Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Merella Fernandez to have a look at the weekend’s big releases “The Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” Annette Bening in “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool” and the thriller “Hollow in the Land.”
A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the latest YA adaptation to hit the screen, “The Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” Annette Bening in “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool” and the thriller “Hollow in the Land.”
In March 2016, production was shut down on Maze Runner: The Death Cure when star Dylan O’Brien was hurt filming an elaborate stunt. O’Brien, who rose to fame as the resident heartthrob on Teen Wolf, was strapped in a harness on top of a moving vehicle when he was suddenly thrown and struck by another car. WorkSafeBC reported his injuries included “concussion, facial fracture and lacerations.”
With production postponed, O’Brien’s publicist Jennifer Allen said, “His injuries are very serious and he needs more time to recover.”
Director Wes Ball tweeted, “Well, it’s been a whirlwind of emotions these past few days. I’ve been overwhelmed with feelings of anger and sadness and guilt. But, ultimately I find myself left with just a deep love and respect for Dylan. He is one tough cookie.”
The film, originally scheduled for release on Feb. 17, 2017, was delayed until this weekend.
O’Brien says he was “in a really fragile, vulnerable state,” and during the early days of his recuperation thought he may never act again. “I’ve gotten to a place where I’m OK with it,” he told People, “but it was definitely a rough year.”
The 26-year-old isn’t the first actor to be hurt performing a dangerous deed. Jackie Chan is famous for doing all of his own stunts — and breaking almost every bone in his body in the process — while Mission: Impossible 6 was recently put on hold after Tom Cruise broke his ankle attempting a jump across a building gap.
Sylvester Stallone broke ribs on the First Blood set and Charlize Theron herniated a disc in her spine while shooting Aeon Flux. Jason Statham joked about almost being drowned during the making of The Expendables 3, but it is serious business. How far should filmmakers go in the search for realism in stunts?
Industry insiders say the best way to keep everyone safe is to let the professionals do their jobs. Arnold Schwarzenegger, no stranger to films with wild action scenes, said, “With stunts, we have a rule that if you can get injured or killed, you let a stunt guy do it, because they are much more skilled in how to do the falls, being on fire, how to deal with all those things.”
Stunt driver Richard Lippert asserts that, stunt-wise, actors only have to know how to do three things: first, how to convincingly fake a punch; second, how to drive on and off a mark; and finally, how to credibly handle a weapon. Other than that, he says, “actors shouldn’t plan to do their own stunts no matter how ‘cool’ or exciting it may seem.”
Other than personal danger for the actor, one wrong move can shut down a set costing everyone their livelihoods. “Taking a job away from someone to stroke your ego is not a good way to become popular,” says Lippert.
CGI is another option, although many top directors prefer real action. After years of “following the CG evolution,” using computer-generated images to create beautiful animated films like Happy Feet and Babe: A Pig in the City, director George Miller used actual stunts performed by stunt men and women in his action epic Mad Max: Fury Road. “It was like going back to your old hometown and looking at it anew,” he said.
You may be forgiven if you, like me, thought about going to see “The Maze Runner: The Death Cure” to catch up on what happened to Shailene Woodley’s character Tris Prior.
Please be advised you have the wrong franchise.
Back in the day of the young-adult-in-peril dystopian trilogies screens were filled with good looking young actors fighting for survival in movies like “The Maze Runner” and “The Divergent Series.” Of the bunch of them only “The Hunger Games” distinguished itself as a go-to movie. The others kind of blended together to form one long post apocalyptic action series that resembled an anti-utopian Guess ad with automatic weapons and artfully tousled hair.
Since the new film, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” assumes you’re up to speed with the story I’ll save you the trouble of having to binge watch the first two movies.
Here’s the catch-up:
Based on a series of wildly popular YA books, 2014s “The Maze Runner” sees Thomas, played by “Teen Wolf’s” Dylan O’Brien, plopped into a community of young men surrounded by a labyrinth. The rebellious Thomas wants to see if there is a way to navigate through the ever-changing maze that stands between the boys and whatever is happening in the outside world.
The following year “The Scorch Trials” saw the virtuous Thomas and his gang take on the worst people in the world, W.C.K.D., a group of evildoers that appear to use an Instagram acronym as their name.
After a three-year wait Thomas is back with his stylishly dishevelled hair and chiselled face to break into The Last City, a fortified town where doctors work to find a cure for a plague that turns people into snarling zombies. The good doctors, including Thomas’s former flame Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), are experimenting on the Maze Runners who are immune to the disease. In particular Thomas wants to rescue Minho (Ki Hong Lee), a pal being mercilessly poked with needles in search of a cure.
“Maze Runner: The Death Cure” features lots of ominous music, attractive stars in motion, dusty dystopian landscapes and something gets blown up or shot at every 10 minutes or so. What’s missing is the emotional content that might make you care about Thomas and Company. The movie really wants you to love the characters. The camera endlessly caresses their determined and often tearstained faces but the ham fisted big emotional moments are as empty as the jars of gel thrown in the trash after being used to poof up the cast’s hair. The characters are mannequins mouthing generic dialogue—speeches begin with, “I knew I know you have no reason to trust me,” and every few minutes someone says, “We have to get out of here!”—for two hours and twenty minutes. Think what else you could do with that time!