The Maze Runner

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I am going to try to do a review on this film despite missing parts where I fell asleep. It’s not all bad as I had a week of not much sleep, so my snoozing isn’t completely down to the film. In saying that, had I been more interested in the goings on I may have stayed awake throughout. The two ladies either side enjoyed it though, one being my girlfriend Amy and the other her friend Juliet. I didn’t even like the ice cream I had chosen, so although not a terrible night, not the best.

Again I have not read the book of The Mazerunner and again I have no intention of doing so because it was the storyline that sent me to sleep rather than the performances. Thomas lands in the mysterious place without knowing who he is, where he is and how he got there? He is soon being chased by a group of young men across green fields (the glades) with no where really to go. We do not know who the men are and why they are chasing him? Thomas soon tires and the others catch him up and this is where things are revealed. Each person has been sent to the glade without knowing much about why and how? Each month a new person is sent to join the gang and take up a role within the community based on their skill set. They need to survive!

There are some who are not so trusting in particular the character Gally who takes an instant dislike to Thomas because he asks too many questions. Thomas wants answers and flashbacks give him a hazey idea of what is going on and be wants to get out. The only way out is a large Maze, leading to no one knows where? A group is tasked with mapping it out and they are called the Mazerunners. Each day they head out and try to find their way out, mapping the maze as they go. Weird noises come from the inside of the maze at night from monsters known as Grievers. They are another danger for the boys of the glade to battle.

A last person arrives at the glade and its a girl, much to the surprise of the boys, particularly as she is the last one. Gally wants them all to stay put as he is scared of the dangers, but Thomas who proves his worth wants to get out. Are they part of some kind of experiment? What lies beyond the maze? What is a Griever? A lot is revealed by the end of the film, but not all and we know that this is only the beginning of the story, a small part of what is to come.

The story itself did not enthrall me in the slightest and there have been so many films like this in recent years which have been far better. The acting is good and I think Will Poulter will have an amazing career and he picks an American accent as if it was his own. This will help him go far! The Grievers looked ridiculous, but not having read the book I cannot judge who’s imagination they come from. They really didn’t put much thought into them, whoever it was? This is clearly one film of a set of films and this is an introduction, so it may well work when the next instalment comes along as on its own it doesn’t really tell much of a story, more it sets one up. I am not prepared to give up on this however and feel that this could be the start, although a poor one of a great set of films. Let’s wait and see.
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6/10

Gone Girl

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I was really quite excited about this film and had heard great things about it from some of the articles I had read. It is yet another film based on a book and one I hadn’t read prior to going to see it at the cinema. It being a who dunnit meant that reading the book would surely ruin the suspense and take the fun you have when trying to play detective. Also reading it after would make it feel rather pointless, so I do not really intend to read it now. This being said this is obviously a good story and one worth reading, the order in which you do it is entirely up to you of course.
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The film starts with Ben Afflecks character sitting at a bar talking to his sister, a bar which you later find out he owns. It is his 5 year wedding anniversary and you can already tell the marriage is struggling. The sister is clearly not a fan of her sister in law and doesn’t think she is the best person for her brother. Anniversary tradition means that he has to follow a treasure hunt of sorts by finding clues that his wife has set out for him, which is a major part of the plot.

Ben Affleck returns home to find his wife missing, the glass table on its side with smashed glass as if there has been some kind of disturbance. He soon notifies the police and an investigation starts and although he is not the prime suspect at first, it’s not long before it turns into a murder enquiry with him at the centre. He does the emotional press conference where everyone points the finger at him, particularly a certain talk show host. He is made out to be the murderous husband who isn’t quite acting like he should considering the love of his life is missing.

The story is told through his wife’s diary and goes back to the very beginning where they first met and fell in love. It’s a whirlwind romance and a happy relationship that soon turns sour, but who’s version of events is the truth? Where will the treasure hunt clues lead and will they tell us what has happened to the wife? Who else will be sucked into this mess? There are many twists and turns throughout and you feel quite excited when you turn the corner and find a whole new pathway to the answer, but it’s a twisted pathway that doesn’t just swallow up one person.
The performances from Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike are brilliant although Rosamund borders on hammy at times, but gets away with it. Affleck doesn’t get the credit he deserves because in the right film he is a brilliant actor. I just hope that the new Batman film doesn’t ruin it for him and he can carry on creating films like this. The supporting characters really build up a picture and give you clues to who has murdered the wife. Maybe the obvious person really has done it? You find out quite early on, but the mystery doesn’t stop there. I’ll warn you that the “C” word comes up a couple of times, hence this is an 18 certificate. This is one of the best films of the year.
8/10

71

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71 follows an English soldier from Derby who is sent to Northern Ireand in order to stop the republican militants. During 1971 an operation was set up called Op Demetrius which tasked the army to arrest those involved in violence. The film doesn’t really go into this and it mainly looks at soldiers trying to quell the violence. The Corp of soldiers head onto the streets of Northern Ireland and are attacked meaning they had to flee the area. Unfortunately two soldiers are left behind and they receive the most brutal attack. The camera doesn’t shy away from the sheer violence of the subject and we as an audience see the blood, screams and hatred very close up.

The English soldier Jack O’Connell is in fear for his life in an area where there is so much hatred against the soldiers. Where can he turn? Who can he trust? Can he even trust those on his own side? You really feel his fear and its almost like watching a child who as been left alone to fend for themselves. The soldier has to cope with his injuries, but does receive help from a family and a young boy. You see the devastating affects of the bombing on the innocent, you hear their screams, see their tears, watch their blood spill and fear for their future.

The acting throughout is brilliant and really makes your heart raise a beat. You will the soldier out of this horrific situation. You want those responsible to feel the harsh pain of justice and that’s from both sides. Sadly the English do not make the best choice to bring peace to the nation as was proven by their acts in 1971 when they chose torture to get the information. You also want the young and foolish who get tied up in the war to come to their senses and get away unharmed, but of course that rarely happens. The film is gritty and dark and doesn’t hold back with the emotions felt by all involved. The production is by Film 4 and I have found that many of the films they deliver are of real class and this film is no different.
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7/10

The Purge Anarchy

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My first thought when I saw that The Purge was going to have a sequel was “Really? But the first was so bad.” and the first really was bad, devoid of imagination, weak in plot and not particularly well acted. The idea of the purge is particularly interesting as I thought it could really delve into the human mind and see how far away from animals we really are? What would it take for a person to commit a heinous crime? Would one night on the loose be enough for some? Who would be the prey? Survival of the fittest comes to mind. Who would The Purge benefit and how could it be used?

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There are many more questions and of course many theory’s on what could happen if The Purge became reality. The first film did not come up with any questions and provided very little apart from a lot of ruthless killing with no real reason behind it. This is why it disappointed me. so I went intro the second film with very little optimism. That being said I did still go and see it, so there must have been some hope that the second film would be better. The second film was indeed far superior to the first and it did have a look at human nature and how The Purge would be used, and by whom, what benefit it would have to society. It also looked at the class structure and how the government would be involved.

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The build up is very similar to the first. The camera looks upon the people of the city and you know that somehow they will soon be close up and running for their lives. One couple break down on the motorway and you know they are going to be in for it. As people leave their place of work and their family to get inside you can easily identify who will be targeted. Those on the lower economic scale who cannot afford the expensive security systems will be the easy targets. This is where the survival of the fittest comes into it. There are those that seek revenge for the loved ones that they have lost either through a reckless act or a premeditated murder. Some will sacrifice themselves in order for their families have a better a life with more money. Some just get caught out through misfortune. The second film covers all these aspects of humanity.

Class is very important in the storyline as the rich target the poor and use those less fortunate than themselves for their little games. Can money really save your life? Maybe it can? Again this is where survival of the fittest comes in and those most powerful prey on those most weak. This can be said for the government too as uses The Purge to it’s advantage, but surely they are safe from the murderers out there? Their money will surely protect them? Unemployment is down because those at the bottom of the ladder are killed off, those without jobs or homes are the first ones targeted and the government are not scared to do this themselves, well pay someone else to do it at least. Crime would be down because those who have the urge would be free to do it on this one day of the year. Of course the rest of the year people like this could quite easily hold themselves back or would it make more murderers because once they have the taste of blood they may want more?

The Purge would of course be an unthinkable policy and one that would destroy society not protect it or make it better. So many people would be targeted and killed because of bigotry. Those that have racist views would target ethnic minorities, those that are homophobic may target those who are gay. What about those that are believed to be paedophiles, wrongly so on may occasions, surely they would be a target. Those that are ignorant enough to think that all Muslims are terrorist would surely act on their stupid views? How many people would actually be left if The Purge really came into existence. And that’s’ just murder, there are so many other disgusting crimes that would occur if people were free to commit them, The Purge only looks at killing and of course this is for good reason as it would truly be unwatchable if they reflected on what might actually happen, It would truly be a night that you could only imagine in your worst nightmares.

The second purge film skims some of the ideas of what could happen and rightly so, but at least it does tackle a small part of it, which makes it an interesting film, Im glad they didn’t take it too far, but also feel that the second film played out the way I thought it should and explored a great deal of the human mind and the peoples actions.

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A Disgusting Riot!!

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I always leave the cinema with thoughts and emotions, generally positive, but sometimes negative although I very rarely sit in my seat tensed up with anger. Riot Club made me angry and extremely uncomfortable. This feeling didn’t come out straight away as the film started out quite light hearted, jovial with a bit of harmless fun. It ended up with what can only be described as an action of pure evil, which left my stomach in turmoil. The fact that it did this shows how well these guys portrayed their different roles. That is really the only positive that I can take out of this film.

The basic story is of this famous and historic club made up of the elite of society and Oxford University. They all speak with the silver tongue, have lots of money and families who have the richest blue blood in their veins. They are men who act like spoilt boys, that don’t know how to socialise with anyone other than the rich. A life after uni will bring starched shirts, expensive suits and stuffy boardrooms, so they intend to live their uni life recklessly no matter what the consequence.

A new year comes in and the club only have 8 members and they have to have 10 to continue their tradition. Two rivals are chosen despite their differing views on life and in particular the working class. Miles comes from a very well to do family, but has a belief in equality and a great respect for the working class. He champions the welfare state believing it to be a great cause in improving the lives of the everyday man or woman. He falls for a northern girl who comes from the very class of people that he looks up to. He is a good man, however he is weak and cannot break away from his upbringing no matter how he tries. This leads to uncomfortable viewing when he observes rather than acts to stop what I can only describe as pure evil. He gets into the club of course after a rather disgusting initiation ceremony, but he soon learns that the club isn’t all that great.

The other is Alistaire who hates the poor, believing them to be the scourge of society and he of course is a superior being. His family history belongs to the riot club although you get the feeling that he doesn’t quite come up to scratch amongst the elite of his family. Firstly he studied at Harrow, which apparently isn’t quite up there with Eaton. His brother was an inspiration and great leader of the riot club, which is a shadow that Alistaire can’t quite move out from. He too is a weak human being meaning that he has to vent his power on those he sees as inferior. His mind set leads to the atrocity at the end.

The riot club have an annual dinner and choose a country pub because very few venues will take them and their outrageous behaviour. The two new men are pitted together in a drinking game which leaves them, shall we say, bladdered? The pub landlord is extremely excited about his guests and wants to make an impression. So much so, that all his other guests go by the way side. The evening soon leads to drunken debauchery, an offended prostitute and a northern girlfriend who soon realises how weak her boyfriend is. What comes next has been building all night as the guests abuse the staff and generally act in a disgusting manner. I will let you decide if you want to go to the cinema to see the rest, but I will give you this advice. If injustice, violence,cruelty, arrogance, self importance doesn’t effect you or you can take it as just a film then feel free to watch. I admit that I cannot watch films like this particularly easily and I can only relate my feelings about this film to the same feelings I felt when seeing A Clockwork Orange for the first time. Many would disagree with me on this, so don’t be put off by my views as the point of film is to divide and share.

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Fault in Our Stars

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I think there needs to be a tissue holder as well as a drinks holder for certain films and Fault in Our Stars is one of those films. I could hear sniffling all around me as people were taken up by the sadness and emotion of the film, which is an experience I have never come by before. The majority of the audience were female although there was the odd male partner sitting there no doubt trying to keep their testosterone in check. The film is sad, but it is also very positive in many ways!
We have all been affected by cancer, maybe we haven’t had the illness ourselves but no doubt know someone close who has it or had it. If you are in a room of three people one of you is likely to have it at some point in your lives and that is pretty scary despite the medical advances today, which have made many cancers treatable. I think seeing anyone with a horrible disease is difficult, but seeing those that have only just started out in life suffer is really hard. They are so often very brave, wearing a smile even if it is only to protect those around them. Fault in Our Stars is about three young people living and dealing with cancer. It shows how it has affected their lives as they strive to live like a normal teenager and prepare for what could be their final moments. The main focus is on Hazel and Gus who are brought together through a support group. They deal with their illness in different ways, one, Hazel is pragmatic and knows the inevitable will one day sooner or later take her life. She is strong willed and accepting and fears for her parents when she is no longer there. She just wants to carry on a normal life without too much fuss. She does not pity herself, but at the same time she wont carry on as if the cancer isn’t along side her. The treatment she receives has kept her alive far longer than anticipated and it means she can look to a bit further into the future than most.

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Gus is the complete opposite and he carries a smile where ever he goes, he is willing to laugh cancer away. This being said he said he wants to grab life with both hands and do everything he can while he can in case cancer does take hold of him again. Where Hazel wears a frown, Gus has a permanent smile. He is Mr Popular, the life and soul and doesn’t look any different from any other teenage boy. Hazel has tubes running from her nose and has to carry an oxygen tank where as Gus can hide his loss beneath his trousers. He only has one leg due to cancer, but this doesn’t stop him from living a full life, that is until it comes to girls and girls are pretty important to a teenage boy. Not many girls that age will want him with only one leg which he confides only with Hazel. He steps into the virgin circle without shame although the surprise on Hazels face is clear. Gus doesn’t feel the need to keep his feelings and emotions in check and shows his love for Hazel early on and continues to do so despite being pushed away. Hazel is guarded as she does not want to hurt this lovable boy because one day he may have to cope with losing her. The contrast in characters is perfect and makes it feel far more real and far less fairytale. This is true life with all its bumps in the road and goes along way to develop each character in how they are feeling.
There are still dreams however, this brought about through the love of one book detailing the life of one girls life and death. The dream is to meet the author who has isolated himself from the world due to his loss. Gus is determined to forfill Hazels dream and actively pursues the author until he gets what he wants. It doesn’t quite go to plan, but the memory is one they will never forget and it turns out to be three of the happiest days of their life. There are some twists and turns along the way and many lines of wisdom, but to see the fight these young people have is inspiring.

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The friend of Gus’ also plays an important role as he loses his sight through cancer as well as the beautiful girl who is not quite as beautiful inside. He has to accept that some people are shallow and cant deal with his blindness as well as he can. His emotions are up and down, but he always has Gus to help him along the way. Revenge is a dish served best with eggs we soon learn in a particular fun scene where all three take on the shallow people of the world. They support eachother through thick and thin and can all relate to one anthers struggles even if they deal with them in different ways.
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I really enjoyed this film and the performances from the young cast were brilliant. I think they will be stars of the future particularly Shailene Woodley who has already raced to the top with her performance in Divergent, which of course has a follow up film to come. Ansel Elgort who plays Tris’ brother in divergent (I hope this doesn’t freak you out) is brilliant as Gus and is able to portray the full range of emotions as they all struggle with cancer. They really look good as a couple and have great chemistry. It is really important to do the characters good service when the topic is so sensitive and when so many are affected by it. The fact that so many in the audience were crying shows you how powerful the performances were. You also felt inspired leaving the cinema and there were many moments where you could laugh out loud. I said before this is a positive film and you will leave the screen feeling that way. You feel sad for these young people, but you do not pity or feel sorry for them as they make the most of their lives.
The cast is fairly small, but we also see the affect on the parents, main;y from Hazels mums point of view who encourages her daughter to reach out and make the most of her life. They too have to struggle with the fact that one day their daughter may not be there any more. They make plans for this and no matter what they will always be her parents.

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8/10