Kaya Scodelario

Son of Rambow 01

As one of the more enjoyable YA adaptations and one that skews male in its appeal, The Maze Runner could be a crossover hit this weekend. To be a part of the crowd, you’ll want to go see the story of Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), a guy who wakes up en route to a mysterious courtyard that will be his new home until he can escape the surrounding labyrinth. And afterward, as you try to figure out all the questions you have about the plot and which might be answered in the sequel (and maybe prequel), you’ll want to go through this week’s list of movies to watch, each of them relevant to Wes Ball‘s adaptation of the James Dashner book. First, though, you should also check out Ball’s previous films, all of them shorts. I shared his Student Academy Award winner, A Work in Progress, the other day. In the past we’ve posted his bigger breakthrough, an action sequence and proof of concept for a feature version of itself titled Ruin. There is a look to the latter that clearly helped the filmmaker (who also did effects work for Mike Mills’s Beginners) get the gig directing The Maze Runner. And maybe the rest of the series? That reminds me, this week’s recommendations come with a spoiler warning for their tie-in. Don’t read about the selections’ relevance until you’ve seen the new movie or you don’t care about spoilers.


The Maze Runner Last One

Two things struck me while watching The Maze Runner. One is that director Wes Ball definitely nailed his pitch to make “Lord of the Flies meets Lost.” The second is that there are a number of English actors in this movie who speak with an American accent for no discernible reason. This wouldn’t be so weird except that there is one English actor, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who got to keep his. Well, not exactly his, because he purposefully changed his dialect slightly for the role, but he still got to be the sole English actor on screen who actually sounds English. Except for the one noticeable and unfortunate moment when English actress Kaya Scodelario accidentally lets her American accent slip. That’s when the whole thing started to bother me, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. The only members of the Maze Runner cast I knew to be English beforehand are Brodie-Sangster and Will Poulter — who does a pretty great job with his speech, I’ll point out. I wasn’t familiar with Scodelario, yet as soon as I heard her mess up, I could tell she wasn’t from the U.S. either. And that immediately took me out of the movie, at least for a brief period. Following the screening, I couldn’t help but look up the rest of the players. One of the other major characters, Alby, is also played by a Brit — Aml Ameen. I believe that’s it (not all the young actors have birthplaces listed on IMDb or […]


Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights

While it may seem as if we didn’t necessarily need another big screen take on Emily Bronte‘s “Wuthering Heights” (after all, the novel has been adapted for film, television, radio, and more over thirty times already), that doesn’t mean that we didn’t want to see Andrea Arnold‘s take on the material. The provocative and deeply talented Fish Tank director is uniquely suited to infusing such a classic tale of love, desire, and betrayal with new blood, even as she sticks to old school styling to craft her vision. When we saw the film at Sundance, I called Arnold’s Wuthering Heights “a stunning mediation on love, loss, memory, and pain” and “a work of great visual art,” even as I found it difficult to enter into in an emotional manner. And yet. The term “haunting” gets tossed around a lot when describing all sorts of films, but Arnold’s film is truly best described in such a way – it haunts, it linger, it doesn’t let you go. Even months after first seeing it, her traditional take on the doomed love of the wretched Cathy and Heathcliff sticks with me. Get a taste of that (and all sorts of stirring shots of moors, flapping fabric, and howling characters) with a new trailer for the film after the break.



While a new adaptation of Emily Bronte‘s class English novel might seem to be wholly unnecessary (the book has been adapted in various ways at least thirty times), writer and director Andrea Arnold‘s gorgeous take on Wuthering Heights more than does justice to the look and feel of Bronte’s work, lending a weight and power to the story that should captivate more than just fans of the novel. Centered on the tragic story of Cathy Earnshaw and the orphan Heathcliff, the film is a stunning mediation on love, loss, memory, and pain. An orphan abandoned on the street, Heathcliff is brought as a child to the wild English moor estate known as Wuthering Heights by Cathy’s father, Mr. Earnshaw, a hardcore Christian who is convinced that it’s the right thing to do. But Earnshaw’s beliefs are not rooted in a sense of charity, but as an attempt to secure salvation, which is why the Earnshaws at large treat Heathcliff so poorly. Over time, the nearly-feral Cathy and Heathcliff develop a passion for each other that is all-consuming, though it only serves to make their already physically demanding lives that much harder emotionally.


Wuthering Heights

Poor takes on classic material are getting so commonplace that when a new adaptation looks like it may actually hit the right notes and invoke the right tone in service to its source material – well, it’s something special. The name Andrea Arnold is well-known to most cinephiles, thanks to her gorgeous films Fish Tank (which features a Michael Fassbender performance that should hint at what we can expect from his next film, Shame) and Red Road. With her emphasis on captivating visuals and deeply emotional stories, a period piece seemed like a natural fit for the director. Her take on Emily Brontë’s novel Wuthering Heights recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and today we get our first real look at Arnold’s vision. This new Wuthering Heights features some distinct differences from more traditional versions of the material – namely a black actor playing Heathcliff (James Howson) and a Cathy who appears to be much more sympathetic than those we’ve seen before. Check out the mostly-wordless teaser trailer for Wuthering Heights after the break.

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published: 01.25.2015
published: 01.25.2015
published: 01.25.2015

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