Top 10 BEST Movies of 2020

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! 2020 is over and I think we all agree that when it comes to 2020, the best part of the year is when it ended. Why? Because you can probably come up with any moment this year, perhaps in the middle of it, and it could arguably be one of the worst moments of your life. And as for the beginning of the year, remember when we were all going THIS IS GONNA BE OUR YEAR! IT’S GONNA KILL! Look where that all went! Thank you, 2020! FOR NOTHING! With that rage fit out of the way, let’s stay positive, because we have, thankfully, reached the end of the year, or more specifically the start of 2021, and we’re celebrating like we usually do, by counting down my top 10 BEST movies of the past year, this case it’s 2020. Couple rules before we go any further… First off, to have a movie qualify for the list it needs to have either played in theaters at least once OR, given the unusual circumstances of 2020, be made for a theatrical format, even if the movie ended up going somewhere else like DVD or Prime Video or HBO Max. This means movies like “An American Pickle,” which was made for theaters but ended up going to streaming instead, DO QUALIFY, but if your movie was specifically made for a format that is not theatrical, that means you’re off the list. Movies like “Bad Education” and “Troop Zero” are unfortunately off the list. Obviously, I must have seen the movies we’re talking about, otherwise I’d be talking nonsense. Also, reminder, like I say every year, this is a subjective list. It’s completely my opinion, and as a result, it may be different than your list purely based on personal thoughts. This list does completely not dive into what the DEFINITIVE BEST MOVIES are, these are just my faves! These are all the rules, hopefully I’m not complicating things too much. And with that being said, let’s start off like we usually do and point out some honorable mentions. Although, I should point out, 2020 was a rough year, so I want to spread some positivity going into 2021 by giving TEN honorable mentions, so this is going to be more like a top 20 list if anything. The main 10 movies will get the most recognition, but we will be going over 20.

Honorable mention: Ava (available on Netflix)

Kicking off our honorable mentions is “Ava,” starring Jessica Chastain as a badass assassin who must deal with her job and family issues on the side. Am I a little biased since I am a Bostonian? Maybe, but this was a damn fine action flick with some solid editing here and there.

Honorable mention: Unhinged (available on VOD)

“Unhinged” is one of the most disturbing films of the year, and that says something considering how it is not even a horror film. Not only is it adrenaline-filled, but it feels relatable. Watch it.

Honorable mention: Run (available on Hulu)

“Run” is a great addition to the Hulu library and the service’s best exclusive film of the year. If you want an unpredictable, twisty thriller, this film is for you.

Honorable mention: Impractical Jokers: The Movie (available on HBO Max)

I’ll admit, “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” is a bit a biased pick for me, I’m a big fan of the show. But as a fan of the show, I must say that they did a really good job of taking what is great about the show and translating it to film. And as I mentioned in my review, I find “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” to be funnier than a lot of comedies. A couple of the big punishment scenes had me DYING. Joe, Q, Sal, and Murr for life!

Honorable mention: Sonic the Hedgehog (available on Epix, Philo)

“Sonic the Hedgehog” got a couple watches from me this year. Not only is it arguably the finest movie adaptation of a video game we’ve seen to date, but out of the movies on this list, it is one of the few that I’d probably pay millions of dollars just to see a sequel! Also, massive props to the everyone who worked on the visual effects! You used the hate of the Internet to make yourselves stronger and you came out on top! Well done!

Honorable mention: Radioactive (available on Prime Video)

“Radioactive” is one of the most beautiful-looking films of the year in terms of aesthetics and set design. Rosamund Pike also delivers one of the most compelling performances of the year as revered scientist Marie Curie.

Honorable mention: Wolfwalkers (available on Apple TV+)

“Wolfwalkers” is Apple TV+’s first exclusive animated feature, and when it comes to the animation genre, it is also one of 2020’s best. It features a distinct, rustic-looking design and admirable chemistry all around.

Honorable mention: Freaky (available on VOD, in theaters)

“Freaky” supplies a terrific mashup of “Freaky Friday” and “Friday the 13th.” Vince Vaughn is great as always and this movie supports that Kathryn Newton is easily becoming one of my favorite performers.

Honorable Mention: Bill & Ted Face the Music (available on VOD)

While we dudes cannot party on all the time in 2020, I can assure you that “Bill & Ted Face the Music” is one of this year’s most excellent films. Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves return as their respective roles in a sequel that feels very similar, but much more mature compared to “Excellent Adventure” and “Bogus Journey.” I’m not dissing on the film, but I think that is a solid evolution point in the franchise if anything.

Honorable mention: Greenland (available on VOD)

And finally, we have “Greenland.” This is a fun, explosive disaster movie that had me on the edge of my seat with some likable characters in the center of it all. It also goes to show that humans will literally do anything for their own survival, even if it is costly for someone else.

With that out of the way, it is time to talk about the best films of the worst year! These are my top 10 BEST movies of 2020!

#10: The Way Back (available on HBO, HBO Max)

Starting off this list is one of the last films I saw before everything started shutting down due to COVID-19, and that is “The Way Back.” One of the best things about “The Way Back” is how personal it feels. The film stars Ben Affleck as a newly established basketball coach of a team he aided to victory back in high school. Only thing is, they suck now, and Affleck has to help them in getting a good footing towards the gold. But there is more to the story than just a basketball team that needs a bit of work. I say so because the film’s character, Jack Cunnigham, suffers from alcoholism, which Ben Affleck has been through in his life. You can truly tell based on the performance that Affleck cares about how this particular character is presented. I have not seen all of Affleck’s films, but “The Way Back” contains one of the best performances I have seen from him. While “The Way Back” may not be the big winner for cinematography this year, the film contains one of my top 10, maybe top 20 favorite final shots I have seen in cinematic history. It is a glorious representation of a subject matter the film partially focuses on while displaying a beautiful environment. I liked “The Way Back” when I saw it in the theater, but I began to appreciate it a little more during my rewatch at home. Dribble your way to the couch and check out “The Way Back!”

#9: News of the World (in theaters)

Coming in at #9 is the most recent film I reviewed on Scene Before, “News of the World.” This film stars Tom Hanks as a man who goes around reading newspapers for people willing to listen. While that is clearly an obsolete occupation, that is a cool job! The movie displays a story with said job to highlight how we consume media in modern times and how we manage to accept media through what we “want” to hear as opposed to what we “need” to hear. Although that is not all the film has to offer, because the center of the story is Tom Hanks’s character, Captain Kidd, alongside a young girl he has named Johanna (Helena Zengel). Their chemistry is charming and is a fine example of how some unlikely bonds lead to the best on-screen relationships. Also, this film just goes to show that Tom Hanks is not only a great actor, but he often feels like a dude you just want to hang out with for a day. Much of the movie is Tom Hanks and the young girl moving along in a carriage trying to get where they need to go. I felt like I was on a road trip with Hanks himself for some of the time, and if there were any celebrity I would want to take a road trip with, it might be him. There’s also a great shootout scene somewhere before the halfway point of the film. It was intense, somewhat slow, but steady. All of the pieces fell into place! Paul Greengrass directs one of the most exquisite looking films of the year, and it may be worth a rewatch at some point!

#8: The Vast of Night (available on Prime Video)

Coming in at #8 is the movie that made me excited to review movies again, “The Vast of Night.” For a while in 2020, I had seen a number of movies, but it took some time to actually get that one movie that made me feel something. It took months to get that one movie that sort of hit me where I live. Thanks to all who revived the spark for me! While I will admit, this movie sort of gets clunky towards the climax, this is a BRILLIANTLY made debut. Andrew Patterson is a director I may be looking forward to in the near future if he comes out with another project. “The Vast of Night” feels personal, innovative, while also having traces of nostalgia. Partially because this takes place during the 1950s, but I must also acknowledge that this has a very similar vibe to “The Twilight Zone.” Everything feels mysterious, occasionally spooky, and it was hard for me to dart my eyes anywhere that did not happen to be my television screen. I will also point out, if you are a fan of great cinematography and camerawork, this movie may be a fantastic watch for you. “The Vast of Night” is free on Prime Video, check it out!

#7: Promising Young Woman (in theaters)

#7 is “Promising Young Woman.” This film came out at the tail end of the year, and usually that is when all the good stuff comes out. Past years have proven this on Scene Before with “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” in 2016, “The Disaster Artist” in 2017, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” in 2018, “Marriage Story” in 2019, and now, “Promising Young Woman” in 2020. This is a revenge thriller this not afraid to get dark. Not afraid to get serious. And it seriously packs a punch! Carey Mulligan may be a frontrunner for Best Actress, Bo Burnham deserves a shoutout for his performance and chemistry with Mulligan as well, and it is very well directed by Emerald Fennell. “Promising Young Woman” is her feature-length directorial debut and she kills it! The cinematography and sets are both beautiful to look at and make for some of the finest images I have seen on a screen this year.

#6: The Last Shift (available on VOD)

You ever work in fast-food? Yeah, this movie is proof that I don’t want to get myself involved in that. “The Last Shift” is another level of excellence. This movie, despite having fast food take up much of the screentime, feels like a nice meal at a high-end restaurant. The two leads played by Richard Jenkins and Shane Paul McGhie are two vastly different people, but for some reason, they feel like best friends. I mentioned in my review that “The Last Shift” is basically “Green Book” but better. The plot is not exactly the same and there’s no road trip, but like that film, “The Last Shift” takes an unlikely bond and plays it out brilliantly. This movie dives into a lot of things at once. Having a low-paying job. Wanting more. Wishing you could do something with your life. At times it deals with death and old age. It handles all these issues very well. Also, I know there are times where this movie sort of hammers what’s wrong with the fast-food industry, but thinking about it kind of makes me want a cheeseburger. Yeah, that sounds good.

#5: Sound of Metal (available on Prime Video)

Get ready for the boldest statement of the countdown. “Sound of Metal” does for audio what “Birdman” and “1917” do for camerawork. Now, what they do is not exactly the same, but “Sound of Metal” revolves around a drummer who is rapidly losing his hearing, and one of the things I love about this movie is how it occasionally puts you in the eyes of its main character, almost as if you yourself were deaf. You know how movies like “Saving Private Ryan” and “Dunkirk” are often claimed to be so experiential that they can put you in a war zone? Well, sort of in the same way, “Sound of Metal” occasionally felt rather unsettling that it put me in the mind of someone who was deaf. Before watching “Sound of Metal,” I liked Riz Ahmed. Now I think he is a powerhouse who may have great days ahead of him. I seriously hope he is nominated for an Oscar, and whatever his next movie is, I hope to see it.

#4: Yellow Rose (available on VOD)

#4 is “Yellow Rose!” There is so much to like about “Yellow Rose,” I almost don’t even know where to start. “Yellow Rose” is a film that centers around a couple illegal immigrants living in the United States. It goes over their struggles, and just like those living in the U.S. legally, the film manages to emphasize the reason why these people stick around. It’s for a dream. It’s for a positive path. It’s for the hope that life will be good. Our main character is an aspiring country singer who based on the way this movie goes, presents themselves as quite the talented individual, and her journey makes for one of the most fascinating screenplays of the year. It also goes into the dark times of dealing with I.C.E. and what they can take away from you. Also, I must point out that “Square Peg” is a really good song, and our lead actress, Eva Noblezada, performs it beautifully. I cannot wait to see what else she does as an actress. As a music-based film, this is great. As a drama, it’s stellar. As a piece of art, it is defiant of our time.

#3: Tenet (available on VOD, in theaters)

Before this film finally came out, there was a point or two where I thought this movie could have been my #1 pick on this countdown. Turns out, it’s not, but it’s still pretty amazing. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “Tenet.” In regards to exhibition and movie theaters, “Tenet” is arguably one of the most important movies put out in years. This was a movie that was originally supposed to be an event film, according to director Christopher Nolan, only thing is, turns out the big event was not the movie itself, it’s that all events imaginable happened to be canceled or postponed. But this movie was ultimately put out as a reminder of why movie theaters are built. Why they are a part of society, art, and culture. This is easily one of the best experiences that I’ve had in a cinema in the past couple of years. “Tenet” also contains my favorite score of the year, composed by Ludwig Göransson, also known for his work on “Black Panther,” another film with a tremendous score. I also saw this film three times in the theater, and I will say that each time was as exciting as the next. I was stoked for “Tenet” ever since I saw the prologue in IMAX. Each time a new trailer came out, that excitement meter trickled up even more. I cannot say I was all that disappointed. The only tremendous thing I will say that is wrong with the movie is the sound mix, and part of why this is not #1 is because of that. Audio is one of the most important parts of a film, and when I can’t make out important dialogue, that’s kind of a problem. Although during my third screening, I went to a theater that provided subtitles, which certainly helped a lot. At times the movie is so obnoxious that it shakes the auditorium, which provides for an experience that is beyond incredible. But overall, the sound was just a little too loud at times. I will say though, despite “Tenet” not being #1 on this list, “Tenet” did one thing for me that no other movie managed to do. I had more excitement going into “Tenet,” balanced by alike excitement during and upon leaving the movie compared to any other film that came out this year. Kudos, seriously! Everyone involved in the marketing for this film and making it, they should be proud. It’s rare that I go see a movie in a theater three times!

#2: Summerland (available on VOD)

I said earlier in the year that “The Vast of Night” made me legitimately excited to review movies once again. But if anything, this is the movie that made me have faith that I will have something to remember by the time we hit 2021. Up next on this list is “Summerland!” For a couple of months, I assumed that this would be the #1 movie of the year for me, which would have brought a first to Scene Before history, a movie with a 9/10 score taking the top spot on the countdown. This film was a surprise for me, partially because all I knew about the movie was the poster, a description the theater provided, and that’s it. Gemma Arterton and Lucas Bond are incredible together. Kind of like “The Last Shift,” this takes a rather unlikely pair and meshes them together with precision. Out of the many experiences I’ve had watching new movies this year, this was by far one of the most unique, especially considering the end result. If you asked me where I thought I would put this film in my rankings for the year after watching the first ten minutes, I would have said it belongs somewhere on the worst list, because when I was first introduced to Gemma Arterton’s character, I was extremely turned off. She was closed-minded, and she did not have the greatest attitude. Thankfully, that does improve quite a bit as the movie continues. If 2020 has proven one thing, even though “Tenet” sort of lived up to the hype, a lot of the best movies to have come out are those that really come out of nowhere. “The Vast of Night” played at a selection of festivals, but I have not heard much about it until it dropped onto Prime Video around the midpoint of the year. Other movies like “The Last Shift” or “Yellow Rose” are really just titles I’ve heard almost nothing about, but they turned out to be some of the best movies of the year! If anything, this movie is also just so sweet! 2020 has been such a cruel year from start to finish that it is ridiculously hard to get through it all. The best way to kill 2020? Honestly, don’t kill it with fire! Kill it with kindness! One way to do that, watch “Summerland!” Give it a rental! Buy the DVD! Buy the Blu-ray! Do what you can to support it because it is a movie that is truly worth your time! Because as the movie suggests, stories have to come from somewhere!

#1: Over the Moon (available on Netflix)

Oh my gosh! We’re finally here! Something positive in 2020! This is #1! This next movie not only redeemed 2020 for me, as if I thought other movies did that already, it achieved a level of greatness I never thought I’d get to see again. I thought 2019 would be the end of great movies. Nope! I never thought I’d say this.

THANK YOU NETFLIX!

This movie took me far beyond the moon and back! My #1 movie of 2020 is… “Over the Moon!” Where do I even start? Remember the live-action “Mulan” remake that was supposed to come out in March but somehow ended up on Disney+ with a $30 price tag on top of everyone’s subscription? Yeah, not only was “Over the Moon” a better movie, but it ended up in theaters, on Netflix for free as long as you’re a subscriber, and I would argue this does more for Chinese heritage than that movie did! I am not of Chinese descent, nor am I of any nearby Asian descent, so I cannot say much, but it does not change the fact that “Over the Moon” managed to accomplish every goal it set out to do! Tell a relatable story that hinges around an entire demographic, create catchy and iconic original songs, unveil a protagonist whose pain you can feel throughout, and most of all, have some fun with everything that’s going on, all the while making you cry! Seriously! I walked out this movie needing to ask myself whether what I just saw actually happened! Well guess what? It’s 2020! If this year has gone on to show anything, it’s that even the unimaginable can happen! Hang on, let my pinch myself! *YOW!* Yep! Still here! I’m not dreaming! Just so you know, I am a straight white male born in Massachusetts. Even if you were born on Neptune, you will relate to this movie. The movie has an all-Asian cast which includes notable names such as Ken Jeong, Sandra Oh, and John Cho. Each one of these people play their characters well and I love them for being part of what I am proud to call a new animated classic. But the heart of this film is Phillipa Soo as Chang’e and Hollywood newcomer Cathy Ang as Fei Fei, who I learned is in her twenties right now, but I’ll say this. I can only predict Ang will have an ultra-luminary future. There is a song in this movie that Ang sang which I eventually learned was only done in one take. Bravo, girl! Her chops as a voiceover artist and a singer are enormous. This movie is like a Disney throwback. Epic songs, beautiful animation, and they even have the dead parent cliché, which in the case of “Over the Moon” was handled BRILLIANTLY. Both of my parents are alive, but this movie used the dead parent storyline, and somehow managed to interweave it into a defining portion of my life. I say this because the movie partially handles a situation that I lived through, and it sort of took me back. That may be part of why I cried at the end. This movie was more emotional than “Toy Story 3!” And that says something! And it really goes to show how unpredictable this year truly is! We got two movies from arguably the most talented and revered animation studio, Pixar. I honestly thought neither was up to the standards the studio usually provides. I have avoided the Netflix brand for years simply because as someone who goes to the theater, and as someone who buys physical media, Netflix is a company that does not often affiliate with what I invest in. But this movie made me consider getting a Netflix subscription, probably just to watch it again. And as much as I liked “Roma,” it never got me to think that.

This film, like quite a few other Netflix movies, barely had a presence in theaters, but I’m noticing a lot of theaters now are doing private screenings, so if I have enough money to give to a theater to rent an auditorium for a couple hours, where I could pick whatever movie I want, I would go just to watch “Over the Moon” in a theatrical environment again. I have not watched this film since the theater, I should note I rarely watch Netflix in general. But I can guarantee that when it comes to animated films, this was an utter trip and was worth the $12 I paid to see it. I think if Netflix can work out an agreement with the IMAX brand, I think they could possibly get a very limited engagement of “Over the Moon” in IMAX, that sort of thing would win me over!

Seriously! How cool were the songs? Ultraluminary! Rocket to the Moon! Hey Boy! Even the Mooncakes song, which from a storytelling perspective, not just as a jam, is probably one of the most effective numbers I’ve heard in a film. Not only are the songs great, but they made for some stunning sequences! The colors in this film are transcendently glossy and beautiful! I could go on forever talking about this movie, but I have to stop at some point, although I must add that I hope more people give it a chance. IT’S ON NETFLIX! WATCH IT! “Over the Moon” is a gift. It’s one of the biggest surprises, perhaps THE biggest surprise I’ve had this year in terms of movies. It is an epic adventure, a fun thrill ride, a technical beast, it’s got a killer soundtrack and score, and it is one of the few movies that made this man cry. Netflix, thank you. Glen Keane, John Kahrs. Thank you! Cathy Ang, Phillipa Soo, Ken Jeong! The rest of the cast! Thank you! And I shall not forget, an individual we lost too soon. Audrey Wells. Without your ideas, we would have never seen this new animated classic. Rest not only in peace, but in perfection. Rest in perfection, Audrey Wells. Your masterpiece is here, and it is my #1 film of 2020.

Thanks for reading this countdown! First off, I want to give a huge thank you to the entertainers, producers, and filmmakers who all gave us an escape in 2020. I think this year, more than any other, we needed an escape. An escape from reality. An escape from COVID-19. An escape from everything. There is no doubt that 2020 was one of the most stressful years that people today have gone through. Before COVID-19 shut down movie theaters for the most part, movies happened to be something I cared about. And I still care about them today, and as a mortal, 2020 sort of taught me to be thankful for what I have, and I for one am quite thankful for movies. I cannot thank everyone enough for simply working on a film production, not to mention releasing it. Even if I didn’t like the film, guess what? It just shows what’s great about humanity. What we can do. What we can accomplish. Bravo! Speaking of films that I don’t like, tomorrow I will be releasing the virus-infused list! Oh dear, here we go. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my top 10 WORST movies of 2020. Trust me, we had plenty of bad ones this year. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account, and please like the Facebook page so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, what are your favorite movies of 2020? I know the selection may be tighter for some people this year, but I still want to know, what are some of the movies you liked this year? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Warner Bros.’ Entire 2021 Lineup Going to HBO Max: My Thoughts

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! As of right now, I am working on a couple reviews for Scene Before, but I had to make this because it is too important of a topic to ignore. But before we get on with this, I have two new reviews coming soon. My first review will be for “The Last Vermeer,” starring Guy Pearce which is in theaters now. Also, I will be reviewing “Half Brothers,” which opens this weekend. I saw the film early, so look forward to my reviews on those two films.

One of the few streaming services I have chosen to invest time and money into is AT&T’s HBO Max. Said investment has been… okay. Despite a decent lineup, things did not get off to a great start. But when I saw one of the service’s first exclusive films, “An American Pickle,” I could tell that movie-wise, this service had potential.

…Then we got “The Witches.”

And “Superintelligence.” Oh, please die.

Although one hint of news that shocked the world back in November is that “Wonder Woman 1984” would come out this Christmas both in theaters and HBO Max at no additional cost to subscribers. While I would have loved for this film to get a traditional theatrical run, where it joins HBO Max a little less than a year after its release, I am personally glad we are getting the film to begin with, and that it is going to theaters at all. In a year where every other blockbuster aside from “Tenet” got delayed, it is nice to see a true experiential film come to the big screen wherever these screens are open. I was fine with this, because a lot of people are going to stay home for Christmas because they might think it is safe from bad weather and conditions, not to mention COVID-19, but you also have families and individuals who may want an excuse to leave the house. In fact, I’m a part of one of those families, because I already scored IMAX tickets to see “Wonder Woman 1984” with my father and sister on December 27th, two days after Christmas. There is no way that this new technique will stop me from going to the theater.

But now… We have an expansion of this idea.

What was going to be a one-time thing, is now going to be a repeated effort. Because throughout 2021, the entire Warner Brothers lineup will premiere in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day. Now, keep in mind, if you plan to watch these movies on HBO Max, read the fine print.

These films, and this also includes “Wonder Woman 1984,” will stream on HBO Max for 31 days after its debut, at which point it disappears, finishes its run in theaters, goes to PVOD and physical media, and eventually returns to HBO Max and related channels. So just because these movies will come to HBO Max, does not automatically mean they will stay on HBO Max. Also, like “Wonder Woman 1984,” the Warner Bros. 2021 films will not supply an additional charge. If you are a subscriber, you do not have to pay extra.

Again, this is for the entire 2021 lineup, so this is a lot of films. Part of the list includes “Tom & Jerry,” “The Suicide Squad,” “Matrix 4,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights,” and Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune.”

A lot of people who follow the industry claim that this is the nail in the coffin for movie theaters. As one who unapologetically loves the movie theater industry, that is a sentiment I have never wanted to hear. It is still only hours after this news, it is not even a full day yet, but I have had some time to gather my thoughts on this.

There is a part of me that absolutely loves this idea, and there’s a part of me that absolutely hates this idea. But just like certain events in “Tenet,” this full love or hate has not happened yet. Right now, my mind is MOST LIKELY somewhere in the middle.

For starters, we are in the middle of a pandemic. Whether you believe it or not, it is the truth. Yes, I continue to go to the movie theater during a pandemic. Some people may question why I do that. That is a personal choice, and I will say that if I were not doing this blog, I may not stop going, but I’d probably go less. But for those people who want to stay home, they have likely been in front of their television for extended periods watching content like “Tiger King,” “The Boys,” “Raised by Wolves,” “The Mandalorian,” and “The Queen’s Gambit.” There have been several television programs watched throughout this pandemic, because people have been stuck at home in need of something to do. There has been plenty of television, but the same cannot be said for movies. Early on we got animations like “Trolls: World Tour” and “Scoob!” on premium video on demand services. These were serviceable options for families. And yes, we’ve gotten more options like “The Witches” and “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” but if you looked at the 2020 cinematic calendar pre-pandemic, you’d know that these two films probably would not crack the top 10 biggest films of 2020 list. “Wonder Woman 1984” is a perfect example of a big movie that will reach a wide audience. Comic book fans, families, women, and people who want to gaze at Gal Gadot for a couple hours. Admit it, come on.

HOLLYWOOD, CA – MARCH 04: Gal Gadot attends the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

You know you love her.

It’s Christmastime, families are together, even if it is in smaller groups, and they might want something to do. This is a great idea for consumer choice. If you want to stay home, or if regulations require you to remain at home, HBO Max is a great idea. Otherwise, it would not be a bad idea to experience “Wonder Woman 1984” the way in which director Patty Jenkins likely intended.

One reality that is becoming increasingly likely is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel regarding COVID-19. The answer as to when precisely the COVID-19 pandemic will end is a different story. We already have multiple vaccine candidates from outlets including Pfizer and Moderna. As to when they will be distributed to everyone, that is a mystery. Cases around the world are spiraling out of control, and humanity’s habits over the winter will likely determine whether we see a sharp increase or decrease in cases and deaths. So in a way, I understand Warner Brothers for wanting to cater to all markets at this time. But at this point, I think they are putting a lot of eggs into the HBO Max basket, and I honestly wonder if their investment will pay off. Having “Wonder Woman 1984” on the HBO Max service is a great way to get a bunch of new subscribers, and having new big movies every other week will only keep said subscriber base growing. However, this is only me theorizing at this point, because we have not seen how “Wonder Woman 1984” has done yet. Because I believe it is inevitable that “Wonder Woman 1984” will make less money at the box office than its predecessor. But how much less is another question. I do believe it will make at least $100 million worldwide. There are enough theaters open to warrant such returns, even with major areas such as Los Angeles county in California unlikely to fully reopen anytime soon. Despite how some will claim that “Tenet” is a movie *made for theaters*, which having seen it, it definitely is, “Wonder Woman 1984” is likely going to reach a wider demographic.

I should also point out, that even if the movie does not do well in the United States for whatever reason, not every country has HBO Max, so that might prompt more people to go the theater. But let’s talk about that. Because when this unprecedented release idea was announced solely for “Wonder Woman 1984,” chains like AMC, Regal, and Cinemark announced they were onboard. This is despite some outrage at a deal made earlier this year between AMC and Universal Pictures that allow their movies to play within a shortened theatrical window, at which point they make an early streaming debut.

Guess what? AMC does not approve. Here’s some words from the current CEO of AMC Theatres, Adam Aron.

“These coronavirus-impacted times are uncharted waters for all of us, which is why AMC signed on to an HBO Max exception to customary practices for one film only, Wonder Woman 1984, being released by Warner Brothers at Christmas when the pandemic appears that it will be at its height. However, Warner now hopes to do this for all their 2021 theatrical movies, despite the likelihood that with vaccines right around the corner the theatre business is expected to recover. Clearly, Warner Media intends to sacrifice a considerable portion of the profitability of its movie studio division, and that of its production partners and filmmakers, to subsidize its HBO Max start up. As for AMC, we will do all in our power to ensure that Warner does not do so at our expense. We will aggressively pursue economic terms that preserve our business.

We have already commenced an immediate and urgent dialogue with the leadership of Warner on this subject. As this issue gets sorted out, we are nonetheless encouraged that vaccines protecting society at large against the coronavirus are very much at hand. So, it is our expectation that moviegoers soon will be able once again to delight in coming to our theatres without any worry — viewing the world’s best movies safely in our big seats, with our big sound and on our big screens.

Just to remind you, this is the same company that less than half a year ago made an asinine deal allowing Universal to avoid following the 90 day theatrical window. And sure, this deal may work right now with everything going on, but if we are to return to normalcy, this may not be finest policy to put in place. At this point I applaud AMC because not only does this go against the terms of the deal they made, but this new deal could take away a lot of money that could potentially go towards ticket sales that benefit both the studio and the theater to a degree. This will take away sales on concessions like popcorn and soda, which is where cinemas typically make their profits. In a way, I am a bit infuriated that despite Warnermedia’s previously announced commitment to theaters, they are more concerned about getting numbers on HBO Max.

And I get it, HBO Max, while its launch was not a complete failure, said launch was not necessarily a success either. The service was a bit laggy, they could not get the “Friends” reunion going, in fact they still have not been able to. I’ll also mention that it started off without being available on two of the main platforms, Amazon Fire and Roku, which by the way, IT IS STILL NOT AVAILABLE ON ROKU! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?! GET A DEAL STRAIGHTENED OUT! I do not use Roku that much, but a lot of people do! Do the deal for them!

Right now, HBO Max has 38 million subscribers. While that is more than Hulu and Peacock, it is significantly less than Disney+, which honestly shocks me to no end. Because all Disney+ has done for main content since launch is “The Mandalorian” and almost nothing else! Right now, Disney+, which has turned a year old recently, has 73.7 million subscribers. One thing HBO Max has been doing right is delivering a bunch of new content both from the HBO channel and Max’s personal library. Apparently that might not be enough. Maybe bringing big movies like “Wonder Woman 1984” is going to help the service get a boost. Plus, unlike Disney’s previous effort with “Mulan,” HBO Max will not charge $29.99 to watch the film.

In the short term, increased subscriptions sound amazing. Bigger followings are always better. And while it is highly unlikely that “Wonder Woman 1984” will make $1 billion at the box office, imagine if this sticks around. Do you think we will ever see a billion dollar film ever again? I almost wonder if we’ll even see a film make half as much as that. This may start a slippery slope where movies are cheapened and less experiential. In a way, they become more like television. In this supposed future, movies are not made for theaters, they’re made for home. To me, movies are experiences. Some of my most iconic memories have been through watching movies at the theater, and even though I can have fun watching a movie at home, the experience of doing so will likely fail to have a lasting impact. I may have dreaded every moment of watching “The Emoji Movie” in a theater, but at least some of the other people’s reactions were something to remember it by. I now get to remember just how much I hated that movie. Another good example, “Ghostbusters” 2016. I despise that film. More than most films if I have to be quite honest. But the 3D was incredible and even though the film itself was terrible, I at least still have the memory of going. If we have a future where all Warner Bros. movies go to HBO Max, we may simultaneously have a future where we watch one movie, digest it, then forget about it until we move onto the next thing.

So now I ask the big question, does this equate to the death of movie theaters? I cannot say yes. But I also cannot say no. I’ll bring in the overused phrase, it’s 2020, anything can happen. But more importantly, I do not know whether Warner Bros. is going to stick to this plan. After all, when the biggest movie theater chain in the United States arrogantly refuses these terms, that may be a sign that Warner Bros. may want to reconsider their actions.

Also, let me just say on a personal note, that one of my biggest aspirations in my life is to make a film for everyone to see together on the big screen. Either as a writer, director, producer, or a combination of those things. With an uncertain future ahead, if more people continue to stay home, and there is a greater studio effort to do duel releases or skip theaters, my dream may be dead. This is a personal aspiration, but I thought I would let you all know. The COVID-19 pandemic has canceled a lot. But I outright refuse to let it cancel my dreams.

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But hey, if this new deal potentially means less people in theaters… That means less morons on their phones! There’s a silver lining to everything!

Let me be frank here, of all the studios operating today, Warner Brothers is arguably my favorite. When it comes to their older content, their library is enormous, while also maintaining a sense of quality. They have a steady relationship with some talented directors including Christopher Nolan, Patty Jenkins, Zack Snyder, and Todd Phillips. They own some of my favorite properties such as the DC Comics library, the LEGO movies, the “Lord of the Rings” saga, and “The Matrix.” Another reason why I love them is because they have shown they are committed to the theatrical experience, and when this pandemic started, I got a sense that they wanted to keep things the way they were when we had a return to normal, or at least a semblance of that.

Just because I unapologetically adore Warner Brothers, does not mean I cannot be honest. This HBO Max move is kind of scary. Movie theaters have shown they have taken enough pain in the last number of months. I see a recovery in 2021, but there is also a chance that the results of this deal, if it continues, could be cataclysmic for the exhibition industry. This eliminates many jobs, ends livelihoods, and destroys the fabric of many communities. I would love to see a future where moviegoing returns and we can enjoy it the way we did in 2019, but I do not think we can get there if we put a bunch of big movies onto streaming, even if they are in theaters. Admittedly, this is better than what Disney+ is doing with “Soul,” which is making it an exclusive on their service and nowhere else, but it is still kind of frightening as one who hopes to make movies one day.

Movies are not dead, nor are cinemas. But we live in a world where people are itching to get back to concerts, comedy clubs, and sporting events. If we can get those back with enough positive progress, I hope we can do the same for the moviegoing experience. When I saw “Wonder Woman” at a local AMC cinema back on opening Thursday in 2017, I was floored by the fact that Gal Gadot was able to carry such a big, epic, and most importantly, theatrical adventure from start to finish. That memory will stay with me until the end of time, and as we approach “Wonder Woman 1984,” I hope I will have an experience similar to three years ago, and I hope other viewers will get a significant feeling out of their experience as well.

Thanks for reading this post! By the way, just a reminder that “Wonder Woman 1984” will be available on HBO Max for free as long as you’re subscribed starting Christmas Day. However, if you want to leave the house, the film will be available wherever theaters are open. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, what are your thoughts on the HBO Max and theatrical duel release idea for the entirety of Warner Brothers’ 2021 lineup? Mine are quite mixed, but I am also curious to see how “Wonder Woman 1984” will do on HBO Max and the box office, as it may play a factor into making up my mind. Are you planning to watch “Wonder Woman 1984?” If so, where? At home? At the cinema? If you are watching at the cinema, which one are you going to? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

What Movie Theaters Have Been Doing Right (and Wrong) During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! During the second half of 2020, I have been to the movies 13 times so far. In a normal year, this would be a pretty decent number, especially when the second half is only halfway through. During a pandemic like the one we are going through today, some might question why I go to the movies. SPOILER: It’s not just for fun, although that is part of it, but I need to make content, and much of it is brought to you courtesy of the theatrical experience. Now, as one of the first penguins to dive into the water, I wanted to take this moment to go over some of the things I like about what the theaters have been doing during the pandemic, and some things they should improve on. And I think a lot of people who read my stuff and know me in real life think I’m some evangelical for movie theatres, which… I wouldn’t say you’re wrong. But I consider myself a brainy evangelical as I am willing to recognize their flaws. So let’s dive in, here are my pros and cons regarding cinemas during the COVID-19 pandemic!

PRO #1: Cheaper tickets

You may have noticed that there are not many new movies coming out. So with that in mind, theaters have to get creative. They started showing throwback movies like “Back to the Future,” “The Goonies,” and “The Dark Knight.” For shows like these, tickets are often discounted, usually around the $5 range. Now you can watch an old film at home on a service such as HBO Max, Prime Video, or Disney+ for free on top of your subscription. But if you went to throw a few bucks out the window, you can see these movies with surround sound and a bucket of fresh popcorn. Sure, those costs can add up depending on where you go, but movie theaters provide one thing that streamers and “at home” methods of viewing content cannot, an experience. When I saw “Back to the Future” in a cinema, I felt things there that I am not able to feel while watching it in my room. I think I even laughed harder too. Also, I’d like to give a shoutout to AMC for their reopening deal, where they sold tickets for fifteen cents! This was done in honor of the chain’s 100th anniversary, but it is nevertheless a grand way to welcome patrons back to the theater. I also noticed that for regular shows, AMC’s afternoon prices were also a little cheaper than usual. Pre-pandemic, there was one theater near me that had tickets for a price a little over $10 until 4PM, now, the prices are under that mark until 5PM! Good job, AMC! Now don’t be jerk about those prices down the road… I’M WATCHING YOU.

Pro #2: Cleanliness

Keep in mind, this could change depending on how things go from here on out, in fact in the state of Massachusetts, the governor required that ALL indoor gatherings must have a maximum of 25 people. However, that has recently been altered, and the indoor max capacity for places such the cinema has since been increased. I should also note for a period of time, said state did not allow food in theaters. But every time I went to a theater during the pandemic, everything is spotless! Who’s running this place, Howie Mandel? Everything is very well kept, and I feel incredibly safe. The major chains like AMC and Cinemark have implemented new cleaning protocols, part of which includes new electrostatic disinfectant sprayers, HEPA filter vacuums, and proper air filters. Theaters also give a longer break between each showtime, which can allow for a greater cleaning process. They even encourage guests to stay clean themselves by providing hand sanitizing stations! Bravo! Personally, I’m more of a wash your hands guy, but I like the commitment!

Pro #3: Mask requirement

Now, this next part is going to be agreed upon by half of my readers, and probably get hammered by the other half. But I don’t care! Many theaters require masks in their policies. They must be worn in the auditorium, the lobby, the restroom, pretty much anywhere you can imagine. The only time you can take it off is when you are enjoying food or drinks. Kind of like when you’re at a restaurant, you have to wear a mask once you walk in, but you’re all good when you get to your table. Although, difference is, in a theater, if you’re not having food, you must keep it on. Given how masks are required everywhere else, it makes sense that theaters would jump on the train. I should also note that I’ve been to AMC a lot and they’ve added a new video to their preshow stating that masks are required at all times. So I hope that other theaters are focusing their efforts on reminding their customers to obey safety precautions not only enforced by the theaters themselves, but the areas in which they reside. Also, Regal Cinemas posted something that I honestly admire, because it speaks to much of the American audience on both sides of the mask debate.

Do I like wearing a mask? Of course not! I barely know one person who does! But we might as well suffer together! I do want to say one thing though, even though I am often focused on a film at the cinema, I sometimes get a little concerned that someone fails to abide by the mask policy. Of course, that’s not what I want to focus on, as I have no desire to confront anybody. I don’t want to be one of those people… But this brings me to my next point…

Con #1: More in-person monitoring needed

I will be completely honest with you. I don’t like being watched. It gets me a little anxious. But in a theater, it may be necessary at this time. One thing I think theaters need to do right now is have someone either monitor an auditorium for an entire screening, or occasionally check in on screenings to see what’s going on. Honestly, there are times I wish they had this BEFORE the pandemic, given how the big concern back then was about whoever would be the butthead fiddling with their phone. I get it, we’re attached to our phones. But we paid for AN ESCAPE. I went to the Chinese Theater in Hollywood one time and they have a great warning for using your cell phone. There’s a guy who comes out, introduces the show, reminds you not to use your cell phone, and he adds on that the images up on the big IMAX screen are going to be much more magnificent than what’s on the phone. Thankfully, I have not noticed as much cell phone use in a cinema, allowing for quieter experiences. However, it is still something to be concerned about, and with masks being enforced due to a health crisis, it gives an even greater reason to make sure everyone is following the rules. Such monitoring could also prevent people bringing in outside food and drinks, and piracy, which is of greater concern now in areas where theaters remain closed.

Con #2: Minimal Marketing

This is partially a con for the theaters, but also a con for the flicks. And honestly, I think it is part of why “Tenet” could not make as much money as Warner Brothers would have wanted. It did fine given the circumstances, but still. I’m noticing that a lot of the advertising for theaters coming back and “Tenet” comes my way through the Internet. Granted, a lot of people use the Internet nowadays, but I also think television would be a very effective tool. As for movie theaters themselves, this topic could be somewhat debatable, but when a company like Lord & Taylor has recently decided to promote their going out of business campaign on television, I think theaters and “Tenet” need to step up. I’ve seen more TV ads for “Bill and Ted Face the Music” than “Tenet” for crying out loud! The only TV ads I remember seeing for “Tenet” since its theatrical debut were during a golf tournament and during the recent “Saturday Night Live” premiere. If “Tenet” wanted to save theaters, they should have advertised on television, which many people resorted to in some way during the pandemic as it was the go to option for watchable new entertainment. If “Tenet” ads got more airtime on television than I’m pointing out, let me know, but I’ve watched a lot of television during the pandemic, and I can’t say “Tenet” was in my circles that much. If you want customers back, get their attention. Sure, it might cost some money, but if you spend enough money, you’ll make some money!

Con #3: AMC and Universal are crazy

This last con has less to do with theaters being open, and more to do with theaters existing, and what can happen to them in the future. Movie theaters and studios have maintained a 90 day theatrical window. Granted there are some smaller movies that have a shorter run before it hits streaming or DVD, some movies might even debut at home and theaters at the same time. But for a studio like Universal to come in and suggest that they can play some movies in theaters for a reduced theatrical window, it’s just a little preposterous to say the least, especially during a time where theaters are struggling as it is. In a recent deal negotiated by AMC and Universal, the studio is now allowed to release movies at home as early as 17 days after its theatrical release. I get it, studios have nothing to put out, and them putting movies on VOD early is a good way to get the film out there. However, 17 days is not a long time for a movie to be in theaters. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of movies would be lucky to play in a theater for one week! But Universal is one of the richest and most valuable movie studios out there. They’ve got tons of intellectual properties, a couple big animation studios, and they have a rich history when it comes to film. They’ve been around for over a hundred years and many of their films have been critically acclaimed throughout. I don’t just blame Universal here, but I also blame AMC for giving into this. Originally they were flat out against Universal’s shortening terms, thus leading them to ban their movies from playing at their locations. In fact, the day afterwards, Regal alleged themselves on the side of AMC by initiating their own Universal ban. Thankfully, studios like Warner Brothers, and filmmakers attached to them like Christopher Nolan and Patty Jenkins have expressed the importance of theaters. Sure, the option of the movie coming home early will be convenient for the consumer, but it’s lost money for the theaters. These are community businesses, and it’s hard to tell where things will go from here, but local jobs could be lost if this is taken to heart.

Universal, let me ask you this… Why would I want to watch the new “Fast & Furious” movie for the first time at home? I’d literally lose much of the excitement, exhilaration, and maybe even some laughter. Remember how “F9” was supposed to come out in MAY?! REMEMBER MOVIES COMING OUT?! THAT WAS AWESOME! I bought tickets for that film as early as February! I was outright convinced it would be the highest-grossing movie of the year. “Fast & Furious,” even though it is not my favorite movie franchise, is made for the same format that we get to experience a new “Spider-Man” movie every year. Not the same format where I can watch two old guys “debate” for U.S. presidency and hopefully not pass out. I don’t talk politics, but you cannot help but be concerned for both candidates while standing on stage.

Speaking of AMC being a little crazy, one of the big concerns many people had before AMC’s reopening was that they were not going to enforce masks. The company’s CEO Adam Aaron suggested that he did not want to get involved in a political debate. I can’t believe I have to say this. CORONAVIRUS IS NOT A POLITICAL ISSUE (unless you bring someone like Facui into this). CORONAVIRUS IS A HUMAN ISSUE. CORONAVIRUS IS A HEALTH ISSUE. MASKS ARE NOT A POLITICAL ISSUE. IT’S A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH. And trust me, I would love it if I were told that masks are not allowed, because if you want my honest opinion, they are uncomfortable and they make me look like an out of shape “Mortal Kombat” character. But if everyone else has to deal with it, I do too. Thankfully, they reversed course on this. But even so, it reveals how the United States treats this pandemic. They say we’re all in this together, but our mask-wearing views may suggest otherwise.

In the end, I have enjoyed my ventures at the movies since times changed, and I think there’s a lot that they’ve gotten right. In fact, I’ll be honest, I had an easier time coming up with things I think they’ve gotten right than things I think they’ve gotten wrong. If I had to add a few more things, I think the seat distancing protocols are effective, I like how some theaters have been doing curbside popcorn, and speaking of popcorn, to celebrate Massachusetts bringing back theater concessions, Showcase Cinemas gave out popcorn for free on Monday, October 5th at all Massachusetts locations. I think that’s a sweet deal, and I’m somewhat sorry for myself for missing out on it. I think the theaters are getting things right, both in terms of value and safety. I would love to see more theaters open. But it’s 2020, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. WHERE ARE THE MURDER HORNETS?!

Thanks for reading this post! Just this past Tuesday, I watched the new Amazon documentary “Time,” which is about a woman whose husband was sent to prison for a 60 year sentence. The film hits theaters October 9th, and will stream on Prime Video the following week, starting October 16th. I will have my review up as soon as possible. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, check out the Scene Before Facebook page! I want to know, have you been back to the movies yet during these times? If you have, tell me about your experience! If not, what have you been doing instead? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Tenet (2020): This Review Hasn’t Happened Yet

Before we dive into this review, I just want to remind everyone that this is spoiler free. “Tenet” is one of the biggest movies of 2020 for a lot of reasons. There are not only a lot of people waiting desperately to see this movie, like myself, but there are also many people who might want to wait to see this movie depending on how safe it is to do such a thing. There’s also some areas like New York, California, the country of Japan that for the most part, cannot obtain access to this movie yet. With this in mind, I am going to attempt to be as vague as possible with my thoughts on “Tenet.” Kind of like its own trailers. What did we learn? Not much, which I don’t mind because I’d rather go into a movie knowing as little as possible. What’s the point of a trailer if it’s going to simply show the entire movie? I do go into detail on one or two things, but the things I take the deepest dives into don’t have much to do with plot, story, or characterization. Without further ado, it is time to start my review for “Tenet,” otherwise known as the movie I have waited since the Jurassic era to witness on the big screen.

The day we’ve waited for has arrived…

“Tenet” is written and directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Dunkirk) and stars John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman, Ballers), Robert Pattinson (Good Time, The Lighthouse), Elizabeth Debicki (The Burnt Orange Heresy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), Dimple Kapadia (Bobby, Fearless), Michael Caine (The Cider House Rules, Interstellar), and Kenneth Branagh (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Hamlet) in a film involving NOT time travel, but time INVERSION, which makes time move backward. John David Washington plays The Protagonist (yes, that’s his actual name) who journeys through a twilight world and faces a mission that could mean the difference between peace… or World War III.

It’s finally here! “Tenet” is arguably my most anticipated movie of 2020, not to mention of all time. For the record, I keep saying “Dune” is my most anticipated film of the year, but given how “Tenet” is supposedly the movie that will “save cinema,” that’s an added bonus for me. I’ve talked about this movie long before it came out. I reviewed one of the trailers, I did a couple posts on what we knew about the movie at the time, and I even brought it up a couple times during my temporary “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes” series. I don’t think I’ll be updating that anytime soon, because I can only take so much talk about COVID-19 at this point. “Tenet” is also directed by Christopher Nolan, my favorite director working today. “Dunkirk” ended up being one of my favorite movies of 2017, taking my #4 spot at my end of the year countdown series. Two of his movies showed up in my “Top Movies of the 2010s (THE BEST 25)” countdown, which by the way, one of them ended up being my #1 pick! That movie by the way is “Interstellar,” which is one of my favorite movies of all time! Christopher Nolan is a director who individualizes his work in the industry, partially because he’s developed a distinctive style himself, but also because a studio as big as Warner Bros. trusts him at this point to make “his movie.” Plus, this movie was shot entirely in 65mm film, much of which was through IMAX. I’m a sucker for large format filmmaking, and I knew that this movie was gonna look CRISP.

To this day, Christopher Nolan has not made a bad film. Keep in mind, I still have not watched “Following,” but I’ve seen every other film from him. I really enjoyed “Memento” and I thought its storytelling methods were pretty solid. His “Dark Knight” trilogy is not only fun, but kind of refreshing in a world full of big CGI comic book movies. “Interstellar” is incredibly rewatchable and I stand by it being arguably my most cherished movie experience. “The Prestige,” while I don’t recall much about it, was fairly enjoyable. “Insomnia” is an entertainingly gritty thriller and features a fine performance from Al Pacino. “Dunkirk” is proof that you don’t always need a centralized character to tell a story, and I kind of like that. As if “Inception” wasn’t already cool enough, I rewatched it four times this year! Two of those times were in IMAX! It’s that good! So, is this the movie we’ve been waiting for? Is this the savior of cinema? Is “Tenet” 2020’s goldmine? Is it worth the hype?

Honestly, I’d say yes. The best way I can describe “Tenet” is this. If you’ve never been to Fenway Park in Boston before, they have this one section where all the seats happen to be green, except for one. Why? Because former Red Sox player Ted Williams hit a 502 ft home run towards that seat, and even though all the other seats remain green to this day, that one seat, which is 502 ft from home plate, is red. I feel like in my imagination, all the other movies that I’ve seen this year, all possess the typical green seats, but “Tenet,” because of how much I enjoyed it, gets the special spot. I say that because as I’ve discussed on here before, 2020 sucks, not just in general, but in the case of what I focus on regarding Scene Before, our cinematic calendar is pretty much a waste.

We’ve barely had any animated features this year, and while they are not my goto genre, I’ve watched at least five per year in the past couple years. It’s something I miss, and I really hope more can come out because Best Animated Feature is a category I do during my awards show that I put on here. There’s one movie that I have lost all motivation to review partially because of the pandemic, and partially because I’ve pretty much put it out of my mind upon leaving the theatre (That movie is “Bloodshot,” by the way.) All the big blockbusters like “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” “F9,” “Morbius,” “Eternals,” and “Top Gun: Maverick” have all been pushed back about a year. “Tenet” is not only a movie that, unexpectedly, would supposedly “save cinema,” but it was one that was made to specifically show off the power of cinema.

I saw “Tenet” at a regular 2D screening at an AMC, and it felt like I was at an RPX or something. It really felt like the audio was cranked up beyond the maximum limit. This movie has some of the most immersive, and all time best sound editing I’ve heard in my life. Everything from the opening scene to the grand climax is magic for the ears. As for sound MIXING… That’s a different story, and quite honestly, it’s my biggest problem of the film.

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I’ve witnessed a few reviews before going to see “Tenet,” not mainly because I wanted to know how the movie was, but because I want to support the content from those who created it. Anyway, they seem to be having the same issue as me. “Tenet” is an audible, earth-shattering movie. Christopher Nolan is no stranger to this description. Have you guys seen “Dunkirk?” That’s gotta be one of the loudest movies I’ve heard in my life! Nolan is my favorite director of all time, but if there is one valid critique I will give to him, and this even stands true for “Interstellar,” my favorite movie of his. Christopher Nolan seems to be hyper-obsessed with having the sound mix be as obnoxious as possible, allowing sounds in the background like shotgun blasts, explosions, even music to take over the ears, thus making us lose some of what could be important dialogue. This wasn’t a huge dealbreaker because as someone who is an aspiring screenwriter, I know that words are not always necessary. Film is a visual medium. As long as I can see what’s going on and do so coherently, everything seems to be fine. Granted, I will always take good dialogue whenever possible, but what’s the point of making a movie when you can’t see or hear what people are “doing?”

I will also say, this movie has a lovable ensemble. Everyone from John David Washington to Elizabeth Debicki to Kenneth Branagh all happen to be great in the film. I enjoyed the presence of all their characters. I will point out though, once again, John David Washington plays a character whose name happens to be “The Protagonist.” I won’t say much about it, but I like the direction in which the movie took that meaning. I’ve read some things about “Tenet” before seeing it and I had no idea what that name could have to do with the movie, but the way they handled it was surprisingly pleasant, so kudos!

Speaking of “Tenet’s” ensemble, I will also bring up Michael Caine. For those of you who don’t follow Christopher Nolan, I should have you know that Michael Caine has been in every one of his movies since “Batman Begins.” He even had an uncredited role in “Dunkirk!” I’ve read about this before the film, and this is not spoiler, but Michael Caine’s character in the movie… is named Michael. Because, he’s already played everybody else in Nolan’s imagination, right? I won’t say much about Caine’s appearance in this film, but there’s a moment in the movie where The Protagonist ends a chat with him and my brain clicked as soon as I heard The Protagonist refer to Caine’s character as “Sir Michael.” Did Christopher Nolan originally write this movie with himself in mind for the lead role? I seriously want to know at this point!

I have already raved about this movie from an audio perspective, calling it one of the most immersive experiences I’ve had all year. I’ll also point out, I have never seen a movie “live in concert” before, but if they ever get to a point where they do such a thing for “Tenet,” I will IMMEDIATELY buy a ticket! Because let me just tell you one thing right now. “Tenet” may just have my favorite film score that I have heard in years!

One thing I’ve gathered about Christopher Nolan as a director is his tendency to work with people he’s worked with in the past. I recently mentioned Michael Caine. Nolan’s worked with Tom Hardy a couple times. Same goes with Anne Hathaway. He brought back Kenneth Branagh for this film. Hoyte Van Hoytema is the cinematographer for this movie, making this his third collaboration with Nolan. And if you ask me, this is another solid entry to his resume and I cannot wait to see how they used the IMAX cameras for this film. But I will point out one collaboration that I was shocked to see missing once I heard about it.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JANUARY 16: Composer Hans Zimmer arrives at the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at The Beverly Hilton hotel on January 16, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

No Hans Zimmer.

HOLLYWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 24: Composer Ludwig Goransson poses with the Best Original Score award for “Black Panther” in the press room during at Hollywood and Highland on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Why is he not here? He’s busy. He’s been doing “Wonder Woman 1984,” “No Time to Die,” “Hillbilly Elegy,” and perhaps the biggest reason why he couldn’t fit “Tenet” into his schedule, “Dune.” Hans Zimmer said “no” to doing the score for “Tenet” because he wanted to fit “Dune” into his busy calendar. There’s no beef between him and Christopher Nolan, but he just wants to do “Dune” so bad to the point where he had to give up doing the score for “Tenet.” I was a bit disappointed considering how Zimmer and Nolan are one of the best duos in Hollywood history. The score for “Interstellar” is one I listen to quite often. However, the movie ended up getting Ludwig Göransson (The Mandalorian, Black Panther) who I will point out, may have made my favorite main theme for all the characters in Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically for Black Panther.

RIP Chadwick Boseman and Wakanda forever.

I must say… This score very much reminded me of a few movies. It felt like something out of the “James Bond” franchise, which does make sense as this is a spy movie. But it also reminded me of the “Blade Runner” franchise, especially “Blade Runner 2049,” and I say that because, and pardon my unprofessional-sounding diction here, the score sounded “boomy” at times. That’s the best way I can describe it. There’s this occasional drum pattern of some sort that comes and goes, I cannot get it out of my head at this point. In fact, when I got home, I did something regarding this movie that I have never done before. I went online, and tried to see where I could buy a physical copy of the CD. There are a few movies like “Knives Out” or “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” where I would watch it, enjoy the soundtrack, and maybe a couple days or a week later find the soundtrack on YouTube and listen to it. This is one of those rare times where I wanted to pay money for a physical copy.

Going with a different than usual composer for Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” sounded like a rather bold, not to mention somewhat peculiar move when it comes to my first impression, but this may have been the best thing that could have happened to “Tenet” overall. Honestly, looking back, I don’t mind this change. Let me just say, the last film that Nolan did before “Tenet,” specifically “Dunkirk,” was undoubtedly amazing. And if you ask me, a couple parts of the score were worthy of a thumbs up. However, if I had compare that to many of the other entries to Hans Zimmer’s resume, not just the projects he’s done with Nolan, but even projects like “Man of Steel,” “The Lion King,” “Kung Fu Panda,” and “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” the “Dunkirk” score felt kind of underwhelming.

The thing I really enjoyed about Ludwig Göransson’s score is that it really emphasized the scale of the movie. The entire time I felt like I was on an action-packed theme park ride that specifically caters to adults. Aside from that, it’s fast-paced, and I would not mind listening to it every single day for the rest of my life. I know funerals are supposed to be sad and that sort of thing, and honestly, the last thing I want to do is know that I will make everyone cry at my funeral, no matter what I bring to society. So, if anyone wants some epic music for my funeral that way not many people cry but it’ll still tie into a “Jack Drees” theme, download the “Tenet” soundtrack on your preferred service! Then again, when I die, why should I care? I can’t plan a funeral when I’m dead! It’s for the living to remember the dead as they choose! I can’t interfere! It’s improper!

Would I like to see Ludwig Göransson collaborate with Christopher Nolan again in the future? Yes and no. Let’s say they do a “Tenet 2.” I’m not implying I want a sequel. I’m not implying the movie ends highlighting plans to do a sequel. I’m just saying IF they do a “Tenet 2,” that’s an obvious yes from me. I cannot imagine anybody else handling this IP from a musical perspective at this point.However, I would either like to see Hans Zimmer come back because he and Nolan go together like bread and butter, or they get some other composer to come in like Danny Elfman or Alan Silvestri. It would also have to depend on the type of movie they do. I may be getting ahead of myself here, but I think Ludwig Göransson smashed this score so hard, that if he does another one, I will probably end up looking forward to it so much that I will just end up feeling underwhelmed upon hearing it no matter what happens. In addition, I don’t know how Göransson could top this score in another Nolan project. To be fair, he’s a musical genius and one of the more unique film composers I’ve heard, so he could find a way, but I also have my doubts. It’s kind of like when I watch “America’s Got Talent” sometimes during the quarterfinals or semifinals and there’s one act that does something so amazing that even though I WANT to see more from that act and I want them to succeed, I don’t see them topping what they just did, so it would be hard to tell if they could do something nearly as cool if they advance. It’s a compliment, but also kind of a curse.

“Tenet,” to be quite honest, is not my favorite Christopher Nolan movie. Nor is it my least favorite. As of right now, when it comes to my rankings, it ends up somewhere in the middle for me. I enjoyed it more than all the films in the “Dark Knight” trilogy, but I’d say that I enjoyed films like “Dunkirk” and “Inception” more. But as a filmmaker, Nolan is like Pixar. Bad Pixar is still better than a lot of movies. Remember “Onward?” I gave that movie a 7/10. That’s a low grade for Pixar, but a lot of filmmakers would kill to have their movie receive that positive of a review. But I will say that when it comes to “Tenet,” this movie has something going for it. Rewatchability.

Now, I already bought tickets for a second “Tenet” screening BEFORE going to my first one. The main reason is because I bought a ticket for myself, but I wanted to see the film in IMAX, but I didn’t buy an IMAX ticket, plus I figured it would make for a good outing with my father. So my second outing is so he could see the movie as well.

Not gonna lie, I’m already thinking of buying tickets to a third screening. Maybe I’ll do Dolby Cinema this time. I gotta check all the boxes for different formats I can see this movie in. In all seriousness, not only is this film rewatchable for entertainment purposes, but like some other Nolan flicks, I feel like I missed some things the first time around that could be picked up on a second, third, maybe even fourth viewing. And I’m not saying that as someone who feels like they HAVE to watch “Tenet” again, I’m saying that as someone who wants to. I don’t think I’ve wanted to go back to the movies to rewatch something this much since… I don’t know… Maybe ever. This film has some problems. The sound mixing is the most obvious and I think going forward, I’m not sure how much control Nolan has over the sound mixing process, I think that could be something that he needs to either stay away from, or something he should leave to others. Either that or just make a silent film. Nice little throw back. It could be shot in 4:3 on 8mm film. AMC could bring in special projectors for select screenings. It’s event cinema! Come on, Nolan! I’m writing your ideas for you! Use them! Although between the likable performances, the dazzling camerawork, the unreal use of practical effects, one of the most heart-pumping opening scenes I’ve witnessed in recent memory, one of the craziest climaxes I’ve witnessed in recent memory, and THAT. FREAKING. SCORE. “Tenet” is a good time at the movies. I repeat, AT THE MOVIES.

I cannot thank Warner Bros. enough to sticking to a theatrical release for this film. This is a movie that is literally MADE for the big screen, perhaps more so than any other this year. I’ll be honest, if this went straight to HBO Max… I don’t know if I would have watched it. Maybe I would have since I paid for the service and I want to get my money’s worth, but I would have been missing a lot of what I’ve gotten from my recent experience. Thank you, Warner Brothers, and I’m hoping you stick to your guns for films including “Wonder Woman 1984” and “Dune.” Cannot wait for those movies!

In the end, “Tenet” is exactly as it was advertised, an “event” film. It has the best and worst of Christopher Nolan’s cliches. Massive scale, but sometimes it’s too massive when it comes to the sound mix. Even so, it does not take away from this film’s long list of positives. Is “Tenet” my favorite movie of the year? No. I still think “Summerland” is my #1, and for all I know, it could stay at my #1 spot for some time. But again, “Tenet” comes off as an incredibly rewatchable film. If this film warrants enough repeat viewings, and maybe some more aspects regarding it stand out with greater positivity, “Tenet” could become my favorite film of 2020, but for now I’m going to give “Tenet” an 8/10!

“Tenet” warrants a viewing on the biggest screen possible. And I know that not everyone feels comfortable being inside a movie theater right now. But, if there is a drive-in open near you and it happens to be playing “Tenet,” it could make for a fun night out with an easier chance to remain socially distant. Otherwise, the film will probably be out on Blu-ray sometime in the future, but I really don’t know when. Because if I’m not mistaken, “Tenet” is supposed to be in cinemas for a long time, and if Warner Bros. wants to keep that promise alive, I would imagine that they’d go on long past the traditional theatrical window to keep exhibitors happy. I don’t know what’ll happen, but I highly recommend “Tenet” if you feel safe enough to get out of the house. Go see this damn thing! It’s freaking sweet!

Thanks for reading this review! I just want to remind everyone that “Tenet” is playing in several different formats to choose from. Many of the screenings perhaps near you happen to be in digital projection, but if you want other options, read this handy guide! I’m not sure what my next post is going to be as I am getting ready for my next year of college and I have a rather important family birthday coming up that requires major prioritization. But we’ll see what happens! Maybe it’s “Bill & Ted Face the Music,” maybe it’s “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” maybe it’s “Tesla,” who knows? Maybe I’ll cave in and get Disney+ so I can review “Mulan.” I really don’t want to, I think this is incredibly greedy, but who knows? I know you have seen more great content from Scene Before, it just hasn’t happened yet! With that in mind, do yourself a favor and follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Tenet?” What did you think about it? Or, who is your favorite film director of all time? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Unhinged (2020): Why I Take Trains

“Unhinged” is directed by Derrick Borte (American Dream, London Town) and stars Russell Crowe (Gladiator, Cinderella Man), Caren Pistorius (Slow West, Mortal Engines), Gabriel Bateman (Child’s Play, Lights Out), Jimmi Simpson (Date Night, Westworld), and Austin P. McKenzie (When We Rise, Speech & Debate). This film mainly follows the actions of two characters. A mother happens to be down on her luck and is not having the best of starts to her day. Eventually, she comes across a truck sitting at a green light. She’s sitting behind it, she honks her horn, but passes the truck in anger. The guy inside the truck, played by Russell Crowe, starts following this woman and makes her life a misery, all because she refuses to give a “proper apology” to this man.

When it comes to theatrical releases in the United States, “Unhinged” came out during the first big weekend when major theaters reopened. This movie released on Friday August 21st, the weekend that many of AMC and Regal’s locations welcomed back customers. But I waited until Saturday August 29th to see this movie because I had priorities that other weekend. Plus, on an unrelated note, I just got AMC Stubs A-List, so this was a “free” movie for me. “Unhinged” comes with a rather simple, but intriguing concept, especially as someone who is able to drive a car in the United States. Many people look at driving as a privilege, and they are not wrong per se, but it is also a reason behind why society is freaking crazy. I feel like many of us are hyper-entitled whenever we get behind the wheel. We think that just because we spend five figures or something on a ride, it means we can do whatever we want. I still think the car horn is one of the most overrated inventions ever. Does it inform? Sure. But it’s also anxiety-inducing and incredibly startling. I cannot say that my local transportation system is as fine as I would want it, but at least I get the assumption that the people on transit vehicles are more willing to put up with everyone else. A little acceptance goes a long way, I’m just saying. Everyone has a bad day. Rant over!

Now, I went to “Unhinged” after spending a couple hours or so in a car. And I knew some things about this movie before going into it. I knew it was about road rage. I also knew that cars seem to have some heavy involvement in the script.

With that being said, “Unhinged” is probably the most uncomfortable movie experience I’ve had all year. And you should see it for that reason alone. This is a movie that reminds me of why I hate driving sometimes. Not only are you operating a vehicle that society is putting over its own environment, but sometimes the people inside other cars can lose their mind from time to time. Granted, I haven’t many bad experiences as a driver, but sometimes it scares me to know how much my own country is attached to personal vehicles. I will also point out that when it comes to performances so far this year, Russell Crowe might have given my favorite thus far. He plays a guy who seems pretty chill, but kind of has a sinister side to him. I really like his portrayal of the character of “The Man.” Wow, no wonder I didn’t know his character’s name! That’s his credit according to what I saw on IMDb.

In… Actuality… Russell Crowe plays a character named Tom Cooper. Nevertheless!

This movie goes on for an hour and a half, and I think this happened to be the perfect runtime for a movie like this. The concept is to the point and doesn’t require any expansion. The movie also does a really good job at not wasting any time and completely focusing on the main subject matter at hand. I don’t think there is one scene that should be taken out for reasons having to do with coherence. Nothing feels too self-indulgent or unnecessary. I will say though, and this may have part to do with what I saw from the movie’s marketing and not just the movie itself. Even though the supporting characters properly serve the plot at all times, I don’t think I will remember all of them that well. They were competently performed by their individual actors, but still, when I look back at this movie, it’s almost like they’re pawns or really JUST there to make one of the two characters behave a certain way. Granted, that is a proper definition of a “supporting character,” they’re not supposed to have all the spotlight. I just wish they were more memorable or had a bigger pinch of personality.

One thing I will say though about the main story of the film, I agree with both the protagonist and antagonist. I even disagree with both characters at times. I enjoy movies like this and it’s why I view “Avengers: Infinity War” to be the best movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the case of “Unhinged,” our main protagonist, Rachel, needs to get where she needs to go, but she has Russell Crowe standing, or more appropriately, driving in her way. When she gets angry, I understand her, I get what she’s going through, but it also brings me back to the wish that people would be more patient with others behind the wheel. Everyone’s got a story, you just haven’t heard them all yet. Soon thereafter, Russell Crowe, who seems nice, recognizes that a lot of people are impatient and they lose control in today’s society. So he wants an apology, which again, is understandable. I want what’s best for Rachel, but I do feel that she needs to be careful when talking to other people. She’s a flawed protagonist, and I was admittedly a bit skeptical as to whether or not I’d end up liking her, but I felt Rachel had a good presence by the end of the film. And of course, Russell Crowe turns into the biggest dick in the world, so of course I rooted for Rachel.

“Unhinged” is one of the first movies to release in an effort to welcome customers back to the theater. And let me just say, I would probably have a good time watching “Unhinged” at home. It would probably be a delight to put on my TV, but I welcome it as a major theatrical release because I imagine that this is one of those movies, kind of similar to a lot of Marvel or “Star Wars” projects, that gives a certain feeling in the theater that cannot be replicated at home. I was on the edge of my seat, and I thought this movie made me a bit more unsettled than any other experience I had this year. Maybe if I watched this movie at home I would have felt rather similar to the way I felt after watching it in the theater, but that is hard to tell at this point. Point is, if a theater is open near you and “Unhinged” is playing, see it if you feel safe!

In the end, “Unhinged” packs a wallop! I really enjoyed watching this movie as a theatrical experience. The plot is very simple, but I understood the motivations behind each character. I was able to relate to them. Again, I think some of the supporting characters will end up fading from my memory, but it does not take away from the swell time I had watching this movie. It’s fast-paced, dark, and occasionally heart-racing. Go watch it! I’m going to give “Unhinged” a 7/10.

Thanks for reading this review! This Tuesday, I’m going to see “Tenet,” in a theater, the way it was meant to be seen! I still wish I could have a closer spot playing it in 70mm, but I will happily support the theater industry at this time. Early access screenings begin tonight in the U.S., but I decided to go tomorrow for a couple reasons. So with that being said, I hope that the movie is fantastic! I will say, I’m also seeing it again Thursday in IMAX, so if I don’t have the review up by Thursday, it may be because I need to pick up some things I missed, or because I want to judge the IMAX-shot scenes in this movie. If you want to see my review for “Tenet,” be sure to follow Scene Before, that way you’ll be notified when the review goes up, and you can stick around for more content as well! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Unhinged?” What did you think about it? Or, have you been to the movies recently? Describe your experience! Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The New Mutants (2020): This Review Has Been Delayed 2 and a Half Years

“The New Mutants” is directed by Josh Boone, who also directed the 2014 film “The Fault in Our Stars,” based on the hit book of the same name. This film stars Maisie Williams (Gen: Lock, Game of Thrones), Anya Taylor-Joy (Emma, Split), Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things, Marrowbone), Alice Braga (City of God, Queen of the South), Blu Hunt (The Originals, Another Life), and Henry Zaga (Teen Wolf, 13 Reasons Why) in what could arguably be one of the bigger tragedies of 2018 and 2019, but such tragic outcomes helped this movie form some semblance of comedy by 2020. More on this in a second, but this film is about a group of mutant teenagers who all stay in a facility together. I won’t give too much away, but these teenagers meet someone new to the facility, Danielle Moonstar, who ends up making friends, enemies, and discovers more about mutant powers.

I saw “The New Mutants” in IMAX Laser this past Thursday. So at one point I thought in honor of this movie FINALLY coming out, after the merger, the delays, the pandemic getting into gear… I would make this review and not release it until early 2022. It’ll be just like creating the movie! But of course, I’d be insane! I’m not going to do that. So, let’s talk about “The New Mutants.” This movie is the latest installment to the “X-Men” universe, even though it really is a spinoff that has just about nothing to necessarily associate with the main franchise. I’ll be honest with you guys. I love comic book movies. I love superheroes. Give me a Marvel or DC movie any day!

…I have not seen one “X-Men” film from start to finish except “Deadpool” and “Deadpool 2.” I’ve seen part of 2013’s “The Wolverine,” but that’s about it!

Although I will point out, if you have not seen any “X-Men” films, it won’t really matter going into “The New Mutants,” which definitely helped someone like me who doesn’t want to waste a ton of time catching up on everything else. Granted, I was able to watch six “Fast & Furious” films in less than a week before watching “Furious 7” in the theater, but “X-Men” seems a little more daunting at this point.

Now, I’ve talked about the Disney Fox merger on here before. I’ve talked about how quite honestly I don’t happen to be a fan of the idea. But, I have no position in Hollywood, I have no power, and I can’t talk to mice. One of the things I respect Fox for is that when it comes to some of their recent work in the comic book movie genre, it has been fairly experimental. Yes, there have been R rated comic book movies before, “V For Vendetta” is one of my favorite films of the past fifteen years! but it doesn’t mean they’re common! “Deadpool” is basically “Family Guy” in comic book movie form. It makes fun of the genre, blockbusters, and takes comedy to another level. “Logan,” even though I have not seen it, is something that I recognize is not your traditional comic book movie. Not only do we get to see an R rated Wolverine, but there’s tons of added foul language, and one of my friends, and perhaps more accurately one of their friends, does not necessarily view “Logan” as a perfect comic book movie.

…They view it as a perfect “movie.”

As for “The New Mutants,” I respect the direction in which this movie was taken, because there’s no other comic book movie like it. The movie takes place in one location for the most part? There’s not really any bad guys?

…Horror? Sign me up!

I really like the vision for this movie as it is not only unique, but also because it barely has excuse to display bloated visual effects for a couple of hours. Now I like my big summer comic book action movies. This movie, like the typical fare, has action, but it’s not like we’re watching big, humongous fights like we’ve gotten in the MCU. I’d even say this movie is a bit more intimate than “Joker” because this film in particular takes place in one spot and has a fairly small cast. If anything, the best way I can describe “The New Mutants” is if “The Breakfast Club” took place in prison. You have these people who are placed together whether they like it or not, they have their individual personalities, and kind of like detention, you might as well wonder when time runs out.

I will say one thing about this movie, I like all the characters. I think Danielle is a well-written newcomer to the facility. I think the other teenagers in the building are also pleasing to watch. The woman in charge of the facility and everyone in it, AKA Dr. Reyes, was not only a likable character, but competently performed by Alice Braga.

I will say though, if there were one standout character in this movie, it would have to be Illyana Rasputin, played by the very talented Anya Taylor-Joy, an actress who I’d personally argue would happen to have 2020 be “her year” by the end of it if nothing else comes out. Then again, I may be somewhat biased… She showed up at a screening I attended. I liked her in “Emma.” “Radioactive,” which is now available on Prime Video, was pretty good. “The New Mutants” is another solid movie featuring said actress. I think overall Taylor-Joy had the best performance, and she played one of the more compelling characters in the movie. I really enjoyed seeing Rasputin and the puppet she carries around. Any scene with those two together is purely entertaining. I think Taylor-Joy does a really good voice transition with it too. I will say, the fact that I like her so much does feel really weird, because she has one of the more dynamic personalities of the group, but at the same time I’m supposed to hate her. Then again, take a movie like “Back to the Future.” Sure, I know Biff Tannen is a complete and total butthead, but he has a good personality that makes me as viewer simply like him. Sometimes movies have likable assholes. Maybe I don’t agree with them, maybe I don’t want to be them or emulate their behavior, but they’re likable nonetheless.

I will say though, even though I don’t have a ton of issues with “The New Mutants,” the biggest problem I will point out is probably the directing. Now, I like the vision of this film. If anything, it should not have been altered in any way. I think the horror elements of this film make it stand out amongst an overcrowded genre, and it’s nice to see a comic book movie that feels fairly intimate. However there was a scene in particular, where the teenagers are sitting around. I imagine all the actors are giving what they can to make sure they give the best performance possible, but I noticed they were having a conversation that quite honestly didn’t feel natural. It’s not the wording, phrasing, or anything like that, it’s more having to do with the way everybody talked. It didn’t feel like actual teenagers talking. There was just a second watching where one or two characters felt like robots, or maybe even exposition machines. Directors have a lot to do. One of the most essential duties of a director is to get solid performances out of their actors. And I think the cast, for the most part, do a good job with their performances. But there was just one scene that stood out to me where nobody felt natural, and I wouldn’t necessarily put any of the blame on the actors themselves.

If you were to ask me, “Jack, would you watch ‘The New Mutants’ a second time?” I’d probably respond with a “yes.” However, if you were to expand on that question and say “When is the second time you are watching ‘The New Mutants’?” I wouldn’t be able to answer to the best of my ability, but if I were to guess, I’d predict maybe when it hits HBO or FX or whatever cable network it happens to hit. I don’t see myself (for now) buying the Blu-ray for this film when it comes out. Talk to me again in a couple months, that could change, because I am an avid collector of comic book movies, and I am willing to expand my “X-Men” collection. But at the same time, even though a lot stood out to me, and I appreciated what made this movie differentiate itself from other entries to its genre, I don’t see myself going back to watch “The New Mutants” instantaneously. It’s rather unfortunate, as I did really like the movie. It was worth seeing in the theater, but it almost feels like a one and done type of deal.

Was this worth the two to three years of delays from April 2018 all the way to present day just to see this movie? I’d say so. It was worth my time. I had fun. If I had any other problems, looking back at this film, there are one or two borderline cheesy lines from one of the characters involving his/her reaction to another character using his/her power. But other than that, this is a pretty good movie, and for comic book movie fans who want to go back to the theater, I think that many of them will be relatively pleased with what “The New Mutants” has to offer.

In the end, “The New Mutants,” which really feels like “The Old Mutants” at this point based on how long it took to put this thing out, is fun, dark, and occasionally spooky. I will admit, horror is one of my weaker spots in my film palette. But I have often expressed my love for comic book movies, and to have one mix with horror and do so with excellence is certainly pleasing. I think the cast is admirable, both as individual performers and as parts of a group, and I hope even though Disney merged with Fox, which could end up equating to a slight loss in creativity if you ask me, we can still get some more experimental comic book films down the road if possible. Again, I enjoy movies like those in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I can’t wait for “Black Widow” this November, and even though I’ve often gotten “Mission: Impossible” vibes from the trailers, it takes a lot of elements from familiar aspects of the genre. I’m just hoping for more originality at this point. I don’t know, it’s just the way I feel. One last thing before I give my official verdict, I was also pleased to know that I happen to live less than hour away from where this movie was shot. Maybe I’ll do a post on that sometime soon if I ever get to see the major shooting location. Just saying. I’m going to give “The New Mutants” a 7/10.

Thanks for reading this review! Next week, guess what? I’m going to see “Tenet” not once, but TWICE! I already have my ticket booked for an early access screening slated for Tuesday! And I’m going again Thursday for IMAX! I cannot wait, this is going to kill! I am almost questioning myself for booking tickets for two different showtimes, but I also don’t care as I am supporting the film industry, my favorite industry, during this trying times, and I get to experience one of my most anticipated films of the year in two vastly different ways. If you want to see more great content from Scene Before, give this blog a follow either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out my Facebook page! It’s been around for over two years, kind of like the delays for this movie! I want to know, did you see “The New Mutants?” What did you think about it? Or, are theaters open near you? Have you gone to the theater recently? What did you see? Is everyone following the rules? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

TENET is Delayed Again: New Release Date: August 12th, 2020

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Hey guys! Welcome to the latest apocalypse-related update of 2020! A year so bad that it made fully regret ever giving “Cats” a negative review. That hour and fifty minute movie which really ended up feeling like an utter eternity was a blessing compared whatever the f*ck is going on right now! Remember how I posted this s*it down below just a couple weeks ago?

TENET Gets Delayed to July 31st, INCEPTION Returns to Theatres July 17th

Guess what? That s*it’s outdated! Welcome to 2020! A one-way ticket to a dark room full of deadly lasers, accompanied with a bloody water tank with a giant shark that is about to eat you whole! WORST! YEAR! EVER! With that being said, I’m going to try my best… My absolute… Best. To avoid going ABSOLUTELY OVER THE TOP WITH THIS POST! Gah! I already failed! Let’s just do this!

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! In case you’re reading this, I have somehow survived being disintegrated by tons of deadly lasers and a giant shark that was about to eat me. For all I know, maybe the shark thought I was pitching a terrible product, and said “I’m out.”

…Which reminds me, I gotta cross that shark-raid whistle thingy off the pitch list. Here we go.

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A couple weeks back, we have had an announcement that “Tenet” was getting a pushback, which I think at the time, could have arguably been the most shocking pushback for a film we’ve seen all year. “Tenet” was one of the few pictures to not move a muscle so far in 2020, so to see it gravitate towards a later, granted two weeks later, but later nevertheless, release date on the calendar is a little shocking. However, in my post talking about it, I mentioned there was probably a good reason, one of the notable pieces of news sticking out to me being the plan to rerelease 2010’s “Inception,” allowing for a perfect reason to recognize the film’s 10th anniversary. Not to mention, I thought it was just a damn fine consolation prize. “Inception” will be brought back to theaters around the same exact time it came out, it would be a good way to get audiences back into the theater, see how many people are willing to go to the theater, and as for me, I get to see one of my favorite movies on the big screen, which I did not get to do when I was younger. However, this week, it was announced that “Tenet” has been delayed once more. Time runs out? More like, we need more time to put out our movie.

Before we go any further, “Tenet” is not the only film moving in this case. “Inception” is in on this as well. “Inception” is now going to be taking up the July 31st release slot previously held by “Tenet.” As for “Tenet,” that film will be taking a spot in the middle of the second week of August, allowing it to come out on August 12th.

Let’s start with the good news. The good news, I can’t believe there is good news available in 2020… It’s not that big of a delay. That can be a sign of pure optimism from Warner Bros., Christopher Nolan, or both. While we don’t know where we’ll be in days or weeks from now, it does show that somebody somewhere is sticking to a commitment to put the movie out in theaters. Let’s face it. If I were to shoot a movie on the largest format possible, which Christopher Nolan did. Release it on the largest format possible, which is currently planned. You bet I, as a studio executive, would surely keep a promise to put this damn movie in the theater. I saw previews for this film on my TV, and it looks good on my TV. But why does it look so good? Because it gave me the urge to get off my ass, into my onmyassmobile, and head to a freaking movie theater to enjoy myself for hours!

Wait, that sounds very familiar…

“This film (Dunkirk) is what actually going to the theater is all about. Not renting a movie on DVD, not streaming it on Netflix, but getting off your ass, getting in your onmyassmobile, and heading straight to the movie theater.” –Top 10 BEST Movies of 2017

Nolan is all about the “get off your ass” mentality when it comes to releasing films, and that is part of why I will remain committed to checking out his work. I am all about the experience when it comes to moviegoing. There are very few feelings like entering a movie theater and seeing a movie in general, but when Nolan makes a movie, it’s almost guaranteed to be a ride. To see at the very least, the notion regarding this movie not losing sight of the theater experience delights me to no end.

Now, for the bad news… What if this is not the last delay? Because I feel like the factors determining whether or not we will get to see this movie in theaters as soon as possible have little to do with whether or not theaters are ready. In fact, the major chains including AMC, Regal, and Alamo Drafthouse, have all announced plans to open in July, with precautions in mind. Some of these include deep sanitizing of the auditoriums and often-touched spaces through advanced equipment and materials, allowing extra time to clean auditoriums, reduced capacities and spaced seating to encourage social distancing, and enforcing the use of masks. And yes, I’ll wear a mask, because I’ll happily allow my mask to possibly smell like popcorn. Just because they’re ready does not automatically equate to the public being ready. Am I ready to head back to the movie theater? I’ve been motivated to go pretty much as soon as everything shut down. Granted, knowing myself, I am a little biased. I would have risked my life during the pandemic to go see new movies because this was the routine for my blog. Go to the movies. See a new release. Review said new release. Repeat. Instead, I had to take a break, report whatever fresh hell was happening during the apocalypse to point where I wanted to smash my F*CKING BRAIN INTO SPIKES! Save myself some money so my family and I don’t go broke. Occasionally review a new movie if possible, and so on. I would not deny that there is at least some sort of craving from various demographics to live in some sense of normalcy at this point. Movie theaters are a part of that normalcy. But would the public automatically leap themselves back into theaters? That’s going to depend on who you ask. Some would definitely go back in a heartbeat, but if you scour social media, there are some that are hoping for more at-home releases and those sorts of things.

Not only that, but let’s also look at statistics. One of the biggest catalysts that likely caused this delay in the first place is the notion that New York had no plans to reopen theaters in phase 4, which supposedly starts in a couple weeks for a great portion of the state. New York is one of the biggest movie theater markets out there. They have a large moviegoing population and a ton of theaters to back them up. New York City has also been home to many big film events, including premieres. Although if I’m not mistaken, if “Tenet” releases on time, if Manhattan remains closed, the run could still work if many other theaters in the state as long they remain open in other areas. Speaking of which, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey, are trending pretty positive right now when it comes to handling the virus overall. This is as opposed to states like Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California, where the virus is proving to be a little more effective and deadly. Hospitals are filling up by the second, states are seeing record cases, and if they keep going up, who knows what’s gonna happen next? And besides, I just mentioned California, like New York, it is one of the biggest movie markets in the world. It’s where many red carpet events occur, the culture in various cities revolve around film, and it’s home to many historic venues. Plus, Los Angeles county is currently the most populous of the U.S. counties, if you don’t let them for example go see a movie in their local area, that’s potentially a lot of lost customers.

Not to get sidetracked, but I wonder if this means anything for the other big movies coming out soon like “Unhinged” and “Mulan.” Will they bump their dates somewhere else as well? Although Regal Cinemas, the second largest chain in the United States, is supposed to reopen the day that movie comes out, so I doubt they want to move as they have a sweet spot. As for “Mulan,” I feel like Disney could move it, but they also have a good spot should things turn around. They don’t have to worry much about what could be opening the week after, and a lot can happen in a month from now. As much as I would not be TOTALLY surprised if they put the movie on VOD eventually, I feel like from an executive standpoint, this is a movie that like “Tenet” is specifically made to be seen in a theater. Putting the film on VOD would be a sacrifice from one kind of perspective. Plus, based on what I’m hearing from people who have already seen the movie, it may have solid enough verdicts to avoid getting dumped onto Disney+ like “Artemis Fowl” did, which currently has a 10% on Rotten Tomatoes.

One thing I will point out, when it comes to this new release date, it presents a fairly interesting idea given by a Warner Bros. spokesperson.

“In this moment what we need to be is flexible, and we are not treating this as a traditional movie release. We are choosing to open the movie mid-week to allow audiences to discover the film in their own time, and we plan to play longer, over an extended play period far beyond the norm, to develop a very different yet successful release strategy.”

Before this delay, in fact, even before the first delay, what I thought was going to happen was that Warner Bros. was going to attempt to pull the throttle as far ahead as possible. What could have been done is that they’d release the movie, allowing it to play on virtually every available screen in the facility, say this is all happening in a multiplex, allowing for everybody to go see this one movie at practically anytime, with an outright guarantee for social distancing. Granted, with the current plans to bring throwback releases into the mix, that would now be impossible, but again, I’m talking about the past. Now I’m noticing a fairly slow approach that Warner Bros. seems to be taking. I don’t know how well it’ll work out. But if they keep it in theaters for a long enough time, there’s a solid chance that it could be profitable. It’s likely going to depend on word of mouth, positive reviews, and maybe even some hint of rewatchability. For all I know, it could also depend on cases. But this blog is being documented by someone who lives in the United States of America, where we are perhaps all brainwashed into thinking the economy is more “essential” than lives. Am I sick of staying home for the longest time? You betcha. I have gone through several periods of not even exiting my house doors. In fact, this entire post pretty much sums up my distaste with the fact that I’ve had to stay home. But if we all really get back outside, we need to understand that the world is not going to be pretty. We need masks (which I detest, but I understand why we need them). We need clean hands. We need to do our best to stay apart. If we want to have what we love in front of us at some point during 2020, we need to understand the meaning of sacrifice amongst ourselves. And how this even became a political issue here in the United States, I will never understand! Apparently in this country, science equals politics! It’s global warming all over again!

Just so you all know, if you didn’t already, I hate needles with a burning passion. This is the one time, I repeat, the one time in my life, where I want a vaccine for something! I don’t care if it kills me quicker than the virus, but I just want to have a sense of normalcy at this point. I’ve had it with all this! I just want to go see a movie! It’s the one place where I can feel like I’m at home, because I’ve been at my house for so long that it doesn’t even feel like a home anymore! I love my house, but with isolation and everything! It has basically become a prison with people who love and care about you, not to mention better food options! I need to get out at least once to cleanse my brain from whatever spasms it has at this point! Walking won’t do the trick! Am I overreacting? Most likely! But this is my life! Art is the quintessential element that makes me whole, and now I feel like that has been snatched away. I turn 21 in November, so I think I have picked the wrong time to supposedly “build my life.” I want safety for all. But I want to do things.

“Tenet,” please help me. I’m more excited for “Dune” to come out in December, but as of now, I don’t know if there has ever been a movie I wanted to see succeed more than “Tenet.” It’s from my favorite studio, my favorite director, and will be shown in my favorite format. And I surely hope this delay is the last one we get. For all I know, should things continue to trend positively in certain states, I can almost see Warner Bros. releasing the movie in states that are trending positive, then adding a phase 2 to areas that trend positive later. It’s like the government, but it’s all about a $200 million+ movie. “Tenet” HOPEFULLY, and I cannot stress that enough, releases in theaters August 12th, 2020. The film will be available in digital, various large formats including IMAX, 35mm, 70mm, and IMAX 70mm. And you bet I will be striving to catch an IMAX 70mm presentation should one pop up in my area, and given how I don’t live far from Providence, RI, and I do expect the movie to end up playing at their IMAX venue, I will probably make it to one of these shows whatever it takes.

Thanks for reading this incredibly emotional post! And by incredibly emotional, I mean a post where I turn into an absolute brat who simultaneously wants what’s best for society. How did we get here?! Do we even deserve to live at this point? Bring on the alien invasion! Bring on dinosaurs! Bring on giant asteroids! Bring on dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria! What are we still doing here anywhere? It’s not like we’re… DOING ANYTHING! By the way, right now on Scene Before I am focusing on Tom Cruise Month here in June, which will conclude next week with my review for “Minority Report!” Until then, check out my review for “Top Gun,” a movie which had a sequel that was supposed to come out this exact week, but of course, COVID sucks. It really does. July is coming up, and I’m hoping for my sake at this point that I get to talk about at least one new movie. I’ve spent so much time talking about the past that the future looks mighty fine right now. This universe is punching me in the gut every day. Be sure to follow Scene Before if you want to see new content, and check out the blog’s official Facebook page! I want to know, what are your thoughts on the “Tenet” delay? Personally, I kinda saw it coming, but unlike the last one, this one hurt me a little more. I am more than likely overreacting, but as a guy who doesn’t really care if sports come back at this point, I at least want a movie. Or, here’s another question. Do you plan on going back to the movies anytime soon? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

TENET Gets Delayed to July 31st, INCEPTION Returns to Theatres July 17th

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! This is a post that I never wanted to make, but feared one day that I would have to put out. It is an entry to Scene Before that I wish had never been thought of, prophecized, or conceptualized. But here we are. It is that day. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the worst movie news of 2020…

That’s… WHAT I THOUGHT I WOULD HAVE SAID.

Instead, we get some rather unfortunate news. Followed by SOME INFORMATION THAT MADE MY BRAIN RUN ON A HAMSTER WHEEL!

But first, the bad news, and man is it ugly. As described by the title, the Warner Bros. film “Tenet,” directed by Christopher Nolan, my second most anticipated movie of the year, which we just got a trailer for by the way, has officially been delayed. But only by two weeks. To add fuel to the fire, guess what? “Wonder Woman 1984” is pushed back to October! “Unhinged,” which was supposed to come out early July, has been delayed, kind of like “Tenet,” not far into the future, but July 10th. “Matrix 4” has been delayed again, “Godzilla vs. Kong” was delayed as well and it will be going into “Matrix 4’s” spot on the release calendar. Although oddly enough, “Bill & Ted Face the Music,” from MGM/Orion, will be releasing August 14th, a week earlier than originally anticipated. By the way, August 14th is also the date “Wonder Woman 1984” was originally pushed back to when this COVID-19 frenzy started.

I said to myself a couple times during this pandemic that if “Tenet” gets pushed back by like a week or two, maybe somewhere in early August, I’d be fine. Having realized this delay as of now, I am admittedly, a little peeved, especially considering how there seemed to be some recent commitment across the United States at the very least to reopening the economy. After that latest trailer from the previous month, I thought it was a lock that we would be seeing “Tenet” on July 17th. Granted, the trailer itself never suggested it, but if you go to YouTube and check the description of the trailer, it would have suggested a July 17th release date. There seemed to be some sort of commitment! I’m glad it’s not going past July, but “Tenet” looked like it would be the savior of cinema. My big question is… Will “Mulan” be the new savior? After all, it is scheduled to release on July 24th. I would not be surprised if Disney either sticks to it or releases it via On Demand. That movie should be fine as long as it doesn’t go to Disney+, kind of “Artemis Fowl,” which I am hearing is probably one of the worst Disney movies ever made. Will this change the game in terms of how people return to the theater and see new movies?

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One of the big draw-ins for “Tenet” is the massive potential to be had with a theatrical experience, and I will say if that element of the marketing goes away, it’s gonna be a little harder to get me to watch the film, because such news of it going onto VOD could leave a bad taste in my mouth, thus making me want to avoid it at least for some time. Christopher Nolan has always been a director that relies on story, but also immersion. A lot of his films have been shot with 70mm, IMAX cameras, or made specifically for the IMAX experience.

But… This does not mean all hope is lost.

While Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” is no longer available to be seen on July 17th, one of Nolan’s older films… will.

One of my favorite Christopher Nolan films is the very successful 2010 flick, “Inception.” That film is so mind-twisting, so visually brilliant, so masterfully produced, I love it. It even made it into my 25 favorite films of the past decade! As suggested, this film turns ten this year, and what a better way to celebrate than to bring it back into theaters, where it ended up earning a whopping $829.9 million at the box office, which many original titles nowadays would have to break an arm and a leg to earn.

The film will be returning to theaters on July 17th, however there is currently no absolute specification as to where it will be playing. I am willing to bet, considering how Christopher Nolan is involved, there will be IMAX screenings of some sort. Maybe there are a few 70mm prints from 2010 lying around that have neither fully deteriorated or been destroyed, perhaps they could be played at some of the bigger chain venues like the AMC Metreon in San Francisco, California. Maybe one or two museums can pitch in. Either that or they can make a few new prints. Maybe some screens will do 35mm, the possibilities are endless! “Inception” is a movie I missed in the theater. For the record, “Inception” was PG-13, I was ten years old, and quite honestly, I have little memory of ever truly knowing about it to a large extent at such a young age. I didn’t really discover who Christopher Nolan was until I was say 12 or 13 years old, which is when I watched his “Batman” movies for the first time. I would be truly excited to go see “Inception” in a way that it is perhaps meant to be seen. I will admit, when it comes to the story, even though it is coherent, it still takes a minor toll on my brain as I witness everything happen. But it doesn’t take away from all the glory that is to be seen.

This was just recently announced, so there are currently no tickets on sale as of yet. But I would suspect that they would be on sale during the beginning of July at the latest, maybe Independence Day. After all, Christopher Nolan’s last film he directed, “Dunkirk,” had its advance tickets go on sale about two weeks in advance. Maybe this would be the case for “Inception,” unless Warner Bros. thinks it would not matter because this is a ten year old movie that a lot of people have already seen.

And no, “Inception” is not a ten year old movie. It’s a ten year old work of art. Learn your facts, everyone. Okay… well, it’s still nine years old, actually… It released on July the 16th. So it TURNS ten literally in a month! I’m sticking with what I said!

Nevertheless, I must say, if it were not for this I am your father-esque plot twist where “Inception” swoops in at the last minute to announce its presence, I probably would have destroyed my entire neighborhood at this point. Now, I would not be lying if I told you there was another movie I was looking forward to more that I think will be better than “Tenet.” By the way, that one movie, and one movie only, at least for the moment, is “Dune.” I will also point out however, when it comes to “Tenet,” it has come to this point that when it comes to all the movies I have ever known, there is not one I would want to see more right now than “Tenet.” Not only is this due to the fact that I’ve been staying inside my house for eternity upon eternity, but Christopher Nolan is honestly the holy grail of modern filmmakers for me at this point. I want just about every movie to succeed, but when it comes to “Tenet,” a movie helmed by my favorite director, from my favorite film studio, that is going to be, and I apologize for nerding out here, my favorite theatrical format in IMAX 70mm, I don’t think there is a better time for what I would call the Hollywood happy ending. Yes, “Tenet” was delayed, but part of me doubts that the delay was going to hurt the industry, nor was it a sign of a complete lack of confidence either in the film itself or how well it will do financially.

My question is this… Is this a test? To maybe get moviegoers to speak with their wallet? Is there enough reason for the average moviegoer, or even the movie buff to show up at the cinema in a pandemic like this? If “Inception” makes less than a million bucks, will “Tenet” still come out on July 31st? If you know me, you’d know I’d be there day one, even if I have to go out of state. But I am just one movie reviewing moron. There are so many other people out there.

I will also point out that this reinstates something I have thought about for some time, specifically the theory that “Tenet” is secretly an “Inception” sequel, or at least a story taking place in the “Inception” universe. Yes, these screenings that are coming up could be a tenth anniversary celebration, but at the same time, this could be a marketing technique. This could be a way to get “Inception” fresh in everybody’s minds again that way the impact of being in the same universe would be that much greater. Then again, if you do want to refresh your memory on “Inception” right now, a month before July 2020, it is available on Netflix. Although it is also available on other streaming platforms and physical media through DVD, Blu-ray, and my preferred option, because I’m a snob, 4K Blu-ray.

Nevertheless, I am glad “Inception” is coming back for more screenings. I will happily show up in a mask, wearing a hazmat suit, and bring my own hand sanitizer if necessary! As for “Tenet,” I will be seeing it as early as possible, when it comes out on July 31st, unless of course there is a press screening, which I kind of doubt there will be since that occasionally involves a heavy crowd. That and… (whispers) “Tenet” sounds like a movie where you can’t say anything about it before the spoiler police knock you out.

“Inception” will return to theaters July 17th, hopefully that date is a lock and it won’t get changed, and “Tenet” will be in theaters in digital, 35mm, 70mm, and ALL IMAX formats July 31st. Tickets are not on sale yet, but hopefully there will be tickets soon. Thanks for reading this post! This is my 399th post on Scene Before, unless you count one that was deleted. Keeping with the tradition of the past, my next post, which is my 400th, will be a Blu-ray collection update. I’m going to be going over my entire movie-based collection. I could do TV, but that would divert from the movie theme of Scene Before and I would only show like three items if that were the case. I will have this up sometime next week, same with my review for “Days of Thunder,” starring Tom Cruise, as I continue June’s theme for the blog, Tom Cruise month. I also plan to review “The King of Staten Island” pretty soon, maybe I’ll watch something else and review it as well. Who knows? Like I said before, although in an alternate context, the possibilities are endless. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Check out my Facebook page and give it a like, and speaking of likes, if you have the proper account credentials, give this post a like! Otherwise, just share with your friends who probably are just like me and really want an excuse to go back to a flippin’ movie theater. I want to know, what are your thoughts on “Tenet” getting delayed? Are you willing to go into a theater to see this movie? I know I am! Also, what are your thoughts on “Inception” coming back to theaters? I’ve been waiting for a train for a long time, and I hope it takes me to the cinema! Let’s go already! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Tenet TRAILER 2 Arrives (2020): Is the Movie Theater Experience Coming Back?

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I have been asking the same question every single day since sometime in March. When will we get back to the movie theater? Well, based on a recent spot I saw during “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” the other night, there may be an answer…

 

Based on this short teaser, “Tenet” is still coming to theaters! This personally does not come as a surprise as “Tenet” has often been associated with the theatrical experience even when it was first announced. The upcoming movie has been said to be an event film from critically acclaimed director Christopher Nolan, known for films including “Memento,” “The Prestige,” “Interstellar,” and his famous “Dark Knight” trilogy. Nolan is currently my favorite director working today, and if I had to come up with a favorite of all time, I’d say Nolan would definitely be my pick at this point. Not only is his resume full of titles that are iconic, I don’t think he’s had a bad day at the office yet. The lowest score I gave to one of his titles happens to be a 7/10, which I previously handed to 2002’s “Insomnia” in a nearly three-year-old review. That’s his worst film if you ask me, but it’s still better than a lot of movies. I still need to see “Following,” but having seen all his other films, the man has a terrific lineup of content under his direction.

Sticking with “Tenet,” this movie is big. Yes, I just recently mentioned it is an event film. But the movie is shot entirely in 70mm film, with select footage shot with IMAX cameras. The film will be presented in select theaters in film formats, including IMAX 70mm film. If you have been following Christopher Nolan in recent years, this is normal. The movie has an estimated budget of $205 million, which in terms of Christopher Nolan movies, makes “Tenet” more expensive than “The Dark Knight” but less expensive than “The Dark Knight Rises.” In terms of plot, the movie is likely to revolve around time, even though it has been pointed out by Robert Pattinson, who stars in the film that his character is “not a time traveler.” As for what else he has spilled, “There’s actually no time traveling. That’s, like, the one thing I’m approved to say.” Nevertheless, given what has been presented so far through one or two “Inception”-esque scenes in the trailer and the tagline “Time runs out,” “Tenet” seems to implement time in a major way.

This continues through the new trailer that has just been put out, which before we go any further, may be one of the single most satisfying trailers I have seen in a long time. It’s like… trailer 1 of “Avengers: Infinity War” kind of good. Perhaps “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” Comic-Con teaser kind of good, which is unfortunate because, well, look how that movie turned out. Granted, maybe the Christopher Nolan fanboy part of my brain needs to calm down a little bit, but this trailer seems to promise something special. Again, I mentioned “Inception,” and having seen this trailer, I would not be surprised if this movie somehow takes place in the same universe. By the way, this idea is not my own, other people have theorized this before me. If you ask me, I will not be surprised if one of the big moments of the film reveal that this was all a dream inside of a dream inside of a dream. Or if we somehow get another look at the spinning top from the resolution of “Inception.” Remember that thing? Is Leonardo DiCaprio still dreaming? Who knows?!

Let’s go through the trailer, shall we? For those of you who have not seen the trailer, click the video above!

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The first shot of this trailer provides a basis on everything this movie contains from beginning to end. This shot, like some others, show everything going on not forward, but backward. It’s like we’re watching “Memento” the right way! That film is not going backwards! It’s a bunch of scenes that go in regular time then transition in reverse!

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“All I have for you is a word. Tenet.”

Yeah, that line’s back. And it’s as bold as ever.

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Of course we also get some quick bits of action, which Christopher Nolan has proven to be effective at creating when it comes to his directorial projects. From the climactic shoutout in “Insomnia” to the hotel scene in “Inception” I adore pretty much any action-based effort from this human being.

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I also love how clear everything looks. This is one of the advantages of shooting your movie on film. Because when you shoot on digital, the image is usually smaller and contains less information. Nolan ain’t messin’ around when it comes to “Tenet.” The shots look crisp, detailed, and regardless of the technology used, I will point out that they are beautifully framed. The final shot before the Warner Bros. logo shows up filled a hole in me. Kind of like the rest of this trailer.

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Speaking of repeats from the first trailer, we see a shot of a couple characters flying onto a building as they are about to walk on it. I don’t know if this is training or a stealth mission but it intrigues me nevertheless. The repeats don’t even end there. As we get a shot of some objects that may present some prominence, we get a line about trying to prevent World War III. That’s where we see John David Washington, or whatever his character’s name is pick up an object through perhaps this universe’s equivalent of the force. Through these scenes, I will give Nolan one compliment. One of his strongest abilities is being able to create a mystical-looking movie through style, while also making it feel somewhat down to Earth. There’s some sort of grit to his movies that I do not seem to get with other filmmakers nowadays.

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Now we are introduced to one of Christopher Nolan’s staples, Michael Caine, who has appeared in many of his films over the past number of years. I don’t know who he’s playing, how long he’ll be in the movie, but he and Nolan go way back, and even if he’s in the film for minimal screentime, Caine always delivers.

The titles that come afterward are just a reminder of how legendary Nolan is and how far his acclaim goes back. I don’t know who edited the trailer, but I would not be surprised if Nolan had some say on a majority of what went into it and said, “I’m the best director working today. Time to boast about my accomplishments!” There’s titles suggesting he is “the revolutionary director of the ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy,” which is followed by “Inception,” and “Dunkirk.”

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Going back to this movie’s meddling with time and the concept of time travel, I can confirm that this movie does not have time travel specifically, and instead, has a character that can “communicate with the future,” and that this movie will feature “time inversion,” or time reversal, which I think might open some mystery boxes to potential abilities from psychology to mind-reading to simply being able to change time in a snap, but this is just a trailer, I don’t need everything explained for me.

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“You’re not shooting the bullet. You’re catching it.”

So this scene essentially explains the time reversal process through the firing of a gun, or in this case, the unfiring of a gun. We see a bullet flying back in the hole and a shell flying into the air, signifying that time is going in the opposite direction. Although it’s not like everything in this universe is going backwards, as we see future shots of John David Washington walking forwards and a boat going straight.

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Afterwards we get a series of action shots while also getting dialogue on how serious and bold the movie’s ongoing situation is. There’s one clip where I’m noticing the bullet from a car’s rear window going in reverse, it looks pretty sick. It’s fun to see fire disappear in the blink of an eye. One thing’s for sure, if “Tenet” sucks from a story perspective, it will most certainly be at the very least fun to look at.

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We also get a look at Himesh Patel in his role, and to make another “Inception” comparison, he kind of resembles Dileep Rao’s character of Yusuf. They kind of look alike.

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We also get another look at would could be the best part of the movie, where we see cars flipping in reverse. What makes this even more sick is that next to one car flipping is an Audi going backwardsScreenshot (93), which may have technically been going in drive, but also next to the flipping car is a BMW that is driving forward in the shot but is perhaps really going backward! It’s really hard to describe, and for all I know there could be more to this than meets the eye, but this is what I love about Nolan films, I don’t feel like a moron watching them that needs info explained every two minutes.

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Next we get a shot of pierced glass through the shooting of a gun.

ROBERT PATTINSON: “The Hell happened here?”

JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON: “Hasn’t happened yet.”

If this foreshadows a potential delay, I’ll probably cry.

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Sticking to the point, these moments show the shattered glass once again as John David Washington’s character is caught in a fight with a covered individual when all of a sudden, the shattered glass goes away! I am really looking forward to how topsy-turvy this story going to be. It might break my brain, but it needs some exercise after flipping through TV channels and shutting itself off while watching crummy shows for hours.

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Then we cut to a scene in a concert hall, which feels like a trip down memory lane as I remember the short prologue they played for “Tenet” in IMAX theaters just before the beginning of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” Most of the footage took place in an concert hall, and I while I will not be able to grasp all of it to explain to y’all, it was shot with IMAX footage and it is packed with a good amount of action.

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We also get a shot of a character played by Dimple Kapadia, who I will imagine will have at least two to five minutes of screentime in the film.

DIMPLE KAPADIA: “There are people in the future who need us… Who need Tenet.”

Thought I was lying about the action in the concert hall scene? Look at all the running and explosions! Feels like something out of a gritty Michael Bay film!

JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON: “This reversing the flow of time… doesn’t us being here now mean it never happened?”

After the epic title sequence takes place, we get a short clip between Pattinson and Washington once more.

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JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON: You want to crash a plane?

ROBERT PATTINSON: Well not from the air. Don’t be so dramatic.

JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON: Well, how big a plane?

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The answer to how big a plane will be used? A FREAKIN’ JUMBO JET! That’s how big! This thing has to be a Boeing 747 for sure, I don’t know what else it could be!

Oh, wait! I know what else! Flipping epic!

ROBERT PATTINSON: That part is a little dramatic.

Hey, future Batman! The more dramatic the better! Don’t be afraid to go big!

Then comes my favorite part…

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COMING TO THEATERS.

By the way, even though it is not currently stated, the movie will still release on the date it was originally planned for, July 17th, 2020, perhaps being one of the big catalysts to get customers back in the cinemas.

I think this second trailer for “Tenet” is probably the single best version of a second trailer we could get for a film like this. I think the only thing that could have made this trailer even better is if they put out the notification of when tickets go on sale. But in terms of business, it would not be the best idea as I think theaters would protest given how they may still be planning how they are going to be keeping people safe and how seating arrangements will play out in the future. If anyone wants my prediction, I think tickets will go on sale Wednesday, July 1st, to kick off a month of what could be called the “return of moviegoing.” Plus, who knows? Maybe “Tenet” gets delayed by some chance, which I think is highly unlikely at this point because now that they are releasing the trailer, Warner Bros. is definitely going all in with the film. While they did push back “Wonder Woman 1984” and put “Scoob!” straight to VOD, there may be something about “Tenet” that specifically warrants the July 17th, 2020 release date. Given how every other film has been pushed back, maybe this gives “Tenet” a reason to be seen. Nothing else is available. Maybe it’s more financially responsible to release it in July than to shove it off to a period when a lot of other movies are going to collide with it. Regardless of the release date, I am excited for “Tenet” and aside from “Dune,” it is my most anticipated film of 2020.

Hot take, and I may just be going off of a ton of hype right now, include hyping from myself… I think “Tenet” makes a billion dollars. While there will definitely be those people who will understandably avoid the cinema for some time, “Tenet” is possibly going to play on an unprecedented amount of screens, allowing for tons of opportunities for it to be seen, while also being one of the limited options available for moviegoers. I cannot wait. Also keep in mind, it’s not R, it’s PG-13. From this, it’s possible that some younger audiences are perhaps slightly more likely to see it, even though “Tenet” is not really for kids.

“Tenet” arrives in theaters July 17th, 2020 in digital, 35mm, 70mm, and IMAX, which also includes select screenings in IMAX 70mm. I guess I wasn’t wrong! 2020 IS a good year to be an IMAX fan! But I have to ask a really important question, and this will probably be a signal to Warner Bros., Christopher Nolan, and so on about whether or not they made the right decision. Are you planning on seeing “Tenet?” Were you planning on seeing “Tenet” before reading this? Will this pandemic affect your chances of seeing the movie? On that topic, do you think you’ll be comfortable going back to the theater in July, given how there will probably be safety precautions taken? Me personally, I don’t care! I’m seeing this movie no matter what! I’m not allowed to move my lips in the theater, so having a mask to cover them might just be fitting! Let me know down below!

Thanks for reading this post! I just want to let everyone know that my 400th post is going to be arriving soon and I will be giving my usual Blu-ray update. I’ll be going over my Blu-rays, my 3D Blu-rays, 4K Blu-rays, Steelbooks, and so on. I enjoy doing these, even if they do take a lot of time to complete. Be sure to follow Scene Before if you want to see this post, along with others in the future! Make sure you’re following through your email or WordPress account, or if you prefer the social media route, check out my Facebook page and give it a like! Stay tuned for more great content! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes – Part 7

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It is now time for part 7 of the Scene Before series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes.” This series describes the recent happenings, or in some cases, a lack of happenings, in the film industry as the world deals with the COVID-19 outbreak.

As much as I want to continue to create informative content, I’m getting to the point where this series has become an annoyance. But I continue to do it anyway because historians can look back on this and remember it as a dire time for the film industry, which it really is. And those reviews I’ve been saving for months cannot go to waste. So Scene Before is STILL your place for the apocalypse! But who knows how much longer this will last? If I have to do more than twelve or thirteen, I might shove an aluminum soda can down my throat. In other news, I still know how to put on pants, I have not been going outside, and if I’m not back in the cinema by the end of July, I am going to throw all my DVDs and Blu-rays out the window like I’m a stubborn child!

And since we are still on a downward spiral, let’s get to the news of the world!

Starting in New York, we have news regarding what could be the United States’ most famous public transportation system, the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority). Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York state, made a major change to the system. The MTA is known for having a 24/7 schedule, so they never stop running. However, under Cuomo’s order, the system will be shutting down from 1 AM to 5 AM. This is likely a financially responsible decision, as nightlife in New York is nonexistent at this point. Plus, ridership is down 90% as far as the system goes. With less money, there’s more of a willingness to engage in the system’s preservation. This is also part of an effort to properly disinfect MTA property and machines, making a safer and cleaner ride for customers.

While some states are going to have to wait a bit longer to reopen, some like Georgia and Texas have begun easing on restrictions. Another state that has announced some easing on restrictions is the New England state of New Hampshire. The state plans to partially reopen starting May 11th. Certain pieces of economic industry including golf courses, campgrounds, and hair salons are permitted to reopen. Outdoor dining is also permitted to take place. Strict guidelines are still in place however as there is still a tendency to keep people 6 feet apart. New Hampshire currently has over twenty-five hundred confirmed COVID-19 cases so far. That is more than neighboring states Maine and Vermont, but is significantly less than its other neighboring state, Massachusetts, which has over seventy thousand cases.

Let’s go over to the United Kingdom and talk about Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Previously diagnosed with COVID-19, Johnson spent time in intensive care and was monitored health-wise. As he gets back into his routine, he stated that doctors were ready to announce his death in an event that he refers to as a “death of Stalin’-type scenario.” Johnson told UK newspaper The Sun that he required “liters and liters of oxygen.” During hospitalization, the Prime Minister kept asking himself: “How am I going to get out of this?” In other news, Johnson and his wife recently named their newborn son Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson. The “Nicholas” in this full name is chosen in honor of a doctor who helped aid Johnson.

Before we dive into our main topics, here’s a conglomerate of news that I ought to share because it can be packaged into a little box. While most theaters in the United States seem to have a plan on opening back up in the summer, because nothing’s out until then, some theaters are already opening their doors. For example, in Rhode Island, the Rustic Tri-View Drive-In, located in North Smithfield, is now part of the state’s reopen plan according to Governor Gina Raimondo. As for non-drive ins, Texas has three Santikos theaters reopening with a $5 ticket deal. For the record, this is a third of the company’s locations. Honestly, while it is good news for business that these theaters are reopening, I think it is also good news for health that they are taking it slow. The major chains like AMC and Cinemark still plan on a July reopening, which I think is fine, because it builds up anticipation and there’s nothing really new playing until then. Outside the U.S., Norway is reopening its theaters starting May 7th, capping the limit at 50 people per screening. The movie theater to me is a place beyond the imagination. It’s also a place where I occasionally get to see masterpieces. These masterpieces often get awards, such as Oscars. Speaking of the Oscars, let’s talk about them!

THE ACADEMY CHANGES RULES FOR THE 93RD ANNUAL OSCARS

One of my favorite days of the year is Oscar Sunday. When this crisis first started, I was a little worried that would not even be able to see an Academy Awards show next year, much less get more movies that could potentially be nominated. After all, when you are a studio or crew and cannot come out with your movie, it’s kind of a struggle. However, The Academy may have something planned next year. One indicator of this is them announcing changes to their rules and layout. Most notably, the Academy is putting its traditional rule of its nominees needing to have a theatrical release on hold. Specifically, the rule that a movie must play in Los Angeles county cinemas for at least a week with daily screenings taking place at least thrice. So if you play your movie in cities such as Los Angeles, Burbank, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Glendale, Pasadena, Culver City, or anywhere else in Los Angeles county that may have a movie theater under certain requirements, it could potentially be nominated for an Academy Award. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Academy is making an exception for this year. The following quote is taken from The Academy’s website, oscars.org.

“Until further notice, and for the 93rd Awards year only, films that had a previously planned theatrical release but are initially made available on a commercial streaming or VOD service may qualify in the Best Picture, general entry and specialty categories for the 93rd Academy Awards under these provisions:

  1. The film must be made available on the secure Academy Screening Room member-only streaming site within 60 days of the film’s streaming or VOD release;
  2. The film must meet all other eligibility requirements.”

So this means that films like “Trolls: World Tour,” “Scoob!,” and “The King of Staten Island,” which are either already On Demand or will be dropping towards On Demand soon, are considered eligible for the Academy Awards. Films that barely even got a theatrical release like “Bloodshot” or “The Hunt” also qualify. I’m willing to imagine to some extent that this *may* count a film such as “The Lovebirds,” which was going to theatrically release this year and make a debut at South by Southwest. Although the festival was canceled and Paramount is no longer putting the film out in cinemas. But unlike films such as “Trolls: World Tour,” which is available on platforms including Prime Video, Google Play, Vudu, FandangoNOW, AMC Theatres On-Demand, iTunes, and cable outlets such as Xfinity and Fios, “The Lovebirds” is going straight to Netflix. Given how Netflix has made a major presence at the Academy Awards in past years, films like “The Lovebirds” could be considered eligible, but is the Academy only considering certain platforms? Are exclusive platform deals going to tie in somehow? What about “Artemis Fowl” on Disney+? That movie was supposed to come out this month, but unfortunately that’s not happening.

Also keeping fine print in mind, these rules pertain to films that were once planning on theatrically releasing. So films like Netflix’s “Extraction,” which was intended for a streaming platform, or HBO’s “Bad Education,” which went straight to television, will not qualify. This policy is also not permanent, as the Academy intends to make this only apply for this year’s ceremony, and anticipates an end date in the future when there is a sense of normalcy, not to mention when theaters re-open. However, the Academy is also planning on expanding qualifying theaters to U.S. areas including New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, Atlanta, Chicago, and Miami. As one who lives fairly close to Boston, I am disappointed, but we can’t have everything, even if sports prove otherwise. By the way, I hate football. I said it.

PHYSICAL MEDIA (and other electronic) SALES GO UP

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Now I imagine some people will flat out not care about this, but to me, physical media is the best way to watch a movie at home. Because when you buy a movie on Prime Video for example, you don’t own it. Yes, you possess the film digitally, but if the service goes down, crashes, or the company behind it closes its doors forever, you’ll probably never be able to watch it again. With physical media, it is all up to you. Now it is not a surprise that we have had more time on our hands to go on Netflix and watch “Extraction,” to flock over to Disney+ and watch “Star Wars,” to jump on over to FandangoNOW and give “Trolls: World Tour” a rent. But what KIND OF surprises me, and I say kind of, is how much of a presence physical media has in this pandemic. According to recent statistics, DVD and Blu-ray players went up 27% during the pandemic. Keep in mind, this is a market that Samsung recently abandoned.

Another thing to keep in mind is that DVD and Blu-ray players, which went up by 27% is not the only winner here, in fact, the increase is not as big as other categories such as TV mounts (41%), printers (61%), and streaming players (67%). So rather than just being a great boost for physical media, it is also a great boost for tech. TVs have been doing well, and so have computers. As for where the actual total of sales for DVD and Blu-ray DISCS stand, that’s another question. Although, based on this quote from NPD’s Tom Baker, that type of electronic may be doing just fine.

“Sales are up as consumers stay at home and look for multiple forms of entertainment. These include DVDs and Blu-ray discs to entertain children while their parents are working, backup access devices if Internet access is challenged by streaming, or simply the consumers’ realization that they may need a physical disc player as an alternative to streaming and either they didn’t already have one or the one they do have needs an upgrade.”

Honestly, in a time like this, I think some people are going to want physical media. Sure, it involves getting up and putting in a disc, but one of the reasons why I am such an advocate for it is the technical side of it. Outlets like YouTube and Netflix have lowered the default quality of content to standard definition. With Blu-ray, the default quality is 1080p, or if you have a smaller setup, it’ll work in 720p. Yes, standard definition is the quality of DVD, which is 480p, but again, I’ll bring up the fact that you have control over your content. Netflix, or more specifically, Warnermedia, is not going to snatch “Friends” away whenever the year ends like they did months ago. If you don’t want it, just sell it and get some money back! Plus, you get all the bonus features which can help you pass the time. I just got the “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” 4K Blu-ray last month, I still need to watch the bonus content! So I still have something to do! Also, what if the Internet goes down? You don’t need any Internet to watch a DVD! If I had to come up with any downsides, maybe it involves a little more activity, but since we refuse to go outside, it could be worth taking a couple steps to the collection and popping a disc in. Or, since places like Walmart sells them, there’s always a chance, given how grocery stores are becoming petri dishes right now, that other people touched the DVDs or Blu-rays and spread their germs, which may not be the most pleasant happening for a time like this. But of course, worst case scenario, you can always order these things online. Although I can also imagine that some people are buying these devices because they have smart capabilities as well, allowing them to contain apps like Netflix, YouTube, and Prime Video.

NO MORE KEANU DAY, BUT HERE’S MORE DELAYS!

One of the actors who arguably was the “winner” of 2019 is Keanu Reeves. His year in acting brought him success through films like “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” and “Toy Story 4.” He did films like “Replicas,” which honestly sucked, but he also became a heavy hitting piece of promotion for the upcoming game “Cyberpunk 2077,” by making a surprise appearance at E3 last year. And honestly, this might have spawned my favorite slice of all the content that went viral on the Internet last year.

In fact this year, the Keanussance is likely going to continue. After all, he is making an appearance in the third “SpongeBob SquarePants” movie in a minor role. The movie by the way for those who don’t know is titled “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run.” Speaking of known properties, Reeves is also going to be reuniting with Alex Winter to star in “Bill & Ted Face the Music.” Although, if you are a fan of one of Keanu Reeves’ most popular franchises, specifically “John Wick,” prepare to be disappointed. “John Wick: Chapter 4,” once scheduled to come out May 21st, 2021, will now be releasing May 27th, 2022, a full year later. Taking the spot of “John Wick” is the “Saw” reboot titled “Spiral,” which was supposed to be out May 15th of this year. Speaking of Lionsgate films, “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,” which is a sequel to 2017’s “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” will be hitting theaters August 20th, 2021, as opposed to its prior date of August 28th, 2020. An upcoming horror drama, “Antebellum,” is set to release August 21st, 2020, as opposed to its original date which has already passed, April 24th, 2020.

However, sticking with “John Wick: Chapter 4,” this delay is a particularly interesting one. Not just because it involves a meme-worthy actor and a hit action franchise, but this film was originally supposed to come out the same day as another Keanu Reeves movie. And it’s not some indie film made by a studio like A24 or Neon. It’s not, THANKFULLY, a sequel to “Replicas,” a film Reeves starred in that turned out to be one of the worst films of 2019. It’s “The Matrix 4.” Now if you asked me five years ago about the possibility of a “Matrix 4,” I’d probably toss the idea behind my head. There didn’t seem to be much place else that the story could go. But hey, everything’s getting a reboot and a remake now, so why not “The Matrix?” I honestly don’t know what to expect from it, but the fact that this is a reboot and not a remake pleases me. Nevertheless, both films prior to the delay of “John Wick: Chapter 4” were scheduled to come out May 21st, 2021. The Internet has often called this “Keanu Day.” I will say that the delay of “John Wick: Chapter 4” is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because it avoids having the crew rush on making the film, but it’s also unfortunate because as a Keanu Reeves follower, I figured it would be fun to go to the theater and do a Keanu Reeves double feature. However, if more good news needs to be said, I should also point out it’s perhaps likely that these films, which by the way, are from different companies, will be marketed to similar groups of people, and maybe both could lose their respective studios money as a result. Both films debuting on their own release dates could not only benefit Lionsgate, who is delaying “John Wick: Chapter 4,” but also Warner Bros., who is responsible for “Matrix 4.” Not everyone has the money and time to go see two seemingly similar movies. While “John Wick” fans may have to wait, this could give Lionsgate a greater chance of creating a “John Wick: Chapter 5,” because what if “John Wick: Chapter 4” doesn’t warrant a sequel after losing lots of money to “Matrix 4?” At least the studio has a “Hunger Games” prequel and “Knives Out 2” potentially coming soon so it’s not like they’ll spend years losing money from here on out.

AMC THEATRES AND REGAL ENTERTAINMENT GROUP BAN UNIVERSAL FILMS

Can I get some popcorn?! Because I’d say it’s time to enjoy the greatest battle in cinematic history, and it’s not even in a movie! Tonight’s fighters are… movie theaters and Universal Pictures! Now, “Trolls: World Tour” is a one of a kind movie, mainly because Universal decided that it should be released directly onto VOD. Universal bragged about the film’s progress so far to the point where they thought it would be a good idea to release more of their films On Demand while also putting them into theaters.

Now, I’m going to have to be very careful here, because several different outlets have reported similar sounding items that might contextualize something different.

The story here begins by bringing the mega-chain AMC Theatres into the mix. AMC Theatres saw Universal’s plan to simultaneously release movies theatrically and at home and responded by saying that they will not play any of Universal’s movies if that’s the case. While a source like The Hollywood Reporter did a story on this and cited from AMC CEO Adam Aron that the company will no longer play any of Universal’s films in its theaters worldwide, one quote from Deadline’s article suggests, also from Adam Aron, that they will not do so “on these terms.” By that, it likely means that AMC will not release Universal’s films if they just follow a simultaneous home video rollout. Keep in mind, it is traditional for films to follow a strict theatrical window. While there have been cases of films like “Black Panther” that you can still see in some theaters while it becomes available at home, tradition has suggested that a movie released for theaters must be out for about ninty days before it comes home. Universal doing a release like this not only ignores the theatrical window, but it also makes the theater potentially lose money because people could just stay home and put the movie on their TV. In fact, movie theaters were against Universal since this pandemic started. While they did manage to have a rather solid idea of making “Trolls: World Tour” a straight to On Demand movie, other studios seemingly have concretely laid out their plans and avoided giving such a last minute notice like Universal appeared to. NATO (National Association of Theater Owners) head John Fithian was against this from day one.

“Only Universal, and only on ‘Trolls,’ did one studio skip the theatrical model and go straight to the home. Universal continues to advertise to consumers that ‘Trolls’ will be released simultaneously to theaters and the home on April 10. And they are lying to consumers. Universal knows that theaters will still be closed on April 10, so unlike every other distributor who must simply delay their releases in that time period, but still understand that theatrical release is essential to their business model, Universal on ‘Trolls’ didn’t make that decision. Exhibitors will not forget this.”

Fithian also shares his thoughts on the current matter of AMC abandoning Universal films with this quote…

“Universal does not have reason to use unusual circumstances in an unprecedented environment as a springboard to bypass true theatrical releases. Theaters provide a beloved immersive, shared experience that cannot be replicated — an experience that many of the VOD viewers of this film would have participated in had the world not been sequestered at home, desperate for something new to watch with their families. We are confident that when theaters reopen, studios will continue to benefit from the global theatrical box office, followed by traditional home release.”

Let me just say that if Universal is planning on releasing “F9” through VOD the same day as in theaters, that might be one of the worst decisions they’ve ever made. People go to those movies because they provide adrenaline rushes, the effect is not as great if watched on a TV, tablet, phone, or computer. This is why before this whole pandemic, I bought opening Thursday tickets. Luckily, I did get my money back. So if all Universal films are never coming to AMC again, it’s going to make it harder for me to review them as AMC locations are easy for me to access. The theater is a huge money-maker for Universal, to have hundreds of screens lost is not a great investment in the long run. People are inevitably going to get back into routines, and part of that routine is the movie theater. It might take awhile for some people, but if you’re someone like me who sees a difference in the experience from watching at home and in the theater, I’m going to choose the theater by a long mile. This is why I want to see “Tenet” in July. Heck, before this all happened, I probably had little to no intention of going to see the remake for “Mulan,” but I’ll show up because I want to support movie theaters.

But just you wait! There’s more! Universal, if you do nothing, cinema chains will double the offer! That’s two cinema chains not playing your movies, for a chance to lose more money! Cineworld, which currently owns the U.S. staple, Regal Entertainment Group, also said that they “will not be showing movies that fail to respect the windows.” So, should Universal continue to release movies On Demand early, Regal, along with AMC, will not be playing those films in their venues. Alternate chains like Showcase Cinemas, Alamo Drafthouse, and Arclight for example have not really said much about this matter. But remember, the theatrical window is a sacred bond of trust. If you’re putting a movie in theaters, chances are you have to follow it or face consequences.

Also, I wonder how much longer this will go on for, because guess what? If you go to Universal Studios Hollywood, you’ll notice on the CityWalk that there is a movie theater that currently goes by the name Universal Cinema. The theater has reserved seating, recliners, a Director’s Lounge, and an IMAX with Laser. By the way, that IMAX is also equipped with a 70mm projector, which if the theaters open back up in time for “Tenet,” will probably be used. Guess who owns that theater? AMC of all possible names! Who knows what is going to happen there?! As for Universal Orlando Resort, they’re safer in this circumstance as they currently have a Cinemark. They had an AMC at one point, but that has now closed. Gotta love drama.

NEW HOME VIDEO RELEASES

First off, it is Tuesday, May the 5th! Meaning it is the day after “Star Wars Day,” AKA May the 4th! For those who have not heard it already, May the 4th be with you and as for today, enjoy your Revenge of the Fifth! With that being said, there’s some new “Star Wars” content on Disney+, including a documentary on “The Mandalorian,” the series finale of “The Clone Wars,” and since we talk about movies on here, one of the new additions is “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the conclusion to “The Skywalker Saga.” As of now, the full “Skywalker Saga” is available on the service. The only theatrically released “Star Wars” movie not available on Disney+ at the moment is “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” However, the movie is currently on Netflix. If you are wondering when “Solo” will be coming to Disney+, it will be available starting July 9th, 2020. As for what’s coming On Demand, one example is “The Lodge,” which is about a soon-to-be-stepmom who is staying with her finace’s children at a holiday village, where strange events begin to occur. The film is available today, May 5th, on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital. Another film getting such a release on May 5th is “Arkansas” starring Liam Hemsworth and Vince Vaughn. It is the directorial debut of Clark Duke and was supposed to be shown at this year’s South by Southwest Festival. The film is a thriller about two men who live under the orders of a kingpin whom they’ve never met. Unfortunately, a deal goes wrong, meaning they could end up facing harsh consequences. “Arkansas” was supposed to theatrically release on May 1st, the same day that “Black Widow” would have hit theaters had it not been delayed. However, it is now available physically and digitally starting today, May 5th. One more film to avoid skipping over is “I Still Believe,” which is now out on DVD and Blu-ray as of today. The film is based on the true story and journey of Christian music star Jeremy Camp.

Thanks for reading the seventh part of the ongoing series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes!” Happy Revenge of the Fifth, hope all the “Star Wars” fanatics in the world are happily going about their lives and not getting into fights in comments sections, because that’s impossible, right? Also, Happy Cinco de Mayo, on a Taco Tuesday coincidentally! Two days that go together quite well! Also, if you want remind yourself of a simpler time when movie theaters were open, be sure to check out my latest YouTube video where I document my experience of going to see “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” on opening night. Disney has already put copyright claims on it, but I really don’t care as I enjoyed making the video. Also, if you like the video, leave a like, if you want to subscribe, go ahead! Speaking of leaving likes, be sure to check out my Facebook page and immerse yourself to posts much shorter than these while also getting the latest updates from Scene Before! Since we’re still on the topic of likes, be sure to like this post if you’re enjoying the content, and as we’re continuing promotion, why not give this blog a follow either with a WordPress account or your email? I want to know, what is the biggest piece of movie news for you in regards to the COVID-19 crisis this past week or so? Did I miss anything? Also, how did you celebrate “Star Wars” day? Me personally, I started on May 3rd! TBS had a marathon and I watched for hours! Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!