Spies In Disguise (2019): #TeamWeird

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“Spies In Disguise” is directed by Nick Bruno and Troy Quane, stars Will Smith (Men in Black, Suicide Squad) alongside Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Lost City of Z), and this is the latest animated feature from Blue Sky, the creators of films including “Rio,” “Epic,” and “Ice Age.” This film follows the adventures of showoff spy Lance Sterling (Smith) as he eventually runs into the quirky and hyperactive Walter Beckett (Holland). When the two first meet, their chemistry does not quite match, causing a bit of a ruckus between them. Speaking of things that cause a ruckus, the film involves Sterling’s accidental transformation and adaptation to the life of a pigeon. Meanwhile, Sterling is also in a situation where he has been framed.

Before we go any further, I do want to remind you all that this is my final film review of 2019, and what a better way to end than by touching upon a movie where Agent Jay and Spider-Man collide, amirite? Now, while this was not a film I was planning on seeing instantaneously, I recall seeing a trailer or two for this film in the theater earlier this year. During that time, my curiosity meter increased. But as I went in, part of me was still skeptical as to how this could turn out. As much as I have enjoyed a good portion of Blue Sky’s work, I was worried that this movie could end up being a little more disposable than I’d like. And in some ways, I guess it is. It relies a bit on gross and toilet humor, there’s even a scene that I probably want removed from my memory as soon as possible.

I have to ask all of you, what is the most disturbing sight you’ve witnessed in a kids movie? Because while I cannot confirm what mine would be at this point. I would probably need to think about it, but there’s a scene that I am truthfully surprised this movie was somehow able to get away with. There is a brief clip where we get a look at this chubby naked dude and it shows pretty much the entire backside of his body, including his magnificent ass. Seriously, watch the movie, it’s actually pretty spectacular.

MOVE OVER, CAPTAIN AMERICA! THERE’S A NEW PLAYER IN TOWN!

And the film is kinda sorta what a parent would want when they need to waste an afternoon with their kid. It’s fun, but also kind of unmemorable. You’re not really getting the quality that you would come to expect from say your typical Pixar fare nowadays. It’s a film that is sort of cliche, sort of been there done that, not to mention done better, but it his a few elements here and there that still make it a fun time at the movies.

I also have to say, when it comes to Will Smith’s character, I’d say he was very well portrayed given the writing and overall style of the film. After all, it is an animated film, which does allow for, not to mention celebrate, enhanced hyperactivity. Lance Sterling is essentially the result of what would happen if Michael Bay were black and fought crime. He often tends to reveal personal enthusiasm or excitement towards explosions, violence, flying through helicopters in ways that don’t really make any logical sense, and whatever other way he can show himself off. The movie’s second scene does a really good job at showing Smith’s character in all of his glory. He’s basically what would happen if Po from “Kung Fu Panda” became a spy. I say that because Po often displays a sense of enthusiasm from his particular martial art, and while spying is not kung fu, Po would probably take various elements from his passion, which seems to be fighting for good, hold onto them, and continue to express himself as the “most awesome” fighter ever. In fact, to put two and two together, Lance Sterling is referred to as “the most awesome spy.”

To add onto this supposed awesomeness, Sterling in this film is displayed as kind of a narcissist. Even though he is often responsible for people’s lives and has to save the day, he thinks that he is a step above those around him just because he’s, well, him. We see a scene where he’s given a marathon of compliments in a giant lobby, and if he were invited to a party of spies, he’d be a hit based on what I can assume from that short moment. I will say though, and this is my opinion, this narcissism of Sterling’s, while definitely a defining character trait, also kind of made him somewhat of an asshole, most notably during the beginning portions of the picture.

As much as I like Will Smith, I also have a soft spot for Tom Holland, considering he has one of the best interpretations of a comic book-based character of all time. He stars in this film alongside Smith as a young, millennial, aspiring inventor and scientist who went to MIT in his younger teen years. In fact, when we first see him, in a scene that almost felt like it was ripped out of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” he shows off this invention that sort of reveals his personality. This makes him almost a polar opposite of Smith’s character once they team up, because Smith lives for violence, whereas Holland is almost kind of a pacifist. Much of his character’s traits revolve around him being happy or optimistic or peace-loving. I think the mismatched chemistry was a good idea and helps build a lesson for younger viewers, specifically the notion that sometimes problems can be solved without anger or destruction.

I mentioned one problem I had with the film early on in the review, specifically how it does something that I almost wonder how it got in the film in the first place. Maybe it’s not as graphic as I thought, it’s just something that I do not usually expect to see in an animation like this. However, this movie is not afraid to let in a swear. Seriously! There is a moment where Lance Sterling is in a sticky situation and the moment basically called for a joke where he drops a bomb. For those of you who are possibly parents who want to protect your kid, don’t worry, it’s censored! I’d also say the film is still predictable and kind of standard as far as modern animations go, but it still manages to handle itself quite well in the process.

In the end, if you have kids, I think this might be a fine afternoon outing of some sort. If you want to go see a movie for matinee price, I’d recommend this. Maybe if you have A-List, it would be a slightly higher recommendation. Maybe you should wait until it becomes available on DVD, maybe go see “Star Wars” for the second or third time. But just to remind you, Disney wins either way. After all, this is a Fox movie.

And we all know the fate of that company…

Anyway, I don’t think I’ll ever rewatch “Spies in Disguise,” at least not in the near future. It’s by no means a bad movie, but it is one that I am almost surprised I have not forgotten by now. I have a feeling if I were a general audience member, maybe I’d forget about it at this point, maybe fairly soon. But like most of the movies I have seen this year, the positives tend to outweigh the negatives. It’s not Shakespeare, but it’s a good time. I’m going to give “Spies in Disguise” a 6/10.

Thanks for reading this review, 2019 is finally over and I have had one heck of a year. I will be kicking off 2020 in style, because tomorrow is the release of my top 10 BEST movies of 2019. Speaking of which, the day afterwards, I will be following this up by revealing my top 10 WORST movies of 2019. I’m not going to give much hints as to what will be on those lists, but I am excited to continue my annual countdown tradition, and I hope you enjoy the content! Speaking of content, if you want to receive the latest updates from Scene Before, follow the blog either with a WordPress account or email! And speaking of stalking my daily life, go on over to my Facebook page and give it a like! It really helps me out! I want to know, did you see “Spies in Disguise?” What did you think about it? Or, since this is my final review of the year, what is your favorite and/or least favorite movie of 2019? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Ford v Ferrari (2019): Damon and Bale Blaze to The Finish

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“Ford v Ferrari” is directed by James Mangold (Walk the Line, Logan) and stars Matt Damon (The Martian, Good Will Hunting) as a car designer and Christian Bale (Batman Begins, Vice) as a driver. This film takes place in the 1960s, during a time where Ford Motor Co. was seemingly in a bit of a sticky situation. To get out of it, it is proposed that the company tries to develop a car that could win Le Mans, the 24 hour racing competition in France. Throughout, we get interactions between the two leads as they try to complete the ambitious project handed to them.

“Ford v Ferrari” is one of those movies that just sounds like it would be worth seeing just from hearing what it’s about. The film is based on a true story from over fifty years ago and describes Ford’s efforts to rise to superiority in a realm they don’t traditionally associate with. Plus, racing on the big screen always packs a punch. Now let me tell you about my history of going to the cinema.

The first movie I have seen in a theater is Pixar’s “Cars,” the film where a rookie racecar tries to win a big event and make history, ends up in a three way tie, eventually gets stuck in a town in the middle of nowhere, and must adapt to the current situation and deal with whatever consequences get in his way. I remember when I first watched “Cars” in the theater, one of the things that stood out to me the most that day was the sound. Let’s face it, racing movies are always better in the theater. Not that I have anything against watching them at home, but to hear cars blaze at hundreds of miles per hour through an advanced audio system is orgasmic to say the least. Such a notion can also be applied to “Ford v Ferrari,” whether it was intentional or not. I saw this film at my local IMAX Laser cinema at Jordan’s Furniture, where the sound is perhaps better than any theater I have been to. Although Dolby Cinema at AMC comes pretty close. If “Ford v Ferrari” does not at least get consideration in the sound categories during awards season, then the voters must be smoking something. That’s the only conclusion I can come up with at this point.

Speaking of praise, I have to say the performances in this movie, pretty much all over, are worth saluting. Matt Damon plays car designer Carroll Shelby, who has this swagger to him that kind of makes you like him even before he speaks. Maybe it’s because Matt Damon is, well… Matt Damon. The guy in general just manages to have this charm to him that makes him so damn admirable. Maybe it’s because I’m a Bostonian, I dunno. But Damon plays a character that fits directly within the specific time period. He feels like a guy I would want to have lunch with, kind of like Cliff Booth from “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” or Joel Goodsen from “Risky Business.”

Christian Bale, if you ask me, personally does a better acting job in this film than Damon. And part of it honestly has to do with his physique. Because for starters, Bale lost weight for this film. While Matt Damon is definitely giving a solid portrayal of his characters, looks sometimes matter. Bale’s last role was Dick Cheney, and to hear Bale trimmed himself down for this already gives me a proper first impression. I also really enjoyed seeing his character’s arch as well. One of the main ideas behind Bale’s character is that he does not represent the idea of a team player. Without going into much detail, such an idea made the movie eventually feel charming and to my surprise, heartwarming.

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But if you ask me, neither of the main two actors in this film hold a candle to the performance given by Tracy Letts (Lady Bird, Divorce) who plays Henry Ford II. From the first scene he’s in, I automatically got the sense of who his character truly is, a no nonsense type of boss that will do anything to make sure s*it gets done. Pretty much every moment of his presence was pure joy. There is a scene that takes place where he is discussing what Ford can do to have a place in society, you know that part of the trailer where Carroll is told to “go to war?” Yeah, that one. I imagine that directing had a lot to do with how delivery of his dialogue came out, but seeing Henry Ford II attached to his chair, almost as if his wife happened to be present and he was giving her the silent treatment, was gritty as hell.

I will also say that this film does one thing very well, and I already talked about how immersive the sound is, and that is definitely a win for this film. However, that is not the only way this film ultimately immersed me. As mentioned, “Ford v Ferrari” took place in the 1960s, based on my experience of watching this film, I felt like I was a part of that environment. It almost felt like everyone was into cars, and in a way that is sort of a representation of our history, specifically in the United States. Plus, the fashion styles popped for me, seeing various environments happened to be pleasant, and it almost made me want to be a part of this time period. Because, you know, there is no reality like fantasy. Only… this was reality over fifty years ago.

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Now I know that I’m probably raving about this movie right now, and it is definitely worth seeing in the theater, but I gotta be honest, if there is one thing that I think could be a bit of a turnoff for me personally, it’s the product placement. I get it, some people gotta eat. I understand the purpose of product placement, and bits of it, kind of work. But there are various moments in the film where it gets annoying. I remember one shot just pans over to some advertisement on a building. It feels rather tacked on if you asked me. It’s NOWHERE near as bad as “Uncle Drew,” but that movie was partially responsible because of Pepsi, so there you go.

Speaking of complaints, I’ll have you know that I happened to be at this movie with my mom. She went to the restroom afterwards, and I was waiting outside for a short time. While she was in there, she just overheard somebody else going “That ending sucked.” My mother and I pretty much agreed that such an opinion is perhaps surprising. Partially because, based on recent research, the ending I’m referring to actually happened and is not completely inaccurate. I do want to know if there is something I am missing here, because I thought the ending was awesome. If anybody here did not like the ending to “Ford v Ferrari,” please leave a comment as to why you don’t like it. I seriously want to know. Maybe you’ll bring a new perspective to the table that could change my ways, or maybe I’ll never want to hang out with you. We’ll have to see.

In the end, “Ford v Ferrari” is a fast-paced, epic thrill ride to the finish. The characters are a mix of fun, charming, and gritty. The theatrical experience of going to see this movie is one you don’t want to miss. Yes, “Star Wars” is coming, but if you want a cinema experience that packs a punch and dials the immersion levels up to a 10, “Ford v Ferrari” is for you. I do think the product placement, while it definitely sometimes fits in and makes sense, is on the brink of being forced. Nevertheless, “Ford v Ferrari” is a delight of a movie and should get some attention during the awards season. I do not think it will win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, but do not be surprised if it at least gets nominated. I’m going to give “Ford v Ferrari” a 9/10. Thanks for reading this review! Just this past week, I saw two more movies, specifically “Knives Out” and “Dark Waters.” We are in a fine time to go to the movies, folks! Stay tuned for these reviews, and more great content by following Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out my Facebook page!

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I also have one more announcement to make. This week I’m planning on dropping my possible final trailer for the Top Movies of the 2010s countdowns I’m planning on doing. That’s countdowns, with an s. I’m going to be doing a best list, followed by a worst list the day after. I already started working on them, and here’s hoping that the end of 2019 will not change that list significantly because I’m working really hard on them. The trailer should drop by the 30th of November, but if you want to know my ideal motives, I’m planning on either releasing it on the 28th, which is Thanksgiving, because then your family can talk about something less controversial than politics, or on Black Friday, the 29th, that way you can watch something to relieve yourself of the crowds at the mall. Also, with that in mind, stay tuned for my Top Movies of the 2010s countdowns, coming this January.

I want to know, did you see “Ford v Ferrari?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite racing movie? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Spider-Man Is BACK IN THE MCU!

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! So next week, I’ve been thinking about seeing “Joker,” the latest of the neverending trend that we like to call “comic book movies.” And I’ll tell you, the movie looks pretty freakin–WAIT A MINUTE! HOLD THE PHONE! SPIDER-MAN JUST RETURNED TO THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE!

This information, to me, came completely out of the blue. I was just enjoying my Friday off from school, summing up my thoughts on the latest movie I’ve gone out to see, when all of a sudden, I’m on social media, and a Variety article comes up with a headline that at this point looks too good to be true. Once I saw the headline “Spider-Man Will Stay in the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” there was only one thing to do.

DO SOME CARTWHEELS AND ALERT THE FREAKING MASSES!

I try to maintain a level of professionalism on this website. There are definitely signs that may suggest otherwise, but that’s because I want my blog to be fun, not boring, not unoriginal. I want everything to stand out. So with that in mind, THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I’VE HEARD IN MY LIFE! HELL TO THE FREAKING YEAH! BOOM!

Now, let me just say, Spider-Man is my favorite superhero of all time, and if you have not been following my favorite superhero of all time in the news recently, you’d know that Disney and Sony had a little scrap. For some years now, Sony had the ability to spend money on a new Spider-Man movie, but Marvel Studios (owned by Disney) helps out in making those movies come to life and in return, their side gets a portion of the money, all of the merchandising rights, and a couple of chances to show Spider-Man off in other movies they happen to be making. Sony also gets the chances to retain rights to solo Spider-Man filmmaking as they have already come out with films like “Venom” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” But this was recently interrupted because Disney asked Sony for greater permission on the content, but Sony said no.

The original deal had Sony making 95% of the box office totals on films that would eventually be known as “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” This means for those movies, Disney would gain 5% of the box office. After the exciting news of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” becoming Sony’s highest grossing movie ever, it was a great sign that the deal seemed to have worked out. Both Disney and Sony are making money on Marvel Studios films, Disney is getting merch money, and Sony gets to make money on their own “Spider-Man” films outside the MCU. But Disney asked for Sony to co-finance and split profits on upcoming “Spider-Man” films. Sony wasn’t satisfied with Disney’s new proposal, so they were no longer involved with the MCU. But, a “Spider-Man 3” was still planned. So they were going to make the movie on their own, without Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige’s involvement, which seemed kind of difficult because if you ask me, Spider-Man currently represents an enormous part of the MCU’s current storyline. With several main characters we currently know having disappeared, Spider-Man may be the next crucial main character for Marvel’s phase 4 and on. He was taken under the wing of Tony Stark, he tried to make him proud from time to time, and now he is trying let Stark’s legacy live on. This separation would have been bad because Sony probably couldn’t use any of Marvel Studios’ other properties or characters if they needed to, and future Marvel Studios films would probably have to come up with some lame or cheesy excuse as to why Spider-Man is not with the Avengers.

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Did he have too much homework?

Is he busy with The Daily Bugle?

Did he not feel so good? I mean, come on!

Nevertheless, as of Friday, Sony and Disney have reunited with new terms that may seem to work out for both of them. And that was one thing that I personally was worried about, because as much as I want Spider-Man in the MCU, I understand why Sony left, and I would have rather had Sony leave the way they did as opposed to having them go along with the 50/50 terms because that means they lose control, or at least partial control of their biggest property, and let’s face it, if this were a game of Film Studio Monopoly, Disney would be winning. They own Boardwalk (most of Marvel), they own Park Place (Lucasfilm), there are hotels on both properties, and you might as well say that they own Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Pacific Avenues, all of which represents the remains of 21st Century Fox, and they are starting to build on those properties as we speak. If Sony were playing this game, they’d be better off landing on the go to jail spot over and over again. I’m not saying they are in danger of going out of business, but still. Luckily, things are being kept in check, because while the deal is no longer a 95/5% difference between sides, it is now 75/25%, with Sony gaining most of the profits. And while this may seem like a significant increase right now for Disney, it may be worth it in the end. Because Sony is still putting some of their eggs into the basket of their own Spidey content, including “Venom 2” which is currently in development.

Despite how much I may point out how Disney is making “too much money,” there’s not much wrong here with Disney wanting more money for these “Spider-Man” films. They’ve done their part when it comes to inserting soul into the character. But I think this deal should probably not go much higher, because Sony is the one distributing the film, and they are the ones paying for it to be made. I personally think 25% is the highest that I would be OK with Disney earning for these movies. Because if they are allowed to earn anything greater, then they might as well be snatching “Spider-Man” from Sony. Yes, Disney technically owns Marvel, but Sony is also in a position where Spider-Man movies are “their thing” and will probably end up being their greatest asset for the time being. It would be like Universal giving up “Fast & Furious” or Paramount giving up “Mission: Impossible” or STX Entertainment giving up “Bad Moms.”

I should also point out that in addition to this whole reunion, the spreading of joy and good news across the movie fandom, Sony put out a post recently of a little announcement that I think you all might enjoy.

One word. Hype.

I honestly almost couldn’t be happier because while Disney is still increasing their control on Spidey, it’s not like they’re hogging the entire plate. Sony gets to keep the rights, and Marvel Studios gets to keep Spider-Man in the MCU. And even if it is just for one more movie, it would help me as an audience member in getting some closure after the AMAZING mid-credits scene of “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” What mood am I in right now? Well, look down below!

I feel like dancin’ like I just don’t care! Booyah!

Thanks for reading this post! I just want to remind everyone that “Joker” comes out next weekend. Now, I want to go see it next weekend. I have time to go see it next weekend. But chances are, I’m not going to. I will say though, I do have tickets booked for the second weekend! I’m going to see “Joker” on Friday, October 11th in 70mm! Hopefully I can get a review up by the end of Columbus Day if I go see it then for the first time, or Indigenous Peoples’ Day depending on your preference, I cannot wait to check it out! As for this next weekend, I am not sure what’s going on. Maybe I’ll watch “The Fanatic,” the new John Travolta movie that just came out, because I kind of want to talk about it. It just seems like it would make for good material, so we’ll see what happens. Be sure to follow Scene Before with a WordPress account if you want to see new posts in your WordPress feed, or if you just want to subscribe with an email, you will be notified of new posts immediately through email. Stay tuned for more great content, and check out my Facebook page! I want to know, what are your thoughts on the latest news regarding Sony, Disney, Marvel, and Spider-Man? Are you happy to see him back in the MCU? Do you think a better deal could have been made? Or are you disappointed? Did you want to see what Sony could have done with Spider-Man without Marvel Studios? Leave your thoughts and opinions down below and I’m not sure about you guys, but bring on “Spider-Man 3!” I want it now! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“This is terrific, Peter Parker’s story took a dramatic turn in ‘Far From Home’ and I could not be happier we will all be working together as we see where his journey goes.” -Amy Pascal (Producer, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING and SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME)

Ad Astra (2019): Cliff Booth Goes to Space

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“Ad Astra” is directed by James Gray (The Lost City of Z, The Immigrant) and stars Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, World War Z), Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black, The Fugitive), Ruth Negga (Preacher, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Liv Tyler (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Incredible Hulk), and Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games, Ordinary People). This film is about an astronaut by the name of Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) and he is trying to fulfill a space mission with one person in mind. Specifically, his father. But it’s not easy, it is in fact, as this movie presents, dangerous to the tenth degree.

I. Love. Space movies. Period. Some of the best movies of the decade have primarily taken place in space. So naturally, I was curious about “Ad Astra.” I will say though, compared to other years, “Ad Astra” didn’t seem to have the same level of anticipation that I had for say “Interstellar” or “The Martian” as they were coming out. But, it doesn’t mean I didn’t take whatever anticipation I DID have into account. This is being released at the end of the summer into the beginning of the fall, which is around the kickoff of awards season. Plus, Brad Pitt is playing the starring role, which is something that is totally attention-grabbing for this year because Pitt just had the scene stealing role as Cliff Booth in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

Before going into the auditorium to sit down and watch the movie, I have been exposed to tons of positive word of mouth regarding the film’s technical aspects. Let me just say off the bat, to every person who said this movie is cinematography gold, you are 100% correct. And I can totally see why, because this movie is shot by Hoyte Van Hoytema, who shot another wonderful space adventure during the decade, specifically “Interstellar.” And he also shot “Spectre,” which had one of the most incredibly well-done opening scenes in a recent action film. And at times, you can say this film has thrills and vibes that maybe a film like “Interstellar” also had. But you can also say that much like “Interstellar,” it’s slow at times. Now “slow burns” are not a bad thing. As long as the “slow burn” is used to execute the story well, then I’m all for it. But that is something to keep in mind, because “Interstellar” was still entertaining and somewhat compelling at its slow moments, this movie is just… f*cking dull.

I mean, it’s not bad! But it’s utterly forgettable! This movie sort of reminds me of the most recent movie I reviewed, “Brightburn.” If “Brightburn” were considered an organism and had a personality, I wouldn’t be surprised if I had to take it to a professional to see if it could diagnose it with a minor disability. This film is sort of on the same level. Would I immediately go back and watch the movie a second time? Probably not, but maybe I would, there’s always a chance. But if there were any reason to pay attention, I’d say it would be due to certain well thought out and executed concepts.

One sci-fi flick I often think about is “Star Wars,” and one reason is because of their “spaceports,” which to me, are futuristic versions of airports, even though that movie takes place “a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.” And guess what? One of the standout scenes in “Ad Astra” involves a literal space version of an airport! You’d look around and you have random shops, restaurants. If I were in this movie, I could literally go to the moon, get off the craft, be surrounded by walls, and go grab a muffin at Dunkin’. I guess this was in one way or another, just an excuse to shove product placement down our throats, but it doesn’t I’m denying that this was a good idea! I wouldn’t mind seeing a future where I could go to the moon and grab some chicken crispers or something at a Chili’s Too during a long layover to Mars.

The main message that I have honestly gotten out of this movie is to appreciate your parents and make them proud. This movie relies heavily on a plot involving the son of a famous astronaut, who also takes on the same lifestyle. In fact, one of the main reasons why our main character is doing what he is doing in the first place, is because of his father.

That being said, this does bring up one thing… I’m not going to give anything away, especially considering how “Ad Astra” was not the highest grossing film of the past weekend. I’m kind of shocked, but apparently I underestimated the level of anticipation there was behind “Downton Abbey.” Anyway, in “Ad Astra,” some things were established about the main character’s father. What things? I’m not going to go into any of them, but based on the information that was provided about him throughout the film, I questioned why we were getting the movie we happened to be getting in the first place. If you ask me, if you were pitching two movies, they took place in the same universe, and a movie about the main character’s father was one of them, I’d rather watch that. It would probably be way different from what we’re getting here, but from an entertainment factor, I think a movie like that would have a better shot at putting a smile on my face. But, keep in mind, this is just an idea. The execution of the final product is what matters. Things like proper direction, stellar acting, and excellent writing are all supposed to culminate to make something special. Based on what I’m about to tell you regarding the screenplay… They don’t.

The movie’s script, on the surface, is not bad. There are a fair share of attention-grabbing and thrilling scenes. But between the pacing issues and lack of knowledge I have about Brad Pitt’s character or some other characters during the movie when it starts, it doesn’t flow the way I would want it to. I imagine some people, specifically those in the general audience demographic would rather watch “Ad Astra” than “Interstellar” simply because of the two films, it’s shorter. To me, when it comes to characterization, “Interstellar” has a significant advantage because it takes its longer runtime to have us as an audience get to know our characters and eventually care about them. I like Brad Pitt, but the character he plays is almost not even worth giving a damn about. But let’s get into something that I did not expect to talk about. One of the last pieces of marketing I saw for “Ad Astra” before going into it was a trailer where Brad Pitt is just narrating from start to finish.

There is a lot of narration in this movie. And I can’t say I dig it.

Granted, you can also make the argument that since Brad Pitt’s character is a little reserved in this movie, almost similar at times to Ryan Gosling’s portrayal of Neil Armstrong in “First Man,” the narration works. It gives the audience some insight to what the character’s thinking given how little he tends to open his mouth. And if I had to judge Brad Pitt’s acting in this movie, it’s actually really good, but his character’s minor turnoff for me was the narration. There were a lot of times where it just felt tacked on. It makes “Ad Astra” feel more like a book than a movie. If this were originally a book, I’d understand everything that occurs in the film in terms of narration because narration in a book, specifically in the same case as the movie presents, which is “first person,” is a common happening. I’ve yet to watch the original cut of “Blade Runner,” although I’ve watched “The Final Cut” quite possibly ten times. But if you are familiar with “Blade Runner’s” different cuts, you’d notice that in the original, the main character of Rick Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, narrates. I’m not forcing for this to happen, but I wouldn’t mind if one day they came out with an alternate cut of “Ad Astra” and they called it the “Third Person Edition” because I want to see how a narration-less version of this movie will turn out. It could be better, it could be worse. Who knows? But part of me thinks that the movie will end up benefiting from something like this because I think it would allow an audience member to immerse themselves into the vibrant environment of the film. Again, the cinematography in this movie is some of best I’ve seen this year. It’s up there with films like “Us” as far as 2019 goes in that realm. But sticking with the topic of narration, I will say that it doesn’t make me feel stupid, so as much as I am not exactly satisfied with it, I can tolerate it.

This review is weird! I’m saying I like this movie, but at the same time, I want two different ones that I think could be better, based on its material! Pretty f*cking crazy if you ask me!

In the end, “Ad Astra” has the potential of being the worst good movie of the year, if that makes any sense. Brad Pitt is really good in this film, although he is better in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” if you ask me. I like some of the directions in terms of concepts and story elements this movie tends to lean towards. The cinematography, lighting, and sound are all superb and this movie would be excellent to show off as part of a tech demo. But if you are watching purely for the story, I’d seek out another space movie. Who knows? Maybe this is one of those movies that will be better on the second watch, but I cannot say for sure. I’m going to give “Ad Astra” a 6/10. I almost gave this a 7, but I had a few days to think about this because I’ve been busy with life and school. This is a good movie, but I wouldn’t rush out to see it, but if you want to watch Brad Pitt act well and see big pretty things for a few hours, no judgments here. Thanks for reading this review! I just want to remind everyone that tonight I will be going to see a movie that will not be out until the end of October, and that is “Black and Blue.” I honestly know little to nothing about this movie, but since I have an opportunity to attend a press screening for it, I thought why not take it? Be sure to follow Scene Before to check out that review when it is up, I’m not even sure when the embargo lifts so I might have to guesstimate as to when I can officially release ANY thoughts related to the movie. Also, like my Facebook page and tell your friends about the blog, it really helps me out! I want to know, did you see “Ad Astra?” What did you think about it? Or, what is a movie that you thought you would be at the top of the box office charts on its opening weekend but couldn’t make it? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Ready or Not (2019): The Greatest Hide and Seek Story Ever Told

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“Ready or Not” is directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who worked together on projects including “V/H/S” and “Devil’s Due.” This film stars Samara Weaving (SMILF, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Adam Brody (Jennifer’s Body, The O.C.), Mark O’Brien (Republic of Doyle, Halt and Catch Fire), Henry Czerny (Mission: Impossible, Revenge), and Andie MacDowell (Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Jane by Design) in a film where a woman gets married, has a traditional wedding where everyone gathers together, the couple gives their vows, kiss, all the basics. But that’s not the important part of joining the family according to the side of the groom. Why? Because it is tradition for the family to play a game starting at midnight. As seen in previews and as somewhat suggested by the title, everyone is playing hide and seek. Samara Weaving’s character has to hide as everyone tries to find her, but if you have seen the trailers and heard much about this film, you’d know it’s not the normal game as one may expect. Instead of a pleasant game where everyone frolics around looking for the hiding individual, there is a sinister element involved.

“Ready or Not,” to my knowledge, is a movie that I did not hear much about until a couple months ago when the first trailer came out. But as soon as it came online and was brought to my attention, there was nothing I could do except watch it, which eventually led to me raving about it.

Take everything I have said about this seriously, because the trailer to this film just kills. Even if I never saw the actual film, I would at least recommend the trailer. If you know me in real life, then you must have known my excitement regarding the fact that the movie had a pre-release screening in Boston the day before it came out. I took advantage of the opportunity, scored myself two passes through a reservation online, invited my dad to tag along, and we hit the road!

And I’ll tell you what guys, this is a film that I was highly anticipating. Kind of like how I had massive expectations for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” recently. As far 2019 goes, “Ready or Not” was definitely one of my most anticipated films. There are a lot of instances where people set their expectations high and end up disappointed. Granted, my expectations for “Ready or Not” were not as high as some other films I have seen throughout my life, but as far as this year goes, my hype levels were astronomically high. Although I recently rewatched the trailer, because again, it’s awesome, and I read the comments, and everyone feels as if the movie reveals too much in its trailer. I won’t entirely say whether or not it does because it is not even out yet (except one element in just a moment), but holy crap! I think we may have my favorite film of the year so far!

As I type this review, I cannot tell a lie. My head is still f*cking spinning after what I just saw. This film is a combination of a dark comedy and horror, and it feels like it knows it wants to be that way. It meshes both genres together and creates a spectacular birthchild if you will. It’s not a film that gets confused about its own identity in the same way that a stereotypical middle-schooler would. The best way I can describe this film is referencing Pixar’s “Ratatouille.” You know that scene from “Ratatouille” where Remy takes a bite of one thing, takes a bite of another thing? Both have their own theme music, only to lead to a bite of both things at once which leads to an absurdly upbeat theme that lasts for a few seconds? That’s the best way I can describe “Ready or Not.” It’s hilarious and scary in the best ways possible. I know I said I won’t mention whether or not this movie’s trailer reveals too much, but one thing that I can say is that the trailer contains a number of the movie’s funny parts. This isn’t to say that the movie isn’t funny, but that is something to point out for those who are perhaps coming in for the comedy. It also does not mean that there are not any funny moments not shown in the trailer. I won’t go into detail about them, but this movie has more hilarity than what has already been exposed to most of the public.

In fact, one reason why this movie works so well is the characters. Samara Weaving plays the main character of Grace who I just plain adored. She was performed very well, had incredible charisma, and I bought into the relationship between her and the husband. By the way, the husband’s name is Alex Le Domas and he’s portrayed by Mark O’Brien. To me, Alex is probably one of the most out of field characters I have witnessed on screen this year, and I don’t mean that in a terrible way. His actions intrigued me, and his character went in multiple unexpected directions that made the movie lovable from my perspective. I won’t go into any of them, but I want to give the writers every ounce of credit possible for how they wrote him. When it comes to everyone else, my biggest salutes have to go to Henry Czerny (Tony), Kristian Bruun (Fitch), and Nicky Guadagni as the incredible Aunt Nadine. This lady is always either unhappy or crazy, and the actress portraying her manages to play the role with both traits at a level of absolute excellence. Even though her character is not the most prominent in the film, any screentime with her is a breath of fresh air.

And this film in some ways, reminds me of a film like “Avengers: Infinity War” because while I was not exactly rooting for the antagonistic side, I could see why they were doing what they were doing, and I could believe it or not, side with them. They have to find Grace, perform a ritual, and kill her. And they say that if they don’t do it before dawn, they’re all dead. So in reality, taking the standpoint of the protagonist (survival), or the standpoint of the antagonists (kill or be killed), if one side were to die in this situation, they would absolutely feel like they are doing the right thing for their own good. Not to mention in a way that makes them feel better about themselves. Granted, it’s a movie in a somewhat realistic and slightly intimidating setting for an adult audience, so I wouldn’t expect the antagonistic side to just be “a bad guy doing bad guy things,” but even with that in mind, the way this film plays out the rivalry and their motivations makes the screenplay completely worthy of my admiration. And even though I was able to feel bad at times for the antagonistic side even if their motivation seemed like it involved something that only they would believe, it does not change the fact that for just about every second I was rooting for Grace to run, hide, escape, just let this game of f*ckery come to an end. By the way, people die in this movie and when the deaths arrive, they are occasionally bonkers. You have to see them to believe them, they are masterpieces of darkness.

When it comes to other standouts, I really like the house this movie was shot in. This allowed for some noteworthy set and production design, a ton of dark rooms to highlight what kind of movie we were in for, and specifically for this film, a ton of reasons to intensify a simple game of hide and seek. I also think this film may have a shot during awards season at getting some costume design nominations. There are tons of outfits in the film that suit the characters well and are also impressively designed. I also really like how the film manages to elevate such a simple game traditionally played by children. If you told me five years ago that we’d be getting a movie with an intense hide and seek match, I don’t know what I would have thought, but I probably would have asked for something else. But having seen the trailer for this movie two months ago, I became interested. That interest was strong enough to make me go out and see it. Having seen it, I cannot help but endlessly recommend it.

One last thing I’ll say is this. The final moments in this film are as masterful as air conditioning on extremely hot days. There is a line that I won’t go into during the final three to five minutes of the film, but that line made me pull myself back in my seat, drop my jaw in shock, and place my hand on my head in utter disbelief. I don’t mean that in a bad way, in fact, the exact opposite. I was floored to the point where I went from really liking this movie to wanting to see it again at full price. Let me just remind you that this is a year of fantastic endings. We’ve had films like “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” which to this day is the only film to flat out make me cry in a cinema. Then came “Avengers: Endgame,” which not only had a geek wet dream come to life, but a satisfying finale to over 20 films that came before it. And just a few weeks ago we had “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” which… simply put, is a f*ckstravaganza of madness. Now we have “Ready or Not,” which has an ending that is as wild as it is satisfying. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” has the advantage of having the better climax and ending, but this film’s ending elevated its final verdict to me and if you ask me, “Ready or Not” as a film, to me, is better than “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

In the end, don’t hide, just RUN to the theater to go see “Ready or Not.” It’s a unique concept, has likable characters, and has an impressive amount of bloody violence to keep my eyes towards the screen. This film is from Fox Searchlight, a studio that happens to be a major contributor to many of the awards-type pictures that have come out in recent years. Will this movie be one of them? I don’t know, it’s possible, but it’s still August so I cannot exactly confirm that will be the case. Although many awards outlets are not that friendly to horror flicks so there’s a good chance “Ready or Not” may be ignored. But I will remind you, in Disney’s recent acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s assets, this is one part that they now can claim as their own. And movies like these are what I hope to continue to see from Disney with their new Fox additions. Movies that are compelling, original, and in the case of Fox Searchlight, small. Disney has recently exterminated Fox 2000, which is a sad move from my perspective, but if they eradicate or shrink the relevance of Fox Searchlight, that would be an even bigger mistake, and films like “Ready or Not” are why. This is a film that I want to see again, buy on Blu-ray, and this should not surprise you right now, I’m going to give “Ready or Not” a 10/10! Thanks for reading this review! I just want to remind everyone that I just recently went to Terrificon over a week ago, I am currently working on a post related to my experience of the event, and I don’t know for sure, but I’m hoping it is up by the end of the week. Only time will tell though! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! If you are hiding from the real world and spending your days in the virtual universe of the Internet, I don’t know what you are doing, but who knows? Maybe you have Facebook. And if you have Facebook, do me a solid favor, check out the Scene Before Facebook page, give it a like, tell your friends about it, maybe your Facebook friends, and if you are an old school Internet junkie, tell your MySpace friends! I want to know, did you see “Ready Or Not?” What did you think about it? Or, have you played a whacked up edition of a particular game? If so, what was it like? Ready or not, let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Alita: Battle Angel (2019): A 26th Century Fox Film

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“Alita: Battle Angel” is directed Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Spy Kids), written and produced by the critically acclaimed James Cameron (Avatar, Titanic) and stars Rosa Salazar (Parenthood, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials), Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained, Spectre), Mahershala Ali (Green Book, Moonlight), Ed Skrein (Game of Thrones, Deadpool), Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children, A Nightmare on Elm Street), and Keean Johnson (Nashville, The Fosters). This film takes place in the year 2563, or 300 years after a massive war between planets leading to Earth’s devastation. When the film starts, we see a scientist assemble a girl who clearly has a consciousness but has no memory of major events that happened in the past. With that in mind, she decides to go on a journey to recover her memories.

This movie, to me, had a very bumpy road up until its official release. Word of mouth about it in terms of its development has been spoken since we hit the 21st century. At the turn of a new millennium, Fox registered the rights to the domain battleangelmovie.com and James Cameron registered the rights to battleangelalita.com, who has said for years that this film is in progress. He was going to do it after the production of the TV series “Dark Angel,” but he didn’t get to it. He wanted to get the thing done after the film “Aliens of the Deep,” once again, he didn’t get to it. After all, Cameron’s biggest priority during the late 2000s was “Avatar,” mainly because he wanted to bring awareness of environmental preservation to public audiences, which to be fair, is a pretty good reason to focus on a movie like that. Well, in addition to raking in over $2 billion at the box office… In August 2010, over a year and a half after “Avatar’s” release in theaters, Cameron stated he wanted to work on the “Alita” film, but he is having trouble getting around to it. Then came 2013, where Cameron happened to be in an interview with director Alfonso Cuarón (Roma, Gravity). Cameron suggested 2017 as the time to start working on the film. Coincidentally, shooting began in late 2016. And a year before that, The Hollywood Reporter stated that Robert Rodriguez was in talks to direct the film (a confirmation to direct would be announced in 2016). Said director was supposed to “condense and combine Cameron’s 186-page screenplay and some 600 pages of notes into what could be the shooting script.”

So basically, James Cameron is approaching his “Alita” project similar to how I would approach my high school crush. I’d start out looking at her, admiring her, trying to talk to her abd say hi once or twice, get her to notice me, only til I get to the point where I either lose that crush or I think she’s too good for me.

Although, I haven’t even gotten to the trailers yet! The first trailer for “Alita: Battle Angel” released at the end of 2017, and at the time, the film was scheduled to come out in July 2018. Then, the second trailer, which came out last year in July during San Diego Comic-Con, suggested the film would be out at the end of the year in December. If you ask me, that was a terrible decision made by whoever was in charge of the release, because then the film would have to compete with other titles such as “Aquaman,” “Mary Poppins Returns,” “Bumblebee,” and more. Luckily, they made the smart choice of moving the release date once again, this time to February 2019, as suggested in a trailer for the film which came out this past November. And it seems to have worked out in the film’s favor because it ended up making over $400 million worldwide, which is more than twice the film’s budget of $170 million.

But the real question is this… How was “Alita: Battle Angel” as a movie? Was it good? Was it bad? Was it ugly? My answer, none of the above! In fact, it was awesome! Remember back in 2015 when “Mad Max: Fury Road” came out? Personally, I don’t particularly like it as much as everyone else, but I for one have grown to appreciate the flick as a visual spectacle. There are numerous thrilling action sequences, the cinematography took a lot of effort to pull off, and damn it pulled off well! And the film is filled to the brim with practical effects. There are tons of vehicles specifically built for the film, the locations fit every scene quite well, and there are a number of stunts and movements throughout the picture that are kind of brilliant when you break them down. To me, this was that, but with CGI. Kind of like “Avatar” or “Gravity” or the 2016 “Jungle Book” remake because like those films, I almost questioned how the CGI looked as polished and stunning as it did. This film is the very definition of a visual spectacle, and I’m almost surprised that I am even saying that, because when I first looked at Alita herself from the first couple of trailers, I thought she I’d be slightly offput by her appearance. Not by her body, I am not a guy who wants women’s bodies to look a certain way, but… her eyes. Honestly, they didn’t even bother me in this film, and to be honest, they made Alita stand out to me in a positive way as the film went on. It let me know of the character I happened to be looking at. After all, when we first look at Alita’s face at the start of the film, she didn’t even have eyes. The eyes we see in the film were added on.

If anything, if I had to compare “Alita: Battle Angel” to another film visually, I’d say the best example would have to be last year’s “Ready Player One,” which if you have followed this blog for some time, you may know I adored that film. Visually speaking, it was hard at times to recall if I had seen anything like it. To this day, “Ready Player One” has some of the best CGI I have seen in a film because it creates this immersive video game world that I kind of wanted to be in, especially considering how it highlights the real world and how it has gone to s*it. I don’t think I’m going to have a great 2045, I think we’re going to be super low on resources! Give me my video game world now! Much like “Ready Player One,” “Alita: Battle Angel” spends much of the runtime being rather glossy, but in its own case, it also has some grittier looking images to take a gander towards. Down in Iron City, it kind of has a similar look to Wakanda from “Black Panther,” but with more to do around the area. Then again, I don’t typically imagine many Wakandans walking down a street to sample some chocolate so who knows? Plus, there’s one part of the city scenes that captured my attention.

The introduction of motorball.

Holy s*it, I seriously don’t get how people can watch football. I can watch motorball all day every day!

Motorball: The new sport for the universe.

Now I should point out that I have never introduced myself to the original source material of “Alita.” In fact, despite calling myself a nerd, anime and manga are two of my weakest areas when it comes to following the main aspects of geek culture. So in case you cannot tell, the concept of motorball is fairly new to me. But damn, I love it. It has the physicality of hockey, although perhaps greater physicality since everyone’s occasionally trying to kill each other, not to mention the adrenaline of NASCAR. It is a sight for the eyes if there ever was one.

And speaking of awesome moments with tons of CGI, let me just point out that you all should check out “Alita” just for the action alone. There’s some creative ideas to be witnessed, and there is one character in particular who has these chain wires coming out of his arm, it reinvents the word epic. Honestly, to me, these action scenes are up there with films like “The Matrix,” “Man of Steel,” and the “Lord of the Rings” franchise of how fantastically exhilarating the action can tend to get. It almost reminds me of a video game, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean that in comparison to a bunch of flashy video games where everything is eye candy and it almost makes you feel like you want to be part of the action despite the possibility of getting killed. Damn, this movie is the bomb.

But this movie is not all looks, it has some decent characters too. I was rooting for Alita the entire time, I really liked the love interest she interacted with, specifically Hugo (Keean Johnson). I bought into the chemistry Alita had with her “father” and I really liked the backstory as to how Alita got her name.

But at the same time, since I have been talking about how unbelievable this film is, it should come as no surprise that my biggest problem should have to do with the characters. This is not to say that I hated anybody in particular, I have no beef with anyone. But when it comes to the film’s antagonistic side, it almost feels as if it doesn’t exist at times. For some reason, there have been numerous moments throughout the film that make it feel as if there happens to be no real threat. Granted there is a threat, but even when there is, it almost feels like it barely has a reason to be in there. And speaking of problems, there is a moment in the film where the “father” character, Dr. Dyson Ido, establishes a couple of rules with Alita, and that conversation tends to almost go nowhere in terms of how the rest of the film plays out. Granted, it partially goes somewhere, but it never feels like it has a full reason to exist. I won’t go too far into the rules or where they tend to go, but it’s something I wanted to point out. This is slightly nitpicky, but nevertheless, I feel it is also something that is important to establish.

In the end, “Alita: Battle Angel” gave me pretty much what I wanted. It’s enormous, it’s lively, and it’s boisterous. Overall, it’s probably the biggest spectacle of the year (maybe aside from Endgame). And based on how much I enjoyed this film, it kind of makes me forget about the development and post-production problems a little bit. I watched this film on 4K Blu-ray because I wanted to provide myself with as much of a spectacle as I can. Having done that, it kind of makes me mad at myself for not going to see this in a theater. Especially in IMAX 3D. There are several moments that if you have a 7.1 surround sound system, it will make you feel like you’re inside your screen. It’s what a movie is supposed to be, an escape. And in this case, “Alita: Battle Angel” is one escape that put me in a world which I never wanted to leave. I’m going to give “Alita: Battle Angel” a 9/10. I don’t know if this film will end up being for everyone, but for me, this was Heaven. As a nerd, I found myself loving the sci-fi and fantasy elements brought to the story. And from a technical perspective, “Alita” shines as bright as the sun. Plus, you know how a lot of people are still waiting for that “excellent video game movie?” Films based on anime and manga are almost in the same league as video games. The only ones that stand out, happen to do so for not so good reasons. I have not watched “Dragonball: Evolution,” but knowing enough about it, there is enough to support why I have not watched it yet. I don’t dive into anime and manga all that much in general, but still, this movie, unlike a lot of other similar entrants to its genre, is something special. I dig it, I would love to see a sequel, and if it comes back to theaters, I am there.

Thanks for reading this review! I just want to remind everyone that I just recently watched “Missing Link,” the new animated film from Lakia. I will have a review for that up as soon as possible, be sure to stay tuned for that! Also, this upcoming weekend, I will be at Terrificon so I will not be watching anything new from Friday to Sunday. But fear not! Because I will be doing a post reporting my activities from the con! That should be up sometime next week, hope you all get a chance to read it! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! And while I cannot promise you I am sharing my epic wins from playing motorball on there, be sure to like my Facebook page! It has updates on upcoming posts, it lets you know when new content is available, and I’ll even remind people of various milestones I hit on the blog every once in a while. Check it out, please! I want to know, did you see “Alita: Battle Angel?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite fictional sport? Willing to bet most of you are going to say Quidditch, aren’t you? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019): Highest Grossing Box Office Movie Ever (My Thoughts)

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I’d like to start off this post by saying, I’m sorry if this post seems as if it is being put up late. I’ve been busy, I’ve had other posts that got in the way, and I had to (or should I say got to) go see a movie for a post I wanted to get up by the end of this weekend. I have so little time, so much to do! But with that aside, let’s stay on topic! If you have been living under a rock for the past few days, let me just say, 1: I hope you’re enjoying that rock. And 2: Chances are that at least SOME of you may have heard the big news coming out of the movie industry recently. As many may know, Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” has hit many milestones during its theatrical run, but most recently, it hit the milestone to end all milestones (at least in theaters). As of now, “Avengers: Endgame” has dethroned James Cameron’s “Avatar” as the highest-grossing film at the box office of all time. The movie has been in theaters for just about three months, and over the weekend where it was just days away from approaching its three month mark, it made “Avatar” feel blue.

Anybody? I officially quit comedy.

Nevertheless, before “Avengers: Endgame” swooped in, “Avatar,” which in my opinion is a good movie for its visual effects, not to mention a thrilling experience, but a little lackluster on some script elements, had the all-time box office record of $2,789,679,794. As of now, “Avengers: Endgame” is sitting at $2.79 billion! And I knew, from the start, that the record was bound to be broken. Let me just give a list of some records “Endgame” broke before this all happened!

  • HIGHEST GROSSING OPENING WEEKEND WORLDWIDE
  • HIGHEST GROSSING OPENING WEEKEND IN AMERICA
  • FIRST MOVIE TO PASS $300 MILLION ON OPENING WEEKEND IN AMERICA
  • FASTEST MOVIE IN ADVANCE TICKET SALES
  • FASTEST MOVIE TO $1 BILLION (5 DAYS)
  • FASTEST MOVIE TO $1.5 BILLION (8 DAYS)
  • FASTEST MOVIE TO $2 BILLION (11 DAYS, WHICH IS THE TIME IT TOOK INFINITY WAR TO REACH $1 BILLION)
  • BEST THURSDAY PREVIEW
  • BEST OPENING DAY

To me, this record shatter was inevitable as soon as the opening weekend totals were revealed. It might have been inevitable since the tickets went on sale. Remember that virtual line from Fandango? Remember AMC’s site crashing? Never forget… 4/2/2019. This movie not only had legs, but it had a sense of being this big event. After all, this is why I wanted to see the film as early as possible. This is why I bought tickets for opening Thursday! I treated my adventure to “Avengers: Endgame” as if it were an official holiday. You know how some kids count down to Christmas? That was me with “Avengers: Endgame.” Its predecessor, “Infinity War,” impressed me to no end, I declared it to be my 2nd favorite film of 2018, and this made me realize that while it is a cinematic event, it is practically something that I felt was generational. I got into the MCU when I was thirteen years old, back when I started watching the first two “Iron Man” films after recording them and watching them through my DVR. Technically speaking, I watched the original “Avengers” movie back when I was twelve, but I still had little to no realization of what the MCU actually was. I eventually got the concept, and started watching more movies that took place in this cinematic universe that I cannot even believe still exists. It felt like something my entire life has been leading up to. Yes, “The Force Awakens” was a resurrection of a property I have loved for years. Yes, I have been excited for several films from worlds I have never been exposed to before such as “Interstellar.” But as soon as the release date of “Avengers: Endgame” hit, nothing else mattered. Even though I had to go to school and do a final presentation, that was secondary to me. “Endgame” mattered. Although this does bring up one thing. We live in a society where everything feels as if it is supposed to be done in a nanosecond.

We have tiny computers that fit in a pocket. These things have a free dictionary, encyclopedia, and study book all in one! We can preorder whatever the heck we want at Dunkin’ through an app on our phone! We have streaming services that drops an entire season of a brand new show for everyone to watch so they don’t have to wait for the next episode! While I thought it was unavoidable that we would see this film become the biggest in history, there was a point where I thought I should take that statement back because of how many people went to see it when it first came out. Some people went back, but not everybody did. To this day, I have only seen the film in theaters once. As a film critic who needs to review a diverse selection of content, I need to save my money! If I had AMC Stubs A-List maybe I’d go see it again, but I am still debating on whether or not I should get it.

Although there are factors on this film getting people in the theater for a repeat viewing. For one thing, critical reviews helped. Many people related to the film industry praised the film for many aspects, not to mention the reviews that come from the fan side of things. The film received an A from CinemaScore, a 91% audience rating from Rotten Tomatoes, which is 3% less than the combined critic rating, and the film has a spot on the IMDb top 250! The public response to this film is enough to warrant a repeat viewing in some way.

But I do have one question: Did the folks behind this movie use bad marketing to get people in the theater towards the end?

As some of you may know, Marvel and crew put out another version of “Avengers: Endgame” in theaters about a month ago. This was marketed as a “rerelease.” What did this rerelease contain? No additional footage for the movie, but a tribute to Stan Lee, some cut out footage featuring the Hulk, and a preview for what audiences were going to get in “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” If anything, this is almost deceptive because while I was not exactly expecting much out of this rerelease, this brings nothing new to the table. As suggested by Box Office Mojo, the rerelease brought an increase in the movie’s domestic box office totals by 207%. I’m not calling the folks at Marvel Studios frauds. There is new stuff in the rerelease, but… barely. It’s just marketing that feels cheap, instead of calling it a “rerelease,” call it the “After Credits Special” or something.

Although this does bring up something interesting. “Avatar” had a rerelease as well. While not done in the same fashion as “Endgame” since their rerelease happened about 8 months after the film’s original release, it was little less… I guess I can say deceptive. The new cut featured extended footage of the film despite how it was already shown on home video. Nevertheless, it felt like there was a reason for the rerelease to happen based on timing and new content. Plus, let’s bring this up. “Avatar” beat “Titanic,” which is now third place in all-time box office totals, in just a month. Granted, “Endgame” beat “Titanic” faster, but that’s irrelevant. “Avatar” still remained the same film the entire time. The release an of an alternate edition didn’t happen until months later.

And I will still say, “Endgame” is better than “Avatar.” While “Avatar” is a visual spectacle, “Endgame” is that with story. Granted, if you are not familiar with the MCU, I’d say wait to watch this film until you maybe watch some other films in this universe. You would probably still have fun watching this movie, but there’s a good chance that you’d be asking some questions as to what might be happening. I know there are a lot of people, based on discoveries through the past number of years who like to point to “Avatar” as overhyped (which it kinda is), but much like “Endgame,” “Avatar” is a cinematic achievement. Granted, I don’t like how it is one of the major contributors to how we present movies in theaters (digitally). Although it helped bring the 3D craze, which isn’t a complete success, as some of you would also suggest, but there have been a number of movies that I feel have personally been enhanced through 3D technology. Movies like the “Hobbit” trilogy, “Gravity,” and “Oz the Great and Powerful.”

If I had to make a comparison, “Endgame” might start a revolution. Granted, it is a continuation of the superhero/comic book movie craze that has been going on for years now, but it could have sprung something new. And it reminds me of how much credit I also gave to the preceding installment, “Infinity War.” Why? Because that movie was essentially a culmination of a ten year span. While I do think “Infinity War” is the superior film, “Endgame” is not just a culmination, it’s the perfect capper for the MCU itself. Then again, “Far From Home” just came out and we seem to be getting at least two more phases so we’ll see what happens. The revolution I think it could start is the successes of multiple cinematic universes, if not successes, I’m at least expecting a number of attempts to be remembered through the years. However, that is not a guarantee because everyone is flocking to Marvel, but it makes me optimistic about the storylines and quality that could possibly go into future cinematic universes. DC has their own universe that seems to have gotten off to a rough start, but I think it recently turned itself around if you ask me with films like “Aquaman” and “Shazam.” Although I do think “Wonder Woman” is better than most Marvel movies so there is that. Warner Bros. seems to be having some success with their “Conjuring” universe that is quite honestly bigger than I ever thought it would be. And while there was a big bump in the road when it comes to “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” I am still curious to see what else is in store regarding the MonsterVerse.

And I am willing to bet, despite how “Avengers: Endgame” comes out on digital in just a few days, there will still be room for it in theaters. After all, it’s one of those films that kind of resembles why movie theaters were built in the first place. It’s epic, it’s boisterous, it’s glorious, it’s built up for periods of time, and the potential audiences that could show up are immense. And despite the flak that I’m probably going to continue giving the marketing team behind this film for that “rerelease” fiasco, I don’t care because this movie deserves just about every penny it earned so far (despite being released by Disney) just for its quality and ability to entertain.

Nevertheless, I am thrilled to see this in my lifetime because I think “Avengers: Endgame” is an excellent film that deserves tons of praise. I gave the film an 8/10, which still stands to this day. In fact, it’s not even the best comic book movie of the year, that honor belongs to “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” Even with that being said, “Endgame” is a game-changing movie. It feels like the cinematic events to end all cinematic events. Not only was it successful, but quite damn good. I was not alive to see this, but remember “The Phantom Menace?” At the time, that might have been the biggest cinematic event of all time. While there is still a debate on what might be the biggest of all time, “Endgame” is definitely a contender and I am happy to have this film be a part of my life.

Thanks for reading this post, I am sorry if this information appears to be irrelevant at this point, but I’m better late than never. I have a ton of things to do this week related to Scene Before, I was planning on doing this earlier but my review for “Yesterday” got in the way because… well, I had to talk about it. It was too bad to be ignored. Anyway, speaking of reviews, my next post is going to be for my review of Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” I just got back from seeing it in the theater, and I cannot wait to talk about it. It is one of those movies that is gonna be fun to describe to those who haven’t seen it yet. And for those of you who are still thinking about “Endgame” at this point for whatever reason, be sure to check out my review for “Avengers: Endgame,” which I originally posted back in April. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! And while we are on the subject of breaking records. You know what isn’t breaking records? The likes on my Facebook page! Please like my page so you can be on the lookout for Scene Before news, recent content, and maybe I’ll throw in a random thought every once in a while! I want to know, what are your thoughts on “Avengers: Endgame” breaking the all-time box office record? Also, would you say it doesn’t count? Maybe for inflation? The rerelease factor? Something else? Or, how many times did you see “Endgame” in the theater? As for myself, I only saw it once, but once that 4K disc drops, perhaps the exclusive version from Target if you want to be totally specific, I am definitely picking it up! Let me know how insane you are down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Avengers: Endgame (2019) REVIEW

Stuber (2019): Somewhat Worthy of a Tip

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“Stuber” is directed by Michael Dowse (What If, Man Seeking Woman) and stars Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, Silicon Valley) and Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Blade Runner 2049). This film is about a duo who meet at a random point in time, setting up an unexpected adventure. One guy is an Uber driver and the other is a cop on a mission. Stu, the Uber driver, is assisting Vic, the cop, in completing said mission.

I saw this film last night as part of an advanced screening. I was gonna go see it a couple weeks back, but I ended up canceling that commitment for several reasons. However, I got to take another chance at an advanced screening and I was not gonna let it go to waste. “Stuber” was HEAVILY advertised on my TV. Every time I had my cable on truTV or some other similar channel, it was almost a guarantee that I would see an ad for “Stuber” throughout a majority of the commercial breaks. If I had a nickel for every time I saw a “Stuber” ad before checking this movie out, I’d probably use that to pay for a good portion of a ticket to go see “Stuber” with the public. And there are many times when I saw the ads to which they made me grin. I thought Nanjiani and Bautista would make an excellent buddy-esque pair, and the movie would have the same, proper action-comedy vibe that a film like “Central Intelligence” managed to provide.

How was “Stuber” you ask? Well, instead of answering that question outright, part of me wants to remind you all that I wanted to become a game show host. Because I could easily ask such a question, go to a commercial break, and reveal my thoughts when the show returns. But I can’t do that, because this is the blog of the movie reviewing moron. So, if that statement does not provide any hints, the answer to that question nearly resembles a wheel of confusion. But if I had to provide an answer at this moment, I’d say the movie was fun and humorous, which is the least I can ask for from a comedy. But the reason why I feel like I have a wheel of confusion in my mind is because even though the movie made me laugh, it is simultaneously clashing with a number of awkward or less than interesting moments. But the good news is, all of it doesn’t feel like it lasts forever due to the movie’s short runtime of an hour and thirty-three minutes. The film is a breeze to get through even with it’s flaws. So did I enjoy it? Absolutely! Would I give it a second watch? Sure! …On TBS.

If you ask me, the writing for “Stuber” is decent enough comedy-wise. It has a number of smart jokes that involve possible annoyances when it comes to driving an Uber, a number of gags involving Nanjiani’s driving, and the blending of the scaredy cat driver and fearless cop.

I will say though, on that second part, one thing that I found interesting was the choice to make Kumail Nanjiani’s car a Nissan Leaf. Partially because it is an electric car, which manages to bring in a certain flair to the film that would have not been present had the car been absent, and to my personal surprise, it did not make the movie feel like a commercial. Granted, one of the car’s crucial features (and downfalls) happen to make an appearance in the film at a certain point, but it flowed nevertheless. There’s a moment at the end of the film that makes the movie almost feel like a commercial for Uber, but it saves itself from becoming one at the last minute. Granted, it almost made me want to buy a Nissan Leaf, but if you don’t know me, I kinda care about the environment in some ways so I had a thought like that in my head before going to see this movie.

Moving onto characters, Kumail Nanjiani does a fine job at portraying the Uber driver who has no other desire than to just stay away from danger. But I also kind of admire how part of the movie’s plot tries to emphasize the importance of his character’s “five star wishes.” He asks his customers to give him a five star rating, he wants to keep himself in a good combined rating position in order to continue being a driver, and while it was sometimes funny to read some of the one star reviews for Nanjiani, I felt his pain as I read those because for what I saw, he was doing everything he can to impress his customers. Sadly though, his chemistry with Dave Bautista, while somewhat effective, was kind of off at times.

In fact, when it comes to Bautista (right), he’s very hit or miss in this movie. I buy him as a cop who kicks ass and takes names, but there are a select few moments, which are too unimportant to talk about, where I felt like he was stumbling in the acting department. Granted, Bautista was never really the best actor to begin with. I imagine he is a lovely guy, and he can occasionally provide a fun screen presence kind of like he did in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, but there are select moments where he would say one line and it feels out of place based on the way Bautista executed said line. Although one of the best parts of Bautista’s character in this film is that he goes through the entire runtime with poor eyesight, we see various shots that provide his character’s perspective. He has to stare at a handheld eye chart and each shot is fuzzy, I thought it was a good way to highlight the character’s weakness. And despite how serious blindness can be in real life and how much it can ruin or alter one’s outlook on things, there was a moment in the film leading up to the eventual pairing of Nanjiani and Bautista that I thought was very funny. Unfortunately, despite some hilarity between the pair, it didn’t click at every solitary second.

Another problem I had with the movie is despite the short runtime, there are a lot of crucial plot points that go into it, which is fine, but these plot points felt like loose Jenga blocks on the verge of falling to the ground. Would the movie be fine with its additional plot points staying in? Absolutely. But they nevertheless almost felt like they could have been left out of the screenplay. If that were the case, the movie might have ended up being better because we can focus on the dynamic duo as opposed to anything else. Granted, Nanjiani’s character had a rather interesting side story (two of them in fact), but there’s one of them that feels like it BARELY has a purpose of being in the film. I won’t go into much detail, but still.

In the end, “Stuber” is a fun comedy to watch, maybe at matinee price, or once it becomes free on television. Nevertheless, it kind of feels like a throwaway movie, which is somewhat disappointing because I was looking forward to this, and I thought it was going to be better than it ultimately was. For crying out loud, the first screening I tried to get into for this film was held two weeks prior to the film’s release! I guess the studio had some faith in “Stuber” before it came out! Nanjiani and Bautista as a pair resemble a game of “Pong.” You may get some lucky hits, but a few less than satisfying misses. But compared to “Pong,” “Stuber” is much easier to get through. I’m going to give “Stuber” a 6/10.

Thanks for reading this review! I just want to let everyone know that this Monday I am going to be continuing my Quentin Tarantino review series, and I have decided that my second review is going to be for “Django Unchained” starring Jamie Foxx (Ray, Collateral) as a freed slave who teams up with a bounty hunter to help him reunite with his wife. I just watched the film this past Tuesday and I will have my thoughts on it posted as soon as Monday approaches. Be sure to follow Scene Before to check out that post in the future, please support the blog by subscribing through your WordPress account or email, and if you are on Facebook, check out my page! Also, I don’t demand a 5 star rating, but clicking that LIKE star on the post would definitely be appreciated! I want to know, did you see “Stuber?” What did you think about it? Or, either as a customer or an employee, what is one of your most interesting, best, or worst Uber experiences? It can even be for Lyft for all I care! Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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!

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018): This Movie Will Rock You, and Occasionally Drop a Rock Over You

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“Bohemian Rhapsody” is directed by Bryan Singer (X-Men, Jack the Giant Slayer) and stars Rami Malek (Night at the Museum, BoJack Horseman) and is about the story of Queen and its singer, Freddie Mercury. We get glimpses into the formation of Queen itself, Mercury’s personal life, and how the band went on to become the huge success and inspiration powerhouse that it is.

If you ask me what my favorite genres of music are, chances are that one of my answers would be rock. Queen formed during a time of rock and roll bands being pretty much in their prime. As we look back on them today, they’ve helped shape the genre with iconic beats, lyrics, and how their music has blended into our pop culture. One of my all time favorite scenes from a comedy that’s not necessarily funny is the pep rally scene during “Revenge of the Nerds” where “We Are the Champions” is playing as the nerds achieve victory against the jocks. One of my favorite songs that I often don’t typically quote as being a favorite song happens to be the movie’s title, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” There so many elements to that song that separates it as its own thing whereas all the other songs follow a certain formulaic rhythm. While some may consider songs not following a rhythm a giant flaw, “Bohemian Rhapsody” manages to make such an odd quality work extremely well. Speaking of which, the creation of this song basically highlights something I’ve noticed while watching this movie, and something that I often think about when it comes to the movie industry.

One of my favorite movies of all time is “Blade Runner 2049.” Much like its predecessor, it failed at the box office. As far as the domestic total goes, it didn’t make its budget back. One reason behind this is probably likely due to the movie’s runtime coming in around two hours and forty-three minutes. There’s a part of the movie where we see “Bohemian Rhapsody” coming to life, and the executive is basically denying permission to let the public hear the song. Queen’s band members think their song is nothing short of a masterpiece, but as we all know, corporations are about money. This is where the phrase “time equals money/money equals time” comes into play. The executive thinks the song is too long, six minutes to be specific, which leads to a fantastic sex joke by the way. When it comes to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” I assume a lot of people can look at a song like that today and say that it was created with a purpose to stand out from other songs. This is why I think modern music sucks. Most of the modern music I hear, especially those songs that play on loop on the radio for all of eternity, all seem to have similar patterns or formulas. It’s almost as if every song is an obvious remix of each other. Oh yeah, and with most modern music, technology has basically ruined a lot of it. Moments like this shows that it is sometimes OK to take risks and throw money out the window for the chance of an everlasting success. In terms of scenes, this was most certainly the highlight of the movie for me. As far as characters go, it’s gotta be Freddie Mercury.

Freddie Mercury is played by Rami Malek, but in reality, to say Malek “played” Freddie Mercury is a bit of understatement. In my book, Malek transformed into Mercury. In terms of singing, it is a slight disappointment that Malek is lip-syncing, but at the same time, I can’t help but praise him for everything else. Everything from the mannerisms, the moves, and while this may be more of a compliment towards costume design, I have enormous praise for the outfits he’s got on. As far as his performance goes, I don’t know if it will win him an Oscar, but he certainly comes close as far as this year is concerned. In fact, I will admit, funny enough, when it comes to my overall knowledge of Queen, the way I view Freddie Mercury’s performance in this film is somewhat similar to how I view Queen in general. I for one definitely know Freddie Mercury and who he is. The other band members, I don’t really know their names, so why should I give a f*ck? That’s not to say that they aren’t good in this movie. All of their actors have done a great job at delivering effective performances, but they don’t stand out that much compared to Malek’s. Then again, that could be because “Bohemian Rhapsody” is more of a Freddie Mercury movie than anything else. Sure, it has Queen. Yes, it has songs from Queen in it. Although it gets through the life of Freddie Mercury in terms of seemingly important plot points. And the more I think about it, it does make sense, the only original member of Queen to have passed away was Mercury himself. Not to mention, the marketing seems to make the movie a lot about Mercury. In the first trailer for this film, it explicity states in text form: “The only thing more extraordinary than their music is his story.” Boom, now you know it’s a Freddie Mercury movie. I will say though, this brings me to some slight confusion about the title. I know Freddie Mercury sings “Bohemian Rhapsody,” but in reality, it is a QUEEN song, executed by multiple members. If you really wanted to smack-dab a sticker on this movie saying “THIS IS UNARGUABLY A FREDDIE MERCURY STORY,” just call it “Mercury.” Sounds kind of epic if you ask me. The more I think about the “Bohemian Rhapsody” movie, the more I think about Freddie Mercury. The other members of Queen just aren’t sticking out to me. It would be like the 2004 movie “Ray.” What’s the movie about? Ray Charles. Granted when I think of Ray Charles, I don’t think of any particular band, but still, if you are going to have your movie revolve around maybe one character as opposed to a band, take my suggestion into consideration. I’m not saying “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a terrible name. It’s an awesome name no matter where you slap it. Not to mention, for a movie like this, it’s still more than marketable. As far as any other performances go, the only one to me that truly stands out is Mike Myers (Shrek, Austin Powers) as the executive I talked about earlier.

If there was one big criticism I had with the movie however, it is some of the writing. This movie is obviously going for some Academy Awards, but I think screenplay is not one that will be achieved. While most of the writing is actually pretty decent, there are a couple of moments I just wasn’t able to believe. These moments just felt rather Hollywoodized. Granted, it’s a movie, and not everything has be crystal clear to reality, but these moments just felt like something I wouldn’t be able to believe. If this movie were pure fiction or a fantasy than maybe I’d buy into a couple of these moments I’m talking about, but I just don’t buy them here. Other than that, I’d say “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a fine movie and certainly worth watching in the theater. If you thought watching “A Star Is Born” is awesome in the theater, it might become somewhat obvious that watching “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the theater would have a similar effect.

Speaking of the theater, I want to go back to what I said earlier about the production of the “Bohemian Rhapsody” song. One of the complaints the executive had in the movie is that the song goes on forever. Let’s face it, a movie about Queen and Freddie Mercury is very likely something people would go out and see. And to prove it even more, IT BEAT A DISNEY MOVIE on its opening weekend. That same weekend by the way, it made less than a million dollars under its overall budget in the US alone! This film is two hours and fourteen minutes long. I wouldn’t consider this film to be a “long” movie, but once I walked out of the auditorium, I heard someone’s conversation calling the movie a bit long as far as they are concerned. I managed to find it hilarious, and maybe a little less than satisfying, to discover that the story to the “Bohemian Rhapsody” song would actually apply to the results of the “Bohemian Rhapsody” movie. To me, this movie reminded me of why I usually choose to enjoy every little moment of what I watch, as opposed to putting my head down waiting for the third hour to pass.

In the end, “Bohemian Rhapsody” had the exhilaration of a concert and at times, the joy of looking at a wax museum. Rami Malek shines as Freddie Mercury. The cinematography really immersed me into the story. The concert scenes were wild and fun. The costume design also deserves tremendous kudos. Is it a little over the top? At times, sure. But it doesn’t take away from the true spirit of Freddie Mercury and Queen itself. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is definitely worth your time, especially for a watch in the theater. I’m going to give “Bohemian Rhapsody” a 7/10. One last thing before I go, when I saw this movie, I witnessed it at an IMAX, and those theaters have given me some of my all time best experiences, but this time the trailers were playing and all of sudden the footage stopped and we were staring at a green frame for maybe five minutes. I have never had so much fun with a movie experience going wrong in my life. Thanks for reading this review! Please stay tuned for more content coming down the road because sometime soon I will be posting my thoughts on this year’s Rhode Island Comic Con! I’ve gone for the fourth year in a row, had a great time, and as someone who has gone for multiple years, I am excited to point out something that has probably been done differently than years before that counts as a complaint from the years prior that has now been somewhat resolved. Those of you who attend the con might know what I’m referring to. Without giving any hints, I’d just like to remind everyone to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or an email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Bohemian Rhapsody?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite Queen song? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!