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MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE (2018) – My rating 8.7/10

Maze Runner: The Death Cure is a dystopian science fiction action film directed by Wes Ball and written by T.S. Nowlin, based on the novel, The Death Cure written by James Dashner. It is the sequel to the 2015 film Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and the third and final installment in the Maze Runner film series.  In my opinion this final sequel was the best of the trilogy and was easiest to follow.  I was sort of tired of trilogies but after seeing Maze Runner: The Death Cure, I am newly motivated.

— some SPOILERS BELOW — 

The film opens with Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), and Frypan (Dexter Darden) who are the last of the free “Gladers” and who are immune to the Flare virus that has ravaged the world’s population. They and The Right Arm resistance conduct a rescue operation where they retrieve other Immunes from a train, owned by WCKD, an organization responsible for capturing and experimenting on immune children. They thought they were recusing Minho (Ki Hong Lee) as well as the other children but their remaining Glader friend, whom WCKD had captured, was not on the train, which is headed to “The Last City”, WCKD’s base of operations.

Against the orders of Vince (Barry Pepper), leader of The Right Arm, the three leave their camp to rescue Minho, who is being tortured by WCKD in hopes of developing a cure for the virus. Heading for the Last City, the group is attacked by Cranks, humans infected with the Flare. However, they are saved by Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) and Brenda (Rosa Salazar), who join them. The group makes it to the wall of the Last City, which protects those within the city walls from Cranks. Outside the wall, people are rallying in protest to be let into the city. When WCKD opens fire at the protesters, the group is captured by a contingent of masked men and taken to a hideout. Gally (Will Poulter), who survived Minho’s attack during The Scorch Trials, is among the masked men. Gally takes them to see Lawrence (Walton Goggins), a rebellion leader for those outside the walls, who helps them enter the Last City through a secret entrance. Gally leads Thomas and Newt through to the city where they spot Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), Vince’s former girlfriend.   Gally informs Thomas that he can get them into WCKD headquarters.

I really enjoyed this version of Maze Runner.  Their adventure into WCKD’s city and who and what they encounter was exciting.  The plot to stop WCKD once and for all definitely thickens and leads to many exciting twist.  The acting was brilliant and the special effects were terrific.  Some scenes were so spectacular, I was on the edge of my seat.  I recommend you see this final sequel, as it makes the entire series worth while.  Maze Runner: The Death Cure is now on DVD and Blu-Ray — Check it out!

 

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES (2017) – My rating: 8.5/10

I am a fierce Johnny Depp fan so I am bias toward his movies. I find there are many fans who share my tilted scales of justice and reasoning everywhere. I’m not ashamed nor do I apologize for my lopsided analysis of Johnny Depp’s never ending Caribbean flicks. I do, however notice his days of spry movement and quick witted youthful eager and insightful nonsense is slowing down considerably. Well what would one expect at the age of 54 trying to pass somewhere between very young and very, very young. I myself having been bitten by the old age bug can testify to the change in body, if not yet in mind. It all catches up to each other eventually. Dead Men Tell No Tales is a prime example of the struggle between mind and body trying to settle on how old am I really? It’s probably time to stop while things are still looking pretty good.

Jack Sparrow is up to his old tricks once again, plundering, robbing, making fast witty jokes and sexing those who will allow him, married or not. Dead Men Tell No Tales opens up with 12-year old Henry Turner (Lewis McGowan) trying to warn his father Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) that the mythical Trident of Poseidon is able to break his curse and free him from his ship, The Flying Dutchman. Of course Will does not believe such a ship exists and demands Henry leave his ship, never to return. Nine years later, Henry finds himself working on a British Royal Navy Warship that has just been attacked by undead sailors, led by Captain Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem) and his ghost crew. Everyone is killed except Henry who is left to give Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) a message from Captain Salazar, and so the journey begins. Aside from the message he carries, Henry also needs Jack to help him find the Trident of Poseidon. Meanwhile, in Saint Martin, a beautiful young woman named Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) has been sentenced to death for witchcraft because of her knowledge of astronomy and horology. She escapes, runs into Henry, meets Jack Sparrow and gets recaptured by the British Army along with Jack. They are both sentenced to death but are rescued by Henry. After much discussion, they decide to follow their respective dreams to find the Trident and conquer Captain Salazar and his crew, reverse Will’s curse, and get back many other dreams gone astray. Jack and crew end up on an island where he meets up with Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), former owner of the Black Pearl, who decides to help Jack and breaks the Black Pearl out of it’s captive bottle, restoring it to it’s original size and glory among other things.

From this point, many more exciting events take place. Of course I’ve told you all the spoilers I could without giving it all away. I understand Dead Men Tell No Tales will be the last of the Pirate series and I think they have gone out with a very good one. If you haven’t seen it already, check this one out. The humor is really good and the story makes a lot of sense. Even though I love, love, love Johnny Depp, I recognize this last sequel as being a worthy one, for real.

 

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MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS (2015) – My rating: 8.5/10

MazeRunner_ScorchTrialsI didn’t expect too much from this sequel however, I was pleasantly surprised. Writer Jim Dashner has a fantastic imagination and is a great story teller. It can’t be easy to keep an audience entertained these days. Between the special effects, plots, interest and relevance, critics can be hard on a film. In this second sequel, I loved the additional cast and the continual story. We were not spared any emotions and all ends were neatly tied.
We find the Maze crew now outside the maze ready to find out the truth about the world as they knew it.  Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and the remaining crew; Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Teresa Agnes (Kaya Scodelario), Frypan (Dexter Darden) and Winston (Alexander Flores) – are taken to a facility run by Mr. Janson (Aidan Gillen). There he explains the facility is a safe haven, protecting them from WCKD, the Flare virus and the Cranks, and provides them clothes, food, and sanitation, where there are other survivors from many other mazes present. It doesn’t take long before Thomas becomes curious about their activities and manages to find out what is really happening at the facility. With help from Aris Jones (Jacob Lofland), the first maze survivor to end up in the facility, they learn the WCKD’s leader, Ava, is still alive and that Mr. Janson is working for WCKD and experiments are being conducted on the Immunes and that WCKD is looking for “The Right Arm”, a resistance group located at the mountains. The group, including Aris, escapes the facility, as Janson orders his WCKD army to track them down, where they find themselves in the deserted outside world known as “The Scorch”.

The Journey  becomes full of surprise as Thomas and the crew encounter all the elements they were warned about, including the Crank people who are victims of the Flare virus.  Scorch Trials has lots of content, characters, twist and stories to keep you interested.  Since Maze Runner is a trilogy, we can look forward to the third installment of this series in 2016 — I for one can’t wait!