Love, Simon (2018): A Movie About Emails, Love, and the Weirdest Principal Ever

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“Love, Simon” is directed by Greg Berlanti, who you may know as a producer for a lot of content that’s coming out in relation to DC Comics and this movie stars Nick Robinson (The Fifth Wave, Jurassic World), Jennifer Garner (Juno, Daredevil), and Josh Duhamel (Transformers, Safe Haven). This movie is about a teenage boy who is nearly done with high school and all of his life he’s been hiding the fact that he’s gay. His parents don’t know, his friends don’t know, his family doesn’t know, nobody knows. One day, Simon comes across something online about someone who has never come out, seeing this, he begins communicating with the individual who happens to be just like him. This leads STRAIGHT into this coming of GAYGE story.

I bought this movie on Blu-ray for 25% less than the sticker price (originally $34.99), and I will bring up the fact that despite its recent release date, I missed “Love, Simon” in the theater. My sister saw it, but on the same day, she was with her own demographic and I was off with someone else seeing another movie at a different theater, specifically “Tomb Raider.” However, when I saw a couple of Blu-ray copies available at a store I went to multiple times while on vacation, I asked my sister if she thought I should pick up this movie, mainly considering how she’s one of the few people I know who saw it. Once I got her seal of approval, I thought I should take a gander at what this was. Having seen this movie now, it’s fine. Just fine. Did I expect it to be great? Not really. I thought it was gonna be really good, and while it didn’t quite MEET my expectations, I can’t say my disappointment levels are enormous, because “Love, Simon” is an entertaining, somewhat fast-moving, enjoyable experience I guess.

Let me just get something straight. I’m straight. I can’t say I completely relate to Simon entirely because I’m not gay, but with ways not having to do with sexual orientation, the writers did a really fine job at making the character of Simon feel like a normal everyday person just like he himself says he is at the start of the flick in narration form. And that is one of the biggest compliments I can give to “Love, Simon,” as a coming of age story, the script does its job (FOR THE MOST PART, THE FLAT-OUT ODD AND OVERUSED SEX JOKES, NOT TO MENTION OTHER CRINGE GOT IN THE WAY). Not only that, but all of the characters around Simon’s age seem to come off as authentic high-schoolers. And I will say, that if I were talking about the first half of this movie, I probably would have a gun to my head while threatened to say what somebody else wanted. I’m not saying the first half was terrible, but certain parts of the first half were not really as lovable the other half. There is some cringe to be had throughout the movie that was rather unexpected.

One such moment comes into play during a scene in a Waffle House. While everyone is reading a play script, A character by the name of Martin, who might as well be young Lex Luthor in “Batman v. Superman,” has a crush on Abby, and it just leads to one of the weirdest exchanges of dialogue I’ve seen in a movie this entire year.

Speaking of cringe, let’s talk about the principal. Ooooh the principal. You know how sometimes maybe you’d think of a school principal as a big, tough, menacing figure? I wouldn’t say that’s who this guy is, I’d say he’s a combination of a clown without makeup, and a f*cking whackjob! Listen, I would sometimes consider myself a horrible person who doesn’t mind talking about sex, I’ll admit it. But in what universe does a principal go up to students and talk about their Tinder date in detail? And this movie also goes to show how ridiculous it’s gotten in terms of people not being able to have control of their own phones in school in perhaps the creepiest way possible! It’s like watching a really bad episode of a cheesy sitcom on ABC. If you remember the movie “Fist Fight,” which I’d honestly be surprised if you do at this point, at least they made the phone controversy that’s going on in schools all over today rather funny!

I already talked about Simon, but when it comes to the way Nick Robinson portrayed this character, I’d say he did a fine job at being authentic, not putting himself over the top, and just acting like a typical teenager. I’ve seen a few other flicks where Nick Robinson happened to be present, but “Love, Simon” is the first one where I happen to see him stand out. I remember bits and pieces of him in “Jurassic World,” I’ll admit it’s been awhile since I’ve watched that movie. I also watched him in “The Fifth Wave,” which was just AWFUL, but his few seconds in that movie worked for me. “Love, Simon” took me from being intrigued into looking for more of Robinson’s work to keeping a good eye on him now.

One thing I’m kind of surprised by when it comes to this movie, and I wouldn’t consider this a huge negative is how tolerant this movie’s list of characters appear to be about alternate orientations. I say this because in real life there’s probably gonna be that one person who either thinks differently than everyone else, or just two sides clashing with each other. While I’m not complaining, this does come off as a shock to me. Although at the same time, considering how much more open-minded we get as a society each and every day, that sort of idea becomes a tad less surprising. When I was in high school, I never really ran into anyone who was flat-out AGAINST homosexuality or the LGBT community, and if there were anyone that falls into that class, no names related to that come to mind. My parents seem to have nothing against said community, some people related to me I can probably tell have nothing against them. I can’t speak for everyone in my family, I don’t discuss this sort of thing with them. Even so, I didn’t expect the world of “Love, Simon” to be so one-sided. Granted, it could be to establish that there are more people that are accepting of the LGBT community than one would think, but still. And also, I will say, despite how many people appear to be on one specific side altogether during this movie, one character, specifically the character Simon is emailing all the time happens to have people who would disapprove of his ways in his family, but other than them, nobody else stands out in that side of the spectrum.

In the end, I gotta say “Love, Simon,” while it did make a neat turnaround in quality as the movie progressed still didn’t have enough in order to make me go “wow.” In fact, while I’ll mention again, the screenplay is one of the better parts of what make up “Love, Simon,” it had too many moments of cringe mixed into all of the decent parts. I didn’t even get into the football field scene which I’m avoiding for the sake of possible spoilers. As a coming of age story, it does its job, but I wouldn’t go all out in saying it does its job well. Plus considering what might be a small potential replay value, an ending that could have worked but had some dissatisfying elements mixed in, and some moments of the movie that might feel forgettable, I wouldn’t say I loved, “Love, Simon.” I’m gonna give “Love, Simon” a 7/10. I have a feeling however based on some thoughts spinning around in my head that I am gonna eventually change “Love, Simon” to a 6. I dunno, only time will tell. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’m going to post my review for “Game Night,” which I do intend on watching sometime this week. Be sure to look out for that, make sure you follow me here on Scene Before that way you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Love, Simon?” What did you think about it? Or, what is one of the most cringeworthy movies you’ve watched in recent memory? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Uncle Drew (2018): Worst Pepsi Commercial Ever

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“Uncle Drew,” otherwise known as my latest near death experience is “directed” by Charles Stone III (Mr. 3000, Drumline) and stars Kyrie Irving, Lil Rel Howrey, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson, Erica Ash, JB Smoove, Mike Epps, with Tiffany Haddish and Nick Kroll. This “film” is about a character named Dax who doesn’t play basketball anymore due to a personally embarrassing moment that happened to him as a youngster. However, he’s not done with the sport in its entirety, because he still finds fun in coaching. One day, he convinces the legendary Uncle Drew to play basketball one more time, thus helping him win a tournament along with Drew’s squad. I’ll be completely honest with you, I’m actually getting a headache as I write this description. That’s what this movie did to me! YOU DID THIS, MOVIE!

Upon research, I managed to find out that the character of Uncle Drew is actually not an original character made for this very film. Turns out this is based on an episodic web-series which also stars Kyrie Irving. As I found out on IMDb, this web series was originally conceived by Pepsi. That’s right. Pepsi. You know, that thing that Cindy Crawford hypnotized people to drink? Yeah, that one! When I watched this movie and I saw that Pepsi was actually a producer of the film in the opening credits, I thought the sky was falling. NO! THIS IS REAL! AND NOW I KNOW THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR YEARS! And this is probably the biggest negative I have with this movie, it’s not a movie, it’s a commercial. There are a few movies that work as commercials I’ve seen. Movies like “The Internship,” “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” and I may be cheating since I haven’t seen this but I know a good number of people like “The Wizard,” which if you break it down is essentially a commercial for Nintendo. The sad thing is, when it comes to all of the product placement, and trust me, there is A LOT, of Pepsi in this movie or any product made by Pepsico, none of it stands out as funny, entertaining, anything like that. People give a lot of flak towards movies like “Transformers: Age of Extinction” for having lots of product placement and coming off more like a commercial than anything else. At least in that, you get a rather badass scene with Bud Light. It’s forced, in some cases it may be considered cringeworthy, but it just makes you want to crack a drink open with force. So, I’m gonna be doing something special for this review…

This review is unofficially sponsored by Pepsi!

Drink it!

Share it!

Love it!

And most importantly… shake it to play a prank on your friend who will eventually open it and get delightful taste of Pepsi all over their precious pants!

Now back to the review, had I known that this movie is not completely original and partially responsible because of Pepsi, I may have possibly enjoyed it just a bit more. Not to mention, maybe if I were a different person with a different mindset, that could contribute as well. This movie is being advertised towards maybe a couple audiences. These audiences are probably really into basketball, maybe know what the character of Uncle Drew is, and maybe they’re black. As I bought my ticket for this movie at the box office, I recall being the first person to possess a ticket based on the seating options. That didn’t last, you know, like the good old-fashioned Pepsi everybody seems to be drinkin’ because it just tastes so freakin’ good. When I entered the theater however, I was the first one in, and I thought to myself I was gonna get to watch the movie alone, in silence. Oh how awesome that would have been. Instead, I get a lot of people laughing. And you know what? It’s fine. It’s a comedy, it’s expected, not to mention encouraged. Although there were some people, this includes someone a couple seats away from me, who seemed to laugh at just about everything that was on screen. Now I am not revoking their right to laugh, but they are either easily impressed or have a completely different sense of humor than I. Either that or they drank enough Pepsi to enjoy the movie! Out of everyone in the auditorium, I probably was the most out of place person there. I was the only one of a few people who actually happened to be white in the theater. Oh, there were like, three people around me who I can see using their phones during points of the film. If this was out of absolute boredom, than something like this is understandable, but for the sake of a theater environment that doesn’t associate with chaos, would putting the phone away really be that hard?

Let’s talk about some of the characters in “Uncle Drew.” They all suck. They don’t drink enough Pepsi in the movie!

In all seriousness, let’s talk about Dax, played by Lil Del Howery. If this movie as a whole were a tad more competent, I would honestly like Dax better. Because the movie does try at making him looking like a lot is being taken away from him. And you know what? I almost feel bad for him. Although at the same time, I feel like the main thing that I’m supposed to feel bad about concerning him is just one enormous overreaction. Dax gets a shot blocked and loses a game. That was one time. Apparently the fact that the blocker was a white guy makes it extra embarrassing. Maybe in some ways, this kinda makes sense, but wow. I feel bad for him, and makes me hate the crowd of people against them, because they’re a mob against him for a reason having to with something so minor. Maybe I’m overreacting, maybe I have to pump the hate brakes, but I feel like some people in this movie are just mean-spirited to the point of annoyance. You know they need? Pepsi!

PEPSI IS THE CURE TO F*CKING EVERYTHING!

Kyrie Irving is one of the many basketball stars in this film, and it is clear that maybe he wanted to do this film more than anybody else. I do buy him as this elderly, wise man. I will admit, as much as I didn’t enjoy this movie as a whole, I thought Irving’s character was definitely one of the stronger highlights. I didn’t expect grade A range acting from him, nor should I. He did a fine job given his stance in the realm of acting. In this movie, I’ll give some credit and say that Irving at times is kind of funny, but the problem with his character, much like some others in the film, is that it’s not funny enough for me to exactly recall what was funny about them. It’s not like it’s “Anchorman” where you recall Ron Burgundy is funny because he said things such as “Go f*ck yourself, San Diego.” Then again, it’s comedy, it’s art, it’s subjective. And my subjective thoughts towards this movie is that it just didn’t do much of anything except chop my head off.

Let’s talk about Shaq in this movie. This guy has had quite a lifetime. He’s been in the NBA for a very long time, won a few championships, made albums, movies, appeared on TV in several shows and commercials, and even has the pleasure of making a fighting game that even he realizes was terrible. Yeah, he made a game called “Shaq Fu” which released in 1994 for multiple platforms. This is highly regarded as one of the worst video games ever made. And somehow it recently got a sequel which is currently pumping out downloadable content, including a piece containing former president Barack Obama! Not to mention, I’m not alone on this sort of thing, but I consider him to be one of the funniest basketball players on the planet. And since this is a comedy with Shaq in it, you expect him to deliver the goods. And it’s just a f*cking shame that the movie wastes this guy! I could tell Shaq was trying, but it didn’t feel like the aspect of trying lifted through all the way. This could have been a result due to bad direction, lackluster writing, maybe a combination of those two things. Either way, Shaq is not funny here. The first scene of Shaq is him teaching martial arts, which funny enough, is kind of what he does in “Shaq Fu.” That was one of the only memorable parts of not just Shaq in the movie, but the movie itself. And that’s most likely because a part of me was going “Oh, it’s Shaq! Can’t wait to see what he does!”

*hands planted on cheeks* My gosh, I need a Pepsi.

Oh, and you know what? I have not even gotten to the absolute biggest piece of s*it this movie has! This movie takes a second to turn into every single animated movie that is trying to sell an album! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… THE MOST. POINTLESS. DANCE SEQUENCE. IN HISTORY!

You know how a lot of people don’t like “Spider-Man 3?” For those of you who don’t know, part of the endless reasons some people dislike that movie has to do with a song and dance sequence in a jazz club. I gotta say, at least that sequence helped a bit in telling us the current state of Peter Parker’s character, at least that sort of helped with the movie’s overall story. This sequence, it feels like it was just done for s*its and giggles. I never thought I’d say this, but this scene makes “The Emoji Movie” look like “Back to the Future!” Who ever thought I’d need to use “The Emoji Movie” as the positive in a comparison JUST UNDER A YEAR AFTER IT RELEASED?! Seriously! This is an actual quote from my “Emoji Movie” review!

“The Emoji Movie” is nothing but a rip off of better animations, a s*itty idea which became a s*itty movie, and a poorly written, anger-inducing f*ckpile of a film created by a bunch of c*cksucking jackasses that just want to capitialize on a trend!”

To have a comparison like this is a true feat! Because around the halfway point in “The Emoji Movie,” there’s this sequence that’s basically trying to promote “Just Dance.” And it’s just abysmal! But, at the same time, for the very few people who would be invested in the story, our “heroes” have to run away from particular enemies who are also in the area. To get to their destination, part of it involves dancing. It’s full of cringe, but at least if you actually have the urge to care, you can root for the heroes to make it to where they need to go! The dance sequence here isn’t really trying to promote a song (at least I hope that’s the case), but it just doesn’t feel like it has a place in this movie! You could literally remove this entire sequence and it would make NO DIFFERENCE on the overall product! This movie is an hour and forty-three minutes long. This dance sequence can be removed and still provide a decent runtime! WHAT WAS THAT FOR?! Listen to me movie! You’re “Uncle Drew,” not “Family Guy,” you’re not getting a giant chicken to fight some dumbass on the streets! That doesn’t work for you! Just focus! And you know what? I guess if you’re going to this movie just to laugh, maybe this sequence might ultimately work for you. That is, if you’re not me. I was watching this scene, imagining how much better it would be to put a gun on my head, while everybody else was just dying laughing. I probably died too. Maybe after imagining what it would be like to take that gun on my head and kill myself. But if I just drank more Pepsi I think I would have been just fine!

In the end, “Uncle Drew” is worse than Coca-Cola on its best day! Pepsi rules! “Uncle Drew” is a very unfunny comedy which ultimately says something about this year’s movies, because there’s one comedy that I saw this year, that was actually worse than this. This is almost my worst movie of the year so far. If it hadn’t been for a few laughs then I really would have pulled out all the stops, push people out of the way at the theater, demand a refund on my food, drink, and ticket, and call the news about the plague this movie is bound to spread. Let me just tell you something. One of my favorite drinks is Diet Pepsi. Having seen this movie, it almost made me never want to buy another Pepsi product again. While this personally isn’t my worst movie of the year overall, it is certainly the worst I’ve seen in terms of product placement. Also, I would like to congratulate this movie for something.

This possibly made the extended video with Kendall Jenner promoting world peace the 2ND worst Pepsi ad of all time! Congrats, “Uncle Drew!” I’m gonna give “Uncle Drew” a Pepsi/10, whoops! I mean, I’m gonna give it a 2/10! There, that’s better! Thanks for reading this commercialized review! Be sure to go out to your local grocer and buy yourself some Pepsi! The Movie Reviewing Moron’s personal choice of beverage to drink to make him forget about “Uncle Drew.” You know, because bleach is a bit extreme. I do have another review coming up, and it is for a movie that I’m honestly surprised at the amount of people who went out to watch it when it was in theaters (or lack thereof). That movie is “A Wrinkle In Time,” so be sure to stay tuned for my thoughts on that! I want to know, did you see “Uncle Drew?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite Pepsi product? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks, and have a Pepsi day!

Will First Man Be Shown on IMAX 70mm Film? If So, Where?

Hey everyone! Jack Drees here! If you know me personally, you’d probably be well aware of my fanaticism for IMAX. I freaking love IMAX. At times, they’re brutal liars (if you don’t trust me, ask Aziz Ansari), but at the same time I can’t help but love them. They’ve partially contributed towards my love of film. I would love to make several movies and release them in the IMAX format, and even on IMAX film. Speaking of that, I got to ask something today in this post.

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One movie I’m really looking forward to this year is “First Man.” This movie is being directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land), stars Ryan Gosling (Blade Runner 2049, Crazy Stupid Love) and Claire Foy (The Crown, Vampire Academy) and is based on the true story (depending on your knowledge or thoughts on various conspiracy theories) of the famous Apollo moon landing from 1969.

A new trailer just released for this movie and I’ll just say to you all right now that I have no intentions to do a review on it. However, there is one thing I caught at the very end of the trailer. One of the last pieces of text the trailer states is “Select Scenes Filmed with IMAX Cameras.” It doesn’t exactly specify what type of IMAX camera is specifically used to shoot the movie, but according to IMDb, the movie is partially being shot on what is referred to as an IMAX MSM 9802. This camera was used to shoot select scenes of various films including “The Dark Knight,” “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” This is an IMAX camera that is capable of shooting in 2D and 70mm. Therefore, “First Man” is being shot in IMAX 70mm, which makes me ask, “Will you be able to watch this in the IMAX 70mm format?”

According to IMDb, if you look in the technical specifications page for “First Man,” it’ll say that some scenes will be shown in a 1.43:1 aspect ratio, which is the proper ratio for an IMAX theater with 70mm equipment that covers the entire screen. For those of you who are unfamiliar with IMAX technology, let me just inform you, if the year this movie happened to be coming out is a year such as 2014 and I found this info on IMDb, chances are I’d at most GUARANTEE you that this movie will be shown in the IMAX 70mm format. However, it’s not 2014, it’s 2018, so I can’t make any guarantees at this point. I say that because IMAX has a technology which has been steadily growing, which is their 4K laser projection system (picture up above). They’ve installed it on several screens around the world. Some of these screens include the TCL Chinese Theatre (Los Angeles, CA), Cineworld Leicester Square (London, UK), CGV Yongsan (Seoul, SK), Event Cinemas Queen Street (Auckland, NZ), Scotiabank Toronto (Toronto, Canada), Miramar IMAX (Taipei, Taiwan), and I even have one that’s about a ten minute drive from my house, the Sunbrella IMAX 3D Theater, located inside Jordan’s Furniture, in Reading, MA. I can pretty much guarantee that given today’s technological preferences that at least one laser theater will be showing the movie. I say that because IMAX, like most movie theater owners and operators, typically show their movies in some format related to digital projection. It’s simpler to operate, simpler to handle, and you don’t have to worry about any degradation of picture quality for one reason or another.

The IMAX laser system works on multiple types of IMAX screens, but one of its main purposes is to be a digital equal/replacement for IMAX’s 70mm film projectors. If you ask me, IMAX 70mm projectors are capable of showing clearer images than the company’s laser projectors, but that’s for another time. With that sort of idea in mind, that means if you put an IMAX laser projector in an older IMAX theater that contained a film projector prior to it, there’s a good chance that the laser projector was installed to play media and said media will be displayed in an aspect ratio that would have been shown the same way had IMAX kept their film projector. For those of you who do not know much about IMAX, the laser projection system IS NOT IMAX’s only digital projection system. They’ve had another one which they introduced in 2008, which is pretty much the reason why some people refer to the company as LIEMAX. IMAX has installed many of these all over the world, which started an enormous growth in IMAX theaters in multiplexes. However, the projector couldn’t show any images in the tradtional IMAX aspect ratio and when people watch something say, shot with IMAX cameras, it would be shown in a 1.90:1 aspect ratio. The IMAX laser system by the way, first began rolling six years after the first IMAX digital system was introduced, in December 2014.

In the year of 2018, we have yet to see one major Hollywood release be shown on IMAX film. Yes, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” was shown in IMAX film this year, but that technically released in 2017. We have yet to get one big film release, I’m not talking about any of those IMAX documentaries, I’m talking about films that most of the public would see advertised on TV, shown in the IMAX 70mm format this year, and I believe there is no other film this year that is more qualified than “First Man.” This movie involves a rocket launch, takes place in space, looks very compelling, and was shot entirely on film, part of it with IMAX cameras.

One big question I have though is this. If this were to be shown on IMAX film, what would our options be for going somewhere to view the movie in that format? Because two major releases in IMAX theaters were shown in IMAX film last year, but one release was much wider than the other. The first release was “Dunkirk,” which was shown in 37 IMAX theaters with 70mm equipment. This included a variety of theaters from giant IMAXes in multiplexes, to museums, to standalone locations. The second release was “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which as I state in one of my posts I did in October of last year, the number of theaters this movie happened to be shown in which was playing it in the IMAX 70mm format is less than the number of seasons in “Criminal Minds,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Supernatural,” and “NCIS.” If you want to get more specific, the movie was said to be shown in 11 theaters in the IMAX 70mm format. Also, not many of the places which the movie was to be shown appeared to be what one would call a traditional movie theater. Most of these were in museums.

With the upcoming release of “First Man,” I honestly don’t know what will happen when it comes to releasing it. This movie doesn’t come out until October 12, so there is plenty of time for something to be announced when it comes to where this film will be shown. Although with a film like this, I would certainly like to see it shown in more than just a select few IMAX 70mm theaters. If it can’t be as wide as “Dunkirk,” I would at least like it to be close to as wide of a release as “Dunkirk.” Because just like “Dunkirk,” I feel like this is one of those films that is literally made for movie theaters, and in a case like this, IMAX. As an audience member, it is the responsibility of the filmmakers and in a case like this, IMAX, to immerse me into the movie. I’ve experienced a rocket launch in the IMAX format, and I’ll even state, the IMAX 70mm format! A rocket launch is by far one of the most powerful things a man could ever witness. Just a two minute video of a rocket launching would be a great test video for the IMAX experience. Now if that is accompanied by a great story and interesting characters, you have something more nifty on your hands. So IMAX, please give this a wide release in your 15/70mm format, and if you want my preference on where to see it, I want to see it at the Providence Place Cinemas IMAX in Providence, RI. Just… Get crackin’.

If this does not get a wide release in IMAX 70mm, the least I ask is that this gets an IMAX 70mm release in some notable areas having to do with NASA or space exploration. But seriously, if you ask me, the wider the release, the better! So why be good when you can be better? Chop chop, our lives only last so long!

“First Man” is in theaters and IMAX everywhere on October 12th, and it is by far one of my most anticipated movies of the year. If you guys ever think about seeing it, I imagine this would be one hell of a ride in IMAX. Thanks for reading this post! This week I’ll be releasing at least couple of new reviews. I’ve got my review for “Tag” which I pretty much already finished, it just needs to be released once I’m allowed to share it to the public. I will also soon have my review for “Incredibles 2” which comes out later during the week, and if I can manage my time well enough, I might be able to insert my review for “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol.” I just need to watch it from start to finish, gather my thoughts, and then unleash those thoughts to you all. If I don’t have it this week, I’ll probably have it next week because the week after I’ll be on vacation, and I’ll probably still be posting while I’m away if my creative juices are flowing, but there’s a good chance I’ll be watching the movie at home as opposed to a hotel. Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, if you had to guess how many theaters happened to be releasing “First Man” in IMAX 70mm, what would your guess be? Or, what are your thoughts on the trailer we just got for “First Man?” Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

 

Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018): The Continuation of Teen Angst, Starring Dylan O’Brien- PART 3, To Be Rebooted Once Hollywood Runs Out of Young Adult Dystopian Books To Base Movies On, Still Better Than Twilight

Before we begin my review for “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” I wanted to give a shoutout to someone I know. This person I’m talking about just created an account here on WordPress. She’s a good companion of mine, who goes by the name of Millie. This companion just initiated an all new blog by the name of “Movie Reviews and More!”. The overall intention of “Movie Reviews and More” is to provide movie reviews, rumors related to the entertainment industry, and just talk about movies regardless of whether or not they’ve been released. Millie began her blogging journey days prior to the publication of this post you’re reading as of this moment. If you could do her a favor by checking out her blog and following her, that would be much appreciated. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s start my review!

MOVIE REVIEWS AND MORE!: https://moviereviewsandmore780585661.wordpress.com/

“Maze Runner: The Death Cure” is directed by Wes Ball, the director of the previous two “Maze Runner” movies, and stars Dylan O’Brien (American Assassin, Teen Wolf), Ki Hong Lee (The Nine Lives of Chloe King, Wish Upon), Kaya Scodelario (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, The Truth About Emanuel), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Love Actually, Nanny McPhee), Dexter Darden (Geography Club, Joyful Noise), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, Once Upon a Time), and Rosa Salazar (Insurgent, Parenthood). This film is being advertised as the final “Maze Runner” installment, and in this one, Thomas goes on a mission to find a cure for a disease that’s spreading all over civilization.

It hasn’t been until recently that I watched the prior two “Maze Runner” installments. After watching both from beginning to end, I have to say I enjoyed the first one, but the second one felt like Melatonin in the form of moving images, which is another way of saying the second movie made me almost fall asleep at times. Going into the third film, I didn’t have truly high expectations. The movie had a low score on Rotten Tomatoes, not to mention a January release date. Let’s face it. Movies+January=Begging for mercy. It’s simple math! It’s still January as I’m writing this and I’ll have you know that this is the first 2018 release I’m focusing on. There’s a saying known as “worst for first,” although I can tell you right now that’s not true because last year I saw “The Emoji Movie” and that was the twentieth movie I’ve seen released that year. Depending on what happens in 2018, I don’t think that’s going to be the case here either, because “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” surprised me in terms of its positivity. As I walked into the theater to watch this movie, not to mention, prior to even going there, I had one thought to myself. I thought, “Please be better than the second movie!” Not only did I get a film that’s better than the second movie, to me it has around the same praise I have for the first movie. If you read my review for the first movie, you’d already know that I’m not saying this movie’s perfect. We’ll get to that, but let’s go on by stating some positives.

This movie was directed by Wes Ball, and as mentioned, he directed both the first and second installments to this series. The fact that he’s come back to direct this third movie is just unbelievable, and I mean that in a good way. Although then again you have Michael Bay coming back to direct every single “Transformers” film and look how those have turned out. I say this is positively unbelievable because you have several films out now based on young adult adaptations. These young adult adaptations have come from books that have gotten multiple installments. The “Maze Runner” franchise is one example of that. Let’s compare this statistic with other similar films. As for “Twilight,” every single movie in the franchise has a different director making the picture. Well, that is if “Breaking Dawn” wasn’t split into two parts so in that case, the same guy directed both of those movies. “The Hunger Games” started off with direction from Gary Ross, and every film after that was directed by Francis Lawrence. “Divergent” was directed by Neil Burger, but that didn’t last because the next two films in the franchise were to be directed by Robert Schwentke. “Fifty Shades of Grey,” YES, THIS COUNTS, because it’s based on “Twilight” fanfiction, even though its target demographic is middle-aged women, was directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. Then once that movie came out, it had two more scheduled to be released. “Fifty Shades Darker,” the sequel to “Fifty Shades of Grey,” was directed by James Foley, who also directed “Fifty Shades Freed,” which will, unfortunately, be out soon. It just goes to show that with these young adult adaptations and the sole young adult adaptation wannabe, nobody can commit to these movies. With the existence of “Maze Runner” and Wes Ball, we have an exception on our hands. Not only did he direct these movies just for the sake of having a job, he actually tried on all three. He failed on the second one despite looking nice at times, but he tried on all of them. Ball now has a trilogy to look back on as an accomplishment. As for this film, Ball once again delivers by executing solid performances out of the actors along with neat location choices. According to IMDb, the movie was done in South Africa, and it fit the post-apocalyptic vibe quite well. A lot of the cinematography done by Gyula Pados, who also did the cinematography for the previous “Maze Runner” installment, was very proper and it I could easily tell what was going on. So for overall direction, this movie’s solid.

Moving onto the actors, let’s talk about Dylan O’Brien. After seeing Dylan O’Brien in this movie and hearing a little more about him, I have massive respect for him. While all of the actors here commit to their roles, I have to say that O’Brien did an exceptional job committing to the one for which he was responsible. In 2016, it was reported that O’Brien was injured on set while filming “The Death Cure,” suspending production indefinitely. Turns out the injury came from a car making contact with him. Production resumed about a year after the injury happened. The fact is, they got it done. O’Brien survived, everyone’s fine, and the movie was made. Having said that, I want to write my own movies, I might even want to direct them, and I’ve had an idea for one for some time and I’ve often thought to myself for this one I’m thinking of in particular, Dylan O’Brien would be the lead role. Now that I’ve seen O’Brien and what he’s done as far as this movie goes, I want to work with him even more. O’Brien plays the character of Thomas once again, and he’s definitely got some charisma here, much like some other characters.

Another notably fine character is Newt, played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster. I thought Brodie-Sangster’s performance was solid and the way his character was written, along with Dylan O’Brien’s, brought out some great chemistry between the two. I’d probably have to watch the other two movies again, but I don’t think I felt as much of a connection to him as I did here. Maybe it’s because this is the last installment, maybe it’s because I watched this in a theater, not to mention an IMAX theater, I don’t know, but the point is, I like Newt here.

Another character worth talking about is Kaya Scodelario’s character of Teresa. In this movie, we first see her on the side of WCKD, which if can’t tell by what that acronym sounds like, is this franchise’s evil organization. I’m not gonna go into supreme detail about Teresa, but just about every single action from this character was something I was able to believe.

This movie, to me, was full of surprises, and I think I made that somewhat clear. Another surprise that caught my attention was that I actually cared about Rosa Salazar’s character of Brenda. She was introduced in “The Scorch Trials” as a character I didn’t really have much of a connection towards and since the movie itself was a near-snoozefest, that pretty much explains my thoughts towards her character. Brenda actually had a standout scene to me at one point during this movie. She’s driving a bus, and she has to escape, and the way she attempts to escape is pretty awesome. Actually, you know what, I take that back. It was aMAZEing.

As mentioned, this movie isn’t flawless, and as a movie reviewing moron, I gotta be fair here. Going into this film, I will have you know that I was actually at a restaurant beforehand having breakfast. My sister, who wasn’t going to see the movie, was receiving explanation from my father as to what the movie we were going to see was like. He described it as a combination of “The Hunger Games” and “Resident Evil,” at least that’s what my mind suggests. As for that second insertion, I’m not talking about the video games, he’s never played those. He’s talking about the movie adaptations. I haven’t seen one of those films, but I heard they’re abysmal, but having heard various things about them, I think I can make that connection now. The “Resident Evil” movies have a number of moments where you basically have to suspend your disbelief like crazy. This movie has that too, you just wonder how some of the stuff in this film actually happens. It’s not “Batman & Robin” bad, but it’s still a thing that occurs. One more issue I had was the first part of the film. I honestly thought it was a tad draggy but it quickly recovered as the movie went on.

If this movie, at least in my book, could trim up those issues, it might just be the best “Maze Runner” movie yet. Not only that, but it might make this the most solid based on dystopian young adult adaptation movie series I’ve seen to date. In my rankings, it’s tied with “Divergent,” but “The Maze Runner” is actually better because it could actually finish its own story. Based on what I’m saying about “The Scorch Trials,” that’s not really saying all that much. Others would disagree with me, and I’m not lying. Germain Lussier from io9 Reviews made an article titled “The Death Cure Doesn’t Give The Maze Runner the Ending It Deserves.” Not only that, but David Sims from The Atlantic calls this movie a “grim, half-hearted farewell.” I never read the “Maze Runner” books, so maybe my opinion is little different than others. Although Sims never says whether or not he’s read the books so that fact stands here. Nevertheless, maybe I’d like this movie a little less if I have actually read the books, but only time will tell. I might not ever read the books. This isn’t my first time saying this, but movies are more fun! By the way, sorry, books.

In the end, I was rather satisfied with “Maze Runner: The Death Cure.” Wes Ball once again proves to be an effective director who I personally think should get more work in the realm of action movies. Dylan O’Brien nails yet another performance as the lead character of Thomas. I thought a lot of the characters were great. The sound editing was a joy. The set pieces were amazing as well. Also, one of the best parts about all of this, we have a solid January movie! Whether or not this third installment is better than the second one requires no contest. As for being better than the first one, that’s a hard judgment to make, it could be slightly better, slightly worse, or equal. With that being said, I’m going to give “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” a 7/10. One last thing I’m wondering about this movie is this. Why do so many franchises like this have a fetish for needles? Just put this side by side with “The Hunger Games,” “The Giver,” and “Divergent” to see what I mean! Oh yeah, and even more hilarious, “The Hunger Games” has a character called Nessie Needle! Thanks for reading this review, be sure to check out my friend’s blog, and also be sure to check out my past “Maze Runner” reviews. I have reviews for “The Maze Runner” and “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” so take a look at those if you’re interested. Also, as for upcoming content, I’m not sure what I’ll see next. Maybe “The Commuter” or “12 Strong” will be my next review. We’ll find out when time allows it. Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Maze Runner: The Death Cure?” What are your thoughts? What is your favorite “Maze Runner” installment in the movie trilogy? What is your favorite “Maze Runner” book? How would you rank either saga? Do you think either the books or movies are better? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“THE MAZE RUNNER” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/the-maze-runner-2014-the-continuation-of-teen-angst-starring-dylan-obrien/

“MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/01/25/maze-runner-the-scorch-trials-the-continuation-of-teen-angst-starring-dylan-obrien-part-2-to-be-concluded-in-almost-2-5-years-also-this-is-wckd-boring/

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015): The Continuation of Teen Angst, Starring Dylan O’Brien- PART 2, To Be Concluded In Almost 2.5 Years. Also, This is WCKD Boring

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Last week I reviewed “The Maze Runner,” and I’m letting you know about this because one, it feels appropriate, and two, just about nobody saw it. Sure, people saw “The Maze Runner” as in they saw the movie, but nobody clicked on my review. I’ll have a link down below to my review for “The Maze Runner,” and if you’re lucky enough, you’ll be one of the first people to check it out! This week, I’m going to be following up on my “Maze Runner” review I did last week and I’ll be showing you all my thoughts on “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” as suggested in the title of this post. A title so stupid that it’s nearly a copypaste of the title to my first “Maze Runner” review, but with more s*it sprinkled into it. Enough with that, let’s start the review!

“THE MAZE RUNNER” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/the-maze-runner-2014-the-continuation-of-teen-angst-starring-dylan-obrien/

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“Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” is directed by Wes Ball, who also directed the first “Maze Runner” installment, and stars Dylan O’Brien (The Internship, Teen Wolf), Kaya Scodelario (Now Is Good, The Truth About Emanuel), and Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Love, Actually, Phineas and Ferb) and is the sequel to “The Maze Runner,” which came out one year prior to this installment, and is based on a popular teen angst book by James Dashner. Now that the Gladers we know from the first movie are out of the maze, they have to deal with a new landscape, with new obstacles. And this landscape looks like it’s seen some s*it.

When it comes to the first “Maze Runner,” I really enjoyed the movie for what it was. It’s a lighthearted teen angst movie with a bunch of folks trapped in a maze, trying to get out. Several moments had me glued to the screen, and now that these people are out of the maze, the question is, what’s next? This movie goes into that. In honest truth, I can barely tell you what comes next, because this movie. Was. Boring as f*ck! The first “Maze Runner” was engaging and entertaining, and while the first forty minutes of this thing is quite the same way, although maybe not as much, it just didn’t work out in the end. I actually saw ads for this film in 2015, and I haven’t seen the first installment to this series yet, but I knew about it and everything. Compared to the first film, this looked uninspired, and looked like it was there to have something happen as filler before the last film. I’m not entirely against the young adult genre, there is some good stuff that has come out of it. Although this is one major example of the bad. While not as intolerable as “The Fifth Wave,” I certainly can’t say this had a likable feel to it.

Don’t get me wrong, the vibe that’s present for the movie kind of works. Most of it is in a desolate landscape and given the music, story, not to leave out the motivations and attitudes of the characters, I’d say everything was logical. Although as far as the movie’s progression goes, that’s where the weaknesses start to pour in. This movie honestly, as I watched it, felt like a cash-in. I don’t know how much planning went into this particular installment, nor do I know how much planning went into writing the book for it, but if the book was lazy, the laziness of this movie therefore wouldn’t be all that surprising. I mean, I know the sequel was planned because of the semi-cliffhanger ending the first film gave, but it doesn’t change how poor the execution here was.

The first forty minutes, as mentioned, were entertaining to me. In fact, you know how this movie is called “The Scorch Trials?” Basically the Scorch is what the desolate landscape is called. Everything that happens prior to getting towards the scorch scenes was the entertaining chunk of the movie. As I got to the Scorch portion of the film, I wanted to take out my phone and do something on there instead of watch the movie. I assure you whatever it was I did on my phone, was ten times as fun as the movie. You might as well say that as we got to the scorch scenes, my mind was instantly “scorched” by Dullivan, the god of boredom. Even one or two fast paced chase scenes couldn’t keep me intrigued. I tried my best not to fall asleep, and while I succeeded, I can’t say I feel like I benefited from this experience.

I was however engaged by the ending. While part of it was predictable, I was constantly thinking to myself, when was this s*it going to conclude? I wanted to do something that would have been worth my time. I won’t go into much detail, but it was a big turnaround for my interest towards the film. I got engaged for a moment, but it wasn’t enough for me to say this film is competent.

This film once again stars Dylan O’Brien, or for this movie to make sense, Dullen O’Brien. He’s not a bad actor and once again, I buy him as this teenager. He does a fine job playing Thomas and the transition from one movie to the next was very fluid. During the first forty minutes, I was able to root for this guy not to mention with those alongside him. Even though this movie is wicked boring. Whoops! Sorry, I meant, WCKD boring.

I can’t even talk about this movie anymore! I honestly want to have more to say, but in the long run, I have to stop here! I’ve been running this maze too long and it’s time to collapse in fetal position! If you think that I’m lazy for not going on, let me just remind you that this movie felt lazy so it all comes together! So yeah, this movie sucked, it was boring, and that’s pretty much the gist of it. Badabing badabang badaboom.

Guys, if you can’t tell by how much I wanted to get this review off my belt, I hated this movie. “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” is yet another flop in the young adult genre and I just hope that when it comes to “The Death Cure,” I don’t have a similar experience. When it comes to teen angst movies, this may not be the most horrible of every single one I watched, but it might be the most boring. I only described one character! You know why I did that? Because this movie f*cking sucks and I hate talking about it! Part of me doesn’t even want to rate it! But rules are rules, I gotta rate this bitch. I’m gonna give “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” a 3/10. Once again, if you watch this movie, chances are you won’t be totally bored through the whole thing, but there’s barely any good parts in it. I have never read the “Scorch Trials” book, but I imagine it’s better than this junk. Thanks for reading perhaps one of my most intentionally lazy reviews ever despite having a descriptive title. I barely survived the horrendous killer maze that was “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” and in the end, that’s what really matters. This weekend, I hope to see “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” and I just hope for humanity that it’s better than this movie, or at the very least, just a good movie. Although this is a January film and if you know how movies are, January is a s*itshow. Stay tuned for that review and more great content! I want to know, did you see “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials?” What did you think about it? Did you read the book? What did you think about that? How would you compare the two pieces of work alongside each other? Let me know in the comments! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Maze Runner (2014): The Continuation of Teen Angst, Starring Dylan O’Brien

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! In 2014, one movie I kind of wanted to see was “The Maze Runner,” unfortunately, I never got around to watching it. Although a few months ago I was buying a number of Blu-rays at one of my personal favorite shops around the mall, AKA Newbury Comics, and I managed to come across “The Maze Runner” and “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. I still went on for months after buying them without watching either one of the films. That however, has changed. On January 26th, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” will hit theaters. Appropriately, I felt I should review the first “Maze Runner” and the second “Maze Runner.” Since I’m a chronological type of person, we’re gonna kick this series off by talking about the first “Maze Runner.” Without further ado, let’s start the review.

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“The Maze Runner” is directed by Wes Ball who has mainly done work in the film industry in the realms of art and visual effects. Aside from a few short films, this is pretty much the guy’s directorial debut. This movie stars Dylan O’Brien (Teen Wolf, The Internship), Kaya Scoldelario (Now Is Good, The Truth About Emanuel), and Will Poulter (We’re the Millers, Son of Rambow). “The Maze Runner” is about a youngish boy who is brought into this green, limited realm. He meets a group of men who tries to get him to adapt to the way things are. However, there is a way out (sort of). There is a maze separating this realm from the outside world. “Runners” are searching inside it every day, trying to find a way out. It’s at a point when this youngish boy learns about all of this, when he desires to join the runners.

This movie came out in 2014, it’s based on a book by James Dashner, and one thing I noticed about not only the 2010s decade, but perhaps slightly before this particular decade began, is how many popular young adult teen angst novels were being adapted into movies. Some examples include “Twilight,” “The Hunger Games,” “Harry Potter,” “Percy Jackson,” “The Chronicles of Narnia,” etc. I’ve seen a number of these, and no, “Twilight” wasn’t one of them. Thank goodness! While some of these young adult novels might fall under say the romance or fantasy genres, one concept that has applied a lot to recently popularized young adult books is the sci-fi dystopian element. This has been extremely evident with the worldwide phenomenon known as “The Hunger Games.”

I’ll be honest with you, I read the first “Hunger Games” book in the summer of 2012, and I don’t even recall making it a quarter of the way through the whole thing. I watched the movie, and while it wasn’t bad the first time watching it, the film got worse over more watches and the more I thought about it. The second film’s good, but I’ve yet to see “Mockingjay” parts 1 & 2, because as of now, I no desire to pay for two parts.

There’s a series that relates to this called “Divergent,” and I haven’t read the books for that. I enjoyed the first movie, I thought the second one was slightly better, but the third one sucked. As for the third movie, this is yet another case of splitting a book into two parts, and I’m wondering if that’s partially why the movie didn’t do well in terms of reactions and returns at the box office. Oh yeah, also don’t forget the rather dull story, annoying characters, and crappy CGI. One of the biggest problems I have with the movies however is that Tris keeps changing her hair. What’s up with that?!

People often consider “Divergent” a ripoff of “The Hunger Games,” but that’s simply not true. Both have corrupt governments and are futuristic, but just tinker around with them a little bit and you’ll see the differences underneath. “The Hunger Games” is an event that involves fighting to the death whereas “Divergent” is simply about a girl in a certain class that society doesn’t like. As for “The Maze Runner,” it’s got some similarities to both “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent.” However, as far as the book goes, “The Maze Runner” came out before “Divergent,” so you can technically say “Divergent” has similarities to “The Maze Runner” and “The Hunger Games.” All three books involve a post-apocalyptic world with a nasty regime, there’s a teen who has to fight against the overlords, and they’re all tested. The similarities are significant in all three films. However, I think out of “The Hunger Games,” “Divergent,” and “The Maze Runner,” I have to say I think “The Maze Runner” may be the best film of the three. This doesn’t say much about the book, but as a film, this one likely reigns supreme.

What I just said doesn’t mean “The Maze Runner” is a masterpiece, I just think it’s an enjoyable flick that could help you pass the time for a couple of hours. Since I have that out of the way, let’s get into some problems.

Pacing wise, this movie is mostly competent, you can follow everything quite well, and your eyes will be stuck to the screen for a long time.  However, as the movie gets towards the end, I have to say that there’s a point, specifically when a screen comes on and everybody’s listening, that the pacing just goes off for a second. I don’t know how others feel about that but that’s how I feel. I will say though, without spoiling much of anything, the movie has to do something in particular, and that thing in particular is what caused the drag for me.

One little nitpick, and I don’t know if this was an idea that the book’s author had, or if it was a director, or an editor, or who it could have possibly been that had this vision, but there are these enemies that you see in the film. They’re called Grievers. As enemies, they are serviceable and I don’t really have much that’s significantly wrong with them, but thinking about them, they almost look like ripoffs of the Xenomorphs from the “Alien” franchise. I’m surprised I’ve even said that because believe it or not I haven’t watched one “Alien” movie.

Dylan O’Brien plays the main character of Thomas throughout “The Maze Runner,” and I’d say that the character was well written, and I’d say having gone through the movie, O’Brien’s a nice pick to play the character. Granted, I can tell they probably cast Dylan O’Brien mainly because girls have a crush on him since he’s on “Teen Wolf” and if you know what the show is, you’d understand my point. To my happiness, the script focused less on his physique and more on his hope to become a runner and leave the maze. That remains true for every single one of the movies characters, which is just rather refreshing. Speaking of refreshing, there’s not much romance in this film. There is friendship, there is interaction, but there’s never any romance. And in a world where that is prominent in both the “Hunger Games” and “Divergent” franchises, that is awesome.

I really like the scene in the film where we first meet Thomas and he forgets his real name. The way he finds out is kind of hilarious. Basically, we meet him, it’s daytime, we are introduced to the Gladers, and soon, night arrives, we see a bunch of boys around a campfire. Thomas is in a fight, and as he is fighting, he’s getting his butt kicked, and all of a sudden, he remembers his name is Thomas, announces it in front of all the boys, and everyone is just exclaiming to the tenth degree. Pure hilarity.

As for another standout character, we have the big bad bully, Gally, played by Will Poulter. While Thomas is just trying to save everyone, Gally would occasionally interfere, saying that Thomas needs to be punished. I must say, this is good choice from a casting perspective, and I’m not saying this is a negative despite coming off as repetitive, he kind of looks like bullies we’ve seen in the past in terms of what’s happened in TV and movies. Just compare him with characters such as Biff from “Back to the Future” or Buzz from “Home Alone” and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

In the end, I’d say “The Maze Runner” is a really enjoyable film for what it is. It has some of the teen angst cliches, but at the same time, is a little more lighthearted in ways making it feel like you can have fun watching the movie. I have nothing against dark and gritty films, but in reality, that’s how a majority of teen angst films seem to come off. If you have never seen “The Maze Runner,” I do recommend it. I don’t know what to say about the book, or how much you’ll like the movie if you’ve read the book. I just know they’re not exactly the same. I’m going to give “The Maze Runner” a 7/10. Thanks for reading this review! I’m going to have my review up for the second part of the “Maze Runner” trilogy next Thursday, January 25th, which is also the night of the early screenings of the final installment, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure.” So stay tuned for my review of “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” along with more exciting content coming your way. I want to know, did you watch “The Maze Runner?” What are your thoughts? Did you read the book? Which is better? The book or the movie? Let me know your thoughts down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!