Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is Getting the IMAX 70mm Treatment and a History of Star Wars in IMAX!

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! If you read my blog, you may already know I loved the movie “Dunkirk” when I saw it. And I did a few posts on it, not just a review, but mainly posts dedicated to how it was presented. You may also know I went to see the movie in IMAX 70mm film. The clearest format a movie’s ever been presented in. There were 37 locations presenting the film in this format as a special engagement. There was also IMAX laser, which is a high quality digital experience, but it’s still not as clear as IMAX 70mm. I went to the one in Providence, RI, and for what I can tell, that projection probably won’t be used for awhile for feature length films. After all, I checked the Wikipedia page labeled “List of IMAX DMR films” and none of them say that any of the future films on there are shot with IMAX cameras, which plays a prime factor into which IMAX movies get to be played in the 70mm format. Now, there are ones that are being shot with IMAX digital cameras such as “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Mission: Impossible 6,” but those, based on experience, won’t be in 70mm. If it weren’t for one other movie, “Dunkirk” would have been the only feature length film released in 2017 to get the 70mm treatment. That other movie by the way, is the upcoming “Star Wars.”

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Before going any further with this 70mm IMAX mumbo jumbo, let’s talk about the movie itself. You may already be aware this is the eighth installment in the main saga of “Star Wars” movies, based on what I’ve seen, this takes place after “The Force Awakens” and I’m willing to bet it starts off right where that movie stopped, on the island where Luke and Rey are standing in front of each other as Rey is holding Luke’s lightsaber. This is supposed to be the second installment of the latest trilogy of “Star Wars” films, which is supposed to bridge the gap between “The Force Awakens” and the untitled “Episode IX,” which will be released in 2019. As this episode bridges the gap, Rey continues her adventure as she receives training from Luke Skywalker, and others give it their all, continuing to take down the First Order.

For the record, this is not the first time a “Star Wars” movie has been shown in the IMAX format. In the main saga, episodes II and VII have both been in the format, and the spinoff, “Rogue One” has also been presented in IMAX. Also, every single one of these movies has been shown in IMAX 70mm, which was the only option for “Episode II” because that’s the only projection technology IMAX used until 2008, although there was a projector that was used for some time that supported the format (first used after Episode II), but the screen was smaller and different. Fun little fact about “Episode II,” this was the second movie to be shown in IMAX as a film to go through IMAX’s DMR process, which is the process that pretty much every feature film goes through before it’s released in IMAX. Also it was first shown in IMAX starting November 1, 2002, which is months after the movie’s official release in theaters. “Episode VII” was shown in IMAX, including a limited number of locations that played it in 70mm. It was even one of the earliest films to be shown in IMAX laser. “Rogue One” was shown in IMAX too. Fun fact about that, for those who went to see it in IMAX 15/70mm or IMAX laser, they got to see a 6 minute preview of “Dunkirk” which covered the entire screen. Part of me wonders if that was an intention someone thought of long ago or an ultimate afterthought, and you’ll understand why I say that in a second.

When it comes to “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones,” that was shot digitally, shooting IMAX footage in movies wasn’t even a thing yet. By the way, that started in 2008 with “The Dark Knight.” Digital does have some perks when it comes to shooting, for example, the storage for your video isn’t as tacky because instead of film, you have a memory card. Although certain directors prefer film. Directors like Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, The Hateful Eight), Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, The Master), and Christopher Nolan (Interstellar, Inception). Also, George Lucas, director of “Attack of the Clones” along with the other two prequels actually pretty much kicked off the rise of digital projection with “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” one of my least favorite movies of all time. People thought it was amazing at the time, but looking back, the world is increasingly becoming more into film, which I find amazing because digital is at pretty much every theater now.

“Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” was the first movie in the series since “Episode I” to be shot on film. This was shot in three formats, digital (aerial plates) 35mm film and IMAX film. Most of the movie was presented in 35mm, which was in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1. Also if you saw the movie in a format that wasn’t IMAX, the aspect ratio would remain that way for the entire picture. This was also how the DVD/Blu-Ray release played out as well. In IMAX 70mm and laser, the aspect ratio would change to 1.43:1 for some time, or if you’re watching in IMAX digital, the aspect ratio would change to 1.90:1. Although this was for one scene only, specifically the scene where Rey, Finn, and BB-8 escape from Jakku. Due to this the total time spent showing IMAX footage ultimately came out to 5 minutes, which is significantly lower than other films shot in the IMAX format.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” was the first live-action spinoff in the franchise released in theaters, and one thing I noticed is that when it comes to movies released in IMAX 15/70mm, this one is different than other ones released over the past few years. Aside from “A Beautiful Planet,” this is the first movie since “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” to be released in IMAX 70mm that wasn’t shot with IMAX cameras. Although UNLIKE “A Beautiful Planet” and LIKE “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” this movie didn’t cover the entire screen. However, I will say the screen was fully covered before the movie. That’s because, as mentioned before, there was an extended preview for “Dunkirk” shown exclusively in IMAX 70mm and laser. Also from what I gathered, “Rogue One” was shot using an Arri Alexa 65, which is a digital camera, but it’s also one that is higher in terms of quality than other digital cameras used in certain movies including the one George Lucas wanted to use in the prequels.

Now with this out of the way, let me just blurt something at you here. I don’t know how much footage was shot in the IMAX format for this movie. Wikipedia suggests that the IMAX camera was used for certain scenes. As for the rest of the scenes, the same camera used for “Rogue One,” the Arri Alexa 65, is used here, and you also have a Panavision film camera which shoots in 35mm film. I’ve seen many films in IMAX, in 70mm, digital, and laser, and I usually have an enjoyable experience, some better than others, but still. When it comes to IMAX 70mm film, I’d say that it’s worth the ticket price just for getting the highest quality image possible. Based on what I’m hearing, I don’t think it’ll be as worth it as “Dunkirk” was but I’d still say go for it, after all, “Star Wars” is a movie that’s made for audiences to go see together, and I think the best way to do that is by going to an IMAX 70mm theater. If I were a filmmaker, I would, depending on the movie I’m making, want it to be IMAX 70mm friendly. I want it to be big, bold, beautiful, the three b’s.

Another thing you should consider is the 2D vs. 3D option. If you ask me, I usually don’t care, 2D is cheaper, but 3D at times can be a fun ride. If you choose to see the new “Star Wars” in IMAX 70mm, 2D is going to be your only option. I don’t really think that’s a bad idea considering the size the movie is when projected on film and having to deal with what technically qualifies as two movies can be a hassle. Not to mention, there are IMAX film projectors that can’t even do 3D. I even looked at a website called lfexaminer.com, and there are only two theaters this is playing at in the IMAX 70mm format that can handle 3D.

One more thing to keep in mind that a good number of these locations are IMAX domes. These are also referred to as Omni Theaters and OMNIMAX. These theaters usually never play feature films, you’re more likely to find those on straight IMAX screens. OK, not completely straight, they do have an intentional slight curve, but you get my point. I have never seen a feature film in an IMAX dome so I don’t know what it’s like, however I have watched IMAX documentaries there, which were fun experiences that covered the whole screen. And keep that in mind, while IMAX often plays movies that will make you see black bars on the screen, kind of like some stuff you might watch at home, it might be weird in an IMAX dome. This is because the dome is basically a fish eye, making the curve a lot less slight than other IMAX screens. You’ll still get amazing sound and clear projection, but it’s something to keep in mind. Also, if you don’t like looking up at screens instead of directly at one, this isn’t your theater.

Also, I’ll restate the fact that when “Dunkirk” came out, it was playing at 37 locations in IMAX 15/70mm. That is rather small, and believe it or not, it is more than the total locations playing the movie in laser, which happened to be 25 by the way according to IMAX’s website. I’m not sure how many laser locations have been established since July, but the amount of laser locations playing this movie is likely to be small. Guess what? The 70mm locations are smaller than what “Dunkirk” had! When “Dunkirk” was available for the IMAX 70mm treatment, people from multiple countries such as the US, the UK, Australia, and Thailand could view it the way director Christopher Nolan intended. According to IMAX, “The Last Jedi” will be available in 11 theaters in the 15/70mm format, and if I feel the need to, I’ll give you some information as to what type of theater it is if you’re interested. Just a hint, if you see me listing whether the theater is capable of 2D or 3D, the theater has a flat screen.

US THEATERS:

ALABAMA:
IMAX Dome, McWane Center: Birmingham
IMAX, US Space & Rocket Center: Huntsville (Dome)

CALIFORNIA:
Hackworth IMAX Dome, The Tech Museum: San Jose

CONNECTICUT:
IMAX, Maritime Aquarium: Norwalk (2D)

INDIANA:
IMAX, Indianapolis State Museum: Indianapolis (3D, also does certain films in IMAX digital)

IOWA:
Blank IMAX Dome, Science Center of Iowa: Des Moines

MISSOURI:
OMNIMAX, St. Louis Science Center: St. Louis

NORTH CAROLINA:
The Charlotte Observer IMAX Dome, Discovery Place: Charlotte

PENNSYLVANIA:
Tuttleman IMAX, The Franklin Institute: Philadelphia (Dome)

TEXAS:
Omnitheatre, Fort Worth Museum of Science & History: Fort Worth

UK THEATERS:
London Science Museum: London (3D)

As you can see, not only do we have a small amount of theaters listed here, but there’s only one outside the US! Just like I said before, the total number of theaters listed here in fact comes out to 11. So the number of IMAX 70mm presentations for “The Last Jedi” is less than the number of seasons of shows like “Criminal Minds,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Supernatural,” and “NCIS.” By the way, all of those shows are still on! If you live close to one of these theaters, I gotta say, you’re so lucky. The closest one to me is the at Maritime Aquarium, which is almost 3 hours away from my house in Massachusetts. Just for the lack of theaters available, I’d say this is worth experiencing just to say you saw the movie in this format. Now I’m going to see this movie opening night in standard 3D, if I like this movie enough, I’d probably make an attempt to go to Maritime. Also, if you are a movie buff, depending on what you’ve done under said label, you might be interested to know there’s a restaurant right near the theater called Johnny Utah’s. Why do I bring this up? Well if you ever viewed the movie “Point Break” which came out in 1991 starring Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves, that was the name of the character played by Keanu Reeves. Just to clarify, when I say restaurant, I actually mean club. They have a mechanical bull, it’s very loud, and it’s not exactly kid friendly. Oh yeah, and it has two stars on Yelp, totally worth a trip amirite!

Will I see “Star Wars Episode VIII” in IMAX 70mm? I’m not sure yet. I’ve got to consider the time it takes to get to the theater it’s playing at and how much I even like the movie upon first watch since I already have tickets for it at another theater. Nevertheless, if you do plan to see “The Last Jedi” in the clearest way possible, consider this post a recommendation. Also, if you missed “Dunkirk” in IMAX 70mm I’m willing to bet this will absolutely make up for it. Thanks for reading this post! Next Monday, I’m going to have my review for “Thor,” which is going to start off my series of “Thor” reviews leading up to “Thor: Ragnarok.” Not really much else is happening, I might watch something and if it has some significance I’ll review it. So stay tuned for more great content! Also, I have a few questions. Are you planning to see “The Last Jedi” in IMAX 70mm? Are you seeing “The Last Jedi” in general? If you are seeing “The Last Jedi,” where are you seeing it? Leave your responses in the comments! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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Blade Runner 2049 (2017): Is the 35 Years Worth the Wait?

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“Blade Runner 2049” is directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Arrival), stars Ryan Gosling (La La Land, Crazy Stupid Love) and Harrison Ford (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark), and is the sequel to 1982’s “Blade Runner” which was directed by Ridley Scott (Gladiator, The Martian), a movie considered by many people to be one of the greatest sci-fi films, if not one of the greatest films, ever made. “Blade Runner 2049” takes place in the year of 2049 in the US state of California, the plot is that there’s a young blade runner (Ryan Gosling) who discovers a long-kept secret which leads him into tracking down former blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who’s been out of sight for three decades.

When it comes to the original “Blade Runner,” it’s a movie I haven’t actually watched until fairly recently. For the record, when I say that, I’ll have you know I didn’t even watch the original version of the film, which by the way the version I watched which isn’t original, is the one I viewed five times at this point. I say that because if you know this movie’s history, you’d be aware of how it has received endless cuts. In 1982, they started out with a movie that not many people saw but was on the rise to prove its influence to film. I mean, seriously! If you look at films and material which came out after it, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. Just check out “Ghost in the Shell,” “The Matrix,” the “Star Wars” prequels, “The Fifth Element,” all of these just look at them and don’t tell me you don’t see a bit of “Blade Runner” in them. The redo of the TV series “Battlestar Galactica,” according to the producers, cited “Blade Runner” was a major source of influence to the series. It has also been parodied in material such as the British science fiction TV show “Red Dwarf.” Based on what I have told you, it’s not surprising that people revere this movie. Overtime it has gained a cult following, and has been considered one of the greatest science fiction films, not to mention one of the greatest films in general, ever made. It was nominated for two Oscars (Best Effects, Visual Effects, Best Art Decoration-Set Decoration), it was also nominated for a Golden Globe (Best Original Score-Motion Picture), which I wholeheartedly approve of because the score is probably one of my favorites in movie history. BAFTA also praised the score by nominating it, which was one of the eight nominations the movie received in that particular show. By the way, it won three. It currently has a spot on the IMDb top 250, it’s on AFI’s 10 Top 10 as the #6 science fiction film, and IGN put it as the #1 spot in its “Top 25 Sci-Fi Films of All Time.” I watched the film multiple times now, specifically “The Final Cut,” and it gets better with multiple watches. So, how is “Blade Runner 2049?” Holy crap, this movie was an experience. I went to see this movie in IMAX, and I don’t regret it, because this is one of those films that MUST be seen in a theater! You know how I kept talking about “Dunkirk” and what an amazing experience that was? This was just as great! And with that I’m gonna give you guys a little sidenote…

I don’t use Netflix, in fact, I’d go as far as to say that Netflix is slightly overrated. I may be biased because they killed Blockbuster Video, a significant memory from my childhood, but I’m gonna let you know a little information about them that you may or may not be aware of at the moment. Netflix may be known for its selection of movies and TV programs to watch which are available at your fingertips, but they’ve also done original content. They’ve done TV shows such as “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black,” and “Stranger Things,” all of which received positive reviews and a following by many people. That’s not to say all Netflix shows were considered watchable, there are disliked ones such as “Iron Fist” despite it having a following. They’ve also done movies such as “Gerald’s Game,” “The Ridiculous Six,” and “Beasts of No Nation.” What I’m going to say next is rather unnecessary for their TV shows, but can fit for their movies. When it comes to Netflix movies, they go straight to the streaming service. There’s no theatrical release for it, it just hops straight on over to the service, so people might get a theatrical experience depending on their setup, but chances are someone might end up watching the movie on their laptop without headphones, or heck, even their phone! Critically acclaimed director Christopher Nolan agrees with me when say that this is bullcrap, because Netflix is missing out on a opportunity for their movies to be shown in theaters, where audiences pay money to go see it in an immersive setting. Want to know something else? There’s an event called Cinemacon, which is a convention dedicated to film, it shows off what upcoming movies have in store, it also does screenings for flicks, stars show up, and it also has has a focus on cinemas themselves and technologies related to them. When “Blade Runner 2049” footage was being presented to attendees at the show, Sony chairman Tom Rothman said this…

“Netflix, my ass.”

Well said, Tom. For the record, Netflix has never presented at Cinemacon, so that shows what they stand for in the realm of cinema. At least Amazon releases content in theaters!

If this movie were released on Netflix, I would have been outraged, partially because I don’t use the service, but having seen this movie, this movie looked and sounded SPECTACULAR! Yeah, that was a long point, but I felt it had to be made. This movie was directed by Denis Villenevue, who also directed “Arrival,” one of my favorite movies from last year. I think he’s a great director, and his vision for this movie was brilliant. Every single frame had something worth appreciating. I can only imagine the detail that went into storyboarding this thing! Although, I can’t exactly say that he’s only in this fest of praise, because I gotta give kudos to Roger Deakins, the cinematographer of the film. For the record, this isn’t the first time Deakins and Villenevue worked together. They’ve also collaborated in “Sicario” and “Prisoners.” I haven’t seen those films, but I will say that Deakins is a fine cinematographer, just watch “No Country for Old Men” to see what I mean.

The original “Blade Runner” came out in 1982, and when it comes to movies with great lighting, as of right now, it’s probably the first movie that comes to my mind. The lighting in “Blade Runner 2049” personally isn’t as great as the original, but that doesn’t mean the lighting’s bad. However, from an overall perspective, much like its three decade old predecessor, “Blade Runner 2049” has terrific effects. Every single effect in the movie felt realistic. Sure, there are moments of the movie containing visuals that probably would be impractical (the giant sex doll with blue hair for example), but in all reality, even those felt like they actually existed for the universe this movie was presenting.

Speaking of things that aren’t as good as the original, I gotta say the music isn’t as great. Once again, this doesn’t mean the music was bad, the music was almost as brilliant as the 1982 film. But the thing about the 1982 film, is that it was unique. The music by the way in that film was done by Vangelis, who also did the score for “Chariots of Fire.” Also, Vangelis did not return for this movie, and yes, he’s still alive. The guy doing the score this time around is one of my favorite composers. I’ve brought him up in a number of posts this year, Hans Zimmer. Like the original score, it’s techno, and at times you do hear booms, which is pretty much the first thing you hear in the original movie when the titles show up. By the way, those booms sound amazing in IMAX. Also, this score at times felt a little more traditional than the original “Blade Runner.” The “Blade Runner” score is something you’d rarely hear, and while this newer film does have qualities of the older score, the new doesn’t have the absolute uniqueness of the old. I say that because I remember the original having moments that almost sounded like chimes, it was different. You could also hear vocalizing in the score, and I mentioned how much of an influence this had on “Ghost in the Shell” and I wouldn’t be surprised if the original movie’s score was partially influential. The vocalizing, the more I think about it, reminds me of “Ghost of the Shell’s” intro music. “Blade Runner 2049” was just released, so only time will tell how much the music, plus the rest of the movie will influence future products. Nevertheless, “Blade Runner 2049” had a GREAT score and I’d love to listen to it again and again.

Let’s talk about one of the leads in the film, specifically Ryan Gosling. This fellow has proven to be an excellent actor. By the way, there’s a couple scenes in this movie where Ryan Gosling is in front of a piano, and that’s not the only film where Gosling is in front of a piano, just watch “La La Land” to see what I mean. Gosling plays K and he’s basically this movie’s young Blade Runner. He’s given a mission at the beginning of the film, and seeing his character progress throughout the picture was entertaining and very moving. At times, Gosling’s acting chops were unleashed to full potential, which happened to be prominent during the movie’s emotional scenes which I won’t get into to avoid spoiler territory. K also had some qualities which were noticeable that could be compared to Harrison Ford’s character of Rick Deckard, who we’ll get to momentarily. K starts off in the movie as being directed by Lieutenant Joshi, a character played by Robin Wright, who in terms of looks and attitude, almost reminds me of your typical Charlize Theron role such as the ones she’s done in “A Million Ways to Die in the West” and “Hancock.” Anyway, seeing Gosling focus on his objectives was fascinating and despite this movie, like the original, appearing to be a slow burr, my eyes were never taken off the screen. Yes, this applies to more than Ryan Gosling in all technicality, but I’m just making a point. There’s also a spouse Ryan Gosling has, by that I mean a futuristic spouse, and by THAT I mean a spouse that is basically holographic, oh yeah, and she can change form. I can’t even get into the mission Ryan Gosling does in the film because I have a feeling this is something the trailers are hiding. I’ve seen all the main trailers, but it’s been awhile since I’ve seen one in particular, and I’m not sure if the hidden details are there, but for the sake of keeping some information a secret to possibly have some folks savor the movie’s flavor, I’m going to ignore uttering these details.

Now let’s talk about Harrison Ford. If you remember the original “Blade Runner,” Harrison Ford played Rick Deckard, the main character of the film. He was hunting down replicants just because he had a job to do. Speaking of the original film, we do get some callbacks. As mentioned recently, the music can qualify as a callback, but we do get some audio from the first film. During the film I heard Harrison Ford’s voice as it was in 1982, and I remember hearing Sean Young’s voice too. The origami unicorn makes a return here, which has brought up an interesting theory of whether Deckard’s actually a human or a replicant. By the way, I’d say he’s human. Also, I may have said that Ryan Gosling did a great job, but in all reality, Harrison Ford probably did better. By the way, out of all the performances I’ve seen Ford do, this might be his best one. Also, Deckard’s introduction is definitely one of the best scenes in the entire flick. You may have gotten a glimpse at it in the trailers, but there is more to it then what was there. I won’t go into detail though.

As much as I praise this movie, it’s not perfect. For example, some characters didn’t stand out as much as others, and speaking of characters, there’s one character who goes by the name of Mariette. She’s not unlikable, but she didn’t really add much of anything to the movie in terms of story except for maybe one part where she and K’s holographic wife are shown to have no clothes on. Also, this isn’t really a complaint but it’s mainly something I noticed, Jared Leto is barely in this movie. In fact I think he may have spent less time here than “Suicide Squad,” although I liked Leto better here than “Suicide Squad.” I may be nitpicking, and from experience, this is probably one of those movies I have to watch more than once to fully appreciate, so maybe I’m just imagining things. Other than what I mentioned, this movie’s pretty much a masterpiece, which is saying something considering what many people say about 1982’s “Blade Runner.”

Now I just mentioned this could take multiple watches to fully appreciate. And I’ll have you know I watched the original “Blade Runner” four times from start to finish since early September. I also saw it not long ago and I fell asleep to it, but to be fair, it was late. This is one of those movies, like the original “Blade Runner” that I’m probably gonna watch over and over.

In the end, “Blade Runner 2049” is a movie that defines how sequels should be made. This to me is 2017’s “Tron: Legacy,” by that I mean you’ve got this film which came out a long time ago, in fact the original “Blade Runner” actually came out the same year as the original “Tron.” The film now has a sequel, years in the making, and people enjoy it. Granted “Blade Runner 2049” has gotten more positive reception, but it doesn’t mean people didn’t appreciate “Tron: Legacy.” I love the film from a technical perspective, this movie and “Dunkirk,” so far, have been my two favorite cinematic experiences of 2017. Hans Zimmer created a great score, the screenplay hit every necessary emotion, the direction and cinematography are stellar, I’m glad to see Harrison Ford return as Rick, Ryan Gosling was great as well. Overall, this movie did what it needed to do. I’m gonna give “Blade Runner 2049” a 9/10. If you saw “Blade Runner” thinking that this movie could never be recreated, chances are you’ve just been proven wrong. This is a sequel worth remembering, and as far as sequels go, this is probably the best one I’ve seen so far this year. I can’t wait to buy this movie when it comes to home video, I want to see it again, possibly pick up on some details I missed, we’ll see what happens. Thanks for reading this review! As far as upcoming reviews go, I hope to see “Stronger” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, which is about a guy who manages to survive the Boston Marathon bombing, and I also am planning on reviewing “Thor” and “Thor: The Dark World” in preparation for “Thor: Ragnarok.” Stay tuned for those reviews, and more reviews! Also, if you’re into “Blade Runner,” you might be interested in checking out my post dedicated to things “Blade Runner” got right about the future. Here’s a question, which “Blade Runner” was better? The first one or the second one? Also, one more question, what is a movie that gets better the more you watch it? Let me know down below in the comments! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

WHAT “BLADE RUNNER” GOT RIGHT ABOUT THE FUTURE: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/10/06/what-blade-runner-got-right-about-the-future/

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017) OFFICIAL TRAILER: Lightsabers! Space Battles! Training! …Possible Ripoff…

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Tonight I was doing something rather strange for me. I was watching football. Yeah, it was a game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears, and I’ll have you know I’m from Massachusetts so you can probably tell I don’t care about either of those teams. Oh yeah, and when I said I was watching the game, I wasn’t even technically watching it, I had it on mute. However, I watched the game for one reason and one reason only, which is to catch the new trailer for “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.” Having seen it now, I will say this. As a trailer, it’s better than the teaser we got in April, not to mention this trailer got me more hyped up for the film as opposed to that teaser. If you remember my review for the teaser, I said it made me afraid of what the movie is going to be like. Now that I’ve seen this trailer for the film, do those fears still exist? I guess you can say so, but this trailer does convince me that this movie has a tone that might be consistent throughout, and it might be at the very least, entertaining. So let’s break it down and analyze it.

The first voice we hear in the entire trailer is Snoke’s, and if you don’t know who Snoke is, he’s basically the giant in “The Force Awakens” who was in a number of scenes with General Hux and Kylo Ren. By the way, for those who don’t know, he’s played by Andy Serkis, who you may know as Gollum in “Lord of the Rings” and Caesar in the recent “Planet of the Apes” reboot installments including “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” and the recent “War for the Planet of the Apes.” He says “When I found you, I saw raw, untamed power, and beyond that, something truly special.” Throughout we get various shots, and based on a number of shots presented throughout this voiceover, I believe he’s talking about Kylo Ren. In fact according to “Episode VII” Kylo still had training left to do, so he could be training under Snoke’s wing and somewhere in the process, this is uttered. Afterwards, we get our last shot before the Lucasfilm logo appears, which is Rey unleashing a lightsaber.

We then cut to what seems to be early on in the movie, where we see the island Rey and Luke met. Rey’s telling Luke that something’s inside her, going by what I know, that’s undoubtedly the force, unless of course it’s the desire to save the galaxy. We get to see some shots that were shown in the teaser, including a shot of Rey training, followed by some shots we haven’t seen before, which by the way, makes her look like a badass. Speaking of badassery, Rey’s using the force, which makes the ground crack, kind of like what the acorn from “Ice Age” does. Luke then says “I’ve seen this raw strength once before, it didn’t scare me enough then, it does now.” This brings up two things. First of all, I have a question, how many times will the word “raw” be used in the movie? Second, I have a feeling that out of every performance Mark Hamill has given in this franchise thus far, this might end up being his best. That’s the assumption going into my mind after hearing that line.

We soon see Kylo Ren again, he’s in an elevator, and he’s doing what he does best, complaining. For some characters, you might think of this as a quality that makes them horrible to watch. But based on my experience of watching “The Force Awakens” and seeing Kylo Ren in that movie, this is something that has been proven to be funny. Not to mention, it shows how Kylo Ren is human. Let me ask you something, did Darth Vader rage out like this? No. That’s not to say that Darth Vader’s a bad character, I think he’s one of the greatest villains of all time, but this is what makes Kylo Ren, Kylo Ren. Oh yeah, and we also see him in is own ship which looks kinda cool. The best part of this montage has to be the final shots there, we hear Kylo’s voice, he’s talking in an evil manner and we see shots back and forth between him and Leia, who you may know is his mother. There’s a huge part of me that thinks that this could turn into an amazing part of the story where Kylo is terrified within his own boundaries, but at the same time, I wonder if it would be out of character for him, because he did kill his dad and he seemed not to have much of a problem with it. Maybe he’s developed since the last movie, who knows? I love the idea, but I’m skeptical towards the execution.

In the next montage, we’ve got shots of the Millennium Falcon, and one thing you may notice is the bird next to Chewbacca. That creature by the way is referred to as a Porg, and I honestly think he’s gonna be this movie’s best-selling toy. I mean, look at him! I think many kids will want that! I just really hope that he won’t turn into this movie’s version of Baby Groot, which in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” only came off to me as a toy, nothing more. I’m just hoping for at least a bit of substance with this Porg. We also get our first shots of Poe and Finn, who both seem to be in explosive situations. Oh yeah, and Finn’s facing off against Captain Phasma. In the shots showcasing the two duking it out, Phasma seems to be handling some beam or a generic sword and Finn is holding onto what appears to be a sparkly lightsaber. Also this begs the question, does Finn really have the force in him? Because the last movie says otherwise. He almost got slaughtered in the last movie in a lightsaber duel! I hope he makes it!

Next we get into a sign of my fear of the movie just being a ripoff of “The Empire Strikes Back,” which happen to be some shots that take place in what looks like a cave. You know how in “The Empire Strikes Back” Luke is training and he goes into this cave, he finds Darth Vader and there’s this very short duel between them, it’s in slow motion? Yeah, it reminds me of that. I just hope this isn’t a carbon copy or an in your face homage. If it is a homage, I personally hope it’s rather subtle. Another part that could be ripping off “Empire” is when Luke says “This is not going to go the way you think.” It almost reminds me of when Luke goes off from Dagobah to Cloud City and he hasn’t completed his training. You know, after he had a force vision, which quite honestly, is something I wouldn’t be surprised seeing Rey have in this movie. After all, the first moment of the teaser which came out in April gave me the assumption that was going to happen. We soon hear Snoke speak as we see certain shots including some containing action. He says “Fulfill your destiny,” which I can tell he’s probably saying to Kylo Ren, although the next shot of Rey might say otherwise. I personally think he’s saying something else in that circumstance and they’re hiding it. By the way, Rey looks like she’s DOOMED in that shot. If they damage her all over in that shot, I’d say this could be worth your money. I can tell she’s gonna make it, but still.

The last words we hear in the trailer comes from Rey, she says “I need someone to show me my place in all of this.” We then cut to a shot of Kylo Ren’s face, then he casts his hand out. Is he done being evil here? First off, why would the trailer show this? This seems like a little bit too much information revealed in just a number of seconds. Second, this could be really compelling and it would be interesting to see the two band together. Also, speaking of evil, I want to talk about Snoke. I have a feeling that Snoke is going to be this trilogy’s version of The Emperor. You’ve already seen him in hologram form from what it looked like, now you seen him here, he looks smaller, not to mention damaged. He’s kind of similar in terms of attitude with the exception of how he lacks a maniacal laugh. Only time will tell for sure. The trailer then ends suggesting that TICKETS HAVE NOW GONE ON SALE! Woo! Although if I can get invited to a press screening I’d love that. Hey, I review movies! Where’s my press screening?!

After seeing this trailer I do have to say that I’m a little more excited than I originally was. I still think I will end up enjoying certain movies more this year, both movies I already saw such as “Colossal” and “Dunkirk,” along with those I’ve yet to see such as “Blade Runner 2049” and “The Disaster Artist,” however I will say that this movie does look good. I still think it might rip off “Empire,” but maybe it can take certain elements, which I personally consider fine, and make something new out of it. This is also going to be the longest movie in the “Star Wars” saga, at a total of 150 minutes, which I personally find interesting because this installment has the least wipe transitions. If you ask me, I probably will be seeing this opening night, after all I’m a fan so I personally feel it’s my duty. I hope the movie’s good and I don’t think we’ll be seeing many more trailers before this film’s release. December 14th can’t come soon enough!

Having soon both trailers now, my combined excitement received from both trailers, isn’t exactly all that high, however that doesn’t stop me from thinking that “The Last Jedi” will be good. Will it be good? Who knows? We’ve got a couple months to fully determine that. As far as upcoming content goes, I am planning on seeing “Blade Runner 2049” over the upcoming weekend, and I also have a mini series of reviews coming up soon and it’s gonna be for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Thor” installments, which I plan to review in preparation for “Thor: Ragnarok,” which comes out November 3. Stay tuned for more great content, and if you have any thoughts on the new “Star Wars” trailer, tell me what they are. Also, I want to know if you’re planning on seeing “Star Wars Episode VIII.” Are you? Are you not? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks, and may the force be with you!

The Space Between Us (2017): I Need More Space

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“The Space Between Us” is directed by Peter Chelsom who also directed “Hannah Montana: The Movie” and “Serendipity” and stars Asa Butterfield, Carla Gugino, Gary Oldman, and Britt Robinson. This movie revolves around a guy who was born a Martian, he travels to Earth and hangs with a girl which leads to eventual self-discovery.

I’ve heard about this movie months ago when it released in theaters, but I’m reviewing it now considering I found it for ten bucks at Newbury Comics, which if you’re from New England or Long Island, you’d probably already know they’re a chain of stores whose main focus happens to be products in the realm of nerd culture. Interestingly enough, it’s where I buy a good portion of my movies. I also know someone who saw this movie. If you ever notice the header of my blog, you may notice this blog’s operated by “the #NerdArmy’s film critic.” The Nerd Army is a social media group I’m a part of, and one of my pals in that group, Kayla, saw this movie too. She thought it was horrible, so maybe I wasted ten bucks on a piece of crap. Guess what? Kayla was right! I honestly think “The Space Between Us” might just be up there with movies like “Star Wars Episode I” and “Battlefield Earth” as one of the worst science fiction movies ever made.

On paper, this sounds like a cool concept. You’ve seen movies with Earthlings on Mars like “John Carter,” now we have a Martian on Earth. Now, that has been done before generally speaking, just look at all the alien invasion movies we’ve gotten over the years. And I will say this film does look nice at times. Not as nice as Ridley Scott’s “The Martian,” that’s a whole different ballgame. While I may be praising this film from a cinematography perspective, it’s not perfect, because there are jumpcuts in this film and I have seen films like “Manchester by the Sea” where you might just find one and let it slide. Here however, I found three of them. They were all quickly paced and they aggravated the crap out me! Going back to the concept, if you take out the whole interplanetary idea and have the two main characters on the same planet, you might as well have a love story as cringeworthy as Anakin and Padme’s love story when they’re in “Star Wars Episode II.” Although I will say, the movie’s tone had been set far before the romance.

As mentioned, this movie is about the first person born on Mars, or Asa Butterfield’s character of Gardner, who we will get to. It’s established in the very beginning that one character is pregnant with him. The birth of Gardner is soon shown for us all in order to prepare ourselves for what we’re about to suffer through. And speaking of which, we as an audience aren’t the only folks suffering, because the mother dies. By the way, a pregnant woman has never been in space, so I can’t talk about any scientific inaccuracies there. Also, the mother’s death is not a spoiler because this is less than ten minutes into the film. It’s almost as if the mother dying instantly is a signal for how either this movie will make you want to die or the movie itself feeling like it’s going to die.

Asa Butterfield plays the character of Gardner Elliot, the character isn’t exactly someone I hate, in fact that would be directed towards the next character I’m gonna talk about, but the script makes him look like someone I will be eternally ashamed to hang out with. Granted he’s from Mars, but regardless of wherever the heck he’s from, seeing his character was the equivalent of a mom that tries to sound enthusiastic about something when she’s really not as enthusiastic as she sounds. …Or Tyra Banks when she hosts “America’s Got Talent.” By the way, if anyone from NBC or “America’s Got Talent” is reading this, please replace Tyra Banks in season 13 of the show.

Britt Robinson plays Tulsa and as suggested in the recent paragraph, I don’t like her. Sometimes she’s rather annoyed by Gardner which I can understand because they’re from different planets so they wouldn’t behave identically. However as I got to see more of her character, I became irritated with her for a brief period. I wouldn’t say she’s one of the worst characters of all time, but seriously, she was a nutjob!

Also in this movie you have Gary Oldman, or as I like to call him, Robert Carradine with long hair. I don’t even know if that’s all that good of a comparison, but as I watched the movie I thought that was what he looked like at a point. So Bobby–err I mean Gary plays Nathaniel Shepard. Now Oldman probably gave the best performance out of everyone in the movie, but despite what I said, it doesn’t really make the movie that much better. Because I’ve seen good performances in bad movies, such as Emily Blunt in “The Girl on the Train.” For the record, that performance was better than this one, how much better you ask? Well that one would have probably been nominated for a Golden Globe or an Oscar in my book had the movie been better! Oldman’s performance is alright, but there’s not much of anything all that redeeming about it.

Now the love story could definitely be worse. This isn’t like, love at first sight, the movie seemed to establish that the two grew a connection between each other. But the way the movie in general plays out when the love story builds is that it goes from random conversations on videochat to the point when the character of Gardner Elliot travels to Earth making the movie develop a fish out of water story. There was a movie that released this year that actually came out after this one, that being “Wonder Woman.” The fish out of water cliche worked in “Wonder Woman,” but it didn’t work in “The Space Between Us.” In this movie, the fish out of water segment was just awkward, it made me engage in untypical body movements, so based on that you can tell it was just plain awful. There are also moments when I can easily tell it’s supposed to be funny, and maybe it got some chuckles in theater auditoriums, but I watched this movie alone in my room, the only laughs that are going off in here are… actually none. I have not much else to say there. And when we get to a moment when the love takes full effect, guess what happens? Cheesy dialogue! WHO SAYS THE STUFF THAT IS SAID IN THIS MOVIE?! Granted, I’ve never been in love nor have I gone out with anyone with the exception of a prom night, but in real life, this isn’t how people talk! For the record, the guy from Mars is actually saying this mumbo jumbo, but it’s still cringeworthy as hell! I said part of this before, but I’ll say it again! When it comes to the Earthling, I hated her. She reminded me of that teenage girl from “Independence Day: Resurgence” who I actually recall more than a good number of the characters from that movie. Annoying, angry, and unfriendly. This was just a relationship that was just hard to watch, and when the love is in the air, you can’t just help but think about putting a gun in your mouth.

In the end, “The Space Between Us” is simply a movie I’d never want to watch again unless I was being paid. My friend Kayla wasn’t lying after she saw this movie, this really was a meteor that was about to destroy a planet. This movie was originally scheduled to come out December 16, 2016, which is the same day that “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” came out, although STX pushed it back to February 3, 2017. While it may be good for STX because they didn’t have to compete with a much bigger film, it might just be bad for the viewing public because this probably increased chances of people suffering. By the way, when I said this movie didn’t have to compete with a much bigger film I might as well be lying to you because it competed against “Rings,” which made over thirteen million dollars in the United States as opposed to this movie which made over three million dollars in the United States. Granted the ratings for “Rings” on IMDb at least are lower than “The Space Between Us,” but it doesn’t change the fact that this was pure s*it. I’m gonna give “The Space Between Us” a 1/10. As an idea, this movie sounded cool in ways, but so did “The Girl on the Train.” My next mission is to find a t-shirt that says I survived “The Space Between Us.” One last thing is that there’s an alternate ending to this film. I was watching the Blu-Ray and it was in the bonus features. I’d probably have to watch the original ending again to compare completely, but for now I gotta say the alternate ending’s better. Thanks for reading this review. On the subject of sci-fi, I am planning to see “Blade Runner 2049” sometime soon, I think that’ll be, without argument, a better movie than this crap. Also, if you are currently in a “Blade Runner” frenzy, be sure to check out a post where I talk about what “Blade Runner” has gotten right about the future ahead of its release. Stay tuned for more reviews, and also, I have a couple questions, what is your favorite movie involving Mars? Or, what is the worst science fiction film you’ve ever seen? Answer those questions in the comments! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

WHAT “BLADE RUNNER” GOT RIGHT ABOUT THE FUTURE: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/10/06/what-blade-runner-got-right-about-the-future/

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!

What Blade Runner Got Right About the Future

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Just about a month ago, I watched “Blade Runner” for the first time ever. For the record, no, I didn’t intend on doing so because the new one was coming out, however I would have done that anyway. By the way, the main reason I watched it is because it was part of a class curriculum in my school. Anyway, that movie takes place in 2019, which is two years away, and if you read the title of this post, you’d probably already know I’m going to be talking about what “Blade Runner” got right about the future. You’re probably thinking, why you doing this in 2017 and not 2019? I figured it would be appropriate to do it now since there’s gonna be a new “Blade Runner” installment coming out this weekend called “Blade Runner 2049” and I had no review planned for the original. If you’re asking, yes, I do want to see it, but I’m not sure when I will. However, I’ve watched the movie multiple times now, specifically “The Final Cut.” As mentioned, I watched it in school, but I later picked up the 4K Blu-Ray edition even though I don’t have a 4K Blu-Ray player. Throughout watching the movie I picked up on a number of things: The endless inspiration it had on material which arrived after it, the visually pleasing world and effects, and also, considering we are two years away from this movie’s setting, how much it got right about the future, along with how much it could get right in the meantime.

A lot of people are saying that it’ll probably be a bit longer before flying cars become a reality. While they certainly aren’t seen on the streets all that much, it doesn’t mean they haven’t been partially realized. There’s a company called Terrafugia who has made this happen. According to the Wikipedia page labeled “Flying car (aircraft),” Terrafugia announced the first autonomous flying vehicle on May 7, 2013. Now, these babies have not come to market yet and development is going to likely take 8-12 years. So this means these cars might come to market somewhere between 2021-2025. By the way, the name of this vehicle is the TF-X and there is a page on Terrafugia’s website about it. If you’re interested in checking it out, click the link down below! Also something interesting I just found out, their headquarters, located in Woburn, Massachusetts, is actually a couple towns away from where I live! So that means I’m currently a couple towns away from possibly future history in the making!

https://www.terrafugia.com/tf-x/

In “Blade Runner,” you’re seeing Replicants, artificial creatures, and scanners to confirm one’s identity, so it’s not really much of a surprise that another thing they’ve gotten right is the rise of technology. Sure, this can apply to flying cars, but I feel that deserves its own topic. This is something that a movie thought of before the release of “The Terminator.” Not only does technology control our everyday lives, but it comes off as superior to humanity in various ways. For example, with the rise of chess computers in the 1980s, they’ve beaten some of the world’s best chess players. Also, stores are now commonly using self-checkout, heck! People aren’t even going to stores anymore! Just look at what Amazon’s doing right now! It’s not just stores that are doing this, McDonald’s put self-checkout in its locations in 2016. By the way, they already had a number of these, this was the time when it was put to absolute use. They did this because the employees at McDonald’s wanted a $15 minimum wage. By the way, f*ck McDonald’s. I’ve been on the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) to ride trains into Boston and they barely even announce anything manually anymore! In fact, they’re soon replacing their Orange Line trains with newer models, some of their last trains that only allow manual announcements. Not to mention on the topic of computers, not just ones that can play chess and win, we’ve even had IBM Waston, a computer that can play “Jeopardy!” and take victory against two of its winningest contestants, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter! I wouldn’t be surprised to go to restaurants in the future and instead of seeing waiters or waitresses, I just see robots coming to you and taking orders! Who knows really, only time will tell.

I want you to take a moment to observe this shot, what do you notice? If you’re thinking that’s Harrison Ford holding a gun, you’re right, but that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about in this shot, is the rain. 2017 has been a hard year in terms of natural disasters, specifically hurricanes. This year we’ve seen hurricanes such as Harvey, Maria, and Irma. This is more rain than usual in any sense of the word. I won’t get into climate change or global warming because the movie didn’t really suggest any of that specifically, but the rain may have suggested all the pollution we’re getting. Who knows what it could be from? Maybe all the flying cars aren’t as efficient as those on the ground. If you watch the movie, look very carefully, because you’ll be able to see it’s raining a good portion of the runtime. In movies, it usually rains during certain situations such as a dramatic fight scene like in “The Matrix Revolutions” or to move the story along like in “Bee Movie.” The rain is much more common here than those films.

Much like flying cars, this isn’t really something that’s technically happened, but it is potential to happen soon, which is people living off of Earth. In the movie, they talk about off-world colonization, suggesting that people started living their lives on planets that aren’t Earth. Right now in the real world, people are actually getting ready to colonize Mars. There’s actually a couple of missions that are planned in future decades from SpaceX and Mars One. SpaceX wants to see colonization begin in 2022 and Mars One wants to see it begin in 2032. Not only are organizations planning to colonize it, but people are just planning to just travel to and fro. This is something that both the US and Russian governments are planning in the 2030s.

If you think I missed something that “Blade Runner” got right about the future, please let me know about it. I actually almost put sex robots on here, but the furthest we’ve gotten with them as far as I know happens to be prototypes plus I don’t even know if I fully trust the sources I’m getting this info from. For those of you wondering what I’m talking about, just watch the character of Pris in this movie. If you want to talk about something different related to “Blade Runner,” well then what are your thoughts on the movie? Are you excited for the sequel? I’m personally excited if you ask me, I will hopefully have my review of “Blade Runner 2049” very soon. Also, in terms of upcoming reviews that AREN’T “Blade Runner 2049” I do want to see “Stronger,” and I might also have interest in another film coming out this weekend, “The Mountain Between Us,” starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet as two people who crash a plane on a mountain and go on a journey together. Stay tuned for more great content! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

American Made (2017): Tom Cruise and Doug Liman Are Back!

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“American Made” is directed by Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow, The Bourne Identity), and stars Tom Cruise (Risky Business, Mission: Impossible), Domhnall Gleeson (Ex Machina, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens), and Sarah Wright (21 & Over, Marry Me) and it is being marketed saying that it’s “based on a true lie.” The film’s about a pilot played by Tom Cruise who lands work transporting contraband for the CIA and as a drug runner for the Medellin Cartel in the south in the 1980s.

Going into “American Made” I was expecting a number of things. First off, a good movie, which by the way I did get. Second, a fine Tom Cruise performance, that was there too. Some moments of comedy despite having a serious situation at hand, that was also there. And I also expected an interesting story, for the record, I never really heard about this because I wasn’t born until 1999 and I just never researched it. I got all of that and a little more.

My favorite aspect of the entire film is how it looks. I went to see this film in IMAX, which I will say enhanced the experience a bit. By the way, if you do want to see this film in IMAX, make sure you can fit it in because this won’t be there long before “Blade Runner: 2049” comes out on October 6 and there could be a good chance that this won’t be playing at your local IMAX. As far as the camera goes, this film was shot on an Arri Alexa, which is a camera capable of shooting in 2K, which is higher than HD but lower than what is typically considered Ultra HD, or 4K as some people may call it. Even so, the film looked amazing. The aerial shots looked beautiful, the locations were gorgeous, and I truly felt like I was in the movie at times. But then again, I’ll mention, I saw the movie in IMAX. Also, one more thing. As much as I appreciated the cinematography in the movie, I wouldn’t say it was perfect. At times, it would zoom on certain things, and I have seen that before and it worked in other pictures, but here it’s kinda sketchy.

Let’s talk about Tom Cruise’s character of Barry Seal. If you ask me what I think of Tom Cruise himself, personally, I think he’s a fine actor. As a person, he may not be the best when it comes to relationships, or in terms of controlling his own ego, but as an actor, he’s got chops. He even starred in one of my favorite films of all time, and quite possibly my favorite coming of age movie, “Risky Business.” He’s also proven to be a stellar action star, just watch the “Mission: Impossible” movies! When it comes to Tom Cruise in “American Made,” I’d say that this is what happens if his performances from “Top Gun” and “The Last Samurai” got together and had a baby. The elements are there! In “Top Gun,” Tom plays a pilot, and as far as Tom Cruise in “The Last Samurai” goes, I didn’t really see much of Tom Cruise in that movie, and I mean that in a good way because Tom Cruise felt like a different person. Not to mention, both “American Made” and “The Last Samurai” take place way back before the time they came out. I will say, Cruise’s performance isn’t necessarily as good here as “The Last Samurai” because I can still see Tom as I watch “American Made,” but it is definitely a fine performance.

Sarah Wright plays Barry’s wife, Lucy. Wright did a fine job as her and while I can’t really say many redeeming things about her that makes her character stand out from many others, she definitely was a fine character and moved the movie along very well. Quite possibly Wright’s best scene, performance wise, is when she’s watching TV and she sees something that if I said it, would spoil some of the movie for you.

One of the biggest shockers for me in this movie is that Jayma Mays is in it. You may know her from “Glee,” a show which I actually never saw and it’s also a show I personally don’t want to see in the near future. However I have seen Mays in other movies which critically, were spat in their faces. I’ve seen Mays in 2009’s “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” and 2011’s “The Smurfs.” “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” is a guilty pleasure of mine, but I’ll mention to you I live near the shopping centers where this movie was shot. As far as “The Smurfs” goes, that might have been the worst movie I’ve seen to have released in 2011, now keep in mind, I haven’t seen “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1” or “Jack and Jill” so before you comment below, think wisely. Speaking of surprises, Jayma Mays probably gave the best performance in the entire flick. I honestly want to see her nominated for Best Supporting Actress when the Oscar season comes up. She plays Dana Sibota, the Assistant Attorney General of Arkansas, so when you go see this movie and it’s about halfway done, look forward to this character.

One thing that didn’t surprise me but I imagine could surprise some people who haven’t heard much about this movie is that at times, it’s funny. Now it’s not hilarious, it’s not like “The Hangover” or “Anchorman” or anything like that, nothing slapstick, it’s just rather comedic at times. I was watching one of the TV ads for this movie, it shows a plane crash, and Tom Cruise is talking to this guy on a lawn, and that actually turned out to be the part of the movie where I laughed the most.

In the end, “American Made” is worth checking out. I’m aware that awards season is around the corner, and I do hope this does get nominated in a couple categories: Best Supporting Actress for Jayma Mays’s performance, Best Cinematography, and Best Sound Editing, although in that aspect I don’t really think it stands a chance against “Dunkirk,” which basically turned the entire auditorium into a war zone. The replay value for this movie personally is a little low, and there are some characters that don’t really stand out as much as others, but all in all I had a good time watching this movie. I’m gonna give “American Made” a 7/10. Thanks for reading this review, next weekend I’m hoping to go see “Blade Runner: 2049,” the sequel to what is considered one of the greatest sci-fi films ever made, I can already tell it’s gonna be great just based on reviews, so I can’t wait. I’m also hoping to see “Stronger” which stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a man partially affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. Also, if you’ve got Tom Cruise fever right now, I’ll leave some reviews for movies that have Tom Cruise in them, feel free to take a gander, they are worth reading. Stay tuned for more reviews! Also, what is your favorite movie with planes in them? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“THE LAST SAMURAI” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/09/11/the-last-samurai-2003-not-a-perfect-blossom-but-not-a-bad-one-either/

“RISKY BUSINESS” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/risky-business-there-is-no-substitute/

“THE FIRM” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/the-firm-1993-lifes-a-mitch/

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017): Manners Maketh Sequel

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“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is directed by Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass), who also is the director of “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” the previous installment in “Kingsman” leading up to this movie. This movie stars Taron Egerton (Eddie the Eagle, Sing), Colin Firth (Love, Actually, The King’s Speech), Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes, The Imitation Game), Julianne Moore (Crazy Stupid Love, The Lost World: Jurassic Park), Halle Berry (Catwoman, Monster’s Ball), and the movie also features Elton John, Channing Tatum (Magic Mike, 21 Jump Street), and Jeff Bridges (TRON, Iron Man).

This movie continues the adventures of the Kingsman. Poppy (Julianne Moore) strikes the Kingsman’s headquarters, the world is held hostage, the Kingsman run into a US spy organization known as the Statesman, and the two team up to stop the evil Poppy.

Before we go any further, I’ll have you know that I REALLY enjoyed the first “Kingsman” installment, “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” It’s a movie that absolutely knows what it is, an insane spy movie. You’ve got this kid, he’s trying to become a member of the “Kingsman” organization, there’s tons of action, great music, and British people being British. While I will say that I saw better movies the year “Kingsman: The Secret Service” came out in theaters, such as “Star Wars Episode VII” and “The Martian,” I will say this undoubtedly has the best action sequence from a movie which came out that year. If you have never seen “Kingsman” you should watch it, and as far as that action scene goes, be prepared for when you see Colin Firth inside a church. If you want to watch that action sequence, there will be a video down below that you can click on.

That action sequence displayed above, personally, is one of the best I’ve seen in terms of music choices, cinematography, shock value, movements, and immersion. Going into this sequel, not only did I want a good movie, I wanted something that could potentially rival or top this scene. So did the film provide a scene like that? Sure, but that doesn’t mean it had a scene as good as this one. In fact, you can also say this movie is worse than the original. That doesn’t mean the movie sucks however, it’s still tons of fun and is definitely worth seeing either if you liked “Kingsman: The Secret Service” or if you just want an action flick in order to waste a couple hours.

Starting off the character section of the post, let’s talk about Gary “Eggsy” Unwin, although before we do, LOOK AT THIS SHOT. It’s so crisp, so beautiful, so artistically well done! I love it! Anyway, when this movie begins we actually notice some changes brought to Eggsy’s life since the previous film. The biggest example I can give is that he’s now dating Princess Tilde, which if you’ve seen “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” you may recall her as that princess who gets captured, also as someone Eggsy ends up finding when he’s trying to save the world, then they later engage in anal sex because Eggsy managed to accomplish his mission and save her. Their relationship plays a key role in the film, including a sex scene that isn’t anything short of brilliant. If you manage to see that scene, you might ask yourself “Where do people come up with this stuff?” If the answer is the brain, that wouldn’t be too surprising by the way.

Some of you may argue with me that this is a spoiler, and trust me it’s not, Colin Firth is back in this movie as Harry Hart. I bring up the possible spoiler assumption because of something that occurred in “The Secret Service” involving his character, but based on how Harry has been shown in advertising, I’d say this isn’t a spoiler. Anyway, there’s actually a subplot devoted to Harry that at times, was cringeworthy, but seeing Harry became less cringe-inducing as the movie went on. It reminded me of Tony Stark in “Iron Man 3” if he had a more gigantic cringe-factor.

Julianne Moore plays the main antagonist in the movie, and admittedly, she wasn’t terrible, but overall she was serviceable. There were actually aspects that I found rather cliche about her but at the same time I was able to come across aspects I liked about her which showcased her wickedness. Seriously! She turns a guy into a hamburger! Where else do you see that?! However, when it comes to her as a villain, she very much felt like a cartoon. Moore’s performance however was pretty good.

This movie also introduces us to the Statesman organization, which is basically an Americanized version of Kingsman. This means we get some new characters, some of which play a crucial role in the movie. I liked a lot of these characters. Granted there were mainly people from the southern part of the United States and not many people from the northern part, but keep in mind that this organization is in Kentucky, which is also the state where the church shootout in the first movie occurred.

One little factoid that may surprise some of you is that Elton John is in this movie. Not only that, but he also plays a major role in it too. Guess who he plays? Well, he plays himself, and it’s f*cking awesome! Elton John pretty much has one line in the entire movie and that’s “F*ck you.” OK, in reality he had more, but my point has been made. He’s basically a slave to Julianne Moore’s character in a way, and he was a definite scene stealer!

When I watch sequels, I tend to look out for similarities to previous installments of a franchise. “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” definitely had similarities to “The Secret Service.” For example, in this movie we get a “Manners maketh man” scene, we also get an action scene that remains in a single shot for a period of time, and another thing I noticed that’s kind of brought up twice is a reference to this:

GARY “EGGSY” UNWIN: Sorry, love. Gotta save the world.

PRINCESS TILDE: If you save the world, we can do it in the asshole.

That’s actually from when Eggsy and the woman who happens to be his girlfriend in this particular movie first met. This is actually brought up in a conversation between Harry and Elton John that was somewhat funny, but it didn’t really mean as much as the line it’s reminiscent of. Not to mention before Eggsy leaves to go on a mission, he’s talking to Tilde and she says “If you save the world, you know what happens.” While I do understand what she meant by that, the execution of that line honestly was weak. This is an R rated movie. My suggestion is try to say something raunchier than doing it in the asshole or just eliminate the line altogether. In fact, I’ll mention once again, the execution of the line given in the conversation between Elton and Harry was funny. But how funny would it be if Elton told Harry they can do it in the asshole if the world is saved? Just for the record, Elton John is gay so it would probably make sense. Plus, Harry’s sexuality has never been established, so if he’s heterosexual, he might as well appear grossed out by the comment and it might make for a few laughs in the audience.

Another thing I noticed in this movie is that part of it may be a commercial for the FOX News network. Now, I personally hate FOX News, but that’s not my point. A lot of the movie’s exposition was shown by hearing reporters on FOX News. Part of me wonders how much they paid to be in this film. OK, I take that back, this movie’s from 20th Century Fox so my brain tells me that’s probably likely to be nothing. I say this because I don’t know if I’m imagining things but it’s unusual for me to see a news channel in a movie for the length of time FOX News has been featured in this particular film. OK, well, if we’re talking about “Nightcrawler” or maybe “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” that’s a different story. I remember seeing Sky News in the first movie, but I remember them getting less screen time. This does remind me of the movie “Mother’s Day” which is basically a 118 minute long commercial for the Home Shopping Network. Granted FOX News in this movie is a lot less in your face as opposed to the Home Shopping Network in “Mother’s Day,” but still.

One more complaint I have about “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is that it’s too long. The movie has so many subplots in it that it almost feels like an extended cut as opposed to a movie that would traditionally feel like a theatrical cut. Watching the movie’s climax, I was nearly convinced into thinking that the movie almost didn’t know when it wanted to end based on all of the s*it that was going down. It’s like all the hurricanes we’ve been getting lately. WAIT! THERE’S ANOTHER ONE?! F*CK THIS WORLD!

In the end, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” may have flaws, but I’d say it’s definitely a sequel worthy of the “Kingsman” name. The first movie may be better, but this movie is certainly a fun ride with tons of action, cool new characters, and an interesting villain despite how cliche she is. From a technical perspective, this movie’s amazing, and I’d say this movie also happens to be enjoyable in terms of entertainment value. I’m gonna give “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” a 7/10. Thanks for reading this review, and before we go any further, I’m gonna let you know about a cool new app called Stardust.

Stardust is a free app you can download if you want to talk about TV shows and movies. There are multiple cool things you can do with this. You can record short videos about movies or TV episodes, you can follow people for their latest thoughts and reactions, by the way, my Stardust handle is JackDrees if you want to follow me, and you can also add movies and TV to a watchlist. By the way, if you want to talk about a particular movie or an episode of a TV show, you don’t even have to watch it, the videos you take can give you the option to say you haven’t watched something. So go download the app now, and this is NOT SPONSORED. I just wanted to share this because I have a feeling a number of people in my demographic would find this interesting.

As far as upcoming reviews go, this weekend I want to go see “American Made” which stars Tom Cruise and is directed by Doug Liman, who directed “The Bourne Identity” and “Edge of Tomorrow,” I’m also desperate to see “Blade Runner: 2049,” by the way, based on the early reviews, I can tell this movie’s gonna be amazing. I also want to see “Stronger” at some point. We’ll see what happens. Stay tuned for more reviews! Also, which “Kingsman” movie did you like better? “The Secret Service” or “The Golden Circle?” If you ask me personally, “The Secret Service” is the better movie, but I want to know your thoughts down below. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Underworld: Blood Wars (2016): More Like Bore Wars *SPOILERS*

Before we dive into this review for the crime against movies known as “Underworld: Blood Wars,” I’d like to take a second to promote something to you all. Keep in mind, when I say promote, I don’t mean that as in I’m advertising something for money. I just discovered something the other day that I think will totally interest a number of people reading this post and I want to share it with you all. So it’s free advertising! I want introduce you all to an app called Stardust.

Stardust is a free app you can download on your mobile device. It’s basically Snapchat for movies and TV. Now I find it amazing that I like this because I don’t like Snapchat. How does it work? You can search for any movie or TV episode and record a short length video featuring your reaction and/or thoughts to the movie or TV episode. For example, if you go see the latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or if there’s a movie you like or dislike that you really want to talk about, you can record a video summing up your thoughts. Or if there’s a TV show you’re watching and you want to talk about a specific episode, you can bring that up as well. I know this for a fact when it comes to movies, I’m not sure what the case is when it comes to TV, considering I’ve only talked about movies on Stardust thus far, you don’t even have to see the movie you’re watching. You can give your thoughts about any of this stuff at any given time even without knowledge of said stuff. Just don’t do it when you’re naked, that’s what intimate video chat is for. Plus, it’s kinda weird. You can also find other people who use the app and follow them for updates on their movie and TV thoughts. If you want to find me on the app, my handle is JackDrees, go check it out! Now with that out of the way, let’s start the review.

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“Underworld: Blood Wars” is the fifth installment in the “Underworld” franchise. It began back in 2003 and now it has lead up to its most recent installment which has come out in theaters January of 2017 (even though you can also call this a 2016 movie). This film is directed by Anna Foerster, who has directed episodes of TV shows like “Outlander” and “Criminal Minds.” This film stars Kate Beckinsale (The Disappointments Room, The Aviator), Theo James (Divergent, Golden Boy), Tobias Menzies (Casino Royale, Outlander) and involves the main character of Selene as she tries to end a war between the Lycans and the Vampires.

When it comes to the “Underworld” franchise, I can imagine that some people see this as a series that shouldn’t be taken too seriously, and I can kind of understand why, but that doesn’t mean all of its movies are good. I enjoyed the first two movies, but the other sequels leading up to “Blood Wars” were just awful. “Rise of the Lycans” probably has the one of the most poorly presented sex scenes in cinematic history, and “Awakening” is just plain forgettable. Not only that, but even the good movies aren’t even that great. I’ve gone back to watch the first movie more than once, but other than that, I had no desire to watch the other ones again. OK, to be fair, I actually watched 3 & 4 for the first time recently, but I haven’t really gone back to watch 2. Despite my hate for 3 & 4, I wouldn’t say they belong in the garbage bin. Granted, 4 comes close, but it’s not quite there. This movie however, might just have a place in said bin. If you think about it, this news isn’t really all that surprising. This movie released theatrically in the month of January and it’s the fifth installment in the franchise which is coming out five years after the previous installment, which by “Underworld” standards is unusual because these movies typically come out three years apart from each other. For the record, this isn’t the only fifth installment in a franchise to come out this year that I disliked, “Transformers” is another example.

Before we dive into anything else, I just want to bring up how forgettable and boring this movie truly is! I barely remember anything in the movie plot-wise (if there is one). In fact I think “Transformers 5” had more of a plot than “Underworld 5.” All I can recall is that there was this huge quest for blood, mindless action, weird editing techniques, characters I didn’t give a s*it about, and just random nonsense! I’ve sat through a couple boring movies this year: “Logan Lucky,” “Ghost in the Shell,” but here’s the thing about those movies, they qualify as movies! “Logan Lucky” has good cinematography and acting, “Ghost in the Shell” has stellar action and great visual effects that makes you almost feel like you’re watching “The Fifth Element” or “Blade Runner.” This movie has like a couple coolish moments having to do with action but that’s about it for the positives! Let me just put it this way, “Rise of the Lycans,” is not good, but, at least there I cared for the characters. I cared for nobody here. I mean, I knew who some of the people were, it would be somewhat shocking if I didn’t know who Selene was considering I watched four other movies leading up to this one with her in it. Speaking of which, let’s talk about her.

Kate Beckinsale plays Selene once again and she’s pretty much the same character you can truly expect to see here if you’ve watched previous “Underworld” installments. However, unlike other movies I’ve seen her in where her character is rather kick-ass at times, you don’t really get any moments here that stand out in terms of kickassery. I can still remember the first movie when there was a scene where Selene had to shoot around a floor that stood out. I still remember a scene from the end of the first movie, the one where she slowly bites that one dude. Granted there were still moments of action out of “Underworld: Blood Wars” that I still remember, both for good and bad reasons. But there’s not really many moments where people shine here. It’s kind of like “Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise,” which now that I think about it, another thing these two films have in common is the boredom factor. Although I’ll say, “Revenge of the Nerds II” didn’t have as many boring moments which means this movie is more like “The Girl on the Train.”

As far as the other characters go, I’m not even gonna list them, because who gives a f*ck about the other characters?! The other characters certainly move the story along, but they were unmemorable despite seeing some of these folks before such as Theo James’s character of David, but these characters have no outstanding qualities about them.

The action in this movie, as mentioned, was both good and bad. There was a scene in a cage that was rather interesting to watch, although from an editing perspective, maybe slightly flawed by the looks of it. I own the Blu-Ray so I could probably look back and see if I’m just imagining things. The opening action sequence had potential to be somewhat cool but the editing in that scene at times was just somewhat jarring! The ending action sequence was rather cool, but chances are I won’t remember it that well. The sound editing was pretty good, but I can’t really think of anything else that was really that slick. Oh yeah, and SPOILER ALERT ahead, once the final action sequence ends, the movie doesn’t have much time left until it ends, and it’s actually open ended. I checked the movie’s IMDb page and Len Wiseman, a producer behind the “Underworld” movies, says that there will be a sixth film in the franchise! If this were another franchise, it’s possible that I might be rather excited, but based on how these movies progressively get worse, I can’t say the same about this! It’ll also star Kate Beckinsale one last time, and I hope it’s one last time because these movies need to die. As much as I enjoyed the first two “Underworld” installments, it’s objective that the franchise doesn’t really qualify as quality filmmaking.

In the end, “Underworld: Blood Wars” is a film you guys just really shouldn’t see. Go watch the first movie again, not only is it better, but you’re more likely to get it for a cheaper price! This franchise was dying when I watched the third and fourth installments, and after seeing this fifth installment, its death has now arrived. I’m gonna give “Underworld: Blood Wars” a 2/10. Seriously though, if a sixth “Underworld” movie is being made, my biggest request is that there’s effort put into it. There can still be mindless action, there can still be a dark color palette, just make a good movie, that’s the main thing I’m asking for! Not to mention, this news came in VERY RECENTLY and I almost left this information out, apparently “Underworld” is getting a TV series. If this is true, put effort into that too! Thanks for reading this review. Pretty soon I’ll have my review for “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” and now that I reviewed a number of Tom Cruise films which he made in the past, I want to follow up on that by seeing “American Made” this upcoming weekend. Stay tuned for more reviews, and I’ll ask you all, what is your favorite “Underworld” movie? You can still say it’s this one. You can even bash me and roast me and tell me why I’m wrong, I don’t care! I just want to know your thoughts! Anyway, comment below, and I do read them by the way. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Firm (1993): Life’s a Mitch

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! This Friday, there will be a new movie out called “American Made.” It stars Tom Cruise, it’s directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Jumper), and it’s not the first time these two are teaming up together. They worked on “Edge of Tomorrow” together. By the way, an “Edge of Tomorrow” review isn’t going to be done now or anytime soon, if I had the movie I’d probably look at it and review it, but I don’t. Also, good movie, check it out. Anyway, this review is the last installment of my past Tom Cruise movie series, so far I’ve done reviews for “The Last Samurai” and “Risky Business.” What’s my last movie? If you’re seriously asking that, look at the freaking title! But seriously, today I’ll be reviewing “The Firm.” After watching this movie, I have a good number of things to talk about, so let’s get to it!

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“The Firm” is directed by Sydney Pollock (Tootsie, Out of Africa), and stars Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn (Waterworld, Basic Instinct), and Gene Hackman (Superman, The French Connection), and revolves around the character of Mitch McDeere, a young lawyer who went to Harvard who goes to work at a firm which he soon discovers has a dark side.

For the record, this is the first time I watched “The Firm.” Last month I got a Triple Feature Blu-Ray pack featuring three Tom Cruise flicks: “Collateral,” “Days of Thunder,” and this one. When I told my mother I was watching this movie, her reaction almost sounded like she founded the Fountain of Youth. She loves this movie, and she also loves the book. By the way, the book is written by John Grisham, writer of novels such as “The Chamber,” “Skipping Christmas,” and “A Time to Kill.” After watching “The Firm.” I don’t know what to think. Part of me feels the need to read the book, and I don’t mean that in a positive way. “The Firm” made me rather want to take a bar exam as opposed to watching the movie. Before we dive into negatives, let’s dive into some positives.

The cast for “The Firm” is undoubtedly outstanding. Tom Cruise is, well, Tom Cruise. This isn’t really his best performance, you can still see a bit of Tom Cruise himself while watching this, but you can totally buy into his character. Jeanne Tripplehorn as Cruise’s wife, Abby, does her job well, the chemistry between the two is believable and there’s a scene that personally stands out. Although admittedly I didn’t really care about their relationship in the end, which I will come back to. Gene Hackman was also pretty good as the character of Avery. Also, some of the supporting characters are played by respectable actors who gave good performances throughout the picture. For example, Holly Hunter (Raising Arizona, The Incredibles), she played he character of Tammy Hemphill, Hunter’s performance delivered a lot of charm. It almost sounded fantastical and was almost shot up the sky high enough to reach over the top territory, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t charming. Hunter’s performance was also nominated for an Academy Award by the way. One of my biggest surprises I encountered during the movie’s runtime is that Gary Busey (Point Break, Lethal Weapon) has a role in it. His performance is definitely one of the best in the entire movie and it was aced from scene one. He’s barely in it, but if you check this movie out, look forward to Busey.

The cinematography for this film, while somewhat conventional, was pretty good. This was shown during the scene towards the end of the movie with Tom Cruise running, which I personally like because it doesn’t really do any quick cutting or jumpcutting or anything like that.

Now let’s dive into my first negative of the film, and this is something which if you have seen the film, you’ll probably disagree with me on, and that is the music. Here’s the thing about the movie’s music, at times, it meshes well with the movie, but at other times, it could have been altered. In fact, the film is using a piano in a lot of it’s music, the way the piano’s being used almost reminds me of a silent film. If you like the movie’s music, that’s great! You’re allowed to like it, but it really just didn’t flow that well at times. On a sidenote, one reason why I brought up the possibility of you disagreeing with me on the music is because it received an Oscar nomination. By the way, the composer of this movie’s music, Dave Grusin, is also the composer of music featured in various films which came out before this one such as “The Goonies” and “Tootsie” and Grusin also happens to be the musical composer of various films which came out after this one such as “Hope Floats” and “Selena.”

Also, the pacing of this film seems to be all over the place. I don’t know about you, but I felt like I was watching a completely different movie than my mother (refer to third paragraph). While this is mainly a thriller, it almost felt like it wanted to focus a lot as a romance film. It almost felt like it wanted to be two different movies at once. Now don’t get me wrong, films that are about something in particular can have romances interjected in there, but this romance almost felt like unnecessary filler at times. Not to mention, I almost didn’t care for anyone because the movie itself bored me at times. There’s a moment where it becomes interesting, then it just goes back to the slow-paced borefest I was already used to. The runtime is 2 hours and 34 minutes long, I’ve witnessed longer films that are better than this, also to be fair I witnessed longer films that are worse than this. As someone who hasn’t read the book, this makes me kinda curious, why is the movie this long? I did a Google search and I found out that the book is 412 pages long, and part of me wonders how much of this movie was taken from the book. Was everything taken from the book? Was everything that was considered “necessary” taken from the book while other stuff was left behind? I kind of want to know. Although with school and everything I don’t really have much time to sit down and read right now, not to mention, movies are more fun! Sorry, books! I’m not saying the movie should completely eliminate the romance which is included in it, but the movie honestly, as a whole, feels convoluted. If it removes various things from the film, things I can’t really come up with right now due to my boredom making my brain lack material from this movie, it might be a better movie.

Before we get into the section where I deliver my verdict, I have a rather humorous story to tell you. I only watched “The Firm” once, meaning I only watched it for this review. I have a Twitter account, by the way, the handle is @JackDrees if you’re interested. On that account, one thing I do occasionally is promote my upcoming material here on Scene Before. When I promote my upcoming material, one thing I would usually do is search for GIFs, otherwise known as the video file that might as well have started a pronunciation war. When I search for GIFs, I try to find footage of something that correlates to the focal point of a post. For example, when I reviewed “Risky Business” as part of this Tom Cruise series, I searched for GIFs related to that, and in a couple promotions I went with a GIF which had Tom Cruise sliding across the floor in his underwear. Now when I decided to review “The Firm,” I went searching for GIFs right away. I typed in “the firm” and “the firm tom cruise.” Both times, I got GIFs featuring Tom Cruise, then I chose the first result. I didn’t even know what it was, it had Tom Cruise in it though, I thought it was good enough because I needed something to promote my review for “The Firm” which you are reading right now. So I inserted the GIF, tweeted, and soon started watching the movie. About an hour or so in, I go to Twitter, and I have a notification waiting for me. Some user I don’t even know who goes by the handle @MrsPetitions replies to me saying “This is from Rain Man though 😂.” First, I’d like to thank @MrsPetitions for the little factoid. Second, I’ve never seen “Rain Man,” so if you’re going to accuse me for my lack of movie knowledge, just be glad it’s not from a movie I’ve seen or a movie that doesn’t have Tom Cruise in it. Third, upon review, there were barely any GIFs I saw for “The Firm” whatsoever. Fourth, this almost set the tone for the movie. It’s almost like Twitter suffered brain damage and immediately forgot what “The Firm” was, you know, kind of like me right now. This movie is forgettable.

In the end, “The Firm” was disappointing. I went into it with, not necessarily high expectations, but based on my mother’s thoughts towards the movie, I was expecting it to be good. I like the cast of the movie, sometimes the dialogue works, the cinematography isn’t all that bad, the film does look presentable, but there aren’t really many qualities that stand out about this film. “The Firm” got some things right, but ultimately needs some improvement. Is the book any better? I don’t know, I never read it, but it will be some time before I come back to this film unless I need something to fall asleep to. I’m gonna give “The Firm” a 5/10. Thanks for reading this review, that’s the end of this Tom Cruise series, I hope to see “American Made” this weekend or some other time soon. I’ll also have you know this Wednesday I’ll be seeing “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” which I’m really excited for. As far as other upcoming movies go, I’m desperately hoping to catch “Blade Runner: 2049” on opening weekend, but I don’t know whether or not that’ll happen.

Also, I want to let you know that in the future I do have other reviews in mind for past movies, for example, next month I’ll probably review “Thor” and “Thor: The Dark World” in preparation for “Thor: Ragnarok” which comes out November 3rd. If you have any movies in mind that I should review for one reason or another, let me know about it and I’ll keep it in mind. Also, if you want to check out my other entries in this Tom Cruise review series, links to those are down below if you want to read those posts! Stay tuned for more reviews! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“THE LAST SAMURAI” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/09/11/the-last-samurai-2003-not-a-perfect-blossom-but-not-a-bad-one-either/

“RISKY BUSINESS” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/risky-business-there-is-no-substitute/