The Matrix Resurrections (2021): I Want to Free My Mind From This Glitchy, Nostalgic Mess

“The Matrix Resurrections” is directed by Lana Wachowski, who was one of the two directors behind the original three “Matrix” films. This film stars Keanu Reeves (Point Break, John Wick), Carrie-Anne Morris (Memento, Fido), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman, The Trial of the Chicago 7), Jessica Henwick (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Game of Thrones), Jonathan Groff (Mindhunter, Frozen), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother, The Smurfs), Priyanka Chopra Jonas (Quantico, The White Tiger), and Jada Pinkett Smith (Madagascar, Scream 2). This film once again follows Thomas Anderson, who this time around, is living in our world as an award-winning video game designer. When faced with an incident that makes him question his own reality, Mr. Anderson is faced with the choice to either stay in the world he knows or go down the rabbit hole.

“The Matrix” is one of my favorite science fiction films of all time. Between the stunning visuals, the well-executed cliché of good vs. evil, and the casting of most of the characters, although I do think Keanu Reeves has given better performances, it is a recipe for digital mastery. There is a saying in Hollywood that nothing ever dies. Disney constantly remakes their previous animations like “The Lion King” and “Mulan” into live-action counterparts. Universal is unlikely going to stop pumping out “Fast & Furious” movies as long as they make millions at the box office. As for Warner Bros., they’ve got another “Batman” movie coming out this year! It’s not always about how many new, innovative ideas Hollywood could come up with, it is now sometimes about how many old, previously done ideas they can regurgitate and milk until there is nothing left. Five or so years ago, I thought “The Matrix” would be one of those films that doesn’t get that treatment in this day and age. After all, Keanu Reeves is already busy building another franchise of his own, specifically “John Wick,” on top of other things, and “The Matrix Revolutions” ended in such a way that the entire story could be rather impossible to continue. The movie, sorry if you’re spoiled nearly two decades later, ends with peace being achieved with Neo’s sacrifice. But of course, when they say “nothing ever dies,” they mean NOTHING.

Neo is back and better than ev–

Wait… Sorry, I got a bit overhyped for a sec there.

*Poe Dameron voice* Somehow Neo returned.

Just, why? Why did they make this? I mean, let me put it this way. The trailers for this film were not that bad. It gave me an okay impression of what’s to come. And if I had to choose between a full-on reboot of the “Matrix” franchise and a fourth installment, I think I’d prefer a fourth installment because I feel like this is a franchise that would be hard to see altered in such a significant way. It’s like if they tried to remake “Star Wars.” There are moments and concepts ingrained in my mind that it would be off-putting or unsettling to see them retold or changed for a new generation. The reality of “The Matrix Resurrections” is that it is not just a sequel, it’s partially a retelling of the original “Matrix” film, but also a flat out nostalgia fest that overstays its welcome. The movie is a sequel to a story that quite literally changed movies forever. It’s been parodied, memed, and when it comes to movies with green tint, this is usually the first, if not the only one that comes to mind. So what do they do in this sequel? They basically make fun of the Hollywood system. As mentioned, Thomas Anderson is a game designer, and he has essentially made a video game version of his journey in the matrix. So… Warner Bros. wants to inevitably make a fourth game. Part of me thinks that Lana Wachowski did not want to come back to do this film, for all I know I could be putting words in her mouth, but she’d rather tell a story she’d be proud of than see Warner Bros., the studio behind the past three “Matrix” films in addition to this current one, take a dump on the franchise she and Lilly created.

Also, is it a coincidence that this film technically has the same villain as “Space Jam: A New Legacy?”

I will say though, I was somewhat surprised on how much I liked Keanu Reeves in this film. Maybe it’s kind of because the world is experiencing Keanu fever, and he’s kind of on trend right now, but nevertheless. He’s been in a lot of movies recently including some animations like “Toy Story 4,” he’s John Wick, he was in “Cyberpunk 2077,” and often seen as one of the most genuine guys in the industry. One of the critiques I would have to give to “The Matrix” back in the early days is that Keanu Reeves did not carry that much charisma. At the same time though, when I look back, one could make the argument that Reeves’s lack of charisma may be intentional in order to highlight the mundane, everyday life his character has to go through. I mean, if I worked at “McDonald’s” and were responsible for cleaning the restrooms, I think after some time I would not show as much expression or emotion to other people. As much as this is based on preference, I liked seeing a more expressive Neo. It gave him more personality, and Reeves’s performance reveals that to a tee. Although I do think if I had to give one significant flaw, it’s that the script can make Keanu Reeves feel a bit repetitive at times. I feel like he spent a lot of the movie in denial, giving Reeves little variety on how to differentiate his acting method.

There were a couple roles this time around that were recast, specifically Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and Smith (Jonathan Groff). Both actors obviously have their differences from the originals and if you had to ask me, I think the original interpretations were done a tad better. Maybe that’s a comment based on nostalgia, but I think both original performers delivered a grittier and darker performance that felt more fitting for a grittier and darker environment. The new kids on the block seem to deliver performances that almost feel comparatively light-hearted. “The Matrix” has always had its moments of levity and fun, but it was also serious, and this shift in tone looking back is a tad jarring. The actors did well with the material they were given, but they also had big shoes to fill.

I have waited almost a month to watch this movie. I almost went to a press screening, but I ended up skipping it. I almost went one or two other weekends, but I skipped those as well. It was not worth the wait. I refused to watch this on HBO Max because first off, I want to support the cinemas, and second, I’ve always wanted to see a “Matrix” film on the big screen. But looking back, the film I should have watched on the big screen should have been one of the prior three “Matrix” installments.

There are positives to give to “The Matrix Resurrections.” The action is occasionally cool to look at, although nowhere near as engaging as any of the other three films. The visuals do look pretty as ever. The new supporting character Bugs, played by Jessica Henwick, was honestly rather well conceived. But the film for me took some time to properly follow, even with callbacks to other movies that I recently caught up on. It feels like it occasionally has ADHD. I think of all the performances Keanu Reeves gave, this is easily my favorite one in terms of “The Matrix” franchise. I highly doubt we’ll be getting a “Matrix 5” anytime. I mean, if we were, I would not be against it as long as they tried. But going back to the old saying of Hollywood, “nothing ever dies,” I hope Hollywood acknowledges this and never makes a “Back to the Future Part IV.” Will it make money? Sure. But unless it has a PHENOMENAL, GAME-CHANGING idea on where to take the characters and franchise, I think I will end up feeling dissatisfied. As much as I am not always clamoring for remakes, if I were tied to a chair had to pick between a “Back to the Future” remake or a “Back to the Future Part IV” in order to set myself free, I think a “Back to the Future” remake would be the lesser of the two evils, it’s a much bigger sandbox allowing for more opportunities. Plus, I don’t think Michael J. Fox is doing much acting these days…

Hollywood, I know you appreciate money. But your audiences also appreciate coherence. Please keep this in mind.

In the end, “The Matrix Resurrections” is a computer virus of a flick. It shows the problem of Hollywood taking franchises of the past and regurgitating them without a second thought. Again, a lot of the original crew returned, including Lana Wachowski, so for all I know, maybe everyone was happy to be back doing something they’ve done before, but this film felt unfulfilling, slightly confusing, and too focused on referencing the good old days as opposed to creating something new. I remember when the reviews started coming in and some people compared this film to “The Last Jedi,” saying it is bold. Honestly, it never felt that way. If anything, it feels more like “The Force Awakens,” or more technically, “The Force Awakens” from the points of view in which it is often criticized. I never agreed with everyone who said that “The Force Awakens” spends too much time ripping off the original “Star Wars” or its trilogy. It used those callbacks well and retreaded old story elements to perfection. “The Matrix,” just like “Star Wars,” changed the game for its genre, but compared to “The Force Awakens,” “Resurrections” fails to recapture that amazing feeling that the original “Matrix” gave me after watching it. Granted, the original “Matrix” holds a special place for me, because it was my first R rated feature, but it is also a damn good one. I just wish “Resurrections” were the same. I’m going to give “The Matrix Resurrections” a 4/10.

“The Matrix Resurrections” is now playing in theaters and is available for a limited time for all subscribers on HBO Max.

Thanks for reading this review! If you enjoyed my review for “The Matrix Resurrections,” good news! I have more “Matrix” reviews waiting for you! Why not check out my reviews for “The Matrix,” “The Matrix Reloaded,” and “The Matrix Revolutions!” I did these as part of an ongoing review series, titled “The Matrix Reviewed,” as part of Scene Before’s 5th anniversary. I cannot promise I have many older films that I’ll be reviewing in 2022, but… I might have something. We’ll see. I want to focus on newer films this year for the most part. If you want to see more reviews like this one, follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out and like the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “The Matrix Resurrections?” What did you think about it? Or, what is a sequel or remake that you think should NEVER happen? Let me know down below! Or don’t… Maybe you shouldn’t give Hollywood any ideas. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Matrix Revolutions (2003): The Stylistic, Loud, and Occasionally Epic Finale to End the Green Jesus Trilogy

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! First off, I want to thank everyone for journeying with me through over five full years on Scene Before. It has been a pleasure to talk about all these classic franchises with you. Many of which are being done in correlation to something else, but I often enjoy going off the beaten path and talking about some older movies. Today we are concluding the final review series in this anniversary segment. A series that I like to call, “The Matrix Reviewed.” With that being said, it is time to talk about the third installment to the “Matrix” franchise, “The Matrix Revolutions.” Here’s the story. “The Matrix” has been a widely welcomed and celebrated film that has been considered a modern classic. Then came “The Matrix Reloaded,” which took a lot of the material from the original, repackaged it, expanded on some concepts, but it was not exactly memorable. Or if you ask me, in some cases it lost some of its meaning. I’m looking at you, “upgrades.” As the poster suggests, “everything with a beginning has an end.” Well, until Warner Brothers decides to cash in on nostalgia and make “The Matrix Resurrections,” but that review comes later. Now that the end is here, let’s talk about it!

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“The Matrix Revolutions” is directed by the Wachowskis, the same directors behind the previous two “Matrix” films and stars Keanu Reeves (Point Break, Johnny Mnemonic), Laurence Fishburne (Event Horizon, What’s Love Got to Do with It), Carrie-Anne Moss (F/X: The Series, Dark Justice), Hugo Weaving (Babe, The Interview), and Jada Pinkett Smith (Scream 2, A Different World). This film is the finale to the “Matrix” trilogy, and war is more prominent than ever! This film follows the people of Zion as they fend off invading machines and Neo, the once ordinary soul who became “the one,” tries to stop Agent Smith while also trying to win the war himself.

As mentioned in my review for the original “Matrix,” that film in particular was my first R rated movie. I watched “Reloaded” with my dad about a week and a half later, followed by “Revolutions” just over five months later. At the time I was 12 years old. Therefore, I had more of a concept of what a good and bad movie happened to be than say when I was seven. At the same time however, the reason why I was into “The Matrix” at the time is the same reason why I was into movies like “Star Wars” at the time, they were so visually fascinating and had sound that felt like they had a place beyond the comprehensions of life itself. Safe to say, I enjoyed all the “Matrix” films to some degree, with the first one obviously being my favorite. Now that I am getting to analytically look at these films all over again almost a decade later, I am coming up with affirmations that maybe I would not have had as a child. “The Matrix Reloaded” is action-packed as I remember it being, but story-wise, it lacks substance compared to the original. The new characters were not that interesting. And the upgrades thing kind of bothered me, despite the awesome fight scene where Neo on took on hundreds of Smiths at once in that courtyard.

But the past is the past, the point of this review is to look at what came after “The Matrix.” What came after “The Matrix Reloaded.” So what came after those two things? I’ll tell ya. Another sequel that doesn’t quite hold a candle to the original. Although if you ask me, I do think that this film is slightly more enjoyable than “Reloaded” for what it is. What makes the first film work so well is that despite taking place in the future, and despite taking place in a digital machine, there was a down to earth quality to it. This was shown in the characters, the action (even though it is obviously choreographed), and the comparison between the real world and the matrix world and showing how much more enhanced and kick-ass the latter happens to be.

One thing I noticed in this film compared to “The Matrix Reloaded” is that there is so much action in your face that the idea of story seems to take a backseat. Now this is not always a movie killer. If anything, this year’s “Godzilla vs. Kong” did a really good job at reminding people of why they came to see it. They did not come to see Millie Bobby Brown somehow miraculously make it into Hong Kong for no reason. They came to see giant monsters whopping each other’s asses, and that’s what the movie delivered. Only thing about that film, is that it kind of knew what it was. I feel like these “Matrix” sequels did a good job at taking half of what made the original good, while leaving another half to rot. The half that was included was obviously the visuals and action. The first film had a solid script and story, but I feel like those were left behind.

Although I will note that one of my personal highlights of the movie as we progress is the chemistry between Neo and Trinity, which has blossomed beautifully over the past three films. Even though I have had my critiques as to how Neo was directed in the first film, I do think one constant positive I had for him and the franchise is how he interacts with Carrie-Anne Moss. The relationship has developed from this one encounter in the original film to a charming romance. I HATED the way Neo handled bringing Trinity back to life in “The Matrix Reloaded.” It felt kind of cringeworthy, but nevertheless. The kiss was nice. In fact, I don’t know, I think if Neo just kissed Trinity without putting his hand inside her skin, I think that would have been a more satisfying way to see Trinity return from the dead. I know the heart is essential to live, but I think in this universe, it would have been a more pleasant and given what they’re going for with Neo, a more Christ-like sight.

Yep, there is plenty of Jesus symbolism in this film. If you get to the end of the film, they’re not even trying to hide it. It’s pretty much in your face.

I will say one thing about the end of the film, the final fight in “The Matrix Revolutions” is by far one of my favorites in film history. Now, I love the final fight in the first film, and I think if there is one thing that first fight did better, it would have been stakes. But when it comes to style, this final confrontation has it ALL. By the end, it’s not even a “Matrix” fight anymore and is more likely something out of “Dragonball Z.” This fight does something well that I forgot to mention in my other reviews. One of the signature things about the “Matrix” that I already hinted at in this review is the choreography. In some movies, if the choreography, it can sometimes detract from the film because it feels maybe otherworldly and takes away from the realism at hand. In the case of all three “Matrix” films, they did a really good job stylizing all the action to make every fight feel like a strategy game. As I look at Neo and Smith in this final fight, every single one of their movies feels less like them fighting and instead pushing buttons on a console controller to hopefully master the skill sets of their avatars. It feels incredibly computerized, which is ultimately what the Matrix happens to be. I really like that.

Also, the MUSIC. HOLY CRAP. This is one of the best written pieces of a score I’ve heard in a movie. I dare you not to drive in the rain with this song with a smirk on your eyes. I mean, oh my god. Technically speaking, this is one of my favorite elements of the film. Don Davis is practically unleashing a flame thrower onto all of his orchestral instruments. By the way, once you’re done with this review, go to YouTube and type in “Neodammerung.” It’s freaking awesome. Bill Pope, who has been involved with some of my favorite movies alongside the other two “Matrix” installments, delivers some of the best shots I have seen in a sci-fi film. In terms of style, this film is full of it, and it does not disappoint.

I will note one thing about the visuals of “The Matrix Revolutions” in comparison to the visuals of “The Matrix Reloaded.” Just to note, both films came out in 2003, within months of each other. I think when it comes to the visuals of “Revolutions,” it does a better job than “Reloaded” of not taking you back to 2003. Now, “Revolutions” is newer, it’s younger, but not by much. Keeping that in mind, in a franchise that has heavily tried to impress audiences through groundbreaking visual effects, I think my mind is more likely to harken back to the final battle in this film more than anything else. The fight against all the Smiths in “Reloaded” was great, but it felt like it was designed in a computer whereas the final fight in “Revolutions” to me bended the line just slightly between reality and fiction. For those reasons, I think both films may end up having a somewhat similar replay value, after all this franchise is not a bad one to binge, but “Revolutions” remains superior in terms of how well it holds up.

In the end, “The Matrix Revolutions” is an improvement over “The Matrix Reloaded,” but it ain’t no party like the one in 1999. There are positives in this film. The performances are great from everyone, even Keanu Reeves, who I have criticized in the past. The film has non-stop, exhilarating action, and it is VISUALLY STUNNING. Now again, this film came out in 2003. Therefore it is not as visually appealing as “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King,” but it is eye candy nevertheless. I could watch that final duel between Neo and Smith numerous times over and over. It’s shot wonderfully, and rendered nicely. It gets my thumbs up. If there were a little more substance, maybe the film would be better. But I do think this film is better than some people make it out to be. Maybe it’s because I did not grow up with it. It could just be a representation of my age. I was never part of the phenomenon, which makes me wonder how people will look at films like “Avengers: Endgame” in a matter of 15 years. Either way, I’m going to give “The Matrix Revolutions” a 6/10.

“The Matrix Revolutions” is available on VHS, DVD, HD DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K-Blu-ray! The film is also available on HBO, HBO Max, and Hulu.

Thanks for reading this review! If you want to read my reviews for “The Matrix” or “The Matrix Reloaded,” click the nearby links and check them out! I want to thank everyone for journeying with me through “The Matrix Reviewed,” where I talk about the three live-action “Matrix” films, and I also want to spread my appreciation to everyone who tuned in to any of my special series in honor of Scene Before’s five full years of being on the Internet. We had quite a year from “Mortal Kombat: Finish the Reviews,” “7 Days of Star Wars,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Chest of Reviews,” “Revenge of the Nerds: Nerds in Review,” “Ghostbusters: Before Afterlife,” and the series that has officially been concluded, “The Matrix Reviewed.” It’s been a heck of year and I want to thank all my readers for spending part of it on Scene Before. If you want to see more reviews like this, I will remind you that I will be coming with more thoughts on the latest films including “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” So much content, so little time! This year I will also be recapping my top 10 BEST and WORST films that I saw throughout the 12 month period. I don’t know if I’ll be doing it as early as usual, but we’ll see. I have a ton of movies to talk about, but I don’t even know if I’ll be able to get to all of them. Nevertheless, if you want to see this and more on Scene Before follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account. Also, check out my official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “The Matrix Revolutions?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite “Matrix” film? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Matrix Reloaded (2003): Digitize Harder

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It is time for part 2 of the ongoing review series, “The Matrix Reviewed!” Last week we discussed my thoughts on “The Matrix,” and my opinions for the most part appear to be the same as a lot of other people’s, it is easily one of the greatest sci-fi stories ever told. Like many great stories, this one happened to get a sequel. Or in the case of “The Matrix,” two in one year. Don’t usually see that play out much. Today we’re gonna be talking about the first of those two sequels, “The Matrix Reloaded!” Are we able to load some digital goodness on the screen with this film? Here are my two cents!

“The Matrix Reloaded” is directed by the Wachowskis and stars Keanu Reeves (Point Break, Johnny Mnemonic), Carrie-Anne Moss (Models Inc., Memento), Laurence Fishburne (Event Horizon, What’s Love Got to Do with It), Hugo Weaving (Babe, The Interview), Jada Pinkett Smith (Scream 2, A Different World), and Gloria Foster (Law & Order, Leonard Part 6). This film is the sequel to the 1999 box office smash “The Matrix,” one of the biggest R rated films of all time. This sequel follows Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus as they continue their fight against a machine army. This time, the agents are bigger, stronger, and upgraded. SEQUEL S*IT!

You know that sequel advertsing bulls*it? You know what I’m talking about! BIGGER IS BETTER! Forget the first movie! This second movie is gonna make the first movie look like the zeroth movie! I’ll admit, I was three when this film came out, therefore I never had a chance to watch it in the theater, nor did I get to see the trailers. But even I know that this is one of those films that became a literal phenomenon. Heck, this first film became so big, yeah I know it is a franchise now, but that first film is the one everyone talks about, that they apparently took time to reference it in kids’ movies, despite the R rating! Just look at “The LEGO Batman Movie” and “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” Both films are from Warner Animation Group, and even though that first film has blood, language, and tons of violence, they still found a way to put it in a Looney Tunes story! The first film was respected, it won an Oscar, it kind of set a standard for visual effects and sci-fi. If you ask me, I think Keanu Reeves has been directed better in other projects, but that’s just a me problem, and it’s one that would be difficult to turn into a me solution. Time travel doesn’t exist, and I don’t work for Warner Brothers.

I want to talk about some things I like about “The Matrix Reloaded.” The action is great, and in some cases, I think it may almost be better here than in the original. The highway chase was epic, the fight in the courtyard with all the Smiths was wildly entertaining (I’ll get into a problem about it in a second), and there was some pretty badass stuff in the beginning and end of the film with Trinity. The visuals of the film still hold up today. I would not say they’re maybe as good as the visuals from 1999, but they’re still worthy of falling into the “eye candy” classification. I also really like, going back to the bigger is better idea, the expanding of Zion. The first movie teased it, but now we get to see more of it here. It’s not the highlight of the film, but I didn’t hate it. There’s one montage that goes on for a bit too long, but nevertheless.

This idea of “bigger is better” is not just something that one would put in the marketing for a sequel, but something you’d actually see QUOTED in a sequel like this one! There’s a scene where Neo is fighting an Agent and he’s trying to kick his ass. When he thinks he’s got it, he senses the agent’s increased in strength, so we get to hear Neo utter “Upgrades.” I like how this film gives our heroes some tougher competition. But it’s a blessing and a curse at the same time. I think the best example of this is during the fight where we see Neo all by himself in a courtyard after talking to the Oracle. So all these Agents come out and take on Neo altogether. Look, the scene between Neo and all these agents is one of the most exciting, thrilling, and perhaps badass things I have witnessed in a sci-fi movie, but by the end of it, the more I think about it, it almost feels like the stakes have been minimized. We get to see fiveish minutes of Neo fending off all these agents like they’re flying stormtroopers.

“Ah! The agents! They fly now!” I don’t know where that came from. Just go with it.

While it’s totally badass, it also makes the recently exposed “upgrades” feel like nothing. Look, they’re obviously referencing these “upgrades” in the sense that the Agents have gotten stronger. In the quality/quantity expression, the upgrades would more likely link to quality. So when we get to the quantity portion about fifty minutes into the film, the upgrades seem to lessen their meaning.

The great thing about the first “Matrix” is that we see Neo kind of go through a transition from ordinary person to hero. Yes, the hero’s journey trope been done numerous times. But it is often a successful route to take a story. Who doesn’t love a hero? While there is some struggle or newfound obstacles in this sequel, Neo doesn’t come off as someone who is trying to make a massive change amongst himself. Much of the struggle that we see from Neo as a character comes at the end of the film, which is not a terrible thing. That’s kind of the moment where you want a character to fall to their lowest point. It’s the whole thing about getting back on the horse. You may be down but you can get back up.

Now I’m not asking for every movie to be the hero’s journey. That would therefore make every movie the same as the next. I’m just saying that I prefer seeing a Neo find his way through the Matrix and learn about its roots. I feel like the first film gave us a better opportunity to unravel Neo’s personality. Now he’s kind of a robotic god.

You know what’s also bigger in this movie? The slow motion! But it ain’t better! If we learned anything from the “Sharknado” franchise, it’s that too much of something can make that something become worse. I’ve heard this statement through the walls of the Internet before, but I’ll say it because it is kind of true. This movie could have been trimmed in half in terms of the runtime… Okay, maybe not that much, but the trimming would be significant, if the slow motion was not a thing. This film is two hours and eighteen minutes long. Granted, I don’t have a huge problem with the runtime. The pacing was okay. It could have been worse, but if you take out the slow motion, I think you could have trimmed down that runtime quite a bit. Maybe I’m imagining things, I don’t know. But in that first movie, the slow-motion felt like it meant something. But similar to the “Star Wars” prequels where nearly every scene had a lightsaber (not that I’M complaining), it felt like every other moment of the film had some semblance of slow motion. It was kinda ridiculous. Slow motion is cool! But you know what’s also cool? Ice! And if you touch it for too long your hands are gonna go numb so let’s cool down the slow motion a bit!

KEANU REEVES in Warner Bros. PicturesÕ and Village Roadshow PicturesÕ provocative futuristic action thriller “The Matrix Reloaded,” also starring Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. ©2003 WARNER BROS. – U.S., CANADA, BAHAMAS & BERMUDA. ©2003 VILLAGE ROADSHOW FILMS (BVI) LTD – ALL OTHER TERRITORIES (ALL RIGHTS RESERVED USED BY PERMISSION). PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE USED SOLELY FOR ADVERTISING, PROMOTION, PUBLICITY OR REVIEWS OF THIS SPECIFIC MOTION PICTURE AND TO REMAIN THE PROPERTY OF THE STUDIO. NOT FOR SALE OR REDISTRIBUTION

I also really didn’t like the end of the film. I think part of the climax had some cool action, and seeing Neo fly through the city is something that will forever be in my memory. I love seeing that on screen where he’s flying and all these cars are continuously piling up behind him. It’s iconic. But for those who have not seen this movie before, there are a couple key moments after that which I liked less. One involves a character I mentioned already and a situation that feels totally impractical, and the other one involves something that I feel didn’t have the impact I thought it was trying to go for. I don’t know, this movie goes bigger, but really minimizes the oomph in the final moments. Strange.

The Matrix Reloaded (2003) - IMDb

In the end, “The Matrix Reloaded” had some glitches. While it is not the worst sci-fi film ever, it is a massive step down from the original. I talked about how my one big con from the original film is the way Neo was portrayed, which I assume mostly had to do with directing. Even though I think he could have been portrayed better in the original, I still think was written better in the original. He’s written worse in this film, but Keanu Reeves’s performance here, in his defense, matches the slightly more lackluster writing. Again, the like bigger is better thing, it’s a blessing and a curse. I’ll always remember the first “Matrix” as one of my favorite sci-fi films. The second film, not so much. I’m going to give “The Matrix Reloaded” a 5/10.

“The Matrix Reloaded” is available on VHS, DVD, HD DVD, Blu-ray, 4K Blu-ray, and is also available to watch on HBO Max.

Thanks for reading this review! Be sure to stay tuned for next week, December 19th to be specific, because I will be reviewing “The Matrix Revolutions,” capping the ongoing “The Matrix Reviewed” review series and ending the ongoing trend of reviewing older movies in 2021. Until my top 10 best and worst of the year, which may end up coming out late, just so you’re aware, I will solely focus on reviewing films released in 2021 including “Ron’s Gone Wrong,” “West Side Story,” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” just to name a few examples. If you want to see this and more on Scene Before, follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “The Matrix Reloaded?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite slow-motion scene in film history? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Matrix (1999): A Sci-Fi Wonder Drug

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Welcome to the final review series of 2021, “The Matrix Reviewed,” where I talk about the critically mixed “Matrix” trilogy. Based on the major opinion from critics, “The Matrix” is a franchise with a great first movie, but some inferior sequels. But then again, sequels are not often as good as the original as the old saying goes. Today we will be talking about the 1999 film “The Matrix,” which has become a classic amongst sci-fi fans, and one of the most parodied movies of its era. Tell me you haven’t seen a movie reference one of its slow motion gimmicks. “Shrek” immediately comes to mind for me. Either way, it is time to review the film! Enjoy!

“The Matrix” is written and directed by the Wachowskis and stars Keanu Reeves (Point Break, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure), Laurence Fishburne (Event Horizon, What’s Love Got to Do with It), Carrie-Anne Moss (Dark Justice, F/X: The Series), Hugo Weaving (Babe, The Interview), and Joe Pantoliano (Godzilla: The Series, Risky Business). This film is about a man who is taken to an underworld where he is given a couple of choices, the blue pill or the red pill. He chooses the latter, allowing him to discover the truth about his world, and the depths of an underworld controlled by an AI. In a journey of universal discovery, where he is prophesized to become “the one,” Neo must embrace the inner-workings of the matrix while also surviving against a team of Agents.

“The Matrix” may be one of the most significant films I have talked about on Scene Before, not just on an objective level where many consider it to be one of the best films in its genre, but it is also a personal goldmine for me. For the record, I first saw “The Matrix” at age 12, and was enamored by it. “The Matrix” was the first ever R rated film I’ve ever watched. Looking back, it’s a tamer R rated flick, but it has its reasons to be rated R from language to blood to some disturbing images. “The Matrix” is one of those films that I have always appreciated. The film released in 1999 and upon multiple rewatches, it never shown any sign of aging or deterioration over the years. 1999 was honestly a fascinating year for visual effects between this film and “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” while “The Phantom Menace” has some cool shots, a lot of its renderings feel pixelated by today’s standards. “The Matrix” feels immersive, detailed, and glamourous. The film came out in 1999, and even today, it is one of the first things I think of when it comes to virtual reality. It is a world that looks almost too good to be true, but also legit enough that it can have kinks and characteristics that separate it from the real world.

Let’s talk about Keanu Reeves as Neo. I have to say, compared to some of his earlier performances such as Johnny Utah in “Point Break” and as Ted in the “Bill & Ted” films, this is a completely different outlook for him. And you know why? Because in those movies, Reeves’s characters have a nearly built-in, natural charisma. When I watched “The Matrix” once or twice or when I thought about it as a younger individual, I always thought that Keanu Reeves played such a stoic character, and I thought that made him appear limited in terms of his acting ability. If I had seen those other films first, which I did not at the time, it took me five years to get from seeing “The Matrix” to seeing “Point Break,” I probably would have had a different appreciation for Keanu Reeves as a performer. There are times throughout the film where Neo feels like a random pawn in the middle of the chessboard while everyone else is super-expressive. In fact, here’s a good comparison. You ever play a video game like “Portal” or “The Legend of Zelda” where the protagonist doesn’t talk? That’s what Neo feels like at times. He’s one of those characters that you may grow to like, but he may not be as outgoing as everybody else. I do think if I were writing or directing “The Matrix,” I would make Neo a tad a more expressive, but he has his moments. I even like the little supposed nod that his character gives to “Bill & Ted” during the “first jump” scene.

In all seriousness, if you take the dynamic performances of Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus, Joe Pantoliano as Cypher, and Hugo Weaving as the fearsome yet handsome Agent Smith, you have all these incredibly directed performances surrounding one that quite frankly, wasn’t BAD, but it felt like it was in a different space compared to everyone else. I mean, I guess Trinity sort of felt the same as Neo performance-wise in ways, but nevertheless. Maybe if I watch the film again I’ll feel different.

Also, can we talk about Gloria Foster as the Oracle? I love all my grandparents equally, but if I could have anyone else as my grandma, I think the Oracle would instantly come to mind. I could occasionally go for some real, brutal foreshadowing followed by some delicious cookies. Can’t go wrong!

The Matrix (1999) - IMDb

To me, the performances are not exactly what makes “The Matrix” so freaking spectacular. At the end of the day, it comes down to the action. When it comes to sci-fi, “The Matrix” may just have some of the single best action sequences in the genre. The kung-fu sequence where we see Neo and Morpheus in the dojo is ultra-exciting. Not only does it properly showcase and foreshadow the obstacles Neo may have to face in his journey, but it’s just a slick looking fight! I remember watching this for the first time years ago and being awe-struck by Neo flipping in the air showing himself off. This fight opened the doors to a digital environment. What happened here felt greater than reality. I also love the whole badass slo-mo bullets trend this movie does from time to time. I do think there is such a thing as an overuse of slow motion in film, but “The Matrix” makes it look jaw-dropping. The fights involving heavy gunfire are intense and action-packed. There’s a big shootout in a lobby where you see chunks of the wall flying everywhere, it’s like if the bullets were flying into a concrete birthday cake! If this movie had no dialogue and were judged solely on visuals, it would be a 10/10.

“The Matrix” does a really good job at making you feel like you’re either in the real world or the virtual world. The most noticeable difference is the color grading. Whenever you’re in the real world, there’s this pale blue feel, which partially makes sense because that’s probably where Neo would have stayed if he had just taken the blue pill, but of course, he didn’t. Plus, blue, at least in this instance, presents itself as a rather depressing color. It’s gloomy and sets a banal atmosphere. Inside the matrix, you’ll see that everything is green, and every time that green tint is on screen, it feels super vibrant and noticeable. It doesn’t just match all of the code on screen, but it’s also attractive to the eye. It makes you want to be a part of this other world.

I’m gonna talk a bit about the climax, but I will also keep some details hidden for people who have not watched the movie yet, which you definitely should. The climax of “The Matrix” allows us to see Neo’s arch fully realized, it does what a climax should do in a movie like this. Take everything we saw from earlier stages of the protagonist’s journey and unleash it all in one satisfying conclusion. Some ways may be predictable, but there is one built up piece that was foreshadowed that plays out in a way that I think some people will not see coming. I won’t say what it is though.

The Matrix (1999) - IMDb

I will say though, one of the other things I like about “The Matrix” is that despite being in a vast world where there are less physical or emotional consequences than our reality, it does an okay job at making you feel like there are real stakes involved. There are real emotions, real stories, and despite hyping up reality just a few notches, the film manages to bring itself down to earth every once in a while. It feels weird to say especially with a character like Neo showing little emotion from time to time, but there are also times where he shines as someone who wants something. That’s what all protagonists do, right? They want something. I think the want in “The Matrix” is decently explored.

The Matrix (1999) - IMDb

In the end, “The Matrix” is one of the most badass movies I have ever seen. It is a fun film to watch, and it FLIES BY. It is a film that never feels slow. There’s always something going on! Before I forget, I also need to shout out Don Davis, who composed the score for the film. Unfortunately, he has not been that active in the realm of film composing, but “The Matrix” has a score that by the end, becomes a thing of delight. It’s intense, fast-paced, and might even be good for working out at the gym or going for a jog. I do think Keanu Reeves’s performance could have been better, but I do not know if I should put most of the blame on him, the Wachowskis, or maybe both sides. Again, if I were in the director’s chair, I would handle this matter differently, but that’s just me. Either way, I’m going to give “The Matrix” a 9/10.

“The Matrix” is now available on VHS, Laserdisc, DVD, HD DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K Blu-ray. The film will be shown for a multiple night engagement in IMAX as of the week I’m writing this, the week of December 7th and 8th, 2021. It is also available to stream on HBO Max.

KEANU REEVES in Warner Bros. PicturesÕ and Village Roadshow PicturesÕ provocative futuristic action thriller “The Matrix Reloaded,” also starring Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. ©2003 WARNER BROS. – U.S., CANADA, BAHAMAS & BERMUDA. ©2003 VILLAGE ROADSHOW FILMS (BVI) LTD – ALL OTHER TERRITORIES (ALL RIGHTS RESERVED USED BY PERMISSION). PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE USED SOLELY FOR ADVERTISING, PROMOTION, PUBLICITY OR REVIEWS OF THIS SPECIFIC MOTION PICTURE AND TO REMAIN THE PROPERTY OF THE STUDIO. NOT FOR SALE OR REDISTRIBUTION

Thanks for reading this review! Be sure to tune in next week, December 12th, because I’ll be talking about “The Matrix Reloaded!” It will be the talk of the town during my next installment of “The Matrix Reviewed!” Stay tuned! If you want to see this and more on Scene Before, follow the blog either with an email or a WordPress account! Also, check out the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “The Matrix?” What did you think about it? Or, what is the first R rated movie you have ever watched? Let me know down below! 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!

Ready Player One (2018): Pop Culture’s Ultimate Birthchild

*SPONSORSHIP ALERT* (although nobody’s payin’ me)

Before we dive into my review for one of my most anticipated movies of 2018, let me just have you know that this review is being called “Pop Culture’s Ultimate Birthchild.” If you watch “Ready Player One” and/or read the book, you’d know precisely what I’m talking about. And speaking of birthchildren, there’s one couple out there in California who are currently expecting a birthchild. The couple contains souls by the names of Genevieve and Paul, and they are going to giving birth to a child sometime in the future. You can find out the true story of this babymaking journey in “What the IVF?!”

“What the IVF?” documents the seemingly endless but also effort-filled journey of having a child. What’s so hard about it? Watching over them? Finding a babysitter? Trying to get them to fall asleep? No, you fools! The hard part is making them! Watch as Genevieve and Paul do something that will change humanity. By, you know, trying to increase its overall population by 1. But the process of doing that isn’t easy! The couple suffer through troublesome situations in regards to sex, math, testing, costs, and because they TOTALLY asked for them, infinite needles! If you want to watch the fifth episode to this series, it’s listed up above. This time, Genevieve and Paul’s marriage might be going down the toilet! Not to mention, nothing seems all that pleasant at this point. Watch the episode, comment, subscribe, hit the notification bell, share with your friends, enemies, frenemies, whoever they may be. Also check out the “WTIVF” website, and their other forms of presence on social media, all of which is listed down below! Oh yeah, and tell them Jack Drees sent ya! I’m sure they’ll appreciate it!

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

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

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

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

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

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“Ready Player One” is directed by Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park, Lincoln) and stars Tye Sheridan (X-Men Apocalypse, Mud), Olivia Cooke (Ouija, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Dark Knight Rises) and is based on the pop culture extravaganza of a book written by Ernest Cline, who by the way, is one of the film’s screenwriters alongside Zak Penn (The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk).

Much like the book, this movie centers around the character of Wade Owen Watts, a teenage boy who is currently living in the 2040s. Oh yeah, and just like every other movie that takes place in the future that seems to have something depressing, Earth is dying, who’d a thunk it? Nowadays he basically spends his time on the virtual reality headset universe known as the OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation), where you can literally live your reality meeting other avatars who go by nicknames. For example, Wade’s avatar name in the game is known as Parzival. Another example would be for a different character in the movie, Samantha, which is the name she goes by in real life, but in the OASIS, she’s known as Art3mis. There’s not just that, you can do just about anything you can think of! You want to drive a DeLorean? You’ve got yourself a DeLorean! You want an Iron Giant to hang out with? Of course you do, and you’ve got one! You want to ride the bike from “Akira?” Bingo! This is basically a future, where there’s nowhere left to go. And I’ve seen a lot of media will give this dystopian landscape where everything looks all depressing, but one thing I’ve never noticed is a hint of pop culture in there. And I feel this movie, the more I think about it, is kind of relevant. Not just for the environmental message that you’d find in films like “Wall-E” or “Interstellar,” but the fact that maybe we’re running out of ideas in terms of what could be the next big franchise or the next big movie or the next big TV show. The movie doesn’t really dive into that, but this is an unoriginal movie which centers around unoriginality and it’s all the better for it!

This was one of my most anticipated movies of the year. Most of the promotional material had me nerdgasming! The visuals looked astounding! The music, like, oh my gosh! The teaser trailer for “Ready Player One” which was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con, went on to become one of my favorite trailers of 2017, and the movie had a couple more trailers that went on to become instant favorites of mine for this current year. I went to see the movie in 70mm film! A lot of people see “Avengers: Infinity War” as their most anticipated movie of the year, and I totally get why, but when it comes to both movies, I can’t help but hype both up like the Soup Nazi when his place was in business on “Seinfeld.” I even did something that I never do before going to see a movie. I actually read the book. Let me just pull up a quote that I left in my review for “The Firm.”

“…movies are more fun! Sorry, books!”

Part of my reading of the book has to do with a challenge I gave to some friends, but still.

After reading the book and seeing the promotional material of the movie, I felt like this was a fictionalized “King of the Nerds.” If you have seen “King of the Nerds,” you’d probably know it as a part competition and part nerd culture extravaganza. This show is actually quite possibly my favorite of all time, making me even gladder to have read the book to capture the feeling of the show inside me once more after it was canceled by TBS in 2015. And speaking of “King of the Nerds,” “Revenge of the Nerds,” the movie which the show is sort of based on, is referenced in the book. In fact, there’s one part where the main character of Wade Watts goes searching for something important to the plot, and he tries going into a recreation of the house that the nerds rent and fix in the movie! If you know me in real life, if something receives a comparison to “King of the Nerds,” you know that I am jumping up and down.

Unfortunately, there’s no “Revenge of the Nerds” references in the movie. However, when you take the rest of the movie for what it is, you might as well refer to it by one word: Amazing. Am I fanboying? Sort of. I’m only fanboying because this film met, and in ways, exceeded my expectations. I am not one of those people who says this:

“This is a great book! Terrific! Unbelievable! If you change an ounce of this book, I will find you studio freaks at your filthy houses and slaughter every last one of you!”

Yes, there are changes from the book, and personally, I can understand the changes, and based on what we’ve gotten out of this movie, I don’t care! This movie itself, was probably one of the most thrilling experiences I’ve had in a theater. If the 70mm show wasn’t enough to please, some of the scenes which have now become new personal faves of mine certainly were!

Steven Spielberg directed this film, and when I first heard about him taking on this project, I was like, “cool.” As I read the book though, I thought to myself, there is NO OTHER MAN ON THIS EARTH that should direct this movie! Well, it was mainly because Spielberg was referenced in the book and it was done in a form of appreciation. Now that I’ve seen the film from start to finish, I can’t say anything else except, THERE’S STILL NO F*CKING WAY ANOTHER PERSON COULD HAVE DIRECTED THIS FILM! Steven Spielberg’s hayday was blockbusters galore, not to mention he’s a master of putting you into the action. Just watch “Saving Private Ryan” or “Jurassic Park!” The film’s opening contains this big and important race, and I guarantee you that at some point, you’ll feel like you’re in it.

Speaking of action, “Ready Player One” also contains one of the best mega-battles I’ve seen in a movie, and one of the best chases I’ve seen in a movie. There’s this big climactic battle that decides the future of both sides, and as I watched, I felt like I was back the early 2000s, going to the theater, and watching “Lord of the Rings.” I ate it up and I wanted more! Now I know that I talked about the race during the film’s starting point, and it’s sort of chase-like, but we cut to the real chase towards the end of the film. Literally. This final chase, may be one of the very best I’ve ever seen in a movie. The climactic chase of the movie almost feels like a mix of “Inception” and “The Lego Movie.” In other words, it was a mix of a heartfelt moment and the dropping of my jaw. I don’t even want to go into it, because I want you as a viewer to be surprised.

Now I mention that this movie, like the book, is really freaking good! But if there’s one thing that the book does better, it’s character development. I’m not saying that the characters in this movie sucked, in fact I really liked all of them. But in comparison to the book, the book did it better.

Let’s talk about the main character of Wade Watts, otherwise known as Parzival. In some ways, much like the book, I resemble this character. We both want to do something that will prevent our governments from harming us personally, we’re both uber nerds, and we both know a lot about a variety of popular culture. Although then again, that’s what pretty much a majority of the movie’s characters know about. In the book, Watts was actually fat in real life. I can kind of understand why they would cast a guy like Tye Sheridan for the role of Watts even though he’s not fat, but they could have paid homage to the book and done that. If they did cast someone fat, it would have increased the chance of seeing a key character moment from the book. I’m not saying I’m unsatisfied with what we got, but still, the book did it better.

Although one thing that may rival the book entirely in my opinion was the depiction of Samantha, or Art3mis. When I read the book, I always thought of the interactions in the OASIS between Parzival and Art3mis as cutesy, and as something that just developed over time. The movie feels faster, and it almost makes Samantha’s avatar look like someone a boy would usually be attracted to. Well, to me anyway, looks are subjective. Sure, in the book I can kind of buy Parzival’s infatuation towards Art3mis, but it didn’t have a raw feeling, like this movie did, and I personally thought it worked. Cooke as an actress pretty much nailed what this character needed, and I admired her performance.

Now let’s get into one of my favorite parts of the movie, and that is the character of Nolan Sorrento played by Ben Mendelsohn. Having seen him play Krennic in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” it should be proof at this point that Mendelsohn can play one awesome villain! Here, he does that too! He’s basically this corporate baddie that oversees all the operations of IOI (Innovative Online Industries) and he wants to change the OASIS to make it more like what can be translated as something like Net Neutrality or EA shoving micro-transactions down your throat. As if his representation of evil was good enough, his character has one of the major highlights of the movie for me. There’s a point where he’s talking with Wade and he’s trying to act consumer-friendly, attractive, and telling Wade what he would probably want to hear, and someone is on the other end, speaking into his ear without Wade’s knowledge. Trust me, it’s kind of funny.

Now let’s state another highlight performance of the movie, and that is the character of James Halliday, played by Mark Rylance. This is Rylance’s third performance with Steven Speilberg, and he was cast perfectly in regards to this character. Halliday was charming, somewhat funny, and a mix between Willy Wonka and Steve Jobs. You’ve got the one side that seems to scream charisma and wonder and you have another that represents brains and sometimes over-stressed. I will say though, I was doing research on this movie, and while I think Rylance’s performance is terrific, there is someone I would have loved to see bring their skills to the table.

Rylance’s character is once again, comparable to Willy Wonka, and thus it kind of makes sense where Steven Spielberg’s mind would be going at one point. One idea he had for the character of Halliday before Rylance ultimately took over is to get Gene Wilder back on screen. According to the movie’s trivia page on IMDb, “Wilder respectfully declined.” Mark Rylance was cast in 2016 some time before Gene Wilder’s death. But what if Wilder were in the movie? I imagine the movie would make a hell lot more money than it already did, it would have a stronger opening weekend, and based on recent events, it might actually bring something emotional to the movie. Although then again, I wonder if they still would have been filming the scenes for Halliday at the time of Wilder’s death, so it probably wouldn’t have even mattered. Nevertheless, Wilder as Halliday would have been PERFECT, A+, 10/10 casting. However, Rylance, based on his portrayal, is just as solid.

Moving onto one thing that I heard a number of people complain about, let’s talk about references. People were nervous about this movie because they figured the only thing that it stands for is to make references down your throat. Personally, I did not have that complaint going in. I thought the movie was gonna have a fine number of references that didn’t feel bloated. Besides, references are awesome! As far as this movie goes none of the references forced (for what I remember), they were charming, and they were even sometimes hysterical! One of the biggest standouts is a moment where the main characters are going into the world of a classic movie. No, seriously, they go in, and several events from that movie play out in this one! I didn’t have too too many people in my theater, so I can’t say much noise was made, but I heard there were some presentations that people attended where audience members collectively gasped. The most references come in during the commencement of the movie and the climax, and while the middle definitely has some, it seems to come off as more story-oriented. And that’s not to say that the beginning and end aren’t story oriented. I’d say the references used at the start and finish were properly utilized while still maintaining an interesting story, thus making the movie better. You know, unlike “The Emoji Movie,” which story-wise and reference wise, is nothing but trash buried beneath the ground after being lit on fire. That movie was nothing but a complete waste of the talent from minds like Patrick Stewart, Anna Faris, and TJ Miller.

Fortunately, TJ Miller’s talent is not wasted here! If you don’t already know, TJ Miller plays the character of I-R0k, and let’s just get serious for a moment. TJ Miller’s voice, IS ASTOUNDING. If Morgan Freeman is the king of narrating serious pieces of work, then TJ Miller is the king of narrating anything that sounds hilarious. Just watch “Silicon Valley,” “Deadpool,” heck, I’ll say “Transformers: Age of Extinction.” HELL! I’d say even watch “The Emoji Movie!” Even though the movie sucks, you still get to hear the killer voice of TJ f*cking Miller. TJ Miller was TOP-NOTCH CASTING for I-R0k, and after seeing Miller play him, I probably can’t imagine anyone else taking on the role! If the remake and reboot craze continues and “Ready Player One” is the next in line, I quadruple dog dare those behind the project to find a better I-R0k.

In the end, “Ready Player One,” was a f*cking blast! I had very high expectations for the movie, and I certainly was not let down. This is also personally, almost a #1 favorite of mine for Steven Spielberg. I saw this movie on a Tuesday night, and this review was finished on a Friday. On this day, I’m still thinking to myself, “I want to see this again.” Have I seen it again? No I have not, but I’d literally cut through traffic and smash cars to pieces just to go to the theater for a second time and catch the experience once more. So with that being said, “Ready Player One” is yet another win for Spielberg and I’m going to give it a 10/10!

Thanks for reading this review! Fun fact about my experience watching this in the theater, I mentioned I went to see this in 70mm, and it actually was in this quaint theater near Boston, and they played a trailer for “2001: A Space Odyssey” since the theater was bringing it back in the 70mm format for its 50th anniversary. Just… One of the best things I’ve witnessed in my entire life. I might do something soon for “2001” if possible, maybe a movie review, maybe dissect it, or something else along those lines. As far as other content goes, I have a few ideas lined up. Maybe I’ll go see “Blockers,” “A Quiet Place,” “Pacific Rim: Uprising,” or maybe I’ll wind up seeing “Ready Player One” again. Who knows? Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Ready Player One?” What did you think about it? Did you read the book? What did you think about that? I personally love it, and comparing both the movie and the book side by side, they both make themselves great in their own ways. Also, if you were going to make a book or movie full of references, what would the references be and how would the movie play out? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The 15:17 to Paris (2018): Don’t Always Be Yourself

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“The 15:17 to Paris,” unfortunately, is directed by Clint Eastwood (American Sniper, A Fistful of Dollars) (sigh). This movie stars Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, and Spencer Stone as themselves. The film is based on a book known as “The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Soldiers,” which is based on a true story of three Americans who grew up together and find themselves discovering a terrorist plot while they’re aboard a train in France.

Now you may be wondering why you just read the word “sigh” in this post. Clint Eastwood is a beloved figure in Hollywood. I can’t say I’ve seen much of his work, but the man has proven himself to be talented as a director, as an actor, and as a producer. And in “The 15:17 to Paris,” the man comes off more like some American-loving guy than a filmmaker. I’m not trying to say that I hate America, I’m not trying to say that Eastwood can’t love America, but I’m saying that this film about three Americans who obviously were courageous, needs improvement.

This film is an hour and thirty-four minutes long, which is actually just a couple minutes shorter than “Sully,” another film directed by Clint Eastwood which is based on a true story. “Sully,” much like this movie, wasn’t as good as it would have, could have, and should have been. Although it was barely passable unlike this one. What worked in “Sully” is that the film is centered around the event people now refer to as the Miracle on the Hudson and the entire film focused on it in some way. The main event that really should be the nucleus of the movie this review is directed toward, which is the train fight, doesn’t feel like a major part of the picture. One of the other differences between this and “Sully” is that “Sully” has actors playing the lead roles and this movie doesn’t. I will be fair in saying that the three guys also written a book on this information, which eventually lead to this movie. The book even has mostly five-star ratings on Amazon. Although they had no involvement in the screenplay. Maybe if they wrote the screenplay and gave their own insight, maybe the movie will be better. Although that’s hard to say too because these guys are not professional screenwriters. This movie honestly becomes more and more of an enigma the more I think about it.

As mentioned, “Sully” mainly focused on an event that the lead character had major involvement in. This movie doesn’t. Not only that, but I didn’t even care about most of what happened in this film at all. The film starts off telling about how long the three major characters have been friends. They were troublemakers, they went to a Christian school, they didn’t have girlfriends, they enjoyed taking out some guns and playing War. That was somewhat intriguing. Then they all get older, the movie’s starting to lose some steam, but it’s still competent, and then we get to Europe and I ask myself, “What is happening?” This movie made me ask the same question I asked myself as I was forced to read “Pride and Prejudice” in school! Nothing happened! I will give the movie credit, at least it was technically more entertaining to me than “Pride and Prejudice,” but keep in mind, I’m not some girl who lived in 19th century Britain. Although this is a film DIRECTED BY CLINT EASTWOOD! I expect greatness from a movie like this! Once again, competently shot and entertaining in ways, BUT NOTHING EVEN HAPPENED!

I will also be fair and mention the hour and a half runtime again. Even if Clint Eastwood didn’t direct “The 15:17 to Paris” and it instead happened to be directed by Michael Bay, I’d probably have somewhat similar thoughts on both final products. Also, for the record, Eastwood didn’t do the screenplay. I’d have similar thoughts on both products because they’d still be barely long enough to qualify as a feature length film. Down below I have a description regarding feature length films taken from Wikipedia.

“According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the American Film Institute, and the British Film Institute, a feature film runs for at least 40 minutes, while the Screen Actors Guild states that it is 80 minutes or longer.

The majority of feature films are between 70 and 210 minutes long.”

I have never really watched too many films that are forty minutes long, but this a film that could easily be a lot shorter, although in the end, a number of viewers who went to see this film would probably skip on it because it’s too short to be a “movie.” Heck, I think a large number of theaters wouldn’t even accept the film if it were forty minutes! Although it has Clint Eastwood’s name on it so…

In my reviews it’s traditional that I provide a section I where I go into the major characters and some characters that perhaps stood out to me, but I’m not gonna do that here. Instead, I’m gonna introduce each character, and I’ll provide some actors that could potentially play the role these folks have played themselves.

Here are the three heroes from this movie. The first one we’re going to “talk about” is Alek Skarlatos (left). This guy could have been played by a number of people in my book. The first person that comes to mind is Matt Damon. They look somewhat similar physically, granted Damon’s twenty-two years older than Skarlatos, but I think a role like this can be pulled off. Another person I bet could pull this role off is Alden Enrenheich, and if this name doesn’t sound familiar to you, let me have you know he’s been in films such as “Beautiful Creatures,” “Blue Jasmine,” and “Hail, Caesar!.” He’s also going to be playing Han Solo in “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” which at this point is more like “A Star Wars Product” given material I’ve seen thus far. Another possible candidate to me is gonna be somewhat surprising and that is New England Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski. I know, weird, right? I will say though that he, just like some other notable sports stars such as Dave Bautista (Blade Runner 2049, Guardians of the Galaxy), Dwayne Johnson (Central Intelligence, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), and John Cena (Daddy’s Home 2, Trainwreck) had some acting gigs and it’s now a regular thing for them. Although I wonder if this kind of thing would have worked out because this movie went into production over the summer and certain announcements concerning it came in around preseason time. Also since I just mentioned John Cena, he probably would have done fine as this character given his physique.

Onto the guy in the middle, Anthony Sadler, his character is a–wait a minute, I don’t want to lose my sense of focus… The guy could have been played by Chadwick Boseman, who is playing Black Panther in, well, “Black Panther.” Sadler could have been played by Winston Duke, who will be playing M’Baku, another character in “Black Panther.” He could have also been played by John Boyega, who you may know as Finn in the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy. Yes, he’s British and this is an American character, but if you have seen John Boyega, he can do one hell of an American accent. Maybe Eastwood could have gotten J. Lee, who you may know for playing John LaMarr in Seth MacFarlane’s “The Orville.” Maybe Lakeith Stanfield would be a good pick. He was in movies such as “Selma” and “Get Out.” I can’t say I’ve seen much of his work, but he has proper looks for the role.

Moving onto Spencer Stone, he is the guy on the right of the photo which is located a couple paragraphs above where you are now. I’m not saying that this guy should play Spencer, but given one thing that happens in this movie, I wouldn’t mind seeing Russel Crowe taking on the role. I say this because there’s a meme-worthy “Gladiator” reference in this film. Remember how I said Rob Gronkowski would be a good pick for Skarlatos? If he had a buzz haircut, then he would probably be suitable for this role as well. Channing Tatum might be a good pick if he ever does a buzz to his hair too. Perhaps if Andrew Garfield did some shaving too his placement in this role could have been rather effective.

This movie is not exactly the end of the world, but it is lacking professionalism. Yes, you have a very experienced director helming it all, but you have a multiple actors who are playing themselves. Sure, this movie has its fair share of big names such as Judy Greer and Jenna Fischer, but this also has a screenwriter that hasn’t really done much of anything. Sure, experience doesn’t always equal skill, although it doesn’t change the fact that the level of skill put into this film wasn’t completely visible. Maybe the main trio wanted to play themselves for authenticity, but you have to consider, how skilled are they? They weren’t terrible in this movie, but their acting ability happened to be at a low level of some sort.

Some of you might be thinking, “Hey! Jackass! You’re forgetting about such instances like when Kumail Nanjiani played himself in ‘The Big Sick!'”

I didn’t. You’re missing the point.

You see, Kumail’s a f*cking actor.

In the end, this movie happened to be underwhelming as s*iiiiiit. If this movie lacked a tad more professionalism than what was already there, I might be a little more understanding and give a higher verdict, but this movie just got worse the more I thought about it. It’s difficult to care about the heroes, the filler is all over the place, and pretty much the only positives include the well directed action and the proper cinematography. Clint Eastwood, I’m sorry, I didn’t feel lucky, and this movie is a punk. A punk which stole my friend’s hard earned money! I’m going to give “The 15:17 to Paris” a 3/10. This is a hard movie to rate. I didn’t really know what to expect before going in since I haven’t really seen much in terms of marketing compared to some other films I know, but a movie with Clint Eastwood’s name attached to it should have been miles better than how this turned out to be. And sadly, this MIGHT POSSIBLY be the best movie, at least the best one that a number of people actually give a s*it about, to come out this weekend! What else is coming out this weekend you ask? The climactic (in more ways than you’d imagine) “Fifty Shades Freed,” and from Sony Pictures Animation, the absolute gods that brought you “The Emoji Movie,” live-action “Peter Rabbit!” Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon “Black Panther” will be out in theaters, and given my ambitions, I have plans to see that as soon as possible. I’m also working on another post which will be out soon, which includes my personal thoughts on the upcoming “Super Mario Bros.” film. Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “The 15:17 to Paris?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your least favorite Clint Eastwood film? He can do anything in it. He could act, he could direct, anything. Leave your comments below and maybe they might have more quality than “The 15:17 to Paris!” Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Fist Fight (2017): Three O’Clock High Focusing on Teachers

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“Fist Fight” is directed by Richie Keen and stars Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Horrible Bosses) and Ice Cube (Ride Along, xXx: State of the Union) and is about two teachers who challenge each other to a fight in a parking lot after school because one teacher caused another teacher to get fired.

Before going into this movie I thought a couple things. For one, I thought it would have a couple laughs at the very least, and two I thought from a pitch perspective, the guy pitching the movie thought it was a generic idea with a twist. I say this because in real life people challenge each other to fights after school and they’re typically students, not that I personally see it happen, but in the real world that’s what’s normal at the very least to the human mind. Not to mention, this has played out in movies and television before. One big example that comes to mind is “Three O’Clock High,” which based on recent conversations, is one of my dad’s favorite movies. I personally don’t like it as much as he does, which I find interesting because I gave it an 8/10 on IMDb. Looking back, I’d probably have to watch it again to see if I rated it correctly. And speaking of ratings, this movie is a little difficult to actually give a verdict to, because it is funny, it is entertaining, it does feel like what a comedy should be. Although at the same time, it feels like something we’ve seen before. Not just in terms of humor, but also in terms of story. Sure, I mentioned this movie is similar to “Three O’Clock High.” But if you’ve seen “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” and think to yourself real hard enough, a good portion of movie’s story takes the end of that movie and inserts it into this one as the main plot. I say that because in both movies, not only do you have people fighting each other, but the main character has to be at a kid’s event. Although the thing about “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” is that I cared more for the characters there. I will say “Fist Fight’s” particular kid’s event element, from memory, was something that I was able to care about perhaps slightly more than “Anchorman 2’s,” well, until it happened that is, because then it suddenly became cringeworthy.

Charlie Day plays the lead teacher in this movie. His name is Andy Campbell and he’s basically the wimp teacher. You can gather this through his speech patterns, his attitude, his words, all of those things. I imagine some people might have complaints with Day’s character because his lack of strength which might make him somewhat annoying, but to me, it just simply established his character. It didn’t really annoy me, in fact, it just helps showcase the differences between the teachers in this rivalry. Speaking of which, let’s talk about Ice Cube’s character.

Ice Cube plays Strickland, the strong teacher. Part of me wonders if the naming process was intentional for Cube’s character because “strick” sounds like “strict” and at times, that’s how Strickland comes off in this movie. From the first time you see Cube on screen, you know the dude means business. He takes no nonsense whatsoever, and if you see him in this movie he’s kind of an all-out jackass. I can imagine some teachers might relate to his jackassery because there is a scene where he takes a kid’s phone and throws it towards the wall causing it to break, but in the end, he’s still a jackass. Strickland is probably my favorite character in the movie along with Kumail Nanjiani’s character of Mehar, who was the school’s security guard.

This movie was funny in ways although unforgivably insane in other ways. Probably the most common joke that got drilled in my head because of this movie happened to be dick jokes. Granted, dick jokes can be funny, just watch “Deadpool” and you’ll see what I mean. Here though, they almost became rather repetitive. It’s not that they weren’t funny, it’s just that it was almost as if the movie was running out of ideas and it wanted to recycle jokes. There was also that cliche I really hate because it’s something that I always see coming, which is when someone randomly falls on the floor for the sake of a laugh. Granted, it wasn’t a fat person, but come on guys! We paid to laugh! WE DESERVE BETTER. I also mentioned that kid’s event earlier, the kid’s event is actually a talent show by the way, and there’s a part of the movie where you see this kid performing a very colorful song. I can understand some of the reactions, but the kid’s mother is actually rooting for this?! How do the kid’s parents approve of this?! I didn’t laugh, I almost checked out. This movie also has a couple moments, specifically from Charlie Day’s character, where he’d spend seconds repeating the same word over and over again. For example, he’s talking with Kumail Nanjiani’s character and for the sake of a joke, when Charlie Day randomly utters “s*it” Kumail Nanjiani says he’s in trouble because he cussed. So afterwards, Day keeps repeating “s*it” as if he was mocking Nanjiani. Speaking of awkward humor, one of the most awkward moments in the entire movie is when Andy Campbell runs into the character who plays his wife, I won’t go into detail, but it takes place during the day at a shopping plaza.

You may notice the character on the left of this image, that’s Christina Hendricks’s character who’s basically half Reba McEntire/half Judge Judy, Ms. Monet. I have one question. What the f*ck did she add to the movie?! Seriously! Why is she here?! I don’t remember anything redeeming about her character, I don’t remember what her purpose was in this movie. She tries to encourage Ice Cube in taking down Charlie Day at one point and when she does this, she refers to Day’s character as a pervert. OK, I’ve sat through the entirety of this film and I don’t see how it’s possible that Charlie Day’s character is perverted. Did she do this to make up a reason to get Cube going? What was the point? Maybe I’m missing something, but this may show the ineffectiveness of this movie, which is a problem in my book.

Also, I’ll say this, this movie is called “Fist Fight,” it’s about two teachers who are supposed to fight in a parking lot after school, but this movie has more in it than just all of that madness. There’s a story that’s introduced at one point of the movie’s runtime and is one of the final things you see resolved in the flick, and if you watch the film and the way the fight plays out, there’s a chance you might not care about the event that comes up afterwards.

In the end, “Fist Fight” may be watchable, but it’s not exactly great. There are better comedies out there, although on the bright side, it’s better than “Snatched,” another comedy which came out this year. While I may not fully like the movie I will say that I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a guilty pleasure for some people in the near future. Not to mention, I will say, as far as less than satisfactory movies go, this isn’t exactly boring. It’s A LOT less boring than other movies I’ve seen this year like the live-action “Ghost in the Shell” and “Logan Lucky.” However when it comes to stupidity, it might as well be fair to say it matches with this year’s “xXx: Return of Xander Cage.” I’m gonna give “Fist Fight” a 5/10. Thanks for reading this review. This weekend there’s a good chance I’m also gonna be watching “The Space Between Us,” which has been out for awhile now, I haven’t seen it yet, but I just picked up the Blu-Ray so there’s a good chance that a review is coming your way soon. I haven’t heard many great things about it, but sometimes you gotta take chances. I do want to see “Blade Runner 2049,” but I’m afraid you’re gonna have to a wait a bit longer for that review to happen. Stay tuned for more reviews, and I want to know out of curiosity, have you ever been in a fist fight? What was it like? Comment down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Dunkirk (2017): A Bloodless, Yet Realistic Depiction of War

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Now before we begin my review for “Dunkirk,” I want to remind you that this movie is playing in several formats all over the world. If you want more information on that or if you want help on deciding how or where you should see the movie, I’ve got a couple links down below. The first link is to a post I did about a month ago concerning this movie, and if you aren’t satisfied with that, the second link is to a Vox article on the same topic, and personally, even though the first link is my own work, I will admit I think the Vox article does a better job on showcasing all of its information and including all of the necessary details whereas I might leave certain things out or focus on certain ideas more than others, so make your pick. Nevertheless, both of these are informative reads and don’t worry, neither of these contain spoilers for “Dunkirk.” Anyway, on with the review!

MY POST: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/why-dunkirk-must-be-seen-on-35mm-film-70mm-film-imax-70mm-film-or-imax-laser/

VOX ARTICLE: https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/7/19/15985474/dunkirk-explainer-format-imax-digital-70mm-35mm-buy-ticket

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“Dunkirk” is directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Interstellar), one of my favorite directors of all time. The movie has characters played by Fionn Whitehead (Him), Aneurin Barnard (War & Peace, Citadel), Kenneth Branagh (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Henry V), Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises, Mad Max: Fury Road), Mark Rylance (The BFG, Bridge of Spies), Barry Keoghan (Rebellion, ’71), Jack Lowden (Denial, The Tunnel), Tom Glynn-Carney, and Harry Styles, which if you’re a dad and you have a teenage daughter, there’s a chance to your misfortune that she probably dragged you to a concert he has performed at one point.

This movie is based on a true story which took place during World War II. Basically, the entire movie revolves around a battle which the Allied soldiers of Britain, Belgium, and France are surrounded by the Germans. At this time, the Allies are trying to flee away from the beaches and harbor of Dunkirk, France.

If there’s one thing I was anticipating about this film, perhaps near the top of list of things to anticipate in this film, it was the experience itself. This movie was shot partially with IMAX cameras and the rest was shot with standard 65mm cameras. No matter where this movie was going to be shown, it was probably gonna end up looking beautiful based on footage I witnessed before going to see this film in the theater, but if it was shown on a high quality projector, it might just be like looking at something with a naked eye. Now I saw this movie at a theater which is over an hour away from my house, it’s an IMAX theater and it’s located in Providence, RI, and I went for a number of reasons. To see the film the way Christopher Nolan intended, to see the film on film, and possibly catch details that my friends seeing this movie at a standard theater like AMC, Regal, Showcase, Carmike, Warren, Cinemark, Alamo Drafthouse, or Santikos won’t see if they actually happen to check out this movie at a theater like that. As I’m writing this review, not only do I recommend you see this movie on film, preferably on higher quality film, if you see this in digital, unless it’s IMAX probably, especially laser, you may as well be missing out on a film experience to remember. Because this may be in my top 5 (wild guess) movie experiences, based on picture and sound, I’ve ever encountered. Regardless of what you think of this movie in terms of content or story, this will definitely be something to remember based on senses. Also, if you want a link to where you can find all of the theaters playing the movie in 70mm, including IMAX, here’s a link to where you can find them, and I’ll give credit to these guys because the image displayed above showing a format comparison, that’s something I found in this link.

http://nofilmschool.com/2017/07/christopher-nolan-dunkirk-70mm-release

Before going into the theater, I’ve seen a number of a reviews for this film, and one complaint I’ve often heard is the lack of characterization in this film. Now, THAT IS TRUE, there is a lack of characterization. But you know what? I don’t f*cking care! Because believe it or not, it actually works! Let’s face it, this is a film about war, this is a film about survival. There’s action throughout the ENTIRE movie, not to mention this is based on true events. I can imagine some people talked with others during this scenario a little bit, but I think there aren’t many times when someone makes friends or just has time to chit chat when they’re in the middle of a big, loud battle of a war. Don’t get me wrong, characterization can work in movies, but not every movie needs it. And there definitely have been times where it didn’t work. Just look at the “Star Wars” prequels! I got to say, this is one of those movies I really appreciate, even though I barely know anybody’s name or much of their background aside from which side they’re on.

This paragraph is gonna focus one of my biggest fears going into this film, and then I’m gonna drift off track a bit, then we’ll get back into gear. You may be curious, what is this big fear? Well, ladies and gentlemen, that fear happened to be, Harry Styles. If you don’t know who Harry Styles is, he’s actually never acted in a movie before. He’s done few things prior to “Dunkirk” in terms of acting, but ultimately, he hasn’t really done that much. What does he typically do? Well, if you are aware of the boy band, One Direction, Styles is actually a singer-songwriter for the band. I have NO INTEREST in One Direction, in fact I’m not a teenage girl who has posters of hunks in his room. I’m a teenage boy with posters of superheroes in his room. On the topic of teenage fangirls going into this movie, many of them, based on tweets I read, were looking forward to see Styles on the big screen. In fact, when they were watching this in the theater, apparently they thought to themselves, and this is, in writing, my very own Harry Styles fangirl impression: “OMG! GIVE THAT HUNKY HARRY ALL THE OSCARS! 😍💞” Based on this evidence before going to the theater, I honestly thought this was pure fangirling, although at the same time maybe they were complimenting his performance. I’m not insinuating every Harry Styles fangirl will like something just because Harry Styles is in it, maybe some do, I don’t know, but this did sound like pure fangirling. Now I will admit, I’m a fanboy in many aspects. I’m a fanboy of “Spider-Man,” “Star Wars,” “King of the Nerds,” Christopher Nolan, IMAX, JK Simmons, “Portal,” Howie Mandel, Curtis Armstrong, Robert Carradine, Gal Gadot, and many game shows. Although as a fanboy, believe it or not, I don’t automatically fully appreciate something just because there’s something specific attached to it. I might fully appreciate something if there’s something specific DONE RIGHT attached to it. What do I mean? For “Star Wars,” something I consider done right for example is the most recent film in the franchise, “Rogue One,” and something I consider wrong in the franchise is “The Phantom Menace.” For Gal Gadot, I think she’s sexy, I love her as Wonder Woman, and I will even say she partially saved “Batman v. Superman” from being a total catastrophe, although she was in the movie “Criminal” which came out in 2016, which was rather underwhelming, she was alright in it though.

Sticking with the original topic, how was Styles in this movie? He wasn’t bad at all, as far as his performance went, fangirls, this your warning to keep your cool, it didn’t stand out. I’m not complaining when I say that, but you also have to consider who else was cast in this movie. And I’m not saying they were better, OK, I actually am saying that, but that’s not my point. My point is that you have a lot of characters in this movie, and they were mostly white males with similar hairstyles. You may as well also consider the whole characterization thing I mentioned not long ago, the fact that Harry hasn’t done acting all that much, and performances across the board had many similarities. Besides, this movie revolved around men at war. By the way, out of all the Harry Styles look-a-likes in this movie, I gotta say Fionn Whitehead probably gave the best performance out of all of them. After seeing this movie though, I will say I wouldn’t mind seeing Harry Styles in more movies. His acting is certainly better than his singing. Then again, I’ll mention, I’M TEENAGE BOY, WHAT CAN I SAY? Although I gotta say there is a performance that stood out to me.

The guy on the left, Tom Glynn-Carney played a character in this film. It may be the red sweater talking, I don’t know, but I liked his performance. It felt really authentic, I felt like I was at a doctor’s office going into some medical procedure and the doctor said to me, “Don’t worry sir, you’ll be alright,” although in reality he’s about to shove some crap inside me I can’t even describe, and probably don’t even want to describe. I’m not saying that’s how his character was in the movie, it’s just what his character, performance-wise, reminded me of.

Since I’m bringing up fears I had going into this film on this post, I’ll bring up more. Another fear I had, is the fact that the film was PG-13. This wasn’t really a huge fear of mine, but it was still there. In films containing some sort of war such as “Saving Private Ryan” or “The Patriot,” you might expect some blood, therefore contributing to the R rating. Although then again “Lord of the Rings” has a lot of war in it and yet for what I recall that barely has any blood. In fact the extended edition of “Return of the King” is actually said to have the highest body count ever recorded in a movie. After seeing this movie, the sound, the effects, the atmosphere, and the performances all felt realistic. There wasn’t much blood, I did see some, but it wasn’t all that much and it wasn’t moving. By the way, if you watch this movie, look forward to the dogfights, seeing this in full frame IMAX from first person perspective is as the kids call it now, lit. I’ll even go as far as to say that these moments in first person are actually more fun to watch than the entirety of “Hardcore Henry,” and that movie was basically in first person from beginning to end!

Speaking of the film’s highlights, Hans Zimmer scored this film. If you ask me, it’s hard to choose a favorite movie composer, however, it is easy to say which movie was composed best out of all the ones I’ve seen. That to me, would be “Interstellar,” also directed by Christopher Nolan and composed by Hans Zimmer. Now this is the seventh project these two have worked on together, and yes, I’m also including “Man of Steel” even though Nolan didn’t direct it. He did write and produce it though. I’ve seen a lot of films these two have done and I’m impressed with a lot of their work. “Dunkirk’s” soundtrack, much like others I’ve heard from Zimmer, along with all the sound I heard in this movie, made my ears have orgasms! Is the music exactly hummable? I wouldn’t say so, however if I listen to it a few times, I might have it down. Although it was awesome nevertheless. This score also does something you might hear in the “Interstellar” and “Inception” scores. If you pay close attention when watching the movie or when listening to the soundtrack, you may hear ticking and tocking. It’s almost as if it’s saying that time is not on the side of the hero. Although when it comes to displaying time, “Interstellar” does that best out of these three scores, which is saying something since the “Inception” soundtrack has a song literally called “Time.”

One of my personal favorite one word movie quotes comes from “The Matrix,” and it’s Keanu Reeves’s character of Neo saying “Whoa.” And BOY was I uttering that throughout the movie. Although when I said “whoa,” it was more of a soft exclamation than a declaration. I mentioned I love how this movie was presented in terms of clarity and how it was shot, but I also love the sound. The first bullet that goes off in this movie, literally set me up for nonstop action and motivated me for what’s to come. The sound overall felt real, especially the bombs and planes. This is just a fraction of the incredible immersion I felt from this astoundingly audible and picture perfect film.

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In the end, I enjoyed the crap out of this movie. I don’t watch many war films, but this is one of those films, that was a visual experience. I’ve had many of these films which I came across throughout my lifetime. There’s “Interstellar” (YES, I’M MENTIONING IT AGAIN, I’M SORRY, IT’S THAT GOOD OF A MOVIE), “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Matrix,” “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Gravity,” “La La Land,” the entire “Lord of the Rings” saga, and “Terminator 2: Judgement Day.” There’s very little dialogue, you don’t really get to know the characters, and while many other movies or TV shows work because you get to know the characters, this movie works because you DON’T get to know the characters. The technical aspects in this movie AUTOMATICALLY make me want to run all the way back to the theater to see this again! This is one of the LOUDEST movies I’ve witnessed in my life! I want to buy the Blu-Ray, although if there’s a 4K edition I’ll probably snatch that. What else can I say except, Christopher Nolan has done it again! This is not my favorite flick from Nolan, but it is certainly some of his best work. I’m gonna give “Dunkirk” a 9/10. I’m giving this a 9 because this is a movie that I would HIGHLY recommend. Definite seal of approval from me! The characters aren’t developed, but I don’t care, because given the situations the characters are facing throughout the movie, it was enough for me to root for them. And I’ll say, this MIGHT, and I say MIGHT jump to a 10 later. It’ll probably depend on the movie’s replay value and if I pick up on any details I may have missed the first time I watched this movie, and part of me is willing to bet I did miss something. Also, PLEASE SEE THIS IN A THEATER IN THE LARGEST FORMAT POSSIBLE OR ON FILM. Don’t pirate this movie, don’t wait for Netflix, this film IS worth your money. Thanks for reading this review, as you can obviously tell, I really appreciated the movie, and right now I might put this in my top 5 best of the year. As far as upcoming reviews go, pretty soon I’m gonna try to see “Atomic Blonde” or “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.” Stay tuned for those reviews if I ever get around to them, and I hope I can get those out soon. …Wait a sec, I feel like I’m forgetting something… Oh right, that piece of crap. If you want me to see the horse’s ass I like to call “The Emoji Movie,” leave a comment with the hashtag #GOSCREWYOURSELFEMOJIMOVIE and while it’s not guaranteed I’ll see it, the chances of me seeing it will definitely increase the more users I see commenting. Leave a comment if that’s something that interests you.

Also, if you are interested in Christopher Nolan much like myself, or if you want to know my thoughts on his movies, be sure to check out my reviews for “Interstellar,” “Inception,” and “Insomnia.” The links are down below, check those out, and stay tuned for more reviews! I hope to see this movie again, hopefully in the theater, I know a theater close to my house is playing this in 70mm film and another is playing it in IMAX laser, we’ll see what happens! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“INCEPTION” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/07/19/inception-2010-beyond-your-wildest-dreams/

“INSOMNIA” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/insomnia-2002-a-movie-thats-better-the-second-time-watching-it/

“INTERSTELLAR” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/07/04/interstellar-a-beautiful-intense-breathtaking-brilliant-sci-fi-marvel/