Review: The Maze Runner is a dazzling addition to the coveted young adult genre

maze-runner-movie-glade

Everyone postulated that the fate of the adaptation of James Dashner’s young adult hit book The Maze Runner will not be a merry one. But the film emerges as a stunning surprise unlike the herd of YA tryouts since Twilight and The Hunger Games. The Maze Runner springs an anomaly because of it’s focus on the don’ts rather than the do’s of YA adaptations.

The Maze Runner starts downright with a memory-less Dylan O’Brien heading up in a cage into a grassy arena called the Glade led by Alby (Aml Ameen). The Glade is surrounded on all sides by 100 feet tall walls concealing the former in the center of a giant maze. The walls of the Glade are open throughout the day for the boyland to explore the ever-changing maze. During the night the walls remain closed but the maze is raided by bio-mechanical creatures called Grievers who sting the Gladers to death. The Glade is a structured system with rules for its survival consisting of Runners to navigate the maze, Builders, Medics and Chefs. Thomas Brodie-Sangster (of Game of Thrones fame) plays Newt, Alby’s substitute, and Blake Cooper plays the youngest Glader and brings out the comic moments in the film. Will Poulter (We’re the Millers) plays dominant bully Gally. Thomas (Dylan O’Brien)  remembers only his name in a day just like every other boy. Things go awry when Thomas goes rogue breaking every code of the Glade and manages to survive a night inside the maze. Suddenly a sex ratio springs with a advent of a girl Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) who is the last person to be sent to the Glade. Thomas’ antics lead to guys getting stung in the day and the doors remaining ajar in the night for the invasion of Grievers, leaving them with no choice but to escape through the maze.

First-time director Wes Ball, previously just a visual effects expert, was handed reins of this films based on an 8-minute CGI fim. Ball pulls off a more than commendable job with a $34 million budget. He keeps character development at bay and keeps the plot ticking, albeit he does take his sweet time in showing us the maze. The visual effects are laudable. The screenplay is watertight knowing its direction to climax which has its own climax. Ball also extracts supreme performances from every young actor. The Maze Runner is a must watch for the young adult genre and is easily comparable to The Hunger Games.

rating_stars-3

Review: A Walk Among the Tombstones is the resurgence of its kind not to be missed!

Walk-Among-The-Tombstones

Crime is the most realistic a genre can get. If you like the ongoing obsession called True Detective, just dump this review and run to a theater to watch the Scott Frank’s deceitful craft A Walk Among the Tombstones, based upon Lawrence Block’s 1992 novel of the same title. Liam Neeson plays illegal private detective Matthew Scudder assigned a reluctant case of a barbarous gay couple who kidnap a drug trafficker Kenny Kristo’s beautiful wife. Kenny pays the ransom only to be served with wrapped severed body parts of his wife, deeming the killers nothing less than psychos who turn out to serial.

Tombstones is unlike Taken and the stint of films Neeson had after that. He is a solo protagonist but not the predictable character that will end the film with all being well. The best part is that the serial murders have nothing to do with Scudder’s personal life. He is never the target. He won’t directly care about his unavoidable teen sidekick TJ (Brian ‘Astro’ Bradley), but he is resourceful when it comes to work sans his gun. The film gives a rush of Taken in a telephone conversation involving Scudder dominating the villain, but that’s all. Scudder is a serious persona with a wry humor and his chemistry with TJ is amusing.

Writer-director Scott Frank is a reviver for this desperately needed cinema. He derives influences from Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas and Steven Splielberg’s Munich for this one. Tombstones hardly wavers from its prime plot. There is no scene singly specifying any personal aspect of any character, not even that of the serial killers. He has kept the film gory in a passive manner instead of visual ranting. Also you never what you might be shown next. The film has brilliant performances from other lesser known actors. The depiction of Brooklyn in 1999 is artistic. The film comes off more as a surprise from Neeson’s side. Let’s just hope this is a start to a film series!

rating_stars-3