Film Review: The Maze Runner

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Warning  – This post contains spoilers. Do not read if you don’t want to read spoilers!

Based on the book of the same name by James Dashner, The Maze Runner is the latest big sci-fi/post-apocalyptic blockbuster to hit our cinema screens. Tipped as the next Hunger Games, I had high hopes for this film.

DylanOBrienMazeRunner1PTThe basic plot revolves around a teenage boy called Thomas (played by Teen Wolf star Dylan O’Brien), who wakes up in a glade in the middle of a giant labyrinth, with no recollection of how he got there, or even his own name. He quickly learns from the other boys who arrived there before him that they are trapped in the maze, with little hope of ever finding a way out.

Disturbed by strange dreams which hint to his past, Thomas tries to piece things together and soon discovers that he is different from the others, and is determined to take on the maze and become a ‘Runner’ – a group of boys that run into the maze daily when the concrete doors open in an attempt to map it out and find a means of escape.

Lurking within the maze are ‘Grievers’, huge mechanical spider-like creatures that attempt to kill anyone that crosses their path and have a painful, deadly sting. So far – pretty Hunger Games, with a little Harry Potter thrown in for good measure (the maze is reminiscent of the one in Goblet of Fire, the Grievers like deadlier versions of the formidable spiders found in the Forbidden Forest).

Things get even more strange when a girl called Teresa arrives at the Glade and instantly recognises Thomas. Teresa is played by Skins graduate Kaya Scodelario, sporting a rather unconvincing American accent (though not nearly as bad as Emma Watson’s in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. God help us). Just why the directors instructed Kaya to put on an American accent when UK actors such as Thomas Sangster (Jojen in Game of Thrones) retain their British accents is beyond me.

whywediffAlas, this is the least of our worries. It turns out that the two syringes Teresa arrives with contain the cure for the Griever’s sting – in addition, the antidote recovers the memory of the recipient. It is through injecting himself with the liquid that Thomas discovers that it is him and Teresa who are partly responsible for the boys’ captivity in the maze, and that they are part of an experiment hosted by an organisation with rather misguided ideas about what is best for the greater good.

The rest of the film gets very strange indeed, with many surprises along the way. It’s a gripping watch, with a fair share of jumpy and edge-of-your-seat moments, and good performances from its cast. However, there is something about this film that just doesn’t fully hit the mark. The ending I felt was also a let-down, with a twist of TV series Lost proportions, obviously paving the way for the sequel The Scorch Trials which is based on the second instalment of the book trilogy. For those who haven’t read the book (like me), it is questionable as to whether there is a burning desire to find out what happens next in the story. Somehow, there are elements of The Maze Runner that just aren’t believable, perhaps due to a lack of explanation of certain things in this first movie.

With two films left in the trilogy, and two prequels in the book series, there are still lots of secrets and plot twists to be revealed in this story. Only time will tell if The Maze Runner will repeat the success of The Hunger Games and sustain the interest of its viewers.

RATING: 6/10

To Tinder…or not to Tinder?

Like many single girls of the 21st century, I have succumbed to the allure of online dating, in the hopes of finding a suitable male for something potentially special or at the very least, meet new people and have fun going on dates.

This is my second stab at the whole thing – the first site I tried was the infamous POF, which I gave up on after just a few weeks. In that time I was contacted by over 300 men, ignored about 90% of them (“hey sexy, u ok?” gets no response) and met three in person. Nothing came of any of these meetings, and I began to become even more cynical than I was already as to whether any ‘decent’ guys actually existed.

So here I am again, this time on Tinder, which is probably an even worse place to find something sincere. Known notoriously as a hook-up app, Tinder is packed full of guys and gals looking to make a connection – if only a fleeting one. Why am I on this site if I know all this? The truth is, Tinder is just so easy. No huge form to fill in, no dreadful ‘compatibility’ tests, no fuss. Just a few pictures of yourself and a small description. That’s it. Flicking through faces and swiping right if you like them and left to pass becomes addictive, and the buzz of getting a match when someone has liked you back also adds to the fun, even if you don’t end up speaking to the vast majority of them.

It’s been a week since I’ve been on Tinder and so far I’ve racked up 83 matches and had a few conversations. I already have what I will call “Favourites” for now – these are guys which can actually hold a conversation and aren’t just a pretty face. I didn’t think I’d end up meeting up with anyone, until the other night when Favourite One asked me if I wanted to go for a drink. I was startled – I hadn’t prepared for this! Thankfully, we met up and had good conversation and a nice time. But then, there’s the aftermath. What happens now? Will we meet again? Will he message me? Should I send him a message first? I decided to wait for him to message me, thinking he’s bound to the next day at least.

I woke up to no message, not that I’d really expected one as he’s a working man and there’s probably some kind of dating protocol where you don’t message too early to avoid looking too keen. I checked his Tinder account to remind myself of his face, only to see that he’d added another picture and been online up until 1am, after we’d met that same night!! Thinking this was surely a bad sign by anyone’s standards, I then began to prepare myself for the disappointment of yet another failure. He’s since messaged me tonight so he hasn’t completely bailed on me but I’m extremely apprehensive. This has happened to a couple of close friends of mine too and it’s completely baffling.

The dating game is a harsh one. If you don’t have a thick skin and a sense of humour, you won’t make it out alive. Can I be bothered??? Is it really worth it? Only time will tell. Watch this space…

Life update.

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted any content on this blog! This is largely to do with how busy I have been over the past few weeks.

Since the end of June, I have:

  • Moved out of my student house in Newcastle under lyme and into a friend’s house temporarily
  • Moved house again (back living permanently in London now, woohoo!)
  • Attended a friend’s wedding
  • Travelled back up to the midlands to attend my graduation ceremony at Keele University (Pictures and blog post to follow)
  • Attended an interview for an internship with a leading UK music conservatoire the day after my graduation (I didn’t get it, but I’m proud to have gotten an interview and it was good practice)
  • Caught up with lots of my home friends (I still haven’t gotten round to everyone!)
  • Started a new part-time job in sales at a bed and furniture making company
  • Attended another interview for another internship at the same conservatoire (fingers, toes and everything else crossed for this one, I REALLY want it!)

…to name just a few of the highlights!

Now that I have more or less settled back into my hometown, it’s time for my life and for my career to begin. It’s still a scary time, with a lot of uncertainty and many hurdles to face along the way –  but with some positivity and perseverance, I know I’ll get to where I want to be in the end 🙂

#positivevibes

Best of the Internet w/c Monday 26th May 2014

6. 2 dogs, 1 demolished ice-cream.

 

5. This video of a jenga-playing cat has been making the rounds on the internet again this week. Watch and be amazed!

 

4. I have watched this vine so many times and I still can’t decide whether to laugh or be concerned for this demonic child and his mother…

That face he makes at the end though…mini-Hulk!

 

3. Thrash metal + a guy with a banjo = Awesome. Check out this guy’s unique rendition of Slayer’s “Raining Blood”, complete with solos!

 

2. This video of Seth Rogan and Snoop Dogg talking about the latest episode of Game of Thrones whilst high on weed had me in stitches – Snoop’s impression of a British accent is particularly hilarious.

 

1. By far the strangest and most amazing thing I have seen this week is George Takei’s “cover’ of the song “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen. Prepare to have your mind blown.

So sassy!

God bless the Internet.

 

 

Festival Survival Guide!

Whether you’re a festival virgin or veteran, knowing and remembering which things to pack and what to prepare for can be very stressful – I know this from experience! So, I have compiled a comprehensive Festival Survival Guide which will include everything from what to take with you, what to expect (if you’re a first-timer) and how to make the most out of your weekend. I’m heading to Download Festival myself this year and I cannot wait!

WHAT TO TAKE

Camping Essentials

  • Tent

Probably the most important thing to take other than your ticket , your tent will be your home, bedroom, changing room and place to chill out in between bands for the entirety of the festival, so it’s well-worth taking a bit of time choosing one. It’s incredibly tempting to go for the cheapest option and going “That’ll do” – DON’T. When I went to Download back in 2011, it was absolutely pelting it down with rain – luckily for me I had a superb tent which kept me dry and comfortable, however two of the guys I was camping with didn’t put much thought into buying theirs and ended up with water-logged tents and a lot of their clothes getting soaked – something you do not want!

So what are the things to look for when buying a tent?tent

1. In heed of the above warning, you will want to look at how waterproof the tent is. This is reflected by the ‘hydrostatic head’ of the tent, which is in millimetres. The higher this figure, the more waterproof the tent. As a basic outline, you want to aim for a tent with at least 1500mm. 3000mm will protect you in heavy rain, so if the forecast is looking wet for your festival than you may want to consider this.

2. Next you will want to think about the size and type of tent to buy. Most people buy a 2-man tent for just themselves as it gives you more room for yourself and for your stuff. If you are sharing a tent with more people then adjust this accordingly. As for the type, there is a range you can buy, the most popular at festivals being Pop-up and Dome tents. Pop-ups are really quick to pitch which is ideal, and often come in a variety of stand-out, fun designs. Dome tents take a little longer to set up but are nice and roomy, and strong against high winds, due to its shape.

3. Something which can be overlooked is the weight of the tent. When you are travelling to the festival, queuing up and making your long way to the camp site, you do not want to be weighed down by a bulky, heavy tent which is hard to carry. Look for lightweight tents with carry bags.

  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mat/mattress

A sleeping mat is an item that people often overlook and don’t want to spend money on. It’s worth getting even a foam one as it will give you a much better night’s sleep. Sleeping in just your sleeping bag will mean you feel every lump and bump of the ground where you have pitched your tent which trust me, is not very comfortable at all! For extra luxury, an inflatable travel mattress will provide even more comfort – just don’t forget to bring an air pump!

  • Torch/lantern

Essential for toilet-trips in the middle of the night and finding your tent after-dark. A lantern is also useful to have when you are getting changed in your tent and for providing light for you and your friends in your camp site. I will be buying these 12 LED Mini-Lanterns from Argos as they’re nice and compact, and from the reviews they seem to be bright and long-lasting. Plus, they come with batteries which is a bonus.

Optional camping extras:

  • Fold-up chair
  • Gazebo

You and your friends might want to pitch in together for one of these. Great for after-parties,  they also come in handy when it’s raining as it allows you to be more sociable. Having to zip yourselves away and sit alone in your tent until the rain stops is a bit of a buzz-kill!

  • Speakers

It’s a good idea to bring some portable speakers for your camp site to plug your mp3 players/phones into – just be considerate of people around you. Blasting music out at 5am when people are likely to be asleep will win you enemies with your camp site neighbours!

Protective wear

Be prepared for this!

Be prepared for this!

In the UK, we have often unpredictable weather – we are probably one of the only places in the world where you can experience all four seasons in one day, so it is best to be prepared for all types of weather.

  • Waterproof raincoat/kagoule – to keep you dry whilst you’re moshing/dancing
  • Wellies – An absolute festival necessity! Field + rain = lots of mud. Be prepared.
  • Sunglasses – perhaps wishful thinking, but there are times when the sun does actually come out at festivals and you don’t want to be blinded by the sun when you’re trying to watch your favourite band.
  • Sunblock – Standing in a field exposed to the sun all day means risk of sunburn, unless you protect your skin.
  • Umbrella – I think we’ve covered this one…

 

Hygiene

Being at a festival doesn’t mean you have to stink for 3-5 days. Make sure you take these essential items.

  • Baby wipes – take lots and lots of them (especially if you don’t fancy trekking across your possibly muddy camp site in a towel to hit the showers which may not be particularly clean anyway).
  • Hand sanitiser – this is essential as festival toilets rarely provide facilities for hand-washing.
  • Toilet roll – again, this will not be provided so don’t be caught short!
  • Water – for drinking and washing
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste – okay, so maybe you’re not going to shower all weekend – that is pretty standard fare at a festival, but don’t be a minger – brush those gnashers!
  • Deodorant
  • Dry shampoo – a necessity especially if you have long hair. It makes your hair look less greasy and feel fresher.
  • Shower gel – if the idea of not washing for 3 days freaks you out then you’ll want to bring this.
  • Towel

 

Clothing

Aside from the protective clothing mentioned earlier such as a raincoat and wellies, there are some other items which are a good idea to take with you:

  • Jumpers/sweaters – it can get pretty chilly at night, so make sure you bring something warm.
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts
  • Leggings – I prefer to wear shorts and leggings at gigs and festivals rather than jeans, as they’re less restrictive and I can get too hot in jeans. Also jeans take longer to dry when they get wet. Just my personal preference but perhaps something to consider.
  • Nice outfits – for days when the weather is nice and also for the after-parties once the bands have finished playing.
  • Pyjamas

Optional/useful extras

  • Alcohol – Booze can enhance your festival experience, but of course, drink responsibly and make sure you’re drinking lots of water as well to prevent dehydration.
  • Money – for food, beer or any souvenirs that might take your fancy.
  • Condoms – because who knows, you might get lucky…and it’s best to be prepared and safe!
  • Snacks – for when you’re feeling peckish and don’t want to queue up for something to eat
  • Paracetamol/painkillers – to dull the pain of a hangover or combat a migraine
  • Plastic cups/bottles
  • Festival time clash guide – it’s a good idea to get 1 or 2 of these between your group, so you don’t miss any bands you want to see.
  • Car phone chargers – most festivals have lockers which you can charge your phone in, providing you have one.
  • Camera

WHAT TO EXPECT

People in fancy dress is a common sighting at festivals!

People in fancy dress is a common sighting at festivals!

A festival is a unique experience like no other. Here is a list of things you should know and are likely to see:

  • The toilets WILL be as disgusting as you expect, especially towards the end of the festival. You’ll get used to it though…just try not to breathe. Or look in the bowl.
  • Festival food is expensive – expect to be paying around £7 for a burger and chips. It’s a good idea to bring a few snacks or if you’re particularly out-doorsy, a camping stove and things like soups and beans. Be aware of any restrictions at your festival however on certain equipment and of course, be careful not to have fire too close to your tents!
  • Expect a lot of mud. Festivals are rarely dry occasions unfortunately, and by the last day the ground will be loose due to the thousands of people trampling all over it. Don’t forget your wellies!
  • People in fancy dress – why not bring a costume too?
  • Drunk people
  • People on drugs – I had a guy who was high on ketamine throw up on me during Bring Me The Horizon at Download 2011 – it was pretty grim. Be observant and watch your drinks to protect yourself from being spiked, and…just don’t do drugs. Please? Okay.
  • Boobs – it seems to be a tradition that women expose themselves at festivals, especially when they are sitting up on somebody’s shoulders and the camera pans to them, showing them on the big stage screens (much to the vivacious roar from the crowd – mainly men). This seems to be a cue to get their bangers out. I’m not sure why this is a thing, but it is.
  • Expect to meet all kinds of people and make new friends! Everyone is up for a good time at a festival, and generally people are very friendly.

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST OF YOUR WEEKEND

drinkfest

  • See the bands that YOU want to see – don’t get dragged along by friends to see a band that you’re not into over one that you came especially to the festival for. You’ll only regret it!
  • DO check out the other entertainment – this can range from comedy stand-up, karaoke, amusement rides and burlesque shows. I experienced all these at Download and loved every minute of them – see what else is on at your festival.
  • DRINK RESPONSIBLY – I cannot stress this enough. Keep yourself hydrated with water and don’t overdo it. You don’t want to miss out on bands because you’re too hungover to leave your tent.
  • Talk to new people outside of your group – it’s always great to make new friends, you may even get invited to a camp party!
  • Take plenty of pictures so you can capture your memories.
  • Have fun! Experience as much as possible and see a load of bands.

I hope that this guide has been in some way helpful and that you have an awesome time, whichever festival you’re planning on going to!

 

Best of the Internet w/c Monday 18th May, 2014

5. Technically, this is one of the best Internet things from last week but 1) I only saw it this week 2) This blog didn’t exist last week and 3) It’s just too awesome not to include.

Any GoT fans that haven’t seen episode 6 “The Laws of Gods and Men”, DO NOT WATCH THIS  VIDEO AS IT CONTAINS SPOILERS.

For those of you who have, enjoy.

 

4. Have you ever wondered what Morgan Freeman sounded like after inhaling helium? Wonder no more! (Can this man get any more awesome?)

 

3. This video of 3 strangers having a spontaneous jam session outside a grocery store made my day.  There is hope for humanity after all!

 

2. It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Doppelgangers Will Ferrell and Chad Smith have at last proved once and for all who is the better drummer after a Drum-Off on America’s The Tonight Show. I’m not going to lie…I still can barely tell the difference between the two.

 

1. Last, but not least, UKIP’s hashtag #WhyImVotingUKIP spectacularly backfiring and being subject to internet trolls is probably the most satisfying thing to have happened (for me, anyway) since finishing my degree.  Here are a few of my favourite tweets:

ukip2ukip1ukip3ukip4ukip5ukip6

 

 

My Qwertee collection

Qwertee, for those of you who may not be familiar, is a clothing website that sells limited edition t-shirts and hoodies, for 24 hours only. Once the timer is up, it’s gone…FOREVER (unless it gets enough votes to be reprinted, but I wouldn’t take my chances). They sell a wide range of awesomely nerdy designs drawn from TV shows, films and video games, submitted by artists. Anyone can submit a design – if it gets enough votes, then it will become a printed tee!

As a massive fan of Pokemon, it equally delights and pains me that Qwertee release so many Pokemon designs. I mean, are they trying to bankrupt me?!

Anyways, I wanted to share with you guys my current Qwertee collection – I’m sure it will only grow bigger!IMG_20131223_1300502014-05-22 01.53.30

*I actually bought this one from TeeTurtle (in the US) Qwertee sold this same design last week, but in red which I wasn't keen on so I got this one instead :)

*I actually bought this one from TeeTurtle. Qwertee sold this same design last week, but in red which I wasn’t keen on so I got it in black instead :)*

And finally, below is my most recent purchase which is currently on its way to me in the post. I cant wait for it to arrive!

 

Are you a Qwertee lover? Send me a picture of you wearing yours in the comments below!