The Reviews are In: The Maze Runner

maze-runner-imageIn the spirit of full disclosure, I need to admit that I have not read the James Dashner books that The Maze Runner is based on. In fact, I almost didn’t end up seeing this movie at all; watching another end-is-nigh YA money-muncher is starting to feel a bit old hat. Not to mention that the film features an almost exclusively male cast that, judging from the trailer, spends most of the movie running around the set of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth wearing laser tag vests. But because I had a free afternoon today, and had literally nothing better to do, I saw it anyway. And I’m definitely not sorry I did.

For those of us who haven’t read the books, the story is about a group of boys who wake up in a mysterious glade with nothing but the clothes on their backs and a serious recall problem. None of them remember who they are or where they came from. Thomas (Dylan O’Brian), one of the unlucky amnesiacs, takes it upon himself to help the boys find a way out of the glade by exploring the ever-changing mechanical maze that surrounds them.

Maze Runner is carried completely by it’s young and pretty unknown cast, which from a film making point of view must feel like letting a toddler take a drivers test. It’s not like The Hunger Games, where Jennifer Lawrence was already making the Oscar-rounds before being cast as Katniss. That being said, Runner delivers some impressive performances, particularly fromthe-maze-runner-trailer-dylan-obrien resident PYT O’Brian. One of the movie’s best moments is the very first, when we see a panic-stricken Thomas being propelled upward in a underground elevator like a human push-pop. I could also make a Lord of the Flies reference here, if I thought it hadn’t been done a million times; I will say, though, that the boys’ group dynamics are just as fun to watch as the action sequences. Which, just to be clear, were super fun to watch.

Verdict: Go see it. It’s not Citizen Kane, but it’s a pretty good time at the movies.

Whitney

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Marry Boff Kill: YA Fiction Edition

If you are wondering why two non-psycho, full-grown dames would actually spend time reading Young Adult fiction, let alone deciding who among YA babe pool  they would marry, boff, or kill, then you are not alone.  At the risk of only further worrying our moms, we decided to bring you our MBK picks for our three favorite YA heroes: Ethan (Beautiful Creatures), Peeta (The Hunger Games), and Four (Divergent).

Whitney’s Answers:

josh_hutcherson_as_peeta_mellarkMarry Peeta: Two words: job security. Peeta is a BAKER in a post-apocalyptic police state where 90% of the population are two reapings away from gnawing off their own fingers. Even if he wasn’t totally dunked in Victor swag, he could pretty much guarantee me a lifetime of rolling in dough (pun fully intended). Also, this kid has been sent to almost-certain death twice now, and I think he finally deserves a pass. Guess what Peets’, the odds are finally in your favor!c654bf54d499db03330d9ff31f69d8b5

 

Boff Ethan: Hot? Check. Eager to please? Evidently. High School Graduate? Well, two out of three isn’t bad.

 

DIVERGENTKill Four: How do you like that, Ells? I’m gonna kill your YA soul-mate. I think this finally makes up for the time you let me make a total jag of myself in front of Zachary Levi at Comic-Con 2011.

 

 

Ellen’s Answers:

Whitney has this so clearly wrong that it is disconcerting.  I will be contacting the authorities after I am done writing my answers.

FourMarry Four:  The beautiful Theo James aside (look at how introspective he is), I have always loved Four (I have serious hang ups with name Tobias, so he is always Four to me).  When you read the books, you don’t even have to physically see him to know that he is a babe, you know?  He’s a Man, with a capital “M”, but he doesn’t take anything away from Tris.  You then throw Theo James in the mix and it is just the cherry on top.  The charming, delicious, delectable cherry on top.

eathanBoff Ethan: This is based on the following 1) I can’t both boff AND marry Four, so I chose to boff him 24/7, because that is how I imagine our marriage.  TMI?  I don’t care.  2) The makeout scenes between Ethan and Lena were hotter than those between Peeta and Katniss.  I get it Hunger Games was about more than making out, blah blah blah.  Social class warfare matters very little in this game of Marry Boff Kill, that should be clear by now.
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 Kill Peeta:  Look, I am Team Peeta before I am Team Gale, but I am also not a card-carrying member of Team Peeta.  I just prefer my YA heroes with a little bit more of a “take charge” attitude.  Frosting oneself to look like a tree does not qualify in my book.

 

Who got it right? Who got it wrong?  Who is reporting us to our respective local authorities?

Whitney and Ellen

The Book Was Better: 10 Books to Read in 2013

When I was kid, my mom used to try and get me to read (age-appropriate) books before their respective adaptations came out. This is how I read Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and The Baby-Sitters Club.  While I recognize that some of those are more respected than others, I still like to maintain that rule.  This is why I have compiled this list for both my sake and yours, dear reader, so that we can be ahead of the game.  Together.

warm bodiesWarm+Bodies

Warm Bodies (February 1) – As you can tell from previous posts here, we are pretty intrigued by this one.  Also, I happen to have just finished reading the book.  The film looks like it will be more comedic than the novel was, but I will be intrigued to see how much of the fairly deep commentary on death and life they maintain here.  Especially deep since everyone is wanting to compare this to Twilight.

Beautiful-creaturesBEAUTIFUL-CREATURES-poster1Beautiful Creatures (February 13) – As you can tell from this list and in case you haven’t already noticed from the general climate in pop culture, Young Adult novels are all the rage. It seems that no book or series can do even remotely well without getting snatched up.  Not that I am complaining, because even though my young adult days are technically over, my bookshelf is still full of them.   I have just started reading this one and have heard generally good things about it, so maybe I will write a follow-up. 

tumblr_lyu0lbflJz1qdop7jo1_r1_5002936Romeo and Juliet (February 14) – No, seeing one of the several dozen adaptations does not count.  Maybe you read it in high school, maybe you didn’t.  Either way you are going to feel so pretentious reading this in your local Starbucks.  Then think of the delight you can get when you tell all your friends the ways in which this adaptation is sure to stray from Shakespeare’s original tone.  I have to say, I am excited to see a Juliet that is actually close to 14.  

TheHost478The-Host-PosterThe Host (March 29) – Hold the phone.  I already know what you are going to say.  Yes, I realize that this is written by Stephenie Meyer.  Yes, I realize that she also wrote Twilight.  But I’m going to tell you to give this one a chance.  I found it to be a pretty compelling sci-fi/romance that was set in an interesting and unique world, so maybe try it out before the movie (potentially) makes it worse.  

gatsby-posterGatsby_1925_jacketThe Great Gatsby (May 10) -Did you read this one in high school, too?  Did you hate it/not get it?  I am going to suggest that re-visit it before Baz Luhrman’s behemoth colors your perception.  I have my high school junior research project to thank for my attachment to this novel.  Nothing like pouring over academic journals discussing green lights and yellow cars to endear me to Fitzgerald.  

leaf-men-william-joyce-paperback-cover-artepic_movie_poster_1The Leaf Men (Epic) (May 24) – The only picture book to be featured on the list, this was a family favorite when we were wee children.  It makes me upset that they felt that they needed to change the title and distance  the movie from the book, because it implies a certain lack of fidelity.  I also understand, though, that it is hard to maintain said fidelity with picture books (see Where the Wild Things Are, Cat in the Hat, etc.)

World_War_Z_posterWorld_War_Z_book_coverWorld War Z (June 21) I have the opposite problem with this adaptation.  I read this book some time ago but there is no way that this movie is going to stay true, seeing as how I don’t recall Brad Pitt (or his character) being in the book at all.  In cases such as this, I just wish that they would call the movie something else entirely and admit that it is a stand alone zombie movie.  

City_of_Bonesmortal_instruments_posterThe Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (August 23) -This is another one that is sitting on my eBook shelf awaiting me.  I know that a lot of people love this series, but I have to admit that the trailer is not doing a whole lot to get me excited about delving in.  Maybe someone who is a fan can tell me if the movie seems like it will be capturing the book that you know and love.

Enders GameMV5BMjE0Mzk0Nzk1Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTA2MDU4OA@@._V1._SY317_CR128,0,214,317_Ender’s Game (November 1) -I do this weird thing where EVERYone tells me that read this book, see that movie, or watch that TV show, and it just makes me want to do anything but do that.  That is my current relationship with Ender’s Game.  My New Year’s resolution is to get over my weird thing and read Ender’s Game before November 1 and maybe watch Gilmore Girls.  But that’s a big maybe.

Catching-Fire-PosterCatching_fire_c-330The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (November 22) – If you haven’t already gotten on board this bandwagon, there is nothing that I can say that will sway you otherwise.

Did I miss any that you are excited about?  Anybody want to convince me to read one sooner than the others?

-Ellen