Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): For Godzilla’s Sake, Please Stop!

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“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is directed Michael Dougherty (Krampus, Trick ‘r Treat) and stars Kyle Chandler (Game Night, Homefront), Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring, The Judge), Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things, Intruders), Bradley Whitford (The West Wing, Get Out), Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine, Happy-Go-Lucky), Charles Dance (Alien 3, Game of Thrones), Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie), Aisha Hinds (9-1-1, If I Stay), O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton, Long Shot), David Strathairn (The Spiderwick Chronicles, Good Night, and Good Luck), Ken Watanabe (Inception, The Last Samurai), and Zhang Ziyi (Rush Hour 2, Memoirs of a Geisha). This film is the sequel to 2014’s “Godzilla,” where the title character wreaks havoc over the city of San Francisco. 5 years later, this film tries to go bigger. More monsters, more destruction, more big cities, yada yada yada. And we also get emphasis towards Monarch, an organization overseeing these monsters we come across during the film.

The 2014 “Godzilla” film was an interesting experience. The trailers leading up to it were some of the best I have seen in my life. In fact, one of them might actually be my all time favorite trailer for a movie. Then I went to see it on opening weekend at a sold out IMAX theater. I was born ready. This is coming from a guy who up until that point, never sat down to watch a “Godzilla” flick from start to finish. In fact, I knew this going in, they changed the IMAX countdown before the movie to have sound effects from the trailers and Godzilla roaring at the end. It set the mood with ease. The movie was good for a theater experience, and I did manage to check it out once more when it hit premium channels. I also own a DVD copy of it that I once got for Christmas. It’s not the best movie I’ve ever seen, but it’s a good time.

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As for this sequel, I had a similar relationship going into it. I went into the same theater as I did for 2014’s “Godzilla.” I was a bit excited, not to mention a little bit scared because I managed to hear about some of the film’s reviews before going into it. It was ultimately a mix for critics, but for some reason audiences seem to be loving this thing. And before even entering the cinema, I remember seeing the San Diego Comic-Con trailer and I thought it was one of the best trailers of 2018. And judging by earlier impressions, this movie did manage to market itself pretty well if you ask me. But again, that’s just marketing. Upon watching “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” I wanted to perhaps die. In fact, as I write this, I almost don’t have words that I could possibly put into a sentence to describe this movie. And the sad part is, compared to a lot of other bad movies that I’ve witnessed, I have a tendency to go into them and not expect much. “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is a movie that I was actually really excited for. It looked great, it looked like an epic theater experience (part of it was, but it didn’t make up for tons of weaknesses), and I was just hoping for at the very least, a good popcorn flick. I am not one who would traditionally expect an Oscar-winning script from a movie like this, but I would at least want something where it feels like the writers are trying!

In fact, one thing that I really find to be weird about this movie is that despite how much I went out of it thinking it was a disaster, there were a couple moments that I could end up appreciating. The battle sequences are occasionally fun and look great on the big screen. The CGI monsters were all well designed for the film at hand. And as I would expect, the sound editors and mixers involved with this movie all deserve pats on the back. There are compliments to give, but these compliments are surrounded by tons of negativity.

As for how this movie’s written, I don’t know if someone secretly injected drugs inside of me for the first movie, because while Godzilla wasn’t on screen for that long,  I thought the human characters such as those played by Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson were at least tolerable. Here, we got a bunch of new characters that we never met in the first movie, and they feel so dumb that they would all need a dictionary to research the definition of the word “dumb.” Yes, there are a lot of big name actors in this movie. You’ve got actors like Millie Bobby Brown, Charles Dance, Kyle Chandler, and my first impression of them wasn’t anything that had to do with hating them, but that certainly changed as this movie went on. At first, these characters were believable and I could at least go along for the ride with them. Then during that ride, everyone is infected by a virus, making them go insane, and I am the only person who can BARELY keep himself in control. In fact, despite having all of these well-known actors in this movie, a lot of these characters feel like they could easily be played by someone else. The writing feels stale, robotic, and at times, it almost feels as if this movie does not know what it wants to be.

As much as I liked the first couple of trailers for this movie, specifically the one that was shown at San Diego Comic-Con and another one which came out in December. I still remember watching them and as I look back, they kind of differ in tone. The first trailer was slow, dramatic, majestic, and somewhat serious. Its follow-up manages to be faster in pace, and while there is some serious s*it happening, it lacks the same tone that I managed to get in the first trailer. This movie is like those two trailers, and I probably should have seen that coming. I do have respect for the film not lying about how it is going to present itself, but this is one painful truth to bear. Because the reality is, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” just can’t stick to being one thing. At one moment, it’s about saving the planet, not mention sacrificing what we as humans have created overtime. At another moment, it’s your typical, goofy popcorn flick with cheesy one-liners that are kind of hit or miss. I can imagine myself finding this movie on TV one day, perhaps on HBO or something, maybe watching it if I want to destroy my brain cells, clicking the info button and the description would be “Time to die.”

The only human characters I really ended up liking in the movie are Millie Bobby Brown and Charles Dance, but it has nothing really to do with caring about their actions or their background stories. Millie Bobby Brown just manages to, out of everyone, including the hundreds of adults surrounding her, deliver the best performance in the movie. And Charles Dance just has a spark about him that would make him look good on screen no matter what he’s doing. He’s almost like JK Simmons. Even if he’s wasted, kind of like he was in a movie like “The Accountant,” there is still an appreciable screen presence that he can give. As for everyone else, there’s nothing… truly revolting I guess… But it doesn’t all add up to be masterful. Ken Watanabe’s back? Not enough. Maybe his story stands out, but it does not add up to make a good movie. Somehow, these characters are more forgettable than most of Apple’s terms & services agreement!

As for the monsters, I mentioned they do look cool, and they serve their purpose. One of the small perks that “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” has compared to its predecessor is that Godzilla actually receives more screentime. Unfortunately however, it kind of hits the tipping point. When the movie first starts, we get bits and pieces of Godzilla, but as it goes on, it’s almost like we get an overload of Godzilla. It almost makes me look like a hypocrite since the lack of Godzilla was a major problem of mine with the last movie, but at least what we got tended to work. As soon as we reach the climax of the movie where everything comes together, I’m admiring all of the eye candy present, but then it extends to a point that feels like it overstays its welcome. It’s almost like the movie does not really know when it wants to end.

Even with the presence of spectacular beasts like Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah, it just makes me want to punch myself in the face for fun. They look great for a movie like this, and I want to give an enormous shoutout to the VFX artists doing a spectacular job on creating them. I have to say, if I were rating “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” based on technical aspects, it would be a positive grade. Granted, not perfect, because the cinematography is a little off and on. But visual effects do not have to do with the story, which is what matters most when it comes to just about any movie imaginable.

Sticking with compliments however, one of the highlights of the movie is when the camera can show off all of the monsters in full scale. In fact, based on what I’ve seen in trailers, that is an aspect of the movie that didn’t surprise me once I saw the final product on the big screen. There’s an extreme wide showcasing the true monstrosity of Godzilla and King Ghidorah as they gaze upon each other. It almost sends chills down my spine as I think about it. But during the battles, while what I was seeing was cool, it didn’t entirely flow because the camera would just be in a certain angle that was uncomfortable or it would just keep moving. The best way I can describe it is messy. This movie may have a sense of style, at least it is trying to display that, but it can’t always do so in the best possible way.

The first “Godzilla” movie from 2014 is 2 hours and 3 minutes long. It ended up feeling like a movie that would be around that runtime, perhaps less. This one however is 2 hours and 11 minutes long. It honestly felt like 2 and a half hours long, maybe even longer. In other words, I was watching “The Favourite” all over again!

Also, as I was watching this piece of garbage, here’s what I thought to myself. “Holy s*it. Now I see why everyone hates the ‘Transformers’ movies.” While I will consider a few of the Michael Bay-directed “Transformers” movies to be less than satisfactory, I don’t particularly hate the franchise as much as other people. I enjoyed the first film, then again I grew up with it so I could be biased. And I almost enjoy the third film even more! But this movie reminds me of those. The movie is called “Transformers,” we have all of these cool fighting robots, but let’s make the movie about the human characters! Underwhelming scripts for the win! Here, we have a movie called “Godzilla,” and now we have to deal with a s*itty script that may have to do with Godzilla, but it collides with the plethora of human characters that may as just be there to pass time. If I were ten years old and I went to see this movie, I think part of me would be bored!

I know a lot of people will read this review and think about telling me in the comments section, “Hey, Jackass! Godzilla movies are not about brilliant scripts! They’re about the monsters!” Look, guys. If that’s the case, then you can make the same argument for a movie like “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Don’t go in wanting good characters! Go in for the kinky sex! Or what about “Sharknado?” Don’t go in begging for a justifiable plot! Embrace the silly! Listen guys, unless you’re creating some real-life event or there is some other special situation, no movie can exist without a screenplay. Some will be good, and some will be bad. This one was ugly. Is it cheesy? Yes. Some people may expect “Godzilla” movies to have some cheesy lines here and there. But it’s also met with a clashing serious tone. This clash between tones may be a bigger and more brutal fight as opposed to any of the monster action scenes presented on screen! When you treat your movie’s humans as if they are the core characters of the movie and you can’t get me to care about them, and I barely care about the monsters, you’ve done goof. As an aspiring filmmaker and in this case I’ll give a specification, screenwriter, I may be biased, but my case stands. This is especially important when you consider that this movie is in a cinematic universe. The next movie in this lineup is “Godzilla vs. Kong” and part of me is worried for that movie now because the excuse for both monsters to eventually interact could potentially be bulls*it. It could ultimately ruin the entire movie.

Please help me.

And one sad thing about this movie is this. While I probably hate this movie more than any other this year that I’ve witnessed so far. It’s almost an enigma because for one thing, I’m able to find positives, but they are heavily outweighed by a plethora of negatives. Surprisingly, there’s not a moment where I can remember conceptualizing a personal need for Anger Management classes. But based on this movie’s script and my memory of said script, I almost can’t remember feeling any emotion whatsoever, which may almost be worse than getting angry about a movie or its characters. I didn’t care about anyone enough to decide how I truly feel about them. When your movie makes me a robot, even though I cannot process information like a robot, you know your movie is a special kind of crap.

Now I know that I said this movie is surround sound Heaven, but I cannot help but think of a quote one wise man said back in the day.

“What can we do, to encourage people to have more quiet in their lives, more silence? Real revelation comes through silence.” -Fred Rogers

The answer, simple. Show everyone “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” That’s all this movie is. S*it and noise. Nothing more.

In the end, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” broke me. It made me dumber, it made me sum up better ideas for a monster movie script with a friend of mine, and it almost killed all hopes I have for this MonsterVerse Warner Brothers seems to be planning. I know a lot of people had no hope for the DCEU for some time. This is how I feel about this MonsterVerse. And as a sequel to 2014’s “Godzilla,” it tries to go bigger, but the reality is, bigger doesn’t always mean better. It’s like watching “Independence Day: Resurgence” three years later! With lackluster characters, unlikable plot elements, and beyond awful screenwriting, this movie, unlike its titled character, is most certainly no king. Will I go see “Godzilla vs. Kong” when it comes out? Sure, but whatever hype I’ve had for that movie before watching “King of the Monsters” has perhaps dwindled to a level lower than an underground subway tunnel in New York City. Let’s hope my life does not become more miserable than it already is! I’m going to give “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” a 1/10. Yes, there are positives, but again, they are heavily outweighed by tons of crap, and the fact that my brain literally could not function upon leaving the theater. I could probably never watch “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” ever again. If the MonsterVerse becomes as big as the MCU one day and there’s a big movie marathon at a theater, chances are I might end up buying a ticket, but I’d feel fine ditching “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” I’ll probably use that time for a fresh air break or something. Who knows? But the fact is, this movie is a freaking monster. Also, first 1/10 of the year! It had to happen at some point! Thanks for reading this review! I just want to let everyone know that on June 11th I have plans to see “Men In Black: International” as part of an advance screening held a couple days before the film hits theaters. Be sure to look forward to that review! Also be sure to follow Scene Before with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Godzilla: King of the Monsters?” What do you think about it? Or, when you see a movie like the one I’m talking about, does the script matter to you? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Last Samurai (2003): Not a Perfect Blossom, But Not a Bad One Either

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here and welcome to an all new series of reviews! Today we are going to be starting my Tom Cruise series. Why? On September 29th, “American Made” comes out in the United States, so before that film releases, I’m going to talk about three of Cruise’s prior films. Now before we dive into the first review of the series, let’s talk a little about Tom Cruise. If you ask me, I think Tom Cruise is a fine actor. You may know him nowadays from big action flicks like “Mission Impossible,” “Edge of Tomorrow,” and “Jack Reacher.” You may know him from a bunch of other films like “Collateral,” “The Outsiders,” and “Cocktail.” The man’s been nominated for three Oscars, he’s also been nominated for seven Golden Globes and ended up winning three of those seven. Today we’re gonna talk about a movie starring Cruise which gave him one of his Golden Globe nominations, he hasn’t won that one, but he was nominated. What film am I talking about? I’m talking about “The Last Samurai.” This movie came out in 2003 and it has been nominated for four Oscars, three Golden Globes, and it was AFI’s Movie of the Year. So what did I think of this? Read to find out!

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“The Last Samurai” is directed by Edward Zwick, director of “Glory” and “Legends of the Fall” and stars Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe (Inception, Batman Begins), Billy Connolly (The Boondock Saints, Timeline), Timothy Spall (Chicken Run, Secrets & Lies), Tony Goldwyn (Ghost, Tarzan), and Hiroyuki Sanada Koyuki (The Wolverine, 47 Ronin). This film is about the birth of modern Japan, an American military advisor is in Japan, while he’s there, he embraces the Samurai culture.

Now I’ve watched other movies involving Samurai before, well sort of, have you guys ever heard of “Samurai Cop?” That so-called movie from 1991 that went straight to VHS? If you haven’t, it’s a movie about two cops who think they’re in “Lethal Weapon,” by that I mean they resemble Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, and they have to stop a bunch of drug dealers. What’s my problem with “Samurai Cop?” Well, pretty much everything to be honest, but one big problem is despite being called “Samurai Cop,” there’s almost nothing Samurai-esque in the movie, it’s more your traditional chases you’d see in modern-day movies, only these chases are the movie equivalent to vomit. Luckily for the “The Last Samurai,” this movie is nothing like that at all. This movie takes place in the late 19th century, and the Samurai culture itself was vanishing. I’m gonna give you some of my positives concerning this movie.

The first positive I’ll give to you is that the action in this movie was awesome. During the moments which we see massive battles it never feels bloated, it is pretty engaging, and I’ll even say the action that technically isn’t action was pretty cool to watch as well. What do I mean? Two people are swordfighting and it’s more like practice than an actual battle. I will say though, watching the big battle which you see at the end of the movie, kind of reminded me of “Braveheart,” not to say that was something that degrades the movie, it’s actually a compliment. This movie did feel like “Braveheart” at times as a whole. By that I mean it’s a good movie, but I felt I needed to pause at times. Then again, the weekend I watched this was the first weekend I had since going back to school, so whaddya know?

Another positive at times was the score. If you weren’t already aware, this movie was scored by Hans Zimmer. Before this movie, he scored “The Lion King,” “Mission: Impossible II,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.” After this movie, he did “The Dark Knight” trilogy, “Sherlock Holmes,” and my favorite movie score of all time, “Interstellar.” Here in this movie, his score suits the atmosphere of Japan and the movie itself. It displays the right moods at the right times, and I’d definitely listen to it sometime if I have nothing better to listen to. Also, I’ll remind you this guy went on to compose the “Kung Fu Panda” trilogy, so this isn’t the only Asian type movie he’s composed for. By the way, the music in those movies is pretty great too.

Now let’s talk about Tom Cruise. He plays a character named Nathan Algren. When comparing this to other Tom Cruise performances I’ve seen, this one is rather unique. This is because when I watch other Tom Cruise movies like “Mission: Impossible” or “Edge of Tomorrow,” I think what I see from Tom Cruise delivered in those movies happens to be pretty good, but I might also think to myself, that’s Tom Cruise. Here, he was a completely different character. Sure, he wasn’t Japanese, but he played someone who doesn’t always make you think, “Oh, that’s Tom Cruise.” Granted at times, I did actually think that, but I already knew beforehand that Tom Cruise was in this movie.

One of my biggest problems with the movie is that the supporting characters are rather unmemorable, I don’t recall who they are, I don’t remember any of their names, anything like that. I remember some of them being in engaging scenes, but chances are I won’t remember a majority of them soon. I will say though, this is my first time watching “The Last Samurai,” maybe if I watch it again, I’ll become more invested in the supporting characters and get to know them a little more.

One of my personal favorite parts of the entire film was the scene when Tom Cruise gets in front of a target and forces a Japanese soldier to fire at him. This isn’t a battle, it’s more like an exercise. He’s telling the Japanese soldier to shoot him, and he’s also telling him to quickly load his weapon, he’s yelling strictly, and it’s really compelling to watch. If you want to watch it, the clip is displayed above. Overall, in terms of acting and writing, this is one of my favorite scenes in a Tom Cruise movie.

As I was researching this movie on IMDb, I came across some information worth sharing. This movie was directed by Edward Zwick and I gotta give some credit where its due. Why? The movie takes place in Japan, and it was generally well received over there. One viewer, Tomomi Katsuta, of “The Mainichi Shimbun,” a major Japanese newspaper, said that Zwick did his research, cast well-known Japanese actors, and consulted dialogue coaches in order to avoid confusion between casual and formal Japanese speech. The only problem he had with the movie is the storybook feel it had. Japanese viewers such as the one suggested here, thought of the Samurai as more corrupt. Despite flaws being picked up overtime, it’s nice to see this sort of reception for a movie like this. In a world where we got a movie called “Gods of Egypt” years later, a movie that has pretty much not one Egyptian actor in the entire runtime, it’s nice to see a movie like this.

In the end, “The Last Samurai” wasn’t as good as I was kind of expecting it to be, but that doesn’t mean it was bad. A lot of people praise this movie, in fact there’s a significance with this movie when it comes to the day May 26. If you didn’t know, the movie’s final battle takes place on May 26, which is a reason why people watch the movie on May 26. Think of it as “Star Wars Day,” only you have less content to choose from, and instead of being on the fourth of May, it’s on the twenty-sixth of May. Overall there were many aspects I was able to appreciate and while I don’t think I’ll be popping the disc in again anytime soon, I’m glad I watched it. I’m gonna give “The Last Samurai” a 7/10. Oh yeah, just a fun fact. I actually bought this movie used on Blu-Ray and its original cost was $3.99 (before taxes), but the store had everything 25% off since it was moving, so ultimately I got this for just a little over $3. That’s a good deal considering how revered this movie is by many people. Thanks for reading this review, I should let you know in at least a couple of weeks from now I’m planning on reviewing “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” and just to let you know I’m not gonna review “Kingsman: The Secret Service” beforehand, so get that out of your mind now if you’re thinking that.

Next up in my Tom Cruise review series I’m gonna be talking about the movie “Risky Business,” I actually already started my review on that, I’m not finished, I still have to rewatch it in order to get everything I need out of it. That review will be up on Monday, September 18th so keep your eyes peeled. Stay tuned for that review, along with more reviews! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Inception (2010): Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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