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

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

Anybody? I officially quit comedy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Avengers: Endgame (2019) REVIEW

Marvel Cinematic Universe PHASE 4 Plans Announced

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Hey everyone! Jack Drees here! You thought we were in the endgame? Think again, because, to my lack of surprise, as well as others perhaps, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not going anywhere, and as part of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Kevin Feige and crew have officially announced their gameplan going forward in regards to movies and television. While I could not make it to San Diego this year (just like every other year), I had the pleasure of receiving a number of these announcements through social media, which is something Captain Marvel should have brushed up on by now.

This first announcement, doesn’t relate to what some would call “phase 4,” but it happens around that certain timeline and takes place in the same universe, so why not leave it in? Anyway, as you may or may not know, Marvel is finishing up their series “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..” It’s a series that I tried watching when it first started, but for one reason or another, I just couldn’t latch onto it. It just didn’t work for me. The show will begin its seventh season during the 2019-20 television season, and will air for 13 episodes. However, if you are caught up with the series, you’d know that season 6 is still in progress, so the show still has time left before ABC dusts it away from its current lineup.

Speaking of television, Marvel in general is seemingly changing the norm of how they release their television programming. Before now, they would release various MCU-related content on ABC such as the recently mentioned “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Agent Carter,” and the short-lived “Inhumans.” Netflix also had a fair share of content, all of which was recently cancelled such as “Iron Fist,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” and to what I believe is to a lot of people’s surprise, “Daredevil.” These platforms, for all I know, could lose the ability to air new Marvel content for awhile whereas the TV channel Freeform, and streaming services Hulu and the yet to be released Disney+ are going to be the big three for some time. Speaking of Disney+, Marvel announced a plethora of shows to be exclusively released on the upcoming service.

For the record, Disney+ is expected to be released during the fall. So just a reminder, none of these shows will be available on day one.

The first show to premiere on Disney+ is going to be “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” As you can tell by the title, the series revolves around the known characters played by actors Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. It is expected to start filming October 2019 and premiere in August 2020. While there are not many details about the series just yet, Mackie and Stan have previously wanted to do their own spinoff film at some point, particularly in the style of a buddy cop story. So who knows? Maybe this series could have some sort of comedic buddy vibe. But only time will tell.

Moving onto 2021 programming, up next we have “WandaVision,” which is short for the characters Wanda Maximoff and Vision meshed together. This series is going to star actors Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as the characters we have previously come to know throughout the Infinity Saga. Although I must point out. This takes place after “Avengers: Endgame,” and Vision died in “Infinity War” only to never come back to life. So my question is… How will they allow him to return? Let me guess, time travel. Because now if the Marvel universe has a problem. Boop! You got a time machine! Want to save Nick Fury from losing an eye? Boom! You got a a time machine! Want to stop Tony Stark’s home from being destroyed like it was in “Iron Man 3?” Boom! You got a time machine! Want to give Captain America the most advanced pop culture lessons of his life? Boom! You got a time machine! Granted, there’s probably more to it, but a time travel element would not be surprising. The show will hit Disney+ in Spring 2021.

Also coming in Spring 2021 is a “Loki” series. Without going into much detail, because this does involve a spoiler for “Avengers: Endgame,” which as of writing this, is still in theaters, it will involve a Loki of the past. That’s all I’ll say. The series will of course star Tom Hiddleston. I don’t know if I am going to watch any of these series, but I think out of all the series on this list, I feel like this is the one I’d be least likely to watch. It almost seems like an idea from a think tank meeting (even though a number of these shows feel the same way). “Remember that mysterious guy from ‘Thor’ who keeps dying and coming back to life? Nobody knows if he’s good or evil? Let’s not deal with any new characters, let’s use this guy some more! Yay!” The way I wrote that sounds generous, but when I imagine it, it sounds like a business meeting all involving out of shape guys in suits smoking cigars.

OK… I take my last statement back, this is a series I’d probably watch. Granted, I don’t want to pay for Disney+, I don’t see any reason to. Plus, as someone who wants to avoid witnessing Disney’s plan for world domination put into action, I want to spend as little money towards them as possible. Although I kinda do want to go to Disneyland to see Galaxy’s Edge the more I think about it. Nevertheless, the next series is “What If…?” For those of you who don’t know, “What If…?” is a franchise that creates and realizes perhaps unlikely or alternate scenarios related to Marvel characters. Some examples from comics include: “What if the Fantastic Four all had the same power?,” “What if Captain America had been elected president?,” and “What if Jane Foster had found the hammer of Thor?.” While I’m not getting Disney+, if they are ever to release any of these shows on DVD or Blu-ray I am very likely to pick up “What If…?” simply for the concept. The stories presented in the show will not affect the MCU’s timeline, but merely exist just to answer questions through the power of imagination. It is simply something that just provides a unique take of some sort.

Hawkeye in the MCU is an “interesting” character to say the least, because just about every time he appeared in an MCU movie when he first started, I did not care about him as much as the other characters. Then I saw “Endgame” and thought he was one of the best characters of the whole thing. Coincidentally, of the upcoming shows on Disney+, “Hawkeye” is one of them. Also, according to what I have gathered, this series will introduce Kate Bishop, who in the comics is the first woman to earn the Hawkeye title. She’s also a member of the Young Avengers. Here, this show will seemingly spend some time on allowing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye to pass the torch to this younger character. The question is… Will I care about her? Or will she just be another boring bow and arrow fetishist?

That’s it for TV shows. I’ll probably watch NONE of them. Mainly because I feel that the way that everyone is trying to push streaming service upon streaming service towards the consumers is going to eventually make streaming as a whole a significantly worse deal than cable. My family and I have not cut the cord, and honestly, I’m happy. Especially considering how I still have my game shows (streaming IS NOT a good alternative if you are a game show fan for the most part), plus it’s nice to watch a new episode of a show and have it feel like an event, whereas an episode or two of a show, or a whole season, drops on Amazon or Hulu and it’s almost like you unintentionally DVRed something. Plus, I enjoy my livetweeting. It makes me feel like I am part of a community. Another reason why I’ll probably miss out on all these shows is because I REVIEW MOVIES DAMMIT! Movies are a top priority of mine and because I watch and review them excessively, I barely have time for TV. And speaking of movies, let’s reveal what Marvel has planned for that realm of entertainment in phase 4.

First up for movies is a project that I think a good number of people know has been in full swing, “Black Widow.” The plot and details are mostly unknown at this time, but Scarlett Johansson, the woman that I have a crush on who says she should be allowed to play trees, well then, if that’s the case… Vin Diesel? Watch out, you might be fired soon! She is returning as the title character who we have seen in several parts of the MCU such as the “Iron Man,” “Avengers,” and “Captain America” franchises. From speculation, I would imagine this would take place long before the main events of the MCU, kind of like in “Captain Marvel.” I am also willing to bet this will be a grittier film in the franchise (even though they aren’t going for an R rating), while also trying to be fun. After all, Black Widow isn’t really a superhero, kind of like Iron Man, she just plays with toys. And based on what we have seen from her character in comics and movies, this is very likely to be a spy flick. If you ask me, this is not my most anticipated spy-related film of next year, I’d reserve that spot to “Tenet,” directed by Christopher Nolan, but I’ve been eager to see a “Black Widow” solo film for quite some time, so I’m excited!

Plus, ScarJo is a dream girl. Just saying. The film will be released on May 1st, 2020.

Up next is a newcomer to the MCU, specifically, “Eternals.” Some big name actors in the film include Salma Hayek (Grown Ups, Desparado), Kumail Nanjiani (Stuber, Silicon Valley), Angelina Jolie (Kung Fu Panda, Mr. and Mrs. Smith), Richard Madden (Rocketman, Game of Thrones), among others. It is going to be about a bunch of eternally living beings who have spent infinite portions of their lives fighting a force of evil referred to as The Deviants. One character, Makkari, played by Lauren Ridloff is going to be the MCU’s first deaf hero. The film will be released on November 6th, 2020.

The third movie is one that I personally think will be a mega hit at the box office. It’s not to say the others won’t be, but if “Black Panther” from phase 3 has proven anything, it’s that if you put a “visually different” person at the forefront of a superhero project, people will see it. That’s because this movie we’re talking about is “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” I don’t know if the final product will have a title this long, but only time will tell. Then again, it’s not as much of a mouthful as say “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.” The main reason why I’d say this film has a bonkers chance of success is because Shang-Chi is Chinese, and in this film, he is going to be played by Chinese Canadian actor Simu Liu. Not to mention, based on comic-related images I have seen, this movie could be a visual treat. Another thing to consider is the Chinese movie market. If this movie is as visually impressive as I think it will be, not to mention as honorable to the Chinese culture as I think some would want it to be, I think a lot of people will go see this in the theater. China, at least to my knowledge, seems to go to a lot of spectacle type films. Some historical examples that come to mind include “Transformers; Age of Extinction,” which to be fair, was partially shot in China, and “Warcraft.” While “Transformers” is popular in the United States, “Warcraft’s” domestic returns led to its underwhelming final box office total despite making more than twice its budget. But it couldn’t reach the total $450 million needed to completely break even. But if anything has been proven, Marvel is an automatic success in the United States. In the US and Canada, “Black Panther,” a culturally significant film for the African community, managed to make over $700 million, which for those countries specifically, is actually more than “Infinity War.” But with the massive potential for winning over China and perhaps other somewhat related Asian communities, plus Marvel’s domestic success, it has a chance of being possibly a bigger success than “Black Panther.” The movie is scheduled for a February 12th, 2021 release.

Another film I saw coming was “Doctor Strange 2,” and we got it! But it technically has a more specific title, “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.” Based on what I’ve heard, Scott Derrickson could be coming back to direct this sequel. It is also suggested that Benedict Cumberbatch and Benedict Wong, or in this case, just for fun, I’ll call them Team Benedict, will be returning to reprise their roles. One thing that I found interesting though is that Wanda Maximoff will be in the be in the movie as well, and it will be tied directly to the Disney+ series “WandaVision.”

OK… You gotta be kidding me. I know people give flak to DC for how they do their movies, but at least you don’t have to watch a freaking TV show to perhaps understand or comprehend what is happening in one of the DCEU’s films! Guess I’ll just read the Wikipedia entries for the WandaVision episodes, because I ain’t paying for Disney+. But one thing that does intrigue me, is the notion that this is going to be a more horror-esque movie compared to a lot of the other MCU installments. So who knows? Maybe this could have a wacky funhouse vibe, or maybe be the MCU’s version of “The New Mutants.” Although now that I think about it, “The New Mutants” could possibly end up being another version of this movie depending on how many more times it gets pushed back. Man, that movie premiere is gonna be one big realistic version of a FaceApp demo. This is definitely a movie I would want to see on an IMAX screen, maybe in 3D. Because I saw the original “Doctor Strange” in IMAX 3D, which made for one of the best visual trips of 2016. This film is expected to drop into theaters May 7th, 2021.

But my one request for this movie. JUST GIVE A MORE MEMORABLE VILLAIN. Then again, it’s Marvel, it’s not their strong suit.

When 2015 first started, the YouTube channel RedLetterMedia made a video where they jokingly predicted that we’d eventually get a fourth “Thor” movie called “Thor 4: More Thor.” Believe it or not, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” used that title in their show. Unfortunately, we’re not getting “Thor 4: More Thor.” But we are getting a fourth “Thor” movie titled “Thor: Love and Thunder.” I have mixed thoughts on this movie, because I REALLY enjoy 2011’s “Thor,” probably more than I should. I know some people don’t like it, but I enjoyed Thor’s character arch and Loki was a solid villain. Granted, the followup in 2013, “Thor: The Dark World,” is in the conversation to be my least favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. And even though “Thor: Ragnarok” was… “better,” it’s not what I wanted. I thought it was too comedic, and some of the jokes didn’t land. While it is visually stunning, somewhat appealing from a story perspective, the tone just didn’t work. Basically, Asgard is in a state beyond repair in this film. It could have been dark, gritty, maybe a little funny, but not like it was “Deadpool” for kids. I don’t think Taika Waititi is a bad director, in fact, I thought he would be a better suit for something like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but he did a “Thor” film instead. It just didn’t stick the landing for me. I’m hoping “Thor: Love and Lightning” will be better, but from what I can imagine, it could be tonally similar to the previous “Thor” installment, which if that’s the case, I’m just hoping that the story actually fits the tone.

One thing that could be interesting is that Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, is making a comeback. And similar to a comics storyline, Foster is going to be taking on the mantle of Thor. And based on visuals presented from San Diego Comic-Con, it looks like her character will be holding Mjölnir at some point during the film. As long as Kat Dennings doesn’t show up to play her character from “2 Broke Girls” everything should be rather fine and dandy. The film is predicted to be out November 5th, 2021, so I demand there should be at least one reference to “V For Vendetta,” ESPECIALLY since Natalie Portman is returning!

Now let me just say, I have no idea when these next films are going to be released, part of me is willing to bet that one or two of them, are not even in phase 4, but Marvel Studios chairman Kevin Feige has confirmed that these movies are in development, therefore we are going to cover them. So let’s continue!

Remember the 1998 film “Blade?” Guess what? Marvel is getting to do another project with the character. I personally can’t say I have seen “Blade,” but part of me is willing to imagine that this will be a somewhat different take on the character because the original trilogy was rated R, whereas all the MCU films so far have gotten a PG-13. If you ask me, I would not mind seeing an R version of the character in the MCU, kind of like with Black Widow, but you cannot have everything. One thing that does intrigue me though is that Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, Green Book) is attached to playing the lead role. He’s a fantastic actor who has a ton of range, and he actually pitched this sort of idea to Marvel Studios through a call. Coincidentally, Ali has been attached to a couple of alternate recent comic book-based products including Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Netflix’s own MCU show, “Luke Cage.”

There’s not much to say on this next film, but I KNEW this was gonna be made at some point, perhaps soon. Why? Because again, it made SO MUCH money. I guess this is what happens when Disney remakes “The Lion King” for a new generation. Wait… I’m talking about “Black Panther 2.” There’s not much to say about this movie yet, but Ryan Coogler suggested that he’d write and direct this film, which does intrigue me because I thought he did a rather decent job with the first one despite its flaws. So… what Disney movie are they gonna retread next? Are they gonna do “Dumbo” because Black Panther is learning to fly for some reason? Are they gonna do a film in the style of “Wreck-It Ralph” where it is revealed that Wakanda is in an arcade cabinet? Are they gonna do one like “Frozen” where Shuri or Okoye just breaks out into an annoying catchy tune? By the way, screw “Frozen,” that movie can rot in hell!

Up next is a film that was supposed to come out in 2020, but based on recent controversy, that’s not happening anymore. Specifically, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” This is a film that I am honestly curious to see, because while I imagine this could potentially be a capper for a trilogy, director James Gunn has previously exposed that this installment is not meant to be a powerhouse of emotion. It is still going to be fun and lively. But if you have been following the news in terms of film recently, you’d know that Gunn was fired by Disney/Marvel over the resurfacing of less than family friendly tweets. Tweets that even he admits, he’s not proud of. If you ask me, I believe James Gunn is a competent director, who may have deserved the criticism that he received, but I’m not sure if Disney should have gone as far as firing him, especially when you consider how much he has changed over the years in terms of his outlook. Nevertheless, I am quite curious to see how this upcoming “Guardians” film turns out, and I do have a shortlist of soundtrack ideas, but I think I should save that for another time. The movie is not expected to begin filming until 2020, but that’s because James Gunn is currently doing a DC movie, specifically “The Suicide Squad.”

Here’s another no-brainer, “Captain Marvel 2.” When your film has the sixth biggest opening of all time, you know you have to make a followup. I’ll be honest, the first “Captain Marvel” did not work for me. I thought the chemistry between Fury and Danvers was kind of hit and miss. The scene where “Just a Girl” plays honestly, while I guess it was trying to be empowering, felt really off for an action scene that was most likely trying to be kick-ass. The final fight, which I imagine was trying to be funny, just ended up being questionable to me. And don’t even get me started on Goose the Cat! But, we are getting another movie, and I’m honestly hoping it is better than this one, but only time will tell. I like Brie Larson as an actress, but when she plays Captain Marvel, she honestly sounds like she’s only been in straight to DVD content. Come on, Brie! You won an Oscar for “Room!” Show me the magic! She did alright in “Endgame,” but she was not in the movie that much so there is that to consider. Then again, I’m a straight white male. So is my opinion even valid to begin with?

Another film on the list of “in development” is a third “Spider-Man” movie. By the way, by the time you finish reading this post, five more “Spider-Man” movies will be released, because they keep cranking them out! I finally saw “Spider-Man: Far From Home” the other day, and honestly, after seeing that film, I’d say a third one HAS to be made. And without going into detail, Kevin Feige suggested that the mid-credits scene from that film implies the third film will involve “a Peter Parker story that has never been done before on film.” And it does not surprise me that this is happening. I believe Sony is already satisfied with making their own “Spider-Man” movies in their universe and still enjoys the success they can get from spinning their webs in the MCU. Nevertheless, can’t wait. But if I had any requests, make sure the word “home” is in the title. That way I don’t have to end up confusing “Spider-Man” trilogies and can refer to this as the “Home” trilogy. Seriously! Even if it simply means that there is a minute of the two of the film where we find Peter Parker watching a Mets game, and for that reason it is called “Home Run,” it would still work because the other two movies have the word “home” in their titles too!

The next two films are a couple of projects that I think a lot of people have been asking for. Why? Because Disney just acquired 21st Century Fox recently, meaning they have retained the rights to a couple of big name franchises. One example is “X-Men.” I have no idea how the film will present itself. If anything, it is definitely going to be a complete reboot, staying away from the timeline Fox originally showcased to audiences since the early 2000s. After all, while I didn’t go see “Dark Phoenix,” probably just like everyone else in the world, maybe that movie tarnished the franchise enough to say, “Screw it, it’s over.” But some movie franchises or IPs are like Jenga, you can end the game by collapsing the tower, but you can always start a new one by rebuilding it. Maybe “X-Men” has a place in the MCU. And honestly, if a couple of the phase 1 heroes are going away, I think this is the perfect time to add in new heroes, because if they were still there, I’d honestly worry about clutter in the MCU. Granted, even with them showing up now, that is still a worry. But I also have a slight intrigue as to what this mega franchise can bring to the cinematic universe.

Speaking of Fox, one other franchise they once had, not to mention wasted, is “Fantastic Four.” Since Marvel has the rights to them, they can now possibly… NOT screw it up this time… Hopefully? I imagine it’ll be good, but I’m keeping experience in my back pocket. It’s in different hands, but for all I know, despite its popularity in the comic book world, maybe “Fantastic Four” is simply cursed as a movie franchise. But I am curious about this film and how it’ll turn out, and perhaps a little more excited about this than “X-Men.” Will Dr. Doom be the main villain again? Will the movie have the four in the middle of its title? Or… How about this? How about we get Chris Evans to play Johnny Storm again? Do it just to get some other character in the movie for a second. Maybe the group will be going around New York City grabbing lunch or something and they run into Peter Parker walking with Ned, which leads to Peter pointing at Johnny saying, “Hey! You look like someone I know!” I highly doubt that will happen, but it certainly would make for a proper more realistic “What If…?” scenario. Plus, with Stan Lee gone we’re gonna need new cameo ideas.

That’ll probably do it for all of the MCU-related announcements for phase 4, and again, a lot of these films and TV shows are in development. So who knows? One could get pushed back, maybe one gets cancelled. Perhaps it ends up being a part of an eventual phase 5. Nevertheless, I’m excited for a large number of these projects, and hopefully they will all end up being good! Also, James Gunn, I know it is a little late, but welcome back. I want to know, is there something I’m missing from this list? I think I’ve covered all the ground, after all I have 4,000 words inserted into this thing! Or, what is something that you want to see from the MCU as a TV series, as a movie, as a concept? It doesn’t even have to be for phase 4 if you want it someplace else. Let me know down below! Thanks for reading this post! Pretty soon I am going to be reviewing Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which is out this upcoming weekend. I’m going to one of my local theaters for their first screening of the film in 35mm, can’t wait! Also, speaking of Tarantino, be sure to stay tuned for my final installment in my Quentin Tarantino review series, “The Hateful Eight.” Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, if you could do me a favor, like this post, share it around with those you know, it really helps me out. And speaking of that, like my Facebook Page! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019): The Truth Is… I Am Spider-Man

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Well, I waited over two weeks, I finally get to say it. “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is directed by Jon Watts (Cop Car, The Onion News Network), who also was the director and one of the writers behind the preceding film in this franchise, “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” This film stars Tom Holland (The Lost City of Z, In the Heart of the Sea), Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Snakes on a Plane), Zendaya (The Greatest Showman, Shake It Up), Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother, Safe Haven), Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book, Chef), Jacob Batalon (Blood Fest, Every Day), Martin Starr (Silicon Valley, Knocked Up), J.B. Smoove (Uncle Drew, Hall Pass) with Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny, Chaplin) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, Stronger). This is the 23rd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the second Spider-Man film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the eighth big screen “Spider-Man” film of the 21st century. So much for originality! Yay! This film continues the adventures of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker in a post universe-wide snappening setting. As everyone adapts to a world that has changed forever, Peter Parker and his classmates are going on a field trip to Europe, only to run into chaos through unexpected encounters including Mysterio, and Nick Fury himself.

When it comes to Spider-Man, he is by far my favorite superhero of all time. Spider-Man is the perfect embodiment of your average teenager trying to live a normal life, but various struggles and obstacles beyond their control manage to get in their way. As for Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, my love for him is unbelievable. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of “Homecoming,” I really enjoyed him in other films including “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” If I had to a superhero to relate to more than any other, Spider-Man is definitely number one. This is a reason why I really enjoyed a movie like Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 2,” because it emphasizes the internal conflict of what Peter wants vs. what he needs. That film by the way, is my favorite comic book flick of all time. And in some ways, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” sort of takes me back to the time frame of Sam Raimi’s films.

Mary Jane has a screen presence in this film that I personally did not expect.

This movie has the result of Sandman getting a makeover due to incoming tides.

Not to mention, the film is freaking awesome!

In fact, you know how “Avengers: Endgame” perhaps stands as the most anticipated film? Like, ever? As the release for “Endgame” got closer and closer, my hype levels increased. Can’t say that for “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” I saw the first trailer, thought it sucked, and while going into the film, I appreciated this film’s efforts to try reminding everyone of the effects of “Endgame,” I was still somewhat nervous. Then I came out of the film, got home, and made the following tweet.

For all I know, this could be due to just seeing the film, my opinion could change, but I felt a bigger impact through the smaller and slightly more individualistic story of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” than I did for perhaps what has been marketed as the biggest geekfest in history. But much like that giant nerdgasm-inducing experience, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is not perfect.

Much like “Avengers: Endgame,” “Spider-Man: Far From Home” suffers from minor pacing issues, but similar to “Endgame,” “Far From Home” has pacing issues which I can live with simply because of everything else that is happening. And this is not an issue in every sense of the word, but this movie has a lot of moments in its script that are incredibly convenient to what is happening on screen. But at the same time, I feel like that is one of the big improvements I can give to “Far From Home” when comparing it to “Homecoming.” Why? One of my biggest issues with “Homecoming” had to do with the script in a crapton of ways, one of which included the unbelievable amount of comedy inserted. And honestly, there was not a lot that landed. When it comes to Spidey’s quips and one-liners in “Homecoming,” they don’t feel as hysterical as they could be. I could tell that Tom Holland was trying his hardest with the material that may have sounded great on paper, but for one reason or another, the jokes just didn’t stick the landing for me. Here however, there seems to be a lot less comedy, and the bits of comedy they have in this film, when present, completely works. Because let’s face it, this movie is the first installment in the MCU that has to reflect on the past couple of “Avengers” flicks, which honestly would present the need for a slightly more serious script. Plus, Sony’s distributing this film instead of Disney. When the mouse is away, the spiders will play!

Also, while I keep talking about “Spider-Man: Homecoming” as if it happens to be the last “Spider-Man” film to be released, keep in mind that we just got “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which many consider to be the best “Spider-Man” film to date. While I don’t know whether or not I enjoyed this film or “Spider-Verse” more, I can confirm that when I saw “Spider-Verse,” it was perhaps the biggest acid trip of a superhero film I have ever watched. Guess what? I might need to rethink that statement, and I won’t go into why, BUT LET ME HAVE YOU KNOW THAT “SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME” IS ONE HELL OF A DRUG! If you drop acid before this movie, I wish you luck on getting out of the movie theater when the film ends because there are a couple of head-spinning moments that kind of left me speechless.

And you know something? Another shocker for this film to me is MJ, because when I saw her in “Homecoming,” I did not like her, I thought she some clowny individual who barely had a personality. This time there is depth to her, and even though I was nervous back in 2016 when they announced who was playing MJ, specifically Zendaya, she pulled it off in this movie! Mainly because she had a take on it that made the character her own. After all, her name isn’t really Mary Jane, it’s actually Michelle. If she was a redhead, I’d want the character a certain way. But I appreciate Zendaya’s take not only because her character was well written, not just because she did her part with excellence, but because it did not feel like the type of MJ I thought she would be, which would be a black person trying to playing the typical white Mary Jane, almost as if it were a s*itty impression. Zendaya has her individual flair which brought some pizzazz to the final product. Rock on! Granted, seeing her in the beginning of the film was a little sloppy, in fact, that’s not the only issue I have with the start of the film (there are a couple minor moments leaning towards cringe), but as it went on, I began to admire her.

And the surprises don’t even end there, because this time around I actually liked Ned! If you don’t remember my “Homecoming” review, this is what I said about Ned.

“One character in this movie goes by the name of Ned Leeds, he was played by Jacob Batalon, and there was a point in this movie where I wanted some sort of technology that existed which could allow me to jump into a movie’s universe. I could go into this one, find Ned, and give him the finger!”

You know what? Forget about that statement, f*ck it! Because in this movie, Ned is the opposite of annoying. In fact, he’s pretty charming at certain times. There’s this portion of the film dedicated to this relationship he has with this one girl, which honestly, had its ups and downs, but there are moments when I can approve of it.

Also, if anything, it reminded me of the Schmoopie relationship from “Seinfeld.”

And while I won’t dive too deep into this, another problem I had with “Homecoming” that somehow gets fixed here is my displeasure with the AI from that film. Remember Karen? I do. And I don’t like her. While she could have been charming in that film, she had a few quirks that did not sit well with me. Karen does not make a return here and I won’t go into detail, but there’s an AI here that is honestly charming, and even sets up an entertaining and thrilling sequence on a bus.

Moving onto our main character, Peter Parker is back and now the important question is this: What would be a bigger feat for him than going to space? Europe? That’s nothing! Any idiot can fly a plane to Europe! But nevertheless, Parker is vacationing in Europe, and now he has to deal with a side mission, which takes away from whatever relaxation he can get. This is why I really enjoy the character of Spider-Man, because other heroes, specifcally in the MCU, always seem to be built with this sort of drive to save the world. Granted, with an interpretation such as Tony Stark, maybe he’d get a little drained from it and prefer to lay low for awhile like he did in “Iron Man 3,” but there are not many moments where I have seen an MCU hero flat out refuse to do hero work. When the Avengers got together, just about everyone showed up. Thor always seemed to have a knack for defending Asgard with a hammer by his side. Captain America would always be willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good. But Spider-Man… Needs his alone time. While in some instances, I imagine this would make a hero look like a dick or a coward, it works for Peter Parker because he’s just a normal, likable, not to mention, relatable kid. He just wants a normal life despite various perks of being a superhero. In fact, Peter’s story and actions in this film kind of remind me of what is like to be me when I was younger. I had my crushes, perhaps constantly imagined plans to get together with said crushes, and if you know me, they did not work out, and I’m fine with that. By the way ladies, I’m single! Plus, Peter in this film has to deal with following in the footsteps of those above him, which is something that I did think about out sometimes when I was younger. Granted, probably not a lot, but the thought definitely did come up in my head once or twice.

I also really liked Mysterio in this film, they managed to go in a direction with the character that I for one personally did not expect, and as for Jake Gyllenhaal, he was basically perfect casting for this role. I remember back in the day I wanted him to be the next Batman if Affleck were to leave. Granted, he’s not, but still. But even though I never imagined Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio, I cannot help but dig him. He did a really good job, and I love his costume! It’s amazing!

Now despite what the box office can make me think, there are still people out there who have yet to see “Avengers: Endgame.” But in “Endgame,” there is a lot that happens that leads to this film’s events. In fact, the beginning of this film is a tribute to a couple of major characters who have encountered a common barrier in “Endgame.” And this movie, while I won’t go into context, shows off perhaps the most heart-wrenching footage of the snappening I’ll ever see in my life. If you thought that collection of deaths on Wakanda was disturbing, I’ll remind you, the effects to me were personally diminished (although still slightly powerful) because going into “Infinity War,” I kinda knew we were going to see people die. Granted, I didn’t know who, how, or when, but I knew something was coming. What made it really disturbing is that it was just a bunch of innocent people going through their everyday lives. Granted, that was sort of already shown during “Infinity War’s” end credits, but this movie did it better because for all I know it was shot on somebody’s phone or some other everyday camera. It almost reminds me of the found footage movie “Cloverfield” the more I think about it, because in a way, I felt immersed into such a disturbing situation, not to mention from a rather shaky first person perspective.

In the end, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” can be summed up in one word. Fun. It has a vibe that is almost reminiscent of Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” films while also managing to be a product of its own. The movie, in more ways than one, made me feel young again. I talked to death about the relatable teen year experiences this film provided, but I grew up watching Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” films and in some ways, this film managed to take me back to when I was somewhere between 6 to 14 years old. “Spider-Man 2” still stands as my favorite comic book movie ever, but I cannot deny that this is definitely another solid second “Spider-Man” movie. As I was writing this review, I’ve been having a constant debate in my head on whether or not this is better than “Spider-Verse,” and this debate is far from over. I’m willing to bet that this won’t end for awhile. I’d probably have to rewatch both films to know for sure. But if I had to make my thoughts on this film as finalized as possible, I’d say that unlike “Spider-Verse,” I felt that “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” while just as entertaining, if not more, had a greater quantity of issues that stood out to me. So with that being said, “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” despite “Endgame” being a more conclusive chapter to the entire three phase saga of the MCU, is a damn fine way for Marvel to cap off their third phase. I’m going to give “Spider-Man: Far From Home” a high 8/10. I love the constant joke about how we are getting too many “Spider-Man” movies or movies that have Spidey in them. Well, if we’re getting films that are this good, why should they stop making them? I’ll wait for the next “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and then we’ll revisit this topic later. And I also will say, I almost forgot to consider this about “Spider-Verse,” it basically was a game-changer for the comic book genre in cinema. The animation style was unlike anything I have seen on the big screen up until that point. How many live-action “Spider-Man” films do we have right now? I don’t care about real numbers at this point. Let’s just go with umpteen because it sounds kind of fun. Thanks for reading this review! I just want to let everyone know that next Monday, July 22nd, will be the release date for my final Quentin Tarantino review series installment, specifically, “The Hateful Eight.” I’ll be reviewing this film just in time for Tarantino’s new film coming out next week, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Stay tuned!

Also, if you love “Spider-Man” like I do, or if you simply want to know more of my thoughts on the “Spider-Man” movies, I posted a review for every big screen “Spider-Man” film since the original Sam Raimi flick from 2002. If you want to check these out, click the links down below! Be sure to follow Scene Before through a WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, I have a Facebook page, if you could do me a favor and give it a like or follow it would be very much appreciated! I want to know, did you see “Spider-Man: Far From Home?” What did you think about it? Or, as painful of a reminder as it may be, this is the first MCU film without a Stan Lee cameo. RIP, by the way. So with that being said, what is your personal favorite Stan Lee cameo? If you ask me, I’d go with the one where he tries to get into Reed and Susan’s wedding in “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” Tony Stank from “Captain America: Civil War,” the bus driving scene from “Avengers: Infinity War,” or even though it’s not Marvel, “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies,” which basically takes the Stan Lee cameo and manages fetishize it to the core. Nevertheless, let me know your pick, that way your name will make a random appearance as a cameo in this post! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Spider-Man (2002)

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Spider-Man 3 (2007)

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

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!

Shazam! (2019): Manchildren For the Win!

Shazam! (2019)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Captain Marvel REVIEW

Avengers: Endgame REVIEW

Avengers: Endgame (2019): The MCU’s Lifetime Achievement

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WARNING: The following post is a spoiler-free review for “Avengers: Endgame.” If you came to this post expecting a spoiler talk, go elsewhere. If you have yet to see the movie, you are safe. Why is this spoiler-free? Let’s sum this up in a GIF.

This would be what I’d witness outside my front window should I even provide one single solitary important secret detail about the film. So Mark Ruffalo, Tom Holland, if you guys are reading this, please use this as a guide for your future interviews and press tours. LET’S GET THIS STARTED!

#DontSpoilTheEndgame

“Avengers: Endgame” is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and stars Robert Downey Jr. (Chef, The Judge), Chris Evans (Gifted, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), Chris Hemsworth (Rush, Ghostbusters), Scarlett Johansson (Her, The Jungle Book), Brie Larson (Room, The Glass Castle), Jeremy Renner (Tag, Arrival), Karen Gillian (Doctor Who, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born, Joy), Don Cheadle (Crash, Hotel Rwanda), Paul Rudd (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Dinner For Schmucks), Danai Gurira (All Eyez On Me, The Walking Dead), with Josh Brolin (Deadpool 2, No Country For Old Men). This film is the sequel to the unbelievably enormous, not to mention, amazing masterpiece known as “Avengers: Infinity War.” Following the events of the film’s climax, the remaining Avengers have to undo the universal effects of Thanos’ snap.

I have to say, when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are two sides to my thought process on the franchise. There is one side of me that is a fanboy for this big and loud nerd extravaganza from a story and visual effects perspective, and there’s also another side of me, the movie reviewing moron side of me that says this is some of the most corporate bullcrap I’ve seen. In reality, it depends on my mood and the movie we’re talking about. If you take “Avengers: Infinity War” or “Ant-Man” for example, I grin like an idiot. If we are talking about “Thor: The Dark World” or “Captain Marvel,” I honestly facepalm. And between those two, going into “Endgame,” I thought this was going to be more on the “grin like an idiot” side. The trailers and marketing have been very good so far, they seemed to hide a lot of secrets during my glances, and it all happened to make me very excited for the film, which is the job of marketing. In fact, part of “Infinity War’s” story and conclusion, most likely went into my anticipation for “Endgame.” Basically, a lot was at stake going into this film. If this film sucked, I would probably punch holes in a wall with my bare hands. I wasn’t asking for the best movie ever… OK, maybe I was, I dunno. I wanted to see a compelling, immersive, and emotional experience. And guess what? The movie was good! Yay! My life isn’t over! The only question I still have on my mind is this… How good was the movie? I mean, I would definitely consider it above average, but the fact is, as I continue to think about this movie, I am flipping through possible final verdicts because the reality is there’s a lot to process. And because I am not a dick who will spoil everything, I’ll do the same with my final score and just say that there’s a lot that I’m thinking about. I’m thinking about the way everyone’s storylines were interwoven, I’m thinking about the action, I’m thinking about the technical aspects. Although I will point out, I didn’t see the movie in IMAX, so I cannot talk about how the Russo used IMAX technology in this film to their advantage, although based on what I have seen from “Infinity War,” which I did see in IMAX, I imagine they did a very good job in that realm of the cinematography department.

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The biggest positive that I can give to “Avengers: Endgame” is also one of the biggest positives I can give to “Avengers: Infinity War.” This movie was literally made to be a gladiator-like event. I cheered, I applauded, I nearly cried. In fact, I think I came close to being the most obnoxious person in the entire theater. There’s a moment somewhere in the film that takes a turn that some might find epic, and shortly afterwards, after seconds of cheering, we just cut to another moment where I am in a sold out theater of a tad less than 200 people as I exclaim “YESSS!” This movie is literally the cinematic equivalent of sex, and I’ll show you what I mean.

This movie starts off with an opening scene that simply put, got me in the mood to see what’s next. Practically speaking, it was like lighting a candle. When the title shows up, I went from being in the mood to craving every last drop of this movie. While this movie has many standout moments, including multiple love letters to the previous films that came before it, I would say that the first couple of hours of this movie, which I’ll call the building block hours, were a bit on the slow side. Granted, I don’t mind slow, as long as its good, and this actually was good slow so I will give the filmmakers credit where its due. But nevertheless, it does kind of slip into that territory where there are pacing issues. But it is balanced out by fan service, great looking shots, and even fantastic writing. I think one of the right moves for this film production-wise was getting the Russo Brothers to direct, since they already have background knowledge for “Infinity War.” As far as I know, these movies were shot back to back, which must allowed them to process both films and treat them as one. After all, I remember back when “Infinity War” was announced, it was marketed as “Part 1” and “Part 2.” So in reality, the fact that these two movies play out the way they do is less surprising having “Infinity War’s” background knowledge. And it actually just hit me, because Anthony and Joe Russo have now directed four comic book movies, all of which are in the MCU. Coincidentally, even though not all of them are centered around Captain America, his character manages to make an appearance in each movie they have done. In fact, without giving my grade for this movie, when it comes to the comic book movie genre, they’re probably in the debate right now for “greatest comic book movie director(s) of all time.” For me, I would have to think about that for awhile but based on their batting average prior to this film, I think that notion is certainly in consideration. “The Winter Soldier” is a fun and engaging action thriller. “Civil War” is a great mini-Avengers story. “Avengers: Infinity War” is… the f*cking bomb, by definition.

Sticking to my main point however, this is like riding a roller-coaster (or sex). The beginning is a bit down the fast lane, almost like riding an Amtrak train. Then you trek up the heights, and the movie does that for a long time. Then… the final hour begins. And you begin squealing with enjoyment upon the adrenaline rush you are about to go through. It is literally the geek equivalent of getting the best deals at Target on Black Friday before everybody else. If you have ever seen the movie “Ready Player One,” you know how epic that last big battle was? It was almost like watching that! This is yet another achievement for the Russos, somehow from one movie to the next, there’s always a big battle, and the game is stepped up each time. The climax of “The Winter Soldier” was very compelling and exciting. “Civil War” had the airport fight, which was freaking sick. “Avengers: Infinity War” had the awesome fight on Wakanda where most of the Avengers happened to be present. Out of every throwdown or fight that was done, this was not just the greatest throwdown in the MCU. This is not just the greatest throwdown done by the Russos, it is up there with some of the best action sequences in comic book movie history, not to mention, film history itself.

Remember, “Star Wars: Episode I?”

“It’s so dense. Every single image has so many things going on.”

Yyeeeah… It’s kinda like that, but it’s actually a quality product.

Oh yeah, Hawkeye. Let’s talk about him. For those of you who don’t know, I manage to share a popular opinion with others that Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye is not even close to being the being the best character in the MCU. I mean, what do you expect when your superhero identity is someone shooting with a bow and arrow as the definition of “Generic White Dude?” For years, I have considered Hawkeye to be that “other Avenger” who just shows up. Well, guess what? Forget about that in this movie! Because… HAWKEYE IS AMAZING IN THIS MOVIE! His story, his motivation for being in his current state, everything about him! There is literally not even that much I can say about what happens on screen during “Avengers: Endgame,” but one of the things I can say is that Hawkeye, or in this case, Ronin, changed my perception on his usefulness as character! Let me just remind you of something I said in a post I made last year.

“Sure, you can also make the point that not every Marvel superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe had their own film released before “The Avengers.” Although judging by the time, did you really think putting out a Hawkeye film before “The Avengers” would have gotten everyone flocking to the theater? Everyone would probably go see it now, including me even though I think Hawkeye’s as useless as a rock paper scissors match to determine what time it is.” –What the Heck is Up With Justice League (2017)? *PART 2*

Yeah, I said that. And I would have still gone to see the movie if he sucked, but now I actually would WANT to see a movie with him.

Distracted Boyfriend Meme | RONIN MOVIE REVIWING MORON HAWKEYE | image tagged in memes,distracted boyfriend | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

And by the way, I made a meme, I hope you like it.

Let’s continue this lovely discussion by talking about Thanos, which if you’re unfamiliar with Marvel…

He loves the word “kill” so much that he would do anything to make it the definition for literally every word in the dictionary. He also may be an ass, but he’s pretty f*cking kickass. I think I made it pretty clear in previous posts that I consider Thanos to be the best Marvel Cinematic Universe villain ever. And in this movie, while it doesn’t display him to be as cool as he was in “Infinity War,” he’s still sick. And I will say, part of that may be due to how everyone was motivated to tell this story. “Infinity War,” if you think about it, was a Thanos movie. Yes, it is has Avengers. Yes, it is called “Avengers.” But it’s about Thanos’ quest and the Avengers are trying to stop him. It does not treat the Avengers as the villain, but it makes them feel like they fall into the territory of less important or secondary characters. After all, when you have a large heroic team taking on a guy who must have survived some tragic Purple People Eater massacres, along with his children, not to mention minions, someone has to be the main character. And I think this was a good idea because it allowed every hero in “Infinity War” to have their moment. Now, this movie is about the heroes, and I cared about them more than I ever have before. 22 movies in, I better give a s*it for all of these heroes. And again, Hawkeye… HOW?!

Also, I don’t have much else to say, but if I had to add in anything else I would need to point out Captain Marvel, because she does have her own movie which came out a month ago, but now she is here as a part of the Avengers team. Let me just say, I didn’t have the best things to say about the “Captain Marvel” film, but I kept an open mind going into “Endgame” and maybe things will turn around, which personally, things did. One skepticism I had however was triggered prior to watching “Endgame.” I say so because I found out how Captain Marvel’s scenes in “Endgame” were shot before Brie Larson actually started working on her solo film. It just felt weird to know considering “Captain Marvel” is an origin story and in terms of production, it is done after a big story involving her now established character. I guess there is an excuse to make here because while Brie Larson might have gotten a feel for her character while shooting for “Endgame,” this movie and “Captain Marvel” took place during different time frames. “Captain Marvel” took place in the 1990’s, and this film is a little more modern in terms of its setting. As time moves on, we may change our attitudes, so more I think about it, maybe I should provide some definite leeway to Brie Larson.

One other great part about this film is that it really does feel like as its title suggests, the freaking endgame. I honestly think it is fair to compare the Marvel Cinematic Universe film series to one gigantic TV show. If this were a TV show, it wouldn’t be hard to doubt that this is the series finale. Granted, there are still plans for the MCU after this film, including some TV shows coincidentally, but it really does feel like an end. I know we’re getting “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” I know we’re getting “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” I know we’re getting a “Black Widow” solo film, but if the MCU were to end here and not make a single movie in its series ever again, I’d be fine, because as of now, I feel satisfied.

In the end, “Avengers: Endgame” is a fantastic conclusion to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we currently know it. I got emotional, I got cheery, and I got an epic thrill ride. Despite reading several theories on the Internet, and having various predictions of my own, this movie does manage to have some surprises, kind of like “Infinity War.” And just like “Infinity War,” I won’t dive into a single one of them. And if I had to be honest with you, when I saw “Infinity War,” that was my favorite MCU film. This film is definitely up there with the best, but it is not my favorite. But if you know my typical verdicts for MCU films, you’d know that they are usually above average. In fact, my lowest grade is currently a 4/10, which this movie is not. And I honestly still need time to marinate all of my thoughts on this film. Part of me feels like I need to watch it once more just to provide the best verdict possible. But for now, I really enjoyed “Endgame,” and think its a great finale to a series I’ve been attached to for years. I’m going to give “Avengers: Endgame” an 8/10. The fanboy side of me is saying this film is a masterpiece, but there is that other side of me that remembers the film’s pacing. I don’t mind three hour films, but there are a couple moments, not many, but a couple, where I felt this film’s pacing slow down. Maybe it’s because I was seeing this film at 9PM, which I never do for films in the cinema, but the pacing is worth noting. Nevertheless, I do want to see “Avengers: Endgame” a second time, and buy the 4K when it comes out. We’ll meet again, one day.

Thanks for reading this review! I actually wanted to publish a couple pieces of content before this, but based on timing, motivation, and college finals, it just wasn’t the best time. However, over the next week or so, you guys can look forward to some new content including reviews for “Apollo 11,” “Shazam,” and “Long Shot.” However, I am about to finish my first year of college, which means I’ll have some more time on my hands for this blog and going to see movies. I promise you (at least I’m trying) that I will deliver you some excellent work over the summer! Bring on blockbuster season! Let’s do this! If you’re new around here, be sure to follow Scene Before with a WordPress account or email before I snap you out of existence! I want to know, did you see “Avengers: Endgame?” Stupid question, I know, chances are you did, but still, what did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite series finale? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Avengers: Endgame Ticket Buying Insanity

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! In case you hate reading post titles and/or their implications, tickets for “Avengers: Endgame” have officially gone on sale this week! Several sources were suggesting that they would go on sale April 2, and whaddya know? Those sources cannot be denied! Now if you’re curious, I actually already snagged my tickets, but it wasn’t easy. I had to push people out of the way! I had to knock over an old lady who wanted to go see the film with her grandchildren when it came out! I was basically a maniac.

OK, no, not really, in the age of the Internet, that would almost be unlikely.

Nevertheless, the process of buying tickets for “Avengers: Endgame” was insane. When seeing “Star Wars Episode VII,” it was easy because I originally bought tickets for a week and a half after it came out, and I managed to snag some for opening weekend as well inside a less than popular theater because someone I knew wanted to see it right away. I also saw a few more “Star Wars” films after that and while I managed to find myself in a scenario where lots of people were buying tickets, I had little to no trouble actually getting them. With this upcoming “Avengers” movie, I knew getting tickets was going to be competitive, but I did not think it would be insane.

I don’t know what exactly happened, but when “Infinity War” was coming out, I was able to browse through movie theater and third party websites with ease, allowing me to have a critical thought process on where exactly I wanted to see the movie. This year however, I was originally planning on going to see “Avengers: Endgame” at the AMC Assembly Row 12, because it’s on the way home from school and I can meet my dad there. That did not work out.

I went on multiple sites to get tickets. AMC, Fandango, Atom Tickets, and Movietickets.com. All of my attempts to get tickets from those sites ended with failure. I start searching times at other nearby theatres. I eventually notice that one theater is missing from my Google list. Specifically, Showcase Cinemas de Lux Revere. I decided just for fun, I’d go onto the Showcase Cinemas website, which admittedly, is not a perfect website. It’s not buggy per se, it’s just not something I would call… competent. I search my information through a very confusing process and find a bunch of showtimes listed. I search through one, specifically for 9PM. I call my father and ask if he cares what time I chose, he didn’t. Granted, I didn’t tell him this was a three hour movie (seriously), but based on both of our excitement levels for this film, I don’t think he’d care all too much. So I choose the 9PM time, and I get EXTREMELY lucky by getting not necessarily the last seats, but the last good seats where dad and I can sit together. Movie theater companies, how many times do I have to tell you this? THIS IS WHY I HATE RECLINED SEATING! You get less seats, therefore you have less people getting in, and now the competition to get a seat is fiercer than it has ever been! I wouldn’t mind reserved seating in a case like this, but reclined seating is still on my enemy list. Anyway, we get our seats, we’re a little towards the back, which I don’t mind, because that means seeing the screen is a guarantee. I managed to breeze through the surprisingly simple process of getting my tickets. Now let me tell you what would have happened if I stuck with Fandango.

On Tuesdays, I leave my house at 9:30 to go to school, so I originally thought since it was almost 8:30, why not get tickets when I have the time? When I go to click on my preferred time, I get a rather unexpected screen with a background promoting the movie. On said background, I get some text saying that I have apparently entered a virtual line. O-K??? I thought the purpose of buying tickets online was to avoid ticket lines! Nevertheless, I have entered the line, and I have over fifty minutes until it is “my turn.” I am thinking to myself, “Oh no!” I’m never gonna get tickets! How does someone wait this long and get tickets? Granted, I was not the only one in line, but how long was the line half an hour ago? Why half an hour ago you ask? That is around the time tickets started going on sale. I get down to forty minutes, and this doesn’t seem too bad, I could get my tickets just before leaving my house. We get around to 35 minutes. Time is going by. Tick-tock! Tick-tock! Tick-tock! Soon thereafter, I glance at my screen, I now have to wait over an hour! So, essentially, I could either stay home and get an unexcused absence from one of my classes, or go on the train and press my luck there. Here’s the thing however, if I close the tab, I then lose my place in line. I have to pack up my laptop for school, because I do stuff on my laptop while I am out and about. What if I close my laptop? Would I lose my place then? This is really hard! I almost considered going to the theater and buying the tickets physically because the theater I originally wanted to go to is on the way to school. But I also didn’t want to disappoint myself by finding out my preferred screenings were sold out.

Let me put this into perspective, the theater is about 20 minutes away from my house by car. It can also take just a tad longer to get there by public transportation. So basically, if I wanted to by tickets AT THE THEATER LIKE A CAVEMAN, it would probably be quicker and more convenient than staying home in my comfy pants buying tickets through Fandango. I’m just thankful that we have smaller theater chains like Showcase Cinemas, because without them, I probably almost wouldn’t have gotten tickets to see this movie on its opening Thursday! OK, they’re not really THAT small, but you don’t see a lot of them on the west coast.

In fact, I am not alone, because I follow one guy on social media by the name of John Campea, here’s what he has to say.

On the bright side, he is getting to see the movie before it even comes out, but he also wanted the feeling of going to something with an energetic audience. In fact, shortly after the tickets went on sale, he did a five to six hour livestream of his daily YouTube series, “The John Campea Show,” where he talked about it alongside his co-host, Rob Meyer Burnett. As the livestream was going, he was still trying to buy tickets through AMC! Seriously! When is the last time you watched a live sports-related talk show and see someone trying to buy tickets for the Super Bowl?

One of my favorite parts of all of this happens to be the memes, because they are PERFECT.

In fact, I made my own meme about something that’s not quite the same thing as this situation, but it’s close enough.

You’re very welcome, web junkies.

This post is not necessarily meant to be important, it’s almost like a diary entry if you ask me, but let’s be real here. While AMC and other popular movie ticketing websites were in trouble, Fandango definitely had a plan. Fandango didn’t say “error” when you entered their website, you could click your time and press your luck at getting tickets. You just had to wait in line. But why the f*ck should I have to do that?!

THE WHOLE POINT OF ONLINE TICKETING is to conveniently score tickets possibly before anybody else, not having to leave your house, not having to talk to strangers, not having to talk on the phone with Kramer from “Seinfeld,” and NOT WAITING IN A LINE. Congrats, Fandango! Not only did you make me wait in line, but you allowed a bunch of people to apparently CUT ME in line, but now I could have easily compared this experience to going to the box office, except in that case I would actually be allowed to pay in cash! Also, I have an account under you, so thanks very much for disappointing your support base.

I’m not exactly sure how to fix this sort of thing since I don’t deal with IT all that much, but there’s gotta be some way to prepare better. Right? Let me know in the comments, with all of your jargon intact, on how all of these movie ticketing outlets can prepare better for the next big movie.

Thanks for reading this brief, unimportant, almost unnecessary post. This is honestly just me sharing a story that stood out to me recently, and it is also my reminder to you all that I WILL be seeing “Avengers: Endgame” on opening Thursday. As far as the review goes, I will have it up as early as possible. I might stay up Friday into the morning if I have to, but that depends on how much I am going to talk about. Granted, this is a big movie, and I know that someone’s life would ultimately be ruined if spoilers were given away, so I will guarantee no matter what, my review will be spoiler free. Be sure to stay tuned for the end of the month for that! Be sure to follow Scene Before with an email or WordPress account to stay tuned for more great content INCLUDING my “Avengers: Endgame,” or even smaller projects such as my review for “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” which I plan to put up next week. I want to know, do you plan to see “Avengers: Endgame?” And I also want to know, did you have any crazy stories to share about buying tickets? What about for other movies? For movies that are not “Avengers: Endgame,” what crazy ticket-buying stories do you have to share? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Captain Marvel (2019): Not That Marvelous

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“Captain Marvel” is directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Sugar, Half Nelson) and stars Brie Larson (Room, The Glass Castle), Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Snakes On a Plane), Ben Mendelsohn (Ready Player One, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator, Blood Diamond), Lee Pace (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Lincoln), Lashana Lynch (Fast Girls, Brotherhood), Gemma Chan (Mary Queen of Scots, Crazy Rich Asians), Annette Bening (American Beauty, 20th Century Women), Clark Gregg (The New Adventures of Old Christine, 500 Days of Summer), and Jude Law (Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Closer). This film is the 21st installment in the cinematic universe. Good luck with your marathons, newcomers! “Captain Marvel” is about a soldier from another world who has memories of her past on Earth. As she is sent down to Earth, or as her planet’s kind calls it, “C-53,” she must combat a foreign force who can disguise themselves into other people and save the universe from further destruction.

OK… Here we go. I went into this movie rather excited. I must point out though, it is not because I am seeing the movie, but because I got to see it in the historic Chinese Theatre. This was kind of a dream of mine and I was waiting to go away to see this movie instead of seeing it on its first two nights just to make the experience special. And it was! When it comes to my familiarity with Captain Marvel, it is admittedly lower compared to other superheroes. But regardless of how familiar audiences and I are with this character, Disney and Marvel had an excellent marketing opportunity on their hands. They have never done a movie with a woman in the lead role before, so after almost eleven years of making MCU films, this is the first time this was being done. Unfortunately, it was not good.

Let me just get some things out of the way. I’m straight, I’m white, and I am a male. I am well aware that my physical and internal qualities that I can’t change, unless I go through surgery, puts me in the position of associating with the most hated type of person on the planet. So… reviewing this movie is hard. But I will say some things that I actually found to be good about the movie. This movie is kind of a crowd-pleaser. Much like a bunch of other MCU films, it had many attempts at humor, some of which totally worked. Some of the action is flashy and the visuals are very colorful. Speaking of that, the deaging done on Samuel L. Jackson is top-notch. And there are tons of callbacks to the 1990s that take up a portion of screentime.

Blockbuster Video, as seen in the trailer, plays a big role in the film. There’s a couple moments where people were laughing because of how 1990s technology worked. There was the use of Dial-up, CD-ROM had its share of screentime, and as I imagine some people expected, pagers were used in the movie.

But as a story, the movie is cliche, which would be fine because “Wonder Woman” was actually cliche and that film was actually pretty kick-ass, but the thing about “Wonder Woman” which made me not care for “Captain Marvel” is the difference in pacing. “Captain Marvel,” in reality, was a somewhat boring movie. Granted, there were parts that were exciting and entertaining, but there was a part of me that didn’t care about what was going on, I didn’t give a crap about the Kree, and after watching the movie, there are perhaps some parts that I feel like I am going to forget about in less than a month.

Let’s talk about Brie Larson in this film. I like Brie Larson as an actress. She’s very talented, she’s won awards, and she is in one of my favorite movies of 2015, “Room.” Also, I just watched “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” a movie featuring said actress, and that was one of the best films I’ve seen in recent memory. Brie Larson has a tendency to sign on to play good roles. Granted, this doesn’t always happen (watch “The Glass Castle”), but she usually has a keen eye for her roles. In fact she joined a movie that I am rather excited for the more I hear about it, “Just Mercy.” Knowing how the world of Hollywood tends to work, or at least having an illusion as to thinking I know how it works, Brie Larson definitely saw potential in a role as her particular character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Based on the legacy of said universe, I could definitely see potential. However, the execution of her performance was… I don’t know how to say this… Very off and on. The elements are all there for a decent Captain Marvel performance at the very least. A lot of the mannerisms done in the movie are all right for said character, and there is some range presented in terms of personality. But I feel like Brie Larson was at times directed to act a certain way that just didn’t work. It felt like watching multiple characters in one to the point where it is almost easy to assume Captain Marvel had multiple personality disorder. The performance just kind of didn’t work for me, which is absolutely disappointing because Brie Larson is practically an A-list actress. She won an Oscar for crying out loud! There are some moments where I found Captain Marvel to have some charisma behind her, some emotions to display, and others where she is just stoic. While there are times where such emotions (or lack thereof) can work for the movie, it is hard to tell exactly if everything flows as properly as I would hope. Speaking of proper flow…

One of the best movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Not only did it make a rather unknown comic book IP become known and loved by millions, but when the first movie came out, it was actually pretty unique as far as comic book movies go. And one way that statement can be supported is through the movie’s soundtrack. Not only is it fun to listen to, but it has practically had an association with the movie in a way that many other soundtracks don’t. While “Captain Marvel,” unlike “Guardians,” doesn’t rely on a soundtrack for music all that much (maybe except for 90s’ references), there is this one moment where a pop song can be heard. I won’t go into much detail, but it is during a fight. If the crew behind this film was trying to capitalize on the success of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” then I can totally see that. But it didn’t f*cking work. In fact, that “Guardians”-esque moment, might just be the most cringeworthy part of the entire movie. And for those of you who know what I am talking about, I don’t know if you will agree with me, but this is just how I feel. In fact, it totally wouldn’t surprise me if some of these songs were put in because of “Guardians of the Galaxy’s” popularity because Nicole Perlman worked on this movie, earning herself a story credit. For the record, she was a writer behind “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

I will give some credit to Samuel L. Jackson however because like usual, he did a fine job as Nick Fury. And I will give even more credit to whoever deaged him. Sticking with the “Guardians of the Galaxy” theme, one of the highlights of the truly disappointing “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” was the deaging CGI done on Kurt Russell. It was nice to see Nick Fury not only have hair, but believable looking hair. Jackson’s performance as Fury was definitely worth buying for how such a character would behave in the 1990s. However, without going into spoilers, there is something that happens in this film that references something in the future, and it takes place during the end of the film (no, not during the credits, around the climax). It is absolutely crucial to Fury’s character. The way that this film manages to go about it, managed to get a big laugh from the audience, but I thought this GIF would sum up my thoughts on this whole situation.

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Now imagine a part of my brain saying that for an eternity, and you have my thoughts on this moment towards the end of the climax.

And I gotta say, I feel like I am in a weird place as I review this movie. I am a straight white male. I have nothing against women having their own superhero. What I am against however is when people think take the idea of gender equality and twist it to make one gender look better than the other, and I will say, despite “Captain Marvel’s” numerous flaws, not to mention its overall lack of memorability, one of its strengths is that it made a woman look good as a role model, while not exactly putting guys down. If you have ever seen me talk about the 2016 “Ghostbusters,” chances are you know my thoughts on that movie, and none of them are good. One thing I absolutely hated about the 2016 “Ghostbusters” movie is that it went out of its way to display moments that practically make just about every man in the movie look like idiots. There’s a secretary played by Chris Hemsworth who literally makes Patrick Star look like a genius. They ruin the reputation of Bill Murray. And there’s a scene where the ladies shoot a giant ghost in the nuts. There are no moments where I feel like if I had a place in the “Captain Marvel” movie’s universe where I’d have an IQ below 40. Thanks, “Captain Marvel!”

I don’t really have too much more to say in terms of my own originally gathered thoughts, but I will point out that when it comes to “Captain Marvel,” I feel like this movie manages to disappoint me in more ways than I would imagine. While the villain in this film could definitely be worse, I feel like we are going back to phase 1 and even phase 2 MCU, because the villain here was just not memorable. And speaking of villains I don’t really find to be all that great, Ronan the Accuser apparently had a few moments in this film! Like… OK… More “Guardians of the Galaxy” stuff, whoppity do! I have no idea why you even needed much of Ronan’s presence in the movie, but somehow he’s here! Then again, his appearance, much like the film’s main antagonist, could definitely be worse.

Also, another thing to consider about “Captain Marvel” is that this is the 21st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now that we have gotten to this point, it is getting harder to impress me because a viewer, it almost feels like I’ve seen everything. Granted, there are some unseen things in “Captain Marvel.” This is the first female-led film in the franchise, this is the first film to take place mainly in the 1990s, and it is also the first film where we get to see a cat play a significant role.

By the way, if anyone wants to know my thoughts on Goose the Cat, I thought he was funny, but I don’t think I liked him as much as other people. Although I imagine this character is going to inspire some people to create some funky, psychedelic t-shirts, which if that is the case, I can’t wait.

However, going back to my main point, I have been a follower of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for years. And with following, comes knowledge, and having a competent knowledge of the MCU, to MAYBE hold my own in a related trivia competition, makes me realize that a lot has happened over the years. There are times when material might just seem like something we’ve seen in the past, but with a different name attached. “Captain Marvel,” the more I think about it, just seems like a newer, inferior version of “Thor” with elements of “Captain America: The First Avenger” intact. You have this god-like being who is trying to find their identity or place in the universe, and part of it takes place in space, while another portion is set on Earth. Plus, it is another fish out of water story.

Also, before we get into the verdict section, I will point out a statement from MCU executive Kevin Feige.

“Captain Marvel, she is as powerful a character as we’ve ever put in a movie. Her powers are off the charts, and when she’s introduced, she will be by far the strongest character we’ve ever had.”

Having now seen “Captain Marvel,” I am definitely not going to deny that Captain Marvel is powerful as hell. However, as far as her character being the most powerful of all, that is still up for debate. At least from my point of view. And speaking of which, there is a climactic moment towards the movie that was probably played for comic relief, but it also made a certain moment feel rushed and kind of cheap. More powerful does not always mean more exciting. And I say this whole “power” thing is up for debate for one reason and one reason only.

Can Captain Marvel do this? I’ll wait… I’ve got years of my life left, which give tons of time to provide an answer.

In the end, I hate to say it, but “Captain Marvel is one of the worst movies of the MCU. Granted, that statement might not say all too much as very few have actually gotten a low score from me. I go to the movies for memorable experiences, and many of the MCU’s installments have provided said experiences. I basically put my money on the table for “Captain Marvel,” because again, I went to the Chinese Theatre, which is MILES from where I live, and I literally mean MILES, because I am from Massachusetts. The Chinese Theatre is states away! I had a good time, and I would love to come back. After all… There is a “Star Wars” movie coming out soon… But the whole experience would have been perfect if I went to see a better movie, and “Captain Marvel” was just not that great. I am happy for women who are getting a hero they want to look up to, but I am not judging “Captain Marvel” completely as a feminist piece, I am judging it as a film. As a film, “Captain Marvel” is visually appealing, which is not surprising at this point for a comic book movie. It is pacing-wise, perhaps the worst of the twenty-one films presented in this series. And I felt that I wouldn’t pop this in my Blu-ray player right away if I had the chance. There is a mid-credits scene worth staying for, and there is another scene that happens towards the end. It is honestly unneeded, but if you like your end credits scenes, there’s your update. I’m going to give “Captain Marvel” a 4/10. I honestly don’t know if this grade is going to stay where it is. Because I honestly didn’t like this movie, but part of me had glimmers of enjoyment. And part of me also wonders if I am being generous because this movie stars a woman. I didn’t find myself to be angry throughout the film, so maybe this is technically a 4/10 for me. Only time will tell if this grade manages to stay where it is. And I gotta point out something regarding this “Captain Marvel,” DC did this type of film better! How often do I get to say that? Maybe they screwed up on “Suicide Squad,” the effects on “Justice League,” and keeping a singular vision alive, but they managed to do a female-led film better than Marvel, and that is an accomplishment for DC if I have ever seen one. “Wonder Woman” over “Captain Marvel” for sure, if you ask me! Thanks for reading this review! I actually wanted to make an announcement regarding April, while most of the month is uncertain in terms of content (although an “Avengers: Endgame” review is a undoubted guarantee), I do have a confirmation for you all. For those you who follow the director Terry Gilliam, you may be familiar that he worked on films such as “Brazil” and “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Recently however talk has been going around regarding his new film, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.” For those who have ever heard of this film, you may be aware that production for it actually took decades to complete. Why? Total and utter disaster, that’s why! Anyway, here in the US, it is playing in several theaters for one night. Courtesy of Fathom Events, I have scored a ticket to one of these shows on April 10th! Next month, expect a review from “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” and if it takes forever to complete… Who knows? It could be just like the movie and go through several failures regarding production! Be sure to follow Scene Before with your WordPress account or email to catch that review and more great content! I want to know, did you see “Captain Marvel?” What did you think about it? Or, have you been to the Chinese Theatre? What did you see? What was your experience like? I personally enjoyed it, minus the movie. But I want to hear about your experience! Let me know about it in the comments section! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

91st Academy Awards Recap

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Before we dive into this post, I would like to kick off by offering my sincere apologies. Part of me wanted to do a post on my hopes and predictions going into this year’s Academy Awards show, but unfortunately, I literally lacked any time in the world to do such a thing. Apparently paying for my education is not enough to make my head spin, I need to be handed a bloated supply of homework as well! I wasn’t given this during the Super Bowl (REALLY DON’T CARE ABOUT THAT SHOW), so why should I get it on Oscar weekend? Anyway, earlier this week, I watched the 91st edition of the Academy Awards. I went into it with a few expectations. However, there was a part of me that thought this show was going to SUCK, and I even say that with my picks winning. Fortunately, that was not the case!

The first red flag in my sights for this year’s show is that there was no host this year. You guys may already know that Kevin Hart opted out at a point and nobody else happened to sign on. They did however announce names for a bunch of celebrities who will be present to give random speeches and nominee presentations. While not all of them were great, they did have a number of them which I was actually able to appreciate. And I can’t even believe I’m saying this.

Melissa McCarthy actually made me laugh! Throughout my 3 year experience of blogging on Scene Before, McCarthy has appeared in the #1 spot for my worst films of the year lists not just once, but twice! Although sometimes I kind of fail to give her credit where it is due, because there are a couple of occasions where she did make me laugh. When she played former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on “Saturday Night Live,” it was literally a plethora of some of the most gutbusting moments that I’ve encountered in the show’s recent years. McCarthy’s appearance during the Academy Awards ceremony was perhaps on the Sean Spicer level of funny. McCarthy comes out to present the Costume Design award. Doing so in this costume that is quite possibly inspired by “The Favourite.” She gives this speech about some of the best costumes and how they are not meant to have distracting elements. It’s just spectacular. So spectacular in fact that I almost forgot that Melissa McCarthy was a recent Razzie winner!

I will admit, when it comes to other celebrities, there are not that many other speeches worth pointing out. Although there is one moment where I appreciated John Mulaney’s line “I want these people to like me to a degree which I find embarrassing.” It’s not to say that they were bad, but there was not many others which I happened to find as interesting as say Melissa McCarthy.

When it comes to having no host, I was somewhat surprised, because I was highly skeptical going in on whether or not such a thing was going to work out. Turns out it did! Before this recent Oscars show, I thought to myself that this was all going to be a trainwreck. Without a host, it’s toast! Not anymore! But if the Academy were to announce for the 92nd show that they aren’t getting anyone to host that year, I’d just say, “Fine, whatever, you do you.” I wouldn’t care if there’s a host. Would I want a host? Certainly, but I’d be open to another Oscars show where nobody hosts. Because a couple of benefits to having no host is that the show focuses more on the awards, and it allows a diverse amounts of celebrities to present themselves to an audience. Because let’s face it. Not everyone likes Jimmy Kimmel, not everyone likes Seth MacFarlane, not everyone likes Ellen DeGeneres. Having one of those people host puts them in a certain spotlight, and even though certain people like The Oscars, they might not be satisfied with the person who may as well be taking up the biggest portion of the show’s screentime. Almost every celebrity onstage had their moment, and it allowed for a quick pace that was respectful. Granted, I am the rare find in the wild that does not mind staying up for eternity while watching The Oscars. However, there is a part of me that realizes that The Oscars is being shown to “everyone.” And there is a vast majority of people who want to see certain things throughout the show. The hostless ceremony is a good way to keep time short, and have the awards delivered as immediate as possible.

By the way, I recently saw this killer tweet from recent Academy Awards host Jimmy Kimmel:

I love you, Jimmy.

Now let’s move onto the awards. Had I done a prediction post a little bit ago, this would definitely be the main focal point. I’m not going to dive into every single award, but I am going to go over the ones that I found to be highlights.

Believe it or not, I have actually managed to expand my award palette this year, because just recently, specifically on February 9th, I went to a local theater in the Boston area because they were showing all of the animated short films that earned a nomination this year. They showed the five potential winners, along with some others that the Academy found to be “highly commendable.” Now I actually had a favorite of these films, but before I do that, let’s give out the nominees.

  • Bao- Domee Shi, Becky Neiman (WINNER!)
  • Weekends- Trevor Jimenez
  • Animal Behaviour- Alison Snowden, David Fine
  • One Small Step- Andrew Chesworth, Bobby Pontillas
  • Late Afternoon- Louise Bagnall, Nuria González Blanco

Now keep in mind, I actually have watched all of these films from start to finish. I actually had been exposed to “Bao” prior to seeing all of the four other films. The reason why that is is due to how it was presented before Pixar’s “Incredibles 2,” making it Pixar’s short film to present this year. I kind of liked “Bao,” but it is something that I think would not appeal to everyone. I understand the message behind it, but in reality, there are a couple of animated shorts on this list that I found to be more interesting. For example, “One Small Step.” Granted, this may be coming with a little bit of bias since I am a nerd, and nerds like space. I still found the main character’s journey to be intriguing and sort of, pun intended, down to Earth. But my personal favorite out of all of these is without question, “Animal Behavior.” This film was made in Canada, and might I just say, this film reminds me of how awesome Canada is. It gave us Ryan Gosling, Ryan Reynolds, Alex Trebek, Howie Mandel, and now… “Animal Behavior.” “Animal Behavior” takes a bunch of different living creatures and puts them all in a therapy session. One of the main characters is a gorilla who is in extreme denial, and often gets very angry. The results of this film, hilarious. One of the best jokes has to do with the mantis, because for those who are unaware, praying mantises eat their mate during intercourse. There are certain parts of the short where we see that sort of thing come into play, and overall it left me feeling very impressed. Plus, one thing that made this film different compared to all of the others, is that they were all trying to be serious. This one, while still having some sort of message intact, it still goes for as much comedy as possible. Kudos to the brilliant writing! Granted, the Academy goes for more serious material, and I do respect that, but I feel like was more impressed by the comedic efforts of “Animal Behaviour” as opposed to the serious efforts of “Late Afternoon” or “Bao.”

Moving onto another category, it’s Best Documentary! Let’s look at the nominees!

  • Free Solo- Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, Evan Hayes, Shannon Dill (WINNER!)
  • RBG- Betsy West, Julie Cohen
  • Hale County This Morning, This Evening- RaMell Ross, Joslyn Barnes, Su Kim
  • Of Fathers and Sons- Talal Derki, Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme, Tobias N. Siebert
  • Minding the Gap- Bing Liu, Diane Quon

Wait, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” wasn’t nominated?! F*ck this! Moving on!

Let’s try a different documentary category! Best Documentary Short! Let’s look at the nominees!

  • Period. End of Sentence.- Rayka Zehtabchi, Melissa Berton (WINNER!)
  • Black Sheep- Ed Perkins, Jonathan Chinn
  • End Game- Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
  • Lifeboat- Skye Fitzgerald, Bryn Mooser
  • A Night at the Garden- Marshall Curry

OK, these look much better. I haven’t seen any of these films, but they sound much better. Now I am not going to call one of these films superior to all of the others, all of my opinions related to such a thing would technically be invalid. But, the victory speech, holy f*ck. Quite possibly the best speech of the night!

“I’m not crying because I’m on my period or anything! I can’t believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar!” -Rayka Zehtabchi

“A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education!” -Melissa Berton

Enough said. Period. End of sentence.

Another category that stood out to me was Best Visual Effects, mainly because there was one movie that I felt should win, but didn’t win. Granted, the winner to me has extremely competent visuals, but the reality is, I had my pick. Here are the nominees.

Ryan Gosling in First Man (2018)

  • First Man- Paul LambertIan HunterTristan MylesJ.D. Schwalm (WINNER!)
  • Avengers: Infinity War- Dan DeLeeuwKelly PortRussell EarlDaniel Sudick
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story- Rob BredowPatrick TubachNeal ScanlanDominic Tuohy
  • Ready Player One- Roger GuyettGrady CoferMatthew E. ButlerDavid Shirk
  • Christopher Robin- Chris LawrenceMike EamesTheo JonesChris Corbould

Let’s take some things into perspective. While I kinda hated “Solo,” I could see it being nominated for visual effects. I didn’t want it to win, but still. “Christopher Robin” was an alright movie, nothing really that special. But then again, I have a bare attachment to “Winnie the Pooh.” The CGI characters were not bad though. “Avengers: Infinity War” was probably my second or third pick to win, right along with “First Man,” which did win. Aside from all of the huge scale glory happening everywhere on screen, you also have to give credit to the effects team for creating Thanos. To me, Thanos is up there with Smaug and Gollum as one of the greats when it comes to CGI character creations. Now with that being said, “READY PLAYER ONE” WAS SNUBBED! Granted, I already awarded “Ready Player One” myself because I now do the Jackoff Awards, but I would have given a thumbs up to the voters had they let “Ready Player One” win! Let’s take another set of ideas into perspective. “Avengers: Infinity War” has comic book style action, random computer effects flying everywhere, and a well done CGI character. I’ve seen that before. In fact, “Christopher Robin” had several of those. Granted, I liked “Infinity War’s” effects better, but still. “Solo” had several effects that I’ve seen in many other movies, and when it comes to the “Star Wars” franchise, it’s not even my favorite movie in terms of visuals. While I will say that “The Last Jedi” is actually worse than “Solo” as a movie, which I am honestly shocked to say. It actually looked nicer! “Solo” has its moments, but when comparing it to the rest of the franchise, it’s in between Obi-Wan and Anakin, because ya know, it kinda has the middle ground. For “Ready Player One,” I wanted that to win, because I felt it was the most visually unique movie of the year. Not only did it manage to visually create its own characters, but it actually recreated segments from other works of art! There is a scene in the film that actually takes place in a location from “The Shining.” Not only that, but you have two different worlds being dealt with in the movie, meaning there are two different places to insert various visuals. The effects team, personally, outdid themselves! I am not a crybaby over “First Man” getting the gold, but at the same time, I’m also wondering why it even got it because “Ready Player One” was just a unique trip. And this goes back to my recent statements. I’ve seen visuals like “First Man” in the past. I’ve seen it in “Apollo 13.” I’ve seen it in “Gravity.” I’ve seen it in “Interstellar.” Although at the same time, I said after I saw the movie that it was not my favorite movie of the year in terms of the story, but from a technical perspective, it was definitely the most well made movie of the year. So while it is not my #1 pick for visual effects, they are by NO MEANS incompetent. Granted, that comment I made after I saw “First Man,” that likely changed overtime after I saw “Roma,” but nevertheless.

Another highlight of the night, for anything but good reason (for the most part) is Best Makeup & Hairstyling. Here are the nominees.

  • Vice- Greg CannomKate BiscoePatricia Dehaney (WINNER!)
  • Mary Queen of Scots- Göran LundströmPamela Goldammer
  • Border- Jenny ShircoreMarc PilcherJessica Brooks

As I once predicted, “Vice” came out on top. The makeup might actually be the best part of the entire movie. So I was excited to see it win. Then… I saw the speech. The three winners practically did not even know what it was they were supposed to say. They had a paper in front of them, which is fine, I have nothing against that, but at least put a little preparation into your speech! At least, have a plan! Visualize! Get together on a Google Hangout or something! I mean, it was slow, it was like watching three people who had recently received amnesia! I’m just waiting for them to get hit in the head with coconuts and suddenly talk like they’re Peter Griffin after he drank Red Bull! They almost didn’t even remember anybody’s name! Ah well, still, congrats I guess.

Anyway, moving onto another category, which I guarantee has a better speech, let’s go onto Best Animated Feature. I do think it is a somewhat unnecessary category, given how it sort of diminishes the art of the animated movie as a whole, but I still want to talk about it. Here are the nominees!

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse- Bob PersichettiPeter RamseyRodney RothmanPhil LordChristopher Miller (WINNER!)
  • Incredibles 2- Brad BirdJohn WalkerNicole Paradis Grindle
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet- Rich MoorePhil JohnstonClark Spencer
  • Isle of Dogs- Wes AndersonScott RudinSteven RalesJeremy Dawson
  • Mirai- Mamoru HosodaYûichirô Saitô

Out of the five films listed, I have seen every single one except “Mirai,” but then again, it wasn’t really marketed around here so I don’t really have much to say about it overall. “Ralph Breaks the Internet” was not only enjoyable, but it honestly shocked me to no end. Because let’s be real, I thought the marketing was, *snobby voice* an abomination! I thought that movie was going to be the most obvious cash-in from Disney this past year (somehow I forgot about “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”). Turns out that it is not only a good movie experience, but also a great parody on the Disney company! Just watch what Vanellope has to go through in the film to see what I mean! Then we have “Isle of Dogs” which is the only stop-motion film on the list. Over these last months, Wes Anderson has grown on me a bit as a director, and his work in this film supports my statement. Plus, I actually hate dogs, so the fact that I like this movie actually says something! “Incredibles 2” is a worthy sequel to what is, quite literally, my favorite animated film of all-time. Not only is it a part of my childhood, but it is just a well crafted movie. For awhile, it was my favorite film of the year, that is… until the release of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!” And might I just say, JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED! Because two people behind “Spider-Verse,” specifically as writers and producers, have also worked on “The LEGO Movie.” That is one of the best movies of 2014, and probably one of the best animations I’ve ever seen. And not only did that movie not win an Oscar, it didn’t even get nominated! Sure, it was nominated for Best Original Song due to the presence of “Everything Is Awesome,” but that’s not even the best part of the movie! Heck, that wasn’t even the best song in the movie! Ah well, catchy tunes can be catchy. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller get an Oscar! They didn’t have to wait as long as say Kevin O’Connell (sound mixer who waited 21 times), Roger Deakins (cinematographer who waited 14 times), or Glenn Close (actress nominated 7 times and still waiting), but they’ve each got one! “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is one of the best superhero movies of 2018, and I’d even say it’s better than “Black Panther,” which actually received more nominations than this movie! Speaking of which, let’s talk about that.

Based on the results of the recent Academy Awards show, “Black Panther,” my fourth place pick this year for superhero films, managed to take home three Academy Awards. None of them were in super major categories. Granted, one of them was score, which to me, is usually a major factor on whether or not your movie is in my top movies of the year for some reason. If I remember your music, chances are I’m going to like your movie. Now, “Black Panther” is nowhere close to being my favorite superhero flick of 2018. But with that in mind, I still gotta give the movie respect, because it did something for comic book movies that has never been done before. Over the years, several movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have received nominations for the Academy Awards. Some include “Doctor Strange,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “The Avengers,” “Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2,” and “Iron Man 3.” None of them have ever won an Oscar. Just this year, “Black Panther” changed that. Because it won 3. While I would say that for every of its categories for which the film was nominated, I was actually rooting for other films, including “The Favourite!” That actually says something because that film was nominated for best picture and I’m still not happy about it to this day! Nevertheless, it won three awards, which to me, shows that the Academy is getting more serious about the action movie genre and the comic book movie genre. They have progressively been doing such a thing in some of their more recent ceremonies with movies like “The Dark Knight” and “Logan.” Although, when it comes to comic-book based films, this is probably the best year Oscar-wise because with the MCU’s first three wins ever, they have another nomination on top of that (Avengers: Infinity War). Plus, as recently mentioned, “Spider-Verse” won Best Animated Feature. In fact, “Black Panther” was one of the eight movies nominated for Best Picture this year. I’m not saying I want more inclusion from comic-book movies, but I love how the Academy is recognizing that comic-book movies can be more than just entertainment. They can be works of art. Maybe I don’t see “Black Panther” the same way as they do, but I see where they may be coming from with it. Although I will say, I’m white. Just pointing that out. Congrats to the comic-book film genre.

Another highlight in terms of awards including some of the acting sections. Starting with Best Supporting Actor, here are the nominees!

  • Mahershala Ali- Green Book (WINNER!)
  • Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman)
  • Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
  • Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born)
  • Sam Rockwell (Vice)

Ah, seems very familiar. I nominated four of these people for the Jackoffs. If Timothée Chalamet was nominated here than that would be five. But whatever. And just like the Jackoffs, Mahershala Ali won! Ali to me is deserving of his win because of the range provided in his performance. Sam Elliott is great, the same can be said for someone like Sam Rockwell. But they seem to play the same character the whole movie. While Ali is technically one guy during the movie, he almost seems to play two. You have this robotic priest, and I won’t go into much more detail, but he reveals more emotion as he develops. Ali is well deserving of his award if you ask me.

Moving onto Best Supporting Actress!

  • Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
  • Marina de Tavira (Roma)
  • Amy Adams (Vice)
  • Emma Stone (The Favourite)
  • Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

Out of all of these, I have interestingly witnessed all of these performances EXCEPT Regina King, which is too bad, because I heard good things about “If Beale Street Could Talk.” And I was watching the Red Carpet buildup before the Oscars started, and having seen people commentate on the broadcast, this made King’s win no surprise because it was practically a lock. Out of the ones I’ve seen, my personally favorite without a doubt has to be Amy Adams. She transformed into her character in “Vice!” I will give credit to “The Favourite” in the acting department, especially when you consider two of its actors are nominated in the same category, but it does not save “The Favourite” from being a less than satisfying movie. As far as Marina de Tavira goes, I almost wonder why she was nominated to begin with. I’m not saying she performed badly in “Roma,” in fact she did a great job. But it’s kind of surprising considering how she was never really nominated for the same role anywhere else during this award season.

Now onto Best Actress! Here are the nominees!

  • Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
  • Yalitza Aparicio (Roma)
  • Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
  • Glenn Close (The Wife)
  • Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Melissa McCarthy? What the?! It’s raining cats and dogs! I’ve seen three of these performances, and while there is a part of me that was able appreciate Olivia Colman as a performer in “The Favourite,” I found the performances from say Lady Gaga and Yalitza Aparicio a bit more compelling. And part of my reasoning behind such a statement may be because the two aren’t known for their acting. Gaga is primarily a singer, which also kind of means she has an advantage in her role. But what really wowed me is Yalitza Aparicio, because this is actually the first acting job she ever did in her entire life. For a first-time actor, you’d expect them to give a C performance, maybe a B performance at best. But this to me was no doubt, an A+ performance! And to be honest, part of me was expecting Glenn Close to win. Plus it would have been fascinating because she has been waiting awhile for her award. But if you have seen the Jackoffs, you might be able to gather my opinion on this. TONI COLLETTE WAS SNUBBED!

Lastly for acting, we have Best Actor. Here are the nominees!

  • Rami Malek- Bohemian Rhapsody (WINNER!)
  • Bradley Cooper- A Star Is Born
  • Viggo Mortensen- Green Book
  • Willem Dafoe- At Eternity’s Gate
  • Christian Bale- Vice

To me, Malek’s win was a no brainer. I was appreciative of this performance because of how it was able to transform this actor into a beloved celebrity of another kind. Granted, it is all him, because part of it was due to someone else doing his vocals and I think costume design and makeup go into play with my appreciation as well, but still, he was my pick to win. My second pick would have been Bradley Cooper because he had to learn to sing for his role, and it actually paid off! Out of these performances, I will point out that I’ve seen four of them, the one that I didn’t see is Willem Dafoe, but I also liked the performances from Bale and Mortensen. If I had to choose between them, I’d say Mortensen was the better performer, but if Bale had won, I would have loved to have seen his speech. Because when it comes to the crew on “Vice,” one terrible speech was already provided in the Makeup & Hairstyling category, but had he gone up, I would have been interested to see his speech. I say so because he gave perhaps my favorite speech at the Golden Globes this year, specifically where he says this:

“Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration on how to play this role!”

HAHAHAHAHAHA! How often do you hear that?! While that might make certain people upset or offended, I thought personally that was one of the highlights of that show.

We have a few more categories to go over, a couple of which include the screenplay categories. Here are the original screenplay nominees!

  • Green Book- Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly (WINNER!)
  • First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
  • Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
  • Vice (Adam McKay)
  • The Favourite (Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara)

I’m sorry, “The Favourite,” while it has some memorable lines, the screenplay was not even close to being something special. In fact, that’s one of the biggest problems I have with the movie, because this story was trying its best to be compelling, but it felt more drawn out than I expected! And I will admit, I am guy who is willing to appreciate film no matter what kind of movie we are talking about, but even for me, this was too slow! I think the biggest problem was the chapter layout. Because when I first saw it, I thought the chapters represented a three or five act structure, if I recall correctly, it was like nine. I am with “Green Book” as  the winner however. It’s a good story with compelling characters, and some quirkiness behind it too. Then again, it is hard to avoid expecting a good script from a guy who worked on “There’s Something About Mary.” If it weren’t for “Green Book” winning, I would have either picked “Roma” or “Vice.” With “Roma,” it was a script that took a bit of time to get me fully intrigued, but once I was hooked, I was not able to let go. It was investing, emotionally charged, and is capable of showing the occasional unpredictably of life. “Vice” however is rather interesting to me because while it was based on true events, it was able to have some satirical fun. One of the best written scenes of the year comes during the middle of the film where the acts like it is about to end saying the characters live happily ever after and never get in politics ever again. GEN-I-US!

As for the adapted screenplays, here are the nominees!

  • BlacKkKlansman- Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmont, Spike Lee (WINNER!)
  • A Star Is Born- Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me?- Nicole HolofcenerJeff Whitty
  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs- Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • If Beale Street Could Talk- Barry Jenkins

Surprisingly, while I’ve seen a number of things in the listed this categories this year, this is a category where I’ve seen only two things. To be specific, “A Star Is Born” and “BlacKkKlansman.” I missed out on “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and “If Beale Street Could Talk.” As far as “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” goes, it’s on Netflix and I have don’t Netflix, nor do I ever plan to get it. Enough said. Luckily, of the two I did see, I nominated both for the Jackoffs in this exact category. Granted, I gave the 1 up to “A Star Is Born,” but “BlacKkKansman” is also worthy of your support. Interestingly, and if you watch the movie, this shouldn’t really come as a shock, Spike Lee’s speech was rather critical of Donald Trump. Let’s see how President Orange responded.

REMINDER: This guy won multiple Razzies this year!

A couple more categories to go, let’s move onto Best Director!

  • Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)
  • Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
  • Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War)
  • Adam McKay (Vice)
  • Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite)

“The Favourite” might just be one of the best worst movies of all time, because I can clearly tell people are giving their 110% effort throughout the production, but it just didn’t work for me. The directing in the film is actually not that bad and I see why it received a nomination. In fact, all of these directors are worthy of their nominations if you ask me. Although there is no questioning it. Cuarón directed the hell out of “Roma.” Based on how he did this movie, the project felt extremely personal, and the direction felt like everything came right out of his mind. Nothing felt like it came from an outsider or a studio. I am well aware that in life you can’t always get what you want, but it’s nice to get what you want when you are look at things from a directorial point of view. Plus, Cuarón had his hands full with this film. Not only did he have a credit for directing, but he also has a credit for the screenplay, the editing, the cinematography, and even as a producer. He did a lot for one film! He’s like Tommy Wiseau, only difference is that Cuarón was able to create a critically successful movie. I hate Netflix, like with a burning passion, but I will give them credit for quite possibly saying “You know what Alfonso, you’re so f*cking talented. Make whatever movie you want!” I’m imagining something like that went on behind the scenes.

Two more categories to go, let’s pay attention towards the Best Cinematography category! Here are the nominees!

  • Alfonso Cuarón- Roma (WINNER!)
  • Lukasz Zal- Cold War
  • Matthew Libatique- A Star Is Born
  • Robbie Ryan- The Favourite
  • Caleb Deschanel- Never Look Away

And to my lack of surprise, Cuarón takes this award too! If you have seen my last Academy Awards recap, chances are that you’d know that cinematography was probably the category I was most passionate about that year. The reason was due to how one of the nominees was Roger Deakins, who FINALLY won an Oscar for his work in “Blade Runner 2049!” This year, I don’t really have the same passion for that category, but I was able to appreciate a couple of the nominees. “Roma” is a movie that I thought was technically brilliant, and its cinematography absolutely showcases that. SUPER GLAD IT WON! That movie had many shots that made me wonder how they even came about! Netflix, PLEASE. Release a Blu-ray for “Roma!” I want my bonus features! In fact, for the Jackoffs, that movie also won Best Cinematography. Speaking of which, I also nominated “Cold War,” which is unique because it featured a 4:3 aspect ratio, and like “Roma,” it’s in black and white. When I reviewed “Cold War,” I felt that the film’s technical specs were something I could appreciate more than the film’s story, and the cinematography was the biggest standout to me. I can approve of “The Favourite” being nominated, but when it comes to “A Star Is Born.” Some of the shots were nice, but I don’t see why it is nominated. Maybe the set design and the lighting stood out to me, but standard shots are not the biggest standout when it comes to “A Star Is Born.” In fact, a similar movie, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” actually comes to mind when I think of this nomination. There are a number of shots that truly immerse me into the film. This is especially true during the Live Aid scene. The extended run through the audience set the mood entirely for that scene alone. There are certain shots that give you a sense of scope, it’s almost mind-boggling. As for “Never Look Away,” I never saw that movie, so I have nothing to say about it.

And now, for Best Picture. This year there were eight nominees. Out of all of them, I actually had something that I truly wanted to win. Last year I wanted “Dunkirk” to win, but I also missed out on many of last year’s Best Picture nominees. This year however, I actually saw all eight of them. If you wanted to know my pick for Best Picture this year, it was “Roma.” What a f*cking movie. Anyway, here are the nominees!

  • Green Book- Jim Burke, Charles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga (WINNER!)
  • Black Panther- Kevin Feige
  • The Favourite- Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday and Yorgos Lanthimos
  • Bohemian Rhapsody- Graham King
  • A Star Is Born- Bill Gerber, Bradley Cooper and Lynette Howell Taylor
  • Vice- Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adam McKay and Kevin Messick
  • Roma- Gabriela Rodríguez and Alfonso Cuarón
  • BlacKkKlansman- Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele and Spike Lee

I’m gonna do this by talking about the movies that didn’t win first. “The Favourite” and “Black Panther?” You can honestly forget about those two! The pacing in “The Favourite” is horrible and “Black Panther” is not even the best comic book movie of the year! A lot of people go around saying that film is “socially important,” but that has nothing to do with how good a movie is. Just because your film has a black person in it, it doesn’t make it good. What matters is how it was executed. You know what comic book movie was socially important? “Wonder Woman!” And that’s a masterpiece compared to “Black Panther!” AND it wasn’t nominated for any Oscars for its respective year! When I like “Aquaman,” “Deadpool 2,” “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and “Avengers: Infinity War” more than “Black Panther,” you can probably tell what I’m trying to say here about it. “Vice” was pretty good, but ultimately lacking in some sort of substance that didn’t seem to be there as I watched the movie. I appreciate the work that went into it, but some parts of the movie were better than others. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is sort of interesting. I think it is a good tribute to Queen and Freddie Mercury, but it is ultimately just that, nothing more. Sure, there’s good cinematography and a rock solid performance from Rami Malek, but it doesn’t really change the game. Then there is “A Star Is Born.” I thought Bradley Cooper did a great job with that movie because he had a lot to do on it, and not just as a performer. Although when it comes to his performance skills on that film, that’s probably the best part because of how he needed to not just talk, but play an instrument and sing. “BlacKkKlansman” may have been a well written, well directed, and well acted film. But even if you remove all of those qualities from the table, you still have a great concept. An African-American police officer pretends he’s white and infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan! And it’s based on a true story!

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When it comes to the two films left to talk about, I already said what I need to say about “Roma.” It is such a masterful movie. Plus, it partially made me change my mind about how serious Netflix could possibly be in the movie theater industry. Granted, they still have some ways to go, just ask Steven Spielberg, but they’re making progress. I really wanted that film to win, and I actually had high confidence that it was going to win this year. Then Julia Roberts gets onstage, and says the words “Green Book.”

Did not expect that.

But you know what? It’s cool, that was my second pick anyway! I know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding “Green Book” right now, it almost reminds me of “The Greatest Showman.” Part of me might regret watching “Green Book” for that reason alone, but I also have to keep in mind that when I did see the film, I enjoyed what I saw. I thought the screenplay was well done. The chemistry between the main characters went together like bread and butter. And the acting is superb! “Green Book” may not be my pick for Best Picture, but it was certainly worth a watch. It’s got some serious parts in it, but it is almost like a feel good story at times. It’s nice to see the formation of two unlikely friends. Plus, it’s one of those rare times where product placement WORKS. Will I watch “Green Book” again sometime in the future? Most likely. It is a fun watch, and definitely worth your time. Congrats to “Green Book!” Congrats to all of the other nominees!

Thanks for reading this post! The 91st Academy Awards was definitely a surprise! I was expect a mediocre show at best, and it turned out to be pretty good. Would I like a host next year? Certainly. But I am also now open to the idea of a hostless Oscars ceremony. Now that I’ve seen it, it worked out! I gotta give massive respect for the Academy for including all of the awards, and I also want to give a shoutout to Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper for an awesome performance of “Shallow!” You guys rock! Speaking of which, Queen, great opening! Well done! When it comes to my future content, I will be doing a review of “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World!” And also, as of writing this, Scene Before is now three years old! It just turned three recently, I want to do something for the three year anniversary, but if I actually manage to do something, it probably won’t be up soon, because college is keeping me busy. Like, insanely busy. I have some ideas, who knows? Maybe I’ll do the same thing as the two year anniversary? But 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! I want to know, did you see the 91st Academy Awards? What are your thoughts? Any snubs? Great moments? Do you agree with everything? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018): Does Whatever Spider-Acid Does

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“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, and stars Shameik Moore (Dope, The Get Down), Jake Johnson (New Girl, Jurassic World), Hailee Steinfeld (The Edge of Seventeen, True Grit), Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, House of Cards), Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta, This Is Us), Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie, The Magic School Bus), Luna Lauren Velez (How to Get Away with Murder, Dexter), John Mulaney (Saturday Night Live, Big Mouth), Kimiko Glenn (DuckTales, Orange Is the New Black), Nicolas Cage (Mandy, Raising Arizona), and Liev Schreiber (Spotlight, X-Men Origins: Wolverine). This film is about Miles Morales, a teenage boy who may be Spider-Man in his own reality, but it just so turns out that there’s a crossing in paths between several different realities. He eventually meets Peter Parker, who is Spider-Man in an alternate universe, and Parker guides Morales as he becomes the Spider-Man he’d ultimately want to be.

Going into “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” I have been exposed to all of the major trailers. When it comes to how I’d personally receive them, they started out weak, but each one improved over the last. I’d say there’s a similar story when it comes to this movie itself, I wasn’t all that excited for it, then I hear more about it, and I’m getting increasingly hyped. I imagine some people had a similar feeling in their minds when it comes to another animated film we’ve gotten this decade, specifically “The LEGO Movie.” I can say that because I’ve seen the trailers, and part of it seemed weird, part of it seemed a little too kiddy. But once people heard more about it and its overwhelmingly positive word of mouth, it brought more excitement towards the eventual incoming audiences. I’m not saying “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” looked too kiddy or anything like that, but I’m saying that my hype levels for the movie were not all that high.

In fact, if you look up this movie on IMDb, you’d see it has three directors, the writing credits, on the surface, makes the movie come off as if it is a factory product with eight people. LUCKILY, that’s not really the case when it comes to the movie’s script, because only two people wrote “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” the rest just have to do with the comics (Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, etc.). Then again, I could be getting ahead of myself because after all, “Airplane” has three directors and many people seem to consider that film an all-time classic. This is doesn’t even mention the fact that for two of the three directors, this is actually their directorial debut. They’ve done other work when it comes to film, but directing is not on their list until now. All the doubts that I had about this movie, let me just tell you right now, forget em. F*ck em. Screw em. Throw em away. This movie. Is. WILD.

Let’s be real here, I love Spider-Man. Spider-Man is my favorite superhero of all time, and when it comes to theatrical releases, this might be the most fun I’ve had watching a “Spider-Man” film since 2004’s “Spider-Man 2.” Yeeeah, I’ll be honest, “Homecoming” was kind of wasted. And I’ll also be honest, when it comes to comic book movies this year, this personally might rival “Infinity War,” which says something.

If you have ever read my review for “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” I manage to compare my experience watching that movie, which was ultimately mediocre, to what it could have been like as a ten year old kid. I said if I were a ten year old kid, there’s a chance I’d enjoy it more than I did watching it as an adult. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” made me unleash my inner child and reminded me of how awesome the character is.

Speaking of awesome, let’s talk about Miles Morales. I thought the depth provided to this character made deeply me care about him. I thought his story was fantastic, I related to his character in a way that is almost similar to how I relate to Peter Parker as a main character in numerous other “Spider-Man” stories. In this movie, Morales is a teenager in boarding school, who eventually finds a girl he likes, but he doesn’t know how to control himself around her. I thought when it comes to playing “Spider-Man” himself, Morales is certainly worthy.

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Speaking of which, let’s talk about Peter Parker. We’ve seen Peter Parker at various ages on screen, we’ve seen him in college, in high school, and in this movie, he seems to be in his late twenties. We’ve also seen a side to Peter Parker we’ve never seen before… He’s fat. If you have ever watched “Impractical Jokers” and seen the episode where Joe becomes a superhero per se, this is pretty much a Spider-Man-esque version of that. I partially say that because Joe’s superhero name lives up to his own physique, specifically “Captain Fatbelly.”

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When it comes to Marvel movies, I have no problem whatsoever with pointing out some occasional lackluster villains. But this is a Sony movie, and not in the MCU, so that doesn’t even matter here! There are a couple of antagonists in the film, most notably Doc Ock and Kingpin. BOTH OF THEM ARE AWESOME! I won’t go into it, but be sure to lookout for Doc Ock’s ultimate reveal, it is a crowd pleaser. As for Kingpin, he not only looks intimidating, he knows how to put up a fight. The chemistry between him, his cronies, and even Morales, are all things of beauty when it comes to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

On the topic of Morales and Kingpin, there’s this one fight they get into towards the end of the movie, it is perhaps one of the flashiest, wackiest, and balls to the wall action sequences I’ve ever witnessed out of a comic book movie. In fact, going back to my skepticisms, one of the doubts I had when it comes to “Spider-Verse” is the animation style. When I saw the teaser, I was like, did we just reenter the stone age? But the more I saw, the more I realized it was supposed to look like a comic book on the big screen. Granted, there are already a lot of films that take a comic book-like animation style, but I don’t recall a film like this that got a theatrical release or perhaps resembled quality as much as “Spider-Verse.” Not only did the comic book animation style benefit the movie as a delightful quirk, but it also helped at poking fun at comic books themselves. You would occasionally see random text boxes to establish thoughts going on in someone’s head or a location, sometimes when Spidey’s swinging, you’d see the word “Thwip” pop up, and speaking of things that pop up, the same can also be said for when Spider-Man is shouting “WOOOOOOOO!” It almost reminds me of “Pixels” when the characters “scored points” for doing something they need to do to get their mission done.

Another little spark of kudos has to go to the writing. This movie is written by Phil Lord, who also wrote “The LEGO Movie,” one of the funniest animations I’ve ever seen. Speaking of Lord, he also co-directed “22 Jump Street,” a movie which the other screenwriter, Rodney Rothman, happened to pen. Aside from those comic book quirks this movie has a fetish for showing off, the film manages to be humorous, charming, shocking, and even a tad emotional. Even the idea for this movie was surprisingly grand. The execution of this multiverse concept was done with absolute brilliance. I was able to buy into all of these Spider-people being who they are, and some of them come off as just plain funny. There’s a film noir style Spider-Man, there’s an anime style Spider-Man, there’s even a Spider-Pig!

“Spider-Pig, Spider-Pig. / Does whatever a Spider-Pig does. / Can he swing / from a web? No he can’t, / He’s a Pig. / Look out! / He is the Spider-Pig. -Homer Simpson

OK, well, technically he’s referred to as “Spider-Ham,” but who cares?

There is not really much else I’d want to say when it comes to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” but one thing I will say, is that there’s a possibility, that this movie could be a game changer. There has been an over-saturation of comic book based films and superhero movies put out on the big screen. However, I cannot recall the last time I saw one like this. For one thing, most of the comic book-based work we are getting today happens to be done in live-action. Also, this could potentially bring an increase of comic book-like superhero flicks. Maybe Disney would happen to get in on the action and do separate universes for heroes like Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther, and Doctor Strange. Part of me also wonders since Warner Brothers/DC has no plans currently to do another “Superman” movie with Henry Cavill, if they want to do an animated “Superman” film in this sort of style at some point. Based on the box office, the quality of this film, and perhaps the spark that I BELIEVE it would make in young, aspiring filmmakers/animators, this genre only has potential to grow from this point. The comic book and superhero genre in film is already beyond enormous, and while part of me thinks sometimes that it is getting too big, there’s another part of me that would love to see a little more of this style of filmmaking. And it’s clear that people want to take this on. After all, it was recently announced that Sony is gonna try doing a female spinoff to this film. I don’t know the full details, but I’m hearing Gwen Stacy is going to be playing a significant role.

In the end, this is not just a fantastic comic book movie, but it’s also a great movie by itself. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is a well animated, weird, and nicely done film. It reminds me of why I love “Spider-Man” as a character, and when it comes to theater experiences, this is definitely one of the best I had this year. I saw this in IMAX, and the sound for this movie is beyond crazy. The scenes with intense action or fast-paced effects almost made me bend over in awe. I want to say one thing about this movie. Even though this movie is animated, I wouldn’t say it is entirely kid-friendly. To me, it’s almost like a Pixar film. It’s a film that families can enjoy, it’s a film that kids and adults alike can find interesting. The jokes are smart, the animation is beautiful, and I don’t think there’s one single moment in the film that I think is specifically meant to cater to children. Also, another thing I will say is that this film is one of the wildest, most wicked things I’ve seen in a while. I cannot recall the last time I saw an animated movie that made me think a part of me was on acid for some of the runtime. I loved “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” not only is it one of my favorite Spidey films, but also one of favorite animations of the year! I’m gonna give “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” a 9/10. Sure, I called this movie a game changer, and yeah, it is one of my favorite “Spider-Man” movies, but as far as replay value goes, I think there are a couple other films that I’d rather watch more than this one this year. As a contribution to film and how it could revolutionize the game, this might be a 10/10, but for my overall verdict, I’d give a 9/10. That’s just me though. Also, stay until the end of the credits, because there is a GREAT end credits scene! Thanks for reading this review! If you thought this was going to be the last 2018 comic book movie I’d review, you thought wrong. Next week is the release of “Aquaman.” I have no set date as to when I’m seeing that, but I do have my sights set on seeing the film as soon as possible. I might go see a movie or two before, because I now have the time to do so, and with courtesy to AMC’s $5 Ticket Tuesday, some may argue that I have the money to do so as well. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or email so you stay tuned and swing on by for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse?” What did you think about it? Or, if Spider-Man were real, who or what would be your preferred vision of the masked hero? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!