Movie Review: The Maze Runner: Death Cure (2018)

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Plot: Young hero Thomas embarks on a mission to find a cure for a deadly disease known as the “Flare”.

Contains minor spoilers

I have experienced a rather good start to the year with new releases. I am still not over the wonderful The Greatest Showman (2018), and I am still listening to its’ soundtrack every single day. I can’t wait to purchase the DVD and show it to everyone I know, so that they too can be as happy as I. It also provided a pitfall for The Death Cure – could anything impress me after I was so ridiculously happy?

Well, The Death Cure didn’t make me as happy (two tonally different films as there ever was), but it did entertain me. The opening sequence, the lead culprit in the massive time delay of the film when Dylan O’Brien was seriously injured on set, is exciting and intense. I also really appreciate a film where the main characters can actually shoot and is not just randomly shooting into thin air – all the actors can be applauded for holding a gun in a manner that shows they’ve had some training.

Death Cure

The relationship between Thomas (O’Brien) and Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), is still as tight as ever. They are in this together, and the two actors themselves share a great chemistry on set. I like Newt, he’s such a sarcastic character full of pithy remarks. I still absolutely loathe Theresa – who doesn’t, and even her final attempts at redemption couldn’t convince me to find actual time for her. He doesn’t deserve Thomas or his compassion, and I completed related to my fellow movie goer when he passionately yelled “Can this bitch just die?!” in cinema – although good sir, do not refer to women as bitches, please.

I will perhaps always hate Aiden Gillen (perhaps unfairly). He also plays a devious bastard in The Death Cure, and this does not help him in terms of affection. He is able to play a weak man really well. He meets his fate in The Death Cure in a much more brutal and enjoyable fashion than in Game of Thrones.

The film has a solid progression, and although it did start to feel long I wasn’t terrible irritated by that. There was a stage at about halfway through the film where I wondered how on earth they were planning to wrap things up in the time they had left, but they managed.

Granted that I really didn’t like the second one (I am still not sure what went on there), this film turned out remarkably well. The Death Cure is not perfect – I felt that half of the female stars had no acting power, and they are, as always, very underrepresented. I always enjoy a dystopian setting that turns out to be some clinical trial drama – that is essentially what Divergent and The Maze Runner boils down to – what ethical values are governments willing to forsake of their people when faced with a massive viral disaster? This is my food man. However, it should be noted that the rights of a patient will never be compromised for the advancement of science, thank you very much.

Overall, The Death Cure did just fine as my second film for this year. That guy with the hollowed out cheeks and funky attitude was proper badass and had an epic moment or two. Eyebrows returning – he looks like he waxed his eyebrows, and I still think it must be a challenged to be permanently surprised. I’ve never read these books, so I can’t compare it to the source material, but as a dystopian film it works well and rounds of the series just fine.

Rating: 7/10

Movie Review: One Day (2011)

One day

Plot: After spending the night together on the night of their college graduation Dexter and Em are shown each year on the same date to see where they are in their lives. They are sometimes together, sometimes not, on that day.

Mind-numbing, soul-crushing, depressingly dreary, the undeniable stupidity of the human – in particular female – race.

This quote from Perks of Being a Wallflower “We accept the love we think we deserve”. That powerful, terrifying and thought-provoking phrase surely indicates that Emma (Anne Hathaway) does not think she deserves a good man.  Emma meets Dexter on the night of graduation. It’s the typical – she crushed on him hard, he’s ignorant to it. He’s had everything given to him in life and is as a result more open to adventures than Emma. Jim Sturgess’ considerable charm is not enough to make rooting for Dexter plausible.

Dexter is beautiful, charming, affluent and a B-grade celebrity in One Day. He’s a jerk, he can’t keep his pants up, and he mistreats his dying mother and concerned father. The only thing good about Dexter is Emma, who for whichever reason remains his friend after rejections and indifference and an unhealthy dose of selfishness from his part. They remain friends for years. She struggles to bloom but eventually reaches her dream of becoming a writer. Dexter, in contrast, loses his B-grade celebrity status because everyone thinks he’s annoying and falls into pit after pit of despair. But no – Emma never realizes that she deserves more. She’s still caught in that University fantasy about the gorgeous man falling for her. No relationship ever works out for her because remains attracted to Dexter. His shitty personality is marginally better when he’s with her, but he only becomes fully saved towards the end of the film, and by that time I just couldn’t care anymore about him.

The script of this film is largely the cause of its’ failure. There is a constant lack of information. Dexter’s mother wants to tell him something, we actually never hear what it was. Is this the cancer she later develops? Is it to tell him she thinks he’s a piece of shit? We aren’t privy to that information and we don’t get to see how it alters Dexter. Dexter’s father is an unsuccessful attempt to be a stoic-but-good man. He’s grouchy and has some moments where he ekes out wisdom, but for the most part he’s an empty character that does nothing for the story. Emma has no family apparently. I didn’t even reach a well of sympathy or gushiness for these characters – the script doesn’t allow you to get there.

Dexter is completely insufferable. Have I mentioned this?! He is the typical and often seen privileged private school kid without morals. I can’t root for him on principle. Not all privileged kids are jerks, but this one certainly is.

Anne Hathaway does her best with Emma, she truly does, but Emma remains a bland, boring and pathetic character without self-esteem and an unhealthy dose of masochism. Anne Hathway can’t pass as a Brit. That accent is off, she rounds her words way too much, and she’s just so American.

I felt like I spent a decade of my life watching this film. It is barely more than one hour and thirty minutes, but so insufferable I’d rather have spent my time watching paint dry.

This film is a drawn out mess about a woman who believes she can save a jerk from himself. The truth is here and that is what irritated me about this film so much – no person can change another person. A person can only change him/herself.

The thing is, I also get platonic relationships that are borderline romantic or full of tension. We all do. There will always be a friend that has the potential for more but there is something holding either of you back at various times. It happens. I just can’t understand why Emma remains friends with such an unredeemable man.

I’m done with this review now. I really hated this film. There are some things that worked – the washed out tones look gorgeous particularly. Other things didn’t work – and most particularly those ugly damn boots Emma insisted on wearing all the damn time.

If you’ve seen this movie, let me know if there is a support group of traumatized watchers helping each other cope with the damage. If you liked it, please do tell me what you liked. I would be VERY curious.

Rating: 4/10

Movie Review: Scorch Trials (2015)

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Plot: After having escaped the Maze, the Gladers now face a new set of challenges on the open roads of a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles.

Thoughts:

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Littlefinger. I somehow know that he’s going to be a villain. No hope that he has moral fiber. Aiden Gillen wasn’t the most satisfying villain. There is something about polo necks that lacks the essence of masterminded evil, and more importantly, Gillen seems unconvinced about his role.

Security doors in Scorch Trials are opened by mere handles. Seems very secure.

The scene where they are relinquishing their only weapon to their friend that is becoming a zombie – Can we just talk about how stupid this is? Shoot the guy, he’s indicated that he wants to die, and take your weapon. You know, to protect yourself.

The best thing about this film is that they found water in the very first building they entered.

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Let’s just quickly focus on these buildings – why are they looking like that? I need to know how buildings can be utterly destroyed by the sun. Windows are out, buildings have fallen over each other. There wasn’t a specific war, earthquake or tornado. Those are the things I’d think would lead to buildings being completely destroyed.

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This villain woman. Does she think she’s Gandalf the White?

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This Teresa chick. She’s irritating AF with her judgy little face. Her biggest issue is that she lost her mother due to zombitis. Well, sorry, but now every teenager must give up their enzymes??

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The new girl is at least better than Teresa. She obviously has more moral fiber than Teresa, and all in all I’d like her more to end up with beautiful Thomas. I’m appreciative that we finally have a girl in this movie that isn’t completely repulsive or evil.

Thomas Brodie-Sangster – I like him. He does a good job with being a leader and a voice of reason.

So here’s my issue with the whole Scorched world – why am I seeing green trees in this scene?

New definition for Dystopia: A story perpetuating the myth that teenagers matter.

Rating: 6/10

Both movies so far have been really lopsided. The first one is arguably better, but I am still not all that sure what the hell is going on. I think reading the books would help, but I’ve heard from reputable sources that I’d pull my hair out with the writing that is going on in there. Apparently Scorch Trials are also one of those “incredibly loosely based” adaptions, so reading the books won’t help all that much. I do know now that Thomas is planning to fetch Asian Zac Efron and save his life. And hopefully pop Teresa and Gandalf while he’s at it.

Movie Review: The Green Mile (1999)

The green mile

Paul Edgecomb: “They usually call death row the Last Mile, but we called ours the Green Mile, because the floor was the color of faded limes. We had the electric chair then. Old Sparky, we called it. I’ve lived a lot of years, Ellie, but 1935 takes the prize. That was the year I had the worst urinary infection of my life. That was also the year of John Coffey and the two dead girls”

Plot:

It’s 1999, and an elderly Paul Edgecomb lives in a nursing home in Louisiana. He is very popular with his fellow home members and with the staff. He takes walks during the day, going somewhere specific each time.

One night, Paul and his elderly friends are watching the movie Top Hat. His friend Elaine notices he is distressed and when she asks Paul what the matter is, he tells her the film reminds him of a time when he was in charge of death row inmates at the Cold Mountain Penitentiary in 1935.

Paul (Tom Hanks) thinks back to 1935, where he is working with his fellow prison guards Brutus “Brutal” Howell (David Morse), Harry Terwillinger (Jeffrey DeMunn), Dean Stanton (Barry Pepper) and Percy Whitmore (Doug Hutchinson). Paul, Brutus, Harry and Dean get along fine, but they dislike Percy who is childish and cruel and who only works in the ward because of family connections and his wish to see someone die on the electric chair.

John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) arrives at the prison. He is huge and intimidating but his despite his size he is shy, soft spoken, very innocent and kind. Coffey is convicted for raping and killing two young sisters but his guilt is immediately questionable.

Coffey and Paul

John Coffey:  “Do you leave a light on after bedtime? Because I get a little scared in the dark sometimes. If it’s a strange place.”

Paul is suffering from an UTI and he is in extreme pain all the time. One morning, after an excruciating urinating session, Paul is determined to go to the doctor, much to his wife’s relief. Before he is able to do that, Coffey supernaturally cures Paul. Paul is shocked by this immense power. He comes to the conclusion that Coffey can cure the wife of Warden Hal Moores (James Cromwell), who is dying of a brain tumour. They manage to sneak Coffey out of prison by putting Percy into the isolation room, something he richly deserves for the part he played in the botched execution of Eduard Delacroix (Michael Jeter), another inmate that got the taste of Percy’s cruelty a bit too often. Delacroix gives the Mile some entertainment by forming a bond with a Mouse and teaching it tricks. Delacroix is distraught when Percy kills it, but Coffey makes it alive again by his spectacular powers.

“Wild Bill” Wharton (Sam Rockwell), a psychopathic inmate is scheduled for arrival at the Cold Mountain Penitentiary. Coffey warns Paul of him, and he is proven to be correct when Wharton attacks the guards seconds after entering the building. They restrain him, but it is the first of many incidents involving Wharton. He is sent into isolation a few times, but he gets himself into trouble constantly. He touches Coffey and with his powers Coffey sees that it is Wharton who raped and killed the girls he is being sent to execution for. Coffey “releases” the tumour he took from Mrs. Moores (Patricia Clarkson) into Percy, making him kill Wharton and then lapse into a catatonic state.

Paul knows that nothing he can do will save Coffey’s life because they have no hard evidence. He asks Coffey what to do and Coffey’s answer surprises him. Coffey says that he wants to die, that living in such a hateful world is too much for him and that he is tired of it all. Coffey gets his execution, and the wardens have a difficult time controlling their emotions.

Back in 1999, Paul tells Elaine that he has lived such a long life because of Coffey curing his UTI, somehow giving him more life as well. He shows Elaine Delacroix mouse, who is still living years later because Coffey had restored him to full health as well. He tells Elaine that he knows he will die someday, but thinks his long life is punishment because he didn’t save Coffey back in 1935.

 Rating: 8.5/10

While visiting Zoë, I casually mentioned (now I realize in great error) that I’ve never seen The Green Mile. Cue Zoë grasping for breath, shocked and a bit teary eyed. So we sat down to watch it.

I went in mostly blind. I knew something about death row and some sadist and that it is based on a Stephen King novel, but that was it. People love this movie so I knew it had a chance to be really good, but I have to say I was expecting violence and swearing and generally not my type of thing.

HOW WRONG CAN ONE PERSON BE?!

It was AMAZING. Like laugh out of your tummy amazing, be sad and angry (that FUCKING TOOL PERCY WETMORE) and confused. It was so good I wanted to re-watch it again and I can say that I definitely will.

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The tool, Percy Whitmore

I have to say I thought the movie could have worked just as well without the supernatural element but there was just enough in it to make it interesting without making it completely unrealistic. The supernatural element is thrown upon the watcher, so suddenly; it comes as a massive surprise. That there was well done because I just sat there thinking this is a strangely nice story about death row and then it was like BAM, HELLO SUPERPOWERS. The story was excellently developed and clear and I never felt that the movie was too long – an exceptional for feat for a three hour film. I also thought the uniforms were so beautifully cut and done – it made every officer just look that much more authoritative (except that tool Percy Whitmore). I found Coffey’s execution one of the most emotional scenes I have ever witnessed. It was wrenching to experience everyone’s pain and how no one wanted Coffey to die at the end.

The cast

I’ve always thought that Tom Hanks is an exceptional actor and he just showed it constantly in here. He did an amazing job as Paul Edgecomb and how he was someone in power who actually thought about the repercussions of his job and was determined to do it with dignity. He was most powerful when he showed how he would always treat inmates with dignity, especially John Coffey, and always inexplicably Wild Bill. I loved how he realised when it was time to send someone to isolation and when it could be prevented.

The portrayal Michael Clarke Duncan gives as John Coffey is too good for me to put into words. He really looked huge, especially when compared to Brutus, but he was a gentle giant. Even from the start I couldn’t get how he murdered those two blonde girls. I found him so sad. Coffey was a huge, hulking figure that didn’t wear any shoes. He was so tender-hearted about everything and I found it endearing how he called Edgecomb “boss”. He also just knew Percy Whitmore was a cruel, vile man that had absolutely no redeeming qualities in him and THAT I loved.

Brutus “Brutal” Howell

Brutal

Brutus

This guy was way too entertaining as well. I liked that how he, despite his size, was the person after Edgecomb who treated the inmates with the most respect and that he was the clear leader after Edgecomb. His friendship with Edgecomb and the entertaining they found in a lot of things together in prison was so sweet and funny.

Another mention on excellent acting should be given to Sam Rockwell who played the psychotic murdered “Wild Bill” Wharton. He freaked the hell out of me and I have to say that so many of the laughs I got out of here came from him. That scene where he spits the chocolate in Brutus’s face was hilarious and I admired the hell out of Brutus for not losing his temper there and then.

Okay, the last have to say about the characters involves Percy Whitmore, played by Doug Hutchinson. He is, without a doubt, in the most hated characters list ever (if there isn’t such a list, there should be). He is on the same level as Umbridge, who is on the very top of the list. I felt such animosity towards him. Were it possible, I would have climbed through the screen to kick him. He is everything I despise in some men – men who love to beat down on people either smaller or in lesser positions than them, men who are cruel and enjoy brutality and men who love throwing their connections around. In fairness to Hutchinson, he played the part perfectly and was just as well cast as the rest of the group.

I obviously really liked this and would recommend it to just about everyone. It is an excellent story without a lot of violence and it is gripping from the start.

Have you seen it? What did you think?