The Burnt Orange Heresy (2019): Portrait with Orange on Fire

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“The Burnt Orange Heresy” is directed by Giuseppe Capotondi (Berlin Station, The Double Hour) and stars Claes Bang (The Girl in the Spider’s Web, The Square), Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby, Everest), Mick Jagger (Being Mick, Running Out of Luck), and Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games, Pride & Prejudice). This film revolves around an eccentric, mysterious art critic by the name of James Figueras who is hired to steal a rare painting. As the movie moves along, he becomes greedier by the second. Simultaneously, he is romantically involved with a woman named Berenice Hollis.

Oh yay! Another movie that we can see in theaters! 2020 is turning around!

…Sort of. Not really. It’s still a crapfest all around and we just have to live with that! Boohoo.

“The Burnt Orange Heresy,” much like a lot of other movies I have seen so far this year, is a film that I really did not know much about going into it. All I really knew about the film is what I’ve read regarding it on IMDb and one or two other sites. I knew it got some attention already through festivals. Apparently, based on how IMDb lists the film as being released on March 6th, 2020 in the U.S., this thing has been theatrically released already. In fact, its distributor, Sony Pictures Classics decided that they’d hold onto the film and avoid putting it on VOD despite how many other films at the time such as “The Hunt,” “Bloodshot,” and “Onward” were going in such a direction. As of today, “The Burnt Orange Heresy” is a film that can ONLY be watched in theaters. As for when it will hit stores and digital services remains a mystery to me.

Walking out of “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” I cannot say I’m disappointed. Partially because as mentioned, I did not know much about the film going into it. All I really gathered regarding it was the basic gist and concept. “The Burnt Orange Heresy” is a sensual, mysterious flick, which kind of makes sense as it does take place in Italy, which from my experience is an often romanticized country. In fact, let me just say, I am not dating anybody. Now that we are in the middle of a pandemic where everyone is supposed to socially distance from each other, I don’t really think I should be dating anybody, but I thought that if you are in the right mood, this could be an alright pick for a date movie. Granted, this movie is also not for everyone, as it does feel fairly artsy. Almost in the high-brow category if you will. Then again, this is a movie heavily involving art and someone trying to steal a rare painting, so it kind of adds up.

I really think the best part of the movie is the chemistry between the main romantic couple, specifically played by Claes Bang and Elizabeth Debicki. Their chemistry is some of the best I have seen in recent memory in regards to a relationship. Every one of their actions, even if it goes to a point of slight exaggeration, felt kind of raw. Again, this is kind of a sensual movie during a few bits and pieces, even if that is not what it is trying to present itself as in the long run.

Also, gotta admit, Elizabeth Debicki may be a new celebrity crush of mine, and based on her acting chops, I cannot wait to see her smash the role she’s got in “Tenet!”

*teary-eyed* PLEASE COME OUT ALREADY.

I also liked the main character himself, again, played by Claes Bang, an actor who I am admittedly not familiar with at all. This movie starts off with a pretty sharply edited opening scene where Claes Bang’s character, James Figueras, is on his exercise bike in his private quarters, but simultaneously, he’s lecturing to an audience about a painting. To save some of the mystery from you, the people reading this… I will not go into much detail about the scene itself, but it is a great way to not only start the film, but get a sense of our main character’s personality. What’s he like? What does he do? What are his mannerisms? Just in the first five to ten minutes of this film, I felt like I’ve already gathered a terrific sense of who exactly this character could be, or who he is trying to be. He’s mysterious, he’s quirky, I kind of wanted to know more about him. Sure, maybe on the surface he kind of looks like the dad from “Modern Family,” but as far as his traits and personality go, that is something that I wanted to be somewhat unraveled as we go along.

As I watched “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” it reminded me of one thing more than anything else. That my friends, is “Life Lessons,” the short film directed by Martin Scorcese as part of the “New York Stories” set. For those of you who don’t know what that is, “Life Lessons” is a film about an eccentric painter, who lives with his assistant as their relationship begins to spiral down the drain. Granted, the relationship seems to be working a lot better for both sides in “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” but I would not be lying if I told you that I did not make such a connection with these two films. Both of these films feel fairly dramatic, romantic, and occasionally a little bumpy. I will say, and this is somewhat forgiven as “The Burnt Orange Heresy” is a feature and “Life Lessons” is a short, but “The Burnt Orange Heresy” feels a bit on the slower side compared to “Life Lessons.” Without spoilers, the way certain events play out in both these films feels like they are a couple with their differences, but nevertheless happy to be together.

I said this once, I’ll say it again, this film is not for everyone. This film is almost on the verge of being kind of eccentric, and some will find it pretentious or high brow. But for me, I enjoyed myself. It is a film that I probably will not end up watching every day, but if I were to have it on, I would most likely not use it just as background noise. I also think that when it comes to how this film is edited overall, it is one of the finer editing jobs I have seen this year. A lot of the scenes are interwoven nicely and nothing really feels out of place. I’d give this film a thumbs up.

In the end, “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” despite what I just said about probably not wanting to watch it every day, is a film that I’d probably check out a second time because it has a vibe that feels cleansing and smooth to the brain. Plus, despite being an hour and thirty-nine minutes, there may be one or two things that I missed on the first viewing that I may want to pick up again. Maybe the dialogue went over my head or something, I don’t know. Nevertheless, this is good enough for a repeat viewing. I’m going to give “The Burnt Orange Heresy” a 7/10.

Thanks for reading this review! I just want to let everyone know that I have a few new Blu-rays lying around for possible reviews, but HBO Max has just released an original film starring Seth Rogen by the name of “An American Pickle.” If I get the chance, I might just talk about that for an upcoming review, but who knows? Anything can happen in 2020. 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 official Scene Before Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “The Burnt Orange Heresy?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite movie set in Italy? 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!

The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson (2019): Worse Than The Haunting of Sharon Tate?

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“The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson” is directed by Daniel Farrands, who also directed the gosh-awful piece of crap that some would call a movie, “The Haunting of Sharon Tate.”  This film stars Mena Suvari (American Pie, American Beauty), Nick Stahl (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Sin City), Agnes Bruckner (The Bold and the Beautiful, Once Upon a Time), Drew Roy (Falling Skies, Hannah Montana), and Taryn Manning (Orange Is the New Black, Crossroads) in a film that dives into the final days of OJ Simpson’s wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, as shown from her point of view.

If you have been following my blog, you’d already know that I have talked about a couple films this year and reviewed them. However, this is ultimately the first film released this particular decade that I have to tackle. And to be honest, I wish I could have chosen a better one.

To call what I’m reviewing a “January movie” is perhaps generous. Because for those of you who must know, the month of January is usually a dumping ground for films. Maybe the film is not that good, not that profitable, and maybe studios don’t know what to do with it. But when I think of other bad January movies, a lot of them contain some sort of charm when compared to “The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson.”

This film is from director Daniel Farrands, who also directed a movie I mentioned earlier, which happens to be the worst movie I sat through in 2019, “The Haunting of Sharon Tate.” I don’t, THANKFULLY, remember all that I saw. But what I do remember is that I witnessed one of the most distasteful, incompetent, not to mention insulting films I have ever sat through. IT WAS EVEN RELEASED IN THEATERS! F*CKING THEATERS!

And guess what? This one is no different! Not only did it get a small release in theaters, but just like “The Haunting of Sharon Tate,” this piece of s*it can just go to Hell! I rented this film on Prime Video with absolute curiosity as to what I was going to witness. But honestly, this movie feels like a tarnation even if it is free. As I watched this film, based on the vibe and characters, this felt like one of those films that could easily go straight to Lifetime, but for some reason, I have no full idea why, this got approved for a theatrical release.

Technically speaking, it’s barely watchable. The music is fitting, but also kind of a waste of time and space. The camerawork… well, is full of properly framed material… But there’s not really much of anything special about it. But speaking of things on camera, this director must really love horror movies. Because I saw a review before checking this movie out, but having witnessed that review, I have been informed that there is a clip that might as well be out of “Nightmare on Elm Street.” Now, I have not seen “Nightmare on Elm Street” but I have seen the clip that this film CLEARLY rips off.

Actually, you know what? Saying that this film rips off “Nightmare on Elm Street” is honestly too generous. If anything it almost tries to… pay respects, I guess? BUT IT DOES SO TO ABOMINABLE LEVELS! If anything it just does a horribly shot and blasphemously edited sequence that pretty much can only be compared to something out of a really bad Michael Bay movie. The scene has so many massively off-putting jumpcuts and mind-numbingly annoying flickers that I am almost surprised I did not exit my viewing experience with a headache! IT’S SO BAD!

Speaking of Lifetime movies, the characters and acting levels represented in this film are very fitting for such an environment.

There’s this whole subplot about Nicole trying to find someone, the dialogue in the earliest scene regarding this is still in my head, specifically where one of her friends is trying to encourage her to go to town on a waiter. Cringe! Period! I can’t even form complete sentences at this point! GAH! Even if Arnold Schwarzenegger confirmed to me that it’s not a tumor, I’d probably feel like a tumor is destroying me as we speak.

I will give credit though to the lead actress, Mena Suvari, because I feel like even though this movie fell apart through screenwriting, music, and the lack of ability to helm a project, this is still a competent performance. I felt like this was the performance needed out of a character like this. She’s shy, not incredibly outspoken, and a bit reserved. It might be the best part of the movie. Although given how much this mess shatters itself like a newer model iPhone when tossed to the ground, it doesn’t really say much!

For all of you writing a book on the history of film reviews, mark this day, because I am about to use “The Haunting of Sharon Tate,” a film that broke me to no end that it wound up being my #3 worst film of the past decade, AS THE POSITIVE in a comparison. We have officially reached worldwide insanity.

Whereas “The Haunting of Sharon Tate,” did one thing, and I repeat ONE THING that could have been interesting regarding its screenplay, this film has nothing that feels fresh or emotionally investing, even though the main character is about to get bloody murdered! “The Haunting of Sharon Tate” AT THE VERY LEAST had one interesting point within its screenplay… Are our lives written from beginning to end? Is everything in our lives pre-planned? Can we write our own scripts? That reminds me, THIS MOVIE HAS A F*CKING DREADFUL SCRIPT! Am I being a little harsh? It’s possible. After all, this is the first feature-length script from Michael Arter, who also had a credit for “The Haunting of Sharon Tate” as a production coordinator. Still, I gotta be truthful, I have to point out what irked me, because honesty is the best policy.

In fact, get this. Whenever Simpson says something regarding how she thinks she is going to brutally murdered one day or something else along those lines, it felt like an utter joke. And speaking of jokes, there is a scene where Simpson and another character are sitting in the kitchen as they drink… WAIT FOR IT. WHAT COULD IT EVER BE? Oh, I know! ORANGE JUICE! Is it just me or is this movie a punishment for someone? Possibly a punishment for me?

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I should also point out, when it comes to Simpsons’ friends, specifically Kris Kardashian (Agnes Bruckner) and Faye Resnick (Tayrn Manning), their characters at times feature some of the most painful to watch overacting I sat through in recent memory. If this film was a parody, this probably would have worked. Admittedly, this is what the film feels like at times, but without any intention whatsoever.

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Also, Faye Resnick’s wig is one of the worst I have seen on film. It almost looks like a wig someone would wear if they made a poorly realized stage play for an episode of “Friends” and they needed someone to play Rachel.

“The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson” is just short of an hour and a half, making it barely feature-length. Luckily, it does not feel longer than it needs to be, but this almost makes the movie feel disappointingly cheap, especially when considering that not all of the footage is shot specifically for it! Daniel Farrands is a director who I will be honest, needs to avoid going down the rabbit hole he seems to have fallen into. Is he a nice guy in person? Probably. Maybe he’s a charming fellow. This isn’t the only type of film Farrands has helmed. After all he has done documentaries before he dove into feature-length movies. Documentaries which by the way, also focus on the realm of horror. But I really think stories based on famous murders is not going to be something I would look forward to from now on if Farrands is behind the camera. If Farrands is really passionate about horror, then maybe he has some potential to create something magical within its genre, but these past couple of films I have seen from him have been dull, unsatisfying, and a waste of my time. Speaking of unsatisfying, this film contains a sex scene that isn’t exactly gross, but it feels poorly put together. The music in this scene feels incredibly out of place! It makes the belly-button sex in “The Room” look like “Pulp Fiction!”

In the end, this film is MURDER. It is nothing short of one of the worst experiences of film-viewing that I have ever dredged through. This is the first 2020 film, (some say it’s a 2019 film, but it’s a 2020 film as far as the United States is concerned) that I have witnessed. If this is not the worst film we are getting this year, not to mention for the remainder of this entire decade, then chances are this is God’s way of punishing us. “The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson” is perhaps acted as competently as possible, at least as far as Mena Suvari is concerned. Although the film is also shrouded in a piss-poor script, catastrophic scenes, and terrible directing. Is this film worse than “The Haunting of Sharon Tate?” Honestly, yes. As boring as “The Haunting of Sharon Tate” is, the film, from what I remember is collectively acted better, and I’ll also reiterate that the conversations about fate were at least somewhat intriguing even if they were almost tacked on. Story-wise, this film honestly has nothing. I’m going to give “The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson” a 1/10. This is honestly one of the worst films I have ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of them, especially over these past number of years. I’d honestly rather watch “Cats” again! I’m not kidding! It’s that bad! Daniel Farrands, get your act together, and make better films! Get crackin’!

Thanks for reading this review! I just want to let everyone know that I just saw “Dolittle,” the latest movie, not to mention reboot in the “Dr. Dolittle” franchise and the first film featuring Robert Downey Jr. outside of Marvel Studios since 2014’s “The Judge.” I just went to see it in Dolby Cinema and I hope to have my thoughts on it as soon as possible. Be sure to follow Scene Before if you want to stay up to date on my latest content, you can do so by using an email or WordPress account! As for social media, check out my Facebook page if you want to not only receive access to my content as early as possible, but also random thoughts from the Movie Reviewing Moron. I want to know, did you see “The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson?” What did you think about it? Or, now that 2020 is here, what films have you seen so far? I know it’s early, but just for fun, give me your best and worst. Just to make it easier, feel free to insert films from past years! Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Parasite (2019): Poor Little Liars

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“Parasite” is directed by Bong Joon Ho (Memories of a Murder, Snowpiercer) and stars Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, and Park So-dam in a film about a poor Korean family who lives underground in an unpleasant environment. They do what they can to get by and stick together, but they’re struggling nevertheless. Eventually, one member of the family, specifically Kim Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) is hired by a rich family to be an English tutor for their daughter. As Ki-woo gets to work, he later gets to know the family’s son (and his lackluster ability to create art) and suggests hiring a “professional” to help him out. This leads to a chain of events where the entire family gets employed by this rich household.

I have a heard a few things about “Parasite” before going into it. And by a few things I mean a few positive, amazing, spectacular things. The biggest notion I came across however was that the film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, one of the more famous film festivals we have today. There is a good chance that if your film gets this award, you are a god with magical and mystical powers that has been brought from the Heavens to shower everyone with wondrous joy. I did not know when I was ultimately going to see “Parasite,” but when I did, to say I had any doubts of quality would be a dirty rotten lie.

As for the final product, I must say it here. I must say it now. “Parasite” is one of the best movies of the year. This is a sign that awards season is starting to get into full swing. I saw “Joker” earlier this month, and that may have been the official kickoff for awards season for me. It came out at the beginning of October, it’s gritty, and overall well produced. In fact, when I walked out of “Joker” alongside my dad who I invited to watch the movie, I said something to him along the lines of this:

“That was probably the most happy go lucky movie I have seen all year.”

Of course, if you have any knowledge about “Joker,” you’d know I was clearly, well, joking. Having seen “Parasite,” I have to say that this film makes “Joker” look like “Spongebob SquarePants.” I walked out of “Joker” feeling like I just got a shot to cure a rare illness. For those of you who don’t know me, needles are up there with fire alarms and other loud sounds as one of my all-time greatest fears. “Parasite” made me feel like I walked out of the theater getting an injection in my eye. I mean, HOLY S*IT. This! Movie! IIIIISSS! Something else!

I went into this movie fairly blind, and for those of you who have not checked this movie out yet, I recommend you do the same, but as for my experience, I went into this movie, discovered what it was about, and therefore I set my expectations of where this film was going to go. I HAD NO IDEA IT WOULD GO WHEREVER THE F*CK IT WENT! Where the f*ck did it go? I am not gonna say, you all need to find out on your own because this movie truly is worth your time and money. Don’t pirate it, don’t wait until it is out on Blu-ray, just go see it now. Why? Cause I said so! I knew this movie was going to be good, but as I watched the film, I was truly trying to see if it was worth the hype. Because it was seemingly simple, straightforward, and came off as if it was going to follow a pattern I formulated in my head. Nope! It brought a subversion to my expectations that kind of almost left me speechless! And you know what? Without going into detail about what exactly brought a subversion to my expectations, I want to give this movie credit for it, because it feels like it almost reaches a level of “what the f*ck?” to the point where it almost feels difficult to process or too beyond the imagination to buy into. But somehow, “Parasite” makes it work.

Although speaking of that, this does bring me to my one small complaint about the film, and it is a small one, I still want to bow down to Bong Joon Ho and everyone else who worked on this film because this is a product for the ages. But yeah, I gotta do what I gotta do. There is a point or two in this film where I am watching everything go down and think to myself that a lot of what is happening is incredibly convenient. Now I will point out, this blog is being written by someone from the United States, this is a Korean film, and I have not been exposed to all of what Korea has to offer. I do not know all of their traditions or customs, even though I have a knowledge about a few things related to Korea here and there. But one member of the rich family in the film mentions she likes having a chain of people helping her that comes from someone she knows personally. It just feels a little too convenient for the plot, but it DOES NOT take much of anything away from how truly spectacular of a job everyone has done while making this film.

I also think the film does a really good job at displaying the background differences between the the two families. It was ultimately fascinating to see the poor Kim family try to become a centerpiece of the rich Park family. I will admit, I did sort of question whether or not the Kims deserved to do everything they have tried to do, even though they are significantly unwealthy, but it still brought my personal attention to the screen.

One last thing before I get to the final verdict. Overall, I love the performances in “Parasite.” I do not think there is one bad performance of the bunch that are provided. Cho Yeo-jeong does an incredible job as Mrs. Park. Lee Jung-eun plays a housekeeper who delivers a top notch performance. And I’ll even give credit to a particular child actor, Jung Hyun-joon, who plays a young boy named Da-song. He’s hyperactive, uppity, and brings a life to this “Parasite” party. That statement almost makes no sense, but who cares? I’m leaving it in!

In the end, “Parasite” is f*cking god level material. If you are one of those people who actively skips out on foreign films or films that are not primarily in the English language, shame. You are missing out on one of the best films I have seen in recent memory. It has a minor flaw that is present throughout the film, but the unbelievable amount of positives that I can come up with almost combine to flush said flaw down the toilet. The technical aspects: Cinematography, lighting, and editing are all on point. The acting is superb! I am an aspiring filmmaker, but I am beginning to wonder if I’ll be able to make a film as excellent as this. With that being said, I’m going to give “Parasite” a 9/10. This film is almost perfect. Maybe on my second viewing I’ll be a little more open to the conveniences of the film, but regardless, everyone involved with “Parasite” should be proud of themselves for making something truly special.

Thanks for reading this review! Just want to let everyone know that I have a couple more reviews coming up including ones for “The Lighthouse” and “Last Christmas.” For those of you who follow my blog, you know that I have done reviews for comic cons in the past. I will be going to Rhode Island Comic Con this weekend, but I am not sure if I will be doing a recap on it because I haven’t done one for another con I went to yet. In fact, part of me wants to make a transition on my con-based material to YouTube. I did that for my most recent con, Terrificon 2019, so you may see a post for that, maybe when I am out of ideas. Or… probably never. We’ll see. But if you want to see more content from Scene Before, remember to follow with an email to get notifications in your inbox or with a WordPress account to get alerts while also being able to like and comment on posts! While we are at it, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Parasite?” What did you think about it? Or, and this question is specifically for U.S. audiences, did you see a non-American made film that came out this year? Which one did you see? What are your thoughts? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Countdown (2019): Time To Die

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“Countdown” is directed by Justin Dec, who has been part of the miscellaneous crew on films like “Instant Family” and TV shows like “Parks and Recreation.” Now he is here putting out his feature-length debut. This stars Elizabeth Lail (Once Upon a Time, Dead of Summer), Jordan Calloway (Unfabulous, ER), Talitha Bateman (Nine Lives, The 5th Wave), Tichina Arnold (Everybody Hates Chris, Happily Divorced), P.J. Byrne (The Wolf of Wall Street, The Legend of Korra), Peter Facinelli (Twilight, Nurse Jackie), Anne Winters (13 Reasons Why, Night School), Tom Segura (Instant Family, Cutman), and Charlie McDermott (The Middle, Windy Acres) in a film where there’s an app that will determine when you die. When someone downloads the app on their phone, they can go in, agree to the terms and conditions of the app, and find out how much time they have left. We discover that some people have a lot of time left and they go on living in the moment. But all hell breaks loose when the movie’s main character, Quinn, finds out she has less than a few days to live. She comes to a decision that she wants to find a way to cheat the system and live to fight another day, so we have our movie.

Let’s talk about the concept of “Countdown.” Ultimately, the concept is one that would definitely sound good on paper. I would not mind someone presenting me with the idea and having me go write a script regarding it. I think there are some cool things you can do with that. Although I will say personally, if it were me, I would probably never download an app like this. For all I know, it could be real. Maybe it’s fake, but maybe not. But death is something I personally do not want to know about. Granted, there probably will be a time in my life where I am going to have to accept that death is inevitable. Dying is something we all do.

Everything that has beginning has an end. -Agent Smith (THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS)

Speaking of dying, it’s almost hard to decide if I would rather die or watch “Countdown” again, because jeez a loo this movie’s garbage! I’ll be honest with you, this sort of verdict is not that surprising for me however, because this movie has a first time feature director, a lot of actors who for the most part, I don’t really recognize, and it’s a PG-13 horror flick. Granted, being a PG-13 horror flick doesn’t automatically mean your movie sucks, but there’s a vibe that can be displayed with movies like these that can feel recognizable and it’s not always the best feeling in the world.

The best way I can ultimately describe “Countdown” is that it is fascinating, yet stupid. Because I am willing to give points for the concept, but this also comes with a lot of suspension of disbelief. There is a lot that happens that if you have your brain turned on, you’ll probably question it.

Speaking of questioning things, I also happened to occasionally question some of the writing decisions they made with this movie. When I saw the trailer online, one part that stood out was this scene that takes place in a phone store. I thought it was one of the cringiest things I have seen in recent memory. Much like the trailer, some of the cringe that I experienced there, happened to be here as well. Surprisingly though, one of the best characters in the movie happened to be the guy who ran operations at the phone store. His character is not Shakespeare-level or anything, but he serves his part in the movie, while also being a fairly charismatic plot convenience.

I have one question regarding the movie. How was the app conceived? Throughout the movie, we learn that the dreaded death tracker app might as well be partially unrealistic. But did someone on Earth create this app in their basement or something? Or did the app magically appear one day in the App Store and Google Play? But no, we’re just supposed to have own interpretations! We get no explanation whatsoever! I’m fine with a film being open to interpretation and all, some of my favorite films are laid out that way, but here it’s just bogus! I do not want to see a sequel to “Countdown,” but I’d end up buying the Blu-ray if everyone involved with the production had time to make a short film to put on the bonus features describing how the Countdown app came to life. I’d give that a watch. Maybe in six million years from now, but I’d be willing to give it a watch.

I should also point out, it is October, it is spooky season. This movie comes out about a week before Halloween, and it is in the horror genre. Is it scary? Ehh… Not entirely. There were a couple of moments that had me tilting, but it’s not like I was going to have eventual nightmares. But a lot of the scares here are not done to the level I’d prefer. And unfortunately, the characters here are pretty much all underwhelming. Even when the film tries to get serious and make me care about the characters, I don’t have the motivation to raise my arm in the air and yell “go team!” It’s been almost a week since I went to the theater to see this movie, and I am almost having trouble remembering various portions of it. This movie sort of feels like it is on that scale of disposable even though it may almost come off as a passion project.

Before I give my final verdict, I just want everyone to know that my last movie review was for a recent film that did not do well at the box office, “Jexi.” I have no idea how much money “Countdown” is going to make, it probably won’t be big, but anything’s possible. Nevertheless, if this starts a trend of films about mobile devices going nuts, I don’t know if we are going to be in for a bright future.

I mean, come on! HAVE Y’ALL SEEN “THE EMOJI MOVIE?!”

Granted, “Countdown” is nowhere near as bad as “The Emoji Movie,” but if we are getting a plethora of films in the future where the main subject is either a mobile device or something on a mobile device not cooperating, I just hope they have ten times the competence that this movie does.

In the end, “Countdown” is worth deleting off my phone, as long as it does not affect my relationship with the Terms of Service agreement. It does make me wonder though… What’s next in the mobile cinematic universe? A battle between a Twitter bird mascot army and SnapChat ghost army? A movie where millennials go to war, but instead of fighting on land with weapons, they fight in comment sections online? A film where Siri, Alexa, and Cortana are judges on a talent show? I don’t know if I want that question answered, but it’s worth asking. Maybe in the future “Countdown” could be a background noise movie during a Halloween party, but that’s about it. I’m going to give “Countdown” a 4/10.

Thanks for reading this review! It’s about two months before the upcoming film “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” but I want everyone to know that I WILL be seeing the film opening night. I just got my tickets recently and will be seeing the movie at 6PM. I’ll have my review up as soon as possible (I’m seeing it during finals period in school), but it’ll have no spoilers while simultaneously containing enough detail to be worth glancing at. Also, if you haven’t already, GET YOUR TICKETS! They just went on sale Monday night, they just dropped a new trailer, and I checked my theater a couple of hours after getting my tickets (I GOT MINE AS SOON AS THE SHOWTIME WAS REVEALED), my show was sold out. Get on it guys, this is gonna be a big weekend! December 19th cannot come soon enough! Be sure to follow Scene Before with your email (to get notifications in your inbox) or with a WordPress account (to be able to like and comment on my posts) and stay tuned for more great content! You also have infinity seconds to like my Facebook Page! The countdown has begun, get moving fellas! I want to know, did you see “Countdown?” What did you think about it? Or, would you like to know when you die? Send me a comment and I’ll be back with my answer! Wait… That’s pretty freakin’ hard to determine, never mind. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Joker: No Laughing Matter (2019)

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Before we get into my review for “Joker,” I just want to iterate a quick thought. I am well aware of this movie constantly being compared to “Taxi Driver,” and I’ll have you all know, I have not seen “Taxi Driver,” so none of those comparisons will be coming from me. I would love to check it out one day, but my schedule is pretty stacked up at the moment so it might have to wait for a little bit. So without further ado, let’s dive into the latest controversial movie!

Man, this poster is badass!

“Joker” is directed by Todd Phillips (Due Date, The Hangover) and stars Joaquin Phoenix (You Were Never Really Here, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot) as the famous, psychotic killer clown originally created by DC Comics. This film is about the character of Arthur Fleck, who eventually becomes known as the Joker. Essentially, it is a character study of what would happen if the Joker were placed in a depressing environment, with depressed people, in what could perhaps also be a depressing time.

If you have missed out on a lot of comic book movies recently, there is a good chance you probably have no recollection of big, explosive, not to mention expensive, blockbusters that purely exist to be part of a collected universe and happen to be somewhat friendly for both kids and adults. Maybe there’s an occasional dark vibe here and there with movies “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” or “Avengers: Infinity War,” but nevertheless, comic book movies, over the past decade, have mainly been big budget films that get a lot of audiences, including families, in the theater. There’d also however be an occasion where a film would be rated R. Some examples include “Deadpool” and “Logan,” both of which have been successful. And when the MPAA would end up slapping an R on these movies, there would usually be a reason. Gorey violence, language, perhaps bloated sex scenes, and so on. “Joker” is the next to join the club, and honestly, I am very happy to say that.

Before going to see “Joker,” I had some thoughts in mind regarding comic book villain movies. I was very skeptical before we had one of these films come out, and some of you know this already, but last year, audiences witnessed “Venom.” This was one of the earliest examples of an origin story of a comic book character who is usually seen as the villain. Once I heard we were getting a “Venom” movie, I thought all hope was lost. Granted, this was at a time when I realized comic book movies were perhaps the biggest force in the industry, and it seemed like the only thing people would willingly go see. I wasn’t sure how people such as myself or other audience members would go into “Venom” and enjoy him as a character because it’s hard to relate to a villain. Plus, as a viewer, I traditionally aspire to be the hero. Why should I aspire to be a monster who eats people? And the last nail in the coffin… a PG-13. This made every action scene feel lifeless, it made the editing feel odd at times, and it honestly just showed that perhaps Sony or somebody else behind this movie wanted a quick, disposable money grab. However, oddly enough, as time passed, I did become curious about the “Joker” movie.

There was not enough evidence that “Joker” was going to be a masterpiece or even a halfway decent movie once I first heard about it. But it was hard to deny that I was not at least intrigued. The various details that stacked up in 2018 got me interested. Then the trailers dropped this year, and whoever edited them, you deserve a cookie! All the while, the movie played at events including TIFF and Venice Film Festival where it received the top prize, the Golden Lion. Keep in mind, everybody was saying that “Avengers: Endgame” was going to be the biggest and best movie of the year, but when it comes to chances at awards, “Joker” may have an answer. “Joker” may be tapping on the shoulder of “Endgame” saying “On your left.”

So… It’s time for answers! Is “Joker” worth the hype? Is it worth jumping up and down over? Is it worth every single penny? Did it deserve all the praise it received during snobby film festivals? In a word, yes. This is pretty much EXACTLY what I would want out of a movie like this. Serious, dark, sort of slow, and honestly, kind of poignant. Because I cannot even believe I’m saying this, I sort of felt for the Joker character. Granted, he spends a lot of the movie making stupid decisions and mistakes, and the Joker is a guy you don’t want to mess around with, but even his moments that would make a person in this particular movie turn against him may as well be all part of his charm. In fact, as I watched “Joker,” I thought to myself that the movie was not trying to approve of his actions, it was just showing a realistic view of what could happen if this guy existed in our society. And by our society, I mean how it was years ago. You know those controversies that happen to be surrounding this movie? Honestly, they’re pointless. Granted, there is an argument to be made that every single movie ever made contains the slightest of bias. But “Joker” is not a movie that is trying to hammer a message down your head. It’s trying to say, “Hey! Here’s this character, here’s his journey, it’s pretty twisted, we just want you to believe it.”

I should also not go without mentioning that Joaquin Phoenix acts his ass off in this movie! I’m honestly having trouble right now on whether I should declare him the best Joker or if I should stick to my opinion towards Heath Ledger being the best of them all. I know it’s only October, so there is an argument to be made that maybe Phoenix won’t get an Oscar for this movie, but he BETTER get nominated, or there will be riots!

OK… Not literally! Movies don’t promote violence! It’s just the truth!

Anyway, Phoenix manages to handle a role where he has to be the biggest laughing maniac possible. At the same time he has to be creepy, while also occasionally being sweet. There are a lot of, get this, JOKER cards that Phoenix himself has to flip over to showcase the core elements of his character.

I also really liked Robert De Niro’s character. He plays a late night host, and as I watched this movie and saw Arthur Fleck watching the show at home with his mother, I kind of felt immersed into the world, probably realizing that this was a pure form of escapism for most people in society. The two are talking and I remember it being mentioned by the mother that this late night host, AKA Murray Franklin, is relatable to them. Now this movie took place in 1981, so I got a good sense that this guy was a fine alternative to Johnny Carson. Not to mention, he’s charming and has a good presence, which is something all talk show hosts should possess.

The acting overall in this movie is pretty much off the charts, I think the only other movie where I have seen a group of cast members put so much effort into their roles this year might be “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Although “Us” comes relatively close as well. But other standouts of excellence in “Joker” come from the technical side of the spectrum.

I mean, my gosh! Let me just start off by saying, I had the special privilege of watching “Joker” on a 70mm print. Thanks to Warner Brothers and everyone else involved with this film for making such a thing happen! The color grading on this film is some of best I have seen this year. It’s pale, it’s depressing, and it’s almost off-putting in the best possible way. The cinematography is great too. This movie is directed by Todd Phillips and if you watch some of his movies like “The Hangover,” you’d notice they are shot by Lawrence Sher, and much like that film for example I have seen from the two of them together, the pair combine to deliver some delicious hot and spicy buffalo wing level shots! There’s a scene where Arthur is walking down an enormous staircase and between his motions of dancing on the steps and jumping in puddles, the camera manages to catch each one and make me want to have them all as a desktop photo. The editing’s pretty stellar in that scene too, it’s eye candy. I’m almost shocked that I’m saying that about a scene in a comic book movie that doesn’t have much glossy CGI.

And speaking of depression, this entire movie has nothing but people who are almost too upset to acknowledge existing, and almost nobody manages to care about another living soul. There’s a scene where Arthur is playing peek a boo on a bus with a kid, and the kid’s mother is just plain annoyed. The film also manages to go into certain problems regarding people with mental illnesses, and it features a deep struggle that Fleck himself has to face. There is a scene where he comes to the realization that he’s meeting with his therapist for the last time due to funding cuts. Even though I knew who the Joker character was, I still couldn’t help but sympathize with Fleck at times. It feels weird to say that, but I have been taught at a young age that is not nice to lie.

If you ask me, I think the absolute best part about “Joker” is the fact that it has the rare qualities that you wouldn’t manage to find in many other comic book movies. This film was given an R rating from the Motion Pictures Association of America, and once I heard that was going into effect, I felt like climbing a tree, pounding my chest, finding a banana, and tearing it open! Going gorilla style! It was one of the most glorious moments of my life! Having seen this movie, let me just give a message to all the parents and guardians who are planning on seeing this “comic book movie” with their kids.

Don’t. Just don’t.

I mean, you can… Maybe they are mature enough to comprehend everything that is going on in a movie like this, but this is NOT a film for kids in the slightest. It deals with real world issues, it’s bloody, kind of disturbing, and without going into much detail, I’d say there’d be a moment or two where I would not blame a kid if they cried out of pure fear.

Let’s look at it this way. Let’s take one of the most recent comic book movies that also had a couple heavy moments, “Avengers: Infinity War.” Without going into detail about the ending, if you have a kid who cried at the end of “Infinity War,” I think there’s a good chance that same kid, depending on their transition of age, will weep for sweet release of death during “Joker.”

Having said that, I realize simply having dark moments in a movie doesn’t automatically make it good, but these dark moments were an absolute highlight and a reason for me to keep my eyes glued to the screen.

In the end, “Joker” is one of the most unique comic book movies I have ever seen. I honestly would love more movies like this in its particular genre. I am a bit curious to see “Taxi Driver” now that I have seen “Joker,” but I’m just hoping it doesn’t ruin “Joker” for me in any way. Everything about this movie was done to A+ levels. The acting, the camerawork, the music choices, the screenplay. It’s all worthy of two thumbs up. If I had any issues with the movie, I’d say there’s a couple moments, as I put on my brain, that I could see coming a mile away. Also, there’s a moment or two where my head drifted off into space, signifying a slight issue with pacing. Granted, it’s not a big deal, but nevertheless. “Joker” is a movie that I personally think may be one of the most individualistic in its genre. I have almost seen nothing like it. Just for that alone, it gets a ton of praise from me. I’m going to give “Joker” an 8/10. One more thing. After walking out of this movie, I did have a question on my mind: How much replay value is this going to have down the line? It’s a really good movie, but is it going to get a ton of replays in the DVD player? I can see reasons for some people declaring “Joker” to be a movie that is good for a single watch, but because of how heavy it is, maybe a second watch would be impossible. Even so, I enjoyed “Joker.” I personally want to see it again because of the enjoyment factor. Hopefully when it comes out on Blu-ray, I can catch it another time.

Thanks for reading this review! Next week I am going to an advance screening of the new film “Zombieland: Double Tap.” I saw the first “Zombieland” a few years ago for the first time. I’m personally intrigued as to how they are going to handle this sequel. I don’t know if it will be as good as the original, but Bill Murray’s back, so anything’s possible! If you want to see this review or other great content, consider following Scene Before either with an email, or if you want the ability to comment or like, use a WordPress account! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Joker?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite R rated comic book movie? For me, the answer is simple, “V For Vendetta.” It also might be Natalie Portman’s best movie for all I know! Leave your opinions, or if you want to be a moron, completely objective and factual statements down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Fanatic (2019): Fred Durst Presents: THE ROOM

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“The Fanatic” is directed by Fred Durst, who achieved fame overtime from his involvement in the band “Limp Bizkit.” This film stars John Travolta (Pulp Fiction, Battlefield Earth) as the character of Moose. He is an obsessed fan of an actor made up for this movie’s script, Hunter Dunbar. After a failed attempt at getting Dunbar’s autograph at an event, Moose tries to get Dunbar’s attention in whatever way possible, no matter how creepy or invasive these ways may be. He tries to go to his house, follow him around, whatever. Dunbar, who is a busy actor with little time on his hands for fan interactions, wants Moose out of his life due to his stalker tendencies.

I first heard about this film back around the end of July and beginning of August. Believe it or not, John Travolta went to a local convention in my area, specifically Fan Expo Boston. I never went, I never got his autograph or anything, but part of the reason he was there in the first place was because he was on a promotional tour for this movie. I didn’t hear too much about the film until that point, and while I can appreciate the fact that Travolta is showing up to a convention for autograph signings while trying to promote a film involving a similar concept, it didn’t mean I had much faith in this film. I know a lot of people like John Travolta, but over the years, it has been revealed that he’s kind of like Nicolas Cage. He can be great, but he doesn’t always pick the finest roles. He’s been in films like “Battlefield Earth,” one of the biggest fails in the realm of blockbuster science fiction. And most recently he starred in “Gotti,” which did not do too well critically or financially. Although that says something because “The Fanatic” opened to just a little more than $3,000.

Originally, I had no real plans to watch “The Fanatic.” If I were low on options, it would probably be close to a last resort move in my playbook. When I checked once to see where it was playing, it was only at one location with two showtimes. Safe to say, I missed out on the theatrical experience. But no matter how I could get the movie, let’s just say I was gonna grin like an idiot once I can turn it on. Why? Because I have heard nothing but terrible things about it, but that’s why I wanted to watch it. It’s a film that is not exactly Shakespeare, but because it is complete and utter trash, it makes it almost have the feel of a masterpiece. On the surface, Fred Durst’s “The Fanatic” sort of reminds me of Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room.” It’s a film that is totally cringeworthy and disastrous in ways that amount to utter amazement. A number of viewers would seemingly wonder how it actually got made.

Having seen “The Fanatic” recently, I can pretty much confirm what I previously expected. It’s hot garbage. But again, it’s the kind of garbage that you don’t want to take out for certain reasons. There are moments during the movie where I felt a little turned off, but at the same time, those turnoffs are met with a variety of awkwardly funny lines, questionably insane scenes, and admittedly, a surprisingly decent performance (at times) from John Travolta.

When it comes to John Travolta’s character, I found him to be relatable in the worst possible ways. He plays a guy who dresses up as a character on Hollywood Boulevard for a living. He has one friend who we see throughout the movie, they seem to be relatively close, but I never bought their chemistry for a second. Nevertheless, Travolta does not have many friends. This point is also emphasized because he fails to stand up for himself on the job. There is another guy on the street who people tend to flock towards, Travolta interacts with this guy, and it gets to the point where Travolta is getting harassed. To add onto this, Travolta’s character of Moose loves movies, collects tons of memorabilia and other junk, is obsessed with an actor to the point where he’d do anything to get an autograph or a follow from him on social media, and he has autism! Let me just point out, this guy is almost me! I’m obsessed with Curtis Armstrong (Revenge of the Nerds, Supernatural), I have three autographs from him, we follow each other on social media, and while I tend to keep my distance from his personal business, I would not blame him if at one point or another, even right now, he thought that I was a stalker. I love movies, I collect a lot of movie-related items. And I have been diagnosed with high-function autism. Seeing John Travolta as Moose is almost like looking at a mirror image of myself if I spoke at a poor vocabulary level, if I never went to college, and if I had grey hair. So from those points, Travolta doesn’t give an F minus performance. But it’s also hard to say that his performance is also Oscar-worthy. Because just like “The Room,” there are a ton of unintentionally funny moments. There’s a clip of the movie where Moose is in a bar, he’s interacting with an actress. He receives a compliment about his shirt.

His response, while if you watch the movie, makes sense, comes off like it’s the best comedy gag of all time. The response, “It’s the only one in the world.”

Holy s*it, the amount of laughter I let out in that moment was beyond unreal! The scene may try to symbolize how awkward interactions between fans and celebrities can be, which can be interesting. But it’s so goddamn funny that I feel like the film accidentally sent me the wrong message. You want to know how convincing Moose is in this movie? We are introduced to Moose, we see him enter a store where he happens to be a regular customer. One of the first lines in this scene, out of Moose’s mouth is, “I can’t talk too long, I gotta poo.”

I mean, there is so much to talk about in this movie that could be regarded as hilarious without pure intention. It’s ridiculous if you ask me! It’s a masterpiece of crap!

I’m not gonna dive into spoilers, but here are some amazingly hysterical moments from “The Fanatic” that probably should have been serious, but turned out to present itself in a completely different manner.

There is a death scene where someone lies on the ground with blood on their face. John Travolta is looking at this person and thinks that they could still be alive, and just reflects on a time he has a nosebleed, saying things like “it wasn’t fun.”

Remember how John Travolta can’t defend himself? There’s a scene where the opposite occurs and the moment where he begins to go into self-defense mode, he almost becomes a serial killer version of himself. The moment he starts strangling somebody’s neck, and this boom sound effect goes off, I made the Joker’s laughter look tame.

But not all the hilarious gags come from Travolta. One of them comes from the actor who won’t give an autograph to the main character, Hunter Dunbar. As mentioned in the beginning, the movie is directed by Fred Durst, who is a member of Limp Bizkit. There is a scene where Dunbar is driving his kid to school, and he’s playing Limp Bizkit in his car. He’s reminiscing of the good old days where he’d listen to the band’s music. It’s almost like listening to Limp Bizkit is the only way Dunbar can get a hard-on!

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This movie also features narration. It’s not from some voice that has no other significance in the movie. It’s also not from Moose, but instead, from his only friend, Leah. She’ll have a line here and there, and there are a couple unintentionally humorous lines out of her when the narration goes down. As for the actual character, I’d say that’s not always the case, at least from my experience. But one thing I will point out is that she may not be in the entire movie, but she plays an important role. She introduces Moose to an app that allows people to look up where celebrities live, and perhaps gaze at their homes. I don’t know how that would be legal, unless certain celebrities either publicly disclose their location or if they hear about this app and give someone permission to put their house on the app. Nevertheless, it’s a thing. It’s like “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” Why does it exist? I have no idea! But some freak wants this idea out there, so here we are!

Speaking of characters, I want to talk about Hunter Dunbar in depth. As mentioned, he’s an actor who is being stalked by Moose. The way this movie plays out, it almost tries to make Moose look like the main antagonist. And believe it or not, there are ways that I can personally relate to Moose. But, we have this actor who is getting followed around. I don’t know who to root for more in this movie. Dunbar, or Moose. For all I know, I shouldn’t be rooting for either of them. Because, speaking of things done perhaps without intention, both characters come off as assholes. Moose is a stalker, but Dunbar occasionally presents himself as a dick. There are times where I can stand by his actions when he acts in this sort of way, but when Moose first meets Dunbar, I can’t say the same thing. Why? Because he doesn’t even take the time to acknowledge the presence of a fan. When Moose presents a jacket Dunbar wore in “Space Vampires” in front of him, his response is “How about I sign your face with my f*cking fist?” Now, we see him having a personal matter being dealt with at this moment, so in a way, I can understand if a celebrity is a little bit angry with what’s happening. Maybe they have some bad vibes going on in their head. But it doesn’t give them the right to say something like that to a fan. Now if Moose originally introduced himself and started to talk s*it about some mistakes Dunbar did during his career, I could stand by his reply. Either that or who knows? Maybe he’ll agree that he took on one or two projects and had regrets about them. Celebrities are human. We all make mistakes. It happens.

But still, my point still stands. Who should I root for? It’s almost like a worse version of “Avengers: Infinity War.” I say that because that movie could arguably be Thanos’ story as he tries to take down all the heroes, because his motivation is clear, and he sees himself as the hero. That is something “Infinity War” handled very well. At the same time, we have all the heroes and their point of view. As an audience member, I am rooting for the heroes at all costs, partially because I have gotten to know them from eighteen other movies that came out before “Infinity War.” This movie almost doesn’t even know who the protagonist is, and who the antagonist is. You could almost flip a coin to decide who is who! I don’t even know who I should be rooting for. Because in terms of being complete assholes, both characters are almost equal in their own little ways. But one is clearly written to be the protagonist and one is clearly written to be the antagonist. As an audience member, I can easily pinpoint who is who, but the script and final product almost make it a guessing game as to who is the hero or the villain.

This movie has increments of good ideas. I won’t go into all of them, but between moments of the performance given by John Travolta, giving Moose autism, and one particular moment that happens at the end of the movie that I won’t spoil, there are things to admire. But this movie overall, fails. If this movie presented itself as a more competent product, then I would probably call it a fine allegory as to why you should never meet your heroes. Maybe they’ll treat you like crap, maybe you’ll get too close to them and invade their much valued privacy, or maybe in relation to one of those two previous ideas, you’ll forget to see the humanity in them. I can imagine that a lot of people view celebrities in the same way certain people will view religious figures. They’re not just folks that certain fans tend to like, but they’re like gods among us. It’s almost as if they were on this Earth for a reason. And that reason may associate with impressing and pleasing their fans. Although in reality, as much as they, hopefully, try to do that, they’re like the rest of us. They value time for themselves and don’t always have time for fans.

Technically speaking, the movie’s not terribly shot. The cinematography isn’t astounding, but it works. The same goes with the lighting. It just works. The real problems with this movie are the characters, some of the acting, occasional narration, plot holes, and an over-abundance of utterly funny moments. I guess the biggest compliment I can give “The Fanatic” is the fact that it’s so bad it’s good. But if you think I like the movie, you need your brain checked.

In the end, I think “The Fanatic” may be one of the interestingly horrible movies I’ve ever seen in my life. Much like “The Room,” there’s a plethora of wholeheartedly questionable scenes that just make me laugh for all the wrong reasons. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone involved with this movie eventually wrote a book on their time working on the movie and the process of how it got made. You know, sort of like Greg Sestero did with “The Disaster Artist.” Surprisingly, there’s nothing in this movie that made me truly angry. Maybe it’s because of my expectations going in. Before I saw this movie, I watched Chris Stuckmann’s review of it, which went into a deep dive about a ton of the movie’s highlights. I pretty much got the vibe of the entire of movie from there. There are certainly problems worth pointing out and a ton of “What the hell is going on with the plot,” moments, but to say I felt infuriated about “The Fanatic” is like going into a Microsoft Store trying to buy a MacBook Air. Why would I do that?! Even so, this movie still sucks, lacks sense, and wouldn’t be one I’d be turning on again anytime soon, so I’d say “The Fanatic,” despite my laughs here and there, is still worthy of a 1/10. One of the best things about this movie that I have yet to mention… IT’S BASED ON TRUE EVENTS FRED DURST EXPERIENCED! And to add onto the hilarity, this movie was dedicated to Bill Paxton. This movie does star one of his children, but even so, it’s almost seemingly crazy! This is one of those movies that you honestly have to see to believe. Then again, based on various career choices John Travolta has made, this may not be as shocking as I’d make it out to be. But even with that in mind, this movie is still the definition of “unintentionally hilarious,” and just for that, it could be worth checking out despite my low score. Thanks for reading this review! Unfortuantely, I will not have my review for “Joker” up this weekend. But fear not! Because I’ll have my review up next weekend! I’m going to be seeing “Joker” in 70mm next week, I cannot wait! For all I know it could be a life-changing event, but we’ll have to see. Be sure to follow Scene Before, check out the Facebook page, give this post a like, and share it with your friends! It really helps me out! Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “The Fanatic?” What did you think about it? Or, what is the worst John Travolta movie you have ever seen? I’m quite curious about what your comments will be, because I have a feeling there are quite a few contenders. Nevertheless, let me know with a comment and if you want me to sign something for you, I wish I could automatically teleport a Sharpie through my screen. Until then, good luck finding me. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Haunting of Sharon Tate (2019): Once Upon a Time in Hellywood

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“The Haunting of Sharon Tate” is directed by Daniel Farrands (Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers, The Amityville Murders) and stars Hilary Duff (Lizzie McGuire, A Cinderella Story), Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls, Cheaper by the Dozen 2), Lydia Hearst (Z Nation, The Face), Pawel Szajda (Under the Tuscan Sun, Agent Carter), and Ryan Cargill (WITS Academy, The Young and the Restless). This film takes place during the late 1960s in Hollywood and is kinda sorta based on the Manson Murders, which involves the death of Sharon Tate herself. Only, this film explores Sharon Tate as this… Timid, constantly emotional scaredy cat that barely even qualifies as a person. My f*cking gosh, this review is going to turn into a therapy session.

I’m reviewing this film in 2019, fifty years after the Manson Murders event went down and got attention all over the news. Interestingly, this is not the only film this year that involves Sharon Tate and highlights her final moments. The other film, for those who don’t know, is “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” These two films take different approaches to the Sharon Tate character. And I feel that neither of them are 100% authentic, but I want everyone to keep this in mind.

Speaking of keeping things in mind, I have kept this movie in mind for about a month or two. The popular YouTube film reviewer Chris Stuckmann watched and talked about this film earlier on in the year and he gave it his lowest grade, an “F.” So naturally, this film stuck with me, but not for the reasons that I think most people behind it would prefer. But at the time, I have not seen it. In fact, it’s easy to see why. If you look at the totals for this film on Box Office Mojo, it says the movie made $0 domestically. I don’t know why that’s the case however. I don’t know if the film didn’t garner attention to get people to see it in the theater, or if it even had a theatrical release to begin with. Were the tickets free? I don’t know if I have enough info to back me up. Maybe the film went straight to On Demand or something. Although before this film’s official release in the spring, it was shown at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival. This led to three wins dedicated to the film including Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Horror Film. As for its release, this film did at least have some sort of box office total, as Box Office Mojo lists separate totals racked up in Portugal and Russia, which comes out to $19,717 when combined. As for home video, specifically where I live, the-numbers.com suggests that in the United States, the combined totals for DVD and Blu-ray sales come out to $9,932.

After seeing this film, I wonder how it got any award in the first f*cking place! Best Director? Maybe for a music video in the first couple minutes. Best Actress? Yay! Somebody won an award for doing nothing but crying until the end of time! Best Horror Film? The fact this film exists is a freaking horror story!

I just want to send a message to Quentin Tarantino for one quick second. If you have read my “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” review, I thought that film was nearly perfect. It did just about everything a movie of its kind needed to do. However, the one downfall is that for the most part, I could erase just anything involving Sharon Tate and have perhaps no loss of impact to the film. But looking back, at least that version of Sharon Tate was… well, COMPETENT! Margot Robbie embodied the glamour, legacy, and achievements of the character, not to mention 1960s Hollywood in general! The way she was written in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” was at least respectful to her legacy compared to what this piece of s*it contains! It’s piss poor and it’s the stuff of nightmares! Quite literally in fact, because apparently one of the major parts of this movie is the plethora of bad dreams Tate has throughout.

Most of the blame in a case like this can certainly go to the directing and the writing. I believe Hilary Duff did what she could with the character. But there are a couple moments in this film in terms of acting that made me wonder if the director decided to do just a single take for each scene without a care in the world. You have to see it to believe it. Actually, please don’t, save yourself!

I will admit, I hate the fact that I am talking about this script as if it is the most lackluster thing in the entire universe because the fact is that it had one thing that sounded compelling about whether our lives are planned out in advance or if we can change our fates. It kind of reminded me of “10 Cloverfield Lane.” You remember how in “10 Cloverfield Lane” the main characters are sitting down, they’re talking to each other, and the topic of discussion happens to be about doing certain things before you die? Remember that? Part of the film’s script reminded me of that. But I didn’t dig it because well, this movie has enough s*it in it that just bogs it down to levels beyond one’s imagination! In fact, this movie kind of reminded me of another recent project that I didn’t like, “Midsommar.” It’s a film that tries to be scary, tries be dark, but just ends up being annoying. The characters are terrible. The main chick happens to be the perfect sponsor for Kleenex. And whatever moments there are that at least try to be compelling, almost don’t even add up.

In terms of how the film looks, it’s… OK? I guess? Maybe at times. A lot of the shots are serviceable, but some of the camerawork is simply off-putting. I am honestly willing to bet there was a point during shooting where someone accidentally switched the shutter speed from where it was expected to be because there was a scene in the first few minutes that didn’t even feel like I was watching a traditional 24 frames per second movie. Then again, I watched this movie on Prime Video as opposed to how I consume most of movies, which is through physical media, so maybe it’s my TV or the service or something! Nevertheless, it felt like I was watching a video taken on an older Blackberry phone or something! Granted, based on visible resolution and the color palette, the film looks a lot better than something shot on a Blackberry, but my case stands as tall as the Shaq! And speaking of color palette, the color grading in this film (if there was even that much to begin with) occasionally made me want to vomit. Now it’s not all unacceptable, but there were one or two scenes where I looked around the frames and thought I was looking at a slightly more attractive version of “Twilight.” I guess sometimes it fits the dark themes of this film, but it’s also off-putting! There are not enough mental breakdowns on this Earth to be had regarding this piece of crap they call a movie!

It almost seems somewhat unfair that I am comparing this film to a much better Sharon Tate-related story that came out sometime after this film did, but I honestly feel the need to. One thing both “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and “The Haunting of Sharon Tate” tend to have in common is perhaps the slight over the top vibe that the film can tend to present whenever Tate is in a scene. But the thing about “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is the way they present Tate. She never had any weird visions as if she had the force from “Star Wars.” She was a normal human being going about her day. A little hyperactive at times, but she was believable. I don’t know a crapton about the real Sharon Tate but if you told me that this version of her was the actual person. I’d almost think she’s kind of a jerk at times. Granted, the movie does go into issues involving her relationship with Roman Polanski and that does allow her to let out some less than happy thoughts. I could buy into that. But as for Tate’s other occasional over the top, Negative Nancy actions, I just found them to be odd.

I’ll be honest, I cannot think of a single thing in this film that worked. Funny enough, I just reviewed “Ready or Not” last week where I said that there is not even a single thing in that movie that didn’t work. Guess today’s opposite day! I just want to say one thing, for those of you who watch the movie (PLEASE DON’T), take a shot every time Sharon Tate either has a nightmare, becomes emotionally unstable, or cries. Maybe with enough sips of alcohol, who knows? Maybe you’ll enjoy the movie for all I know! But I can’t say I had anything to drink. For one thing, I am under 21. Also, I had Diet Coke, which contains caffeine, which I probably needed to stay awake for whatever this mess was!

In the end, “The Haunting of Sharon Tate” makes me wish I was struck by lightning. I cannot think of a single redeeming quality in this entire movie, and if you watch this movie and somehow do, BRAVO! You have thought a lot harder than me. Then again, it is a little hard for me to think right now because I think some of my brain cells have just been destroyed. Now is this the worst film of 2019? It’s not official yet because we still have some time left in the year. Plus there is another film that is sort of in the same realm as this for me in terms for how much I dislike it. But even if it isn’t the worst, it is definitely the most poorly made of the films I have seen so far this year. I am not even joking. When you take the eye-burning color palette, the below average cinematography, the idiotic script, the lame-ass directing, and the obscenely lackluster performances, it all adds up to make the most incompetent product of 2019 that I have had the displeasure of witnessing so far. I haven’t even talked about everything in this movie, I have skipped over a number of the characters and performances, and you know what? Screw them! I can’t talk about them! This movie destroyed me to no end, so I might as well give it a taste of my own medicine! I’m going to give “The Haunting of Sharon Tate” a 1/10! Thanks for reading this review! If you want to check out a review I did for a much better movie involving Sharon Tate, be sure to check out my review that I did last month for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” The link is down below and… Yeah, after seeing this piece of crap, I have to go watch that again because I need something therapeutic right now. Be sure to follow Scene Before with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I’m also on Facebook, do me a favor, check out my page! Make the movie reviewing moron happy! No, seriously. This movie almost made me lose my mind. I need happiness in my life! I want to know, did you see “The Haunting of Sharon Tate?” What did you think about it? Or, did you see “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” this year? Tell me what you thought about that! Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) REVIEW

Ready or Not (2019): The Greatest Hide and Seek Story Ever Told

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“Ready or Not” is directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who worked together on projects including “V/H/S” and “Devil’s Due.” This film stars Samara Weaving (SMILF, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Adam Brody (Jennifer’s Body, The O.C.), Mark O’Brien (Republic of Doyle, Halt and Catch Fire), Henry Czerny (Mission: Impossible, Revenge), and Andie MacDowell (Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Jane by Design) in a film where a woman gets married, has a traditional wedding where everyone gathers together, the couple gives their vows, kiss, all the basics. But that’s not the important part of joining the family according to the side of the groom. Why? Because it is tradition for the family to play a game starting at midnight. As seen in previews and as somewhat suggested by the title, everyone is playing hide and seek. Samara Weaving’s character has to hide as everyone tries to find her, but if you have seen the trailers and heard much about this film, you’d know it’s not the normal game as one may expect. Instead of a pleasant game where everyone frolics around looking for the hiding individual, there is a sinister element involved.

“Ready or Not,” to my knowledge, is a movie that I did not hear much about until a couple months ago when the first trailer came out. But as soon as it came online and was brought to my attention, there was nothing I could do except watch it, which eventually led to me raving about it.

Take everything I have said about this seriously, because the trailer to this film just kills. Even if I never saw the actual film, I would at least recommend the trailer. If you know me in real life, then you must have known my excitement regarding the fact that the movie had a pre-release screening in Boston the day before it came out. I took advantage of the opportunity, scored myself two passes through a reservation online, invited my dad to tag along, and we hit the road!

And I’ll tell you what guys, this is a film that I was highly anticipating. Kind of like how I had massive expectations for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” recently. As far 2019 goes, “Ready or Not” was definitely one of my most anticipated films. There are a lot of instances where people set their expectations high and end up disappointed. Granted, my expectations for “Ready or Not” were not as high as some other films I have seen throughout my life, but as far as this year goes, my hype levels were astronomically high. Although I recently rewatched the trailer, because again, it’s awesome, and I read the comments, and everyone feels as if the movie reveals too much in its trailer. I won’t entirely say whether or not it does because it is not even out yet (except one element in just a moment), but holy crap! I think we may have my favorite film of the year so far!

As I type this review, I cannot tell a lie. My head is still f*cking spinning after what I just saw. This film is a combination of a dark comedy and horror, and it feels like it knows it wants to be that way. It meshes both genres together and creates a spectacular birthchild if you will. It’s not a film that gets confused about its own identity in the same way that a stereotypical middle-schooler would. The best way I can describe this film is referencing Pixar’s “Ratatouille.” You know that scene from “Ratatouille” where Remy takes a bite of one thing, takes a bite of another thing? Both have their own theme music, only to lead to a bite of both things at once which leads to an absurdly upbeat theme that lasts for a few seconds? That’s the best way I can describe “Ready or Not.” It’s hilarious and scary in the best ways possible. I know I said I won’t mention whether or not this movie’s trailer reveals too much, but one thing that I can say is that the trailer contains a number of the movie’s funny parts. This isn’t to say that the movie isn’t funny, but that is something to point out for those who are perhaps coming in for the comedy. It also does not mean that there are not any funny moments not shown in the trailer. I won’t go into detail about them, but this movie has more hilarity than what has already been exposed to most of the public.

In fact, one reason why this movie works so well is the characters. Samara Weaving plays the main character of Grace who I just plain adored. She was performed very well, had incredible charisma, and I bought into the relationship between her and the husband. By the way, the husband’s name is Alex Le Domas and he’s portrayed by Mark O’Brien. To me, Alex is probably one of the most out of field characters I have witnessed on screen this year, and I don’t mean that in a terrible way. His actions intrigued me, and his character went in multiple unexpected directions that made the movie lovable from my perspective. I won’t go into any of them, but I want to give the writers every ounce of credit possible for how they wrote him. When it comes to everyone else, my biggest salutes have to go to Henry Czerny (Tony), Kristian Bruun (Fitch), and Nicky Guadagni as the incredible Aunt Nadine. This lady is always either unhappy or crazy, and the actress portraying her manages to play the role with both traits at a level of absolute excellence. Even though her character is not the most prominent in the film, any screentime with her is a breath of fresh air.

And this film in some ways, reminds me of a film like “Avengers: Infinity War” because while I was not exactly rooting for the antagonistic side, I could see why they were doing what they were doing, and I could believe it or not, side with them. They have to find Grace, perform a ritual, and kill her. And they say that if they don’t do it before dawn, they’re all dead. So in reality, taking the standpoint of the protagonist (survival), or the standpoint of the antagonists (kill or be killed), if one side were to die in this situation, they would absolutely feel like they are doing the right thing for their own good. Not to mention in a way that makes them feel better about themselves. Granted, it’s a movie in a somewhat realistic and slightly intimidating setting for an adult audience, so I wouldn’t expect the antagonistic side to just be “a bad guy doing bad guy things,” but even with that in mind, the way this film plays out the rivalry and their motivations makes the screenplay completely worthy of my admiration. And even though I was able to feel bad at times for the antagonistic side even if their motivation seemed like it involved something that only they would believe, it does not change the fact that for just about every second I was rooting for Grace to run, hide, escape, just let this game of f*ckery come to an end. By the way, people die in this movie and when the deaths arrive, they are occasionally bonkers. You have to see them to believe them, they are masterpieces of darkness.

When it comes to other standouts, I really like the house this movie was shot in. This allowed for some noteworthy set and production design, a ton of dark rooms to highlight what kind of movie we were in for, and specifically for this film, a ton of reasons to intensify a simple game of hide and seek. I also think this film may have a shot during awards season at getting some costume design nominations. There are tons of outfits in the film that suit the characters well and are also impressively designed. I also really like how the film manages to elevate such a simple game traditionally played by children. If you told me five years ago that we’d be getting a movie with an intense hide and seek match, I don’t know what I would have thought, but I probably would have asked for something else. But having seen the trailer for this movie two months ago, I became interested. That interest was strong enough to make me go out and see it. Having seen it, I cannot help but endlessly recommend it.

One last thing I’ll say is this. The final moments in this film are as masterful as air conditioning on extremely hot days. There is a line that I won’t go into during the final three to five minutes of the film, but that line made me pull myself back in my seat, drop my jaw in shock, and place my hand on my head in utter disbelief. I don’t mean that in a bad way, in fact, the exact opposite. I was floored to the point where I went from really liking this movie to wanting to see it again at full price. Let me just remind you that this is a year of fantastic endings. We’ve had films like “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” which to this day is the only film to flat out make me cry in a cinema. Then came “Avengers: Endgame,” which not only had a geek wet dream come to life, but a satisfying finale to over 20 films that came before it. And just a few weeks ago we had “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” which… simply put, is a f*ckstravaganza of madness. Now we have “Ready or Not,” which has an ending that is as wild as it is satisfying. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” has the advantage of having the better climax and ending, but this film’s ending elevated its final verdict to me and if you ask me, “Ready or Not” as a film, to me, is better than “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

In the end, don’t hide, just RUN to the theater to go see “Ready or Not.” It’s a unique concept, has likable characters, and has an impressive amount of bloody violence to keep my eyes towards the screen. This film is from Fox Searchlight, a studio that happens to be a major contributor to many of the awards-type pictures that have come out in recent years. Will this movie be one of them? I don’t know, it’s possible, but it’s still August so I cannot exactly confirm that will be the case. Although many awards outlets are not that friendly to horror flicks so there’s a good chance “Ready or Not” may be ignored. But I will remind you, in Disney’s recent acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s assets, this is one part that they now can claim as their own. And movies like these are what I hope to continue to see from Disney with their new Fox additions. Movies that are compelling, original, and in the case of Fox Searchlight, small. Disney has recently exterminated Fox 2000, which is a sad move from my perspective, but if they eradicate or shrink the relevance of Fox Searchlight, that would be an even bigger mistake, and films like “Ready or Not” are why. This is a film that I want to see again, buy on Blu-ray, and this should not surprise you right now, I’m going to give “Ready or Not” a 10/10! Thanks for reading this review! I just want to remind everyone that I just recently went to Terrificon over a week ago, I am currently working on a post related to my experience of the event, and I don’t know for sure, but I’m hoping it is up by the end of the week. Only time will tell though! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! If you are hiding from the real world and spending your days in the virtual universe of the Internet, I don’t know what you are doing, but who knows? Maybe you have Facebook. And if you have Facebook, do me a solid favor, check out the Scene Before Facebook page, give it a like, tell your friends about it, maybe your Facebook friends, and if you are an old school Internet junkie, tell your MySpace friends! I want to know, did you see “Ready Or Not?” What did you think about it? Or, have you played a whacked up edition of a particular game? If so, what was it like? Ready or not, let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Hateful Eight (2015): More Like the Mediocre Eight

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Just a reminder that we are days away from the opening of Quentin Tarantino’s newest film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and I just want to let everyone know that I WILL be going to see it this Thursday in 35mm! I will also be reviewing the film as soon as it releases and by that I mean, hopefully by the end of the Sunday which it comes out. I might not have it up right away because I’m going to see the film on Thursday at 7:30, I’ll be out of the theater 2 to 3 hours later, meaning I won’t be home until sometime before or after 11PM. Then on Friday I’m going to New Haven, CT, which is 2 to 3 hours away from my house. I’ve got a busy weekend ahead, but it’ll likely be fun, so I’m excited! But, the movie is not out yet, so I am going to be reviewing my third and final entry to my Quentin Tarantino review series, specifically “The Hateful Eight.” This is the most recent product Tarantino directed and it even features his voice through narration. Without further ado, let’s begin!

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“The Hateful Eight” is directed by Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs) and stars Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers, Kingsman: The Secret Service), Kurt Russell (The Thing, Furious 7), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Revenge, The Spectacular Now), Walton Goggins (Django Unchained, Justified), Demian Bichir (Machete Kills, The Bridge), Tim Roth (United Passions, The Incredible Hulk), Michael Madsen (Species, Kill Bill Vol. 1) and Bruce Dern (Nebraska, The ‘Burbs). This film takes place in 1877 as several characters interact, travel, and question each other during a snowstorm in Red Rock, Wyoming.

This is the latest film from Quentin Tarantino, and it was also one of those films that I really wanted to see in the theater. Unfortunately, I missed out. One of the reasons I wanted to go see the film in a cinema was due to the technology used for filming and presentation. This film was entirely shot with 70mm cameras, and much like director Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino is very particular to how his films look. After all, both directors have this in common. They either shoot on film, or they choose death. I have noticed that Tarantino has shot all of his past projects on 35mm, which is something he is also doing for his upcoming film for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” But this is Tarantino’s first attempt at shooting a full-length 70mm movie. And with that in mind, he’s trying to hark back to an era of old Hollywood, when glorious films like “Lawrence of Arabia” and “2001: A Space Odyssey” were shot in the same format. He even did a special engagement with select theaters where they would show the movie in 70mm (or sometimes digital), and present it in a roadshow format. This even had an intermission, which many of the other theaters’ versions of the film did not include. So if you went to see this in digital at your local Regal Cinemas, chances are you watched from start to finish.

In fact, another thing that I noticed was completely different compared to many other films is the aspect ratio. This film is presented in 2.76:1. Most modern films are usually not as wide. In fact, of any film I have seen to this day, this is without a doubt the widest. This is definitely a unique modern film in its own right simply because of how it looks, how it presents itself.

Sadly though, while this movie manages to be extremely impressive in visuals, it manages to simultaneously suffer as a story. Granted, it’s not bottom of the barrel. In fact, the day I see a bottom of the barrel story from Tarantino is the day I think the entire art of filmmaking is dead. There are some elements of “The Hateful Eight’s” script that I can appreciate. It’s mysterious, occasionally suspenseful, and it has this one gag involving a door that I happened to appreciate from a comedic standpoint. I thought it was up there with the funniest parts of the movie.

But if you had to ask me what my biggest problem with “The Hateful Eight” is, it’s the characters, because I can barely remember any of them at this point. I should note, I watched this movie last Thursday. I guess a couple of the characters have interesting conversations, including one about a particular character’s interactions with US President Abraham Lincoln. Although when it comes to overall personality, none in particular stand out. The characters do and say cool things, but it doesn’t add up to making the characters lovable. Just me.

Although I did some research before this movie came out. If you don’t know, Tarantino’s film prior to this was “Django Unchained.” When this project first got into gear, Tarantino’s original vision was to make this a sequel to “Django Unchained.” And if you watch this film it is easy to tell the elements for a unrealized sequel are there. This is in the western genre, around the same time period, and a couple actors including Samuel L. Jackson and Walton Goggins happen to appear in both movies. Did I mention both films came out on Christmas Day? While I do appreciate Tarantino for sticking to original material as opposed to expanding upon something that already exists, the mediocre quality of this movie almost makes me curious to know what would happen if this either took place in the same universe as “Django Unchained” or if Tarantino just stuck to writing a sequel to his previous film as opposed to having to spend lots of time developing something new.

Speaking of Tarantino, I’m willing to bet some of you who watched the movie may have noticed the narration during the film. For those of you who have yet to see “The Hateful Eight,” I won’t share the narration because it does dive into something important that can be seen during the film. But before checking this movie out, I was reminded by my dad of the film’s quirky narration, which quite honestly, was not that quirky if you ask me. Plus, to be honest, while it can be attention grabbing when it happens, it feels very out of left field. Why? While this is a “semi-spoiler” (maybe), there is no narration in the first half of the movie. It just happens at this random point where Tarantino probably was writing the script, didn’t find a character that was a good match for him that he could personally portray. Then he thought, “Hey! I can be the narrator! Perfect!” It’s a weird complaint and I almost question myself for making it, but I can’t help myself. It just stands out! Then again, I kind of made a similar compliant, while not exactly the same, for 2018’s “The Grinch,” so I guess it works here!

If you ask me, Tarantino has this excellent ability to match up a stellar script with spectacular locations or setpieces, or gorgeous cinematography. This movie rules in the technical department, I almost forgot to mention how much I enjoyed listening to Ennio Morricone’s score at times, but it fails when it comes to keeping me on the edge of my seat. Maybe it’s one of those movies that I have to pay full attention to with no distractions (in fact, I had to pause the movie to complete a task that took 30 minutes). But nevertheless, compared to Tarantino’s other films, this one just sticks out like a sore thumb because the characterization just feels weak in certain places. The only characters I feel like I’ll end up remembering are Marquis Warren, John Ruth, and Domergue. If I had to compare the behind the scenes efforts of this movie from Tarantino during this film’s production to another well known director, it would probably be Zack Snyder, because he’s very much a director who relies on style. This is evident in a movie like “Sucker Punch,” which at this point, I don’t particularly recall appreciating for the story or characters despite one or two kick-ass scenes. After all, one thing that would probably save the movie from being lower than the score I gave it when I first saw it is the amazing long take action scene that occurs on a train. There are redeeming qualities about “The Hateful Eight,” but they’re not enough to satisfy me.

In the end, after my watch of “The Hateful Eight,” I was slightly disappointed. Granted, I knew going in, according to others, this is not Tarantino’s best work, but even when you consider his resume and the fact that his name is attached to this, I might as well not be wrong to expect nothing but excellence from “The Hateful Eight.” To me, this film kind of reminds me of “Avatar.” It’s a film that looks very nice on the big screen, and is definitely built for a cinematic environment, but the story is not the strong point of the movie. I have not lost my faith in Tarantino however, partially because the trailers made his next film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” look really good. Plus, it’s already getting good reviews, but “The Hateful Eight” still left me with a less than satisfying taste in my mouth. Sure, it hits a number of the cool Tarantino checkpoints. Gritty violence, pretty locations, attention-grabbing dialogue (despite weak characters), and giving Samuel L. Jackson an interesting hairstyle. But if someone were to come up to me and ask me to recommend a Tarantino film, “The Hateful Eight” would not be my first pick. I’m going to give “The Hateful Eight,” as much as it kind of feels criminal to say this, a 6/10. And before I go off on other ramblings, I would like to point out Samuel L. Jackson’s performance. It’s good. But, there’s a scene where I personally think he overacts to the point of cringe. Just saying. Thanks for reading this review! Just a reminder that tonight I am going to be seeing the new film “Yesterday,” directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours). I expect to have my review up by Thursday because on that day, I’m going to see “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” opening night, and I feel like I should have just about nothing else blog-related that I should focus on during the weekend. In addition to all this, I have to give a report and my thoughts on some big news for Marvel, “The Avengers,” and the movie industry as a whole. If you follow movies, chances are you may know what I’m talking about. Be sure to follow Scene Before if you have an email or WordPress account, and once you click the follow button, be sure to stay tuned for more great content! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “The Hateful Eight?” What did you think about it? Or, what is a movie from a director that you really love that disappointed you in some way? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!