Tag Archives: Dylan O’Brien

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

MAZE RUNNER THE SCORCH TRIALS

Director: Wes Ball
Writers: T.S. Nowlin (screenplay by), James Dashner (based upon the novel “The Scorch Trials” by)
Stars: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster

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.
Running Time: 2 hours 12 Minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score:  Critics 46%   Audience 54%

Why I Watched It: I liked the first one for the most part and the cast got even better by adding some veteran character actors.

Thoughts: You have to give The Maze Runner some credit it’s surviving while it’s genre is dying, the YA Novels to  movies have taken a blow but Maze Runner in the middle of their franchise keeps going.  I think it’s because of the action and the fact they’ve had the same director that helps.

What I liked: The coolest part of Scorch Trials is it’s completely different, we’re done with the maze and now we’re dealing with the whole virus and the evil corporation and also trying to figure out what was going on and why they were in the maze in the first place.  The selling point of this film is that the cast is joined by adult actors and some good ones, Aiden Gillen comes in of course as bad guy and he’s good here, also we get Pepper, Taylor and Esposito thrown into the mix to help our heroes.  The stakes are bigger here and so is the scope.  The selling point of this series so far is the action sequences and here we get a couple of thrilling and really well shot and down action spots.

Dylan O’Brien is the standout here, i thought he was a bit bland in the first one but here he does take over the leading man/boy role and he’s got range and I do think this is an actor to keep your eye on.  He’s the heart of these films and he carries it pretty well.  I also like Kaya Scodelario, in the first one she was the only female but here she gets to do a bit more and I do find she has charisma and she also could be on to bigger things. What I liked about this film is not only do we find out more, the characters are fleshed out more and some of the questions we had in the first one are answered, some more than others but the main conflict is now set up.

What I Didn’t Like: It’s another long movie, I do think the beginning drags, the set up could have been done quicker and we could have gotten more into the story.  Honestly the first half is too much talk, exposition and not enough action. I think the story would have been tighten if they got 15-20 minutes, cause the third act is what’s important and oddly that seems rushed to get us to the cliffhanger.

Now the main thing going against this movie is the fact that it’s the second of three films so we know we’re not getting the big finish, we’re getting build up and to it’s credit it does it pretty well but yes it does fell incomplete.
Final Thoughts: I liked it. it had some great action and it opened up it’s story more and gave us more adult characters to blend with the young cast.

Rating: 6/10

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Maze Runner (2014) Movie Retro Review By Darrin Gauthier

MAZE RUNNER

Director: Wes Ball
Writers: Noah Oppenheim (screenplay by), Grant Pierce Myers (screenplay by)
Stars: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter, Aml Ameen, Ki Hong Lee, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Kaya Scodelario

Plot:  Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they’re all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow “runners” for a shot at escape.
Running Time: 1 hour 53 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes scores: Critics 64%    Audience 68%

Why I watched it: Have to be honest I almost didn’t, the trailers looked fine but the whole YA novel to movie thing has soured me a bit but I gave it a chance as the premise had some appeal.

Thoughts: Now YA movies from novels get a bad name and that’s because for the most part they deserve it too many movies think they have a franchise and so many fall flat so when you see a film like Maze Runner there is a real fear well if I watch the first one and it doesn’t do well I might not get the rest.  These movies are made for being a franchise one movie doesn’t answer the questions.

What I liked: The set up of the lead Thomas waking up and being put on this island and having no memory is good, we learn as he learns, so we have a different future and we have this mystery to solve and we have the maze.  I give the movie credit it jumps in feet first and gets the ball moving, we meet the characters and find out what’s going on to a point.  Now make no mistake this is a riff on Lord Of The Flies, all the character types are here but this is a good young cast and I have to say across the board the acting was rock solid.

I hadn’t see Dylan O’Brien before, he’s a tad bland but he brought energy and he does have a tough character cause he learns about himself and who he is as the story unfolds.  I liked the mystery, the maze is very cool as well.  One big thing with this film is that I’m glad it did well cause this isn’t really a stand alone film this has more parts if they hadn’t made the sequel this wouldn’t be remembered that fondly, it’s a very good starting point for a bigger story. I liked the fact that even though we’re getting and got more movies that the Maze is important to the film and it does lead somewhere like a maze it just leads to more questions but it’s filmed well and it does create this different and foreign place.

What I didn’t like: I’m thankful they made it under two hours but it does drag a tad in the middle, this being a part one we knew we would have to wait to get through the maze till the end to set up a second part but it did seem a bit padded.  I liked the cast but I do wish they’re were some older actors to anchor the film, Patricia Clarkson is in it a bit, she’s a major character going forward that we know but she isn’t in this one much, it’s a cameo.  Some of the boys on this island just get lost in the shuffle, it’s clear there’s a handful that are important and they do try a little hard for the Lord Of The Flies vibe. I want to be clear this movie works because it’s a good set up to other films and we now know we get them but as I stand a lone film it’s fine but it’s pure set but good set up.

Final Thoughts: A nice surprise, it wasn’t a chore to sit through like Hunger Games, it told an different and exciting story with the promise of bigger and more complex things to come, I enjoyed it.

Rating: 7/10

American Assassin (2017) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

AMERICAN ASSASSIN

Director: Michael Cuesta
Writers: Stephen Schiff (screenplay by), Michael Finch (screenplay by)
Stars: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, Taylor Kitsch, David Suchet

I finally got round to viewing “American Assassin” as it was one that I had my eye on for a while and I was of course looking forward to watching. Primarily because of Michael Keaton’s involvement. It’s no secret that the actor is having a resurgence in his career at the moment with the successful “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”, “The Founder” as Ray Kroc and playing Adrian Toomes / Vulture in “Spider-Man: Homecoming”

I’ve always been a fan of Keaton since I saw him portray BeetleJuice (don’t dare say it three times) and I knew that this was more a supporting role to the main character of Mitch Rapp (O’Brien) and to be honest this movie had a great opening with after the death of his girlfriend at the hands of terrorists, Mitch is drawn into the world of counterterrorism, mentored by tough-as-nails former U.S. Navy S.E.A.L. Stan Hurley (Keaton)

To be honest this was as good as it got. I thought the terror attack on the beach was well laid out and very gritty and realistic. At best “American Assassin” was very average and albeit a nice opening became a nonsensical plot with minimum effort and what looked like a rushed climatic battle.

I expected Mitch Rapp to be a more fleshed out character who is haunted and determined to seek revenge. Don’t get me wrong he is that to an extent but him being discovered and sent away to train under the Cold War veteran Stan Hurley all felt hurried along and to be honest I accepted that just to finally get Michael Keaton in on the action. Dylan O’Brien was okay as Rapp and did his best but up against Keaton you can see the gap between the experienced and the young actor.

This may sound harsh but eliminate Keaton from the cast and you have a very average movie with an average cast. Even the inclusion of actor David Suchet as Director Stansfield added nothing interesting to the plot. Taylor Kitsch as Ghost was Hurley’s previous understudy but came off petulant and predictable.

Director Michael Cuesta’s previous work was mostly in television in Six Feet Under, Dexter and Homeland. I previously reviewed his 2014 movie “Kill the Messenger” which was okay and “American Assassin” was similar in its style. Although pacing was never an issue on Kill the Messenger I felt part of this movie was rushed and disorientating.

Overall the movie promised so much and failed to deliver. The action sequences were decent but the pacing of the movie was a little over the place and the ending felt over before it began as if everyone got bored very quickly and just wanted to wrap things up as fast as possible. I would’t say don’t watch this movie if you are a fan one Michael Keaton as he has the best lines and scenes and I wouldn’t exactly highly recommend it either as the movie offers nothing but some decent action scenes.