Days of Thunder (1990): Tom Cruise? More Like Tom Rush!

TOM CRUISE MONTH POSTER

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It is officially entry 3 to Tom Cruise Month! So far we have talked about a pretty good movie, along with a not so good movie. Today, we are going to talk about “Days of Thunder,” a film I have seen once in 2017 when it was available on Amazon Prime for free. Since then, I bought a Triple Feature Blu-ray set of Tom Cruise films which contains “The Firm,” which I have reviewed on this blog almost three years ago, “Collateral,” and “Days of Thunder,” which of course I watched once more to talk about today.

So without any further dilly-dallying, it is time for entry three! This is…

*LIGHTNING CRACK*

TOM CRUISE MONTH

mv5bnjc5njq1odizn15bml5banbnxkftztgwmjkwntg4nje40._v1_

“Days of Thunder” is directed by Tony Scott (Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II) and stars Tom Cruise (Risky Business, All the Right Moves), Robert Duvall (Apocalypse Now, The Godfather), Randy Quaid (Caddyshack II, National Lampoon’s Vacation), Nicole Kidman (Batman Forever, Moulin Rouge!), and Cary Elwes (Glory, The Princess Bride). The film is about a man who becomes a NASCAR driver, but even though he may talk a good game, Tom Cruise’s character of Cole Trickle is not exactly accustomed to being in a stock car. The story goes over his journey as a racer, as a part of a new team, while also allowing a certain rival to get in the way.

When it comes to my official ranking of Tom Cruise movies, I probably would have told you a few years back that “Days of Thunder” is somewhere in the middle of what I’ve seen. It’s not great, but it has one or two entertaining moments. I also kind of liked the music and I thought I heard some of the score somewhere else before watching this film (upon my watch for this review, that is not the case). It’s a little formulaic, but it doesn’t mean there is no fun to be had. Tom Cruise, per usual, is solid and gives a likable performance as a decent character.

Now, it is 2020, and it has been a week since I have officially last watched “Days of Thunder.” It’s still an alright hour and a half of material. However, upon my second watch, I felt that the first half of the movie, where all the buildup is happening, is definitely better than the second half. And I am not knocking on the second half, because it is still entertaining, but seeing Cole Trickle have to adapt to his team and the mechanics of NASCAR makes for delightful content. In fact, I also briefly mentioned his rivalry in the film, there’s a scene where the two rivals have to head to a dinner together, and in doing so they rent a couple cars and wreck the s*it out of them. I was amused with what was happening on screen in those moments. It was just plain fun. I think the chemistry between Tom Cruise’s Cole Trickle, alongside racing rival Rowdy Burns, played with excellence by Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, JFK) makes for some of the better scenes in the movie. Aside from all the action that goes on behind the wheels for these two, there’s another scene where the two happen to be in wheelchairs and they are racing around the hospital. Not only did it do a solid job on getting into the lack of fondness towards the duo, but it did so while keeping me interested in everything that was going on.

I mentioned earlier that I really liked the music in this film, and having watched this film a second time, this really should come as no surprise. Because not only was it something that I was kind of looking forward to hearing, but I was paying attention to the opening credits, and I saw a name that I was particularly delighted to see pop up on my screen.

HANS. F*CKING. ZIMMER.

If you all had to ask me who I think the greatest film composer of all time is, I’d give you three names. John Williams, Danny Elfman, and Hans Zimmer. Maybe Alan Silvestri would be an honorable mention. For those of you who don’t know me or are new around here, Zimmer composed my favorite film score of all time, which was appropriately presented in one of my favorite films of all time, “Interstellar.” His relationship during his recent points in his career with Christopher Nolan allowed him to do that movie, “Inception,” “Dunkirk,” and the “Dark Knight” films. He’s also collaborated with composer Benjamin Wallfisch to work on “Blade Runner 2049,” he’s done a number of DreamWorks animations, “The Lion King,” “The Last Samuai,” and even though I have a couple problems with his score for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” its high moments make up for its faults. “Days of Thunder” is one of Zimmer’s earliest scores that I have heard, and it does match up with the skill and talent that I’ve seen from him today.

Keeping with the theme of Tom Cruise Month, I want to reference the previous film I reviewed, specifically “All the Right Moves.” In my review for that film, I mentioned that one of the main reasons I disliked that film was because even though it focuses on the main character’s struggles and downfalls, I felt as if there was little reason to actually root for him. He’s kind of a dick, he just feels like a horny jock who wants nothing more than to get into Lea Thompson’s pants, and when it comes to the film’s conclusion and what it has to do with the main character, it almost feels as if, without spoilers, there is no reason for me to root for him and say that he earned his fate. Despite the effort put into his portrayal from Tom Cruise himself, the character just didn’t stick the landing for me. Cole Trickle on the other hand, aside from having a somewhat likable name, kind of like Luke Skywalker or Johnny Utah or Taserface or Turd Ferguson (it’s a funny name, ha ha), has this swagger to him that makes him feel like someone only Cruise could portray and make as likable as he is. And when it comes to, once again, struggles and downfalls, Cole Trickle doesn’t come off as a big enough dick to make me not care about him whenever he screws up. Plus, when it comes to how this movie concludes, the ending feels earned and deserved, it does more than simply exist to take up screen time. It is a fate that feels satisfying and worthy of a thumbs up. Not one where I want to throw my popcorn at my 4K TV.

Aside from the first half of “Days of Thunder” being better than the second half, my other complaints with the film are that there are one or two scenes that maybe were a little unnecessary (even if they did entertain), and that there are some predictable moments. Other than that, “Days of Thunder” is a solid film. I do recommend it.

Before I go any further, I also want to point out that I also really liked Robert Duvall’s performance. I liked the stern portrayal of his character, which added some grit to the film overall, and it just goes to show that you can really get an impact from a mentor-type figure on screen.

In the end, “Days of Thunder” once again comes into the middle rankings of my Tom Cruise library of films that I have seen with him as part of the cast. Would I watch it again? Honestly, not anytime soon. I’d rather watch “The Last Samurai,” I’d rather watch “Oblivion,” I’d rather watch “Edge of Tomorrow.” But that’s just me. Even so, this film has its moments. The racing scenes are fun, and some of the non-racing stuff can make for some pure entertainment too. But I don’t think it will give the movie all that much replay value in the future. I’m going to give “Days of Thunder” a 7/10. Before I watched this movie for my review, I had given it a 6, but in reality, the problems it has are not particularly world-ending or overwhelming, they’re just faults that maybe need to be pointed out to separate what’s good from bad. At the same time though, Cruise has done better in his career compared to this film. This may be on the lower spectrum of a 7, but as of this review, it stands where it is.

Thanks for reading this review! Up next in Tom Cruise Month is going to be my review for “Top Gun,” another Tony Scott film,¬†which if you ask me, is the main reason why I am doing this series to begin with. After all, we were supposed to get the sequel, AKA “Top Gun: Maverick,” on June 24th. But unfortunately, it has been delayed to December, which sucks because personally if it were coming out this summer, it would have been in my top 5, maybe even 3, most anticipated films of the season. But I will be looking forward to the film, should I get to see it this winter. As a substitution, expect a review for the original sometime this week. If you want to see this review and other great content, make sure you follow Scene Before either through an email or WordPress account! If you want another place to get access to my content, go like my Facebook page, which provides links to the posts I create once they’re published, and some side banter you don’t really get to see here on Flicknerd.com. It’s a good time! I want to know, did you see “Days of Thunder?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite racing movie of all time? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Upside (2017): Breaking Hart

MV5BNzY3NzYyNjI0N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjYzMDc0NjM@._V1_SY1000_CR006741000_AL_

“The Upside” is directed by Neil Burger (Divergent, Limitless) and stars Kevin Hart (Ride Along, The Wedding Ringer) and Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Godzilla) as a seemingly unlikely pair who meet each other, develop a friendship, and therefore we have our movie. Cranston plays a paraplegic and Hart plays an ex-con who also manages to become Cranston’s caretaker. The movie is based on the true story of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, who suffered from a paragliding accident, therefore giving him unfortunate injuries.

Does this movie sound familiar to you? Well guess what? It exists, not just in the form of “The Upside,” but it also exists in the form of “The Intouchables,” an early 2010s French film. The film was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, but lost to an Austrian film by the name of “Amour.” However, this didn’t deteriorate the overall quality of “The Intouchables” because on IMDb, it made the #40 spot on the site’s “Top 250” list. However, when it comes to my experience with “The Intouchables,” I can say it is very limited given how I never sat down and watched it. I might as well say that the main reason why I even went to the theater and watched “The Upside” in the first place is because it was a free movie. I subscribe to alerts of free screenings, and this is one of the things I got in my inbox. And knowing how my mother tends to enjoy comedies, not to mention Kevin Hart, I thought this would be good for us to see together.

But one thing got in the way, the ratings. Prior to going to the screening, I looked at the movie from a research perspective and one thing that stood out to me was its low IMDb score. In fact, as of doing this review, it’s still pretty low, it’s actually less than a 4! Why is that the case? I have no idea. For all I know, the low scores may have come from hardcore supporters of “The Intouchables,” people who hate remakes, or those who don’t want Kevin Hart hosting the Oscars. However, this movie released in 2017 at TIFF, and part of me wonders if the low verdicts came from negative reviews at the festival. Either that, or another thing that is highly possible is a bit of information that may not be on everyone’s mind. If anyone is curious as to what movies Harvey Weinstein’s production company would have been associated with in 2018, “The Upside” was supposed to be one of them. However, with the destruction of Harvey Weinstein’s film career, this movie was given to STX, which is a newer studio known for films such as “I Feel Pretty,” “Hardcore Henry,” “Bad Moms,” and “The Circle.” Maybe the verdicts had to do with that, I don’t know the full story. But the reality is I personally enjoyed myself while watching “The Upside.”

This is the first 2019 release I have watched. Some may argue it is a 2017 release, but as far as I am concerned, it’s a 2019 flick. And I got to say, this was a good way to kick off the year in film. Is it perfect? No it’s not. In fact, part of me wonders if I am overhyping it. This movie had heart, it had good chemistry, and a surprising amount of laughs packed into it. I walked out of the movie alongside my mother, moments later we talked about it, and she pointed out my laughing. If you have seen a couple of my posts or know me in real life, you’d probably get the gist that when it comes to comedy, there are times where I feel like I’ve seen it all. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that “The Upside” brings anything new to the table, but despite some cliche moments, all of them seem to be delivered with a sense of passion. There’s a good amount of physical comedy, sexual humor, and some occasional yells. Speaking of which, let’s talk about Kevin Hart.

When I think of annoying, crazy, loud comedians who occasionally pop up in movies, I think of Melissa McCarthy. Kevin Hart is pretty much the same person, although he’s a black male. Wait did I really just say that? I take that back, because I assure you, Kevin Hart is the complete opposite of annoying. Hart is always that comedian that raises his voice, but manages to do it with charm. He’s basically Tyler Perry with a superior agent. One minor critique I’d give to Kevin Hart as an actor is his range. He always tends to be the very person I described. He always manages to play himself or someone that has identical qualities to Hart: An arrogant loudmouth who likes to joke around. However, when it comes to his performance in “The Upside,” this slightly made me rethink my critique, partially because this may be the best performance I’ve seen from Kevin Hart yet. If you have seen a Kevin Hart movie, you’re probably familiar with his shtick. Just watch “Ride Along,” “Central Intelligence,” even “The Secret Life of Pets.” He yells A LOT. He’s even like that in real life, go on YouTube and watch Kevin Hart’s 2013 appearance on SportsCenter as he does the top 10. It’s one of the funniest things to ever exist. Seriously. The reason why I consider this to be the best Kevin Hart performance is because it tends to shy away from the cliches we see from him. Hart seems to tone down his voice a little more often, not to mention he’s more serious as opposed to a joker. Granted, it’s not the best performance I’ve seen from an actor, but it made me look at Kevin Hart in a whole new light. His strength will always be full-fledged comedy, but if someone asked me whether or not Hart has the potential to land some serious roles in the future, I wouldn’t say Hart can’t do such a thing. His performance as Dell is done with serious skill.

When it comes to Cranston, I must say he performed with excellence too. Compared to Hart, Cranston seemed to deliver drier humor. He seems to have less emotion than a good number of characters in the film, but at the same time, it is hard to display emotion when you are seriously injured. This does not suggest his character lacks personality, as we see one of the most commonly exposed gags of the film happens to be Cranston’s extreme obsession with opera.

I will say one thing though about the movie, as heartfelt and funny as this movie may be, it has a glaring problem in my opinion. I can sit for a couple of hours in a dark room with images on a screen at moving on a screen at twenty-four frames per second. But there are times when I felt there was nothing happening. There is an argument to be made that the entire movie revolves around the friendship of the two leads, but one of the things that might as well be an important part of any movie is a central problem. There are moments of conflict in the film, but they are resolved quickly and sort of feel rushed. Remember how in “Spider-Man 2” Peter Parker decided to quit being Spider-Man? It almost felt like if there was a complete change in that movie, where Parker puts his suit in the garbage, walks through the alley, then scoots back around only to put it on again. The conflict in this film just feels like something small, when you can’t find the TV remote and are looking all over the place for it, as opposed to something huge, such as the loss of your life savings or your identity. However, this critique is highly forgivable due to the admirable chemistry between the leads, the humor, and the performances.

In the end, “The Upside” was a surprise if there ever was one. And it just goes to show that not all remakes suck. Granted, this is coming from someone who has still yet to see “The Intouchables,” so maybe my opinion could change over time, but if you want a funny movie with heart, I do recommend “The Upside.” Is it a tad cliche? At times. Is it somewhat forgettable? Certainly. But it is also a good time at the movies. If you want to see Kevin Hart at his best, I must declare that “The Upside” is definitely for you. I am going to give “The Upside” a 6/10. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I am going to be announcing the nominees for my upcoming awards ceremony, the Jackoff Awards, but before I do that, I have a few more 2018 films to watch including “Roma,” “Green Book,” and “On the Basis of Sex.” Be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “The Upside?” What did you think about it? Or, did you see “The Intouchables?” What did you think about that? Which is the better movie? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Aquaman (2018): A Big Splash of Fun

MV5BOTk5ODg0OTU5M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDQ3MDY3NjM@._V1_SY1000_CR006741000_AL_

“Aquaman” is directed by James Wan (The Conjuring, Furious 7) and stars Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Conan the Barbarian), Amber Heard (The Danish Girl, 3 Days To Kill), Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man, xXx: State of the Union), Patrick Wilson (Fargo, Insidious), Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV, Masters of the Universe), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (The Get Down, The Greatest Showman), and Nicole Kidman (Boy Erased, Big Little Lies). This film is based on the Detective Comics property that is probably mocked more than any other. Fittingly, this movie is most likely to be seen by people who are mocked more than any other. The plot to “Aquaman” is that Arthur Curry is the heir to the throne in his underwater kingdom, Atlantis. He also must unleash his inner hero and defend the world.

The world as we know it seems to have a very complicated relationship with the Detective Comics Extended Universe, and this includes myself. I have seen all the movies in its franchise thus far. I really enjoyed “Man of Steel.” “Batman v. Superman” is not as good as I would have hoped, but it’s still watchable. “Suicide Squad” is just plain awful, even though I enjoyed it the first time around. “Wonder Woman” was spectacular, and at one point, was probably my favorite movie of 2017. “Justice League” was pretty good, in fact, I honestly think I enjoyed it more than a lot of other people did. However, there is no denying that the turnout of the movie, almost felt like a movie that went through development hell. There were some clashing tones, lackluster effects at times, and Steppenwolf was kind of a one-dimensional villain. Then again, it’s hard to blame everybody because the technical director, Zack Snyder, needed Joss Whedon to fill his shoes for post-production because he lost his daughter to suicide, but nevertheless. I personally thought while DC was not as big or as close to quality as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they were heading in the right direction. This direction personally tends to continue with “Aquaman” because it’s just a damn good time at the movies.

Comic book movies are perhaps the biggest trend in film right now, and I don’t know when it is going to stop, or even IF it is ever going to stop. If somebody were to ask me, what the definition of “comic book movie” would be, I’d just point them straight to “Aquaman.” Now I mean that in the most generous of ways, because the reality is that I tend to be a complete nerd who enjoys comic book movies. But when I think of comic books, superheroes, and stuff like that. I tend to think of big spectacles, compelling characters who have interesting backstories, epic fights, and stories that don’t necessarily need to be completely catered to logic. This is THAT movie. Without getting into heavy spoilers, let me just tell you about some of the weird s*it that goes down in “Aquaman.”

  • An Octopus plays the drums!
  • Laser sharks!
  • Underwater gladiator fights!
  • Occasional cartoony music!
  • Jumping off an aircraft and landing into a desert with no pain whatsoever!
  • Getting inside a giant fish who apparently doesn’t eat everything in its mouth!
  • Witty banter!
  • A shark nearly breaks the glass in an aquarium!
  • And of course, a man can talk to fish.

This is not just a movie, it’s a Saturday morning cartoon in all of its glory. And in all honesty, it’s actually better than “Thor: Ragnarok,” which I’ve heard from some people is like a Saturday morning cartoon, but in my eyes, that’s not what it should have been. I would have much preferred seeing a darker version of the story, one where there is despair! But no, you gotta get kids in the theater! La-de-frikin-dah! But the thing about “Thor: Ragnarok” is while it is a superhero movie and might as well be something that kids can enjoy, it seemed much lighter compared to the previous two “Thor” movies. It feels like a change of pace that I wasn’t able to grasp onto. “Aquaman” has yet to have his own standalone film, so therefore, I didn’t really know what to expect. A lot of information prior to the to release of “Aquaman” can be interpreted in one’s own imagination. What really matters is how people like me react to the execution. And I thought the execution was pretty swell if you ask me.

Visually speaking, this is one of the best movies of the year. Someone really must have had fun with the concept art for this film, because this film feels like what happens when you create Dungeons & Dragons underwater. I wanted to know more about the lore and mythology behind Atlantis. I mean, it really doesn’t surprise me that this movie looks good. After all, I have the fighting game “Injustice: Gods Among Us” and Atlantis happens to be my favorite stage in the entire game.

Let’s talk about Arthur Curry, AKA “Aquaman.” He’s played by Jason Momoa who we’ve seen in “Justice League” as the title character but now we get a much more personal look. One thing I will say about many superheroes is that they seem to highly associate with one certain word. With “Spider-Man,” he seems to clearly define an outsider, a nerd. With “Thor,” he seems to define a powerful god. With “Aquaman,” he may be that “chosen one” cliche per se, but he also seems to come off as a regular, everyday gay. There’s a scene with him at the bar where I got this vibe that he is that character on a sitcom that a main character would want to have a beer with. Also, out of all the superheroes that I’ve seen on screen, “Aquaman” by far, possibly might be the most masculine out of all of them. He’s ripped, he’s ready to have a good time, and that haircut, while it makes this dude look like a lady, it certainly just screams “MAN!”

Also, Mera? Yeah. She’s cool. I’d just say she’s hot and leave the description at that, but that’s not the point. I will say that prior to seeing “Aquaman” I went out and bought Mera’s Funko Pop before even going out to see the film. Not only did it look cool, but based on how awesome Mera is in this movie, the Pop was well worth the money. When I saw the “Ghostbusters” remake back in 2016, I imagined personally how much better the movie would be had it included half a team with girls and half a team with boys, to show gender equality, not to mention men and women working together for the better of society. This dynamic duo does not disappoint! Mera doesn’t feel like a sidekick and instead feels like Aquaman’s equal. They go together like bread and butter!

Also, one common complaint that many comic book movies seem to be getting nowadays is the inclusion of lackluster villains. Out of the DCEU films, I gotta say that one of the villains of “Aquaman” is the best one in the DCEU thus far. Specifically, Aquaman’s brother, King Orm. And to add to all of this Saturday morning cartoon glory, in my eyes, this guy really does resemble the word dick if you ask me. He reminds me of Legolas’s father from “The Hobbit.” Also, one thing that we’ve seen in a couple of recent comic book films like “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is that the main villain has some previous relation to the main character, “Aquaman” manages to continue that trend, while not necessarily improving upon it, but not destroying it either.

I really want to talk about the action in this film. One thing I’m noticing a lot nowadays is that in certain action flicks like “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Atomic Blonde,” and “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” there is a really long one-take sequence where the camera does not cut away from whatever is going on in terms of action. While this movie doesn’t have THAT, there is one notable longer than usual take action scene in the beginning of the film that completely set the tone for what’s to come. Now keep in mind, this movie was directed by James Wan, who also directed “Furious 7.” That is not my favorite “Fast & Furious” film, but in terms of action and stunts, it’s probably the best. Based on his stellar action choreography and directing in that movie, it provides an excellent transition from there to here. Going back to Saturday morning cartooniness, a lot of the fighting is not just stylistically pleasing, but it’s big and loud, it kind of sent chills down my spine at this point. And, to compare this movie to “Black Panther,” Aquaman has to duel against his brother in a gladiator style ring, all of it is epic, brings things that I usually don’t see in movies. The most notable difference is that a lot of the fighting is done underwater. Granted, it’s not like the filmmakers went into the water and created a gigantic world by hand. In fact, if they actually did that, this movie actually would have probably been worse because it wouldn’t look as fantastical as it does now. Granted, there are times where I do draw a line on a movie looking fantastical, but this to me is a believable fantastical vision.

When I got home from this movie, I was able to say that this movie in no way breaks new ground. Granted, some of the action is stellar, but I felt like I’ve seen a portion of it before. However, the movies I was able to compare this to were actually likable choices. One of the easiest picks was “Black Panther.” You have this guy who is heir to the throne, who is eventually challenged by somebody for that position. The way they get to determine whether someone is worthy is through a duel. And honestly, the way they do the duel in this movie is honestly better than “Black Panther.” It feels more like an event, whereas the duel in “Black Panther” just like a couple of friends watching you play Classic mode on “Super Smash Brothers.” It was more like an underwater version of the Planet Hulk scene in “Thor: Ragnarok.” Coincidentally, this movie reminded me of “Thor,” because you have this one slightly out of place being trying to be a better version of himself. Not to mention, like in “Thor,” Aquaman is destined to rise to the throne. I also said this film kind of reminded me of a “Lord of the Rings” movie. While this is nowhere near as compelling as say “Return of the King,” it had elements of “Lord of the Rings” intact. There is a scene where our main characters have to trek through a piece of land for some time. At times the movie feels like a road trip, one moment you’re in the Sahara, the other you’re in Italy. La-de-la-de-da. Not to mention, there are some big, massive fights in the film with tons of special effects. This is where you also get to see the laser sharks in action at times. The other film this reminds me of is “Fast & Furious,” which to me is no surprise because of the director once being attached to direct “Furious 7.” It’s big, loud, absurd, and overall just balls to the wall.

Going back to the action, I gotta point one thing about it. As I said before, the action in this movie is f*cking amazing. This is one simple comparison I have to make because I’m a complete and total nerd, and nerds have opinions. When it comes to Marvel, they know how to create a story, they know how to write something, maybe not always something compelling, but something that is structured properly and is not in danger of breaking apart. When it comes to DC, one thing I’ve noticed in all of their movies is that the action is always worth the price of admission. Granted, Marvel tends to have good action, but it doesn’t hold a candle to DC. It’s always fast paced, rumbly tumbly, and it feels like something that would be in a nerd’s fantasy world. I would like to thank “Aquaman” for keeping DC’s action-based identity alive.

In the end, “Aquaman” is not the best superhero movie of the year. In fact, it came out a week after “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” so it already has a tough competitor. What it really is though is the definition of what a superhero movie should be. Fun, big, and a fine form of escapism. This is certainly a crowd-pleasing movie, and honestly, I enjoyed it more than “Black Panther.” I know some people will want to kill me for saying that, but I’m just telling the honest truth. Jason Momoa’s great as Aquaman, Amber Heard is equally as wonderful as Mera. The two have great on-screen chemistry together, and I loved every minute of the movie. I’m gonna give “Aquaman” a 7/10. Before I go any further, I gotta point out something about this movie that sets it apart from a film like “Justice League.” One thing I noticed about this film is the runtime, and it is two hours and twenty-three minutes. While some people might consider that a bit long for their liking, I honestly don’t mind it, and in some ways, it’s better than “Justice League.” When it comes to “Justice League,” it comes in nearly a couple of hours even. That is a movie with more heroes and a lower runtime. It really just feels more like a corporate cash-in effort than anything else. Granted, somewhere around the two hour mark is your typical superhero movie, but some could argue that “Justice League” deserved to be more than two hours in order to make a better product. “Aquaman,” which comes in nearly two and a half hours, feels more like it is part of a vision as opposed to a corporate product. And for that, I have nothing but respect for the studio and the filmmakers. Granted there is an argument to be made that “Batman v. Superman” is too short at a two and a half hour long runtime, but I imagine there are some people arguing it is also too long. This world is divided! Also, to enhance your experience as much as possible, go see this in a theater, on the biggest screen possible, with the highest sound quality possible. Go to RPX or IMAX, you won’t be disappointed, and stay for the mid-credits scene! Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’ll have a couple of reviews up for “The Mule” and “Instant Family,” as far as I know, those will be my last reviews before I put up my countdowns of my top 10 BEST and WORST movies of the year. Stay tuned for all of that, and if you like content like this, be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Aquaman?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite superhero movie of 2018? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2017): What the Punk?

mv5bmja4ntgxmtu4n15bml5banbnxkftztgwmjy2mtkzmji-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_

Before we get into this movie review, I need to ask something to all of my viewers, specifically those at least eighteen years of age. How is adulting? I will tell you right now, I have been an adult for only nine months, and I honestly don’t feel much of a difference than I did before that turning point. Then again, I spent most of my adulthood in high school, which is where I spent most of my teen years. Although I must say, while I do find certain things about being an adult rather fun and nifty, there are those days where I realize adulting is not all that enjoyable. To be honest, I don’t even think I am gonna end up wanting kids in the years to come. However, it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with having them. If you want to judge me, go ahead, I judge movies all the time, so I can take whatever you’ve got. This even includes a couple by the name of Paul and Genevieve. These two can judge me as they realize how difficult their journey to conception has truly been. And while I do certainly recognize that raising a child is not the easiest thing in the world. Paul and Genevieve’s actions for years almost contend to be up there in the same levels of difficulty. This is all explained… in “What the IVF?!”

“What the IVF?” is a YouTube series where Paul and Genevieve “keep effin’ trying” to have a baby they have always been trying to make. New adventures pop up on the show’s specifically dedicated YouTube channel each and every Monday. These adventures dive into the latest in Paul and Genevieve’s quest to parenthood, focusing on topics like appointments, curse breaking, cycles, sex, “trying everything,” and objectively painful needles. IT’S A FACT! NEEDLES SUCK! Apparently it is a societal norm that you pay professionals to inject points that make you hate your life! IT’S THE TRUTH! Anyway, the latest episode, much like the one before it, is a bit on the rather calm side of things. Join Paul and Genevieve as they give a tour of the baby’s nursery! If you want to see other videos or be caught up on the latest content, be sure to visit the “WTIVF?” YouTube channel, subscribe, and hit the notification bell. If you want to find out where else you can find “WTIVF?” on the internet, click the links below which will take you to the show’s personal website and social media pages. Also, be sure to tell them that Jack Drees sent ya over!

mv5bmwzkytllmjctm2e0zs00ntnjlwe2yjqtody4ywzjmdjiodvhxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyntazmty4mda-_v1_sy1000_sx675_al_

“How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” otherwise known as something I kinda need to learn, is directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Rabbit Hole, Shortbus) and stars Elle Fanning (Maleficent, The Neon Demon), Alex Sharp (Better Start Running, To the Bone), Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge!, The Hours), Ruth Locke (Saving Mr. Banks, Jane Eyre), and Matt Lucas (Alice in Wonderland, Bridesmaids). This film is about an alien who separates from a group she’s with as she is touring the galaxy. She just so happens to be in the London-suburb of Croydon where she meets young inhabitants.

When it comes to “How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” the marketing for it overall just comes off as somewhat quirky. The vibe of this movie when watching the trailers is a little hard to exactly recall because I have a feeling I watched a trailer a long time ago but I could be dead wrong. But if I were to watch a trailer to this, there’s a good chance I would have had some sort of fascination towards what this movie was trying to be. But as I got into the movie, it was starting out and the vibe happened to be what I expected, with a little more punk rock in the mix. What I didn’t expect from this movie though, is that this is one of those movies that turned out to be an overall surprise. From the very beginning, I was intrigued, but then start to notice a change in the footage. For some reason, the shutter speed slows down. I’ve seen this on a student film, that probably occurred by accident, but this film is not being directed by a student! Heck, the cinematographer has credits in the “cinematographer” category on IMDb going back to 1992! That’s two and a half decades before this movie released to the public! That’s not even the only time that happens during this film.

In fact, when it happens later during the film, I actually think it’s forgivable. And you know what? I take that back, I don’t think it’s forgivable. Because something like this probably would be a creative choice. Granted, that creative choice personally came off as ridiculous in the beginning, but as I saw more of it, I grew to admire it. And I saw that because from my point of view, the slower shutter speed seems to fit the later footage more than it does for the earlier footage. This is one of those movies that seems to start out lame then blows out this giant explosion of holy crap on a Ritz crackerjack! I probably should have seen my instant admiration for this movie coming especially considering it’s an A24 movie, but given some statistics that I’ve been made aware of prior to watching this damn thing, it almost felt like I was supposed to sit down and just take this movie and just try to survive. I mean, this has a 5.9/10 on IMDb! Not the best of signs if you ask me.

I will say though, when it comes to technical aspects, that’s probably one of the bigger problems of this movie. For the most part, I can’t complain about the lighting, the cinematography, or the editing. But there was one major occurrance in the movie’s footage aside from the shutter speed that kind of threw me off. There’s one scene that’s rather significant for the movie’s events, so I won’t get into spoilers. But the thing is about this scene, as much as I can approve of it moving the story along, and providing the correct feeling I’m supposed to have out of a scene like this, it just felt rather clunky in terms of cinematography. This is a sequence where you can tell that this was done handheld, and it almost feels like this was shot on a GoPro or something. According to IMDb, this movie was shot on an Arri Amira. As far as I’m aware, there’s no word of it being shot on a GoPro, even though that’s how the footage comes off to me. You can say to me a thousand times that the scene was shot with an Arri Amira, but at the end of the day, it feels like a GoPro. It felt like “Hardcore Henry” if it weren’t entirely in first-person.

Let’s talk about the characters of Enn (Alex Sharp) and Zan (Elle Fanning). First off, both names are pretty dope if you ask me! Enn is essentially the movie’s main character and he happens to build a bond with Zan. He also happens to be really into punk rock, and since this takes place around London during the 1970s, you certainly get to see lots of that in the movie! When it comes to the other character in the picture, Zan, she just so happens to be an alien. As I watched this movie, realizing what was happening and what was to come, I thought to myself, “Ohhhh no.” Why? Because I saw a movie last year by the name of “The Space Between Us” and simply put, it was one of the worst sci-fi films ever put on the big screen. One big reason for that was the unfathomably terrible relationship between the main character (Martian) and his love interest (Earthling). The chemistry was so horrible that not even the fact that the guy playing the Martian happened to be my personal choice to play the MCU’s Spider-Man (Asa Butterfield) saved the movie! Luckily, this film is smart. It has great writing, quirkiness, and lots of charm. When it came to the relationship, I totally bought into it. As the movie progressed, I grew to perhaps admire the couple even more. By the end of the movie I was deeply rooting for both characters given their situation! TAKE NOTES, “THE SPACE BETWEEN US!” THIS IS HOW A MOVIE IS DONE!

Speaking of the aliens, I think this is another thing that the movie surprisingly nailed. Because my first impression of them, once I saw one of the aliens, was that they looked very cheap or cliche. At times I wondered if I happened to be watching “Flash Gordon.” But then I saw more of them, what they did with each other, and even what they did with some of the humans they encountered, I grew attached to them as time went on. Not to mention, they also have some behavior that I think us humans would find peculiar, which does add to that alien feel. There’s a scene that Zan is talking to someone, I won’t say who, but they’re having a conversation and Zan is saying to this person that she had pancakes, she’s currently sitting on a toilet, and “excreting” them.

In fact, going back to the couple, I think the thing that really makes them likable, and this is kind of something that “The Space Between Us” should have been aware of, is that they weren’t robots or uncharismatic. If the aliens were robotic, I guess this could have worked in its own little way, but if we want to like characters from our own world, there’s a good chance that we’d want a character that either has personality, isn’t an asshole (unless you’re someone like Deadpool), and isn’t mopey. The couple, not only together, but as individuals, just so happen to come off as somewhat quirky. And I like quirky. You might as well have a quirky couple in a quirky movie.

In the end, I don’t really have much else to say about “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” because I went into the movie not having much information related to it on my mind. I feel like if you were to see this movie, you shouldn’t have too many details revealed about it in order to provide yourself with the best possible viewing experience. Also, I’ve gotta bring up the tagline for the movie, “Talk to the girl. Save the world.” NOW THAT’S A TAGLINE. I’m gonna give “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” an 8/10. Thanks for reading this review! Be sure to look forward to more reviews very soon, and also be sure to check out some of my older reviews such as my thoughts on “Mission: Impossible: Fallout,” which by the way, if you have not seen that movie, I seriously have to ask what you’re doing with your life. Make sure to follow me here on Scene Before, like this post, and stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “How to Talk to Girls at Parties?” What did you think about it? Or, if you have a fantasy of falling in love with an alien, what would the alien look like? Let me know, even if it is extreme, I’d love to hear what you have to say! Also, one more thing, if you watch this movie, stay tuned for the credits because they have a line of text saying “NO ALIENS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS FILM.” Just… Genius. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/08/01/mission-impossible-fallout-2018-tom-cruise-is-a-madman/