Radioactive (2019): Imagine Elements

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“Radioactive” is directed by Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis, The Simpsons) and stars Rosamund Pike (Jack Reacher, Gone Girl), Sam Riley (Maleficent, Control), Aneurin Barnard (The White Queen, Dunkirk), and Anya Taylor-Joy (Emma, The Witch). This film is about the life and story of Marie Curie, a scientist who discovered radioactive elements on the periodic table, which eventually changed the world. The film also dives into her family life, and her love life.

I knew a bit about Marie Curie before I saw “Radioactive.” In fact, when it comes to women in science, I think her name has a bigger lock in my head compared to just about anybody else. After all, there was a point during my sophomore year in high school where I knew her name through various means, and I wanted to do a project on her for my chemistry class. Unfortunately, she was taken. But as a consolation prize, her husband, Paul Francis Curie was available. So I did have some history regarding the Curie name, even if I didn’t really know them or consider myself to be a part of their legacy. I just… reflected on them. That’s a good word to use at this point.

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Before we go any further, I just want to let everyone know that if you are an Amazon Prime subscriber, this movie is free as it is an original production from Amazon Studios. Thankfully, Gofobo sent me a notice that Amazon was letting people see the movie early for free. For various reasons, I decided to wait a little to review it, but I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity. Having said that… This is one of the best movies of 2020!

BUT… Hold your horses! If you have been following my recent work, you’d know THIS DOESN’T SAY MUCH. 2020, as a whole, has been a wreck for movies. Not just because of the industry-wide impact productions and crews everywhere happen to be facing, but what we have gotten so far has been nowhere near worthy of high honors. At this point, I would not be surprised if “Sonic the Hedgehog” ends up getting nominated by the Academy for Best Picture. It’s that crazy of a year! I will say though, “Radioactive” is a movie that going into it, I really did not have much awareness towards, but walking out of it, I felt that I made a superb life choice to gaze my eyes upon it.

Of the movies that I have seen this year, this honestly feels like the most worthy contender of being a “well-rounded” production. It has an excellent cast who performs well in each particular role on the list, the script is attention-grabbing and very much follows the much-respected “show, don’t tell” route of filmmaking. It’s a win for visual storytelling. Directing-wise, this was a solid vision of the period and people in which it portrays. The production design in this film may be the finest of the year. There’s a lot to unpack here and appreciate. Speaking of the production design aspect, I know the competition is not that heavy, and it could increase as we get movies like “Tenet,” “The New Mutants,” and so on, I think if any movie were to contend for a production design award at this point, “Radioactive” could win. I felt like I was in a different period than my own. And this REALLY says something, because when I review new movies. Guess where I’m watching them? Either on the big screen in theaters, or at home on my 4K TV. I used neither of those for this movie. Instead, I used a laptop. Why? Because the link to the movie was provided to me so I could watch it on smaller devices. To say that I watched a movie on my laptop and felt immersed from a picture standpoint, is a tremendous compliment.

Amazon.com: Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and ...

This film is based on a graphic novel by Lauren Redniss, and that thought never popped into my head while watching the movie. I never really made any sort of connection. But as I reflect upon what I witnessed, it adds up. A lot of the images are packed with impeccable detail, the colors really resemble a dreariness that isn’t exactly depressing, but more or less brings a pop to the eyes.

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One of the best parts overall of “Radioactive” is the performance given by Rosamund Pike. I will admit, I need to see more of her work, but she breaks a leg here. So far, it is probably my favorite performance of the year. This film centers around Marie Curie, and Pike does a really good job at maintaining the sense of importance such a character in an environment like this can provoke. This is one of the most notable women in all of scientific history, not only was her story laid out in an organized manner that allowed me to gaze at the screen, but it’s nice to see Pike lay a dramatic effect to somebody whose name I recognized, but didn’t have a complete knowledge about. Also one of the highlights of the picture, there are various points where the script jumps through time, and it doesn’t really feel out of place. It’s a bunch of various extended cases of cause and effect. The story attributes Marie Curie’s accomplishments and also notes future achievements that occur, and perhaps mainly occurred because of Curie’s past work. It does a really good job at making you care about the main character without necessarily seeing the main character do much of anything or put herself into action. The editing here felt seamless and organized. I dug it all.

There are not too many standout issues I have with “Radioactive.” When it comes to the 2020 library of movies, it is definitely one of those that I would consider watching again. Pacing-wise, “Radioactive” is not bad at all. I will say though, even though I like the overall way the script plays out, it is almost a little by the numbers. In fact for a period-based film about Marie Curie, it feels like the crew went with… let’s say a rather cliche or ordinary vibe for this type of film. Despite its flaws, I would recommend “Radioactive.” Again, if you have Prime Video and pay for it, you can get it for free. Check it out if you’re ever in the mood. But in all seriousness, if I had to give one description for this film, it is “well-rounded” if you ask me. All the elements (no pun intended) line up for a competent picture that is entertaining, yet honorable to Curie’s legacy.

In the end, I will remind you all… It’s 2020. If you just want a good movie at this point, “Radioactive” could end up being for you. “Radioactive” elegantly presented the story of Marie Curie and despite the few critiques I would give to this film, it was extremely well done, especially if you had to line this film up with whatever else came out this year. That is if this is even a year anymore. Nobody has a concept of time at this point.MV5BYjgwM2JhNjItNjFlYi00MjYwLTlhYWEtZjk2NzcwYmZmYTg0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjU1NzU3MzE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,675,1000_AL_ I’m going to give “Radioactive” an 8/10. In 2020, 8 really is the new 10. Sad to say, but if things actually come out in theaters on time or if we get better movies, that could change. Still mad about “Tenet…” Ugh.

Thanks for reading this review! My next review is going to be for “Vivarium,” starring Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots. I won’t say much about the movie… But… It’s weird. Won’t say if that’s a good or bad thing, you’ll have to find out for yourself. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Or, you can get some alternate content from Scene Before through the official Facebook page! Give it a like! I want to know, did you see “Radioactive?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite movie about a woman in science? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Vast of Night (2020): Makes For Good Radio, Or a Good Movie

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“The Vast of Night” is directed by Andrew Patterson, AKA James Montague or Junius Tully. Look up this guy on IMDb, the man has three names! This film stars Sierra McCormick and Jake Horowitz in a film set during the 1950s. Two people, a switch operator and a DJ behind a radio station uncover the mystery of a strange audio frequency that could end up changing the nature of their town.

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First off, if you’re reading this, happy second half of 2020! I cannot believe we actually made it this far as a society! Yippee! Second, this film came out at a bunch of festivals including Fantastic Fest, Chicago International, TIFF, and Slamdance (not to be confused with Sundance). Although it did not really grant much access to the viewing public until 2020. Given how there’s a big pandemic, it didn’t have all that much of a theatrical release. However, it did have a limited run at drive-ins so it managed to have some of that theatrical flavor. Having seen this movie, I think it’s a perfect fit for a drive-in given its vibe, how it’s set in the 1950s, and the color grading has a hint of that old-time feel. But I didn’t see “The Vast of Night” at a drive-in, I saw it for free on Amazon Prime, considering how the movie is marketed as an Amazon Original. Who can turn down a free movie?

Here’s the truth about 2020. It’s the f*cking WORST! I cannot believe that a year could have ever been this tragic and infuriating! You ever had a dream that you wanted to achieve in 2020? Guess what? Go home! Time to find a new dream! I could make a whole post about this, but instead, let’s stick with movies. Because otherwise I would have eradicated all of humanity through brutal anger. Actually, you know what? Let’s mix the two topics up. Not a bad idea! This is honestly what could arguably the single least satisfying and anger-inducing year for film that I have witnessed not just while doing Scene Before, but also my life. I am not watching as much new material as I have in the past. All the theaters are closed, and of the new movies I have seen, nothing stands out. The highest grade I gave this year for a new film was a 7/10. Let me just say something about “The Vast of Night…”

It might be my favorite movie of 2020 so far.

2020, this is what movies are! Screw “My Spy!” Forget “Scoob!” F*ck “The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson” to hell and back! “The Vast of Night” is a fun, engaging, and somewhat satisfying flick… That isn’t perfect, let me just be clear here.

Because it is 2020, the year of complaining, I’m gonna start off with some negatives. This is a 91 minute film. And surprisingly, it gets a little slow at times. When I look at the runtime of a film, I sometimes think “Oh wow! Ninety minutes? I can watch this in a breeze!” While “The Vast of Night” is not necessarily an exception to this belief, there are one or two scenes that I won’t specifically dive into, but they go on for a little longer than I would anticipate. There’s a lot of explanation to expose the happenings of the film and I get that exposition is a necessary part of storytelling, but it sort of felt like watching the 2019 Super Bowl, something that tried to have a fast pace but was missing something. This pacing problem did not ruin the movie, and I imagine if I saw this film at a drive-in like some people did, there’s a good chance that this complaint could be irrelevant, but it felt like there was one specific scene where a character drones on for a little too long.

The Vast of Night (2019) - IMDb

One of the standout things about this movie in general is that it comes from people I don’t know at all. The two stars, AKA Sierra McCormack and Jake Horowitz are people who I don’t really recognize from a lot of projects. The director, what do you call him? James Montague? Junius Tully? Andrew Patterson? Turd Ferguson? I looked this guy up on IMDb, this is currently his ONLY credit. This is his debut for directing, writing, producing, and if Andrew is ALSO known as Junius Tully and does not appear to be somebody else I should know, his debut for editing and being in the editorial department. Basically, it’s five debuts in one! A lot of times when I look at the credits of the film, maybe someone will write the film, they’ll also direct and produce the film, maybe play a role in it. It’s not every day that I see filmmakers do all these things at once though. Granted, if you look at acclaimed masters of the industry like Kevin Smith, Alfonso Cuarón, and the Coen Brothers, yeah they edit their own films. But it’s nice to have this mix, while also getting to see work from someone you haven’t really been exposed to yet.

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And I would imagine that prior to making this film, Andrew Patterson has had some proper training within the art. When it comes to editing and camerawork, it is some of the best I have seen all year. The color grading in this film is fantastic. As for the movie itself, it is genuinely mysterious and spooky. This movie kind of comes off like it is some ninety minute episode of “The Twilight Zone.” In fact the first shot of the movie is of an old television set that is playing the intro to a show that pretty much takes almost every single element from the intro of “The Twilight Zone.” Everything from the music to the suspenseful buildup and even the captivating voice. There are some notable differences, but nevertheless.

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I will also give credit to the actors in this film, who I might admittedly end up not necessarily remembering at the end of the year for their ability to convey their characters, but their ability to stay sane during a nine minute shot. There is one scene where much of the focus is on the main girl switch operator and we see everything going on from her perspective. I was amazed at how the crew pulled this off without much error. That’s one of the big compliments I can give this film from a cinematography and camerawork perspective, they do so much to make this film look so crisp while also doing these long, extended, neverending takes. It kept my eyes on the screen for a long, long time. Speaking of shots, there’s numerous scenes that take place on a basketball court, and it adds up to bring in some of the most insane filmmaking of the year. This may be the first time of 2020, that I legit had a mind-blowing moment while watching a film. The other one might have been “Sonic the Hedgehog” because if you know anything about video game movies, there’s an often-shared stigma that they’re lackluster and some of worst products put to screen. But unlike that movie, which at times felt like a product that was heavily commercialized, “The Vast of Night” comes off as a passion project made by a group of people who were really excited to show off their skills and experience, even if not everyone was that experienced to begin with.

I stand by and understand the notion that all movies, in some way, are made for the sake of profit or raking in money. “The Vast of Night” kind of reminded me of an advanced student film, and I mean that in a positive way. It felt like a movie that I would want to make, to the point where I go beyond my imagination with the production value, the cinematography, finding the right people, and every other technical aspect you can think of. There felt like there was just a little more than the idea of getting rich when it comes to the aspirations behind “The Vast of Night,” and other than “The Way Back,” starring Ben Affleck, which I saw in March and have not reviewed yet, I don’t think I have seen as personal of a film this year. For those who are curious, this was shot in 17 days during September 2016 on a Red Epic camera. The result, satisfying.

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In the end, “The Vast of Night” is vastly entertaining. This is the movie that made me perhaps somewhat excited to watch and review new movies once again. It’s not perfect, as stated before, but given the limitations that this film had during production, to have it come out the way did is nothing short of incredible. At the same time though, maybe those extended scenes can also serve as a blessing in disguise, because even though I can tell that the story is relatively simple, maybe I’ll pick up on something in the future in regards to this movie should I watch it again. This year, I haven’t given any 10s, I haven’t given any 9s. Not because I’m trying to get a little more strict with my ratings, I just really have not seen much of anything worth talking about. And unfortunately, this year will continue to lack 9s and 10s, BUT I’m going to give “The Vast of Night” my first 8/10 of the 2020 calendar! Sometimes it does not take much to impress me, and in this case that is certainly true. This movie was produced for under $1 million, which in many circumstances is a lot of money, but for some cases within in the film industry, a million bucks is nothing. It’s chump change. “The Vast of Night” felt like a film that was crafted by someone who knew what they wanted to do and it felt just a tiny tad more expensive than maybe it turned out to be. The only thing that takes such a notion away are some of the extended shots, which are marvelous by the way.

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Thanks for reading this review! If you enjoyed this post and have a WordPress account, consider leaving a like! Also, if you want to see more content, be sure to follow Scene Before for all the goings on here on Flicknerd.com. As for upcoming content, I was PLANNING on going to a Regal Cinemas location next week to see what they’re doing after all the shenanigans, but of course, they delayed their reopening because life sucks and nothing else matters anymore. In most cases, this comment sounds childish, but in the time of 2020, this is pretty tame. Just spreading the truth! However, there is some good news to share… I live in Massachusetts, and it was just announced by Governor Charlie Baker that phase 3 begins July 6th! That means movie theaters in the state of Massachusetts are permitted to reopen as long as they follow guidelines! I don’t know how many theaters would open, but to know that they are eligible excites me. So maybe I’ll do a post on how they are dealing with reopening and what it is like to go to a theater during this… (sigh) “new normal.” Hate saying that. There’s a good chance that I will review another movie within the next week should time allow such a thing to happen, but since I talk about “Tenet” a lot, maybe I’ll do something related to that, I dunno. But if you are bored and are tired of scrolling through my blog on WordPress, I have the solution for you. LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE! It’s like my blog, only different! More behind the scenes stuff and random s*it that you don’t get to see on here. I want to know, did you see “The Vast of Night?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite movie that is set in the 1950s that did not come out in the 1950s? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

My Spy (2020): Dumped Onto Amazon? No Kidding.

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“My Spy…” That is a name I have been waiting to say for the LONGEST TIME. Nevertheless, “My Spy” is directed by Peter Segal (Grudge Match, 50 First Dates) and stars Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Stuber), Chloe Coleman (Big Little Lies, Transparent), Kristen Schaal (Bob’s Burgers, Gravity Falls), Ken Jeong (The Masked Singer, The Hangover), and Parisa Fitz-Henley (Jessica Jones, Midnight, Texas). This film is about a CIA operative who is on a mission alongside a fanatic/newbie in Chicago, who is supposed watch over a particular family’s apartment, only to run into a nine year old girl who lives in said apartment. As this happens, the CIA operative is now at the mercy of this nine year old who can potentially affect the entire mission.

If you wonder why I started this review the way I just did, here’s some context. I have waited FOREVER to talk about “My Spy.” Not because I knew about it for a long time and was finally getting to see it. Not because I was looking forward to it. Hey, this is no “Star Wars.” Before the COVID-19 craze happened, prior to when it was announced that this film would be going straight to Amazon’s Prime Video after multiple delays in the United States, I was invited by STX Screenings, which is an outlet based on the studio responsible for this film, to see “My Spy” a couple towns away from me. So I got on a train. Remember trains? Those were so much fun. I headed on over, saw the movie, but I knew one thing was for sure. I could not talk about it. That is unless I turned Scene Before into an Australian outlet, because this film already released in Australia months ago. Without saying much about the film, I did not hate myself, but it didn’t feel buzzworthy.

By the way, THIS WAS IN JANUARY. And it’s not like I went to a big festival or something or a test screening. No! This was a finished product! This was a screening meant to promote the film, get people to think about it, and that sort of thing! It was a simple free screening that just so happened to take place on a Saturday in January at 10AM! They really wanted families for this thing, didn’t they?

But guess what? I’m a Prime member, so I took the opportunity to watch this film again. After all, a lot can change on a second viewing, and I did forgot a lot about this movie over the last five months.

Once again, I did not completely hate myself for watching “My Spy.” But to call it Shakespeare is laughable.

Oooh! Here’s a hashtag! #ThisAgedWell.

Now don’t think I’m nagging on Dave Bautista, I love his work and he often comes off as one of the most down to earth celebrities working today. He doesn’t let the attention and fame get to his head, and he seems like an all around fun guy. I also love his passion for the film industry, those involved in said industry, and unlike some people, he is not afraid to project his opinion beyond the stratosphere (even if sometimes it might not work out in his favor). And I’ve seen him do good work. I think Bautista was a good pick to play Drax in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He had a solid screen presence during the beginning of “Blade Runner 2049” as Sapper. I even liked “Stuber!” It’s not a masterpiece, but… It has its moments. Well, Bautista’s performance in “Stuber” wasn’t his finest, but I liked the movie nevertheless. Here in “My Spy,” he looks the part from a physical standpoint, but the way the script translates onto the screen is weird at particular points where Bautista happens to speak.

Continuing on with what I just said, Dave Bautista DOES NOT give a career-damaging performance. At this point, I’m still excited to see him if there is a “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” which is seemingly in development at this point, so I can’t wait to see where that goes. However, when it comes to how his character is written. It’s very hit or miss. And the same can be said for some other moments of the screenplay as well.

While I did end up buying the mother/daughter relationship between Parisa Fitz-Henley and Chloe Coleman, there are a couple utterances of their lines and interactions where they didn’t feel like real people. Yes, one of the core objectives of a film is to stretch the truth and reality to a certain point, but there are one or two moments where it breaks the barrier and goes a little too far. I bought into the characters, but this is nevertheless how I felt as I witnessed said characters on screen. I also think the chemistry between Dave Bautista and Chloe Coleman is admirable, which does kind of end up being the heart of the film, so I gotta give credit to the casting department where it is due. Although, it is not like I haven’t seen this type of chemistry done better in the past. This film kind of reminded me of “The Game Plan” starring Dwayne Johnson. You know, that movie where he unexpectedly meets his own daughter. Although, that movie handles something better that this seems confused with, its identity.

While I often criticize Disney for its unwillingness in regards to pushing boundaries, their movie, “The Game Plan,” at least feels consistent. It always feels family-friendly, it always comes off as somewhat warm yet exciting, it projects a sense of clean fun throughout. Here, it feels kind of weird. Did they make this movie for young teenagers who wanna hear people drop a couple bombs? Did they make this for kids? Families? The movie starts off with a strategically laid out action scene that almost glorifies violence, but later on we get this family drama that turns out to be the heart of the movie. It feels like a PG-13 action movie in one moment, but for almost the full remainder of the runtime, it feels PG at best. I am willing to bet, that if this movie was PG, it MAYBE could have gotten away with as much violence as there is. Maybe if it was just toned down or edited with slight differences, it would have gotten the PG rating. If they took out a few naughty words, it would have gotten a PG rating. Do I want this movie to be PG? No. If you ask me, I am always for the dark route whenever possible. But I want this movie to have a tone that works, but it almost fails when it comes to having its own identity. It feels like a conglomeration of ideas that are randomly placed together to waste a little more than an hour and a half.

“My Spy” is a technically competent film. When it comes to aspects like editing, camerawork, and music, “My Spy” works. It’s not the greatest movie ever made. Far from it in fact, but it is confusingly laid out and doesn’t feel like it really knows what it is. The movie also tries to be a comedy, and there are moments where the comedy does land, but it also comes off as a little traditional, like I’ve seen it before. Bautista has a couple well-executed comedic moments as the movie goes on, but if you have seen a lot of movies, it is probably not going to stick the landing as perfectly as one would hope.

For those of you who don’t watch a lot of animated movies, one of the cliches from that realm of film is that there is a dance sequence of some sort. Now, “My Spy” is not animated, but this does honestly nearly, not COMPLETELY, but nearly come off, as a movie meant for kids. Much like the typical animated fare, “My Spy” has a dance sequence, but I will say the way they handled it here was not exactly annoying. It wasn’t completely exciting or exhilarating, but it felt like it had a noticeable purpose compared to some other movies (I’m looking at YOU, “Uncle Drew”). For a movie like this, seeing a dance sequence that actually worked and didn’t make me want to rip my hair off was sort of delightful.

In all seriousness though, “My Spy” is probably going to end up being one of the more forgettable movies of 2020. How do I know that? Because as I mentioned, I already saw the film in January and a lot of it already faded. It feels disposable, slightly typical, and doesn’t really offer anything spicy to the table. I think Chloe Coleman, who plays the young girl in this film, has a bright future ahead of her, but if she becomes successful, I don’t think “My Spy” will be the film I will end up remembering her for most.

In the end, “My Spy” is probably going to be watched once and then quickly left in the dust. The only thing I can say at this point is that if you are bored and you pay for Amazon Prime, watching this movie won’t exactly kill you. If it’s a family movie night, you can do better, but you can also do a lot worse. Now I saw this movie twice, and that’s because I wanted to refresh my memory on what happened in the film and how it presents itself. Was it worth the second watch for those reasons? Sure. But if we’re talking about entertainment value, there are superior options out there. I like the people in the movie, but the movie itself, not as great. I’m going to give “My Spy” a 5/10.

Thanks for reading this review! It is almost the end of June, so that means that we are getting closer to the day I release my review for Tom Cruise’s “Minority Report.” This is the conclusion to Scene Before’s Tom Cruise Month, which has been fun for me personally, as I do enjoy Tom Cruise as a professional. I have not seen “Minority Report” yet, but I assure you that I do have even just the slightest anticipation to talk about it. If you want to see more great content like this from Scene Before, please give the blog a follow! If you have proper account credentials, give this post a like! Also, check out the official Scene Before Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “My Spy?” What did you think about it? Or, since it’s relevant… Did you ever see the 2007 movie “The Game Plan?” Tell me your thoughts on that! Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

CHECK OUT MY TOM CRUISE MONTH REVIEWS SO FAR:

OBLIVION (2013)

ALL THE RIGHT MOVES (1983)

DAYS OF THUNDER (1990)

TOP GUN (1986)

Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes – Part 4

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It is now time for part 4 of the all new Scene Before series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes.” This series describes the recent happenings, or in some cases, a lack of happenings, in the film industry as the world deals with the COVID-19 outbreak.

As usual, we deal with real world matters first. Since Easter was this past weekend, gatherings at churches and homes within one’s collective connections of a family that was commonplace in years past managed to take a backseat this year.

California has recently extended its stay at home order from April 19th to May 15th. Speaking of California, the state recently joined forces with other nearby states including Oregon and Washington in what they call the Western States Pact. The three announced a plan to put health first and deliver a more scientific-based focus compared to a political focus to stopping the coronavirus. The states are still building specific plans for their area, but they are nevertheless working together to stop the spread.

Speaking of which, the northeast portion of the United States is engaging in something similar. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania are joining forces in their own coalition. So, remember all those requests for Andrew Cuomo to run for President of the United States? That won’t be happening anytime soon, but when it comes to coronavirus matters, he is currently dealing with more than just New York. Speaking of Presidents of the United States…

President Donald J. Trump stated this Monday that he is the one that should have control on opening the country back up. He suggests, “When somebody is president of the United States, the authority is total.” Trump also stated he wants to open the United States back up by May 1st, which close medical expert Anthony Fauci declares is “a bit overly optimistic.”

Just today, Andrew Cuomo referred to Trump this morning on NBC’s “Today,” suggesting “We do not have a king, we have a president.” Cuomo is doing what he can to make sure that the state of New York opens back up at what he considers to be the right time for everyone’s health. While Trump is suggesting May 1st, Cuomo fears that this all-powerful decision made by Trump will lead to “a constitutional crisis like you haven’t seen in decades,” as he stated in MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Speaking of Andrew Cuomo, and somewhat transitioning to movie news a bit early here, he suggested the possibility of making drive-in theaters an exception to non-essential businesses that remain closed. Keep in mind, drive-ins have still been in operation during the ongoing crisis, but it does not mean that there are some that are not in operation, plus there are others that are just closed because it’s not the proper season for a drive-in to be open. Cuomo suggested, “Where is the public safety issue? It’s a drive-in theater. You’re in the car with the same people.” He is not wrong. Drive-ins make for a fun night out while also promoting social distancing. I would not mind drive-ins opening up, but the problem is… What movies are they going to play? Are just going to play “Trolls: World Tour” over and over? Maybe they’ll bring back some classics since there’s nothing else to do.

Going outside the United States, specifically in Wuhan, China, where early cases of the virus originated, the city opened back up after a lively lightshow and countdown declaring the disappearance of COVID-19. Despite the reopening, restrictions still appear to be in place including the closure of schools, shops, and sadly, cinemas. But one thing that has opened is the region’s wet markets. Outsiders are suggesting immediate closure of said wet markets as it serves live animals, including bats, which sources suggest is the reason why COVID-19 spread in the first place.

But of course, we have some movie news to talk about like usual. More delays, more new releases on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital, and some big news involving acclaimed filmmaker Bong Joon Ho (don’t worry, that part is all good news). Also, there’s a big movie that tried something new this weekend, going straight to digital while also having a theatrical release. Before we dive into that, I do want to point out that despite there being a major pandemic, some movie theaters are still open. Keep in mind, many of these theaters are drive-ins. This is now old news, but according to Deadline, 14 movie theaters remained open on the first weekend of April. I also want to point out another article I saw from The Wrap, which suggests that “Trolls: World Tour” played in 21 drive-in theaters this weekend. Even in desperate times, theaters are still active. Speaking of optimistic news, here’s more!

JAMES GUNN SAYS GUARDIANS 3 AND THE SUICIDE SQUAD WON’T BE DELAYED

Usually when I dive into these main topics during the series, I have often emphasized the bad news at hand. A common example is when a major film gets delayed such as “F9,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” or “Top Gun: Maverick.” However, it’s about time we get some good news in here and talk about a couple of films that are not being affected by the outbreak, both of which are being directed by James Gunn. To specify, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” which is a big movie, especially since it’s the third consecutive entry to the franchise being helmed by Gunn himself, but also “The Suicide Squad,” which has finished filming in February and is set to release August 6th, 2021. Gunn spent time on Twitter recently taking questions from fans and he had some notable things to say regarding these two films.

Alright, this resembles some decent progress on the film, and it shows that even in a time like this, people like Gunn in the entertainment industry are still working. But let’s see the next tweet.

Keep in mind, “The Suicide Squad” is not set to come out for a bit under a year and half, so there is plenty of time to edit the film, develop a marketing campaign, and lay out all the elements needed for the film’s post-production process. So the film is coming, and should this pandemic fizzle, there is a solid chance that “The Suicide Squad” will be in theaters during 2021. Now what about that other big comic book James Gunn has up his sleeve?

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is not currently listed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s fourth phase, but there have been previously established plans to make the film. Unfortunately, the film was supposed to come out this year, but due to James Gunn’s controversial tweets leaking, his business relationship with Disney was no more and he was no longer attached to direct the third installment to the franchise. Judging by this tweet right here, Gunn still seems to be working on the film, but an official release date seems rather uncertain at this point. IMDb lists it to come out in 2021, but given how Marvel has many other projects going on, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” might have to wait. But “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is nevertheless a film that I will see should I get the chance to witness it come out, so this information pleases me to say the least. I was not the biggest fan of “Vol. 2,” but I am curious to see what Gunn could deliver to this third installment.

MORE MOVIES GET DELAYED

But of course, with good news, comes bad news. In this case, the bad news is that yet another delay is happening. As if Pixar didn’t suffer enough already by having to put “Onward” on digital early, they just pushed back “Soul” to November. Nobody behind Pixar seems to be popping bottles at this point. “Soul” was originally supposed to come out June 19th, but now has been pushed back to November 20th. By the way, this is releasing the same day as “Godzilla vs. Kong.” I honestly have no idea how well that movie is going to do box-office wise, but given Pixar’s name recognition and since there already has been some anticipation towards this film, there could be a chance that “Soul” is the box office champ of the two when it comes to seeing how they play out on opening weekend. The film is directed by Pete Docter, who also directed 2015’s “Inside Out,” which this film honestly reminds me of. Kemp Powers will co-direct by the way. While conceptually different, “Soul” seems to present the vibe of “Inside Out,” not to mention a somewhat similar concept. The film follows a musician (Jamie Foxx) who loses his passion for music. After being transported out of his body, he interacts with an infant soul while trying to return to said body. The film definitely sounds like it could be emotional, which would not be much of a shocker for a film by Pixar. But now here’s a problem for not just this film, but a bunch of others coming out this year. I don’t know if it is just me, but it now feels like November is CRAMMED with popular titles. From “Soul” to “No Time to Die” to “Black Widow.” While I could look at this as a benefit because it likely means this November will be a pop culture haven, it’s also a negative because I imagine some films that could potentially be big will underperform because they are in such a congested schedule. Or to make matters more interesting, November is also a big month for award season, and now there is probably a bigger focus on pop culture titles that might not be awarded much of anything as opposed to what could be nominated for the Academy’s Best Picture in a couple months.

Also, remember how “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” got delayed to late July? Paramount’s “Infinite,” an upcoming sci-fi flick starring Mark Wahlberg (Transformers: Age of Extinction, Ted), which was originally come out July 31st, has officially been pushed back to Memorial Day weekend in 2021. The film follows a man whose hallucinations are visions of his past lives. I would like to go into some of my past lives at this point just to get away from whatever the hell is going on right now. Think I was done talking about “SpongeBob?” Well I’m not! I say so because the film has been delayed again, but this time only by a week. As of now, “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” is coming out August 7th.

TROLLS: WORLD TOUR DEBUTS DIGITALLY

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I’ve talked about this news already, but given how this does document a rare incident, I might as well talk about it. Certain movies like “The Irishman” have a limited run in theaters before being put on Netflix, but for “Trolls: World Tour,” the sequel to DreamWorks’ successful 2016 flick, that’s a different story. You won’t be able to find it on Netflix, but you will be able to find it through services including Prime Video, FandangoNOW, and Vudu. The reason, Universal wanted to put “Trolls: World Tour” out on digital the same day they put it out in theaters. This is kind of an unprecedented situation as movies typically start in theaters and there is a waiting period until the movie comes out on digital and DVD. But nope, Universal thought it would be better to just digitally release the film. I have not seen the film, in fact, I have no plans on seeing the film given how I have not watched the original, but others did manage to show up for this new installment. The movie managed to make more through its digital run than “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” did when it debuted digitally. “Trolls: World Tour” managed to make around $30 million according to reports. This is compared to “Fallen Kingdom,” which managed to rack up $2-3 million. Keep in mind, these reports are exclusive to the United States. Also, another thing to keep in mind, that even though many of the purchases were through digital platforms, theaters were open during the initial days of “Trolls: World Tour,” many of which are drive-ins, so it is not like everybody had to be stuck in their house to watch it. Also, while $30 million may be considered successful in this circumstance, the movie cost $90 million to make, so there could be a chance that Universal will lose money over this. Even though a $19.99 rental for 48 hours can cost more than a single movie ticket, the target demographic for “Trolls: World Tour” is families, especially kids. You can take a family of four to the theater and pay double that price to see the movie, maybe even more. It’s also short of what the first movie raked in on its opening weekend back in 2016, which was over $46 million. If this sequel was in theaters, it probably could have surpassed that due to factors such as name recognition. My biggest wonder for “Trolls: World Tour” is how well it will do over these next few days, not to mention next weekend. I say that because, sure, the movie can have excellent debut to rave about. But if we are treating this as the closest thing to a theatrical release we can get, we have to consider how much of a drop it could make this following weekend. Will it make $15 million? $12 million? $10 million? Could it possibly make more this weekend than it did last weekend? Only time will tell. This straight to digital rollout is an experiment if there ever was one, and its chances towards success have recently shown that maybe theaters COULD have been much better for “Trolls: World Tour,” but this is a new way of doing things, and if we are still in this crisis, things could change.

MY SPY GOES STRAIGHT TO PRIME VIDEO

For those of you who don’t know, “My Spy,” the film where Dave Bautista goes undercover and makes a connection with a nine-year old girl, is a movie that has been promoted from time to time by STX here in the states has already released theatrically in select regions including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom. But for the United States, it’s a different story. The film has already had free screenings before it was supposed to come out, one of which I went to in January by the way. But the film has had a rough history when it comes to getting a proper release. “My Spy” was supposed to release on August 23rd, 2019. The film had a trailer put out a year ago, so the promotion and marketing process was getting into gear. However, it was pulled from STX’s release schedule in July. The next release date that was announced for the film was March 13th, 2020. And of course, to get the ball rolling on word of mouth and that sort of thing, free screenings started popping up and I got to attend one of them. But, just in the snap of a finger, the release date changed from March 13th to April 17th. I would imagine that the COVID-19 crisis could be a contributing factor, but I also wonder if STX thought if it would be a better time for the film to release in terms of financial gain compared to competition. Nevertheless, it was just announced on April 8th that the film is now going to be distributed by Amazon Studios and instead of going to theaters, it is going directly to Prime Video. So if you are a Prime member, you are likely going to be able to watch “My Spy” for free on the service.

CBS SCHEDULES SUNDAY MOVIE NIGHTS

CBS is a leading name for television. Their standard channels air daytime staples like “The Price Is Right” and “The Young and the Restless” along with notable shows at night such as “Young Sheldon,” “MacGyver,” and “Mom.” Meanwhile, they have been building a name for themselves through streaming by providing material such as a couple of “Star Trek” original shows and a spinoff of “The Good Wife” known as “The Good Fight” through CBS All Access. But if you get access to the main CBS channel, which I’m sure a lot of you do, one thing you might want to keep an eye on is their schedule for May. Every Sunday, CBS is going to air movies under the Paramount label. This will begin with a movie that is very likely to garner attention, “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” In addition to that “Indiana Jones” film, the network is also airing “The Last Crusade.” Oddly enough, they are skipping over “Temple of Doom.” Other movies to be aired by CBS will include “Titanic,” “Forrest Gump,” and “Mission: Impossible.” This run will last for five Sundays from May 3rd to May 31st. By the way, all the movies are scheduled to begin at 8PM, except for “Titanic,” which will start at 7PM. Earlier on in the series, I discussed that ESPN was going to air movies on Friday nights, said movies are all Disney-owned and focus on sports. One thing that I think would help CBS in a case like this compared to ESPN just a little bit is its accessibility. CBS is a slightly more recognizable channel and unlike ESPN, you can get it on an antenna.

HULU ACHIEVES BEST PICTURE WINNER PARASITE

One of my favorite films of the past year is the Bong Joon Ho-directed masterpiece, “Parasite.” Lucky for me, I own the Blu-ray, therefore I have the ability to watch the film as much as I please through a physical disc. But if you have Hulu, you can consider yourself lucky because “Parasite” is now available on the service. For the record, the film is not the first of its kind to be on Hulu. To be clear, the film was distributed in the States by Neon, which also helped distribute titles including “I, Tonya,” “The Beach Bum,” and “Honeyland.” Films like these have also made it to Hulu. So if you wanted to watch “Parasite” without paying much, just make sure you have a Hulu subscription and you’re good to go. And remember, it won the Academy’s vote for Best Picture, so every film aficionado will tell you that it is bloody important. If you are a little skeptical on watching “Parasite” because it is in Korean, let me just remind you of this quote given by director Bong Joon Ho himself.

“Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

Speaking of Bong Joon Ho, his 2013 work “Snowpiercer,” which is being adapted into a series set to air on TNT, is coming out for the first time in the United Kingdom on DVD and Blu-ray. The film is set to release on May 25th. It’s one heck of a time to be Bong Joon Ho.

NEW HOME VIDEO RELEASES

Stuck at home? Jack’s here to help! This week for digital has got a few new movies coming your way. For starters, we have “Underwater,” one of the last films to display the 20th Century Fox label. For the record, Disney did complete their acquisition of Fox’s assets during March 2019, but for a little under a year, they kept putting out films like “Ford v Ferrari” that had the studio label that has achieved fame. Although, with the recent release of “The Call of the Wild,” they are now using 20th Century Studios instead. Sticking with “Underwater,” the film stars Kristen Stewart alongside a crew of researchers as their underwater facility is hit with an earthquake. The film is a box office bomb, making $37.2 million on a $50 million budget. It has a 47% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 60% audience rating, so it’s hard to know what exactly you’ll think of it upon first glance. The film is also now available on DVD and Blu-ray if you prefer the physical copy.

“Fantasy Island,” which is based on a TV show of the same name, is now available for digital purchase. If you want to wait for a rental option, that is coming May 12th, the same day the film comes out on DVD and Blu-ray. Keep in mind, the film has a 4.6 on IMDb, which might not be the best of signs.

Also coming out, “The Rhythm Section.” This action flick stars Blake Lively and Jude Law, and is about a woman whose family dies in a plane crash. This woman joins the world of espionage as she seeks vengeance. The film is not out on DVD and Blu-ray until April 28th, but it is available for digital purchase today.

Thanks for reading the fourth part of the ongoing series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes!” Even in the apocalypse, there is one thing I can promise, and that my friends, is content. Maybe not the content that I want to make, but content nevertheless. Last week I said that I’d probably get shoved into an abyss by STX executives if I talk about “My Spy” at this point. So with that in mind, now that it is owned by Amazon and has no official release date, I will probably be shoved into an abyss by Amazon executives, or maybe even Jeff Bezos himself, if I talk about “My Spy” at this point. So what is happening with the movie is clear, but when I will review it, is unclear. Only time will tell. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, is there any big news I missed regarding COVID-19 and entertainment over the past week? Also, since it is appropriate, what are your thoughts on “Parasite?” Personally, I think it is one of the most twisted movies I have seen in recent memory and it is a blast from start to finish. Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

How to Support Movie Theaters During the COVID-19 Crisis

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! COVID-19 has certainly made its presence known, and things have been looking particularly interesting. It is hard to know when exactly the U.S., or other countries for that matter, will be in ship shape, I might discuss that more in my next entry to the ongoing series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes,” but one of the heavily affected portions of this matter is the movie theater industry. Since it is impossible to get people together, movie theaters have shut down their doors for the time being, leaving chains, art houses, and local staples in total emptiness. There is a good chance that your local theater is hurting, even just the slightest. So here are some ways that you could potentially help your movie theater survive this crisis.

BUY GIFT CARDS

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I’m not sure if every theater has a program for this, but many of the theaters near me do. One of the easiest ways to give the movie theaters some support in this time is to buy their gift cards. While it is unlikely that you will get to use it anytime soon, it will ignite a reason for you to go back to the cinema when this all ends. You can buy a gift card for yourself right now, and consider it an indulgence in due time. Or, if you know a movie buff in life that loves the cinema and will do anything to get their butt in a theater seat, it’ll remind them of how much they love the theatrical experience and they too will have a reason to go back. Gift cards exist for both chains and smaller theaters, so if you really want to put some money towards the community staple, be my guest. At the same time though, I will remind you chains are hurting too. In fact, AMC is speculated to not survive this crisis, so if you want to support them, I’d recommend you do that. Or, if you do want to buy a gift card from them, you can support their new On Demand service they just put out, which is now available on smart devices, including TVs. Although I cannot confirm that all TVs have it, as I have a Sony Android TV and I was not able to find it there. You can buy gift cards online and GET THIS, the only places that are open right now, grocery stores and pharmacies! So you’re in luck if you need some hand sanitizer right now!

Also, one recommendation, don’t buy gift cards to third party ticketing sites like Fandango or Atom Tickets. I’m not saying don’t do it now or ever, but I’m more or less trying to point out that this more about movie theaters than the third party sites. In fact, Fandango might be doing relatively fine at this point since they have a rather well-known On Demand service. I have nothing against these sites, in fact I have a Fandango VIP account, but again, this is more about theaters than anything else here.

BECOME A MEMBER

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A lot of smaller movie theaters have memberships to back them up and keep them financially stable. One of my personal favorites is the Coolidge Corner Theatre, located in Brookline, Massachusetts, which I would become a member for, but I do not go there as often as I would like to, so I don’t have much of a need for a membership. However, it is undeniable that the membership can give a ton of perks like discounts towards tickets and food, email updates, and invitations to special events. In fact, I shared this once in my “Movies and COVID-19” series, but I’ll share it again because I think it is really important. Edgar Wright put out a tweet for people to shout out theaters that have memberships.

Some of the cinemas that have been shouted out here include the Music Box Theatre (Chicago, IL), the Roxie Theatre (San Francisco, CA), the Hyde Park Picture House (Leeds, UK), and the Brattle Theatre (Cambridge, MA). These memberships not only benefit the theater and allow them keep themselves and their organization afloat, but as mentioned, they will benefit you with tons of perks. Now keep in mind, some of what you’ll find is not cheap, so if you are not willing to invest your money in a theater membership, it may be understandable.

SUPPORT POP-UP SALES

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There’s a saying that movie theaters are not technically in the movie business, and instead, in the candy business. After all, the studios take a lot of money from ticket sales, whereas theaters mainly make their money through food sales. Popcorn may be expensive, but it’s a system that works! One of the suggestions I had early on in this crisis is that even though you cannot show movies in theaters, they should still keep snack stands in operation in case someone wants a quick bite. Now that may not work for all spots, but I imagine some would get business, because popcorn rocks. Speaking of popcorn at the movies, you can still get it right now, because select theaters are doing pop-up sales, where they will focus on selling food such as popcorn.

For the record, if you live near a chain theater like an AMC, there is a good chance that they won’t be doing this, but if you have a theater that goes by a lesser known name or presents itself as a local establishment, they may have you covered.

ORDER TAKEOUT/DELIVERY

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Sticking with the idea of food, aside from keeping stands open to potentially make some money, not to mention keep people employed during this dire time, another idea I had was potentially adding a delivery service to people who are unwilling to go out. In fact, some of the chains are doing just that. Alamo Drafthouse locations in Austin, TX, Denver, CO, and Raleigh, NC are on services including Grubhub, Favor, and Doordash. So if you live in those areas and want some of Alamo Drafthouse’s food, you are in luck. Another chain by the name of Studio Movie Grill, which has 43 locations in ten states is also doing takeout and delivery. Not just that, but they are also offering 2 free movie tickets with every order. For the record, this takeout and delivery deal is being done in select locations in California, Texas, and Florida, plus some of them are ONLY doing curbside takeout. Or, if you live in Michigan, you may be familiar with Celebration Cinema, a local chain that operates 14 locations. One of them, located in Grand Rapids, has its next door restaurant, One Twenty Three Tavern on Uber Eats. For the record Alamo Drafthouse does not list popcorn for delivery, but Studio Movie Grill only lists gourmet popcorn, which I’m not sure what that implies, but still. Also, Celebration Cinema is offering popcorn either via a bucket for $11, or a party bag for $25.

CHECK OUT VIRTUAL CINEMAS

Remember how I talked about the Coolidge Corner Theatre? Well, turns out that in place of showing movies physically, they are providing streaming routes for select titles. The theatre’s website provides a section where you can look at films and potentially purchase them for personal viewing. Some notable titles include “The Whistlers,” a heist drama from director Corneliu Porumboiu. “Fantastic Fungi,” a documentary about the mycelium community. And this even gives the opportunity to watch the Cannes-winning film “Bacurau.” If you are also interested, be sure to check out “Best of CatVideoFest,” and the content of this kind is available for the first time outside theaters. Purchasing these films helps support the Coolidge organization stay afloat during this dark time. Other theaters are diving into the virtual realm too like the recently mentioned Music Box, Anthology Film Archives in New York, and even chains like Alamo Drafthouse are getting in on this. But of course, if they don’t have your movie of choice, there’s always Netflix, Prime, Hulu, or my favorite way to view a movie at home, physical media!

If you know of any other ways to support movie theaters while their doors are closed, feel free to list them in comments below! What have you been specifically doing to support closed movie theaters right now? Is there a movie theater that is still open in your area? Was it a drive-in? Let me know down below! Thanks for reading this post! Given how Scene Before is your place to read all things movies during the apocalypse, why not give the blog a follow or its Facebook page a like? You won’t regret it! As far as my reviews go, I do want to give an update on one movie in particular, and that is “My Spy.” Just recently, it was announced that the movie is going directly to Prime Video, I have decided that I will still talk about it, given how I already saw it at a free screening in January, and since this is a film that has been screened in theaters before under a distributor originally intending to put it out in theaters, I am planning on counting it towards my end of the year top best and worst movies lists. Until then, be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Aeronauts (2019): The Theory of Ballooning

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“The Aeronauts” is directed by Tom Harper (The Woman in Black: Angel of Death, Peeky Blinders) and stars Eddie Redmayne (Jupiter Ascending, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Felicity Jones (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Himesh Patel (EastEnders, Yesterday), and Tom Courtenay (Doctor Zhivago, The Dresser). This film is based on the 2013 book “Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air,” written by Richard Holmes. This is about a pilot (Jones) and a scientist (Redmayne) as they try to survive in a gas balloon as they attempt to break boundaries for all mankind.

“The Aeronauts” was one of my more anticipated films of the fall. When I did research on this film earlier this year, I figured this would be a fun ride, and I mean that literally. During the summer, I made a big post meant to recap the initial half of 2019 and how it links to my time on Scene Before. In said post, I made a statement about some of the plans I had for October. I wanted to check out “Zombieland: Double Tap,” which I did see. And I also wanted to take a gander at “Gemini Man,” which I didn’t see. Another film on the list of things that I wanted to see then was “The Aeronauts.” After all, it was supposed to release in October, but it didn’t even come out here in the United States until December 6th. This release period by the way is very limited. And I think Amazon thought that the movie would do better if it was released to Prime as soon as possible. By the way, I wanted to go see this in the theater. In fact, I had an opportunity to see it for free, because I reserved a pass for a screening at a theater in Boston, but I ended up not going because it was during a time of a big snowstorm and I was wondering if I would be able to get home easily.

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Also, when I reflect on the buildup period to this film’s release, I recall this being Amazon’s earliest planned attempt at an IMAX run. Having said that, it seems to be true. In the United Kingdom, this released in cinemas during November. This run seems to have included screenings in IMAX and 4DX. This movie was shown in various places in the US, including at AFI Fest this year, where according to Wikipedia, it would show at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX. Unfortunately, as far as I know from research, the movie lost its IMAX run here in the US.

Having seen the movie, I must say, as an experience, Amazon honestly missed an opportunity. They could have marketed the film as the “must-see in cinema experience of the year” or something of that nature. This film is vibrant, lively, and just a joy to look at. The cinematography is nice at times, the visuals have this sense of lifelike magic, and it kind of made me want to go up in the sky. In fact, one thing that I noticed while watching this film, is that the aspect ratio changes overtime. When the balloon launches up in the air, the black bars diminish. This gives a grand sense of scope of the sky. I would have loved to have seen this in a cinema, especially in IMAX to be a part of the amusement park-like experience, which this movie really is. However, the movie does not shy away from building proper characters.

I do not know much about the real life events this movie happens to be based on, but the movie managed make the event feel important yet entertaining. Part of the entertainment has to do with the likable chemistry between Amelia Wren and James Glaisher, played wonderfully by Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne. I think the characters feel like a legit pair for the time and pretty much every scene with them on the balloon was a bundle of joy. This should not be too surprising though because Redmayne and Jones have collaborated in a project before. Even though I haven’t seen this movie in particular, I know they both appear in 2014’s “The Theory of Everything,” which received mostly positive reviews.

Again, every scene with these two in the balloon was hypnotizing and I almost didn’t want them to stop. But how’s the rest of the movie off the balloon? Aside from the opening scene, it’s almost a snoozefest. Not gonna lie, I’m kinda disappointed. This movie is perhaps one of the more badly edited products we’ve gotten all year. Okay, the editing itself is fine, but the structure is what the real problem happens to be.

If I had to compare “The Aeronauts” to anything, it would have be “Suicide Squad” and “IT: Chapter Two.” I say that because one of the core elements of both movies is that they rely heavily on flashbacks. I often joke about this, and I made this joke over three years ago when I originally reviewed “Suicide Squad,” specifically calling it “Flashbacks: The Movie.” Granted, the flashbacks here are not as prominent as “Suicide Squad,” but I think that’s what makes this movie suffer. Even though a movie like “Suicide Squad” is perhaps strangled by its past, I was still able to keep myself awake to whatever past events are being shown on screen. Maybe it’s because of the previously established grand scope, but the events of reality deterred the pacing of the film for me. I was expecting this film to mainly focus on the main event at hand, simply based on the opening. While this may not be the most accurate of comparisons, it sort of reminded me of “Dunkirk,” which was not really about anything except one particular event. Unlike “Dunkirk,” “The Aeronauts” tries to focus on two main characters. Ultimately, this just feels, to me, like it focuses more on the journey overall than anything else.

I enjoyed “The Aeronauts,” don’t get me wrong. But at the same time, it’s seemingly forgettable. The flashbacks almost feel like filler, but there is one that sort of leaves an impact on the film, and sort of foreshadows the danger that lies ahead. Judging by what I said, it might as well be easy to point out that this is the first flashback of the movie. And speaking of films directed by Christopher Nolan, because I just mentioned “Dunkirk,” the very beginning sort of reminds me of the opening scene of “Interstellar.” I won’t go into much detail, but both seem to highlight significant danger, and both do so very well. Speaking of the beginning, the launch scene very much reminded me of a rocket launch that plays out in a space film. It really does come off as something special and extremely important. Given how space travel was not even a thing back when this movie takes place, it is nice to see some sort of equivalent for the time.

But if there is one thing I need to say… Why did they have to alter history and make a gender swap? OK, let me just say, I am for writing history when it is done right. I don’t always watch films for the sake of a history lesson, but when a film is focusing on history, I do expect a certain level of realism and accuracy. Unfortunately, this film fails with that. For the record, Amelia Wren is essentially a replacement for Henry Coxwell, who was part of this real life event the movie tends to go over. I think it’s a bit far for me to say that I felt ripped off, but considering the fact that I didn’t even know this until I was doing my final revisions for this review, I would not lying to you if I told you this lowered my grade for this film. I’m serious. As I was writing this, I already had a paragraph with my score set. Guess what? Just for this, it’s going to be altered!

In the end, I don’t have all that much more to say about “The Aeronauts,” partially because it is rather simple to explain, and to be honest, it’s unfortunately forgettable. Let me just say, it’s better than “Cats.” Definitely better than “Cats.” ANYTHING at this point is better than “Cats!” As gorgeous as this film looks, as stunning as it truly presents itself, it suffers slightly in terms of substance. It’s not a disaster by any means, in fact I had a fun time with it, but if it were paced better and structured differently, I think it could have lead to something that would float higher on the scale. And honestly, I could end up watching this again, but the lack of focus on history was a slight downfall for me, so I’m going to give “The Aeronauts” a 5/10.

Thanks for reading this review! I just want to remind everyone of a couple updates here on the blog. On Christmas Eve, I am going to be dropping my final trailer (I promise) of my upcoming two part countdown series “Top Movies of the 2010s.” Speaking of countdowns, I want to remind you all that at the beginning of January, I am going to be releasing my top BEST & WORST movies of 2019 lists. Per usual, I am planning on doing top 10 lists, perhaps with honorable mentions, and I will recap some of my thoughts on some of the films I have seen this year. That is unless I reference a film that I have not reviewed, but we’ll have to see how everything pans out in the future. If you want to see upcoming content like this and more, be sure to follow Scene Before! Want to help me out even more? Give this post a like and share with your friends! Speaking of places you can find friends, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “The Aeronauts?” What did you think about it? Or, what is the most visually impressive movie you have seen in 2019? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Honey Boy (2019): Shia LaBeouf Has Transformed Into a Brilliant Writer

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“Honey Boy” is the directorial debut of Alma Har’el and is written by Shia LaBeouf, who also stars in the film as an abusive father. This film also stars Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea, Lady Bird), Noah Jupe (Wonder, The Night Manager), and FKA Twigs in a film partially based on Shia LaBeouf’s own life. The film centers around the relationship of a father and son, the father is on drugs, he’s often irritated, and the son is moving himself up in his acting career. Based on the inner workings of the duo’s relationship, it’s not all that pretty. At the same time, we also get a look at the child’s early adult years, which tends to allow some significance to be inserted regarding events earlier in life.

I go into several movies at least having seen a trailer, a little bit of ad marketing, maybe a description as to what it is about. I knew some things about “Honey Boy.” But if I told you that I went into this film knowing lots about it, I’d be lying to you. I was notified of a nearby free screening, I wouldn’t call it an advance screening since certain sources suggest the film had been released in the US about a week before I saw it. Although maybe it technically is, because in my area specifically, which is Boston, there are almost no showtimes for this movie whatsoever. I recently Googled showtimes for “Honey Boy” and only found it to be available for two different times at one theater this upcoming Thursday. Nothing before, nothing after.

Safe to say, this movie is probably not going to get too much attention at this point. I almost wonder if Amazon, the distributor behind this film, is going to try to get this film more attention when it comes to streaming. After all, Amazon has their own streaming service, Prime Video, and they usually make their original movies free for Prime members. Let me just tell you something though. I saw this film, by myself, knowing almost nothing about it. I walked out of this film, just simply wanting to talk about it with others. “Honey Boy” is a surprise. This is the first feature-length screenplay from Shia LeBeouf. It is EASILY one of the best of the year. I’ll also mention once again that this is being helmed by a first time feature director, specifically Alma Har’el. I should point out that she has also helmed various shorts and documentaries prior to directing “Honey Boy,” but as a feature-length debut, this is beyond where you’d want to go as a director. There are several scenes that I would love to screenshot and maybe frame in a museum, use them perhaps as a desktop photo on my computer. There is a clip of the movie where pie is being thrown in the lead kid’s face and it is still in my head. There is a lot to like in “Honey Boy” if you are into technical aspects. I think the only small nitpick that I can come up with, and this honestly takes NOTHING away the movie and all its absolute brilliance is that there are scenes where the camerawork is handheld and at times it almost feels like I’m watching a family vlog or a YouTube video as opposed to a film. If I had to compare it to another film, I’d say it reminded me a little bit of “The Disaster Artist,” another REALLY GOOD movie. Possibly the best comedy of the decade. But this tiny little nitpick does not mean the cinematography is bad, it is competent. It’s not like I’m watching “Transformers: The Last Knight” or something. I’m just saying that if it were me in the director’s chair or behind the camera, I would have done things perhaps slightly different.

But in all seriousness, “Honey Boy” is one hell of a movie. From start to finish. And honestly, it’s an experience that I don’t always tend to get. In recent years, I have discovered that replay value really matters when it comes to liking a movie. In 2018 I watched “Ready Player One” once in the theater, bought the Target exclusive 4K Blu-ray, watched it three more times on 4K before the year ended, and brought it over to my grandparents’ house to watch on their Blu-ray player to pass time with them and relatives over Thanksgiving. That movie ended up being #3 on my best of the year list for a reason. I have a feeling that I won’t go see “Honey Boy” in the theater again, partially because it has a very limited run and there are barely any showtimes available, but if I had the chance I would not mind taking it. I say that because this is a movie that I was able fully appreciate through various aspects on my initial watch. Despite that, I feel like I missed one or two things that could alter my perspective on how I look at the movie. That does not mean the movie had bad pacing, in fact, the pacing was really good. I just feel as a viewer, this movie is going to require multiple watches to have a complete grasp of everything. Interestingly though, despite how I said that, the movie is straightforward and overall not that complicated.

As a coming of age story, this is arguably my favorite in recent years. The 2010s has its fair share of likable coming of age stories. “Easy A,” “The Edge of Seventeen,” “Blockers.” I didn’t like “Honey Boy,” I LOVED IT. In fact, it sort of reminds me, maybe not entirely, but it has glimmers of elements that can be seen in another recent directorial debut, “Lady Bird.” Because while I did find the chemistry between the boy and his father in “Honey Boy” to be much more resemblant of an abusive relationship, the relationship between the two main characters in “Lady Bird,” specifically daughter Christine and mother Marion, is filled with tension for the entire runtime.

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Sticking with the topic of the leads having chemistry, I was able to buy into the chemistry between the main characters perhaps to the tenth degree. Even when there are moments or lines that clearly would never happen in real life, for some reason, perhaps based purely on spectacular direction I was able to just give a seal of approval. Just the other day, in fact, literally the same day I was going to see this movie, I was at a Best Buy and I bought “The Peanut Butter Falcon” because I have heard good things about it and I missed it in theaters, but unless Shia LaBeouf spends part of that movie literally breaking a leg, “Honey Boy” may contain his best performance yet. It overall makes sense though, because I could tell from the writing and the acting that this movie is incredibly personal and close to heart for LaBeouf. I don’t know how much attention this film will get this awards season, but if anything, unless the month of December KILLS this movie, I hope it gets a screenplay nom, because I personally think Shia LaBeouf has outdone himself, especially for someone who is often known to the public in a completely different fraction of filmmaking. But December is coming and for all I know, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” could focus less on getting people to buy toys and focus more on the chemistry between its characters. Maybe “Jumanji: The Next Level” will finally get people to see The Rock as more than just a goofy action star. Perhaps “Cats” will be the BEST MOVIE EVER. Tons of possibilities!

In the end, “Honey Boy” is a slice of cinema Heaven. When it comes to Marvel movies, debate on all you want about them being cinema. But with this, there is literally no debate. “Honey Boy” is not cinema, it’s practically God’s work. I have to do some minor thinking as to where I will eventually rank this on my films of the year, but one thing’s for sure, the ranking will be undeniably high. As far as theatrical releases go, this is the forty-ninth 2019 movie I have seen this year. Honestly, I wish I waited for fifty. Not because I wanted to wait a bit to see this movie. Had I known that I’d be writing a review like this I would have seen it sooner, but I would love to have called it the “fifty nifty” movie. Despite that, I. Love. “Honey Boy.” Again, the one complaint that I can state about the film is a couple shot choices. Does it affect my score? Hell no! I’m going to give “Honey Boy” a 10/10! Thanks for reading this review! I mentioned if I waited long enough, “Honey Boy” could have been a “fifty nifty” movie for me. Turns out, I found a movie that fits that criteria, because just this past weekend I went to my local IMAX and checked out “Ford v Ferrari.” I’ll hopefully have a review up for that sometime this week, so look forward to it! If you want to see more great content from Scene Before, be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account! If you like movie reviewing morons and Facebook, do yourself (and me) a favor and like the Scene Before Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Honey Boy?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite movie written by someone who is primarily known for acting? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Scene Before 2019 HALFTIME REPORT (And Glance Into the Future)

WARNING: The following post is over 8,000 words long. Disappointingly, it’s not over 9,000.

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! 2019 is midway through and this year is going by fast! As far as my personal life goes, I’m in between my first and second year of college, I am enjoying my time off, and I’m the same movie reviewing moron as usual. Things have changed, but at the same time, I’m still the same flick nerd I have always been. And I mean that literally, but we’ll get to that later. However, I wanted to try something I haven’t done before on this blog. At the end of the year, I tend to do some reflective work, most notably countdowns. And while I am not going to do that at this current midway point, I would at least like to sit myself down and go over some recent highlights related to Scene Before. At the same time, I’d like to also look into the future. Admittedly, some of this is still in planning stages, but still.

I’d like to start off with something I’d like to call “TERRIFIC 3” and “TERRIBLE 3.” I am going to list 3 movies that I have watched this year that I would recommend to people and 3 other movies that I would tell people to avoid. Now, of course, these picks are subjective, if you think differently about these films than I, it might be slightly harder to talk to each other, but you are nevertheless entitled to your different thoughts. In fact, these are not supposed to be my top 3 best or worst of the year so far. If I like a film, I’ll list it, if I don’t like a film, I’ll also list it. These are not meant to be in any particular order. Anyway, let’s begin!

TERRIFIC 3!

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Starting off the Terrific 3 is “John Wick: Chapter 3!” I went to see this film in Dolby Cinema alongside my dad, who might be a bigger “John Wick” fan than anyone else I know. He and I walked out agreeing that the action in the film is absolutely top-notch. The action in “John Wick” films is certainly the aspect that would grab my attention more than any other. Long takes, innovative setpieces, gritty violence, all of it adds up to make some of my favorite action scenes of all time. When it comes to current action franchises, I am having some slight trouble deciding whether I prefer this or “Mission: Impossible.” It’s that good!

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Up next is a stellar DreamWorks animation whose franchise I never watched religiously, but always liked, “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” If you have ever seen the game show “Deal or No Deal,” the show always highlights the phrase “timing is everything,” and when it comes to “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” that phrase becomes more relevant than ever. This movie came out in the middle of my second semester of college, and I could not help but feel like the people behind the movie were trying to consider me in its target audience. After all, while “How To Train Your Dragon” may be a franchise directed towards families and children, this growing adult could not help but feel like a kid again. In fact, to add more to this true masterpiece of an animated film, I became more emotional during this movie than I did during perhaps more than any other. Even more than “Toy Story 3.”

Last but not least for the Terrific 3 is a movie that I decided to list because it’s on a slightly different end of the spectrum. Because let’s face it, I’m kind of recommending movies to you, and why recommend “Avengers: Endgame” when almost everyone went to see it? So let’s recommend a smaller movie, such as Terry Gilliam’s “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.” Now some would argue that this is a 2018 flick, but in the United States, which is where I live, this didn’t come out until 2019. For those of you who don’t know this movie, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” took decades to make, and it’s about a guy who reunites with someone he worked with during a production. This person he meets with is convinced that he is Don Quixote. This did not get that big of a release in theaters, but it is worth seeing just because of its history, because despite going through “development hell,” it managed to turn out quite well! The movie is now available on home video including various VOD options.

Now let’s move onto something that probably doesn’t deserve any attention, but because I believe in equality, we’re talking about it anyway, the Terrible 3!

TERRIBLE 3!

First up is a movie that I want to put on here because what’s the harm with having an unpopular opinion? Oh wait, everything. Who cares? One of the most successful movies of the year, “Captain Marvel,” just didn’t stick the landing for me. This had a lot of hype building up to it, but I personally just couldn’t relate. And when I saw the final product, I felt like… Wait, why’s everybody laughing and cheering? Yes, there are a couple of cool moments in the movie. For example, I dug the 90’s references such as Blockbuster Video and Dial-Up Internet. Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson have some good chemistry, but when it comes to Larson in general, her performance was kind of mediocre. Granted, I know grade-A acting isn’t the biggest component of a comic book movie, but Brie Larson, an Academy Award winner, felt more like she was in a couple straight to DVD films and that’s it. Granted, I think she did a slightly better job in “Avengers: Endgame,” but her performance here simply underwhelmed me. Plus, there’s a moment in this movie that references a significant part of the MCU lore (having to do with Samuel L. Jackson) and quite honestly, the way they go about it just killed my brain.

Up next is a movie that could have been great but was simply wasted. From the creators of NOT “Firefly” comes “Serenity.” “Serenity” could be somewhat fun, not to mention a great “thinker” movie, but it manages to become more boring the more I think about it. I love the movie “Interstellar,” so I was somewhat excited to see Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway unite once again for another project. Both have talent as actors and they’ve proven they have great chemistry. Honestly, I’d just go back to watching “Interstellar” if this is the movie we’re getting. Although this movie came out in January so it should not be surprising that we would get a movie of this quality.

And finally, we have what may be my worst movie of the year should nothing surpass it, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” The sad thing about “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is that I was actually desperately anticipating this movie. When I went to see it, I was ready for what was about to happen. Or was I? Seeing movies in IMAX may be great because it feels so big, but when they’re a big mess, what is the point? Maybe the monster fights could be fun, but if I wanted to watch this movie again, I’d probably have to be heavily drugged. Because let’s face it, as cool as big monsters are, the unforgivable part of “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” are the one-dimensional human characters. This could be slightly less intolerable if the human characters were less of a focal point during the movie, but they made me want to go back and check out some of the “Transformers” movies again! They’re THAT horrible!

I just showed you all my terrific and terrible picks, now let’s go over a few recent highlights from my blogging journey.

As usual, I kicked off my 2019 with my traditional countdowns to reflect on the year of 2018 in film. I went over the best of the year along with the worst of the year. Some of my top picks included “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “Eighth Grade,” and “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” Some of my bottom picks included “The 15:17 To Paris,” “Uncle Drew,” and “Life of the Party.” I enjoy doing these countdowns every year and this is the first year that I started writing what I would put in the countdowns as early as August. I did not do this for every single movie, but I visualized the lists a long time prior to actually releasing them. This does not suggest that I avoided considering movies released past August, as evidenced by some of my picks.

After I did my lists, I saw my first 2019 release, which according to IMDb, is actually a 2017 release. Based on my experience and research, I’d call it a 2019 release, but still. That film by the way is “The Upside,” which is a remake of 2011’s “The Intouchables.” I personally have not seen “The Intouchables,” and while “The Upside” from my perspective is not really anything special when it comes to cinema, it is still a fun time. I went to see it at a press screening, and there were tons of laughs to be heard.

A couple weeks later I went to one of my local arthouse theatres to see a flick that I almost ended up passing on. Specifically, “Roma.” Why? Because when it comes to today’s media, Netflix is a company that I traditionally tend to avoid. But one of my local theaters managed to get access to a 70mm film print of “Roma,” which would be presented for a limited time. I took advantage of the opportunity and purchased a few tickets for a matinee show. Not only was the experience breathtaking, but the movie was one of the best of the past year. If I had to redo my top 10 lists of 2018, this would be on the best list, but I saw “Roma” after completing said lists.

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I also decided to try out a new concept this year which I have decided to make an annual tradition, the Jackoff Awards. For awhile, over the past year, I have grown to admire the Oscars based on how much respect they tend to pay towards the film industry. Granted, they’re not perfect, but what they’ve done over the years is absolutely intriguing. I thought to myself, why not do a big awards related post? Present similar categories to other major shows, I do my own comedy bits, and it was perhaps the most ambitious post I have ever done. As for Best Picture, I decided to present what was then my top 10 of 2018, which DID include “Roma,” and instead of having me choose Best Picture, I would allow my audience to choose the winner. I figured it would allow for diversity in terms of opinions, and I managed to get a surprisingly diverse number of votes. I got some votes for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “First Man,” “Ready Player One,” but the winner turned out to be last year’s biggest comic book movie, “Avengers: Infinity War.” Honestly, if there were any movie to put in my Blu-ray player on a Friday night at this point, it would most certainly be that one.

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I then continued my journey in March by going to the place that I would associate with film more than any other, Los Angeles. My family and I stayed right near Hollywood Boulevard and I got to visit a few media-related sights including Warner Brothers Studios, the TCL Chinese Theatre (where I saw “Captain Marvel”), and Universal Studios Hollywood. I also got the chance to witness a live taping of “Conan.” While I didn’t make a big post related to this, I managed to briefly discuss some of my highlights here and there.

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For those of you who are curious about my “Conan” taping experience, I managed to witness almost two full shows. Why? Conan O’Brien had to be somewhere when his Thursday show would air, so naturally, he had a demand, he wanted us, Thursday’s audience, to “make Tuesday’s audience look like s*it.” We got see all of Tuesday’s show, which had a couple comedy bits and an interview with Timothy Olyphant (Live Free or Die Hard, Santa Clarita Diet) and a good fraction of a Thursday night show which featured comedian Moses Storm, who joked about cell phone users, “Shark Tank,” and revealed a story where he would tape episodes of Conan O’Brien’s older talk show episodes over his religion-related educational programming. By the way, Conan in person looks like a real life action figure. Maybe it’s the makeup. Maybe it’s the lighting in the studio, but my gosh.

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I also got to visit an RPX venue for the first time. For those who don’t know about RPX, they are a premium format that can be found exclusively in cinemas under Regal Entertainment Group ownership. I didn’t plan on attending RPX when I did, but I managed to get something off my list of movie-related things to do before I died. After all, “Us” just came out, and I was in the Boston area. I figured just to save time, I’d go for the earlier, but more expensive show that Regal Cinemas Fenway was providing, as opposed to another show which would be starting a half hour later. For your information, I was aware that I was going into an RPX screen. I didn’t mind my decision, I figured if I wanted to see “Us,” I’d go see it in full scale glory because I was really anticipating it. While I have still yet to see “Get Out” to this day, I have heard about its overwhelmingly positive reception and I was expecting that Jordan Peele would deliver another sick movie. While “Us” was not perfect, it was definitely worth seeing, and I wouldn’t mind watching it again. As for the RPX experience itself, I thought the seats were not too bad. The capacity was through the roof, the screen, while not entirely wall to wall, was huge. As for the sound… It is undeniably better than a standard theater, but I was a little underwhelmed. Maybe I went to see the wrong movie, maybe the employees turned the speakers down, but when I compare the sound to something like IMAX or Dolby Cinema at AMC, I would go back to both of those places first.

Moving onto April, I managed to survive the whole “Avengers: Endgame” ticket buying craze. For those not fully immersed into what I just stated, I must point out that “Avengers: Endgame” tickets went on sale April 2nd, and the Internet went balls to the wall nuts when it came to snagging tickets. I had to wait in Fandango’s line, AMC was having problems, and it got to the point where I had to buy tickets from a somewhat local cinema chain, on their own, slightly buggy website, just to make sure I could get into school on time. I almost took the train to one of my local AMCs because I could stop by there on the way to school. If I did that, I am willing to bet I would have missed out on opening night of “Endgame,” which was the day I was shooting for. After all I did want to get my review out as soon as possible, and I did manage to score a couple tickets on remaining good seats for a 9PM show. Not at an AMC, but at a Showcase Cinemas. While it was not my first choice, I don’t regret going there, because an hour before going into the cinema, I got a glimpse at everyone leaving the 22 MCU movie marathon the theater was showing over a few days. Everyone was being applauded, and they left with some merch. I recorded this aftermath on Facebook Live, and despite my camera’s focusing problems and poor cellular service, I managed to get some respectable footage. Also as a Bostonian, I was proud of myself to catch a reporter from one of my local news channels, WBZ, or CBS Channel 4. To be specific, Tashanea Whitlow. As for the premiere itself, the movie was fun, and the three hour runtime was rather justified given what we as an audience received. I didn’t think it was perfect, I’d much rather watch “Infinity War,” but it was a great finale to over ten years of films. I will also say, this may be due to where I went to see the movie, seeing “Infinity War” was also a better experience. Because I went to see it at a 7PM show on opening Thursday on an eight story IMAX screen. If you have ever gone to see an event-type film in India, that is one of the most solid comparisons I could make to my experience. It was like going to a Stanley Cup game or something. “Endgame,” which was in a sold out theater in regular 2D, had barely any applause (although some reactions here and there), and out of everyone in the theater, I may have been the most obnoxious. If I had to make a sports comparison, I’d probably say it was like going to a slightly more competitive golf tournament. It was lively at times, but not like the roof was being blown off the place. I know some people are not particularly fans of going to theaters where everyone is reacting to the film’s key moments, but as a fan of the MCU, it’s something that I considered to be a privilege during my “Infinity War” experience.

May was an interesting month for me, because I just finished my first year of college, so I got a little more active on the Scene Before side of things. I’m now trying to earn revenue with the blog, I saw more movies than I did in months such as March or February, and I even changed my domain name. Unfortunately, scenebefore.com was taken, so I wanted to make sure I can fit something that would associate with me, but also be precise. I thought something like moviereviewingmoron.com, while definitely appropriate, is a tad too long. Luckily, after some searching, I found out that flicknerd.com was available. Did I ever call myself “flick nerd” on this blog? No, but I figured it would be a cool name to have because its simplicity will probably gain enough traction overtime. It’s hard to tell though, because this advanced blogging journey, at least from my point of view, is just getting started. I’m looking for sponsors, more potential viewers, but I’m also trying to be the same movie reviewing moron that everyone has come to know.

One of my highlight posts of the month is titled “What THE BIG BANG THEORY Has Meant To Me: A Nerd’s Perspective.” For those who are unaware, CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” just finished it’s twelfth and final season on the air, so I figured I’d take some time to remind the world of what the show has meant to me as a fan, as someone who would constantly tune in to new episodes, and most of all, as a nerd on the autism spectrum. I probably won’t have time to give a detailed description of everything I said, so if you want to read the post, click this link!

I also saw another one of my favorite films so far this year, “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum!” Not only that, but like I mentioned earlier, I managed to catch a Dolby Cinema presentation of it, which surprisingly, didn’t make me feel like I was getting shot in the head, which may be a good thing. Seriously though, “John Wick: Chapter 3” is probably the best installment of the franchise yet, and Keanu Reeves might now just have a better trilogy than “The Matrix!”

But I cannot say the end of the month was great, because “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” happened. Sad day. Even though I went to see the film in full scale IMAX glory, it didn’t feel like something worth my time.

Moving onto June, I managed to do something pretty cool with my dad. He and I go to the movies together a lot because for the most part we have similar tastes. We match together when it comes to sci-fi, action, comic book-based material, comedy, etc. However he has never been to an advance press screening, so I thought just for fun he and I could do so for the new movie, “Men In Black: International.” It’s a movie that I probably would have checked out had I waited for it to release everywhere. After all, “Men In Black 3” is my favorite movie of 2012. However, since this was free, not to mention, early, I thought dad and I could trek to the theater and see what this movie had in store. I personally enjoyed it. I know some people were scared of how this movie would turn out based on the marketing (Then again, it’s a Sony film, whaddya expect these days?). I thought the first trailer was alright, but not great. The second trailer was an improvement and actually got me more interested in the film. As for the film itself, it is not Shakespeare, but it’s a fun time at the movies. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson have great chemistry together and I think Kumail Nanjiani’s character is a fantastic comic relief.

The best movie I saw this month was “Toy Story 4,” which I must point out, I probably was not even looking forward to back when it was announced. Boy, times do change! Unfortunately, I had to witness brain cell erasers such as “Replicas,” which I bought on Blu-ray since I had some Best Buy rewards to waste. I also saw “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” which is worse than getting scratched in the eye by a cat. Yes, Harrison Ford is in it. Yes, he is the best part of the movie. But I might as well be at the point where I would rather have a dog sniff my butt then go so that film again!

Now that I have recapped my highlights, I just want to remind everyone of what’s being planned for the future. Here is my unofficial schedule for the second half of 2019!

JULY:

Throughout the month of July, there are not that many movies coming out compared to other months in the year (at least according to Wikipedia), but I am planning on catching a few blockbuster highlights such as “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” despite how little anticipation I have for it. I also really want to catch Disney’s live-action remake of “The Lion King.” I am not a fan of the Disney live-action remake trend, but I feel that this movie will be a great theater experience and also rather compelling. I don’t know how much it is going to be a carbon copy of the original or how much it’ll go in its own direction, but I am somewhat curious as to what will come of it. I know it is longer than the original, which slightly worries me, because it could add something that perhaps the 1990s film didn’t even need, therefore ruining my experience. Plus, it’s being directed by Jon Faverau, who also worked on 2016’s “The Jungle Book,” another Disney live-action remake, which was one of my favorite movies of said year. I also really want to check out “Crawl.” The trailer didn’t have me fully onboard, but I am still curious as to how this film will turn out. Plus, it’s being produced by Sam Raimi, who is known for his work in the horror industry, and one of my favorite comic book movie directors.

This does not mean that I want to ignore independent work, because on the same weekend as “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” A24 is releasing one of my most anticipated movies of the summer. Specifically, “Midsommar.” When your movie is A: Directed by Ari Aster, who had a phenomenal feature-length directorial debut last year with “Hereditary,” another A24 film, and B: Described by Aster as “a Wizard of Oz for perverts,” I am instantly intrigued. “Midsommar” takes place in rural Sweden as a young couple takes a vacation and settles in the area. Alongside their friends, they eventually discover that this area has a festival that takes place once every ninety years, which creeps them all out. I want to see Ari Aster succeed, so hopefully this film does well.

Speaking of successful filmmakers, another well-known director in the industry, specifically Quentin Tarantino, is going to be releasing his ninth film, “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.” And to be honest, as anticipated as I am to see this film, I have to let something out. I have not seen much of Tarantino’s work. I will most likely be going to see “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood” when it comes out, maybe in 35mm, but before I do that, I am going to be doing a small series of reviews for Quentin Tarantino movies. In fact, I already have a few lined up. Specifically, “Pulp Fiction,” “Django Unchained,” and “The Hateful Eight.” Those reviews will be done as weekly projects and they should all be up before the official release date of “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood,” July 26th.

 

AUGUST:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESRemember how I would occasionally announce I am going to cons from time to time? For some reason I have failed to do that this year. It’s not like I am not going anywhere, but I have just failed to put myself in front of my keyboard and try to say, “Hey guys, here’s where I’m going, stalk me!” Not that don’t mind the attention, I’m just saying. But if you really want to know about my next con, I do have it booked, and I will be going to Terrificon, which for those of you who have been following me for some time, you’d know that is also the first con I ever documented on this blog. And I am thinking of doing something a little different this time, just to spice things up. I’m trying to push more video content into my posts, maybe I’ll insert a compilation of the con’s highlights. I’ll record it on my camera, maybe my phone, whichever has more memory at the time. Maybe I’ll post it on YouTube and link it here. Who knows? But here on Scene Before I am trying find ways to innovate, and maybe this could be one of them.

Speaking of cons, this is NO GUARANTEE, partially because I have not even bought tickets, but there is one convention that is about a half hour away from my house that I kind of want to go to. Whether or not I am going, that’s a different story, but should things go in a certain direction, I may end up going to Fan Expo Boston, which is a con I have surprisingly never been to. And the guest list this year, aside from a couple big cancellations, is solid so far. You’ve got Zachary Levi (Shazam!, Tangled), who I will say, even if you are not into his work, he is a fun guy to meet, he is upbeat and has a massive sense of charm. Part of the cast of “Blade Runner” is going to be there including Sean Young, Rutger Hauer, and Edward James Olmos. I have a feeling there are more guest announcements coming our way, and if there are, I cannot wait to hear them, because there have been a lot of cool names who were there over the years to the point where I almost have slight regrets on missing out. If I were to get tickets to Fan Expo, I’d probably just go for one day. After all, Terrificon is the week prior, and I am staying overnight during that weekend, so my budget might be slightly higher at that event compared to Fan Expo.

Moving away from cons, I will say that my biggest film catches for August right now have to be “Hobbs & Shaw,” “Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” “Good Boys,” “Where’d You Go Bernadette?,” and “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” There is not much from August that I am truly anticipating, but I will inevitably go see a few things here and there. And if you want to know something, I only put down “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” because let’s face it, “Dora the Explorer” was a part of my childhood, and nostalgia equals money nowadays. Granted, this movie looks a tad more adult-friendly than the cartoon. But am I looking forward to it? Hell no. In fact, I am thinking it is only going to ruin my childhood, but I might as well give it a chance just because I am a nice guy. I saw the recent “Power Rangers” film partially out of nostalgia and that worked for me, might as well do it with “Dora” and see if that works.

 

SEPTEMBER:
If I had to predict my least active month for the rest of the year, I have to call it right now, September is certainly a contender. For one thing, I’m going back to college, so I need to adjust to a new routine. I’m still going to keep my promise of doing at least one post within every 7 days or so, that way you can keep witnessing my constant dedication to this blog. I’m probably not gonna go see “IT: Chapter Two” mainly because I still have not seen the first one. Although the cast is pretty nifty from what I have experienced. But I am interested in “The Goldfinch,” I have some slight intrigue towards “The Report,” and maybe I’ll check out “Abominable.” I saw one of the trailers for it, and it looks like it might not be a new animated classic or anything, but I am somewhat curious to check it out, partially because even as an adult, I still have a slight need to check out animations from time to time. Plus, it is from DreamWorks, and I’m currently trying to seek out their next big thing. “Kung Fu Panda” is done, “How to Train Your Dragon” seems to be done, maybe this, or something else, can be their next kickstarter to a solid franchise. Then again, apparently they’re making sequels to “The Boss Baby,” “The Croods,” and “Trolls,” so why should I expect absolute quality? Nevertheless, it’s worth a shot.

Although if you had to ask me what my most anticipated movie would be for the month of September, it’s a no brainer, “Ad Astra.” I love space, I love compelling, dramatic stories involving space travel, even if it is close to Earth. Plus, the second half of the year for numerous ages of my life have typically contained at least one epic space movie. Maybe “Ad Astra” will be the next to join the ranks with other movies from this decade like “The Martian” and “Interstellar.”

 

OCTOBER:

This October is pretty interesting to me, because there will be a weekend where my mother and sister are out of the house and I will quite honestly, need something to do. I can’t just stay trapped behind walls! I have to see the world! Nevertheless, that particular weekend is the release of “Joker,” which I am inevitably going to check out no matter what, but for the sake of having an early review, I’m going to check it out as soon as possible. I have Fridays off from school this upcoming semester, maybe I’ll do it then. The following week is the release of Will Smith’s “Gemini Man,” directed by Ang Lee, so I might see that. And the week after is slightly bigger because Taika Waititi is coming out with his latest directorial feature, “Jojo Rabbit,” where believe it or not, Waititi himself plays Hitler. I never pictured that, but this film certainly has my attention. That same week is also the release of “Zombieland: Double Tap.” I had fun with the first “Zombieland.” I enjoyed the chemistry between Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson, and it has, at least to me, a pure highlight from Bill Murray’s acting career. And to my surprise, he’s coming back for this movie! I also want to check out “The Aeronauts” which is being released by Amazon, and the reason why I want to check it out is because it is Amazon’s first attempt at an IMAX run and it is also being released a week early in that format. The film will technically be in standard theaters in November after it’s week-long IMAX run. And if this is the case, this reminds me of the excitement I had for Robert Zemeckis’ “The Walk,” because that released a week early in IMAX and that was quite an experience.

Speaking of lesser known films, one other thing I want to check out is the South Korean flick “Parasite.” It’s getting tons of buzz at film festivals, having earned Palme d’Or at Cannes, winning the Sydney Film Festival, and already making tons of money in Korea. The film’s US release is this October, which would put it in a reasonable spot to be remembered by Academy and Golden Globe voters.

 

NOVEMBER:
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This November is particularly interesting. Because November 1st is the day I’m heading off to Providence for Rhode Island Comic Con, and that’s the day after Halloween! I’m not cosplaying (at least I have no plans to right now) at this con, but I just want to walk around the convention floor for hours and stumble upon every costumed individual and wish them a Happy Halloween. Nevertheless, I am staying true to my annual tradition of going to Rhode Island Comic Con. The guest list is usually filled to the brim, so I cannot wait to hear more announcements over these upcoming months. Even so, the convention has had some huge announcements for guests thus far. Some guests include Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Blade Runner 2049), William Shatner (Star Trek: The Original Series, Boston Legal), George Takei (Star Trek: The Original Series, Kim Possible), Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead, Final Space), and to my utter surprise, and possible delight, Chevy Chase. By the way, Chase made an announcement about his upcoming appearance online and the video he made for it is very funny.

Sticking to the announcement wishlist concept, I recently made a submission on the con’s website suggesting names of five possible guests that I want to see. They include: James Murray, Curtis Armstrong, Kunal Nayyar, Doug Walker, and James Holzhauer. I could be mistaking Doug Walker for somebody else, but even if I am, he would be fun to see at the con. Of all these names, the one that really stands out to me is James Holzhauer. Out of all the people on this list, he is the least “celebrity-like” of all of them. James Murray comes close, but barely misses the mark. For those who are unaware, Holzhauer is the name of the recent “Jeopardy!” contestant who wouldn’t stop taking the show’s money. He has nearly broken Ken Jennings’ regular winnings record, only to be stopped by an opponent who beat him by more than double his final total for the game he lost. I think Holzhauer appearing at Rhode Island Comic Con would not just be unique, but also entirely appropriate. After all, it would probably bring in a new audience of people who would otherwise skip out on cons. Plus, as a game show enthusiast, I cannot help but keep talking about Holzhauer like he’s my own child. It’s almost as if being able to catch the latest “Jeopardy!” episode or at least reading up on the latest stats was the ultimate bragging right. Also, this year I’m going with a VIP ticket, which comes with various perks.

VIP Ticket Perks:

  • 3 day admission
  • Early bird admission (9AM Sat & Sun)
  • Private VIP Entrance
  • Private VIP Lounge
  • 3 Exclusive RI Comic Con Show Prints
  • Rhode Island Comic Con Swag Bag
  • 20% off RICC Branded Merchandise
  • Exclusive VIP 2019 RI Comic Con Badge
  • Exclusive RICC AR Comics-Comic Book
  • Exclusive RICC Comic Book
  • VIP Autograph Fast Pass Line
  • VIP Photo Op Fast Pass Line
  • Chance to Win 2020 VIP Pass
  • One Exclusive Mystery Item

I am personally excited for the con, and believe it or not, it is not the first time I’m getting a VIP badge, because the first time I went, which was in 2015, I managed to get said badge as well.

That same weekend is also the release of the new “Terminator” film, “Terminator: Dark Fate.” It is a cliche title, but its first trailer, personally had me intrigued. I’m excited to see what Tim Miller has up his sleeve in terms of direction. I am somewhat excited to see James Cameron involved again, although I am slightly worried because we now have more disposable “Terminator” movies than memorable “Terminator” movies. Let’s just hope we can change that.

Some of my other most anticipated films of the month include “Ford v. Ferrari,” “Knives Out,” and “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” “Ford v. Ferrari” takes place during a race to determine which of the two recently specified car brands will dominate. “Knives Out” is an upcoming mystery crime film directed by Rian Johnson. I did not like his interpretation of the “Star Wars” universe, but it does not mean I am not willing to check out his future work. Plus, this movie has a number of big names that I imagine a lot of people would like to see. Some include Daniel Craig (Casino Royale, Logan Lucky), Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger, Gifted), Lakeith Stanfield (Black Panther, Sorry To Bother You), Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049, War Dogs), Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween, Scream Queens), the world’s best Kevin Spacey impersonator, Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World, A Beautiful Mind), and recent Jackoff winner Toni Collette (Hereditary, The Sixth Sense). As for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” it is in the current conversation to be my most anticipated film for the remainder of the year. For one thing, I saw “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” last year, which much like “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” is about Mister Rogers. That documentary not only compelled me, but reminded me of my personal flaws in my childhood, and maybe inspired me to be a better person. I still rage out on this blog a lot, but it’s something that I don’t really do for me, I do it for the entertainment of others, so that’s different. But it reminded me of how much it pays to respect those around you. Plus, TOM HANKS IS PLAYING THE STARRING ROLE?! Who else could do that?! He’s practically the nicest guy in Hollywood! SIGN ME UP! Believe it or not, that comes out the same weekend as “Frozen II,” but who cares about that?! Rogers for life!

 

DECEMBER:

The end of the year is always a crazy time for me, but just like last year, it’ll perhaps be less busy than it has been in other years. My fall semester will end during the month, and I’ll be in the cycle of watching previous movies from the year at home. This does not mean that I’ll be skipping theatrical releases, because award season is in full swing. This means I’ll be paying extra close attention to films that receive Golden Globe nominations, and as for reviewing movies I watch at home, the chances of that are very slim. But this does not mean that big blockbusters are entirely off the table. For one thing, they tend to sometimes do pretty well in certain technical categories, and we have another “Star Wars” film this year. I have intentions to go see “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” opening Thursday night, mainly because I want to buy tickets as early as possible. If I can’t do that, I am going to try extra hard to find an available press screening, because aside from “Endgame,” “The Rise of Skywalker” is perhaps the biggest movie of 2019. Aside from being titled “Star Wars,” it is supposed to end “The Skywalker Saga,” and J.J. Abrams is directing again. I was not a huge fan of “The Last Jedi,” but I love “The Force Awakens” like it is my own brother. I am honestly more excited for “The Rise of Skywalker” than I was for “The Last Jedi” before that came out because I was somewhat worried that “The Last Jedi” would be a carbon copy of “The Empire Strikes Back.” Turns out it wasn’t, despite similarities to older films in the saga. And I even say this knowing how some things in “The Last Jedi” turned out. Having seen the trailer back in April, knowing certain plot points that could play out, and realizing J.J. Abrams could save this sequel trilogy, I am rather giddy for this December. But despite my excitement, I gotta ask. HOW IS PALPATINE STILL ALIVE?! I am excited to possibly see him in this film, but really?! When he was thrown down the pit in “Return of the Jedi,” yeeaah, HE F*CKING DIED. There is no coming back from that. I’m intrigued, I just need to be convinced.

When it comes to smaller films, one such film I am very excited for is “Little Women.” The film is supposed to explore the lives of sisters as they live in 1860s Massachusetts. It may not be my type of movie on paper, but one reason why I am excited is because the film is being directed by Greta Gerwig, who also helmed one of the best coming of age stories I have seen in recent years, “Lady Bird.” In addition to that, the cast is killer! This movie’s got Meryl Streep (Sophie’s Choice, The Iron Lady), Emma Watson (Beauty and the Beast, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone), Laura Dern (Big Little Lies, Jurassic Park), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird, Mary Queen of Scots), and Timothée Chalamet (Interstellar, Beautiful Boy)! I am also probably going to be looking into “1917,” which is a war film. Those tend to often go for awards, which is why I have my sights set on it. There are a couple films that I might check out that I would probably regret seeing, but the only real film that I’d struggle with reviewing is “Fair and Balanced.” Granted, this does not mean I am not looking forward to the film, nor am I expecting to be underwhelmed with it, in fact it sounds rather intriguing from a storytelling point of view. But the movie is about relationships between women and Fox News owner Roger Ailes, and I feel that it is going to be rather hard to keep my political opinions out of the review. I’m not saying I am a core conservative that keeps a closed mind, I try to see all sides and then form my own opinion. I have made various political jokes here and there on Scene Before, but politics is not my top priority, especially when you consider how divided we are as a country right now. Although I did manage to check out “Vice” last year, which was pretty good, but part of it had to do with the buzz it has been getting. Who knows? Maybe I’ll check out “Fair and Balanced,” for all I know it could be the best movie of the year, but I feel like it would be hard to review if I’m going to have to inject my experience with how the world operates in terms of politics. We’ll just have to see.

And of course, I’ll be finishing off the year, or perhaps more likely, kicking off next year, by recapping my top 10 BEST and WORST movies of 2019. I enjoy doing these countdowns every year, because I get to honor films one more time, and also give myself a minor stress release.

Although I must remind you, it is 2019, and here on Scene Before I am trying to constantly find new ways to deliver exciting content to you all. In 2017, I did a couple of cutaway style parodies, in 2018 I did a post talking about my Blu-ray collection, and just this year I introduced the world to the Jackoff Awards. The question is, where I do I go next? I’ve done tons of countdowns, reviews of the past, reviews of the present, what could be next? I know! ALL OF IT IN ONE. Ladies and gentlemen, if you have been following Scene Before and saw one of my posts in April, you’d know that I put out a trailer for something I once referred to as “Project 2020.” Although, based on statistics, I doubt many of you have even glanced at that post. But for those of you who know what I’m talking about, good for you. You get a “good job” sticker! But for those of you who don’t know, watch this trailer down below!

*ALL COPYRIGHTS BELONG TO THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS*

That’s right! I am going to be crafting a list of my highlight movies of the 2010’s, and I must have you know, I am setting this list up to be bigger than the lists I traditionally do at the end of the year. While this is still in planning stages, I will be intending to make this list perhaps a top 25, maybe a top 50. I was also debating on a top 100 as well. Depends on how much time I have. I am honestly MORE THAN EXCITED to work on this list, and release it to you all. I started Scene Before in 2016, which means I did not get too many chances to talk about films from years prior, so not only is this a personal reflection of various films I watched during my blogging journey, but a reflection of an entire ten year span that I lived through before becoming this active on the Internet. I’m not gonna say anything, but 2014 was a great year for film as far I’m concerned, so depending on how the rest of 2019 plays out, we might see a good number of films I’m passionate about from that year make the list. This is not to put down any other year from this decade, I’m just giddy of what’s to come…

And by the way, a worst list is in the works too.

At home I am making an effort to watch various films that have come out this decade just to catch up, and maybe add something to the best or worst list at the end of the year. I’m not gonna get into too much detail, because I do want to save some secrets for when the list comes out, but I am stoked just to be working on this.

Thanks for reading this post! If you like Scene Before and want to see more content, consider following me either with an email or WordPress account! As for upcoming content, I want to remind everyone, in case they forgot by now, I will soon be starting my Quentin Tarantino review series, which will eventually culminate with a review either at the end of July or beginning of August with my thoughts on “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” I cannot wait to get started on this, Tarantino is a filmmaker I have often admired behind the scenes, but I have barely seen any of his material. Now is a good time to start! Also, be sure to check out my Facebook page! Get your latest updates from the movie reviewing moron by using Facebook, the home of some of the all-time laziest efforts at wishing someone a happy birthday. Be sure to stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, is there something that you would like to see be done here on Scene Before, perhaps for this half of 2019? Or, what is your favorite Scene Before moment, post, anything that I have done so far this year? It can even be this one for all I care! Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Cold War (2018): The Colorful Technology of Amazon Meets Black and White

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“Cold War” is directed by Pawel Pawlikowski (Ida, My Summer of Love) and stars Joanna Kulig and Tomasz Kot as a music director and a singer who eventually find themselves in an unlikely romance. The music director is also trying to get the singer to flee Poland and enter France alongside him.

I actually heard some things about “Cold War” before going into it, but my prior knowledge didn’t really encompass of much. The main thing I did know however is something that I imagine a number of people don’t truly care about, which is the fact that this movie, at least in the United States, released on the infamous December weekend of death. It was released alongside big features including “Aquaman,” “Bumblebee,” and “Mary Poppins Returns.” Not to mention, another disadvantage this movie had is that it is a foreign film. And as much as everybody hates America right now for how it is being run as a country, many Americans can’t turn down a Hollywood film. I am usually the type of person who doesn’t care what country a film comes from. As long as a film is properly executed or well done, I can approve of it. And regardless of where this film in particular comes from, I enjoyed it.

From a technical perspective, “Cold War” shines. The film is presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio, which is rare for a film nowadays, but at the same time, has happened in the past with recent films like “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” It successfully provides an old-timey feel. Speaking of old-timey things, the film is also in black and white. Artistically speaking, I can approve of such a choice because this film does take place between the 1940s to 1960s, when not everything has been put in color yet. Speaking of things that are quirky by today’s standards, one thing I found interesting is that if the film makes a time jump, it cuts to black and goes back to providing images in a snap. There are also various shots containing a plethora of information and it is just f*cking beautiful. I won’t go into detail, but the ending shot reminded me of Orson Welles’ “The Third Man” and Robert Zemeckis’ “Cast Away.” And I’m surprised to say that because this movie, again, is entirely shot in 4:3. Although at the same time, the more square-like images can make the information provided feel crammed, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. It almost reminds me of when I go to see certain movies in IMAX like “First Man” or “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” because those have scenes shot in IMAX and when you go into the IMAX theater to see the movie, the screen fills up for a period of time, taking a break from the scope aspect ratio.

Moving onto our two main characters, Zula and Wiktor, the best thing I can say about them is that they actually feel like a real couple at times. Not all the time, but there are many times where their relationship feels extremely authentic. I will say however, I did see the movie earlier this week, specifically Tuesday, and to give you a sense as to how I feel about this film as a story, I will remind you that I saw this in an art-deco theater. If you live in the Boston area, there’s a possibility you may have heard of the Coolidge Corner Theatre. It’s probably one of the most gorgeous and state of the art cinemas I’ve ever set foot in. I saw this movie in their largest auditorium, which has the old-timey red curtain, and I found myself to enjoy it. But days after viewing the movie, I almost don’t even recall a good portion of it. Whereas just the other day, specifically Saturday, January 19th, I just saw “Roma” at that same theater. I still remember it, I can’t stop thinking about it, and I can’t recommend it enough. “Cold War” on the other hand is a good movie, but really stands out more from a technical point of view as opposed to a character point of view.

When it comes to “Cold War” as a movie, it sort of reminds me of “Hail, Caesar!” directed by the Coen Brothers. “Hail, Caesar!” is a beautifully shot movie, which is not that surprising since it was done by Roger Deakins, who recently, FINALLY won an Academy Award for his work on “Blade Runner 2049.” Hell, both movies even have great moments of music and choreography! However, in terms of overall quality from characterization and other parts related to the story, that’s where the movie leaves a little bit to be desired. Granted, on paper, the movie sounds like a good, intriguing story, but the fact is, much of it is actually not that memorable. “Cold War” is kind of the same thing. It sort of attempts to harken back to a certain time period with as much purposeful authenticity intact. Granted, there is fiction inserted throughout the entire runtime, but said fiction is taking place in a time that realistically happened, and such a thing manages to provide a quirky vibe for both films. They aren’t exactly the same considering how “Hail, Caesar!” is sort of marketed to be more fun, but “Cold War” is advertised as a more serious, compelling drama.

I’m not saying I have the inability to sit through movies like “Cold War” that are sometimes slow in terms of pacing, which coincidentally is a minor problem at times. Although what I am saying is that this movie just kind of underwhelmed me. Granted, it didn’t underwhelm me all that much. When I watched it, I had a certain positive score for it in my mind once I left the theater, which by the way still stands. Plus, this movie is not even that long. The total runtime comes out to an hour and twenty-nine minutes. Although at the same time, maybe it did feel long because I did something I am somewhat ashamed to have done.

*Clears throat*

Forgive me father for I have sinned.

I had my phone on during the movie. Now don’t worry, the ringer was off! I often leave my phone on with my ringer silent during many of my moviegoing experiences. But given how I don’t have a watch on me, and since I don’t have an iPhone, nor do I care to possess an iPhone, meaning I never wasted hundreds of bucks on an Apple Watch, I put my hand in my pocket, took my phone out, and checked the time. If I recall correctly, the brightness was low. Also, don’t worry that much! There were a few other people in the cinema alongside me, I only had it on for a few seconds to check the time, the screen was hidden from everyone’s sight, then I shut it down and put it away!

Man, that felt good and horrible at the same time.

In the end, “Cold War” is kind of an enigma. I don’t really hate the movie, but over the past few days, bits and pieces of it are continually being erased from my mind. Granted, now that I am back in college, certain assignments and classes are affecting my time to keep this blog up to date, but still. Although on the bright side, the fact that I am reviewing this now as opposed to immediately once I get home from the theater might actually be a positive thing because I reviewed certain movies like “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” I gave that film a 9/10 when I first saw it. Why did I give it a 9/10? Because I was a crazy fanboy that had certain requests I wanted fulfilled with the film. And while at the time, I had those requests fulfilled, little did I realize how much I would come to hate the movie in the very end. To sum it up, “Cold War” is one of the best-looking movies of the year, but story-wise, needs a boost, at least for me. I don’t know if this grade will make sense, or surprise some of you, but this movie was still enjoyable enough, and likable enough, that I’m going to ultimately give “Cold War” a 7/10. And who knows? Maybe the second time watching this will be better. It is coming to Prime pretty soon since it is an Amazon movie, so I can watch it for free in the future if need be. For all I know, maybe it will somehow be worse. It’s hard to tell. We’ll just have to see what happens. Thanks for reading this review! And if you have made it to the end of this post when it was released, congratulations! You picked a good post to read! Because this Sunday, I am planning to release my ultimate list of my nominees for the upcoming Scene Before Jackoff Awards ceremony. I am not going to say whether “Cold War” actually is nominated or not, but I will point out that this might be the last 2018 movie I watch before the nominees are announced. I might be going to see “On the Basis of Sex” this weekend, I don’t know for sure, but it is a possibility. But speaking of movies, I will admit that I have seen a 2019 movie recently by the name of “Serenity.” And no, this is not attached to the “Firefly” franchise, this is entirely different. My review for that will be up very soon, I’m not sure if I’ll release my “Serenity” review before or after the nominations, but it is a 2019 movie so it won’t even count in this current ceremony. Be sure 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 “Cold War?” What did you think about it? Or, since I can praise this movie’s final shot, what is your favorite concluding shot to a movie? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

New York Comic Con 2018 Review/Haul

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It’s time to go over perhaps not just one of the biggest events I’ve attended all year, not just one of the biggest events I attended ever, but one of the biggest THINGS I’ve ever attended. A couple weeks ago I’ve been given the absolute privilege to go to New York Comic Con. A friend of mine who I have known for a few years decided to go all out for a graduation gift and give me the most badass thing ever. Given this post, you might be able to guess I got Comic-Con tickets. This is my first time at New York Comic Con, and my second time in New York throughout my life. My tickets were for Friday and Sunday, two out of four days the convention goes on for. As far as my Saturday went, I happened to go around New York City with my mother, but that’s irrelevant here. If you want my thoughts on that, it was fun, end of story. Now let’s focus on New York Comic Con.

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New York Comic Con is a yearly event held in New York, NY’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. As far as attendees go, these conventions usually get somewhere in the six digit range. According to Wikipedia, over 180,000 people attended this very convention in 2016. This year, many celebrities were present from ranges in entertainment, literature, gaming, and comics. The show’s basement has an ENORMOUS Artist Alley, but let me make it clear, I didn’t investigate any further into it. I also didn’t go to any panels, but there were some I would have gone to if I had the time or greater motivation. One was the “Mortal Engines” panel, but I couldn’t get in because once it started, I actually wasn’t in the convention center yet. However throughout my visit I did a bunch of other things that were definitely enjoyable. There is so much to go over when it comes to what New York Comic Con has that it is so easy to say that I am not gonna be able to hit all of it. But all of the highlights I did hit, I’ll document them here. Let’s start this off by going over some purchases.

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This first section relates heavily to what I do here at Scene Before. These con posts, I just do them as a hobby. I don’t get invited to cons. It would be nice if I had a chance to promote this site there at some booth or something though. As most of my followers probably already know, my main dedication goes toward movie reviewing. This is probably the con that I’ve gone to that relates closest to movies than any other. I say that because while some cons I go to I am well aware that they have those movies and TV shows that you can’t really buy in other stores (this con has that too), there is one space in this con that is actually a movie store, and that is FYE. I will say though, this is not my first time seeing an FYE at a con. At Rhode Island Comic Con, FYE actually happened to be present every year I went.

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In fact in 2016, I actually managed to buy a piece of wall art from there which had Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman on it. I got it signed the next day for very low price of $125. That is $15 cheaper than a professional photo op alongside her.

Although when I went to that FYE, movies were not a priority. Sure, last year I remember seeing a bunch of Japanese anime-related film material. Although I usually don’t seek out anime. This year at New York Comic Con, they decided to show off some Funko Pop Vinyls, including exclusives from FYE and believe it or not, San Diego Comic Con. They also had their exclusive food such as 10th Anniversary MCU cereal, Breaking Bad blue meth, and because the game apparently is still relevant enough to be a thing, Five Nights At Freddy’s cereal. I didn’t buy any food however. Instead, I did buy a few movies. One of the exclusive steelbooks they had happened to be an early purchase of mine on Friday, which was the “Iron Giant” steelbook. I have seen “The Iron Giant” before on TV, however I have never owned it. It’s a really good movie and definitely showcases the absolute talent of director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol). Speaking of exclusive steelbooks, I went back on Sunday and they still had plenty of steelbooks to choose from. They had a bunch of horror related ones, after all it is October, so I went in and got a couple. I picked up the FYE exclusive of John Carpenter’s “Halloween,” which I already watched, and it is pretty much like the 35th anniversary edition. They do have a 4K edition of the movie which came out recently around the same time as this copy did. I never got that, but I went to Best Buy the day after getting home from New York and they had it for a cheaper price. Wah. I also picked up “Halloween II,” more specifically, the Scream Factory steelbook for it. This is also my second possession from Scream Factory. My other Scream Factory product by the way is a steelbook copy of “They Live,” which I purchased a matter of months before I attended this event. Much like “They Live,” this steelbook has only 10,000 copies. It includes the theatrical cut and the TV cut. The TV cut has additional footage which has not been seen in the theatrical cut.

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Another purchase at FYE was an exclusive Funko, specifically one of Iron Man in “Avengers: Infinity War.” They had a decent selection of Funkos lined up, but Iron Man was the way to go for me. After all, when it comes to superheroes, “Iron Man” is easily up there as one of my all time favorites, Robert Downey Jr does a great job as the character and his screen presence is nothing short of a crowd pleaser. Although I’m surprised they didn’t make the label “Iron Man (Unmasked)” or “Iron Man/Tony Stark” because you can see his face. And like most of my other Pops, it’s still in the box. Speaking of which, I also happened to buy a Pop protector case. No, I am not using it for this Pop, because when I came home from the con, I went to the mall and stopped inside Thinkgeek. They had an E3 exclusive (also available in GameStop stores) of King Dice from the video game “Cuphead.” As of now, that is inside the protection case. For those of you who want to know more information about this FYE, I will have you know that the receipt actually lists the information for an actual FYE store out there. Similar to how at Rhode Island Comic Con I bought an item there and it tells me that the store happened to be from the Auburn Mall in Auburn, MA. This item is actually from the FYE at Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, NY. This mall is located on Long Island and is owned by Simon.

Speaking of places you can get movies, I actually happened to come upon a stand which I happened to recognize. It’s not a store, and it’s not for a particular person either. Instead, it was for a motion picture studio by the name of Magnet. For those of you who don’t know, Magnet Releasing is actually associated Magnolia Pictures, a studio founded in 2001. Magnet believe it or not is a name that is often associated with Magnolia’s genre and foreign films. I bought two movies at the stand, specifically “Marrowbone” and “RBG.” “Marrowbone,” or as it is referred to on IMDb, “The Secret of Marrowbone,” is about a man and three younger siblings who are cursed in a manor which they live. “RBG” is a documentary on the life of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. So one movie is about something that is haunting a house and the other is basically about a woman you can basically picture as a spirit in said haunted house.

I mean, just look at her! That open mouth will contribute to haunting your nightmares!

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Also, because I picked up two films, I got a free t-shirt that came with them. Yippee! As you can see, it has the Magnolia Pictures logo on a field of black. That was also the only t-shirt I picked up at the con. However I almost went ahead and picked up a New York Comic Con shirt because I feel like out of all the cons I’ve gone to in my life, this is the one that I would most likely buy a self-promoting t-shirt from. Not everybody wants to promote the fact that they went to Terrificon. Not many people have even heard of Terrificon! I’m not bashing against Terrificon, I went this year and I had more fun than I once expected to. By the way, if you haven’t thought about it already, go to Terrificon next year.

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My next purchase to go over is a Funko Pop Vinyl which happens to be retired. About a month I went into the New England-based nerd culture store Newbury Comics, they had a 25% off sale going around the store. I took heavy advantage of that. One of the purchases I made there was a Pac-Man Pop. Appropriately, when I saw that a place had a Pop for Ms. Pac-Man, I was intrigued. That place by the way was called Shorething Collectibles, which is based in Pennsylvania. They are a family owned business that sells Funko Pops, plush toys, and home goods.

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Moving onto another purchase I made, there was this one place that went by the name of Omakase Images. They can be found online at http://omakase-ltd.squarespace.com/, and they specialize in nerdy art with a slightly religious touch. My purchase happened to be a magnet that says “SAINT NEIL: THE INQUIRING.” As you can see in the picture above, it shows Neil DeGrasse Tyson, which I think is just plain cool because it kind of suggests that science and religion have come together. Two ideas that never seem to mesh together, happen to be completing a double-piece puzzle.

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That’s not all the purchases I’ve made. After all, I have gotten a couple autographs, which I will get to. Although one of the biggest praises I can give to New York Comic Con is how they handled crowd control. Given the size and popularity of the convention. The crowd control here is executed BRILLIANTLY. I don’t know exactly what went into everyone’s mind. But I arrived at the convention at sometime around 9:45 AM on Sunday. According to my badge, the doors didn’t open until 10 AM. I still was able to avoid a huge line through the security check. Keep in mind, the security gates are located outside, not too far from where you can enter the convention center. Part of me is willing to bet that maybe there’s something I am unaware of when it comes to this convention that I am truly missing. Although this convention actually manages to have some of it’s cool stuff outside. There’s an “American Gods” diner, some promotional stuff for shows like “Outlander” and “The Good Place.” There was some fun to be had outside. Maybe everyone lined up very early and were let in at 9 AM. Perhaps they all got to stay outside, because that is totally something nerds very often do. Either that or people with VIP tickets were scheduled to go in early and the staff didn’t care if anybody else walked in. It’s New York Comic Con! It’s a party! Some of you might not afford to go next year so let’s make this one count! Overall, it’s a pretty effective use of space and it gives you something to do when you want some breaths of fresh air.

Speaking of promotions, I also took a picture in front of a car promoting “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I will say something though regarding my picture. It was not taken on any personal camera of mine. It was taken on a camera already set up at the event. Unfortunately, I cannot find the picture of me alongside the vehicle. I will admit I got badges from a friend, and with that in mind, I was willing to imagine that they were linked to one of our emails. As far as I know, it has no link to mine (I checked, even in spam), I asked my friend if they had it just in case, but there was no sign of it. Aw, well. It’s just a picture. Experiencing is what counts.

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And this is the one thing that I can imagine is a negative to New York Comic Con. I didn’t really mind this, but I can imagine someone coming here, ready to have a good time, and all of a sudden, they are overwhelmed with one bit of promotional material after the other. All of the convention you can see stuff for Capcom, Marvel, Disney, Funko, and Starz. The badges that I had on me were actually advertising AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” There’s even a Syfy Wire Fan Lounge and a Syfy Wire Live show! It kind of makes sense when you think about it because this convention is organized by ReedPop, which organizes PAX, which I’ve been to. There’s video game advertising up the wazoo. Everybody there is just trying to show off their latest and greatest video game whether your name is Nintendo, Bethesda, Square Enix, or Blizzard. This all kind of reminded me of one convention my friend went to in Las Vegas, specifically the one that celebrated “Star Trek’s” 50th anniversary. My friend explained that she went and was just comparing it to Dragon Con and how she feels that Dragon Con caters more to fans whereas the “Star Trek” convention she went to was more of an advertising effort. New York Comic Con in my personal opinion takes every chance it gets to advertise something, but it also simultaneously keeps everything in balance by providing a good show for the fans. In fact, I’d say it was a wise choice for Syfy to advertise at this event given how they often use the slogan “It’s a fan thing.”

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Although, one of my favorite promotions in the entire con has to be for Amazon’s upcoming show “The Boys.” This was one of the first things I saw once I walked inside the convention center. F*cking brilliant.

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One of my favorite video game franchises is “Super Smash Brothers.” Apparently the con had an area full of flat screen TVs and Nintendo GameCubes which all had the game “Super Smash Bros.: Melee.” This is one of my most nostalgic games, not to mention one of my all-time faves. On Sunday, I had time to play a round of Smash with three other people. I don’t know who they are, I don’t know their names, chances are I might never see them again. But they are fine people. I played as Donkey Kong, who is one of my mains. I wouldn’t say I have a “main” in Smash, but Donkey Kong is one of my preferred characters. Although I will say I have been playing the 3DS version a lot recently and Lucina is kind of my main there. Also, if you want my goto main on Melee, I gotta say, it’s Roy. However, he wasn’t unlocked yet. Marth was, but Roy wasn’t. Whatever, I like Donkey Kong. I didn’t win, however I got pretty close in a position of second place. A worthy competitor playing as Falco ended up taking the top position.

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Moving onto autographs, I actually managed to get two of them. One of them was from Friday and the other was given to me on Sunday. On Friday, Zachary Levi (Shazam, Chuck) happened to be present in the building. I came to his line at a time when it happened to be rather short. Levi was just finishing up with photo ops, and now he was ready for his next adventure in autographing. So I chucked up $80, no pun intended, and got Levi’s signature on a photo of him as Shazam chewing bubble gum. It’s a true feast for the eyes. It is truly kick-ass until you run out of bubble gum. We happened to chit chat for a moment. Levi said he is enjoying the con so far, and he comes off as a genuine nice guy who at that moment, just became $80 richer by writing his name.

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The other celebrity I met is not as well known. The celebrities who were well known had lines in the basement. This one is not really known for a specific TV show or movie, she is actually known for cosplaying. She goes by the name Yaya Han. Now I don’t follow cosplay. I don’t partake in cosplay. I have massive respect for those who do happen to be involved, although I never took part in it. Keep in mind, I said some of those words to her face. So she must be thinking, “What is this schmuck doing talking to me?” Then I got to the point. For those of you who have known me for awhile, one of my all-time biggest obsessions is the TBS reality competition “King of the Nerds.” Yaya Han was not heavily involved with the show, but she was the only guest I met who had some sort of association with it. Sure, there was another guest, Curtis Armstrong, who was at the con for a panel, but that happened on a day which I didn’t have a ticket. Yaya Han however was there when I was. Therefore, I told her I remember her as a guest judge for all three seasons of the show. When I did, I also thanked her for being a part of something that heavily makes me an individual. She commented saying “King of the Nerds” is an excellent production and she has enjoyed it. Shortly afterwards, I got an autograph from Han on a photo displaying her as Batgirl. Besides her name, she also wrote, “Gotham needs you!” The autograph was only $15 and to me it was well worth the money. Afterwards, I took a picture alongside her.

One person I ended up meeting also happened to be someone I was subscribed to on YouTube. If you know me in person, chances are you’d be aware that I watch “Family Guy.” The thing is… I met Peter Griffin.

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No, not Seth MacFarlane! I met Robert Franzese. If you don’t know who this guy is, I don’t blame you. On YouTube, his channel name is known as Real Life Peter Griffin. He is known for talking, dressing, and sounding like Peter Griffin. On YouTube, you can find videos of him doing his own version of some of “Family Guy’s” popular bits (Grinds My Gears is a common example), and whatever other funny material he can come up with. I told him I was subscribed to his channel and he said that’s “Freakin’ sweet.” As you can tell, I didn’t get a picture with him.

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New York Comic Con is basically a giant compared to other cons that I went to that when you consider how much I DIDN’T get to do. It all makes sense. I never got a pro photo op. I never went into a panel. There was a bunch of interactive stuff I never really took part in. I never tried out any of the upcoming video games like “Megaman 11” or “Kingdom Hearts III.” There was even one thing that I was kind of curious to do, which was take part in a VR game based on the recent film “Skyscraper.” This had you attempt to make what is referred to as “the impossible jump” and if you make it from the crane to the skyscraper, you will be entered to win $10,000. But the area was cluttered, so I avoided pressing my luck. And I have to say that I have the same excuse for the panels. I’d try going down and checking on them, but the case is either that I am not interested in something, or I just don’t want to wait in line with tons of people and risk getting a bad seat. Only thing is there is only one seat I’d get on the “Skyscraper” game. Regardless of the endless list of things I DIDN’T get to do, it did not make me think I did nothing, because all of the stuff I ended up doing, I really enjoyed.

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Guys, New York Comic Con is literally not just one of the best cons out there, but quite possibly one of the best THINGS ever created! The staff is really nice, everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, the organizers know their audience, and it’s as big as Kanye West’s ridiculous ego! If I have any cons regarding this convention, I do want it to have slightly cheaper tickets (tickets are $50 for just a single-day admission), but there’s also probably an argument to be made that maybe all that is in store is totally worth the $50 ticket price. I must say though, as a nerd, it has kind of been an objective to hit one of the big two comic-cons before I die. Aside from this one, a con in particular I wanted to hit was San Diego Comic-Con. And now I am super glad to have one of the big two off my bucket list. Will I be back next year? Tough to say. Tickets may be easier to get than San Diego, but I don’t live in New York, I live in Massachusetts, traveling ain’t cheap. Plus, again, just one day at the convention is worth $50. Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows? Thanks for reading my thoughts on New York Comic Con! If you want to find out more about my con adventures, I should have you know that Rhode Island Comic Con is upon us and I’ll be attending all three days. This is my fourth time going to Rhode Island Comic Con in a row, and as much as I’m excited for it, let’s just get serious and hope that when it comes to organization, they succeed and don’t piss people off. Look that s*it up, that’s usually their biggest flaw. Be sure to follow Scene Before with your WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you go to New York Comic Con? What did you think about it? Or, what is an expensive con that is worth the money? Also, in the comments section, feel free to suggest future cons for me to visit in the future, I’d LOVE to hear them. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!