20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
You’d think that a group of teen boys who’ve spent three years holed up together on a secluded acre of farmland would figure out something to talk about. But The Maze Runner has little interest in anything its victims might be feeling or thinking at any given time… unless it has to do with that maze.
It might sound silly to bemoan a film called The Maze Runner for paying too much attention to its titular labyrinth. The enigmatic maze that imprisons the abandoned boys, its intricacies, and the one gigantic action set piece that it allows provide the lion’s share of excitement in this primarily drab adaptation of James Dashner’s young adult novel. The problem is that, cool as the maze may be, we don’t care a lick about the folks running it.
The film opens as our hero, a perpetually shocked Dylan O’Brien, finds himself thrust into a mysterious reservation located right outside the doors to a treacherous mechanical obstacle course that none of the unorthodox pokey’s upperclassmen have been able to successfully navigate in three years. But as we are told from the start, O’Brien’s character Thomas is... different.
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
We have to be told outright that he’s different, because there are no observable reasons to suggest as such. Nothing from the script nor from O’Brien’s performance to suggest that this might be our Boy Who Lived, our Girl on Fire, our Shailene Woodley. Likewise, O’Brien’s supporting team — group leader Aml Ameen, wide-smiling tyke Blake Cooper, contextually irrelevant resident girl Kaya Scodelario, and a dozen other half-present forgettables — is as flavorless as director Wes Ball’s visual polish, the one passable exception being Will Poulter as a pseudo-antagonist/metaphoric symbol of American conservatism.
A savory enough premise allows us just enough interest in The Maze Runner to enjoy the occasional trip through the cogs and gears of the diabolical deathtrap. But without even fleeting access to any one of the boys’ internal makeup, least of all Thomas, we never really care if anyone makes it out alive.
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A lost, self-produced The Doors documentary is set to be released on DVD and Blu-Ray later this year (Nov14). The 1968 tour documentary Feast Of Friends was shot over a five-month period by Paul Ferrara, the group’s official photographer.
Footage from the film has surfaced over the years in videos and other documentaries, but this is the first time it has been officially released in its entirety.
The Feast Of Friends package will include the remastered original film, a compilation of outtakes and the 1968 documentary The Doors Are Open.
Singer Shakira is urging Hispanic students to become bilingual in order find success in the U.S. The Hips Don't Lie hitmaker is part of the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence of Hispanics, a team which aims to reduce or eliminate disparities in education, health and wealth among the Latino population in America.
In a recent interview with website MediaPlanet, the Colombian beauty spoke about her work with the initiative and her passion for proper education for the youth in America.
She said, "Latino students need to be empowered for academic success, starting from early education. It is time to get stronger in our commitment to reduce inequity by expanding educational opportunities for all... Being bilingual is a competitive business advantage. Particularly for Hispanic students - which make up the majority of the English learner population - limited English proficiency in the early years is associated with low achievement and other poor school outcomes.
"Language opens doors to other cultures in a way that nothing else does, except music. They are the two most universal things we share as humans, and both have allowed me to connect with people around the world in a way I don't know that I ever could have imagined as a young girl just starting out."
Bono's personal lyrics about his upbringing in new U2 song Cedarwood Road has prompted the rocker's former Dublin neighbours to offer up memories of what it was like living on the same street as a future rock superstar. The song, named after the road Bono - aka Paul Hewson - lived on as a child, was released as a free download following U2's surprise performance at an Apple iPhone 6 launch on Tuesday (09Sep14), and now reporters for Ireland's RTE Radio One have tracked down some of the people who knew the singer before he became a star.
Bob Conway, who grew up just doors away from the Hewsons, says, "We grew up at a time when younger people were looking for a new way forward. Then on Cedarwood Road we started hearing Bono and the three boys practising in the garage."
Another former neighbour, Angela Massey, reveals Bono inadvertently ran over her dog, adding, "I had a little dog and he knocked him down. He came to my door the next day and he wanted to know how the dog was. He was a terribly nice young fella."
And Conway admits the lyrics to Bono's personal new song brought back fond memories of the rock star's late mother: "The lyrics of the song paint a nice picture of the person Iris was. Right to this present day you can see the power that she still has on his life - she was a wonderful woman.
"She was very quiet in her own way, you would nearly say reserved. She was a very charitable, giving woman, and very bubbly and pleasant as well... Bono's ma was dead cool... There was something very calming and assuring about her."
U2's new album, which was available as a free download for a day, also features another very personal track, Raised By Wolves, which chronicles the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974, which cost 34 people their lives.
Bono tells Rolling Stone magazine he would have been part of the carnage had it not been for a fateful decision he made earlier that day: "It was a real incident that happened in our country where three car bombs were set to go off at the same time in Dublin on a Friday night (at) 5.30.
"On any other Friday I would have been at this record shop, just down the corner, but I cycled to school that day."
R&B star Usher has teamed up with a children's book publisher to launch a new reading initiative for youngsters.
The Yeah hitmaker has collaborated with bosses at publishing house Scholastic on the Open a World of Possible initiative, which encourages kids to embrace the joy of reading. Usher will hold a live webcast from the company's headquarters in New York on 6 November (14) to urge others to talk about their book habits.
He says, "I established New Look, a charitable organisation to assist young people to become leaders and to instil in them a belief that they can create change in their communities and around the world. "I'm excited to host the webcast with Scholastic to demonstrate to kids how reading frequently, and being a reading mentor to their friends and others in their community, can open doors to endless possibilities."
Officials at the publishing company will also donate 100,000 books to charities and non-profit organisations as part of the drive.
Veteran music producer David Anderle has died aged 77. Anderle lost his battle with cancer on Monday (01Sep14) at his home in Los Angeles.
His impressive career spanned 35 years, and he worked with legends including the Doors, Frank Zappa and Kris Kristofferson, as well as Sheryl Crow, Aaron Neville, Judy Collins and Amy Grant.
Previously the West Coast Talent Director for MGM, and an executive at Elektra Records, Anderle also served a long stint alongside Herb Alpert as the Senior Vice President of A&R at A&M Records.
Anderle was also close friends with Beach Boys star Brian Wilson, and together they founded Brother Records - the first artist-run label - in 1966.
Anderle also served as a music supervisor for classic films including Good Morning Vietnam, The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, Scrooged and Soul Man.
He retired in 1999.
Let’s not allow Jimmy Kimmel to soil the good name of Friends fan-fiction. Although the late night host’s heavily funded but halfhearted attempt at the time-honored art form warranted few laughs, it did remind us that there are plenty of worthwhile pieces of writing floating around the Internet devoted to the West Village sextet. Some are admirable in quality, others in sheer passion. And some deserve a hat tip simply because of how damn weird they are.
Following Kimmel’s reunion of Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow, we hit the dark corners of the web to round up the strangest pieces of Friends fan-fiction we could find. Some rearrange the narrative of the beloved show in creative ways, some test the very fabrics of the laws of reality… and some simply vie to be as disturbing as conceivably possible. Take your pick.
"Mondler: The Story of a Survivor" by cvlax14Or: The one where Richard attacks Monica with a baseball bat and Chandler comes to her rescue.
"'Mon we really should not be doing this.''I know Chandler, it's fun sneaking around though.''That is a lot of fun, but what about you and Richard''Richard and I are having problems.''What do you mean Mon''I really shouldn't he will get mad.''Richard will get mad?''Yes Chandler I have to go I'm sorry.'Then Monica got up and walked out of my apartment. What is Richard doing to her, I thought. I wonder if Rach knows. So I got up and walked to Rachel's apartment. She was able to get an apartment two doors down from ours." [sic] Read the full story here!
"The One with Joey's Daughter" by friendslover99Self-explanatory.
"'You have a daughter?' asked Monica. 'Yeah' Joey replied. 'and she just moved to the apartment last week'. 'Wait, isn't Kate that actress you dated?' Chandler asked. 'Yeah. I can't believe she's dying' said Joey. 'Well, what's your daughter's name?' asked Phoebe." [sic] Read the full story here!
"Prom Makes a Difference" by KateToastOr: The one where a teenage Rachel goes to prom with Ross instead of Chip, thus changing the course of their joint romantic journey entirely.
"They neared the Green mansion, as people in the neighborhood called it, since it was so large. Ross felt the all-too familiar flip-flop in his stomach as he and Rachel brushed sides. It had been happening all night, specifically when they had been dancing. He was still slightly in shock that she had agreed to dance with him at all. 'Well, this is it,' Rachel said as they reached her door. She looked up at him. 'This was really nice, Ross. Thank you for bringing me.'" [sic] Read the full story here!
"Ben Becomes a Man" by rachelgreengellerOr: The one where Ross’ son Ben prepares for his Bar Mitzvah, and employs the help of his father, Chandler, and Joey to find a girlfriend.
"Ben sat in the rabbi's office as he read the remainder of his lesson. He was soon going to be turning thirteen. According to jewish law, he would become a man, so he would be having his bar mitzvah soon. Ross sat with Carol by his side, his face glowing with pride as his son spoke the ancient Hebrew." [sic] Read the full story here!
"The One Where Chandler Finally Experiments" by JanaSelf explanatory.
"Chandler didn't know how he was going to face his friend in the morning. If he was this uncomfortable, just after having a conversation, he could only imagine how awkward things would be between them if he actually took him up on his offer. It was out of the question. Sex with friends was always a bad idea, anyway. Besides, he wasn't gay. He never imagined Joey was gay, either." Read the full story here!
“Neverland” by Melanie GellerOr: The one where Phoebe’s childhood and mysterious past are imagined through an extended Peter Pan metaphor.
"My stilettos clatter against the sewers I dash out into the street lights, covering my face with my hood. Both Benny and I know I'll be back, I can't live without his pills. He can't live without my money. We both, therefore, cannot live without the men." Read the full story here!
"TOW the Smurfs" by tini243Or: The one where everybody talks about Smurfs.
"'Joey, no one had sex with Smurfette,' Monica said matter-of-factly. Grinning lewdly Joey replied, 'See, that's how bad she needs a Joey smurf.'" [sic] Read the full story here!
"I'm Your Sister" by HikaroOr: The one where Ross and Monica have incestuous feelings for one another.
"'Monica...for the past few days I've just been all over the place, unsure of the things I might do. And I know it's wrong, but I think...I think I want you.' She was starting to get even more speechless and infuriated by the second. He wants her? Does he not see the huge problem in that?" [sic] Read the full story (at your own risk) here!
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Rick Parashar, the music producer behind Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam's hits, has died aged 50. The music mogul passed away on Thursday (14Aug14) at his home in Seattle, Washington, his assistant Matthew Freeman confirmed. Freeman adds that Parashar suffered from a blood clot in his leg, which moved up to his heart.
Parashar is best known for his work with Pearl Jam. He worked with frontman Eddie Vedder before the band was formed and produced the group's debut album Ten and several singles.
The producer founded London Bridge Studios with his brother Raj in Seattle in 1985 and worked with a number of acts from the area including Alice in Chains and singer Brandi Carlile.
He also worked on Nickelback's Grammy-nominated album Silver Side Up, 3 Doors Down's disc Away From The Sun and Bon Jovi's Have A Nice Day.
3 Doors Down guitarist Chris Henderson paid tribute to Parashar on Twitter.com on Saturday (16Aug14), writing, "RIP Rick Parashar. You will be sadly missed!"
A large 20 foot (six metre)-high mural of late British comedian Rik Mayall has been painted on the doors of the Harlow Playhouse in his native Essex, England. The portrait was created by local street artist Dave Nash, two months after the funnyman's death.
Rita Ora has opened up about her no-show at last weekend's (10Aug14) Teen Choice Awards in Los Angeles, confirming reports suggesting her ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris refused to let her perform the love song they wrote together.
Ora was an anticipated performer at the ceremony, but DJ Harris, who owns the creative rights to I Will Never Let You Down, refused to approve the track at the last minute, and the R.I.P. singer was left with no option but to scrap her set.
Appearing on DJ Ryan Seacrest's radio show in L.A. on Tuesday (12Aug14), she explained, "For anybody who doesn't understand how it works, he wrote and produced the song, so he has to approve anything TV-wise... and he didn't approve the Teen Choice Awards. "I could have got told a few weeks earlier, you know. That would have been nice. It was a last minute change, but, you know what, it happens and we move on and move forward... It is what it is, man. You write a song with somebody, and I guess there's some stuff that comes with it... Everything happens for a reason, that's how I look at it."
Ora performed an unplugged acoustic set of the song on Seacrest's show and insisted that regardless of her ex's feelings about the tune, she still thinks it's a hit, adding, "It's basically a love song you can dance to. I wrote this with a really special person, and it was the first time I ever kind of opened my doors up for somebody I knew personally. So, this song was written out of love and... it was convenient for the time it was written."
"People move on and move forward, but the song still has the same message... It's still an amazing song. I don't want anybody to have, like, a dark cloud over this song."