Words on Bathroom Walls (2020): Inside Adam’s Head

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“Words on Bathroom Walls” is directed by Thor Freudenthal (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters) and stars Charlie Plummer (Lean on Pete, Looking for Alaska), Andy Garcia (The Godfather Part III, Ocean’s Eleven), Taylor Russell (Lost in Space, Escape Room), AnnaSophia Robb (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Because of Winn-Dixie), Beth Grant (The Mindy Project, The Artist), Molly Parker (Deadwood, House of Cards), and Walton Goggins (Django Unchained, The Shield). This film revolves a boy named Adam. He’s in his teens and he has schizophrenia. Throughout the movie we see him adapt to a new drug, a new “father figure,” and a new school. Quite a few major aspects of his life change here. We get to experience what Adam’s life is like as he deals with voices inside his head, and potential effects of everything surrounding him internally and externally.

This is one of the films playing on a major weekend for cinema. Theaters in many territories, including my own, around the United States are reopening for business. Keep in mind, this pertains to a lot of theaters, but most notably to chains like AMC, Regal, and Cinemark. On this special weekend, this is one of the films available for customers in addition to other new releases like “Unhinged” and a selection of throwback titles including “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Inception,” “Black Panther,” and more.

I’ll be honest with you, when it comes to “Words on Bathroom Walls,” it never really struck me fancy. I never had any real attachment to it prior to giving it a watch. The main reason why I watched this movie, is because an outlet gave me RSVP access to watch the film online before it came out. When it comes these teen movies, they’re usually not my thing. Romance is not my thing either. But I’ve enjoyed certain movies with one aspect, another, maybe both, plus it is nice to talk about new content. So here we are.

This film is based on a book written by Julia Walton. I’ve never read the book, and after seeing this movie. I can’t say I’m gonna read it. Again, this is not my genre. Also, movies are more fun! Sorry, books! Nevertheless, I enjoyed this film for what it was. A solid story about somebody dealing with many forced adaptations, both internal and external. I think the screenplay, when translated into a visual medium, was incredibly well-realized. There was a scene that made me feel like I was watching some superhero movie like “X-Men” or something as opposed to some typical teen drama. This was well-written, and when it comes to the directing done by Thor Freudenthal, I approve. At times it gets a little dark, but the snappy vibe never escapes. In fact, this guy, unknowingly, was a part of my childhood for a few years.

For those who don’t know, Thor Freudenthal directed the 2010 movie “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” I was ten years old when I saw that movie, and I will point out, unlike “Words on Bathroom Walls,” that film got me to read the books which it happened to be based upon, so I’ll give it credit where it’s due. I have not watched that movie in some time, I think my most recent viewing was in 2012. However, looking back, one of the standout aspects of that film, is how much it maintained a quick pace, while occasionally relying on aspects of imagination or narration. Some of that translates well to this movie while being a completely separate thing. But also keep in mind, the movies are made for completely different audiences, so it really is a good thing that one movie is not like the other.

Those positive thoughts I gave on the screenplay? Yeeeah… It’s not all rainbows and unicorns. Keep in mind, this review is being written by a straight white male whose favorite movies are in the action genre or similar fields. Some of the dialogue is a cringefest. There are a couple cheesy lines that I thankfully don’t have implanted in my head at the moment, but they were nevertheless cheesy. I wonder if the teen girl crowd will not care as I think they may be one of the core demographics for this film. Who knows? I never read the book, and I may be unwarranted to ask such a question… But, maybe it worked in the book? I don’t know.

But most of the screenplay does make up for its faults. There are some really exciting, gripping moments that grabbed my attention. There feels like there is conflict in just about every single scene. Something could end up going wrong, changing the main character’s life, or maybe make my head spin upside down.

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I will say though, I have mixed thoughts on the main character of Adam. On one hand, I did feel bad for him. This movie does a good job at highlighting the misfortune of schizophrenia, in which case I was able to attach myself to him. But there are like one or two moments where this guy sort of gave a creeper or stalker vibe. I won’t go into detail, I will let you as viewers see this for yourselves. Although I will give props to Charlie Plummer, who plays this lead role admirably. There’s not much I have against Plummer as a performer and I would like to see more from him. This is sort of based on looks, but I would be interested to see him in maybe a Seth Rogen comedy of some sort, he looks like he could fit right in if given the proper script and role. Maybe “Neighbors 3: The Next Generation” if they ever decide to make that? Just an idea. I’m not claiming it, I don’t have an outline for it, I’m just spitting it out there.

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I also really dug Taylor Russell’s character. Not only was I able to buy the relationship between her alongside Charlie Plummer’s character. But as an actress, I think Taylor Russell has a solid future ahead of her. She did a really good job at portraying this brainiac student who cares a lot about which direction she’s headed in life. This becomes more likable later in the movie when we meet her family, which I won’t talk about because I would rather have you see the movie for yourself.

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Although I have to say, there’s one character who could arguably be my favorite in the movie, and that is a priest played by Andy Garcia. This character goes by the name Father Patrick and he’s just incredible in this movie. Garcia brings his A game here! Every other line out of his mouth is so dry yet charismatic! I could listen to this guy narrate an audiobook version of The Cheesecake Factory menu! He’s that likable!

In the end, I enjoyed “Words on Bathroom Walls.” I think it’ll get some attention at the theaters once they reopen. For all I know, maybe fans of the book will enjoy this film. But I don’t think I’ll ever watch this movie again. Once again, I’m not in the core demographic, so I may not be the best guy to trust when it comes to reviewing this movie. However, I did enjoy it. It was never boring, never completely insulting to my intelligence, and I did have fun, which most of the time, is something I think many of us want to experience after watching a movie. If you have fun, then bada bing bada boom. I’m going to give “Words on Bathroom Walls” a 7/10.

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Thanks for reading this review! Just want to want to announce that depending on where you live, tickets for “Tenet” are already on sale, or they are just about to go on sale. Over the past couple months, I’ve been holding onto a post that I think could help certain moviegoers when it comes to deciding where to go see “Tenet.” Given how tickets are about to go on sale here in the United States pretty soon, my post related to this will be up around the same time tickets drop. Stay tuned for that post and if you want to see more great content from Scene Before, be sure to follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account, and check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Words on Bathroom Walls?” What did you think about it? Or, are you going back to the movies this weekend? Do you plan on going back soon? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Django Unchained (2012): Now You Have My Attention, Tarantino

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Before we begin this post, I want to announce that I officially purchased my opening night tickets for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which is the latest film from director Quentin Tarantino. I’m going to see the movie in 35mm and I will likely have my review up by the end of the opening weekend. But since that movie is not out yet, I am going to be tackling a couple more Tarantino films from the past including one of the latest additions to the director’s library, “Django Unchained.” I sat down last week, watched the film for the first time, and let me just say, any movie that has Robert Carradine (King of the Nerds, Revenge of the Nerds), chances are I will have some interest in checking out. Without further ado, let’s start the review!

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“Django Unchained” is directed by Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction) and stars Jamie Foxx (Ray, Collateral), Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds, The Green Hornet), Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, Inception), Kerry Washington (Scandal, Save the Last Dance), Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers, Snakes on a Plane), Walton Goggins (Justified, The Shield), Dennis Christopher (Breaking Away, It), James Remar (2 Fast 2 Furious, Sex and the City), Michael Parks (Red State, Planet Terror), and Don Johnson (Miami Vice, Nash Bridges). This film involves a dynamic duo, specifically a freed slave and German bounty hunter. The freed slave’s main purpose throughout the film is trying to reunite with his wife. To do that, they have to travel to a plantation in Mississippi.

I was pretty excited to watch “Django Unchained” for a number of reasons. As of watching “Pulp Fiction” and reviewing it, I instantly had Tarantino fever. “Django Unchained” had a decent cast including Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio. Plus, while he does not play a major role, Robert Carradine, one of the members of the legendary Carradine acting family, is in this movie. While I may not be invested in said family, Carradine is personally one of my idols simply for being host of “King of the Nerds,” one of the only good reality shows to ever exist. I was pretty much set for whatever Tarantino was going to deliver.

I just want to remind everyone that in the name “Django,” the “D” is silent. But as for my thoughts on the film, I almost feel that in a world where praise can make noise, my praise for “Django Unchained” would be pretty freaking audible. That is not to say that it is as good as “Pulp Fiction,” there are a couple issues I have with “Django Unchained,” including one or two that could be used in comparison to “Pulp Fiction.”

When I watched “Pulp Fiction,” I had my eyes glued to the screen for pretty much the entire picture. Part of me wants to say that for “Django Unchained,” but I’d be lying if I didn’t go without saying that the pacing for “Django Unchained” occasionally becomes a hindrance. The thing that kept me looking at the screen for “Pulp Fiction” was the execution of the dialogue between characters, not to mention actions in between. “Django Unchained,” much like “Pulp Fiction,” is a movie that is very cool to look at. It feels exactly how I would want a western-style film to be. But there are one or two points where I am thinking to myself certain scenes can be executed in a slightly different way for the sake of shortening the runtime or some other reason. Who knows? Maybe it’s one of those things that I will learn to appreciate over a second watch, but it’s hard to tell. It’s not like I became angry with the ways certain scenes went down, in fact, there is one scene in particular past the halfway point that goes on for a long time, and the execution there is brilliant. And that’s the thing about Tarantino that I have come to appreciate over the past couple of films I watched. There are a lot of movies out there that I would criticize for having extended scenes that go on forever, with boring dialogue. There are particular long scenes in this that may have dialogue that some directors and writers could probably leave behind. Tarantino however, seems to be the master when it comes to shoehorning in useless scenes. It’s mind-boggling that I as an audience member could be witnessing a moment of the film that is borderline unneeded, but because of what is being said, it feels like a cherry on top of a sundae!

As for the characters in “Django Unchained,” all of them are well written. In fact, there are some cases where I refuse to call them characters and instead call them “A+ dialogue generators.” I really felt for Jamie Foxx’s character of Django at certain points, and there are times where I managed to find him pretty kick-ass. And such kick-assery is established from the very first scene, which is carried through the entire film with ease. And as far as his chemistry with Christoph Waltz goes, it is taken to the point where I cannot even imagine anybody else playing either of their characters.

By the way, I love this scene.

Amerigo Vessepi: What’s your name?

Django: Django.

Amerigo Vessepi: Can you spell it?

Django: D-J-A-N-G-O. The D is silent.

Amerigo Vessepi: I know.

I dunno, there’s something about that which just randomly screams, “Hey! I kick ass and take names!” And not only do I have to give credit for Jamie Foxx for the way he delivered that line, but I think top credit has to go to Quentin Tarantino, because I imagine he wanted this line specifically in the way which it happens to be presented here. Granted, it is also an Easter egg because this movie was inspired by the 1966 movie “Django,” starring the guy opposite this movie’s “Django” in the conversation above. Specifically, Franco Nero.

Although, even though I said I cannot imagine somebody playing someone else’s character, there’s one exception, but the reasoning for it is kinda crazy. When I read the cast on the Blu-ray case for this movie, I almost thought KERRY Washington said DENZEL Washington, so I cannot currently get him out of my head!

Speaking of things I cannot get out of my head, part of me really wants to see this movie turned into a video game. Why? Because this movie at times is unnecessarily violent, but it is all the better for it. There’s one shootout towards the end in particular that was a giant bloodbath. Said shootout contains a number of satisfying kills, and I would probably would need to rewatch this film, or maybe that scene in particular, but it could end up being in my top 20 favorite action scenes. And it does not take away from any emotion that I had towards the characters, because Django would get himself into a less than satisfying situation that made me admire the other side for how they executed their actions (stylistically), but I was still able to latch onto Django as a character.

I also gotta give credit to the costume and makeup department, especially with the transformation of Samuel L. Jackson. Because in this movie, he does not completely look like Samuel L. Jackson and instead looks more like the stereotype for a retired badass NBA basketball player. Per usual, Jackson is charismatic, plays a well written character, and at this point I’m pretty much repeating myself, I do not see anybody else playing his character. It’s amazing what a little grey hair can do to make a role more convincing.

In the end, “Django Unchained” is a fun ride, and kinda bonkers. Depending on the next movie I watch from Tarantino, he could become my favorite screenwriter of all time, and while this was not as good as “Pulp Fiction,” this manages to have the same Tarantino flair that movie had which I appreciate. This is not to say that “Django Unchained” is a ripoff, but it is just another reason why I happen to admire Tarantino’s directorial choices. He’s edgy, creative, and badass. “Django Unchained” solidifies itself as one of the best films of its year and when it comes to other violent films out there, this makes every other film look like it was made for children. “Django Unchained” kicks ass! I’m going to give “Django Unchained” a 9/10!

Thanks for reading this review! For those of you who want to know my next installment in the Tarantino review series, it is going to be his latest film, specifically 2015’s “The Hateful Eight.” I wanted to see this movie in theaters, but I never got around to it because of competition. Let’s face it, I ended up seeing “The Force Awakens” four times in a matter of two months. Nevertheless, I am very excited, I enjoy a good mystery every once in a while, so hopefully this will be good! As for new releases, I’m still trying my best to get myself to go see “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” I’m wondering if it is gonna be this year’s “Deadpool 2.” It’s a movie that I want to see, one that I am trying extra hard to get myself to see, but for one reason or another, I almost failed to get around to it. We’ll see what happens! Be sure to follow Scene Before with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you ever watch “Django Unchained?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite unnecessarily violent film or scene from a film? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018): A Small Step Into the Ant Hill of Mediocrity

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“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is directed by Peyton Reed (Yes Man, Bring It On) and stars Paul Rudd (Dinner For Schmucks, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), Michael Peña (American Hustle, End of Watch), Walton Goggins (The Shield, The Hateful Eight), Hannah John-Kamen (Ready Player One, Killjoys), with Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns, What Lies Beneath), Laurence Fishburne (John Wick: Chapter 2, The Matrix), and Michael Douglas (Fatal Attraction, Wall Street). After the epic, destructive, game-changing events audiences have witnessed in “Avengers: Infinity War,” we might as well ask ourselves, what is next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe??? The answer… something much smaller. Take that last sentence in whatever way you want. In this newest addition to the series, we once again see Scott Lang, otherwise known as Ant-Man, having to deal with home life on house arrest, not to mention his own daughter. At the same time, he is recruited on a new mission alongside Hope van Dyne, who is also referred to as the Wasp, that requires an uncovering of secrets involving the past.

This movie is the sequel to 2015’s “Ant-Man,” one of my personal favorite movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As much as I might complain that some of the more recent Marvel movies try too hard with comedy to the point where it gets annoying, “Ant-Man” is quite possibly the funniest movie in its universe. Speaking of the MCU, this movie is the twentieth installment in the saga. Just a year ago I said there were fifteen of these since “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” came out. WOW. When it comes to “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” I honestly had low expectations for it. If you asked me where my expectations were in 2017, I would probably told you I’m really looking forward to “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” especially when you consider how much I enjoyed the first movie. And after seeing this movie, I’d say I had fun throughout my experience. Although I wouldn’t say I had enough fun to go see the movie again. While this is not my least favorite movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it certainly isn’t my pick to watch on a Friday night at home.

I kind of had a similar experience during this movie to what I had during my time watching “Uncle Drew.” I had a few laughs here and there, but it wasn’t enough. Granted, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” isn’t really a comedy, but those numerous laughs may have been one of the few highlights of my experience. Now with what I just said, I will state, with an enormous smile on my face, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is FAR SUPERIOR to “Uncle Drew.” “Uncle Drew” is not even a movie. To call “Uncle Drew” a movie is pretty much the same as calling Pizza Hut a restaurant. I’d even say calling “Uncle Drew” a movie is pretty much the same as calling Pizza Hut a fast-food restaurant! By the way, drink Pepsi! The Movie Reviewing Moron says that Pepsi is good for you and will help you live longer! Therefore, it just makes sense that Pepsi is good for you and will help you live longer! Also, be sure to enjoy that nice, cool, refreshing Pepsi, while reading my review for “Uncle Drew,” the most ambitious Pepsi commercial of all motherf*cking time!

UNCLE DREW REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/07/02/uncle-drew-2018-worst-pepsi-commercial-ever/

In all seriousness, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” qualifies to me as a movie. I never said however that it qualifies as a good movie. There are elements of goodness sprinkled throughout. It has some decent performances for the most part, especially from Michael Douglas. Some of the action is rather creative and fun, although personally it can’t beat the climactic fight during the first “Ant-Man.” The effects in this movie are really good, and you get to see a lot of them, especially when you consider how big of a role the quantum realm plays. All of the positive elements however are unfortunately clashing with another side of negative elements, ultimately leading to what I would consider a relatively average or mediocre experience.

I know that in comic book movies, suspending your disbelief is not only natural, but expected to the tenth degree. There were many moments where I was able to do that. I almost lost it on a building having wheels, but OK, it could be stranger. There is one moment however towards the end involving Ant-Man trying to jump over a vehicle, that almost looked fake as hell that some student who hasn’t even graduated high school could have created it!

I won’t get too much deeper into that, although I do want to talk about the characterization here. For the most part, everyone on the hero side seems to have some sort of dimension to them. There aren’t many complaints I can point out as far as that side is concerned, but when it comes to our villain side, you have multiple plot lines going on including one involving the security that’s supposed to keep Ant-Man inside his house, and another involving the main antagonist of Ghost. When it comes to Ghost, there wasn’t really much to her character (at first), she came off to me more like a bad guy who just wanted to do bad guy things. She didn’t have the depth or charisma that some of the other recent Marvel villains had. And just when I thought we were starting to get an epic streak of fantastic MCU villains (starting with Guardians 2), we’re suddenly back to this bulls*it. I know a good number of people weren’t particularly fond of Yellow Jacket from the first “Ant-Man,” but to me, Ghost made Yellow Jacket look amazing. I will say towards the end of the film, Ghost improves slightly, but for the most part, she was a lackluster villain.

Let’s talk about Ant-Man here. When it comes to his story, he is placed on house arrest. That is because his actions during the events of “Captain America: Civil War” was enough to be considered a crime. This prevents Ant-Man from exploring the outside world, which allows him to spend more time trying to entertain his daughter in creative ways, and master songs in “Guitar Hero.” I gotta say one of the biggest positives I’ll give Paul Rudd when it comes to his interpretation of Ant-Man, and maybe I should give kudos to the writing and directing as well, is how well encapsulated the chemistry between him and his daughter is. I think that is definitely one of the best parts of this entire movie. Seeing the two go through a cardboard maze at the start of the film seemed to capture that needed sense of togetherness. When it comes to Rudd’s overall performance, I thought it was good for the most part, but there is one scene in particular, where he was rather mother-like, which kind of felt out of place.

Alongside Ant-Man, you of course have the Wasp, played by Evangeline Lilly. I think most of the cool stuff you see with her character, maybe except a few lines of dialogue some might find funny, is already revealed in the promotional material, which ultimately diminishes her character in a sense. Although she was fun to watch in certain action scenes and I totally buy Evangeline Lilly as her character. Her chemistry with Ant-Man, while not exactly a shining star in the movie, doesn’t exactly disappoint.

I already talked about the main antagonist and I do consider her to be one of the major flaws of the movie. When it comes to other problems, I’m gonna blame it on the pacing. I am eighteen years old. Once I walked out of the theater, entered my house, and proceeded to my bedroom to start cranking out this review, I imagined myself as if I were a ten year old kid going to see this movie. After all, a lot of ten year kids probably like superheroes, and maybe if I were that ten year old kid, I might walk out of the movie saying I enjoyed myself, but that’s most likely to be due to seeing superheros on moving pictures projected onto a giant screen. Even if I wanted to fall asleep, I’ll still say I had a good time. My brain can’t process what a bad movie is. Heck, I went to see three live-action “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movies in theaters as a kid and enjoyed them. What kind of person was I? Hint, it rhymes with stupid! When breaking down this movie, I couldn’t help but think to myself that maybe all the pieces in there made sense. But maybe it was a tad more convoluted than it should have been. The pacing overall just felt like speed bumps, and I especially say this specifically when it comes to the halfway point. At one moment you’re kinda sorta enjoying yourself… maybe. Then boom! The boredom kicks in.

And honestly, part of me feels like this movie is not going to be stuck in my memory as much as some of the other Marvel movies unless I watch it again. This might actually be the most forgettable Marvel movie I’ve seen since “Thor: The Dark World,” and that is saying something because that movie is S*IT. This film is nowhere near as objectively terrible as “Thor: The Dark World.” Sure, the villain here is pretty bad, but I still think the villain from “The Dark World” is probably the worst in the MCU. Let’s also not forget (no pun intended) how hard this film tried to be funny. When I watched that movie for review purposes, I might have only laughed twice. Here, I laughed a lot more than I did there. In fact, one thing that surprises me about “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is how much funnier I found it to be than “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” And as I think to myself, I believe the reasoning comes down to one word I had going into “Guardians 2” but lacked for “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” Expectations.

If it were the beginning of 2017, I would have watched the first trailer (not the teaser, but the trailer) to “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” multiple times. I was really looking forward to that film, and part of me thought it was actually going to surpass the original movie because it looked HILARIOUS. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t even that fun. I mean, it was trying to be, but I didn’t feel like I was having fun. I was instead feeling like I was going through a two and a half hour long toy commercial for Baby Groot with attempts at humor that seemed to land with most of the audience, but not me. I will have you know, I watched that movie twice, and the second time I laughed more than the first one. Maybe I was in a better mood the second time because I wasn’t sitting towards the end of the front row of a crowded IMAX, but it just didn’t impress me. Also, my original 6/10 score went down to a 5/10. The first “Ant-Man” was a movie that I thought was one of the funnier ones in the MCU, but the thing about the first “Ant-Man” is that it’s not really marketed to be comedic. OK, maybe it technically is, but it’s more focused on delivering action than anything else. It’s not the full scale balls to the wall action-comedy that “Guardians of the Galaxy” is. Both “Ant-Man” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” are pretty hilarious at times, and you do get the light vibe you might find in certain comedies in the marketing for both films. Although for both films, I didn’t exactly come for the comedy, I came for the action and superhero stuff. This might make the comedy somewhat funnier because you as an audience member don’t expect humor all that much. In fact, this may be why I find “Avengers: Infinity War” to be one of the funniest movies in the MCU and possibly the funniest comic book movie ever made. In a movie that is advertised to be super dark and the exact opposite of happy-go-lucky, a part of you might come in and expect some lightheartedness or comedy to take a back seat. No way hosay! When it’s delivered in that movie, it totally blends in with the moment despite having a story that is meant to be dark. Maybe it’s also because I as an audience member have been following the storyline for the MCU for a long time therefore allowing me to care more about everyone in the film, but it’s just an interesting blend of light and dark. Also, sticking to “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and expectations, let me just remind you that those were something which I lacked prior to and during my experience of watching the movie.

Before we get into my verdict there is one thing I want to go over, and that is the end credits. There is a mid-credits scene and a post-credits scene. The mid-credits scene is more important if you’re a follower of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its overall story. In fact the post-credit scene is probably so pointless that it only exists for the sake of putting on that “Such and such will return” thing at the end of every Marvel movie, but in case you feel that end credits scenes are a necessity to sit through, this is your notification to stay for them. One more thing, I think personally that the mid-credits scene might be better than the entirety of this movie. I felt more emotion (maybe for the most part) for everyone in that scene than I did during “Ant-Man and the Wasp” itself, so that says something right there.

In the end, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is not really up to the quality I would expect for a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. It’s not to say that “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is an abomination, but it’s certainly not a movie I would think about for days. I thought it was more fun than “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” but keep in mind, I had high expectations for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” While there are definitely movies that I thought would blow more than “Ant-Man and the Wasp” would this year, I didn’t think this particular film would be all that great. The trailers underwhelmed me, and it just didn’t have the same epic feel that the first movie’s trailers provided at various points. Would I recommend “Ant-Man and the Wasp?” Despite having some fun here and there, I wouldn’t say rush out immediately, but I do recommend the mid-credits scene. That’s just me though. I’m gonna give “Ant-Man and the Wasp” a 6/10. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’m gonna have my review up for “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation,” I just watched the movie for the second time and I’m gonna be going over my thoughts on it in preparation for the franchise’s new movie coming out on July 27th, “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Ant-Man and the Wasp?” What did you think about it? Or, which of the two “Ant-Man” movies do you like better? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Tomb Raider (2018): A Step In the Right Direction For Video Game Movies

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“Tomb Raider” is directed by Roar Uthaug and stars Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft. If you are not familiar with “Tomb Raider,” it’s a video game franchise that started back in 1996 and is still making games today. You play as Lara Croft throughout an action-adventure and puzzler. This is also not the first “Tomb Raider” movie. There have been two before this one starring Angelina Jolie, but that series didn’t last. This movie is more similar to the 2013 “Tomb Raider” game as opposed to the oldest ones. The plot is that Lara is the daughter of an adventurer, and unfortunately, this adventurer has disappeared. Now, Lara must push her own limits once she finds herself on the island where the adventurer, otherwise known as her father, disappeared.

I’ll remind all of you reading right now that this is a video game movie. In Layman’s terms, a movie you should usually avoid. People for years and years have been making several video game movies, and while I can’t really say I’ve seen all of them, heck, I can only say I’ve seen a few, I can say that one of them turned out to be my least favorite film of all time. That “film” by the way, is the 1993 “Super Mario Bros.” movie. When it comes to video game based films, the “Tomb Raider” franchise is no stranger to this. It already had a couple of movies out, but now it has been redone with a different actress playing the main character. I’ve actually seen bits and pieces of “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” in various YouTube videos and on TV. From what I’ve seen, I know it’s objectively dumb. But if you have the right mindset, it might come off as pure fun. That movie and its sequel seem to have some similarities to the older “Tomb Raider” games, but this “Tomb Raider” film seems to relate more to 2013’s “Tomb Raider” and is a little more serious. This movie feels more like “Wonder Woman” as opposed to say… I dunno, “xXx.” Does the seriousness work in this movie? I gotta say it does. And speaking of things working, I gotta say this movie as a whole works. I didn’t expect this movie to be as good as it was AT ALL. The teaser poster released months back looked terrible, the first trailer looked like s*it, and I was kind of skeptical about the girl who played Lara Croft. I mean, my fondness for her grew over time as I found out she plays Ava in “Ex Machina,” but leading up to this film’s release, I was skeptical of the turnout. But you know what? The quest is complete! We have an above average video game movie! Out of all the video game movies I’ve seen, this is the first I’m giving an above average score to. No you fools, I’m not counting “Tron” or “Wreck-It Ralph,” those were original!

Let’s talk about Alicia Vikander in this movie. I’ll mention once again that this movie is more like the 2013 “Tomb Raider” so with this character, you don’t really see her slinging guns at giant robots or running on walls while on wires, you just see her on an adventure. While I can’t fully compare this film and “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” side by side, Vikander’s character is a bit more heroic and warrior-like as opposed to Angelina Jolie’s character who might as well be a rock and roll superstar badass chick who makes you accept the fact that she can do literally anything. Here in this movie, you are given moments where you can emotionally attach yourself to Lara. You see her struggles, you feel her pain, and you root for her in just about any circumstance. Also, based on what I recently said, I will bring up that I’m NOT saying I DON’T think this movie’s Lara is a badass, but I’m also saying she’s a different type of badass. I’m not giving what exactly can be called a negative connotation to either character, but Vikander’s the type of badass that is relatable whereas Jolie’s the type of badass you can’t help but wonder what the hell is going to happen.

Another standout character to me in this film is played by Walter Goggins (The Shield, Justified) he goes by the name Mathias Vogel and if you played the 2013 video game you might be familiar with him. There was a moment I was watching the movie and I was reminded of something. You know how every once in a while I do a countdown on a certain topic? One of the ones I’ve planned to do for a long time is my most hated characters in movies. If I actually get around to doing that, Vogel might be a possibility. I can’t say he’ll make it for sure, but based on his attitude and some the s*it he does in this movie, major points goes to him on that, making him climb up the charts.

Now once again, this is a video game movie, meaning it has problems. And let’s face it, this movie’s boring. I don’t mean that from beginning to end, but there are various points where the movie felt like just dragged. I didn’t give a crap about what was going on, part of me didn’t even know what was going on, and I kind of didn’t want to know what was going on. Gosh, it’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” all over again!

Also speaking of video games, depending on what you play, you might think of those at times being these epic adventures where you can basically accomplish anything, even if it’s just by the smallest of seconds. This movie’s kind of like that too. You almost have to suspend your disbelief and just let certain things go at times. If you don’t play a lot of video games, you probably don’t know what I’m talking about. Just imagine someone trying to get from one side to the other and there’s no bridge or walkway. So you have to go back, and run as fast you can to the edge of the side you’re on, with the slightest amount of hope that you’ll make it to the other side. It looks like you’re gonna fail, you’re going to fall down a neverending abyss, but with your own two hands, you make contact with the edge of the other side, and you’re struggling to actually “make it over.” It’s just a climb away. With all your might, you climb! It takes ten seconds of your strength and willpower, but you have achieved the right to fight! This movie is like that sometimes. I was able to let it slide because for one thing, it’s based on a video game and video games are like that. But also because there’s a certain limit in my head where I can’t suspend my disbelief any longer, and the movie fails to reach that. So yeah, this movie is based on a video game, and it can technically be called a movie. Awesome! F*cking finally! The umpteenth time’s the charm, but it happened!

In the end, I’d watch “Tomb Raider” again. Some part of my brain would want to give it a 10/10 just because of what it stands for in the video game movie genre. Not only that, but it also exceeded my expectations. Although I’ve got to be real with you, if I give this movie a 10/10 my pants would be on fire. I’m a critic, not a charity operator. Having watched this, I was engaged, I was intrigued, I was connected to the characters, I thought the people behind this film did a good job at adapting the source material to the screen, and I also thought Vikander did an alright job as Croft to my utmost surprise. So with that being said, I’m going to give “Tomb Raider” a 6/10.

One last thing before we close this out, long before this movie released. There was actually speculation all over the place that the role of Lara Croft would end up going to a different actress than Vikander, specifically Daisy Ridley, AKA the “Star Wars” franchise’s Rey. When I heard about this news, I was in instant approval mode. In fact it’s not just me, other people, including “The Force Awakens” co-star John Boyega thought Daisy Ridley would have made a great Lara Croft.

According to an article from The Hollywood Reporter, it turns out that John Boyega has played the 2013 “Tomb Raider” reboot, happened to be aware of the project, and texted Daisy Ridley saying that she could have a real shot at playing Lara if they decide to base the upcoming “Tomb Raider” film on the 2013 remake game.

Daisy Ridley also admitted that at the time she had been in talks to play the character. Although there was no confirmation. There were some loose ends that needed tying up involving the film. The script still needed to be finished for example. When I found out Daisy Ridley wasn’t going to be the next Lara Croft, I was a bit disappointed. Seeing her killer performance in “The Force Awakens” made me think NOBODY ELSE could be Lara Croft. Having seen this movie, not to mention a couple of “Star Wars” flicks with Ridley as the lead role, I guess I can say to myself that I may have just been complaining a tad more than necessary. After all, if Ridley gotten the role, I could have either overhyped the movie just because she’s in it, or have been disappointed just because I mainly see her as Rey. I like Alicia Vikander as an actress, and I ended up highly appreciating her in “Ex Machina,” but if I were on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” and you asked me who Vikander was in 2016, I probably would have just been stumped or in need of a lifeline. This movie ultimately continues to make me envision a bright future for Vikander, and I hope she gets some more good roles.

Thanks for reading this review! This week I’ll have a review up for “Mission: Impossible” and hopefully I’ll be able to see “Ready Player One” in a few days. If I do see “Ready Player One” in a few days,  I hope it’s great, and maybe I’ll prove to my pals who apparently think this movie’s going to be s*it dead wrong on the nose. Then again, they didn’t read the book. Stay tuned for that review, my “Mission: Impossible” review, and whatever other content this movie reviewing moron can give you. I want to know, did you see “Tomb Raider?” What did you think about it? Did you see the Angelina Jolie “Tomb Raider” films? Did you play any of the games? Leave your comments down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!