Friday, September 19, 2014

The Maze Power Walker

 What happens when you combine the casts of Game Of Thrones, Teen Wolf, and We're The Millers? You get a group of boys trying to figure out why they are in the middle of a maze that changes nightly. That is the Maze Runner. Based off a popular teen novel and now getting the movie treatment like Divergent and The Hunger Games. Adapting teen novels is becoming as popular a movie trend as comic books. In this case, Maze Runner is ahead of the pack in some cases, but it does get a little complex. Complexity works with this one. 

Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) wakes up in an elevator and is deposited into a strange campsite type community of other boys. He's got no memory and no idea what he is doing there. He meets the rest of the group and learns that they are surviving by a set of rules. After he learns they are trapped in a maze, he begins to violate the rules in the hopes of finding a way out of their "prison." He quickly develops a rivalry with Gally (Will Poulter) and when Theresa (Kaya Scodelario) shows up the group begins to divide. Thomas believes that if they don't find away through the maze, they will all die.  


 The beauty of the story comes in the fact that you are as confused as Thomas is. It takes some time to figure out what is going on and that is almost the fun of it. It has several "Lord of The Flies," influences and a few that seem to borrow from ,"Divergent." Marrying these concepts work well and the film really only has a couple of flaws. The camera work during the fight scenes make it really hard to figure out what is going on. The monsters look cool , but the scenes are really busy and hard to follow. There are also a few things left unexplained and I am sure they are discussed in the book. The one issue with books being adapted is things being cut for pacing. Things get removed, but pieces are left on screen and the audience gets confused. 

  I liked the cast a lot and Dylan O'Brien is a future star beyond this and Teen Wolf. I thought it was cool that Will Poulter stretched beyond comedy, but after We're The Millers, I kept waiting for him to start singing TLC'S "Waterfalls." The movie is pretty good and like it or not, a sequel has already been green lit. I am not sure it will see the success of The Hunger Games, but it runs ahead of some of the bad movies that were released in the summer of 2014. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Brown Rice

   Today the video of what actually happened in that casino elevator was released. Ray Rice was terminated from the NFL and opinions have begun to fly. Why did the video just now surface? Who knew about it? Why would anybody defend that type of behavior? All logical questions, but I don't know if we'll ever get the answers we want.

  The Rice issue is part of larger problems. We are a society that forgives far too easy. Regardless of how their incident began, she was never treated like the victim. He played football and made a lot of money. He could have helped to win another Super Bowl so there are those who forgive the unforgivable. Rice isn't the first. Chris Brown can sing and dance so he still has a record deal. It's more than just the two of them. Google "celebrities with domestic violence arrests," and watch how many names come up.

  The world is moving faster, technology is forcing kids to grow up faster, and we don't want to be like our parents or grand parents. There is nothing wrong with advancing ,but there are things that we shouldn't lose. How to treat people with respect being a big one. Men are physically stronger in nearly every instance. Arguments with spouses or signifigant others will happen, but men do not hit women. Most of us learn that rule fairly early in life. So why as a society have we become  so accepting of those who break it?

   Our world is dominated by our need to feed the celebrity beast. I would never say don't be entertained, but don't forget basic values for celebrities or athletes. We let them live as exceptions to rules rather than hold hem to higher standards. We forgive the unforgivable because they entertain us. What does that make us? In a word, pathetic.  The ability to score touchdowns, sing songs, or play characters on the screen do not provide entitlement to beat their spouse. Regardless of how much we are entertained, they are not worthy of our forgiveness.

   Shame on the NFL for not having stronger penalties in place. Shame on record labels for still allowing Chris Brown to have a career. Your actions are teaching the future that their actions are ok. Ray Rice will live with his actions. Millions of dollars will go away and he will be tested. He, Brown, and countless like them are cowards. A line needs to be drawn in the sand and it can only be drawn by us. The people. Stop being so accepting of things that are unacceptable. We are not immortal. We have a finite amount of time and we are wasting it. We are not leaving the right lasting impression and in many cases we are failing at simply being human while using the excuse, "I'm only human."