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The Hunger Games. Twilight. Harry Potter. These are just a few of the big blockbuster series that have made it from the book shelf to the big screen. All have received immense popularity first from their book series before heading to theatres. While some can be successful like "Divergent", others could falter like "The Mortal Instruments" - simply not reaching its full potential or successful enough to get a sequel created. The latest movie I watched in theatre is at the same crossroads. It's a somewhat popular book series that just released its much buzzed about first movie: The Maze Runner.

[Note: Similar to all movie reviews on this site, this will be a spoiler-free review. I will try to keep all details of the plot to a bare minimum.]

The Premise: Thomas (played by Teen Wolf's Dylan O'Brien) is a 16 year old boy suffering from amnesia who wakes up in a mysterious area known simply as the Glade. While Thomas is unable to remember anything from his past life, he soon learns from the Gladers, boys like Thomas who were transported to the Glade over the years, that they live in a small campsite surrounded by a deadly maze. The maze, which changes its layout every day, is filled with dangerous creatures, impossible traps and their only chance at escaping the Glade forever.

The Good: Since The Maze Runner was adapted from a novel, it had a great source material to develop its large cast of characters. Sometimes in films like these, the supporting players are simply background fodder to have a recognizable name but I quite enjoyed the interactions between the Gladers. A few stand outs that come to mind are British gardener Newt, Runner Minho, bully Gally, young Chuck and Teresa, the Glade's only girl. It got a bit confusing at times remembering ALL the Gladers (it was a giant camp...too many kids around), but the characters came out into their own. Also, Dylan O'Brien did a great job in the role of Thomas - I like him on Teen Wolf and I wasn't disappointed in his first real starring movie role.

The Maze Runner also packed plenty of action and special effects in the film. Particularly the design of the maze really stood out and showed off the dangers that lurked inside. The Grievers - the monsters that lurked in the maze - looked really creepy. I won't deny that I did jump once or two when they popped out of nowhere.

The Bad: I never read The Maze Runner so I don't have the basis to judge the source material. However, while watching the film, something always seemed to feel a tad off. I think the pace of the movie plot stood out the most to me as it sometimes felt rushed while other times it just dragged on. In particular Thomas got over his "panic" of having amnesia pretty quickly and was ready to enter the maze while only being in the Glade for what seemed like a few days. Also, how is it that in three years no one came even close to venturing deep into the maze and yet Thomas could do it? (Sorry, that will be my only plot reveal - it just really irked me. It probably gets explained more in the book with the Runners.) 

There were probably just a few things missing from the book in terms of the plot that I think would have added more to the film. It hit all the main points with lots of action and mystery, and yet I don't think much really happened with the story. Even after watching the film, I could describe The Maze Runner as a basic plot haiku!

Boy wakes up in maze.
Boy loses his memory.
Boy must escape maze.

The Results: 2/5!
The Maze Runner was a simple action-filled mystery about the dangers hidden within a maze. Dylan O'Brien and the cast did a great job of channeling the fear of living in this dystopian new  world. The special effects stood out and the design of the maze is something to enjoy, especially for fans who read the book series and loved the concept. The pace of the plot didn't keep me at the edge of my seat and it left me with more questions than eagerly waiting for the next surprising moment. It was a good film - not a great one - and it didn't have the same impact as other big book-to-film adaptations. Potentially it may be because I wasn't a fan of the book series before I watched the film and I didn't have the anticipation going in beforehand. However, if you're a fan of the book, you should check it out as it would connect with you and you would enjoy it.

Agree or disagree with the review? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Fall isn't just the start of school or the changing season, it's also the brand new TV season. One of the most anticipated shows to premiere tonight is "Gotham" on Fox. Gotham tells the story of the future Commissioner Gordon (played by Benjamin McKenzie) and the origin stories of the many popular characters that make up the dark and gritty Gotham City in the time of Batman.

With the show set to air this month, many details have been revealed about the characters, including which comic book villains will appear as of the pilot episode. The Peguin, The Riddler, Catwoman and Poison Ivy are just four of the future villains who will have their origin stories explored in the first season. Similar to the likes of shows like "Smallville" and "Arrow", there are bound to be more characters and villains introduced throughout the season (and subsequent seasons, if successful).

Batman is my favourite superhero. What with the childhood cartoons, video games and movies, I am a fan - though I haven't read the comic books. In anticipation of the future characters, I've spent some time thinking of which potential villains could have their origin stories revealed on Gotham. NOTE: Just a helpful reminder, I didn't read the comic books so age accuracy and retcon could disprove some of my wishlist choices below. Also, I obviously left out the four villains above who will already be appearing in the show.

The genetically modified monstrosity. I'm not sure how Gotham's production will be run; I would assume it will be more realistic in special effects like Arrow compared to the upcoming "Flash" or Smallville. However, the original character of Clayface was supposedly an actor named Basil Karlo who was old enough to have a film be remade about him. Potentially Gotham could feature the younger actor as he films the original "Clayface" movie that would soon inspire his criminal moniker.

A brilliant surgeon in Gotham City, Hush drastically changed his physical features to target two people: Bruce Wayne and Batman. Thomas Elliot (Hush) was a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne  - he was jealous and competitive of his friend. Since the young Bruce Wayne will appear in the show, it would be great to see the future Hush around, showing the animosity which would inspire his future villainy. 

Let me get this out of the way: I'm not the biggest Mr. Freeze fan. His appearance in the Batman film that shall not be named ruined his image for me and I sometimes find him to be a tad corny. However, a re-imagining in a show like this - similar to the Dark Knight films - could fix that. His character is a little older in the current series so having him appear as a younger doctor wouldn't be completely out of the norm. It may not show his transformation into the demented Mr. Freeze but we could see his early beginnings with his ill-fated wife, Nora.

This is more of a curiosity idea for me. Scarecrow has always been the creepy Batman villain, the one who always pops up to incite nightmares for the citizens of Gotham City. I would be interested to see Scarecrow, the younger Jonathan Crane, as he starts his fascination into psychology and bio-chemicals in the medical field. He probably wouldn't be as demented as he is in his adult life but his origin story may explain his fear of bats/fascination of fears. Note: this may already be explained in the comic books at a later time.

Jervis Tetch is a dark and deranged character in the Batman universe. He's a hat maker who is obsessed with Alice in Wonderland; he is forever searching for his missing Alice. He took on the alias of the Mad Hatter and uses mind control technology to serve his own will. He's one of the few Batman villains to become more evil and villainous as the years progressed since his introduction and it would be interesting to see how the show portrays him in their version. He would be younger in the origin story but potentially we could see the original Alice that inspired his future criminal career.

Similar to Clayface in the special effects regard, Ra's al Ghul may be toned down if he makes an appearance in Gotham. He's the founder of the League of Assassins and he's also the father to Talia al Ghul, one of Bruce Wayne's future lovers. However, he's also centuries old and uses magical pits to sustain his age - that would be hard to explain on the show. He could prove to be future season villain. However, Ra's is a character that could potentially appear in other DC television shows as well so the chances of him appearing in Gotham may be slim to none.

Batman Arkham City may be one of my favourite video games ever and Professor Hugo Strange was at the epicentre of the story controlling the events. Professor Hugo Strange is a terrifying character who uses powerful serums to control his victims. Before his descent into villainy, he was a psychologist. Out of the characters listed above, he may be one of the easiest to incorporate into the show as he could be the therapist or criminal psychologist to any of the criminals or victims in Gotham City.

At the heart of the Batman universe, Gotham City is plagued with crime and several groups run by powerful mob bosses. I don't just mean the groups in clown masks, two-face masks or snow suits but the actual criminal organizations. Black Mask is one such mob boss. Sure, he wears a dark leather black mask, but so do most of the people at S&M clubs. Black Mask is a power-hungry corrupt criminal mob boss in Gotham City who controls most of the inner-workings of Gotham City. Similar to Professor Hugo Strange, the Black Mask alias could be an easy villain to incorporate into the show.

Harvey Dent is a former Batman ally turned villain (and sometimes neutral ally). The scars on his face resulted when a mobster burnt half his face with acid. Soon Dent turned to crime as Two-Face, a criminal who flips a coin to determine decisions based on duality. While this wouldn't be the criminal origins of Two-Face, it could be the hero story of Harvey Dent as his younger self going into law or being a young friend to Bruce Wayne. He's one of the few on this list that I'm not sure could appear on the show; it may need to be similar to Poison Ivy's character and updated to fit the show's storylines.

Who is the Joker?! Not much has ever been revealed about the psychotic clown and I wouldn't be surprised if the writers never do. He's shrouded in mystery and anyone who crosses his path always meets a devastating fate with a clownish twist. His age is a bit of mystery so I wouldn't know if he's around Bruce Wayne's age or older, but it could be a tempting idea. Many would be excited to see him featured on the show; however, I wouldn't expect to see the Joker appear for a very long time. If he were to ever be included as a storyline, it would probably be after a few seasons, or when they needed to add a truly menacing twist to the show.

Which villains do you want to show up in Gotham? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
If your life flashed before your eyes, what would you see?  Your first kiss? Your first day of school? Favourite concert? That time you got into some serious trouble?

I would hope for nothing embarrassing, but knowing my luck I'd get glimpses of my past dating disasters or the time I wiped out at the company picnic. Trust me...don't ever run on wet grass - so much pain. (And I broke a water bucket!)

One of the latest movies I've seen in theatres was about holding on and remembering those memories from the past. I enjoy the occasional romantic drama and I decided to give this a chance. The movie I will be reviewing today is the book-to-film adaptation: If I Stay.

The Premise: Mia Hall (played by Chloë Grace Moretz) is a talented cello player who is eagerly awaiting to hear back from Julliard after her audition months earlier. One day after leaving the house with her family, their car gets into an accident which leaves Mia in an out-of-body experience between life and death, and her entire family in critical condition as well. As her loved ones are left waiting in the hospital, we experience memories of Mia's past, including those of former boyfriend Adam (Jamie Blackley), and watch as Mia determines whether to move on into the afterlife or stay.

The Results: 3/5!
If I Stay was a cute and touching film about the moments in our life and the people we take for granted. I've never read the book (though, I've heard about it before) so this was a new experience for me and I pleasantly enjoyed it. The acting and the dialogue in the film stood out for me; Moretz did a good job with channelling the internal conflict of the character and I liked the chemistry between her and Blackley. I was more particularly interested to find out if Mia stayed behind in the end or not - it may have been the main reason I watched the movie. While I enjoyed the movie as a whole, it wasn't as emotionally touching as other romantic dramas like "The Fault In Our Stars" or "The Notebook" book-to-films. I wouldn't recommend to go in expecting for something new or ground-breaking, it's a simple concept about a girl having an out-of-body experience. However, if you're a fan of the book and enjoy a quaint romantic film, you should check it out.
Real talk moment: I have a guilty pleasure for TV movies. I don't just mean specials that are created once in a while, but the full-blown "Lifetime Movie of the Week" TV movie. There are those that have ranged from the downside of torrid affairs to others that are inspired by "real life" events - I've seen my fair share of both. There's something about watching a trashy movie for two hours that can be somewhat relaxing.

Recently, the latest TV movie buzzed around the small screen was about the behind-the-scenes story of one of my favourite television shows from my childhood. I don't make a habit of reviewing TV movies but there's always a first time for everything. The film I will be reviewing today is the "scandalous" expose: The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story.

The Premise: Based on the events of the popular 90s teen sitcom Saved By The Bell and the "Behind The Bell" tell-all book, The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story shares the behind-the-scenes story of how the show, and its teen cast, reached worldwide success.

The Results: 1/5!
Drama. Scandal. Fights. Where was all that in this biopic?! The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story shared the early beginnings of its teen cast as they dealt with fame and fortune. However, nothing revealed in the film felt too shocking or dramatic to warrant a retelling of the behind-the-scenes events. The character of Dustin Diamond (Sam Kindseth) served as the main narrator for the film and the film primarily focused on the negative drama in his life with drinking, exclusion from the cast and blackmail; this may simply be due to the fact that the real life actor was an Executive Producer of the film. With the exception of a few real secrets that fans already knew (i.e. Lark & Mark-Paul's secret relationship, Elizabeth wanting to branch out into film), the majority of the other information shared was simply implied or fabricated. Based on the scenes shown, the cast dealt with everyday teen issues and they were basically a family by the end of the show. It all seemed very tame and missing the real story of true events. That's not to say it's a bad movie. The soundtrack of the film was incredible, serving up plenty of hits for fans of 80's & 90's music, and some of the cast did a great job channeling their characters. If you're a fan of Saved By The Bell, I'd recommend to check it out to relive some of those iconic moments from your childhood but prepare yourself to debate the accuracy of a few events presented throughout the film.