Marvel Cinematic Universe PHASE 4 Plans Announced

mv5bngi1othjyjytyjk2zi00nzcwlwfknmitndk0ywq2otu5ogrmxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyndqxnjcxnq4040._v1_sx1777_cr001777747_al_

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!

Annihilation (2018): Yay! Alex Garland’s Second Film!

Before dive into my review for “Annihilation,” we have some promotional material to go over. Hey! Let me just remind you, this content is free! I’m doing this! Let me just have you know something. I’m a guy, and unfortunately, and somewhat understandably, my gender’s individuals usually can’t go at least a single second of each day without thinking about sex. Before you ask, no, I’m not promoting porn. Even though that does involve sex. What I’m promoting to you doesn’t involve that kind of sex. It instead involves what can be referred to as “BIBLICALLY *APPROVED* INTERCOURSE for the PURPOSES of PROCREATION.” Ladies and gentlemen, I’m talking about “What the IVF?!”

“What the IVF?” is a new YouTube channel and series from a couple whose members include Genevieve and Paul. The two are currently expecting a child in upcoming months and unfortunately for both of them, their journey wasn’t as sweet as chocolate ice cream. Instead, it felt more like a rocky road. As suggested, sex plays a part in this series. Not just that, but don’t forget math, tests, costs, small wins, big losses, and all of those stinkin’ needles! The video up above specifically is their second episode, but if you are interested in seeing the other videos in this series, such as the first episode and the trailer, be sure to click the link down below to the YouTube channel for “WTIVF?.” And also be sure to subscribe or hit the notification bell to keep up on their content! Also be sure to check out their other social media pages, along with their website, also down below! Be sure to tell them that Jack Drees sent you!

WTIVF? WEBSITE: http://www.whattheivf.com/

WTIVF? YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCILXSidkzWgwrQ5Oa1py78w/featured?disable_polymer=1

WTIVF? TWITTER: https://twitter.com/WTivF

WTIVF? INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/wtivf/

WTIVF? FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/What-The-IVF-288868031634125/

mv5bmtk2mjc2nzyxnl5bml5banbnxkftztgwmta2ota1ndm-_v1_sy1000_cr006401000_al_

“Annihilation” is directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, 28 Days Later) and stars Natalie Portman (Black Swan, V For Vendetta), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle), Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok, Creed), Gina Rodriguez (Deepwater Horizon, Jane the Virgin), Tuva Novotny (Eat Pray Love, Dag), and Oscar Isaac (X-Men Apocalypse, Star Wars: The Force Awakens). This movie is about a biologist who sets up a secret expedition where the laws of nature are thrown out the window. The film is also based on a book by Jeff VanderMeer which is one of the three books in the Southern Reach trilogy. On that topic, according to Alex Garland, he didn’t really think much about making a trilogy. His focus is mainly shifted towards the first book of the same name, so I don’t think we’ll be getting any sequels to this movie in the future.

Before we go any further and dissect “Annihilation,” I just want to bring up one of the banes of my existence. And no, for all of you who don’t know grammar entirely, this has nothing to do with “Batman.” This does however, have to do with Netflix. I recently did a post called “Why I Won’t Review The Cloverfield Paradox.” In it, I explain my prior anticipation to “The Cloverfield Paradox,” and how I won’t review or even watch the movie based on something I didn’t really expect to happen. That unexpected happening by the way is the fact that the movie wouldn’t be released in theaters and instead went straight to the Netflix streaming service. I explain how they basically killed Blockbuster, a nostalgic store I adore that I will surely miss. I go on to say that the way they’re changing movie and TV watching is making certain experiences dwindled from what they could be. Not to mention, they’re also killing movie theaters, which are basically “other homes” of mine, because they think it’s a good idea to have all of their movies go straight to the platform. So I never inserted this in the post, but I’ll say it here. You know the phrase “Netflix & chill?” People nowadays know it as either an invitation to watch Netflix with someone else, or just an excuse to have sex. So I hate to kill the mood, if you know what I mean, but I might as well describe some of the scenarios I recently mentioned as “Netflix & kill.”

Before going to see this movie, I found out apparently that Netflix is apparently distributing “Annihilation” internationally (except for China). I live in the United States, meaning Netflix isn’t distributing the movie to my people. Paramount is doing said job. Let me just say, this movie is very lucky to get its own review, because if it lacked any release in theaters, or if Netflix was doing total distribution, I would have saved some time. In fact, I’m willing to bet that Alex Garland, the director of “Annihilation” might also be somewhat disappointed in what happened to this film. Just read this quote spoken by him down below:

“We made the film for cinema. I’ve got no problem with the small screen at all. The best genre piece I’ve seen in a long time was “The Handmaid’s Tale,” so I think there’s incredible potential within that context, but if you’re doing that – you make it for that and you think of it in those terms. Look… it is what it is. The film is getting a theatrical release in the States, which I’m really pleased about. One of the big pluses of Netflix is that it goes out to a lot of people and you don’t have that strange opening weekend thing where you’re wondering if anyone is going to turn up and then if they don’t, it vanishes from cinema screens in two weeks. So it’s got pluses and minuses, but from my point of view and the collective of the people who made it – [it was made] to be seen on a big screen.”

I hate to sound like a propaganda machine, but I’ll say this anyway. Netflix may have chopped this movie’s head off, but it still has a beating heart. It didn’t totally “annihilate” the film. 😉 Getting back on track, let’s talk about “Annihilation!”

Going into “Annihilation,” I was excited. That’s because I’ve seen a film from Alex Garland which released in 2015 and it was one of the most beautiful looking films of the decade. That film by the way, is “Ex Machina.” While “Ex Machina” isn’t what I’d personally call a 10/10 movie, I have to give major props to the film from a production and directorial perspective because it made me want to be a part of the movie. Heck, it won Best Achievement in Visual Effects at the Oscars! I will also say, “Ex Machina” was Alex Garland’s directorial debut! Garland’s second movie, “Annihilation,” has arrived in various territories, I didn’t know too much about it. I’ve seen a trailer for it, I knew Natalie Portman would have the starring role, I knew it was based on a book, but not much else.

Oh wait, there was one more thing, kind of going off of something I just mentioned.

As suggested, “Annihilation” is based on a book, specifically a book of the same name. The book is part of what’s known as the Southern Reach trilogy, which is named due to a secret agency which plays an important part in the overall plot. All three books were written by Jeff VanderMeer, and were met with positive verdicts.

Funny enough, all of them start with the letter “A.” So I guess if you don’t like calling the series the Southern Ranch trilogy, you can instead call it the AAA trilogy. It’s the perfect series for going out to CVS in your car with three of your friends. Their names are Albert, Alec, and Alex (AAA). You decide to go inside the CVS store, where you end up buying AAA batteries, finding three guys at the register named Aaron, Adam, and Andy (AAA), going back to your car to realize the doors are locked, you left your keys inside, so now you have to call AAA to get this situation settled. Once that’s over, you get back in your car, you’re about the leave the shopping center where CVS is, a very small one at that. It contains other shops including AT&T, Avenue, and Applebee’s (AAA). You suddenly realize, you have some time to kill, so it leads you to pulling out one of the AAA books from the back seat, you start reading it, and you remain in the parking lot going nowhere for a period of time. Oh yeah, and your friends are just questioning why you aren’t driving.

Alright, rambling’s over, let’s get serious.

Since “Annihilation” has some of the stuff it has in it, it’s easy to imagine some people are looking forward to it if they haven’t seen it. I haven’t even read the books and I was kind of stoked! Although there were people who happen to be giving it some flak before it even came out. Why is this? Well apparently, this movie has miscast its characters, and the reason why they’re miscast is because they’re not the correct ethnicity.

Let me just say, I’ve never read the books, so what I’m gathering is from random research. And the research tells me that these complainers have justifiable reasons behind their thoughts. Do I agree with them? Sure I do. It doesn’t mean I don’t like the actors playing these characters or how they perform as these characters, but it doesn’t change the fact that these mistakes are still there. Although I will say, there are two characters when it comes to this complaint. Specifically Natalie Portman’s character of Lena and Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character of Dr. Ventress. Of the two characters, Portman might be the bigger problem here. Again, I like her as an actress, so I don’t see Portman herself as a problem, but I do see this casting choice as a problem. For one thing, she’s the lead role. Also, her ethnicity was revealed in the first book of the trilogy whereas the other character had hers revealed in the second book of the trilogy. When it came to the overall adaptation of this book to film. Garland was more focused towards story than character looks. And while I look for more great stories than I do correct adaptations, this was something that could have easily been altered. While I REALLY enjoyed “Annihilation,” this will subtract its score.

Onto the movie itself, I actually went to see this over a week ago, so I apologize if some of my comments come off as weak. I usually review movies right after I see them depending on the case, but this wasn’t one of them. My Oscar recap was more important. This movie starts off in a small room with a conversation between Natalie Portman and Benedict Wong, and I knew that part of the movie was going to take place there. The overall setting there set the tone for what’s to come. We occasionally cut back and forth between that and some plot-unfolding events of the film. And with all that put together, the tone doesn’t really ever feel ruined. There’s a lot of cutting back and forth, but it doesn’t feel all jumbled together like a pizza with topping options so endless it has toppings like TNT, screws, and LEGO bricks. In other words, this movie’s edited competently and the tone doesn’t feel messed up.

I’ll mention once more, one of the biggest positives I can give to Alex Garland’s directorial debut, “Ex Machina,” is how beautiful-looking the movie is. The movie won Best Visual Effects at the Oscars and it’s easy to see why. Plus, all the scenery might make you feel like you’re on an exotic getaway and you’re on a nature walk. Oh yeah, and robots are there too! Much like “Ex Machina,” this movie has you feeling as if you’re entering a majestic new world. Once all the scientists are together on their journey, they enter an anomaly known as the shimmer. Inside, it can simply just be described as wondrously gorgeous. But not all of it is pretty.

“Annihilation,” at its core, is a sci-fi film. Although it has some elements of horror in there as well. This movie to my personal surprise, features one of the more terrifying scenes I’ve seen in a science fiction film. If you’ve seen the trailer, you may remember that wolf with the sharp teeth, holy s*it!

I also have to talk about the ending. And without spoiling anything, I’ll tell you all upfront. This is one of the best endings I’ve seen this decade. Why do I love sci-fi so much? Well, there’s many reasons that can qualify as an answer to that question for me, but one thing I’ve noticed is how many of those movies have endings that I just often look back on. This movie is no exception. I mentioned in my post titled “Annihilation (2018): NOT Now In Theaters Everywhere” that “Annihilation” originator Jeff VanderMeer gave praise towards this film’s ending and even said in some ways, the movie might actually be better than his own book. That’s a much better reaction than the one given by Paramount financier David Ellison, who thought the film was apparently too complicated for some minds! By the way, f*ck David Ellison. You can clearly tell I’m siding with VanderMeer in this circumstance. The ending overall felt like I was watching “2001: A Space Odyssey.” I can’t talk much about it, but given some of the situations that happen in this film and when you piece it all together. This film feels like “Arrival,” “Jurassic Park,” and “2001: A Space Odyssey” all meshed together in one wonderful package. One more thing about the ending, the music in that moment can only be described as one word, and that’s orgasmic.

Moving onto characters, let’s talk about Natalie Portman’s character of Lena. While I did mention before that Lena is not entirely cast the way that a good number of people think she should be, I’ll add, Portman did a fine job here. I was able to buy her as a biologist. Every single frame I was convinced that she could possibly have a shot at becoming a professor at Princeton. Her husband, Kane, played by Oscar Isaac, also delivers an excellent performance.

All of the characters in this film overall seem to have no qualities that I hate about them, whether they’re in the category of annoying, off-putting, or so hatable because they killed someone you love so much that they must get similar treatment. They all seem to be redeemable and I really think they all did their role quite well. I will admit, some of this movie is kind of dwindling on me. And it’s not because I didn’t like the movie. I thought it was great! I’ll say once again, it’s been over a week since I saw this, and other things mattered more to me than this review. No offense to “Annihilation” and its crew.

One last thing I’ll mention is this. I said already that if you combine “Arrival,” “Jurassic Park,” and “2001: A Space Odyssey,” you might as well get this movie. You might also say that if you combine JUST A HINT of “Ghostbusters,” you get this film too. Just look at this shot and tell me otherwise!

In the end, “Annihilation” is certainly one of those films that I’m gonna have to watch again, and it’s also one of those films that I want to talk about with others for years to come. Is this movie perfect? I wouldn’t say so. I’ve already gone over some minor casting issues that are somewhat understandable after doing some research, but are still there regardless. I must say though, Alex Garland, you’ve done it again! I’m going to give “Annihilation” an 8/10! By the way, if you can’t get this in theaters in your area, chances are you may have this movie available to you now on Netflix. It actually released on the Netflix platform in several areas a day ago, so go watch it if you haven’t already! I don’t use Netflix, but I’ve talked enough about that. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’ll have a review up for “Mission: Impossible” starring Tom Cruise, which will kick off my “Mission: Impossible” review series in preparation for “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” Also, for my next movie to see in theaters, I just realized how many options I have. I want to go see “Game Night,” “A Wrinkle in Time,” (can’t believe I’m saying that) “Gringo,” “Red Sparrow,” and you’ve even got “Tomb Raider” coming out next weekend. I don’t know if I’ll catch a movie this weekend, but only time will tell. If you need some more content to hold yourself over, be sure to check out my recap for the 90th Academy Awards, where I talk about “four men and Greta Gerwig,” a jet ski, and what could be regarded one of the of the most well deserved Academy Award wins of all time. If you want to check that out, click the box down below, and will take you to the post! Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, have you seen “Annihilation?” What are your thoughts? What did you think about the ending? Also, if you saw it, how did you see it? Leave that info down below as a way of annihilating some time! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

90th Academy Awards Recap

mv5bmgu2ngnlmtqtzta5yi00nju5ltlmzgmtmgnlngjkymu1ndc0xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynti5njiymw-_v1_sy1000_sx675_al_

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Before we go any further, let me just say, I admittedly put this post out a little later than I once anticipated. I had my mind going around on three posts at once, part of me was begging to nap this week, some distractions have gotten in the way, and I also had this thing going on over on my Twitter where I’m giving shoutouts to women on International Women’s Day. With those things in mind, you might as well say that if this blog or my posts happened to be my kid(s), I might not be the best of fathers. I’ve been distracted, wanting to fall asleep, and just didn’t have enough of a focus on the things that matter. Speaking of parenting, let’s talk about Genevieve and Paul. Who are they? Well, they’re a couple who are currently expecting, but their journey to get there was like trying to find a way to defy gravity. Impossibly long and stressful. Ladies and gentlemen, this is all documented in “What The IVF?!”

“What the IVF?” focuses on the recently mentioned couple, Genevieve and Paul. The two are happy together and one day decide to have a baby. Turns out they realize, the process of having a baby isn’t all fun and games, and now they’ve got to deal with various problems. These problems range in areas including: Sex, math, exams, and those freakin’ needles!  The first episode of the series up right now, it’s actually the video listed above, it’s a few minutes long, so if you need to waste some time and you feel like you should watch something, this is a good deal for you. And I said to the couple that I’d promote the material, and I’m not just saying this to be nice or push their buttons or receive a fat paycheck in the mail, in fact at this point they’d probably need it for baby food or something, I actually watched the first episode, and I thought it was very well done. If you look at this video, you’re in for a well edited treat. Be sure to catch up on the latest regarding Genevieve and Paul and to help you do that, I’ll post links to various “WTIVF?” social media pages, and if you check this stuff out, be sure to tell them that Jack Drees sent you over!

WTIVF? WEBSITE: http://www.whattheivf.com/

WTIVF? YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCILXSidkzWgwrQ5Oa1py78w/featured?disable_polymer=1

WTIVF? TWITTER: https://twitter.com/WTivF

WTIVF? INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/wtivf/

WTIVF? FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/What-The-IVF-288868031634125/

Getting back on track, it’s official that the Academy Awards are now over, so now I can look back and say to myself, “What happened to the politics?” If you think I’m asking that negatively, think again. Because I know one thing for sure, politics and the Academy Awards associate with each other quite well, and at times, it’s not exactly annoying, but they seemed to tone it down this year. When it comes to the politics, it was basically a sigh of relief. There were barely any comments regarding our current administration and when the comments were uttered, they were actually quite funny!

“That’s not the point. We don’t make films like ‘Call Me by Your Name’ for money. We make them to upset Mike Pence.” -Jimmy Kimmel

Then again, this isn’t the Golden Globes, where political and social issues, at least from my eyes and ears, seem to be more prominent and forced. At this Oscars, the insertion of all this commentary regarding politics and society didn’t feel that awkward because while they were there, there seemed to be more of a focus on awards and film.

Not every single person made it a big deal to wear black. People either did or they didn’t. The jokes weren’t as cringe-worthy. And let me just have you know, the stuff that’s being represented in terms of social issues happens to be stuff I personally support! Racial equality! Gender equality! I mean, Barbra Streisand and Natalie Portman didn’t get up on stage and come off as depression lords. Yes, time IS up, but there are more important issues than having male nominees and winners for Best Director. One of my favorite quotes regarding social issues comes from Kumail Nanjiani, who you may know as one of the writers and actors in last year’s “The Big Sick,” which is one of my favorite movies of 2017.

“Some of my favorite movies are movies by straight white dudes about straight white dudes. Now, straight white dudes can watch movies starring me, and you relate to that. It’s not that hard. I’ve done it my whole life.”

Well said, Kumail!

One of the other highlights of the night was something I didn’t actually expect. I came in for an award show, not a game show. Now when I say that, you may expect me to follow up with something negative, that is unless you realize my fanaticism for game shows. So as Jimmy Kimmel is finishing up his opening monologue, he reminds everyone that the Oscars is “a very long show.” Before those words are spoken, he states that the first Oscars show lasted for fifteen minutes from beginning to end, he adds in humor by saying “and people still complained.” So in order to spice things up, the show was going to give away a prize. So I start hearing “The Price is Right” music and suddenly, I see Helen Mirren standing right next to a new jet ski. The total value of the jet ski is $17,999, and whoever was to give the shortest speech, will go home with the prize. Kimmel adds, “Why waste precious time thanking your mother when you can give her the ride of her life on a new jet ski?” The man claimed that he was going to be timing everyone who wins an Academy Award with a stopwatch. Once they pick up their trophy, the clock begins ticking. Some of Kimmel’s conclusive words are “And in the unlikely event of a tie, I need to say the jet ski will be awarded to Christopher Plummer.”

By the way, Mark Bridges, the costume designer for “Phantom Thread,” was the winner of the jet ski. Also, for those of you who never heard of or seen “Phantom Thread,” the main character of Reynolds Woodcock, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, is a dressmaker. So of course, a movie about making clothes, won a category which involves making clothes.

Before I tuned into the Oscars, I made a hope/prediction post, which admittedly I rushed in some parts, but overall it was a somewhat effective list coming in over 4500 words. Although to be fair, it was crunch time, and I was just trying to get my major category predictions down. Much like in that post, I’m not gonna go through all the categories and stick to talking about anything from the categories that stand out to me. In my post I didn’t talk about anything such as Best Animated Short Film, Best Documentary, stuff like that. I’m just gonna talk about a category if I have some sort of interest related to them or if there’s something to me in it that stands out compared to other categories. To start this off, I’m going to dive into a category that I didn’t discuss on my prediction post. Specifically, Best Animated Short Film.

Here are the results for Best Animated Short Film!

  • Dear Basketball (WINNER!)
  • Garden Party
  • Lou
  • Negative Space
  • Revolting Rhymes

Regardless of familiarity, this category interested me because of its winner, “Dear Basketball.” For those of you who haven’t seen or heard of “Dear Basketball,” I don’t imagine many people will blame you, including Lakers fans. It has less than 2,000 ratings on IMDb, but it appears the Academy liked it. I have no problem with them liking it. I haven’t seen the short, so I can’t judge all that much. Although the real shocker for me here is who happens to be behind this “Academy Award winner.” OK, well, John Williams composed the music, which may have partially contributed to the overall verdict. The animation was a different style than what I usually see, and while I don’t think that in itself is award-worthy, maybe the idea of being different contributed to it. The creative developer, Brian Hunt made this his first project as a creative developer, but he also had experience in the industry prior to this. Although when it comes to the entire world of diverse, differently-minded, and film-focused people, the Academy decides to give an award to…

Kobe Bryant.

Yeah, Kobe Bryant. Kobe. Bryant. KOBE… BRRRRYANT. A former NBA Basketball player who has won the NBA Finals in the past, achieved an Oscar! I’m not saying that this is the end of the world, but seriously! If you told me a week ago, that Kobe Bryant, a guy who angrily swears at his own basketball team during practice, saying that his teammates are motherf*ckers who don’t do s*it for him, was going to win an Academy Award, I’d die laughing, get up, and tell you to get out of my sight because I’d think you’re incredibly dumb.

But he did.

Although one thing I really liked about this is how Mark Hamill was presenting the award. Because for one thing, he’s f*cking Mark Hamill. And another thing, the joke he made right before “Dear Basketball” was announced.

“Don’t say ‘La La Land.’ Don’t say La La Land.'”

Speaking of animations, let’s dive into Best Animated Feature Film.

  • Coco (WINNER!)
  • Ferdinand
  • The Boss Baby
  • The Breadwinner
  • Loving Vincent

“Coco” won. What a surprise.

“The Boss Baby” lost. Big fat shocker as well, not to mention a sign that Earth is still sane.

Enough said. Moving on.

Next up is Best Actor, and here are the results!

  • Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) (WINNER!)
  • Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread)
  • Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name)
  • Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.)
  • Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)

In total honesty, it would have been nice to see Daniel Day-Lewis win. Not just because he’s a terrific actor, but because this is his last performance. I have not seen “Phantom Thread,” much like how I haven’t seen any of the other films listed above, but seeing Day-Lewis winning would have been a treat. I have nothing against Gary Oldman. I don’t have anything against him winning, I think he’s a fine actor, and he definitely has potential to take on some more great roles in the future. I didn’t think about this while I was doing my hope and prediction post, but I did find this out going into the show. If Timothée Chalamet ended up winning Best Actor, he would have been the youngest person to win that award. For the record, Chalamet could have possibly been a 22 year-old Oscar winner, beating out then 29 year-old Adrien Brody (The Pianist) who won an Academy Award for this specific category for the 2002 movie season.

Speaking of acting, let’s move onto Best Actress!

  • Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) (WINNER!)
  • Meryl Streep (The Post)
  • Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water)
  • Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird)
  • Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)

Once again, a category filled with movies that I just haven’t gotten around to watching! OK, well except one, which was “Three Billboards.” Having seen it, I approve of McDormand’s win. Very well deserved! Part of me thought at one point that Margot Robbie was gonna win for “I, Tonya” based on a clip I saw for it, but I guess not. Meryl Streep… I have nothing against her. I still have to see “The Post.” But I seriously wonder if this nomination happened just because she’s Meryl and the Academy has a fetish for nominating her. Part of me is also surprised the Academy didn’t go with Saoirse Ronan for “Lady Bird.” Although at the same time, it surprises me how many people saw the movie and didn’t like it. I didn’t see it, but I’m trying to.

One of the next categories we’re gonna get into is Best Adapted Screenplay.

  • Call Me by Your Name (WINNER!)
  • The Disaster Artist
  • Logan
  • Molly’s Game
  • Mudbound

I’ll state something similar to what I said in my prediction and hope post. “Mudbound,” to me, doesn’t qualify as a movie that associates with the Oscars. To me, the Oscars is about celebrating cinema. While there are a number of people who clearly worship this movie for various reasons, I refuse to call it a technical “Oscar film.” To my knowledge, this movie has released in a couple theaters if that. And while I do think a movie with even the smallest theatrical release can qualify to win an Oscar, it’s mainly known to me as a straight to streaming film. Now don’t get me wrong, if Amazon or someone like that distributed this film, I would have possibly supported “Mudbound” more. But instead, Netflix did. And since Netflix doesn’t give movie theaters a chance (do some research on “The Cloverfield Paradox”), I refuse to watch it, review it, and call it a movie that others seem to call it. So unless Netflix starts releasing films in theaters as a tradition and not a special occasion, I refuse to review any of their films or consider them for awards like Oscars, or if you want to be more accurate on my end, my top 10 BEST movies of the year lists. Now “Call Me by Your Name” won. I didn’t see it, therefore I was in a somewhat of a shock when its, well, name was called. I was glad it wasn’t “Mudbound,” but I didn’t really expect this film to win, and I was actually rooting for a couple of other films. One film I saw earlier this year because I couldn’t get to it last year was “Molly’s Game.” The film itself? Barely passable. The screenplay though? If this were a film class and I were teaching, I’d give it somewhere around the A range just for the diction choices and the snappy tone it provided at times. I was especially disappointed that they didn’t pick “The Disaster Artist” because humor-wise, it was the funniest movie of 2017, maybe aside from “The LEGO Batman Movie.” Not to mention the way it was written was partially realistic and another part felt like a homage. And while this is based on a true event, I totally appreciate the callbacks to some things that happened that can be associated with “The Room.” A lot of people are kind of disappointed that “Logan” didn’t win this award. I haven’t seen “Logan,” I’ve heard phenomenal things, but I haven’t seen it. Part of me wonders if this is just coming from people who either have a bias towards comic book movies or just go see comic book movies and ignores everything else, or if it’s a bunch of people who appreciate the screenplay for its differences compared to other comic book movies. It’s darker, grittier, contains more violence and foul language, and it just contains things that makes anyone who works at Disney hide in the corner. I’m not gonna focus on Best Original Screenplay, I don’t really have much to say about it. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m gonna just dive into categories which can feel more like an essay as opposed to a couple of forced complete sentences. Either that or if I feel if it has some sort of relevance to me, that will play into this sort of thing as well.

Next up is a category containing something I often think about, Best Original Score.

  • Alexandre Desplat (The Shape of Water) (WINNER!)
  • Hans Zimmer (Dunkirk)
  • John Williams (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
  • Jonny Greenwood (Phantom Thread)
  • Carter Burwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Before we get into discussion concerning the winner, let’s talk about John Williams. John Williams, without a doubt, is a great composer, and there’s a reason why people love his work. Not only has he done some of the most iconic movie scores of all (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Home Alone, Jaws), but he’s proven to be talented for many many years. Although him being nominated for his work on “The Last Jedi” is just… Bogus. I have seen every single “Star Wars” film scored by John Williams, including the latest one in the franchise, “The Last Jedi.” The movie’s mediocre overall, I admittedly overhyped it when I first saw it, it was a whole thing. When it comes to John Williams, I honestly don’t see how he could have been nominated for an Oscar other than the fact that he’s the one doing the score. You remember the score for “Rogue One?” That one was the only score for a theatrically released “Star Wars” film that isn’t from John Williams. That score, while not recognized all that much for awards, was not only a delight to hear, but a different take on what could qualify as “Star Wars” music. I’ve given some sort of praise to “The Last Jedi” for being different, but one aspect that didn’t feel different was the score. It felt like it just took themes from “The Force Awakens” and other “Star Wars” films and shoved them right into this one. I still remember the climactic scenes and I’m hearing the “March of the Resistance” song and it just felt underwhelming unlike the first couple of times. I like John Williams, I think he’s skilled, but what the hell? There are other scores that weren’t even nominated that could have qualified! “Blade Runner 2049!” “Wonder Woman!” And even though this film wasn’t really that good, I’d be fine with live-action “Ghost in the Shell” because at least various aspects of the movie, such as the music, made it sound like it was trying. “Revenge of the Sith’s” score was never nominated for any Oscars, but if you actually think “The Last Jedi” had a better score than “Revenge of the Sith,” I’m gonna force-choke you. Now onto something that matters.

I wanted “Dunkirk” to win Best Original Score. Although in the end, it turned out to be “The Shape of Water.” And funny enough, the composer for the score in “The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat was originally going to compose the music for the recently mentioned “Rogue One” before that job ultimately went to Michael Giacchino! Desplat has also scored 2014’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which I saw, enjoyed, but can’t say I liked as much other people. You know, kind of like its score. Seriously? It lost to “Interstellar?” You done goof, Academy. I’ll say this is one of those wins, much like a couple of others that really make me interested in checking out “The Shape of Water.” It would be interesting to hear what music related to a woman and fish who wanna f*ck sound like. I thought “Dunkirk” would win for its grand and fast-paced feel, but I guess not. But seriously though, no love for “Blade Runner 2049?”

Speaking of that, let’s talk about the nominees and winner for Best Visual Effects.

  • Blade Runner 2049 (WINNER!)
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • Kong: Skull Island
  • War for the Planet of the Apes
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

From what you can tell, I love “Blade Runner.” I love both the original film and its sequel. An enormous part of me is beyond glad that it won Best Visual Effects. I will say though, I imagine some people have these every once in awhile. They have certain categories in award shows where they don’t care who wins because they think all of them are deserving of the prize. This to me, was one of them. I will say, part of me is shocked that “War for the Planet of the Apes” didn’t win because a lot of people were impressed by that film visually. Interestingly, that was the only film of the five nominees I didn’t watch at the very least in portions. I’ve seen part of “Kong: Skull Island,” and every other film including “Guardians,” “Star Wars,” and “Blade Runner,” were ones I watched from beginning to end. Part of me even wonders how many people are thinking right now that “War for the Planet of the Apes” got snubbed. Nevertheless, I’m happy “Blade Runner 2049” won. If you have not seen “Blade Runner 2049,” you might occasionally drop your jaw at the city of Los Angeles, the fact that they did a clear recreation of Sean Young who played Rachael in the original film, and how much you’ll be immersed that a part of you might end up wanting to jump in this world. If “War for the Planet of the Apes” won, I think it would have been a very much deserved win, but I’m incredibly happy that “Blade Runner 2049” took the cake.

One category that got a number of people talking was Best Film Editing. This is partially because of not only who DID win. But also because of who DIDN’T win. Here are the five films to have been recognized for their achievement here.

  • Dunkirk (WINNER!)
  • The Shape of Water
  • I, Tonya
  • Baby Driver
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

So “Dunkirk” came out on top as you can clearly see, and as someone who has watched the movie, I can understand why it won. It was told in a non-linear fashion, which only made the film a tad more interesting than it already was. Although it’s a Christopher Nolan movie, so this puzzle-like editing isn’t exactly a shocker. One movie that people were surprised didn’t win however was “Baby Driver.” I feel like part of why this didn’t win is because the Academy usually goes after dramatic movies like “Dunkirk” instead of movies that some people would refer to as “less serious” and “fun” like “Baby Driver.” Not only that, but I’m willing to bet part of it has to do with the whole Kevin Spacey scandal that’s been brought to the world’s attention months ago. Granted, this isn’t Kevin Spacey’s nomination specifically, but still. Am I disappointed “Baby Driver” lost to “Dunkirk?” Not really, I think both films are well edited in their own little way. “Dunkirk’s” non-linear fashion makes the movie more of a challenge to watch and ultimately more fun. Although with “Baby Driver,” the editing in that movie has given us some of the best action sequences of the decade. In my review, I praised “Baby Driver” for its thrilling action sequences and how it made me want more of them once one ends. I can see why “Dunkirk” won, but some love for “Baby Driver” would have also been appreciated.

If you remember the nominees for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing, something in particular may have stood out to you.

They’re the same nominees.

Not only that…

THE SAME MOVIE TOOK BOTH AWARDS!

  • Dunkirk (WINNER!)
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Baby Driver
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

One thing I’d like to say about “The Last Jedi.” I actually beg to differ because I think it had 2017’s best LACK OF sound editing or sound mixing. Remember that scene where one ship goes into hyperspace and crashes through another ship in the process? HOLY. F*CKING. S*IT. As much as that movie could have been better, THAT. WAS. AMAZING. While I do think the general editing for “Baby Driver” was praise-worthy to the point where I can’t contain myself, the sound work is basically not a competition anymore when “Dunkirk” steps in the ring. The sound choices were authentic! The audibility was extreme! The immersion provided from all the noise was 100% pure! How can you go wrong with “Dunkirk” in these categories?! “Dunkirk” put me in a war zone, and if you tell me you missed out on seeing this movie in a theater, shame on you.

When it comes to Best Director, this was yet another one of those categories where I was left feeling a lack of a surprise.

  • Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water) (WINNER!)
  • Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird)
  • Jordan Peele (Get Out)
  • Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)
  • Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread)

So… Del Toro won. Doesn’t shock me whatsoever. I don’t know what you may have thought as the one to come out on top, but this was rather predictable to me. And I feel like a big part of it has to do with his presence at other awards shows, how much del Toro’s name has been spoken recently, and also how many Best Director awards I’ve been aware of this film getting thus far. One that really stuck out to me was the Golden Globes, mainly because of Natalie Portman’s “all male nominees” comment, which honestly would have been better left unspoken due to its awkwardness. I wanted Nolan to win, partially because he’s my favorite director, and also because of the excellent job he did on “Dunkirk.” But yeah, you can’t have everything. Although, I will say, something in the same realm as Portman’s Golden Globes utterance occurred. Last year’s winner for Best Actress, Emma Stone (La La Land, Birdman), said this:

“It is the director whose indelible touch is reflected on every frame. It is the director who, shot by shot, scene by scene, day by day, works with every member of the crew to further the story. And it is the vision of the director that takes an ordinary movie and turns it into a work of art. These four men and Greta Gerwig created their own masterpieces this year.”

This was so much better than seeing Natalie Portman onstage and having myself hear what she said. Don’t get me wrong, Portman’s a fine actress. Although let’s take a look at the situation at hand with her. She was standing next to RON HOWARD, someone who has directed a number of films. Films that by the way, are still remembered to this day! Howard even recently directed a film in the “Star Wars” franchise! A franchise which Portman was once a major part of as an actress! The two are talking, they’re about to present the award, and at one point, I hear Portman say…

“And here are the all male nominees.”

Yes, it is true that female directors aren’t usually getting as much attention as males. It is also true, that more males are directing movies as opposed to females. But to literally shame a director just because they have a penis, is just unbelievably ridiculous. How do you think del Toro felt taking that award home? I imagine he felt happy because he won, but seriously, he won after being accused of simply being a man. Emma Stone on the other hand, didn’t exactly make an awkward joke and instead quickly stated some words before moving on. It’s actually kinda funny. It was presented in a setting and manner that didn’t have a forced vibe, and I don’t have any feelings of cringe to describe to you. This comment, while it does point out the lack of women in the director’s chair when it comes to filmmaking, doesn’t feel like something that a man should be ashamed of hearing. Because for one thing, it mentions a woman got nominated. Also because it’s still technically a comment of praise. Literally pointing out that nominees are male the way Natalie Portman did almost feels like a comment meant to point out disdain towards the potential winners. Just look at the difference between the tone, delivery, and choice of words between the two people. Just look and see what I mean!

Speaking of women making achievements, one of them was involved in Best Cinematography… Although to me, that’s not even CLOSE to the best part of this category. The best part, is who finally f*cking won, after FOURTEEN nominations.

  • Roger Deakins (Blade Runner 2049) (WINNER!)
  • Hoyte Van Hoytema (Dunkirk)
  • Rachel Morrison (Mudbound)
  • Bruno Delbonnel (Darkest Hour)
  • Dan Laustsen (The Shape of Water)

Best Cinematography. Sounds like a category that some people don’t care about. In reality, when it comes to filmmaking, I’m a writer. If there’s one thing I’m not, it’s a cinematographer. Although more than one name for me stood out on this list. You’ve got Hoyte Van Hoytema, who has to proven to be a great cinematographer with not just “Dunkirk” as a notable achievement, but also “Interstellar” and “Spectre.” I really admired “Dunkirk” when I saw it partially because of how well done the camerawork itself was presented from an immersion perspective, but also the fact that it was shot on mostly IMAX footage. If you didn’t go see this film in an IMAX theater, especially one with laser projection or 15/70mm projection, you may have just missed out on a one of a kind experience.

Another standout to me was “Mudbound,” and part of me thought the Academy was going to pick the cinematographer for that movie, Rachel Morrison. For the record, she was the first woman ever nominated for the award in all ninety of the Academy Awards shows. I’ll mention once again, I refuse to call “Mudbound” a movie. I have nothing against Rachel Morrison, I just have a problem with Netflix. I’d be rooting for Morrison more if she was given a movie that doesn’t associate with a company which will make me always say, as pervy as it may sound, “I’ll just take chill,” when asked the common meme-worthy question “Netflix and chill?.”

Then we have “Blade Runner 2049.” My runner-up for my favorite movies of 2017 list for a gigantic number of reasons. And speaking of gigantic numbers, let’s talk about the number 14. OK, in some realms it’s not really that huge, but you’ll see my point. Roger Deakins was the director of photography for “Blade Runner 2049.” And I imagine when some people heard his name, they got excited. Chances are, if these people have followed Deakins’ work, it might not be the first time they got excited about something like this. I can’t exactly relate, but having seen Deakins’ work in movies like “Skyfall,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Hail, Caesar!,” and “No Country For Old Men,” I agree with others when they say he’s one of the greats when it comes to cinematographers. Once again, the guy has been nominated for Best Cinematography by the Academy, FOURTEEN TIMES. Here is a list of all the times other than the one of focus when he’s been nominated. Note that the year listed is the year the film he shot came out and not the year he was nominated.

  • The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
  • Fargo (1996)
  • Kundun (1997)
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
  • The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)
  • No Country For Old Men (2007)
  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
  • The Reader (2008) (shared with Chris Menges)
  • True Grit (2010)
  • Skyfall (2012)
  • Prisoners (2013)
  • Unbroken (2014)
  • Sicario (2015)

What happened to Deakins when he was nominated those thirteen times? Well, that can be explained in a video by TIFF Originals that starts off with the statement: “Roger Deakins is a loser.” The video is called “Roger Deakins’ 13 Oscar Losses.”

After watching this video if you have done so, you probably got a thought on your mind, and it may have been “Roger Deakins is a f*cking loser.” I’ll be fair and say some of the competition he had were deserving of their awards, take “Gravity” for example. Although this year with “Blade Runner 2049,” I only thought Roger was deserving of HIS Oscar. We get to the big moment. I see Sandra Bullock holding an envelope with “CINEMATOGRAPHY” labeled on it. She says some words before introducing the nominees, and when they are introduced. I just thought this was gonna be a year where the Academy doesn’t give him the award and just gives an award to Rachel Morrison just because she has a vagina. Again, I have nothing against Rachel Morrison. She actually did the cinematography for “Black Panther” which was such a treat. It came out really well! I imagine she’s a very nice lady, but I was rooting for Roger. I’ll admit, I’m not that religious. My main philosophy is to be a nice person, I am however not that religious. But as the nominees were introduced, I had my hands, containing all sorts of cells, interlinked. I WAS PRAYING. People were cheering for Morrison, and the others seemed to get some applause, but I heard more for Morrison than anyone else. So they’re introduced, and it’s time. Sandra Bullock still has the envelope in her hand, and she says this as she quickly opens it for the result:

“And the Oscar goes to, Roger A. Deakins (crowd erupts in a roar), “Blade Runner 2049.”

My reaction to that can be described in many ways. Part of me wished I had fireworks to set off after that win! Part of me wanted to go around the house doing cartwheels after the win! Part of me wanted to find some confetti to throw around after that win! My reaction, quite possibly woke up my mother and sister. I might as well have been a young teenage girl at her favorite boy band’s concert! I might as well have been at an event where I find out my kid in school won student of the year! I might as well have been a Chicago Cubs fan at the end of the 2016 World Series, where they finally had a victory after years and years trying to get it. People may say that Leonardo DiCaprio waited a bit to get his Oscar, which I’ll say, when he won it, I kind of wanted Matt Damon to take it, but that’s just me. Although for Leo, he won it on his FIFTH nomination. When you’re nominated THIRTEEN times, it’s almost like you’ll be that one person who gets a nomination, but that’s all. What if Meryl Streep never won a single Oscar? All of her wins, “Kramer vs. Kramer,” “Sophie’s Choice,” “The Iron Lady,” they never happened. Streep received her TWENTY-FIRST nomination for a role she did just last year in “The Post.” I can imagine the crowd roaring like a bunch of T-Rexes in an argument if that turned out to be her first win. Let’s take another example, because why the hell not? Imagine the New York Yankees. Some people don’t like the New York Yankees because they always win. But they’ve been in 40 World Series Championships. Imagine all their titles where they were victorious, all gone. The 40th appearance is the charm. That’s how I feel about Deakins here, the fourteenth time’s the charm. I can wholeheartedly approve of Deakins winning not just because it took forever and a half to happen, but just look at these shots and tell me they actually look terrible. I dare y’all!

Nice shot now isn’t it?

Take a gander at this beauty.

Look at this bad boy and tell me it sucks. I’ll wait.

Is it just me or does this define the meaning of life?

This shot screams something that in some worlds, would qualify as one word. Fan-freakin’-tastic.

LOOK AT THIS SHOT!

LOOK AT THIS F*CKING SHOT!

LOOK AT THIS MOTHERF*CKING SHOT! NO! SERIOUSLY! THIS IS THE DEFINITION OF PERFECTION! THIS IS A F*CKING MASTERPIECE! I’M GOING F*CKING INSANE!

My point is made. Roger Deakins’ victory, to me, may be one of the most deserved Academy Award wins in history. THANK GOSH! So many people can sleep now and have less dreams and concerning nightmares!

And now, as mentioned, we won’t get through every single topic listed for the Academy Awards today, but here’s one that people look back on years and years from now, Best Picture. Before we get into that, you may remember the whole “La La Land” and “Moonlight” mishap from last year? Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway come up onstage to present the award, they state the nominees, they’re looking at the card, and somehow awkwardness ensues. Suddenly, Dunaway announces “La La Land” won Best Picture, but the two had the wrong card. Celebration ignites! Cheering be heard all over the Dolby Theatre, and a moment later, Jordan Horowitz, a producer behind “La La Land” is onstage and he states “Moonlight” won Best Picture. He even showed the card! Turns out Beatty and Dunaway were handed the wrong envelope. So… What happens now? What idea could be better than bringing Beatty and Dunaway back? Jimmy Kimmel had some fun before diving into the nominees. “We’re in the home stretch. Nothing could possibly go wrong from here. Here, on the 51st anniversary of Bonnie and Clyde, are Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.” They come out, Beatty says, “We’re glad to see you all again.” Dunaway adds, “As they say, presenting is lovelier the second time around.” The two continue speaking, eventually arriving at the point where they announce the nominees and the winner. By the way, they had the correct envelope this time. Here are the movies that have been nominated for Best Picture!

  • The Shape of Water (WINNER!)
  • Dunkirk
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • The Post
  • Lady Bird
  • Get Out
  • Darkest Hour
  • Call Me by Your Name
  • Phantom Thread

In my prediction post leading up to the Oscars, I said this was gonna be a close race to the finish between “Lady Bird,” “Dunkirk,” “The Shape of Water,” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” I will say however for “Lady Bird,” that kind of changed throughout the night because it was nominated for five awards during the show, but the four that were already presented were all losses on their end. For “Dunkirk,” I thought it had a solid chance. The Academy seemed to give a lot of praise towards this film and it already won a few Oscars throughout the night. For “Three Billboards,” I figured it could win solely because it won Best Motion Picture- Drama at the Golden Globes. It also made a sweep at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. And it was nominated for a ton of Oscars beforehand, and it ended up taking home two before getting as far as Best Picture. Although if there was one I “knew” was going to win, it was going to be a movie with thirteen nominations including Best Picture. It was going to be a movie that already took home a few awards. It was going to be a movie praised by many critics and average moviegoers alike. It was going to be… “The Shape of Water.”

…And it won.

I have nothing in particular against “The Shape of Water.” From what I’ve seen in promotional material, it’s very good from a visual perspective, but I haven’t watched the movie so I can’t really say much else. Funny enough, I take a film studies class in my school, and my teacher actually asked if anyone in our class has actually seen “The Shape of Water.” Once asked, the class pretty much unanimously declined to put our hands up. I wanted “Dunkirk” to win. But hey, it’s already got some well deserved awards, especially in the sound categories. Also, remember, Roger Deakins won. So I was beyond satisfied. Although if “Blade Runner 2049” were nominated for Best Picture, you’d know I’d choose it. Or “Colossal,” that was my #1 movie of last year. Although I can understand why it’s not exactly been nominated for anything. But seriously, check that movie out if you can! It’s on several streaming services as we speak! So congrats to “The Shape of Water” and its crew. That movie is actually going to be out on home video in a number of days, so maybe I’ll watch it very soon!

Guys, that’s all I have to say for the 90th Academy Awards! It was personally a great show on my end. All of the commentary for the most part, wasn’t all that awkward. I may be in the minority, but the monologue between Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip, The Carmichael Show) and Maya Rudolph (Big Hero 6, Bridesmaids), despite how it’s on a topic regarding issues I can side with, just came off as something that would belong in a one of those “SNL” sketches that gets shoved in there when the writers have nothing else that they can come up with. It took a topic that I would, could, and should agree on, and it just sullies it. I imagine both Rudolph and Haddish are pleasant people, and I’M SORRY that Rudolph had to suffer through “The Emoji Movie,” but this just felt weird to watch. But other than that, it was one of the greatest nights ever. I’ve spent some time watching people react to their favorite team winning the Super Bowl on YouTube before, and when it comes to Best Cinematography, that’s legit how I felt. My team won the Oscars, which is MY Super Bowl. Congratulations to everyone who has been nominated and has won awards, I’m looking forward to seeing who will be in the 91st Academy Awards show, and finally. Finally. FINALLY! I can now call one of the world’s greatest cinematographers, Oscar-winning Roger Deakins. I’d like to thank the Academy for making that happen.

Thanks for reading this very long post! Pretty soon I’m gonna have my review for “Annihilation” up for you all to read, and if you are wondering, I don’t live in one of the countries where you have to use Netflix in order to watch it so if that were the case, I wouldn’t have seen the film. Also, stay tuned for my Tom Cruise “Mission: Impossible” review series which will have its first entry up this month. Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you watch the Academy Awards? What are your thoughts? Did your picks win? Did they lose? Is there someone you really wanted to win or lose? Did you make any bets? Have you decided to check out any movies after watching the show? Let me know all of that info for an unofficial possible nomination for Best Comment. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“Hey thank you, thank you. I better say something or else they’ll give me a jet ski and I don’t see myself on a jet ski somehow. I want to share this with my wife of 27 years, James, whatever. I want to share it with Andrew, Broderick, and Denis Villeneuve. Y’know I really love my job, I’ve been doing it for a long time as you can see. But y’know one of the reasons I really love it is the people I work with. Both in front of the camera and behind the camera. Some of my crew on “Blade Runner,” I’ve been working with for over thirty years. And others-others I met for the first time in Budapest. And this is for every one of them. Every one of them. In fact, I gotta say, it’s for us, because it was a team. It was really team- a team effort. Thank you. Thank you very much.” –Roger A. Deakins

Annihilation (2018): NOT Now In Theaters Everywhere. Will I See/Review It?

mv5bmtk2mjc2nzyxnl5bml5banbnxkftztgwmta2ota1ndm-_v1_sy1000_cr006401000_al_

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Before we go any further with this current post, I made a promise to someone recently. Her name is Genevieve. If you have followed my blog or know me in real life, you’d know that I’m a tremendous fan of “King of the Nerds.” I don’t watch much reality TV, but that show shaped my life. Genevieve was on that show as a contestant, and she even worked on it after she appeared on camera. Since she was a part of something that altered my life for the better, I’ll return the favor by… well… letting you know about her own life. Genevieve and her husband, Paul, are having a baby. The journey to get there, provided a level of irritation that you probably couldn’t imagine unless you were in their position… is all explained… in “What the IVF?.”

As mentioned, “What the IVF?” focuses on the recently stated couple, Genevieve and Paul, who make a two year journey through Painsylvania just to have a baby. This will be a series on YouTube where the couple document their way through various struggles, such as sex, tests, math (can’t wait to see what formulas there are when it comes to having a baby), costs, and ahh! The needles! Get them away! For those of you who are actually reading this post not long after it got published and want to know how you can watch it, I’ve got some news, you can’t. I’m sorry, there is positively no way you’re allowed to watch this, there’s no absolute way you can even hack the system to allow yourself to view this content. I’m sorry, this promotion is completely pointless, and I shouldn’t have done it.

*VOICE IN BACKGROUD*

Wait, what’s that?

*VOICE CONTINUES*

It’s not even out yet? What a revelation!

*VOICE SPEAKS*

Oops! I mean, what a thing that I previously knew that also happens to be a revelation!

“What the IVF?,” or if you’re a mega acronym enthusiast, “WTIVF?,” is gonna have its first episode uploaded on March 5th, be sure to stay tuned, so you can enjoy the unfortunate hardships and the wonderful successes between Paul and Genevieve. If you want to watch the trailer for this, the video’s located up above. Also be sure to click the links to their website, their YouTube, their Facebook, their Twitter, their Instagram, all those links are down below, make the couple happy, and if you want, tell em I sent ya over!

WTIVF? WEBSITE: http://www.whattheivf.com/

WTIVF? YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCILXSidkzWgwrQ5Oa1py78w/featured?disable_polymer=1

WTIVF? TWITTER: https://twitter.com/WTivF

WTIVF? INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/wtivf/

WTIVF? FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/What-The-IVF-288868031634125/

If you have followed this blog recently, chances are that one of my recent posts may have caught your eye. That post goes by the name “Why I Won’t Review “The Cloverfield Paradox (2018).”” In that post I explain that I have seen “Cloverfield” and “10 Cloverfield Lane.” I enjoyed both movies and I even reviewed “10 Cloverfield Lane” since it was 2016 and I figured I’d talk about a recently released title (by that I mean a title released in what was then the current year). But the one thing holding “The Cloverfield Paradox” back for me, despite its clever marketing, the fact that it’s a another “Cloverfield” movie, and it being a film that looked good from the spots I saw on TV, is where it was placed. Specifically, Netflix. I said I refused to review the movie simply because of where it was placed. With some exceptions (mainly “Sharknado” films), I only review movies released in theaters. Not to mention, I despise Netflix mainly because of what they’re doing to video rental stores like Blockbuster, what they’re doing to physical media, and what they’re doing to movie theaters. Netflix is a streaming service, and while I do happen to use Amazon Video and Crackle from time to time, I much prefer watching movies on physical media. Also, for a company that’s known for making effective content that doesn’t belong on a time slot a “straight to TV” film could take, why aren’t they putting their movies in theaters? And apparently people aren’t even caring, because the movie’s right there in front of them. They don’t have to get off the couch and head to the theater. Heck, they might not even be watching the film on a TV, maybe a phone!

Weeks later, another movie comes out, named “Annihilation.” This has nothing to do with “Cloverfield.” If you watch this movie and think to yourself, “Wow! That was a good “Cloverfield” movie,” just do the world a favor. Either seek some help, or if you SOMEHOW manage to have a movie buff card, turn it in. This movie has recently been released all over the world and people are loving it, calling it a masterpiece, a tour de force, a movie that’s not a sibling to something such as “Batman & Robin.” How is it to me? I don’t know, I didn’t see it. My first memory of hearing about “Annihilation” was when I went to see “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” on opening night. One of the trailers that played was for “Annihilation” and I was pretty freaking stoked simply because of one guy. And that guy… is Alex Garland.

If you don’t know who Alex Garland is, he’s the director of a film that despite how I have praise for it, I don’t really think I have as much praise for it as other people do, but I still think it’s amazing nonetheless. That film by the way is “Ex Machina,” a beautiful looking film about a guy (Domnhall Gleeson) who is flown into this man’s (Oscar Isaac) house. While he is there, he is observing the owner’s work, specifically his AI. From there, it’s a well written, well directed, visually appealing film. From seeing promotional material for “Annihilation,” I didn’t exactly know entirely what to expect, although I thought the movie was gonna be sick, and much like “Ex Machina,” it would be like walking through an art museum at times. Although once I found out something that shocked me harder than electricity, I questioned whether or not this movie was really worth seeing. That something, involved Netflix.

I can’t recall exactly when the first instance happened to be when I saw the name Netflix somewhere in association with “Annihilation,” but still, it doesn’t leave out the fact that a part of me panicked. I wondered whether or not I would need to rethink my decision to go see “Annihilation.” My thoughts on going to see “Annihilation” could have been, well, you know, annihilated. I even told everyone on this blog in the past that I had an “Annihilation” review planned sometime in the future so this would end up being a broken promise depending on the decision I had to make. And that decision was, should I watch the movie? Let me tell you the whole story.

This movie was being released by Paramount Pictures, and it still is, but a deal was struck with Netflix on December 7, 2017. Why? There was a test screening for “Annihilation” and a Paramount financier who goes by the name David Ellison, wanted changes made to the film because he was concerned that it was “too intellectual” and “too complicated.” Garland didn’t approve of any sort of alteration, and a Paramount producer known as Scott Rudin sided with him. The two clashed and this eventually resulted in what exactly cannot be called a total loss in distribution rights, but it’s more of a partial removal than anything else. While Paramount was still set to release the film theatrically in the US and China, those were to be the only two areas they were going to release the movie in that fashion. Netflix would handle the rest of the distribution in other areas and it would go out on their streaming service seventeen days after the film’s theatrical release by Paramount. Alex Garland represented his personal disappointment about this, as shown below.

“We made the film for cinema. I’ve got no problem with the small screen at all. The best genre piece I’ve seen in a long time was “The Handmaid’s Tale”, so I think there’s incredible potential within that context, but if you’re doing that – you make it for that and you think of it in those terms. Look… it is what it is. The film is getting a theatrical release in the States, which I’m really pleased about. One of the big pluses of Netflix is that it goes out to a lot of people and you don’t have that strange opening weekend thing where you’re wondering if anyone is going to turn up and then if they don’t, it vanishes from cinema screens in two weeks. So it’s got pluses and minuses, but from my point of view and the collective of the people who made it – [it was made] to be seen on a big screen.”

Personally, I side with Garland for a number of reasons.

As someone who is such an advocate for movie theaters, I know, sounds political, I don’t care, it rolls off the tongue. I can totally see this as a film that can come off as a success in the theater. I know various films based on books and other material have been released in mediums that aren’t theatrical. Although my view is this, if you want more money, release your film in the theater. Sure, I sound like a greedy moron, but in reality I’m just stating the truth. You’re paying a good amount of money for what perhaps could be an exhilarating experience. In some places, it’s cheaper than others, but it’s usually pricey. If you actually want to watch your movie on your phone instead of in the theater, you’re either a millennial or you don’t know what you’re missing. Also, if it adds anything, I’m a millennial.

Also, what I don’t understand is the request to change the movie to be simpler. Yes, I don’t mind simple movies. Anything, even Emojis, can make a great movie, no matter how simple or complex it is. It depends on how it’s written, directed, etc. With that being said, it’s obvious that Alex Garland had a vision of how this would turn out. Maybe it’s not just Garland, but since this movie’s based on a book written by Jeff VanderMeer, maybe he had a vision too. If the book was complex for a lot of people, I can’t say it is or isn’t, I never read it, I don’t know. It has occurred to me recently how much I appreciate it when studios don’t interfere with films. I mean, look what happened to “Risky Business!” While it’s a near-perfect film, if they kept the original ending, I would have given the film a minor boost in terms of likability. But no, Warner Brothers just had to get in the way! Also, another thing, experience has taught many people that movies that have complex layers, make people think, or take their time at telling a story are artistically well done pieces of work that turned out to be absolute masterpieces. Why do you think people are still talking about movies like “Inception” to this day?

While I didn’t fully form my opinion for “Annihilation” due to my lack of seeing the movie, I know a guy wo did. That guy, is freaking Jeff VanderMeer, who as mentioned, is the author of the book this movie’s based on! According to Collider, after VanderMeer witnessed “Annihilation,” around nine months prior to the film’s release, he said it was “extremely horrific” and “mind-blowing.” Here’s an actual quote from the author.

“It’s actually more surreal than the novel. There are a couple places where I was like, ‘I might need an anchor here.’ The ending is so mind-blowing and in some ways different from the book that it seems to be the kind of ending that, like “2001” or something like that, people will be talking about around the watercooler for years… Visually, it’s amazing. I must say that and that’s all I probably should say.”

Let me just say, I can understand a director getting mad or disappointed over having to change something that they might perhaps be proud of due to studio interference, but this is actually extremely horrific, and not the kind VanderMeer thought of. When the author of a book sees their own story on screen done by somebody else, praises it to the tenth degree, and even calls it better in various aspects, you better respect that author! Yes, it’s Alex Garland’s movie, but you got to remember, this was also Jeff VanderMeer’s book! Let the two have their way!

Although then again, Stephen King hated the movie adaptation of “The Shining” and there’s evidence of Rohld Dahl disapproving of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and yet those are considered absolute classics so what do I know really? It all comes down to personal taste, but when there is LITERAL CONCRETE EVIDENCE of an original storyteller adoring a piece of work which happens to be an adaptation of their story, other people BETTER KEEP THEIR STINKING PAWS OFF! You know, kind of like how I said Netflix should have kept their paws off “God Partic– err I mean “The Cloverfield Paradox.”

I said in “Why I Won’t Review The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)” that my reason behind what the title suggests has to do with Netflix and my personal disconnect with the company. I can’t imagine myself reviewing a Netflix movie. I can’t imagine myself passionately looking at trailers for Netflix movies. I can’t even imagine myself watching a Netflix movie. But here’s the thing about “Annihilation…”

I ALSO said in “Why I Won’t Review The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)” that Netflix doesn’t release movies in theaters. I might not be serious about this, but I said I’d probably get rid of my Netflix boycott if they start putting films in theaters And while Netflix is keeping this like their other films and keeping it away from theaters, Paramount isn’t. And as far as my country (USA) is concerned, we’re getting it theatrically released here. So, to answer the question, will I see the movie? Yes I will!

Well… Maybe… If I get the opportunity.

I’m really looking forward to “Annihilation.” I never read the book it’s based on, I don’t know if I will, but this movie looks like a great sci-fi film! I said before, I loved Alex Garland’s work on “Ex Machina,” and who knows? Maybe this movie will be even better. Yes, from what I heard from a racial perspective, the characters apparently aren’t accurately presented, but that’s a topic I might touch on a little more if I a post a review for this movie. So yes, “Annihilation,” you’re not on my enemy list. Thanks for reading this post, pretty soon I’ll hopefully have a review up for “Annihilation” as mentioned before, but I also might go see “Game Night” in the near future, and who knows, maybe I’ll go see “Red Sparrow” if the opportunity comes up.

Also I want to make an announcement, I’m not exactly sure when I’ll start this, but I can tell you it is happening at some point, I’ll be doing a series of “Mission: Impossible” reviews. I don’t have exact dates planned out for each one, because I’m not exactly what you call a schedule follower, I can tell you my plans are to do one “Mission: Impossible” film per month and these are going to be all the Tom Cruise installments. In March I’m gonna be doing “Mission: Impossible” from 1996. In April I’m gonna be doing “Mission: Impossible II.” I’m gonna follow up from that in May with “Mission: Impossible III.” I’ll then continue on in June with “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol.” And I’ll conclude the series in July with “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation.” This is all being done in preparation for “Mission: Impossible: Fallout,” which is due to come out in theaters July 27 of this year. Stay tuned for those reviews, should you choose to accept them. Also, stay tuned for other great content as well! I want to know, what are your thoughts on this Paramount/Netflix deal? Do you think it’s a good idea? Also, since it’s still somewhat relevant, what are your thoughts on “The Cloverfield Paradox?” Did you see it? I know some people weren’t exactly satisfied with it, but I want to know if you’re in that territory or somewhere else! Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

75th Golden Globes and Gender Equality: What Does It Equal?

mv5bnjm2ndq0odm0of5bml5banbnxkftztgwndi3nte0ndm-_v1_sy1000_cr007561000_al_

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! On January 7th, 2018 the “75th Golden Globes” was held. Seventy-five, undoubtedly, is a big number for any event, however this felt like other “Golden Globes” shows I watched with a 75 shoved in the title. Although based on my experience, it wasn’t as pleasant to watch. Nevertheless, it happened. Strange things occurred when it comes to the show. No, that’s not a “Stranger Things” pun, even though the show had a nomination. Apparently “The Boss Baby” was GOOD ENOUGH to be nominated for Best Animated Feature Film. As for one of the winners, specifically James Franco (The Disaster Artist), who won Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, which in my opinion is incredibly deserved, he allowed Tommy Wiseau, the person who may be most responsible for his film, to come onstage as he was thanking him. As Wiseau came up, he tried to take the mic, but Franco pushed him out of the way. To be fair, Franco had limited time to speak so this was rather understandable. However it still comes off as either rude or weird. I don’t know, make your pick.

For those who were wondering what Tommy would have said, he went on KTLA 5, a local news network out of Los Angeles, CA. While he was on the program, he was promoting his disasterpiece, “The Room,” saying it’ll be back in cinemas for one night only, specifically Wednesday, January 10th. This technically means that “The Room” has a quality that associates with a lot of bad movies, despite how this is technically a rerelease, you can now say “The Room” released in January! During the promotion, the whole push incident was brought up. Tommy explained what he would have said if he actually had the mic. “If a lot of people love each other, the world would be a better place to live, and I’d say I’m making dream, it’s alive, it’s real, and again I’m very proud of “The Room,” etc. That’s it, that’s all I want to say. Nice thing. But somebody was like naaaaw, you cannot do that.” Out of all the things that were prominent at the Golden Globes this year, it was the message to not sexually harass and the promotion of the #MeToo movement.

The #MeToo movement was popularized in October 2017 when word was getting out that apparently a lot of men in Hollywood happened to be perverts. Such people included Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, Ben Affleck, Danny Masterson, Brett Ratner, and Bryan Singer. I think this movement is a good way to say that you shouldn’t sexually abuse others against their will.

When it comes to a lot of award shows I watch, I notice that they always touch upon certain social issues. As this occurs, people give their thoughts on the issue and I have nothing against it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, there’s nothing wrong with having an opinion on anything. Unless of course you actually enjoyed “The Emoji Movie.” This year, the Me Too movement was extremely prominent. Almost everyone was wearing black. Not just women, but men too. A lot of women mentioned something along the lines of sexual harassment and how awful it is in their acceptance speech, Oprah Winfrey was given the Cecil B. DeMille award, which lead to an extended speech about sexual harassment, how “time is up,” and letting women know that they shouldn’t have to worry about the concept as much in the future now that all of the #MeToo stuff is happening. The #MeToo movement from my personal point of view is a very positive movement. However, the question I have is, is it completely justified or executed in a proper manner?

On one hand, I’d say it’s absolutely justified, sexual harassment is a serious issue. I’m well aware it’s usually the men who give the harassment and the women who receive the harassment, and I’m proud of all these women coming out and telling the hidden secrets behind all of the perversion they’ve received over the years. There are times however during this Golden Globes event where I think the events surrounding it went a little too far.

As mentioned earlier, almost everyone who attended the Golden Globes wore black. When it comes to the people who didn’t, one standout is Blanca Blanco. Yes, that’s her real name. Blanca Blanco is an actress who appeared in movies such as “Teen Star Academy” and “Fake News.” So in other words, you probably don’t care about what she’s done career-wise. Blanco showed up to the event wearing a red dress, which eventually lead to loads of flak. She made an exclusive statement to Refinery29, an American digital media company whose target audience is young women, and she had this to say:

“I love red. Wearing red does not mean I’m against #timesup movement. I applaud and stand by the courageous actresses that continue to brake the circle of abuse through their actions and their style choice. It is one of many factors leading women to a safer place because of their status in the acting world. I am excited about the ‘Time’s UP’ movement because true change is long overdue.”

By the way, me spelling “brake” is not an error, that’s how Blanco wrote her statement.

Up above is a photo of Blanco in her red dress, and this is when the controversy first started. A number of people think the dress is fine example of stupidity that disgraces the #MeToo movement whereas others think its just a nice looking dress that stands out. I’m on the side that doesn’t exactly care about the dress color. It’s extremely elegant and presentable as a dress, and it doesn’t matter whether its red or black or violet! Although rainbow colors would be a little weird for it according to my imagination. Blanca Blanco is that one person who shows up at the photo studio for a family photo who didn’t wear the same outfit, and I don’t care! By the way, why do outfits always have to match for family photos? That’s so odd! If I ever shown up to an event such as the Golden Globes, I would try to look nice, but in the end, color isn’t something that should necessarily be non-optional for its attendees. You can do it to show your support for a movement, but just because someone doesn’t wear a certain color, it doesn’t mean they don’t support a movement. What was it that Blanca Blanco said in that statement?

“I love red.”

You go girl! Also, what amazes me about this is how women’s rights are still an issue today, and everyone is kind of saying that this woman doesn’t have the right to wear red. By the way, I’ll have Blanca Blanco remind you something.

No red-shaming!

Next up, we’re gonna talk about Natalie Portman, or as I like to call her, one of the two people in a romantic relationship that had no chemistry in “Star Wars Episode II.” She’s a fine actress, but from a script perspective her character just didn’t work. During hear appearance at the Golden Globes, she went onstage alongside Ron Howard, and before going any further. Look at Natalie’s smile! She looks like she went into an orphanage, stayed awhile, and had a nice meal. And by a nice meal, I mean she ate all of the children! While the two were onstage, they were presenting the nominees and winner for Best Director. Natalie had one thing to say before the nominees were presented. She said, “And here are the all male nominees.” Best Director had five nominees, all of which were male. They are Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Steven Spielberg (The Post), Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri), Ridley Scott (All the Money in the World), and Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water). Let me just say that all of these from what I heard were completely justifiable nominees, and I can somewhat understand people complaining that Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) or Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman) didn’t get nominated. However, I don’t really find this joke funny. For one thing, it’s kind of forced and comes off as cringeworthy. Another thing I don’t like about it is that it’s basically shaming talented people, just because they’re men. Yes, you can technically say that the nominators are to blame here, but in reality, it doesn’t change the fact that you’re accusing them for nominating people and what they did was wrong because they have something that they can’t alter! Well, unless you get a procedure done. Not to mention, Portman was standing next to Ron Howard, a male director. Do I find the jab offensive? Not really. It’s just something that shouldn’t have been said. This may be a night to promote gender equality, but it’s also a night to celebrate achievement in film. And yes, more female directors would be nice, but it’s a female’s choice on whether or not she directs a movie just like how it’s a male’s choice. As much as I would love to see more great movies directed by women, I ultimately just want to see terrific movies directed by PEOPLE. Speaking of women and men, let’s talk about how the show opened.

Seth Meyers kicked the night off by walking onstage, and before he introduces himself with his full name, he says to everyone, “Good evening ladies and remaining gentlemen.” Having heard that, not only is that clever, but also hilarious. The monologue continues and eventually arrives at a point where Seth does a bit that he does on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” called Jokes Seth Can’t Tell, but every single joke is coming from a Hollywood star in the Golden Globe audience. I can’t really say I laughed all that much, even though it was nice hearing Jessica Chastain’s voice. At one point, we get to Amy Poehler, who I can’t really say makes terrible decisions in the business given that she played Joy in “Inside Out,” but hearing her talk here made me think I was watching “Ghostbusters” 2016. I’m not against feminist values, but she’s just forcing this “mansplaining” joke, if you can call it a joke, down everyone’s throat. It just felt like an awkward comedy or a really horrible “SNL” sketch.

Also, I want to say, Barbra Streisand (Yentl, The Guilt Trip) showed up at the event, and when she went onstage, this happened to be towards the end of the show. This was some time after Oprah Winfrey accepted her Cecil B. DeMille award. I must say, out of everyone who appeared and spoke at the event, she probably had the speech that will be recalled most out of them all. When Oprah exclaimed “Their time is up,” that put my brain into remembrance mode. So when Streisand shows up onstage later, she reminds everyone that time’s up, she was the first and only female director to win Best Director at a Golden Globes event, and that we need more female directors, not to mention more nominated female directors. I’m gonna say the same thing I said about Natalie Portman. People should make great movies, not just women. And I’m also gonna say this, just let the people nominated have their night. Much like Natalie’s jab, I don’t find anything Streisand is saying offensive. In fact, she does make a good point, we do need more competent movies from female directors. Although in reality, movies are movies, and people are people. I don’t care who directed the movie, as long as it’s not Anthony Ferrante (Sharknado 1-5). In the end, I just think what she’s saying is somewhat disrespectful at this time and place. If all the Best Director nominees were objectively terrible, let’s just say the nominees were Michael Bay (Transformers: The Last Knight), Paul W.S Anderson (Resident Evil: The Final Chapter), Peter Chelsom (The Space Between Us), Tomas Alfredson (The Snowman), and Dean Devlin (Geostorm), then I’d understand. However, all the nominees probably deserved some respect based on how well received their films happened to be. I seriously want to know, when you watch “America’s Got Talent,” does the host, AKA the one who presents all the winners and people going through to the next round, say something like “We need more variety winners?” No they don’t! I’m not against Oprah Winfrey’s speech whatsoever because it was mainly about ending abuse. Not nominating many female directors isn’t abuse, it’s just not considering people in a certain category. Also, I must say, at least Natalie Portman’s comment, while perhaps forced, was an attempt to make people laugh. Streisand’s comment just felt like it was rushed and it literally had no impact other than simply existing. With the exception of a gender swap, there is probably no other way a man can change exactly who they are. They’re a man, they can’t control that, just as how women can’t control being a woman. I’m not against the idea of nominating more female directors and having them win, but I’m against the idea of women literally having to insult boys for being boys. PLEASE DON’T TAKE THOSE LAST FOUR WORDS THE WRONG WAY.

There are so many people who gave this Golden Globes event a 1 on IMDb, and I can see why. I wouldn’t say it’s a 1/10 show, there are some good moments, it’s just that a chunk of the stuff about Time’s Up came off as forced despite being a positive movement, much like the #MeToo movement. You can share ideas, but there’s a fine line between sharing ideas and forcing them. Sharing them was done with Seth’s introduction line, forcing them was done with Natalie Portman as she presented the Best Director nominees. Next year, let’s try sharing and see how that pans out. Thanks for reading this post, I just want everyone to know that next week I will have my review up for “Molly’s Game,” I’m going to see it next Monday, so I’ll either get the review up by the end of the day or on Tuesday. Also, on Thursday, January 18th, I’m going to be starting my review series for the “Maze Runner” movies, starting with the first installment, simply referred to as “The Maze Runner.” This is being done because the third movie in the series, “Maze Runner: Death Cure,” will be releasing January 26th, and I figured I’d review the first two “Maze Runner” films in preparation for the third installment. Stay tuned for those reviews, and look forward to more great content! Did you watch the 75th Golden Globes show? What did you think? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say “Me too” again.” -Oprah Winfrey

Thor: The Dark World (2013): Why Is Kat Dennings In This Movie? *SPOILERS*

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! This week is a pretty big week for movies as far as this year goes because “Thor: Ragnarok” comes out this Friday, November 3. If you have seen my reviews for the other films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be released this year, you may know I wasn’t a huge fan of those. Hopefully things will turn around with “Thor: Ragnarok,” but only time will tell. Although before I go see “Thor: Ragnarok,” I wanted to go back, watch the other “Thor” movies the MCU has to offer, and review them here. Last week, I reviewed the movie with Thor’s first MCU appearance, “Thor.” This week, we’ll be looking at the sequel, which is “Thor: The Dark World.” So let’s get going people!

mv5bngizm2ixmdetnjrioc00y2zllwe5ztytzwq3yzu1otvhmgqwxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymzexmty0mju-_v1_

“Thor: The Dark World” is directed by Alan Taylor, who directed various episodes of TV shows including “The Sopranos” and “Game of Thrones.” The movie stars Chris Hemsworth (Star Trek, Rush), Natalie Portman (V For Vendetta, Black Swan), Tom Hiddleston (Midnight in Paris, War Horse), Anthony Hopkins (Beowulf, Hannibal), and Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who, G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra). When it comes to the story of the film, Dr. Jane Foster, who you may remember as the love interest to Thor if you’ve seen the first movie, has been cursed by an entity known as the Aether. Thor is also heralded by a cosmic event called the Convergence, which is simpler of way saying that nine realms will collide with each other.

As far as the movie leading up to this one goes, I think it’s probably the most underrated of the MCU movies. Like every movie in the MCU’s first phase, I don’t think it’s perfect, although at the same time I wouldn’t say it’s all that bad. In fact, it’s actually my personal favorite in the first phase. It contains a solid story, most of the characters are completely admirable, and the visual effects are stunning. As far as this sequel goes, do I think it’s as good as the first movie? No. This is a movie that has been doing what the MCU has usually been doing, but has grown tremendously in recent years, which is making several attempts at humor throughout the script. Now, are a lot of the MCU movies funny? Sure, but in recent films I think they’ve been trying way too hard with it, which is something I’m worrying about when it comes to “Thor: Ragnarok.” There are movies in the MCU that use humor as a signature part of the vibe, specifically “Guardians of the Galaxy.” This movie came out before that, and this is funny but also feels like it’s trying a little harder than it should. Although since we’re on the topic of humor, I have to say the one of most hysterical parts of the movie is probably the moment when Loki turns into Captain America for some time.

 

LOKI: (TURNS THOR INTO SIF) Mmm, brother, you look ravishing!

THOR: It will hurt no less when I kill you in this form.

LOKI: Very well. Perhaps you prefer one of your new companions, given that you seem to like them so much. (TURNS INTO CAPTAIN AMERICA) Oh, this is much better. Costume’s a bit much… so tight. But the confidence, I can feel the righteousness surging. Hey, you wanna have a rousing discussion about truth, honor, patriotism? God bless America…

 

The only thing I have to say about this, is… Why can’t we get more moments as funny as that?! Whenever a line that was uttered that was supposed to be funny I was as silent as I was during “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and the case I have here with “Thor: The Dark World” may have been worse than that movie because I laughed more while watching that! Not to mention, that movie even had more entertainment value, plus a better villain. Speaking of which…

The main villain of “Thor: The Dark World” goes by the name of Malekith the Accursed. What can I tell you about him? Not much. Upon rewatch of this movie, I’m starting to wonder if I was wrong when I said Ronan’s the absolute worst of the Marvel villains, because at least Ronan was a tad menacing. This guy here, he was kept mysterious in ways throughout the picture, but the mystery of the man was super uninteresting! He comes off as a very cliche “thing,” not the one from “Fantastic Four,” instead he comes off one that just wants to destroy the universe for the sake of destroying it. If you want to make a motivation like that work, make the villain worth appreciating! At least after watching “Guardians of the Galaxy,” I remember the name Ronan. I don’t think I’ll remember the name Malekith in t-minus a couple days.

Let’s talk about Thor in this movie. His character is a bit different than the previous movie now that he’s experienced Earth for awhile. He’s also currently in a relationship with Natalie Portman’s character who you may recall from the first movie. We’ll get to her in a few seconds. Thor is very charismatic in this movie, but based on how much I wasn’t really able to care about the movie as a whole, I can’t really remember much about Thor himself. He just had a job to do and he was supposed to do it. I’m sorry, but Thor from the last movie, was a thousand miles better than Thor in this movie.

Natalie Portman returns as Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster. Her character was, alright, I guess. If you recall my review for the first “Thor,” I said it basically forced the relationship between Thor and Jane. I don’t mind them being together, but it was ultimately forced. In fact, Thor left her alone for two years, which lead to a scene that I don’t think was as funny as it was trying to be. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it involves slapping. She was in a good portion of the movie, and she even goes with Thor to Asgard which took up a lot of the runtime. Regardless of whether Jane went to Asgard or not, there is one character I’m glad didn’t go with them, but am still disappointed that they put her in this movie.

Who am I talking about here? Well ladies and gentlemen, that would be Kat Dennings. Let me just say this first as a positive, if she wasn’t in the movie, it would have probably been different, so I wouldn’t call her character useless, but MY GOSH! She is annoying! If you don’t know who Kat Dennings plays she plays Darcy Lewis. She was also in the first movie and she displays a similar attitude here to how she displays herself in that movie, but come on, this is bulls*it! She’s basically the same annoying character that we saw in the last movie, except in that film, she was slightly annoying. Here, she is, if not almost, extremely annoying! This movie came out a couple years after the CBS sitcom “2 Broke Girls” premiered. That show began in 2011 months after the release of the original “Thor.” I say this considering the fact that Kat Dennings is one of the two stars on the show. The show was recently canceled after six seasons, but I once talked with my mother and she said this is probably the worst sitcom she’s ever watched. I honestly imagine that Kat Dennings might be funnier on “2 Broke Girls” because here the writing basically suggests she’s trying to do stuff in order to be hilarious, but it just comes off as ridiculous.

Loki returns in this movie, which makes this the third MCU movie which he appears. Although there’s something different about him here than the other times you see his character in these movies. Unlike “Thor” and “The Avengers,” he’s not the main antagonist. As mentioned recently, Malekith, AKA What’s His Name, is the antagonist of the film. But if you have seen the film’s marketing, you’d know going in, that Loki isn’t like that. He’s a character that is more than just that, and watching this movie, you’d realize that. That’s pretty much all I have to say. Also another character that returns here is Odin, but he’s not really worth talking about.

A big positive for this movie is one that to me, was also enormous for the last movie, and I’m talking about the visual effects. Everything just had a huge scope, it was bright, colorful, neat looking, whatever positive connotation you can put in for them. In fact, you might even say that the visual effects have improved for me since the last movie because I didn’t really notice any bad ones. Although at the same time, I will say my favorite visual effects from the “Thor” movies have to be in the first one, so deciding which movie is ultimately better from a visual perspective is kind of a challenge.

Now this movie is called “Thor: The Dark World,” and yes, there are moments in this movie which do live up to the name. There are Dark Elves for one thing, but that’s not the point. There’s one moment where something happens that is supposed to be this dark moment, but guess what? I DIDN’T CARE ABOUT IT! I’m gonna spoil this and I don’t freaking give a crap, Thor’s mother dies! She goes by the name of Frigga, and apparently she appeared in the original “Thor” but the main question I had about her when she died was this: WHAT THE F*CK DID SHE DO AND WHO THE FLYING S*IT IS HER CHARACTER?! We barely even seen this character, and I don’t even remember her from the first movie. If Odin died, I would have cared! He had a major role in “Thor!” He was the one that cast Thor out of Asgard! He told Thor and Loki that both are worthy to rule but one would rise to the Throne! What did Thor’s mother do?! Throughout her funeral, I just yelled at my screen saying “We get it! Thor’s mother died!”

Also, speaking of things that are forgettable, the scenes don’t really have much of anything to say that’s outstanding about them. Sure, they look nice, the ships shown on screen are rather unique, and seeing Thor flying around with his hammer can be considered a treat. Although there was nothing that kept me wanting more. I was just like, oh yeah, fight scenes, they’re here. The first movie shows Thor occasionally kicking some ass, but not as much as this. However the first movie played their cards right when it came to the fight scenes. The fight scenes were played out when it was needed for storytelling, here it was also necessary at times, but at least the first movie kept me glued to the screen. The first “Thor” was like the first “Star Wars” whereas “Thor: The Dark World” was like “The Phantom Menace.”

In the end, “Thor: The Dark World” is one of the MCU’s worst movies. When I first saw this movie, I gave it a 7/10. That’s not the case anymore. The comedy is shoved down your throat harder than pills inside an angry hospital patient, the action was well shot and fun at times, but ultimately rather bland and forgettable, and f*cking Kat Dennings. Just… WHY IS SHE HERE?! It’s really hard to decide whether or not this is the worst movie in the MCU, but this was a bad movie according to my recent watch. I’m gonna give “Thor: The Dark World” a 4/10. This is one of the hardest movies I ever had to rate in my life. I’m not even sure if the 4/10 will stick. It might increase as time goes on, but I’ll remind you, it’ll be a 6/10 at most, 4/10 at least. If you enjoy this blog but usually hate reading, I have a solution for you. Watching videos. No, I don’t post on YouTube, but I do post somewhere else, and that somewhere else is Stardust.

Stardust is an app where you can post short reaction videos to movies and TV shows. Let’s say you just went to the movies and went to see “Jigsaw” or just want to talk about other movies in the “Saw” franchise you watched in the past, you can post a video where you state some thoughts on the movie, what you liked or didn’t like about what you witnessed, all of that in a bag of chips. You can even do this with TV shows. Let’s say that a new episode of show such as “The Orville” comes out, you can sum up your thoughts on it, and it’ll then be shown to everyone on the app. You don’t even have to see the episode, because there is an option suggesting that you don’t have to see it, the same goes for movies too! There’s also a community of users on Stardust, so you can follow them to get updates on their latest reactions to movies and TV. If you want to follow me, my handle is JackDrees. Go download the app now on wherever its available and enjoy! Also, follow me!

Thanks for reading this review, I hope to have my review for “Thor: Ragnarok” as soon as possible, and if I see any other relevant movies, I’ll review those too. If you want to get more preparation for “Thor: Ragnarok” unleashed from your system, click the link below and that’ll take you to my review for the first “Thor” movie. Stay tuned for more reviews! Also, I want to ask, is Marvel trying to hard with comedy nowadays? or does it work? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“THOR” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/10/23/thor-2011-you-wont-need-to-be-hammered-to-watch-this-spoilers-for-the-marvel-cinematic-universe-movies/

Thor (2011): You Won’t Need To Be Hammered To Watch This! *SPOILERS FOR THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE MOVIES*

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I gotta ask you, are you excited for “Thor: Ragnarok?” If you are, great! I personally am somewhat excited, although slightly worried. However the reviews for what I’m aware of, have been outstanding thus far, so you never know what could happen. In preparation for that, I figured it would be appropriate to go back a number of years and review the “Thor” movies prior to “Ragnarok” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Today, I’m starting off the series by reviewing the original installment, “Thor.” It came out in 2011, it received decent ratings, however it doesn’t mean some people don’t have issues with it. Without further ado, let’s start the review!

mv5boge4nzu1ytatnza3mi00zta2ltg2ymytmdjmmthimjlkyjg2xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyntgzmdmzmtg-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_

“Thor” is directed by Kenneth Branagh (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Henry V) and stars Chris Hemsworth (Rush, Star Trek), Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon), Natalie Portman (Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, V for Vendetta), Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), and Tom Hiddleston (The Night Manager, Kong: Skull Island) and is the story of a god, Thor, who lives in the world of Asgard. He and his brother, Loki, were told when they were young that only one of them would ascend to a rightful place on their own throne. Later on, he’s cast out of Asgard and forced to live with humanity on Earth, or as Asgardians call it, Midgard.

If you have been following this blog for awhile now, you may be aware I did a countdown on my top 10 favorite films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Thor” was on that list as #5. By the way, out of all the films in the MCU’s first phase, I considered this one my favorite. So I bet you could imagine I was ready to watch this movie again. So I rewatched the movie for the second time, and upon this watch, I can’t really say the second time was as entertaining as the first, but I’m still going to give the same rating I gave the first time I watched the film. I won’t say it now, but you’ll hear it later on.

mv5byme1yzuyn2mtzdmwnc00ztawltg1mzgtywzjytdhzdniyte4xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjuxmjc1otm-_v1_sx1777_cr001777755_al_

Since there are more positives than negatives in this movie, I’ll bring up some negatives first. The first negative I have is Kat Dennings’s character of Darcy Lewis. In the movie she had nothing really striking about her. She was just there with Natalie Portman and her character didn’t really add much to the story. Although based on my memory, I thought she was worse in “Thor: The Dark World,” a review which you’ll be able to read a week after this one you’re currently reading is published, so stay tuned! Despite how this is supposed to be a section where I display myself as a negative Nancy, I’ll bring a positive here and say that the CGI in this movie is glorious! As far as phase 1 of the MCU goes, this is the best CGI of all the movies released in said phase. It’s colorful, it’s fluid, it’s vivid! I love it! BUT… there is bad CGI that stands out. Now I will say, if that CGI was from a video game, then I’d say this would be understandable, but this is a movie. Nevertheless, it looks great!

Now let’s talk about the man who plays Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth. Out of all the Australian actors working today, Chris Hemsworth is the one who is probably the most talked about of all them as far as this decade goes. Part of that is due to the fact that he’s in this movie as the starring role, the fact that he’s in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the fact that he’s proven to be a good actor, and according to many opinions, his good looks. Now, I’m a straight male, so I don’t really have much to say about attraction as far as myself goes, but I imagine chicks dig him. I mean, he was the secretary, ahem sorry, the object in “Ghostf*ckers” 2016. To avoid going on a tangent, let’s stay focused on the character of Thor. At one point, this character was chosen to rule Asgard, but due to his arrogance, he was cast out of the realm. The way this was set up was smart. You see Thor as a kid, he’s with his brother and his father, the two are aspiring to rise to the throne. One gets the rightful place as time passes, then Thor goes with other Asgardians into battle, and he’s basically gone from being a guy named Thor, which is already a killer name, to Superduperkickassthunderdomeonastick. Yes, that’s one word, and I don’t care! While we watch Thor beat the hell out of some Frost Giants and it does come off as pure fun, Thor’s father, Odin, doesn’t approve of his actions because Thor is being too arrogant. Due to this, Loki has taken Thor’s place. While I will say I can understand Thor’s father for casting him out because of how he handled the situation which was upon him, I will also say I felt sorry for Thor not just because of the situation at hand itself, but also the fact that he was trying to preserve peace. Sure, he did it violently, but at the same time, you can get why Thor did what he did.

Now let’s talk about Thor’s brother, Loki. When it comes to Marvel villains, they’re usually not great for one reason or another. When I say that, I mean they either just don’t unleash much of anything interesting or they’re forgettable. This is the case I found with MCU movies like “Doctor Strange,” “Captain America: The First Avenger,” and “The Incredible Hulk.” Loki, is not one of those villains. I will say he has been in multiple movies both as hero and as a villain and I believe he shines best in “The Avengers,” where he appears as the main antagonist. Here, he was effective. Part of what makes him a great villain is not just simply the fact that he’s Thor’s brother, but some basic elements of how his character is written. Also, I’ll bring it up again, they kind of had a sibling rivalry when they were younger, because one was destined to be king.

“Thor” happens to have a cliche that ultimately works. That my friends, is the fish out of water story. Now when I say that, I don’t think it’s a horrible cliche, it’s just there. When Thor arrives on Earth, he is not familiar with how its folks behave. This brought some moments of humor into the mix. For example there’s one scene in a cafe when Thor is with characters he met on Earth and he drinks coffee for the first time.

 

THOR: (tasting coffee for the first time) This drink… I like it!

DARCY: I know, it’s great right?

THOR: ANOTHER! (throws coffee mug on ground, shattering it)

 

Another funny moment is when Thor walks into a pet store.

 

THOR: I need a horse!

PET STORE CLERK: We don’t have horses. Just dogs, cats, birds.

THOR: Then give me one of those large enough to ride.

 

Throughout this story Thor meets characters like Darcy Lewis, who I recently brought up. However let’s talk about her friend, Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman. In this movie, Foster is an astrophysicist, unlike the comic books where she’s mainly known by a number of readers to be a nurse and a doctor. Out of all the characters he met on Earth, Thor had the strongest connection with Jane. Portman’s character is the love interest, she slept with Thor, and no, the movie doesn’t contain a sex scene for those who are wondering. In fact, I could be wrong, but I believe the only movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that has something resembling a sex scene is the first “Iron Man.” Even though Jane may have stood out amongst the Earthlings here, there is another one that intrigued me.

Who was I intrigued by? Well, that would be Erik Selvig, played by Stellan Skarsgård. The thing that intrigued me about him the most is actually something I constantly think about. Selvig is a very science based person, which does make sense given how his character is an astrophysicist, but based on the writing, his personality, and the lines the character gives, his character is probably the most scientific of everyone written in the script. It’s almost to the point where he’s closed minded. I’m a little bit different in this aspect, because while I do follow science, and I actually follow whatever science tells me (OK, maybe not everything, some people might just make up something and call it science) I do try to keep myth and legend in mind. Although I will say when it comes to religion, that’s something that I personally am conflicted on. There’s a part of me that wants to follow certain religious teachings but at the same time some of them are either outdated, unscientific, or crazy. You can believe in it if you want, you have your own life and you can do what you want with it, but I’m just saying. Although I don’t want to go into it, this is a MOVIE BLOG, where I talk about MOVIES, not RELIGION.

Much like this movie’s effects, I gotta say the film’s action is probably the best as far as the MCU’s first phase goes. It’s shot well enough for you to be able to tell what’s going on, it’s immersive at times, it’s got great sound effects accompanied to it, and you can even say that the effects enhance the experience. This is shown in the climactic sequence with Thor and Loki on the Rainbow bridge, or moments featuring the robot Loki’s controlling. By the way, that robot sounds AMAZING on a Blu-Ray disc. Every single action sequence was either entertaining, fun, or meant something, which made the movie more interesting in the long run. This is also probably the most investing climax in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since “Iron Man.” The movie ends with the brothers fighting each other, Odin, the father of the brothers, who died partway into the movie, comes back to life, and eventually Loki sacrifices himself. It’s a great death, or was it? Because if you stick around for the end of the credits, Loki’s actually still alive!

In the end, “Thor” is probably the most underrated movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I don’t have many problems with it, there are some nitpicks, but it’s nothing colossal. Chris Hemsworth is great as Thor, it has beautiful CGI, the camerawork is not bad, the Earthlings for the most part are interesting. The romance, while somewhat forced, was believable. It’s not to say the romance wasn’t intriguing, but it was somewhat forced. Overall, if you’re looking for a superhero movie to watch on a movie night, I’d say give this one a shot. I’m gonna give “Thor” a 9/10. The review’s technically over, but I still have one more thing to do. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Stardust!

I would like to take this time to let you know about this cool new app called “Stardust.” It’s a nifty little app that basically combines elements of IMDb and Snapchat. What you do on “Stardust” is you can find a movie or an episode of a TV show, record a video of yourself talking about it, and let the world see it! In fact, one neat thing about Stardust is that you don’t even have to say you witnessed the episode or movie because “Stardust” allows you to confirm whether or not you’ve watched something. You can also follow other people who have the app to see their latest reactions and thoughts in the realm of TV and movies. By the way, if you’re interested, find my Stardust handle, JackDrees, follow me, and you’ll get to see reactions to movies you’ll find reviews on for this blog like “Blade Runner 2049” and you’ll also get to see reactions to movies I never get to talk about like “Sucker Punch.” Thanks for reading this review, since we’re on the topic of “Thor,” I will say that “Thor: Ragnarok” comes out on November 3rd, which is the weekend of my birthday, so I don’t know whether or not I’ll actually go see it right away, although the weekend after is Veteran’s Day weekend, and I’ll be at Rhode Island Comic-Con, so if I have some free time on my hands during my visit, I’ll go see it then. I mean, I’d rather see “Thor: Ragnarok” as opposed to “A Bad Moms Christmas,” which comes out the same weekend as “Thor: Ragnarok.” WHY THE F*CK WOULD THEY MAKE THAT S*IT?! Nevertheless, stay tuned for more reviews! So I’ll ask you right now, what are your thoughts on “Thor?” Are you excited for the upcoming installment? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!