard, who I honestly think when it comes to this show, I think any teenage boy can relate to him. Let’s face it, if this show were “Family Guy,” Howard would be Glenn Quagmire. Only thing is that he THINKS he’s outgoing but he is not as successful as would he hope. Much like Howard I appreciate my parents and I’ll be honest, I like sex. I mean, who doesn’t? Although this brings me back to how I cannot get girls, I cannot say I have ever slept with anyone. Then again, I’m rather young so it might as well be wise of me to remain in my current position. I can’t really say I have a belt buckle collection, but much like Sheldon and Leonard, I tend to collect a lot of t-shirts. Also, Howard is an engineer, and apparently when I was twelve, I took an online test and it determined that I’ll be an engineer one day. I don’t believe everything I read on the Internet, but it’s still an interesting statistic.

One thing I’ll miss from the show is how it managed to tackle current geek phenomenons. There was an episode where everyone is trying to go see “The Force Awakens,” but that is slightly interrupted by Amy’s birthday, which many consider to be one of the best in the series. There’s also an episode where the guys are trying to buy tickets to San Diego Comic-Con, but not everyone bought tickets successfully despite refreshing computer screens with extreme effort. That episode by the way has a cameo from Carrie Fisher and an AWESOME guest appearance by James Earl Jones. Then there was another one that was basically an entire parody on our current gaming market. Sheldon has trouble deciding on two competing gaming systems (PS4 & Xbox One) and he feels the need to choose one cause, ya know, upgrades!

I’m guessing if Stuart from the comic book store showed up, he’d probably go with “PC.”

I was able to relate to these topics. I was obsessed with “Star Wars,” I love video games, and the idea of gathering with other nerds in a giant building just sounds like a hoot.

In fact, there is an argument to make that if I weren’t introduced to certain ideas that “The Big Bang Theory” manages to present, I’d be a completely different person. In fact, as of now, I don’t play many sports. I am now trying to go to more “event-type” experiences at the movie theater, and I have also given a greater appreciation to a lot of overlooked art, particularly in the film industry. I say this because while I think it is fantastic that nerdy has become cool, it has me worried that comic book movies (along with live-action remakes, sequels, etc.) is all we will be witnessing from major studios like Disney for years to come. I am now latching onto independent studios like A24, Neon, and more. It allows me to have a different perspective on movies than maybe some of my friends. I’m not saying they’re stupid for watching comic book movies, because those movies are great. Did anyone see “Avengers: Endgame?” If you haven’t, I recommend it! But when it comes to film, I have now fallen into a path where I tend to sometimes watch whatever the crowd isn’t watching. Kind of like video games, when everybody was talking about “Fortnite,” I never picked up my controller to play it because EVERYBODY. WOULD. NOT. STOP. TALKING ABOUT IT. Coincidentally, the show did have a funny episode dedicated to “Fortnite.”

Also, even though I mentioned I don’t like sports, I gotta admit, bowling is pretty fun.

When I am not watching the show, I would make references to it, borrowing various quotes from the characters, and it’s definitely more than just “bazinga.” I’ll occasionally wear t-shirts associated with the show. I have watched various bonus features, including one revealing how tapings work for the show. My family and I were going to California together for the first time, and the trip to LA in particular was a Christmas gift. While we could not get into a taping for “The Big Bang Theory,” we got the next best thing. A tour of Warner Brothers Studios, where the show holds its tapings throughout each season. I got the opportunity to look at Stage 25, which was recently renamed as “The Big Bang Theory” stage, in person. Unfortunately, I do not have pictures, as I was not permitted to take them, but going into a space that I have on my TV screen perhaps more times than my PS2, was kind of a dream come true. I got to know various hidden secrets about the set, and what parts of the soundstage remained during season 12. This set was used for movies like “Casablana,” “Blade Runner,” and “Gremlins 2: The New Batch.” As for TV shows aside from “The Big Bang Theory,” it was used for “Maverick,” “Cheyanne,” and “What I Like About You.” This experience had the magic of Doctor Strange and the wonder of being above a slightly cloudy sky while possessing a window seat on a Southwest flight.

And now, since we’re at the end, I must bring something up about a season 1 episode titled “The Nerdvana Annihilation.” This episode is perhaps the most unrealistic of the entire series. That does not mean it is the worst one made, but it has elements of extreme fiction intact. Why? Leonard wins a fully-functioning time machine on eBay. Another thing to consider is that nobody else bid for said time machine. C’mon! There’s no young guy who would want to go back in time and fix that one mistake he made on his geometry test or something? But if this episode has taught me something, it’s to never let go of what makes you “you.” There’s an entire side of the story dedicated to Penny being late for work and she takes her rage out on the guys. Her frenzy allows her to reveal her bewilderment towards the guys being “grown men” who own action figures, comic books, and other nerdy items. Yes, being a nerd can make you look like a kid. But I am one, even as I grow up, who would give anything in the world to keep various aspects of my childhood. I love “Star Wars,” I love superheroes, I love game shows. It’s all been a form of escapism for me throughout many years. Even in my house, a lot remains the same. My bedroom has the same furniture for almost a lifetime. I’ve had a baseball glove chair in the room since maybe age 12. Also, you know how I don’t like sports? Eh, baseball’s actually kinda fun sometimes. I have kept just about every gaming console I have ever owned. Why? Because it is all a part of me. If I get rid of even a console I don’t play as much as I used to like my Nintendo DS Lite, a part of me would feel incomplete. Much like Sheldon Cooper, it is hard for me to adapt to change. I have lived in the same town all my life, therefore I’ve always had my spot. Similar to Sheldon’s “bazinga,” I would always use the word “amazing” when I was young. And while the show may not always showcase this, he and I both seem to be night owls. In fact, in that recently mentioned episode, “The Nerdvana Annihilation,” Sheldon got out of bed at 2AM just to fool around with the time machine.

Change is inevitable, and sometimes it just SUCKS. And it especially sucks when you can’t get over changes that have happened ages ago. Thank you Sheldon, without you, I would probably have nobody to relate to.

Without spoiling the final episode. “The Big Bang Theory” ended as it all started. With a big bang. I thought the opening few minutes (either with or without the epic “PREVIOUSLY ON” segment), made for the single best opening in the entire series. It might be up there as my favorite sitcom episode opening ever. Why? It was like I was at an “Avengers” premiere where I started cheering for the positive things that happened. I kind of regret not throwing a party. Throw a few laughs in there, you’ve got yourself the perfect appetizer for that night’s episode. It puts a perfect bow with what has been built up from the beginning of season 12, and even adds in some fan service. The episode is not perfect, witnessing Sheldon, while definitely in-character, was a tad awkward at first, but as the episode goes on, it improves to the tenth degree. I highly recommend you’d watch it, especially if you have followed the series for an extended period of time.

I’d like to thank “The Big Bang Theory” for being an amazing and one-of-a-kind source of entertainment for these years. I honestly think this show will go down as one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. And only time will tell if there is another show like it. Only time will determine if there will be another show of “Big Bang’s” quality, while also being a great influence on our modern day nerd culture.

THANK YOU JESUS! …As my mother would say. –Sheldon Cooper

And as for “Game of Thrones,” let’s hope the fans don’t cancel HBO.

Thanks for reading this post! This Tuesday I am going to see “John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum,” so I will have a review of that by the end of next week. As for other content, I am currently working on a post involving “Avengers: Endgame” and its odds of beating “Avatar” at the box office. Will it ever see the light of day? That’s hard to say, but I am working on it, and there is a good chance that if I have nothing else to do over the next few days (which is technically false, since I’m going to Rhode Island), I will spend some time working on that post. Be sure to follow Scene Before with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, what is your relationship with “The Big Bang Theory?” I will admit, I know some friends who think it is the worst thing on the face of the Earth, and they are entitled to that opinion. To me, it is a small part of what has shaped my life. Also, if anybody watched the recent series finale, what are your thoughts on that?

And, I would like to ask another question. What is your favorite episode? As for mine, I gotta go with “The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification” (S4E02). Sheldon as a robot kills me every time. Scene Before is your click to the flicks, and if you would like a behind the scenes tour of the set given by someone who worked on the show, check out the video below from Mayim Bialik!

Bazinga!

Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019): Pokémon GO To the Movies

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“Pokémon Detective Pikachu” is directed by Rob Letterman (Monsters vs. Aliens, Shark Tale) and stars Ryan Reynolds (The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Deadpool), Justice Smith (Paper Towns, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), Kathryn Newton (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Blockers), Suki Waterhouse (Assassination Nation, The Bad Batch), Omar Chaparro (How to Be a Latin Lover, Show Dogs), Chris Geere (You’re the Worst, Modern Family), Ken Watanabe (Inception, The Last Samurai), and Bill Nighy (Norm of the North, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel). This film is based on the video game of the same name and is about a guy who teams up with a Pikachu to solve a mystery involving said guy’s father.

For those of you who don’t know, I really do like video games. In fact, when it comes to video games, if I were to make movies of my own, I’d base them on various video games. Granted, there is a part of me that thinks this vision would ultimately backfire because let’s face it. Video game movies suck. They just do. Even if they prove to be faithful to the source material like in “Warcraft,” it might not be something a person like me would want to watch on a Friday night. In fact, my least favorite movie of all time is based on a video game, specifically “Super Mario Bros..” Naturally, I went into this movie hoping for something. Not necessarily for the best movie ever. In fact, for many movies, those expectations are hard to live up to. I was just hoping that we would see an above average video game movie. Granted, last year’s “Tomb Raider” was rather solid in some places, but the video game movie industry/genre had some ways to go before its first kick-ass project. Granted, I have yet to see various highlights in the industry such as “Mortal Kombat,” “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” and “Silent Hill.” Much like the type of movie itself, I guess I have some ways to go. But I can confirm that after seeing “Pokémon Detective Pikachu,” it was… alright. The genre didn’t really… level up… if you know what I mean.

I have been exposed to various opinions and reviews prior to going to this movie. And a lot of what is being said about this movie, I can agree with. This is a good movie for “Pokémon fans.” It goes into strategies that players may come across in their mind as they play the games, there are references that I imagine will fly over some non-gamers’ heads, but it is not to the point of utter cringe, and all of the CGI Pokémon look very appealing. They have a slightly unrealistic look to them, but that actually works for a movie like this. It’s fantasy-like, they’re not supposed to look like they’re a creature out of a live-action Disney film containing bunches of animals. They’re freaking Pokémon. The games don’t try to present them as realistic, and I thought the style that I have seen in the games made a good transition to their style on film. Although at the same time, this comes from a guy who usually doesn’t play “Pokémon” titles. I never owned a single game in the franchise, and while I did download “Pokémon GO” on my phone when it first came out, I didn’t even use it. I eventually deleted the app and it let it rest for all of eternity. But through various means such as the Internet and friends, I have been exposed to gameplay of various titles.

I have played all of the “Super Smash Bros.” games though! So there is that! *Mumbling* By the way, if you guys have yet to buy a Nintendo Switch, just buy it for “Super Smash Bros.: Ultimate” because it is a freaking masterpiece of a game that I will recommend to everyone and I think you will become a better person in life just for picking up your controller and going to town on it. Cancel all your Friday night plans and drop hundreds of dollars at GameStop just to prepare for a masterpiece of a lifetime. Just do it.

Anyway, back to the review. Let’s talk about this movie’s story. It’s weird. I can buy a city where mankind and Pokémon are equals. I can buy all of the insane creatures this film contains. I can buy a lot of this film’s absurdity. You know what I can also buy? The fact that I didn’t really care about too many characters! When it comes to the Pokémon, they’re fine. I liked pretty much all of them. Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu was a delight. Although at the same time, Reynolds becomes problematic, which is sort of a collision with a perk. As many moviegoers know, Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool. But when I see him as Pikachu, I’m almost comparing the character in my head as a more kid friendly version of Deadpool. Granted, there’s not as much meta humor that Reynolds has to deliver in terms of dialogue, but there’s still plenty of one-liners and funny lines that he manages to utter.

As for the main human in the movie, Tim Goodman, he is kind of stale. A lot of storytelling involving his character happens in the first few minutes of the film, including the mystery of his father, and I ended up not really caring for him. It’s sort of like where I was watching the “Transformers” films where I don’t entirely care about Marky Mark and (insert bangable chick’s name here) and I am mainly watching for the action and everything about the Transformers. I’ll slightly defend Sam Witwicky, partially out of probable bias through nostalgic roots, but still. The movie is called “Transformers,” much like this movie we are talking about has “Pokémon” and yet they kind of make it mainly about the human characters. Granted, I think this movie does a much better job at making it more about Pokémon at various points compared some of Michael Bay’s “Transformers” installments, but this is still an issue that is worth bringing up.

And much like “Transformers,” there is of course… a girl. Granted, they don’t sexualize her, which for a movie like this, wouldn’t have worked in the first place. It’s a movie with a family demographic partially in mind, the target audiences of “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” are not going to their local AMC to watch a porn shoot. That girl by the way is Lucy Stevens played by Kathryn Newton, who I think is a good actress. And she plays her role well in this film. I can’t see anyone else playing her. Too bad the human characters in general just don’t have the same charm as some of the Pokémon. I’m not saying I hated her character, but I had almost no reason to care about her. Although during the climax, I had a reason, but I won’t go into it.

Also, before we get into the “super effective” verdict, I would like to just point out something. Without spoiling the ending, there’s a part of it that kind of took me out of the movie. Remember how I talked about how much I can buy in this film? This ending’s too expensive for me to buy! Granted, the last scene of the film is pretty cool, because it features a particular actor (whose name I won’t reveal), but again, I would prefer savoring the flavor as opposed to spilling milk all over the floor.

In the end, while visually appealing to the point that I can call this movie “Blade Runner” meets “Pokémon,” it fails to impress on all necessary levels. There are various jokes and scenes that fell flat. I started forgetting about some elements of the movie about 24 hours after I saw it. And while this is definitely a serviceable movie for fans that I imagine even non-fans can enjoy, it did not have the oomph factor for me. For me, this is almost a good background noise movie in case there’s nothing else on TV and I am, say, writing a movie review like a moron who has nothing better to do all day. It’s kind of like “The Amazing Spider-Man.” It has great writing that fans and non-fans can latch onto, but it’s missing something. There are many positive factors behind “Pokémon Detective Pikachu,” but it does not change the fact that I would probably be fine if I had to go the rest of my life without needing to watch it again. I’m going to give “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” a 5/10.

Thanks for reading this review! This weekend is the release of “John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum,” one of my most highly anticipated movies of the year. I have not gone to any advance screenings of the film, I tried getting into one, but it was full once I checked. And as for my chances of seeing the film on opening weekend? Forget about it. My dad, who probably REALLY wants to see the movie, is busy this weekend. I considered going opening Thursday, but that is the night of the series finale for “The Big Bang Theory,” so I already have plans. Plus, I am going away to Rhode Island for a night on Sunday, and while there are movie theaters in my area, I doubt that will be part of my getaway activities. So the earliest I will see the movie might be Tuesday or Wednesday. As long as I can get together with my father, I can make it happen. But don’t worry, that review is coming. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Pokémon Detective Pikachu?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite Pokémon? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Shazam! (2019): Manchildren For the Win!

Shazam! (2019)

“Captain Sparklefingers,” I mean “Captain Marvel,” err I mean “Shazam!” is directed by David F. Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation, Lights Out) and stars Zachary Levi (Tangled, Chuck), Mark Strong (Zero Dark Thirty, The Imitation Game), Asher Angel (Audi Mack, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders), Jack Dylan Grazer (It, Me, Myself, and I), and Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy, Gladiator). This film is about a young, adopted boy who comes in contact with a wizard. Once finding himself in that particular situation, he is chosen to wield magical powers. To engage with such powers, he transforms himself into an adult by utterance of the word “shazam.”

Wow! Finally! I’m reviewing this movie! This is long overdue! I saw this film in April, a week before “Avengers: Endgame” came out, so this review is not coming in at a time I’d personally prefer. Am I a Marvel fanboy for this? Nope. I’m just a busy college student. Life happens. However, I did manage to see this film a couple weeks after its initial release in 3D, which somewhat enhanced my viewing experience. And this is a comic book movie that admittedly, sounds somewhat different than others that are coming out today. Yes, much like some others, it’s packed with humor. Although, the thing that makes this pop is its elements of a coming of age story. The two main characters are young boys, one of them was just recently adopted into a family, and they learn to bond with each other. Another main difference that I won’t dive too much into is it doesn’t really make the story of fighting the villain the main factor. Origin-story-wise, it puts A LOT of emphasis on testing powers and seeing what could be done with them. The execution that went into the power testing scenes is beyond brilliant. Especially when you consider the undeniably delightful chemistry between the two main characters involved.

Speaking of positive reactions, this movie was definitely worth a watch! And I’ve been noticing something. If you have been following the DCEU for sometime during its inception, you may have noticed it has built up to a Justice League team-up. One of the neat things about this movie is how it tries to stay in this cinematic universe viewers have come to know, but there is practically little to no connection to outside lore. There are slight exceptions, but I can dig those exceptions. For example, the young brother who was already living in the main character’s new home possesses a bullet used in a fight against Superman and he’s even got a Batarang. There’s even a scene where we see a toy section in a store displaying figures of previously established DC characters. When it comes to this kinda sorta maybe cinematic universe approach, part of me digs it because this would perhaps allow filmmakers to have more freedom to think outside the box. Although then again, similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Kevin Feige, Warner Brothers hired Walter Hamada (The Conjuring, Lights Out) as the president of the Detective Comics Extended Universe. As much as I can appreciate Marvel for its consistent vibe and TV series-like format, I also appreciate DC for being less about making a connected story and more about making a story in general.

Let’s talk about Zachary Levi as the adult version of Shazam. HE’S FREAKING AWESOME. And despite meeting him in person at New York Comic Con, this is totally not biased! If anything, this is probably one of the best modern day superhero casting choices I’ve witnessed in my life. And I think part of it his to do with, believe it or not, my first impression of Levi upon meeting him in person. Think about it. He’s supposed to be playing the “adult” version of this main kid in the movie. He knows nothing about that life. At heart, he’s still a kid, but stuck in a man’s body. While I cannot really say I thought about this much when meeting him, he was kind of hyperactive and happy to be in his current position. This energy is also applied to the character of Shazam, or Billy Batson if you’d prefer to call him that. It’s like a slightly more paranoid version of Po from “Kung Fu Panda” or something. Hyperactive, curious, but also cautious of his surroundings. But one of the best parts of Shazam’s character that I already sort of implied is his will to check out his powers just for s*its and giggles.

Let’s face it, if I were a kid and I magically became a superhero, of course I’d want to try out my powers! Think about it! As a kid, I would roleplay and it would partially involve superheroes from time to time. If I have enough fun pretending to be a hero, how much fun do you think I’d have using something like a flashy laser beam to break my own window and be forced to pay for by my own parents? It would be f*cking worth it! Because, ya know, superpowers! That’s honestly where this movie happens to display some of its biggest strengths, but it doesn’t stop at superpowers. There’s actually a scene where Shazam is dealing with a couple robbers in a convenience store. Words cannot describe how funny it is. It’s almost… I dunno, god-like humor.

But in all seriousness though, I am not joking around when it comes to Zachary Levi. He is the perfect Shazam. He looks like what an adult version of Billy Batson would be, he’s occasionally hyper, not to mention an incessant goofball. As a superhero, he may not look that intimidating to villains, but this is one of those cases where that actually works from a screenwriter’s and artist’s point of view. C’mon, there’s a time when this guy happened to be referred to as “Captain Sparklefingers.” I mean, “Captain Marvel” might as well have been taken, so yeah, I can see why he’d be called that.

Now I mentioned this movie focuses more on its hero’s development as opposed to its villain story. Granted, that may be an understatement, because this villain has some family matters that play throughout the story. That villain by the way is Dr. Sivana played by Mark Strong. I have nothing against this character, in fact, if I had to complain about him to y’all, I’d be a liar. This guy is a great villain, but he partially suffers from a partial lack of memorability. There are one or two scenes where his true power is absolutely displayed that made me attached to the screen. But based on the excessive amount of time focused on our hero, the villain almost does not seem to matter as much. Part of me wants to call this a fault of this movie that shouldn’t be left undisclosed, but at the same time, based on the execution of our hero’s origins, I almost cannot even complain.

But speaking of our hero and mistakes, there is one thing I have to bring up. The main character in this movie is adopted. There is a sideplot to the film where he is trying to find his birthparents, and I won’t go into whether or not he finds them. I won’t go into much about it, but as that side plot manages to come to a conclusion, there is an utterance of dialogue that may not only be cheesy, but conceptually, it is FLAT-OUT IDIOTIC. I won’t go into it for the sake of not spoiling anything yet, you might not even know what I am talking about, but if I were doing a spoiler review right now, I’d probably make a mention of this somewhere because it sort of pissed me off. You know how some people may watch a really good movie but the ending just SUCKS? This was not the ending, in fact the actual climax of the film itself is freaking spectacular. This is almost what it reminded me of. I can tell the filmmakers wanted to get some sort of audience reaction out of what I am talking about. And they succeeded. I say so because I for one reacted angrily.

With that aside, there is still a lot to enjoy in “Shazam!.” There are a couple of cool action sequences, a ton of humorous scenes and gags, the writing is off the chain! The story feels very self-contained and unlike some MCU movies, you don’t really need to watch any thing that precedes this film. Granted, I have no idea where the DCEU is going to go, but I have a feeling that depending on whether or not the franchise continues to have success, that is going to change. But for now, I am willing to appreciate this film’s intimate screenplay. In fact, the closest that this movie actually gets to being connected in the same universe is probably towards the last scene, which I won’t talk about that much. It doesn’t necessarily tease an upcoming film, but it is something to take note of.

And one last thing I have to note before moving onto my final verdict, for those of you who are not that invested in comic books, you may not be aware that Shazam is not this movie’s hero’s original name, it was actually Captain Marvel, but due to a legal battle between comic creators DC and Fawcett, Marvel Comics eventually started their own series with a hero by said name. How MARVELOUS indeed. Now, as most modern moviegoers know, one of the most recent films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is “Captain Marvel” starring Brie Larson as Carol Danvers. I gotta be honest, the movie was not that great. So you know what? When it comes to “Captain Marvel” films, DC did this concept better! I know a lot of people look at the DCEU and consider it to almost be a joke, but in all seriousness, not only is it getting better compared to how it was in say 2016 with movies like “Suicide Squad,” but this is just another scenario where I thought DC did a film concept better than Marvel. Coincidentally, if you guys have ever read my “Captain Marvel” review, you’d know that I said towards the end that when it comes to doing solo movies with female leads, that’s another win for DC. I personally liked “Wonder Woman” better than “Captain Marvel.” Yes, Marvel seems to have the better collective universe, but much like anyone else, they have bad days at the office. Ever seen “Thor: The Dark World?” Please don’t.

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In the end, “Shazam!” is just a good time at the movies that can put an idiotic grin on your face. It’s hilarious, charming, and conceptually pleasing. Also, I would not mind watching it again and buying it on Blu-ray in the future. Maybe if Best Buy puts out a steelbook, I’ll shell out some money for that. I like my collector’s items. Zachary Levi is a national treasure and I would like to see more work for him in the future whether it is in the DCEU or in some other realm of media. Something like comedy, perhaps a buddy cop film maybe? I’m going to give “Shazam!” a 7/10. Again, one thing that takes away points for this film is the whole side plot and that one thing about it that kind of pissed me off, other than that, this is a fun and wacky superhero flick that is certainly worth your time and money.

MARVEL: We’re making a “Captain Marvel” movie! Dope, eh?

DC: Same bat-hold. Same bat-my beer.

Thanks for reading this review! If you are interested in more superhero related content, I reviewed two other comic book movies this year, and no, I have not seen “Hellboy.” If you want to get your fix of comic book movie reviews, click the links below and check these things out! I’ve got my review for “Captain Marvel” and “Avengers: Endgame,” please check em’ out! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Shazam!?” What did you think about it? Or, what would you do if you happened to be a kid and found out you had superpowers? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Captain Marvel REVIEW

Avengers: Endgame REVIEW

Long Shot (2019): The Hillary Clinton Story

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“Long Shot” is directed by Jonathan Levine (Snatched, Warm Bodies) and stars Seth Rogen (Sausage Party, The Disaster Artist) and Charlize Theron (The Fate of the Furious, Atomic Blonde) as the two work together while one of them, specifically Charlize Theron, tries to become President of the United States, although in reality this would actually never happen because Theron was born in South Africa, but still. While Theron is busy with her work in trying to promote herself as a likable candidate, Rogen joins alongside her as her speechwriter. Unfortunately for Rogen however, his journalistic background does not mix with serious politics.

I saw some bits of marketing for this movie before checking it out and honestly, it looked charming. The two leads are extremely likable so if you put them together, OF COURSE I would be there to see them on screen. If anything has been proven in recent years, if your name is “Seth,” you have a knack for comedy. Seth MacFarlane, Seth Green, Seth Meyers, and the main guy here, Seth Rogen, just because of your name, you are all SETH for life!

Aaaand, since my name is Jack, it appears that I’m not.

In fact, part of me actually forgets sometimes how much I really appreciate Seth Rogen. To me, it’s hard to point out a bad project from him. I even liked “The Guilt Trip!” I’m sorry, but it’s true! Even a formulaic and repetitive sequel such as “Neighbors 2: Sorority Uprising” worked for me. I love his tendency to push the barrier when it comes to comedy, as seen in movies like “Sausage Party.” I liked that movie so much that I saw it twice in theaters! I kind of regret not buying the Blu-ray when it came out, especially considering how I still don’t own the darn thing. In fact, his name helps me for his projects now, because Amazon has a show coming out called “The Boys.” I’ve seen and heard what it is about, but since I have a high dedication to movies, I don’t have much time for TV. Then I saw Seth Rogen’s name attached just recently, and now I want more of this project. It’s similar to another Seth, specifically MacFarlane. I am not much of a Trekkie. I like “Star Trek,” but I am not that religious to the franchise. Once I saw Seth MacFarlane attached to “The Orville,” the series had me hooked.

But we’re not here to talk about TV, we’re here to talk about film. So how was “Long Shot?” It certainly lived up to my expectations. I have to say that it certainly has a vibe of a Seth Rogen film while also being its own thing. Going into “Long Shot,” I have heard somewhere, I can’t remember the exact source, that this is a good date movie. I didn’t go to this movie with my girlfriend, in fact, to this day I can never say I’ve had one. Not that it matters, but having seen “Long Shot,” this is certainly a perfect way to describe it. “Long Shot” is a hip, cool, funny romantic comedy that really puts a lot of emphasis on the comedy. And by romantic comedy I don’t mean chick flick, it has a flair that feels very unisex going on masculine. Sex jokes galore, but luckily just about none of them feel cringeworthy or forced, which as a movie critic, is something that I tend to appreciate nowadays, especially when it feels like you have seen everything when it comes to comedy. Because comedy in movies, at least to me, has either become all sex jokes all the time, or physical mishaps that no pun intended, fall flat, or just plain cringe. “Long Shot,” much like some comedies from last year such as “Game Night” and “Tag,” sort of quenches my thirst like Gatorade.

I already dived into Seth Rogen as a person, but let’s dive into his character. I really like the direction which they took him, he’s a barrier-crossing journalist that leaves his job, which eventually leads to his working relationship with Charlize Theron. He’s not really that formal, which is something that he has to get used to overtime, which leads to a hilarious outfit change when his character, specifically named Fred Flarsky, travels to a foreign country and has to look presentable to a foreign audience.

As for Charlize Theron, I have to give a lot of credit, not necessarily to her performance, but everyone behind the makeup and costume departments of production. It seems like they had a lot of fun trying to come up with how Charlize Theron would present herself if she ever got into politics. It kind of feels like a stereotype, which really works for her character.

Speaking of politics, the president we see in the start of this movie (Bob Odenkirk) is actually kind of hilarious. Granted, there is not much to say about him, and he is sort of one-dimensional, but when he is shown early on in the film, his character reveals what he wants to do with his life. He wants to become a TV star, which makes sense as he was watching himself on TV early on. The more I think about it, the more I enjoy this idea for a singular motivation because you see all of these people acting in one thing or another and they play a president. You never think they are going to become the President of the United States, and now you have a president who wants to go in the realm of television. The more I think about it the more I go, “Yeah, that thing from the movie. Dope.”

And to be honest, I did not have many theories about “Long Shot” going into it. You know, aside from it pleasing me. Why’s that? Well, the movie’s title does not rhyme with “Avengers: Endgame.” But let’s say I had to go back and analyze any previous thoughts I had going into “Long Shot.” I didn’t think that this movie would become as serious as it did. I won’t say when, and I won’t say how, but this movie does become a fantastic parody of how politics works. In some ways, it really is all down to the marketing, and you can’t please everyone, sometimes including yourself. Charlize Theron has this plan to save the planet and not everyone in the world is onboard with it. As a viewer, I was onboard with the idea, but that has probably nothing to do with the movie and maybe more to do with my worldview. And speaking of worldviews…

This movie manages to parody on our media. It doesn’t dive too deep into MSNBC and CNN, but as for Fox News, it hits the organization hard. Granted, I don’t like Fox News, and I think what they did to Fox News in this movie is hilarious, but it also makes me think that this movie is going to piss some people off. I know some Republicans and they are nice people, but I wouldn’t take them to see this movie. Not that this movie is propaganda, but I would rather take someone who doesn’t watch Fox News everyday and bashes on the “fake news media.” And as for my thoughts on that, let’s just admit it, everyone has an agenda and no matter what organization you belong to, there are always guidelines and you are not always going to knock each report out of the park, let’s just be honest about that. Yes, there is a lady that is trying to run for president. And you know what? That’s not even the real propaganda of the movie, which I actually really appreciate. Although it does occasionally attack the Republican Party, the political system as a whole, and even Donald Trump. Because there is a line in the beginning of the film that I actually found rather funny when it came to Charlize Theron’s character wanting to run for president and guy pointed out that nobody wants to know what the president does to their hair, shortly after, he takes that statement back. I kinda like that joke.

In the end, “Long Shot” is a fun movie. In a time where President Orange is in office and he’s trying to get people to see less work from Hollywood, he ain’t stoppin’ me from prompting you guys to check this out. Well, then there’s “Endgame,” in which case, I truly wish this movie luck. The movie brought in a billion bucks for Disney, so yeah. I seriously wonder how much money it’ll lose, if anything. In all seriousness though, if all of your theater’s showtimes for “Endgame” are sold out and you don’t have any kids in your party, consider giving “Long Shot” a chance. I’m going to give “Long Shot” a 7/10. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I am going to have my review up for “Shazam” and for those of you who don’t know, I got the opportunity to watch “Long Shot” for free, and the same goes with another film that is set to come out next week called “The Hustle.” For those of you who have seen the film “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” this is a remake of that film and I have passes on me for that film. I might go see it next week depending on whether someone decides to come along with me. Be sure to follow Scene Before with a WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Long Shot?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite Seth Rogen or Charlize Theron movie? For Rogen, it would probably be “Kung Fu Panda,” which until recently, I might have never known he had a voice in, and for Theron it might be “Kubo and the Two Strings.” Let me know your picks down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Christopher Nolan: The Bright Auteur Rises

WARNING: The following post is a piece of college work based on months of research. As you may know, I, Jack Drees, continue to operate Scene Before every day for a general audience and film lovers everywhere, dedicating time to film reviews, news updates, countdowns, and my general opinion on various matters. If this post sounds abnormal or differing in style, it is due to an attempt to follow guidelines in order to achieve a positive grade in my class. Thanks for your attention, enjoy the post! 

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! For the past few years on Scene Before, you, my viewers, have been exposed to a variety of film reviews, four of which are for movies directed by Christopher Nolan. For a portion of my life, I have practically been an evangelical towards his work, and if you followed this blog for some time, you’d know that. Today, however, I would like to take the opportunity to discuss something that some of you might find to be a con when it comes to Nolan. If you know about Nolan’s statistics, you’d know he generally receives extremely positive reviews, in fact the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score he received for a film he directed was a 72%. This and other factors have solidified Nolan as a filmmaking powerhouse and an auteur with an unusual amount of power.

Film buffs happen to know that Nolan is dedicated to his craft and will do a film his way, which to him, is his absolute preference. Think of Nolan as a newer incarnation of Steven Spielberg or George Lucas. In fact, as I personally watch his movies, I happen to find a similar vibe between all of them, even if they aren’t in a linked franchise or have completely different storylines. For example, Nolan’s scripts tend to have a main character who is a white male with darker hair, because diversity is totally, without objection, a top priority. Speaking of repetition, Nolan often inserts a wife character in some way who will eventually meet her fate with death. Nolan’s trademarks also include puzzle-like plots, tons of practical effects, and relying on film stock. In fact, relying on film stock is not just a trademark for Nolan, but it’s a lifestyle.

In an age where people lack the attention span to pick up a paper case, open it, and insert a media file into a player (unless you’re me, as proven above), it is almost surprising that film stock is still a thing.

But based on the efforts of Christopher Nolan and other directors including Quentin Tarantino, it is still thriving for a select number of directors, cinematographers, and movie theaters. As more and more theaters switch to digital projection, Nolan still had no problem with releasing his films the way he intended in certain areas. After all, these are his creations, not anyone else’s. Nolan and his recent films such as Interstellar and Dunkirk have surfaced in the news because they released either on 35mm or 70mm film. Digital projection, which Nolan and others see as inferior, has gotten an enormous boost thanks to the release of James Cameron’s Avatar in 2009. This is partially due to its use of 3D, which is primarily shot digitally (unless there are certain cases of post-conversion), which Nolan has yet to use for any of his films, even for cases like The Dark Knight Rises, released in 2012, a time when post-conversion to 3D was a new and popular fad and 3D Blu-rays were still being made for American audiences. Speaking of movie gimmicks, Nolan also broke ground by being the first director to shoot a Hollywood feature with IMAX cameras.

If the IMAX experience has proven anything aside from the fact that consumers are willing to pay extra money to watch Spider-Man shoot a web into their faces, it has proven that Christopher Nolan changed moviemaking by shooting The Dark Knight on what is theoretically the highest quality format for a motion picture. Nolan shot The Dark Knight with select scenes, about thirty minutes of footage to be precise, on IMAX film. IMAX’s film stock is technically 65mm film, but unlike traditional cameras of that sort, IMAX’s film camera holds film that goes horizontal as opposed to vertical. Nolan’s IMAX footage covered its brand-specific screens from floor to ceiling during the film’s theatrical run, which then carried over to the film’s Blu-ray release. Speaking of carrying over, Nolan’s pioneering efforts allowed directors like Michael Bay and Zack Snyder to create films of their own using IMAX-shot footage.

The reality is, Christopher Nolan, above all, is not necessarily a filmmaker, he’s an auteur. While people who worked with him managed to point out his calmness on set, Nolan also embodies the qualities of a filmmaker who needs to get his way. Luckily for Nolan, he has had successes from his previous films which allow him to make whatever kind of film he wants. Much like how the franchise name Star Wars is likely to get people to watch a movie, even with a character like Jar Jar Binks, the director name, Christopher Nolan, is likely to do the same. This is even during cases where Nolan does a movie that doesn’t base itself on a popular or preexisting franchise. Inception, Nolan’s first film after The Dark Knight, grossed over $800 million at the box office. Interstellar, which came out four years after Inception, managed to make under $700 million.

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There is also an argument to make is that Nolan’s freedom and control comes from family roots. Aside from directing, Nolan often receives credits for writing and producing on the same films. After all, Auteur Theory, developed in the 20th century, gives cases like these as support for a director being the film’s author per se. In fact, one of his scripts is based on a short story from his brother, Jonathan Nolan, but since Christopher claims the director’s chair, he is obviously receiving more attention. Speaking of which, Nolan has a wife by the name of Emma Thomas who often works alongside him. Most of the projects where they worked together had Nolan as the director and Thomas as a producer. While this is not technically family, Nolan has managed to release almost every single one of his films (at least internationally) under the Warner Brothers label. In fact, he is not stopping, because his next film, set to release in July 2020 starring John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman) is also from Warner Brothers. Wait a minute… What happened to the white dude cliche? I’m intrigued…

To link common roots even further, followers are also aware that Nolan often recruits the same people to work on his films. Aside from his family members, he has done three films with Tom Hardy, five films with Cillian Murphy, and for each film Nolan has directed since 2005 (Batman Begins), Michael Caine had an appearance in every single one of them. Such a correlation between Nolan and Caine for example can be traced through relationships between other directors and the actors they have worked with. Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. for example had an ongoing relationship that has been present through their work on films like Iron Man and Chef. Another auteur often pointed out, Tim Burton, has a significant business relationship with Johnny Depp based on their collaborations during Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice In Wonderland (2010), and Corpse Bride.

If Nolan had not succeeded, developed business relationships, had family by his side, or ignored his individuality and developed a cookie cutter style that didn’t particularly pertain to him, chances are he wouldn’t have the success he does today. I love Christopher Nolan, but there is no denying that part of why I love him so much is due to his position which he practically earned. He, unlike other directors, has the ability to make whatever films they please with little to no interference from others, including studios. While the film industry as a whole has an ideology of saying that big, known franchises, and expensive, perhaps disposable films with tons of special effects are the ones that make money. Nolan steps up to the plate and doesn’t exactly cheapen the filmmaking process, nor does he ignore preexisting material, but he makes all of the material his own, which is part of why audiences like me continue to support him.

Thanks for reading this post! If you want to see more from Scene Before, be sure to follow either with a WordPress account or email! Once you hit that follow button, be sure to stay tuned for more content like my upcoming reviews for “Shazam” and “Long Shot.” I also recently scored some passes for the “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” remake, or more specifically, “The Hustle.” So I might check that out next week depending on whether I get someone to go with me because I actually have a +1 on my pass. But let’s face it, you guys don’t care about those movies, because according to quite literally every movie-related site in existence, everybody cares about “Avengers: Endgame.” It’s what all the cool kids are talking about, even if it was made for a nerdy demographic. If you want to see my SPOILER-FREE review of the film, feel free to click the link below and check it out! Again, follow Scene Before if you haven’t already and be sure to stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, who is your favorite auteur director? Also, what is your favorite Christopher Nolan movie? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Avengers: Endgame Review! (NO SPOILERS!)