Movie Review: The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner

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Rated:

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, malady including some disturbing images

Directed By:

Wes Ball

Based on the Book By: 

James Dashner

Cast:

Dylan O’Brien, try Aml Ameen, Ki Hong Lee, Blake Cooper, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario.

Find the rest on IMDB here.

IMDB Movie Synopsis:

Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they’re all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow “runners” for a shot at escape.

My Review:

I am SO late with this but hey, I’m eventually doing it. This movie is heading into its second weekend at the theaters so its perfect timing to get you guys out there this weekend to see it!

Here’s the thing about The Maze Runner: I liked the book. I enjoyed it. But I didn’t love it. And I think its because while James Dashner is SUCH a kickass person and a great writer, it was hard to picture a lot of things in the novel. I was confused, bewildered and even my own active imagination had problems keeping up with the world. But I honestly thought that this story would just be so much better on screen. The action, the anticipation, the fear, the maze, the Glade, the Grievers…I felt like it would all just look so good on screen.

I was right.

The things that were so hard to picture in written form exploded on screen. This movie had me on the edge of my seat and this is coming from a person who has already read the book. I already knew what would happen, who would live and die, what would happen next, but I was still clutching the armrests of my seat because it was just so full of action and mystery and anticipation. I love a movie that can build it up and keep you on the edge of your seat and that’s exactly what this movie does.

Plus, its funny. You stick a bunch of teenage boys together to survive and you can either get a rag-tag group of friends that somehow keep themselves alive or you get Lord of the Flies. Thankfully, we don’t get Lord of the Flies. Instead we get a rag-tag society that is somehow working and a bunch of guys that can seriously make me laugh. There were several times that I was laughing, and I think it was mostly the character of Chuck, the youngest member of the group, the caused the giggles.

Which brings me to the casting. They had such a great mix of actors, a mix of known ones and a mix of people I’ve never heard before. You had Dylan O’Brien (from Teen Wolf), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (from Game of Thrones), Kaya Scodelario (from Skins) but there are fantastic performances from Blake Cooper, Aml Ameen and Ki Hong Lee as well, and I’m just impressed by all of them. And watch out for an appearance by James Dashner himself.

I think what really brings this movie together, and guaranteed the release of the sequel (coming to theaters in September 2015) is that it appeals more to both genders than a lot of the YA adaptations have in the past. While I think The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc can definitely appeal to boys, its not going to appeal to the wider audience that The Maze Runner does. Its unique when compared to other YA adaptations and its a majority male cast as well. Its definitely garnered attention from movie goers outside of the normal YA crowd, and that’s the real key to a YA movie succeeded, bringing in a broader audience than just those who have read the book, and it definitely accomplished that. Its full of action, its funny, the eye candy isn’t too bad, there is mystery and a sort of thriller feeling to it, and its just great.

If you haven’t been to theater to see this one yet, whether you’ve read the book or not, I definitely recommend going to see it!

Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

“If I Stay” Hollywood Red Carpet Premiere Recap!

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The moment that I knew there would an If I Stay premiere in Hollywood, purchase I requested the day off. I knew that I had to be there! It had been SO long since the last premiere (Divergent in March) and I was itching for a new one. I didn’t think it would be as big as Divergent so camping was not necessary. Thank god. Haha!

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Instead my friends and I showed up at around noon, at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, where the premiere was being held. I had never been to a premiere there so we kind of scoped out the area and asked SPEC, the security guys who always handle premieres, what the dealio was. They told us that the fan section was across the street, so we headed over to get ourselves a good spot.

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We met up with some more friends and met some new ones. Our new friends had done premieres at the Chinese Theater before and said that the guests at premieres often came across the street to sign with fans, and that we were in a good spot, right across from where they drop off the celebs. We were feeling good. We were tired, that’s for sure, but feeling good!

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Getting all set up for the premiere, right at the barricade, as always!

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The stars started to arrive and this is kind of the moment when things went from really exciting to pretty crappy. The stars started coming and we started calling them over. It hadn’t been very long before the publicists turned to us, all the fans against the barricade and told us they were NOT going to come over.

Instead, they would be signing for people on THAT side of the street, in a little space between the Chinese Theater and the Dolby Theater.

We were pretty pissed. One, we were told to go across the street. Two, we were told NOT to go exactly where they were going. Three, the people that WERE on that side were just a bunch of tourists gathering around who had NO idea what on earth was going on, and just wanted to see a real Hollywood premiere and take a picture with a celebrity. I was tired, hungry and pissed off.

At that point, we went sprinting across the street, in the hopes of catching them. Jamie came over for a bit, and took a bunch of pictures with more nonfans. One guy took about seven to eight selfies with him, and then proceeded to say over and over again “Who was that?” Literally, my patience was at its limits. I wanted to punch someone. I started pushing through people, saying really loudly “Actual fan of this movie coming through.” By that time, though, the cast had gone inside to watch the movie.

My friends and I were pissed, frustrated, tired, not sure of what to do. We knew they would eventually make their way out, to head to the after party so we kind of hung around that barricade for a bit, hoping that they would come to us there. The security guy there though told us a little secret and said they’d be setting barricades on the other side of the theater, closer to the Roosevelt Hotel where the after party was going to be.

So we head over there, and secured ourselves a spot at the barricade and waited…another two hours. At this point, we were even more tired, hungry, most of us had to pee, and we were just feeling absolutely dejected. We had been there all day and we hadn’t accomplished anything, and we hadn’t even gotten in to see the actual movie.

About an hour and a half, maybe two hours later, though, people started coming out and things started looking up.

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It was Liana Liberato (Kim)’s birthday and as soon as she came out, we immediately launched into a VERY loud rendition of “Happy Birthday”. She stopped and listened and looked incredibly touched that we did so. She even thanked us on Instagram later. As soon as we finished, she came over and started signing :)

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The beautiful Liana

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Then Jamie Blackley came out. Of course, Jamie plays the main lead, Adam. He started walking away, heading to the after party but after some yells from us, he smiled and came over to sign and take pictures with us, which is awesome. I always have one goal at a premiere and everyone else is just bonus and he was my one goal so I was glad he came over. Plus we took this amazing selfie together, and that was just awesome. His little British accent was too cute to handle and he seemed so overwhelmed by us fangirls, but in a good way.

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We had seen Cameron Monaghan earlier so when we saw him walk out, we all called him over. I love Cameron! I think he did an amazing job as Mason in Vampire Academy and he plays my favorite character in The Giver, Asher. I’ve also heard he rocks on Shameless, but I haven’t watched yet. Either way, I adore him and I was glad he came over to take pics with us!

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Gayle Forman had come out and was kind of watching us with the cast with fondness when I shouted “Hi Gayle!” and she waved at us. I saw that she didn’t seem to think she should come over so I shouted “Gayle, can you come take a picture?” and she laughed, looked to the people who were with her, who all nodded and then she came over and took pictures with her fans.

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Then Chloe came out! We had seen her earlier from afar but I honestly had no hopes of actually getting to meet her. Her publicist had said she would come out and sign and take pictures as long as we stayed calm and…well a lot of people don’t seem to understand that. Well, it went okay haha and I managed to get her signature and a picture with her, which made me very very happy. I am stoked to see her as Mia and I’m massively excited to see her as Cassie in The 5th Wave.

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One of the last people we saw was Ali Milner, who plays Liz in the film. Liz is one of the members of Adam’s band. A small part but she was absolutely gorgeous, totally sweet and her dress was to DIE for.

We also met Joshua Leonard, who played Mia’s dad in the film, and we also met Jakob Davies, who played her brother Teddy. Jakob was TOO cute for life, and you should see his adorable signature in my book.

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Signed by Gayle Forman and the director, RJ Cutler (at an event last week), and signed, at the premiere, by Chloe Moretz, Jamie Blackley, Liana Liberato, Jakob Davies, Joshua Leonard, and Ali Milner. Seriously, Jakob’s signature has GOT to be the best one on there.

So the day started off good, went completely awful and ended really well. I was so glad that we had stayed, even though we were all very tired and dejected. We ended up getting everyone that we wanted and it was a fun time. It wasn’t quite what we expected but I’m actually really happy at the way it turned out. After the actual carpet and the movie, the cast stopped to sign for us fans that had stuck around long enough to try and meet them and that was awesome. Major points for them :)

Now its time to end this post. I’ll be seeing the movie tonight with my boyfriend, finally, and I can’t wait to see it. A review for that is to come!

And don’t forget to enter my If I Stay giveaway! You can win a copy of If I Stay, signed by Gayle Forman and the director, RJ Cutler! Don’t miss out on it, and click the picture on the sidebar of this blog to find out how to enter!

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Tuesday Top Ten-Books I’d Like to See as a TV Show/Movie

One thing that I have noticed in the past few years, stuff especially in the last year, pill is that so many of the books that I enjoy to read have either been made into the movie or TV show, advice especially in the young adult genre. Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Twilight, Hunger Games and Beautiful Creatures have already been made into movies. The Vampire Diaries is a very successful TV show. CIty of Bones, Divergent, Catching Fire, Ender’s Game and more are coming out in the coming months, and even more movies are being filmed and being written for the big screen.

Now, I was thinking, even though most movie and book adaptations aren’t perfect and they don’t turn out the way you wish they would, its still fun to see the characters and worlds you’ve come to love come to life on screen.

So I made a list of the top ten books I’d like to see as a TV show or movie. Some of these have been signed on, but we haven’t seen much more than that. So some are “Oh, I wish it would happen” and some are “please I hope this happens some day SOON!”

Here we go!

10. A Little Less than Famous

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Yeah, yeah I’m seriously talking about my own book right now and I know that this is super selfish and a little bit conceited but I do think it would make a really good…hmm, I think TV show rather movie but either way. I was going through the process of editing and adding and all that sort of things when I was like, this would make a great movie. I created this book as sort of a glimpse into a celebrity life and what a better way to adapt that then to show it on a big screen. McKinley Evans is just a regular girl, who starts dating superstar, Jake Kennedy, and gets wrapped up in that celebrity world. I started to self cast people for McKinley and Jake, like people fan cast. The biggest one that I really liked was Chase Crawford, of Gossip Girl fame, as Jake Kennedy…but with black hair. I just think a book that is wrapped up in the life of movies and TV shows would translate well into the actual real world of movies and TV shows.

9. Legend

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This movie is actually already been picked up for a movie, by CBS Films, but its a really slow process, or so I am learning now that I actually pay attention to things like this. Its been a long process to create a script, and now that the script is written, its time to find a director. But I hold out hope that it will eventually hit the big screen. Though I love both Hunger Games and Divergent, I really think that Legend is so much more both and can attract both a female and male audience. In the books, there is a back and forth point of view between June and Day, and both characters are so real. The thing that really brings you in is the fact that they are two completely different point of views but the same story. June and Day are literally living the same story but they come from two different worlds so they see it so different and to see those two stories coinciding on screen, to crash together towards the end would be absolutely amazing, and I hope very much that CBS Films will be able to make this happen.

8. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

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This is one of my favorite books of all time, and Morgan Matson has created such a beautiful, memorable story. I think a lot of the YA adaptations (besides The Fault in Our Stars) has really been in that sort of fantasy/paranormal/dystopian genre, and while I am way into that, I do think there are a lot of contemporary novels that would do well in a movie translation as well. Amy and Roger embark on a road trip across country, Amy to Connecticut and Roger to Philadelphia, both to confront fears that they’ve been avoiding for so long. Its a real and raw novel, a novel that takes on what it is like to be a young adult, faced with the kind of things that both Amy and Roger have faced, and puts it in a fun, and addicting adventure, such as crossing the country and experiencing new things and meeting new people. I think it would be an absolutely wonderful movie to make, and to watch.

7. A Great and Terrible Beauty

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As far as I’m aware, this movie WAS signed on, but it fell apart and it never actually happened, which isn’t surprising because not every book that gets optioned to be a movie actually makes it to the big screen and that’s okay. However, I do really think this would make a great movie. Its a fun, and dark and the sort of issues that the girls tackle are incredible. I think Libba makes a ton of good points in this movie that would translate amazingly into a movie. The girls in this book struggle with the idea of power and how powerless they are in the Victorian age where everything is decided for them before they can even open their mouth. In a time like now, when things should be better and different, and they aren’t, I think it would really connect with a lot of girls. I would have been very excited to see a series that focuses more on the four main characters and their struggles, especially with finding out who they are and less on love stories, and I’m sad that this never came to be.

6. Before I Fall

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This is another book that has definitely also been optioned for a movie, and back in March, when I met Lauren Oliver, she assured me that its still in the works and hopefully will be one that actually happens. Her Delirium series filmed a pilot for FOX and didn’t picked up for a fall season, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the Delirium series so I’m not surprised. Before I Fall, however, is a brilliant novel and I really think Lauren Oliver hits her mark here. I think it would make a great movie because you don’t often have a main character that you honestly hate from the beginning of the book, which is exactly the way I felt about Samantha. But after Samantha dies and she’s forced to relive the last day of her life seven times, you slowly sort of fall in love with her as a character and its such an addicting and fast moving, emotional story, and I think it would make an absolutely beautiful movie, if done right. I know that Lauren Oliver said its a work in progress and I so hope she means that.

5. The Lost Hero

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So far, we have seen The Lightning Thief on the big screen, and we’ll see The Sea of Monsters in about a week but I would really like to see The Heroes of Olympus come to life. I am excited for Monsters next week but the changes they made, especially when concerning the age difference between the actors and the characters in the novel. I think if you took Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario and the rest, and then cast Piper, Jason, Hazel, Leo, etc. for The Lost Hero, you would create a perfect movie. The characters in these books are hitting their late teens and its more fitting to the story, and the actors would make SO much more sense than they do in the ones they are making now when they are supposed to be, like, eleven years old. I super love Percy Jackson and the Olympians but I really have this addicted to The Heroes of Olympus and I really do think they would make the best movies of the entire saga that Rick Riordan has created.

Literally was watching a Sea of Monsters trailer while writing this. So awesome.

4. The Demon King

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Okay, so I am totally biased when it comes to this. I honestly think Cinda Williams Chima has created an absolutely wonderful fantasy saga and I think there should be more pure fantasy novels being adapted into tv shows and movies, at least in the YA genre. We have Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and Game of Thrones but we really don’t see that much in the YA. I can understand it, mostly because creating fantasy on film is really hard and really expensive. But I think doing a fantasy, a pure epic fantasy movie with a girl as the main character, one who becomes the ruler and has to rule a country in chaos at such a young age. Its a beautiful story, and it has magic and hot guys, and political strife, and racial clashes. Cinda creates such real stories, that you can mirror them to things you see in every day and Raisa, the main character, is someone you can really relate to, even if you’re not a teen girl thrust into an authority position you are not ready for. I think if you put this in the hands of the right director, in people willing to really make a beautiful fantasy film, and not go cheap on it, you could see this as an awesome movie.

3. Wicked

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Make no mistake here, I think this book is absolutely wonderful but its way too dark and gritty to be a movie. Its…its very dark, and I always kind of laugh when people see the musical first and then read the book, unaware of how very, very different they are. I read the book first so I was surprised, though pleasantly so, when I saw the music. I like both of them a lot, but just in different ways, and as different entities. What I would really like to see is the musical, either recorded the way they recorded Cats all those years ago, or doing a movie version of it, like with Hairspray and Rent, etc. I think its an amazing musical, and even my anti-musical boyfriend enjoyed it when we saw it together nearly six years ago. Its so funny, and the music is just so…emotional and amazing, and even the happy songs of that musical make me cry. I would love to see this as movie, simply so I could buy a Blu-Ray copy of it and watch it ALLLLLLLLL the time.

2. Clockwork Angel

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This is also currently being worked as a movie as well, probably with the success that City of Bones has already enjoyed and the movie doesn’t even come out for about a month. I just see all the awesomeness of City of Bones (again, I know, only through trailers so I don’t really know yet) and I think, oh my god, let’s do all of that, but in the Victorian age! Which would be beautiful, and then I start fan casting (Sarah Bolger for Tessa Gray!) and I just think it would be amazing. I would love to see book loving, shape shifting Tessa Gray battling automatons and the evil Mortmain alongside the mysterious and cruel but so hot Will Herondale and the beautiful, fragile Jem Carstairs. I would love to see Godfrey Gao as Magnus Bane but in Victorian times. I really would love to see that. Its just more Shadowhunter kickass-ness but in a time where the girls were wearing corsets so its only THAT much better. Please make this happen. I’m just saying.

1. Trickster’s Choice

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This is one of my absolute favorite books of all time, tied up with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (which was a horrible movie adaptation, but meh, to each their own). To go along with the things I said about The Demon King, I think we need more fantasy in the YA books-to-movies. So many of the books that are being adapted are dystopian and while I seriously love dystopian, I’m ready for some super awesome fantasy adaptations. I am so excited for The Hobbit, but that book isn’t as accessible to teens as this book is, and Aly is a brilliant character. I also think that Tammy uses a lot of real world parallels in this novel, the idea of the dark skinned raka, living under the tyranny of the white skinned luarin, war, rebellion, growing up, losing your virginity, slavery, self-identity and so much more. Plus the dynamic character of Aly. I really think we could use some more strong female characters, but equally awesome and strong male characters and this novel has both, and it’d make a great, great movie.

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Hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of the Tuesday Top Ten, and don’t forget to check out last week’s, where I counted down my Top Ten Favorite Romantic Scenes!

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What are some of the books that you’ve read that you’d like to see become movies or TV shows? Share in the comments!