Becky’s One Hundred and Eighty-Seventh Book Review: “The Maze Runner” by James Dashner

“The Maze Runner” by James Dashner was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down. I was immediately drawn into the story and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I’m very excited about the fact that there are three more books in this series.

The book opens up on Thomas finding himself in an elevator going up. He has no idea how he got there and when the elevator reaches the top he is pulled out by a group of boys. His introduction is rough, “Ain’t got time to be nice, Greenbean. Old life’s over, new life’s begun. Learn the rules quick, listen, don’t talk. You get me?” (The Maze Runner, pg 10). Thomas is thrust into this new world that he knows nothing about and the majority of the guys do not have the time or the patience to explain how things are. He is lucky if he has more than one question answered at a time. For the most part, all of his questions go unanswered.

One thing that is quickly determined is that Thomas’s memory is incomplete – and so are all the others in the Glade. “His memory loss was strange. He mostly remembered the workings of the world – but emptied of specifics, faces, names. Like a book completely intact but missing one word in every dozen, making it a miserable and confusing read. He didn’t even know his age.” (The Maze Runner, pg 15). I found this to be a very interesting and curious part of the book. Thomas questions why he would have some memories and not all of them and I was right there with him wondering the same thing. Although questions about the world definitely pop up, there are a lot more questions about the life that Thomas finds himself in after the elevator. The place he is in is called The Glade and it is in the center of a maze. There are walls that close at night so that the maze is inaccessible to the boys in The Glade. This goes two ways as we learn that there are some horrible things in the maze and with the walls closing at night they are protected from them.

There is a lot going on in this book and I don’t want to give anything away. I will reiterate that this is quite the page-turner. I think that James Dashner’s ability to develop characters was impressive, especially given the fact that the boys all had significant memory loss. He definitely kept things interesting.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I think it was a really fun read. It starts off kind of light and then immediately develops into an exciting rollercoaster of a read. Part of the fun was being very much in the dark about what was happening just as the characters were. I enjoyed learning about the world right along side Thomas. I am really looking forward to reading the next books in the series.

Side note: the book explains a lot of what is happening whereas the movie just fast-forwards through everything. I didn’t like the movie very much because there is a lot that was just skipped over, leaving the audience that hadn’t read the book very confused. It was a poor adaptation. Save yourself the struggle and read the book!

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Becky’s Tenth Movie Review: “Apollo 13”

Apollo 13: How have I gone so long without seeing this movie? I mentioned to Adam that I would like to see it and he told me that the last time he saw it he was a little kid and he got sick in the theater. So he was up for giving it another chance.

 

I was fairly impressed. The movie came out awhile ago and some of the actors would not have been my first choices (Bill Paxton & Kevin Bacon [although Bacon kept his pants on in this film]), but things came together nicely and I enjoyed it. Tom Hanks is an amazing actor—one of my favorites actually. I was glad to see him in this film. I am always impressed with Ed Harris as well.

 

Before sitting down to watch the movie, I really did not know anything about the Apollo 13 mission. I knew the famous line “Houston, we have a problem”…but I didn’t know what had gone wrong and I didn’t know if Apollo 13 had returned home safely. It was kind of nice being ignorant in this area because it allowed me to keep guessing. I had tears in my eyes at the end. Some of the effects in the movie were rather awful, but I think that the movie is impressive for the time.

 

Would I recommend this movie? Yes, I was glad that I took the time to watch it and I’m kind of glad that I took so long. When I was younger I don’t think that I would have appreciated the movie as much, especially since it is on the longer side and I would have been bored. I’d give this movie four out of five stars.

Becky’s Ninth Movie Review: “The Devil Inside”

The other day I made the mistake of suggesting that we watch “The Devil Inside”. And what a mistake that was. It was 83 minutes of disappointment. The movie got off to an interesting start and I was feeling optimistic. Then it went downhill pretty quickly.

The acting was mediocre at best. There were some scenes that seemed promising and then I would be left wanting more. The blind nun on the front cover…she was in two seconds of one scene. Every time that I would start to get into the movie the scene would die in one way or another. I was finally thinking that the movie was about to turn around and then it ended.

What was the ending? It was stupid, inconclusive, and at the end there was a message on screen to go and check out their website. We went to their website…there was nothing there except for clips from the movie and links to crazy people talking about exorcism.

This movie gets one star for the fifteen minutes in which I was actually entertained. I strongly recommend that you don’t waste your time on it.

Becky’s Eighth Movie Review: “The Adjustment Bureau”

Just finished watching “The Adjustment Bureau” with Matt Damon and Emily Blunt.Very interesting movie. The movie is based off of a short story by Philip K. Dick (which I have not read so I cannot compare) and it is directed by George Nolfi. At 106 minutes, the movie isn’t too long and isn’t too short either.

The premise of the movie is the main character, David gets a glimpse of the future being set for him. He gets upset by this, refusing to believe that everything is left up to Fate but is forced to keep quiet about what he saw with the threat of being ‘reset’ (basically the equivalence of a lobotomy). A chance meeting with a woman, Elise changes everything that David values. All that is important is him finding the girl of his dreams. David refuses to believe that his life would be better without this Elise despite all of the warnings being given to him from “The Adjustment Bureau”.

David soon learns that part of why he and Elise are being kept apart for is so their individual dreams can come true. It becomes a choice for David between being with the woman that he loves or being alone and have not only his dreams come true but hers as well. David has to decide which is more important, individual happiness or being together on a path they were not intended to take.

Damon and Blunt do a great job in this movie, although there were some areas that I thought could have been better. The premise of the story was very entertaining and through the paths that each individual goes on we see some beautiful cinematography–especially when David and Elise are at the Statue of Liberty. The chemistry between the two actors does leave something to be desired…but it isn’t terrible (Kind of left me wondering if they just didn’t like each other very much or if one of them or both is just a bad kisser).

Would I recommend this movie? Yes, I think it is worth watching. The movie isn’t necessarily something that you would watch over and over–it’s no classic–but if you are looking to watch something entertaining and different I would suggest checking out “The Adjustment Bureau”.

I would have to give it three and a half out of five stars.

Becky’s Seventh Movie Review: “The Muppets”

The music from the Muppets Movie is still circling my head and I felt that I had to write a review of this movie. When I heard that there was going to be a new Muppets movie I barely paid attention. I really was not expecting to enjoy the movie and went back and forth on the idea of even watching it. But when Adam suggested it tonight I figured, why not? And I’m really glad that we did watch it.

I almost feel like I’m five years old again, sitting in front of the TV with my brothers, singing along. (I have no doubt that I used to). The music in the movie was fun, made me want to dance, and at the same time I wished I knew the words so that I could sing along. There were many classics including one of my personal favorites, “The Rainbow Connection”. When this song was being sung by all the Muppets I almost did burst into song in my living room. The Muppet movie also featured several modern songs done in their own style. I really liked this, especially because there were certain songs that I know kids would not recognize, but were probably included in the movie because the age group that would have listened to the songs were watching the Muppets when they were kids. The barbershop quartet did a version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Team Spirit” and the chickens did a version of Ceelo Green’s “Forget You” (or Fuck You, depending upon which version of the song you listened to). In addition to the music in the movie, there were cameos of various actors/actresses including Neal Patrick Harris, Whoppi Goldberg, Zach Galifianakis, Jack Black, and David Grohl to name a few.

I would highly recommend this movie to people of all ages. It is a great family movie, but that doesn’t mean that young kids need to be present for you to justify watching it. It made me feel like a little kid again and I hope the same goes for you.

Fun movie that makes me feel like a kid again! Four out of five stars.

Becky’s Sixth Movie Review: “Contraband”

Adam and I watched Contraband last night and I gotta say, one of the best movies that I’ve seen in awhile. Mark Wahlberg is a great actor and I think he played the part well. Other big names in this movie are Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, and Giovanni Ribisi.

The basic premise of the movie is that the main character Chris (Wahlberg) is a retired smuggler who has to get back in the life in order to save his brother-in-law. Andy (the brother-in-law) screwed up smuggling drugs and Chris has to pay the dealer back or he is going to kill Andy. Reflecting upon the plot now, Contraband runs a lot of parallels to Gone in Sixty Seconds. Only instead of cars, it’s drugs.

Contraband has some very interesting twists and by the time Wahlberg is on the ship to Panama I was upright in my seat, eyes glued to the TV set, my heart pounding. I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes action movies. My only regret is that we didn’t get to see it in theaters.

Action-packed movie with Mark Wahlberg–I’d give it four out of five stars.

Becky’s Fifth Movie Review: “Cars 2”

Last night I enjoyed watching “Cars 2” for the first time. I thought the movie was very well done. There was the same mix of humor from the first movie–kid friendly jokes and little quirks that only adults would pick up on. I love when animated films do that. “Cars 2” is very different from the first movie in plot, though. Instead of taking place in a little town in the middle of nowhere the cars are traveling all over Europe for a special race. Mater goes with McQueen on his journey to Europe and gets mixed up with some spies.

With the vocal talents of Larry the Cable Guy, Owen Wilson, Michael Caine and John Turturro the movie is full of laugh out loud moments. Would I recommend this movie? Most definitely! The movie is something that people of all ages can enjoy. It is family friendly, but still something that would entertain teenagers and young adults.

A great movie that people of all ages can enjoy. I’d give it four out of five stars.