Tag Archives: new release

The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner (2014) | Trailer
Run Time: 113 min
Rated: PG-13 (For for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images.)
Directed By: Wes Ball

Kurtis:
The Maze Runner looks, at first blush, like it might just be another dystopian young adult movie, like someone was just trying to cash in on a trend. Don’t let that make you brush it off, because this movie packs a serious punch. Once a month, an elevator brings supplies and a new guy to join a group of boys trapped in a maze. When Thomas shows up, everything starts to change. Thomas disrupts the way the boys have done things for years, and some of the members aren’t so happy with that. Thomas and the group need to piece things together and find a way to escape the maze and defeat the bests within it. The Maze Runner is so refreshingly dark, it plays more like a big budget thriller than it does a young adult movie. It sets itself apart from The Hunger Games and Divergent with its masterful creation of suspense throughout and intrigue at what happens in the rest of the series. The thing that really amazes me is that this movie is put together nearly by complete unknowns. There is no star power to be found in the cast, or even the director, and yet the performances, special effects, and writing are all almost flawless. I get why people are hesitant about it, we’re all a little tired of teens fighting against the man, but I think you’ll be glad with giving The Maze Runner a shot.
Bottom Line: It’s a familiar concept lately, sure, but The Maze Runner is an overall better film that keeps you guessing all the way through. There’s a chance for this series of films to really be great, so check this one out before it leaves theaters.
Rating: 4.5/5

Morgan:
So I bought the book about a month or so ago, with every intention to read it prior to seeing the movie. While I failed miserably (I didn’t even open it) I still really enjoyed the movie. I felt like I was on the edge of my seat almost the entire time. Dylan O’Brien was really great as Thomas, the character that everything hinges on, yet seems pretty ordinary. I’m not sure how much detail the movie did or did not go into as far as in relation to the book, but I felt like it did a good job leading the audience and helping them understand what’s going on. As far as post-apocalyptic, sacrificing the children movies go, this was definitely the most intense.
Bottom Line: I’m excited for the next parts to follow, and to actually read the book!
Rating: 4/5

Jordan:
If I could, I would re-title this movie “What the hell is that?!” because the main character says it a minimum five times. It’s the classic trope of Naïve Newcomer.  Thomas is dropped into a world where there’s only teenage boys trapped in a maze. Each day they run through the maze in hopes of finally escaping. They have a perfectly set up order, managed by the first boy Alby. Thomas (being our protagonist and obvious chosen one) starts asking questions. What are the noises? Why should I stay out of the scary maze? Why can’t I do whatever I want even though I’ve only been for one day and I’m clearly an idiot?
Great addition to the Young Adult genre. It definitely adds more suspense, stress, and creepiness than some similar movies in the last year (Divergent, The Hunger Games). I was happy to see so many people of color with strong speaking roles. And a girl who wasn’t the romantic interest. The plot is intense and confusing. You can always tell when something is a book-to-movie adaptation by the weird pacing and the leaps of plot development.
Bottom Line: Wait until the sequels come out. Then all the crazy, sweaty-palm moments won’t be for naught when you’re left with a cliffhanger.
Rating: 3.5/5

AGGREGATE RATING: 4/5

The Amazeblog Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) | Trailer
Run Time: 142 minutes

Rated: PG-13 (For sequences of sci-fi action/violence.)
Directed By: Marc Webb

Morgan:
The long awaited sequel to the new era of Spider-Man movies is finally here. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is filled with more villains and therefore, more action than the first. There is also a good amount of much needed backstory dealing with Peter’s parents that not only serves as a quick refresher but also aids the current storyline. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are beyond perfect, as expected. Seriously, it’s worth seeing just because of the two of them. That being said, the complexity of the plot and all the new characters makes it somewhat difficult to care to follow along. Especially when, once Spider-Man finally defeats one villain there’s another one immediately ready to destroy him. I did like how they introduced the next movie’s villain though.
Bottom Line: Overall, it was good. A little overly ambitious, but entertaining nonetheless. Plus, it’s still miles ahead of the original series
Rating: 3.5/5

Jordan:
While writing this, I keep fighting the urge to compare it to Captain America 2. Both Marvel, both sequels, both awesome. But where I felt like Cap was always solving problems and bringing hope, Spidey is dealing with grief and disappointing loved ones. TASM2 shows the tension between normal life and superhero life. Or really how you can’t please everyone without destroying your own identity.
There are plenty of quips and puns. Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield bring their innate silliness and charm to their characters. Jamie Foxx (although I think is a weird casting choice) plays an adorably awkward Oscorp employee. And Dane DeHaan is perfect as the abandoned billionaire’s son. Are you rooting for or against him? Is he charming or creepy? Does he look more like Leonardo DiCaprio or Cillian Murphy?
There were a lot of heart-wrenching moments, especially the scene where Peter Parker has to remind Aunt May that even though he wants to know why his parents left him, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love her. She’s “more than enough.” Oh, the feels.
Bottom Line: Better than the first one. See it in the theatre. And get ready for me to do this all the time. Tsst.
Rating: 4/5

Kurtis:
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the much anticipated sequel to Marc Webb’s reboot of the Spider-Man series and to be honest, I didn’t think it looked that great based on the trailers. I wasn’t excited to see Jamie Foxx as Electro, didn’t think he could deliver and I was worried that Webb would fall into the same trap Sam Raimi did with the first series of not weaving a storyline between the movies and relying too much on the stand alone aspects of each movie. TASM2 opens with Spider-Man flying through the city in pursuit of some Russian gangsters trying to flee with stolen plutonium. Andrew Garfield achieves the balance of hero and snarky teenager perfectly throughout the film and starts strong in this first scene. There’s way too much storyline to sum up here between Harry Osborn, Max Dillon/Electro, Peter Parker’s parents, the Gwen Stacy relationship drama and the internal struggle of Peter coming to terms with all of it… There’s a lot going on in these 2+ hours. It seems some critical feedback on this movie sees these multiple storylines as too ambitious and ultimately taking away from the movie as a whole but I found it quite interesting and a more realistic picture of what it would be like to live life as Spider-Man. The acting and cgi make this movie shine and the decision to spread the focus around to other characters and storylines make TASM2 a fun roller coaster ride with exciting action and difficult human emotions. You really get insight into the human side if Peter Parker and his struggle with losing everyone close to him and it adds so much to the movie as a whole. Dane DeHann slays as Harry Osborn/Green Goblin setting up The Amazing Spider-Man 3 to be a crown jewel of this current iteration. Jamie Foxx was surprisingly great in his role as Electro, benefitting in part by not being featured as much as can sometimes happen to main villains in comic movies. Whether you enjoyed the first movie or not, I think there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this sequel and I’d recommend seeing it before it drops out of theaters for sure.
Bottom Line: It’s long and there’s a lot if story to take in, but you’d be mistaken to not give this one a try, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised like I was.
Rating: 3.5/5

AGGREGATE RATING: 3.7/5

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