film reviews

current film reviews ¦ films now available on dvd
boom reviews - Escobar Escobar (15)

Just say no. That’s what the first lady Nancy Reagan declared to the American public regarding the taking of drugs. Luckily for one man, Columbian Pablo Escobar, they didn’t listen. At one point, 80% of all the cocaine that made it into the good ole US of A, was supplied by Pablo.

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boom reviews - american animals American Animals(15)

However much of an upstanding citizen you believe yourself to be, you’ve no probably dabbled in some five-fingered discounts in your time. And yes, the pick ‘n’ mix does count. There’s nothing like that high, no doubt heightened by that sugar rush, where you walk away thinking that you’ve just stuck it to the man and are clearly invincible. Unless you got caught of course.

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boom reviews - the negotiator The Negotiator (15)

It’s true that TV shows are the new black. Not that you need a TV to watch them anymore of course, but you catch our drift. There is now fluidity for actors between ‘TV’ and film like never before, with many effortlessly switching back and forth.

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boom reviews - a prayer before dawn A Prayer Before Dawn (15)

Fights are rubbish. Punchy punchy here, bop bop there. And nothing but bruises to show for your troubles. The one exception is if you just so happen to be Anthony Joshua, who has made a pretty penny from his left-right, left-uppercut shenanigans. For the rest of us, it’s just not worth it.

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boom reviews - The Secret of Marrowbone The Secret of Marrowbone (15)

With the likes of A Quiet Place and Hereditary doing their bit to increase heart rates and have sweat glands working overtime in cinemas, horror is on a high with audiences right now.

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boom reviews - Terminal Terminal (15)

There’s something romantic about train stations. Not the tatty, rural kind, with permanently locked toilets and waiting rooms with the scent of pee and foreboding. The grand city kind, with concourses bigger than small countries, platforms as long as your imagination, and exits and entrances akin to the Penrose stairs.

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boom reviews - Mary Shelley Mary Shelley (12A)

Cinema has been fascinated with stories of monsters since its inception. One perennial favourite that can often be found on the big screen, spreading fear throughout its audiences, is of course Frankenstein and his home-made creature.

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boom reviews - My Friend Dahmer My friend Dahmer (15)

Stories of youths struggling to fit in are two a penny in the world of film. There have been so many from the US alone for instance, that their high schools are probably more familiar than our own education establishments, with Grange Hill being the exception, naturally.

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boom reviews - The Breadwinner The Breadwinner (12A)

It’s common knowledge that the Oscars often get it wrong. A fine example of this was in this year’s Best Animated Film category. The category was dominated by glossy Hollywood titles, with the Oscar going to the surprisingly disappointing Disney Pixar title Coco.The film that should have won was the beautiful Loving Vincent, with this title coming in a very close second.

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boom reviews - Submergence Submergence (15)

There’s no doubt that winning an Oscar can open doors for a performer. Since picking up her statuette for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in 2015’s The Danish Girl, Alicia Vikander has starred opposite Matt Damon in Jason Bourne, kicked ass as the new Lara Croft, as well as married her The Light Between Oceans co-star, Michael Fassbender.

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boom reviews - Lean On Pete Lean on Pete (15)

Despite pretty much being big dogs, albeit trickier to hug, horses don’t get the spotlight as much as other animals. But over the years, they have featured heavily in film, in everything from Black Beauty to War Horse.

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boom reviews - I Kill Giants I Kill Giants (12A)

Hollywood, as well as other film industries around the world, has been particularly sizeist over the years. Anything that makes you crane your neck upwards to see is often rewarded with a barrage of bullets. Just ask Godzilla.

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boom reviews - Wonderstruck Wonderstruck (15)

The last twelve months have been popular for the word ‘wonder’ in film; there was the syrupy Wonder with Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson; there was also Woody Allen’s highly enjoyable Wonder Wheel, and now this from American director Todd Haynes.

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boom reviews - Wonder Wheel Wonder Wheel (12A)

With so many creative types being called out – quite rightly – for inappropriate behaviour, it’s becoming more of a minefield when it comes to critiquing their work. Director Woody Allen has been in and out of the controversial spotlight for most of his career, and yet still continues to produce film after film.

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boom reviews - mom and Dad Mom and Dad (15)

So often in life, kids end up taking advantage of their parents, in one way or several others. It usually starts off with small stuff, like silly amounts of pocket money, or demanding a new phone to ignore them on, to ultimately moving back rent free because of your failed life/marriage and demanding they sign up to Netflix so you can catch season 2 of Jessica Jones.

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boom reviews - I, Tonya I, Tonya (15)

They say that competition is healthy, but it can really bring out the worst in people. So much so that there’s actually a new version of the board game Monopoly – the Cheaters Edition – that encourages cheating to win. But even in this version, someone still has to lose, and presumably badly, so even trying to cheat doesn’t guarantee success, although certain politicians could argue otherwise.

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boom reviews - Roman J. Israel, Esq Roman J. Israel, Esq (12A)

If an actor is serious about their profession, then at some point they have to lawyer up. It’s a rite of passage for many to play an advocate of the law, and for some they’re just ticking a box. Denzel Washington already knows this, as he got his lawyering badge for his role in 1993’s Philadelphia. But he had to take a back seat for that one, as his co-star Tom Hanks stole the show, picking up an Oscar for his troubles.

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boom reviews - Coco Coco (U)

Once upon a time, there was a super creative animation film company called Pixar. They made films that everyone of all ages loved. Then, in 2006, a bigger animation company called Disney, came along and gobbled Pixar up. Ever since, Pixar has never been the same. The End.

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boom film reviews - The Darkest Hour The Darkest Hour (PG)

History can be a funny thing. For instance, there will be a section of the population, who will, due to an inadequate education/being pig-ignorant, when asked who Churchill was, will probably say that dog off of the telly. No, no, no, no, no. Of course, if you’re a film fan who, having a great range of general knowledge, you will already know who Churchill was – from watching last year’s film of the same name, starring Brian Cox.

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boom film reviews - The Dinner The Dinner(15)

Steve Coogan clearly loves his grub. He swans off regularly to some of the finest eateries in Europe with the likes of Michael Caine, Ronnie Corbett and Sean Connery - or at least all voiced by the same man, Rob Brydon - in Michael Winterbottom's series The Trip. It's a jolly that sees two grown men constantly attempt to out-impersonate one another, whilst stuffing their faces. Not bad work when you can get it.

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boom reviews Manifesto Manifesto (15)

According to Oscar Wilde all art is quite useless. And on the basis of this filmed art installation, it's a sentiment that's hard to refute. German artist and filmmaker Julian Rosefeldt has created an interesting premise by taking the manifestos from various figures throughout history, including revolutionary socialist Karl Marx, architect Bruno Taut and filmmaker Lars von Trier, and allowing their words to flow through various characters, all of which are played by the versatile Cate Blanchett, in very different settings.

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boom reviews Ingrid Goes West Ingrid Goes West (15)

There was a time, believe it or not, when if you had something to say to someone, you'd say it to their face. Or if you were sly, behind their back. Thanks to social media however, you can now slag said person off to the world - isn't that right Donald? That's progress for you. #progresssucksHeart emoji or poo emoji, social media is here to stay. It's no surprise then that this technological zeitgeist bleeds over into old media, e.g. film. For his first full length feature, director Matt Spicer pokes the darker side of social media and this comic drama is what pops out.

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boom reviews The Man With the Iron Heart The Man With the Iron Heart (15)

It's hard to believe that back in the day, films about Nazis were as popular as superhero ones are today. Fewer sequels, granted - unless you count WW2 of course - and less Lycra for the most part, the war genre was pretty prolific . Instead of being an all out war film, French director Cédric Jimenez focuses his attention on one man, and his rise to fame within the Nazi party.

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boom reviews Horns Horns (15)

Starring in a big budget film as a child actor doesn't guarantee further success – just ask Macaulay Culkin or the kid who played Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace. Well, you could try asking them, but you have to find them first. In 2001, at the age of eleven, Daniel Radcliffe got the lead in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, a role he continued to play for the next ten years, making him pretty much a household name. Since then, he's been pretty bold with his post-Potter roles, with darker fair like The Woman in Black and Kill Your Darlings. But just to reinforce his acting credentials, he also took to the stage to reveal himself, in all his glory, in the demanding Equus. In a sense, Horns sees Radcliffe return to the realms of fantasy in his latest role, for what he probably considered one hell of a part.

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boom reviews - Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (PG)

It's the eve of Alexander's (Ed Oxenbould) twelfth birthday and, as you would expect, he's pretty psyched. Although not quite the most popular boy at school – being on the accident prone side as he is can hold a boy back – he's still expecting a decent turnout for his birthday party. Then, horror of horrors, he learns that one of the most popular kids at his school has moved his party to the same day. This news just tops off what Alexander considers a terrible day. Although the rest of his family – mom (Jennifer Garner), Dad (Steve Carell), brother (Dylan Minnette) and sis (Kerris Dorsey) – are sort of sympathetic, he wishes that they could have, just once, the kind of really, really bad day that he often has. The next day arrives, his birthday, and something quite strange starts to happen: as soon as the family are up, it's obvious that they are all in for the mother of all mishaps of a day.

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boom reviews - '71 '71 (15)

When the E4 drama Skins first splattered onto our screens in 2007, no-one could have predicted how much of the fresh talent involved would move onto bigger things. One of the show's strongest characters was the enigmatic Cook, played by Jack O'Connell. There must have been days on shoot when other actors pitied themselves if they had to share screen time with O'Connell, who was like an acting Pac-Man devouring all those around him with his edgy performances. Apart from a small part in the decidedly by-the-numbers 300 sequel, 300: Rise of the Empire, O'Connell has been satisfied by starring in low-budget British films, of which '71 is the latest example.

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boom reviews - Gone Girl Gone Girl (18)

What goes up, down, up, down, up, down? No, not a happy penguin on a pogo stick, it's actually Ben Affleck's career. He may well have won two Oscars, but his career has seen more dips than a lap dancer on a large stag do. With the relatively recent success of Argo behind him, and with a turn playing Batman on the horizon in the high profile Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, it appears that Affleck is having his third or maybe fourth professional renaissance in Hollywood. And with the release of Gone Girl, he's clearly on the highest of highs right now.

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boom reviews - bad samaritan Bad Samaritan(15)

Having helmed both Independence Day films and 1998’s Godzilla, Team Devlin and Emmerich have proved they know their way around a disaster flick. Unfortunately writer and producer Dean Devlin decided to go behind the camera for last year’s Geostorm, and proved us wrong.

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boom reviews - Under the Tree Under the Tree (15)

Families can be hard work at the best of times. Your own that is, not others. For instance, everyone has a weird uncle; you know the one, who, at family gatherings, can be heard saying things that weren’t appropriate ten years ago, never mind now. He also sits at the table and uses his grubby hands for cutlery, raking food off of the table

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boom reviews - the escape The Escape (15)

For many, being single can be seen as a curse. Society demands that we all couple up, because obviously we’re all happier that way, and if we have the required bits and pieces, we should procreate, because as Whitney sang, the children are our future. And sure, that can work, for some. But as this film portrays, living the suburban dream can easily turn into a nightmare.

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boom reviews - Madame Madame (15)

More often than not, rick folk get a hard time on film. If they’re not the victims of hideous crimes (including house break ins, kidnapping, murders, etc), then they’re being portrayed as snobs who have no feelings and care about nothing more than moolah, and how to make more of it.

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boom reviews - Escape Plan 2 Escape Pan 2: Hades (15)

If anyone knows his way around a sequel it’s Sly Stallone. In fact one of the biggest surprises to date, in regards to his extensive career, is that his 1986 flick Cobra never got a follow up. Already on there way are Creed II, Rambo 5 and The Expendables 4. So don’t discard a Cobra sequel just yet.

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boom reviews - Racer and the Jailbird Racer and the Jailbird (15)

It’s not unusual to see a crime flick that involves some daring driving. A bank heist takes place, that’s gone either good or bad, is often swiftly followed by frantic car chases through the city streets, showing flagrant disregard for road safety. Well it appears that Belgian director Michaël R. Roskam has given the whole crime driving sub genre a whole new spin, that doesn’t involve 360’s or fresh tyre marks.

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boom reviews - Escape Plan 2 Escape Plan 2: Hades (15)

If anyone knows his way around a sequel it’s Sly Stallone. In fact one of the biggest surprises to date, in regards to his extensive career, is that his 1986 flick Cobra never got a follow up.

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boom reviews - In The Fade In The Fade (18)

The name Diane Kruger is a familiar one; not only did she make an impact in Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, but also starred in the US remake of Nordic noir series The Bridge, amongst other screen credits.

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boom reviews - Double Lover Double Lover (18)

Ever since the dawn of time – in cinema at least – films have often dabbled with the concept of the doppelganger; either characters who look eerily alike (played by the same actor), or characters who are actually twins (played by the same actor). And then you have Twins, starring big Arnie and wee Danny DeVito, as long lost identical bros, for double the hilarity.

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boom reviews - Anon Anon (15)

Kiwi writer and director Andrew Niccol likes his sci-fi and tech themes; he made his directorial debut with 1997’s Gattica, and then went on to direct 2002’s S1m0ne, 2011’s In Time and 2013’s The Host. He also got nominated for an Oscar for writing The Truman Show in 1998, so he does occasionally get it right.

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boom reviews - Wildling Wildling (15)

There’s been a strange fascination for hirsute wolf-like characters in cinema over the years, with the first featuring a werewolf in 1935’s Werewolf of London. Since then, there have been a number of them scampering onto our screens, but the majority of them have been of the male persuasion.

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boom reviews - The Titan The Titan (15)

Someone in Hollywood must really hate Sam Worthington. Initially at least, starring in James Cameron’s Avatar must have seemed a dream job. However, Not only did he end up looking like a human Smurf, he has to do so again at least four more times for the subsequent sequels that are sadly on their way.

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boom reviews - The Hurricane Heist The Hurricane Heist (12A)

When you start to play around with mixing up genres, like the crossing of streams in Ghostbusters, bad things can happen. For the most part, it’s best to keep them apart, after all no-one wants to see a horror high school musical, or an animated screwball comedy war film. Come to think of it, maybe we would like to see that last one, but you get the point.

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boom reviews - Mark Felt Mark Felt: the Man Who Brought Down the White House (12A)

Let’s face it, the problem with history is, there’s just so much of it. Thank God for films then, without which, many of us would have the brain of a certain US president.

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boom reviews - Proud Mary Proud Mary (15)

Taraji P. Henson is an actress who has really grafted, particularly on TV. She’s appeared in a number of shows, including Boston Legal, Person of Interest and currently stars as the formidable Cookie in the drama Empire.

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boom reviews - The Square The Square (15)

Despite Huey Lewis stating some time ago to the contrary, it’s never been hip to be square. As shapes go, the square has to be in the top three for being the worst. The best? Undisputedly the triangle; put something in a triangle, and you’ve already got intrigue right there.

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boom reviews - Monster Family Monster Family (U)

It’s amazing to think how much hard work and dedication goes into making an animated feature these days. Years of your life poured into bringing characters to life onto the big screen. It must be hugely disappointing then, when the end result is so poor that it’s been a complete waste of your time. And ours too, if you have the misfortune to sit through it.

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boom reviews - The Shape of Water The Shape of Water (15)

What is it with mankind, huh? Whenever it comes across someone/thing a little different that turns up on our radar, it feels the need to send in the white coat brigade with their probes, to prod here, there and did you really have to put it there?!. At least that’s how it comes across in films.

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boom reviews - Lady Bird Lady Bird (15)

After appearing in a couple of dozen films, as well as co-writing a few, Greta Gerwig has decided to take the plunge getting behind the camera for her directorial debut with Lady Bird, at the ripe old age of 34. And if that wasn’t pressure enough, she also wrote it too.

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boom reviews - Loveless Loveless (15)

With Valentine’s just around the corner this Russian drama comes along with just the right romantic message: some people just aren’t supposed to be together. This revelation can sometimes be reached rather too late into proceedings, particularly when children are involved.

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boom reviews - Downsizing Downsizing (15)

To quote a certain Private Frazer, we’re all doomed. Over the years, we’ve not-so-slowly been destroying the planet. It’s great that those with a social conscience do their best to be responsible by cycling, recycling and turning tech off instead of leaving it on standby. But realistically, the damage has already been done and we’re truly buggered. So, so long, and thanks for the fish.

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boom reviews - Last Flag Flying Last Flag Flying (15)

When Steve Carell first burst onto our screens as the awkwardly inept Michael Scott in the US version of The Office, you could tell that a career in comedy was pretty much guaranteed. And, for the most part, that’s true. But no-one could have predicted either his willingness to avoid being typecast in nothing but comic roles, or indeed that he had such ability to do straight roles.

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boom film reviews - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (15)

It must be really frustrating working for Martin McDonagh. On the one hand, he is extremely loyal, with many of his actors appearing in a number of his features. The downside is however, the talented British director has only made three in the last ten years – 2008’s In Bruges, 2012’s Seven Psychopaths and now this.

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boom film reviews - Good Time Good Time (15)

Considering the bickering that can take place between brothers, it's surprising how many can end up working together, especially in film. The most well known include the Coens, the Wachowskis (who are now possibly sisters), the Marvel-lous Russos, the Duffers and the Duplass bros.

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boom reviews Marjorie Prime Marjorie Prime (12)

For those expecting a spin-off featuring the fem-bot behind the man-bot known as Optimus Prime, heading up a fighting team of fem-bots defending the universe and that, then be prepared to be disappointed. It may have futuristic themes, but this isn't that type of film, for better or not. This adaption of Jordan Harrison's 2014 play of the same name, is set around a family who introduce technology in a bid to keep an elderly member engaged with life.

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boom reviews Say When Say When (15)

Relationships are such funny things. For Keira Knightley's latest role, she finds herself involved in a number of relationships, and sadly for Keira, none of them really work. It's ten years after an awkward prom party and Megan (Knightly) is still trying to get her life into some kind of order at her prom reunion. Currently she's happy enough in her comfort zone. With no job prospects on the horizon, she helps her dad (Jeff Garlin) out by advertising his accounting firm on the side of a road twiddling and flipping a sign around. Another thing that hasn't changed in the last ten years is her boyfriend. But when Anthony finally decides to propose, Megan's feet get as cold as ice at the prospect.

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boom reviews Mr Turner Mr Turner (12A)

Mike Leigh's latest is a fascinating portrayal of renowned English Romantic landscape painter J.M.W Turner who, even as a child, could have wiped the smug faces of off all those brats sending their shitty pictures into Tony Hart's gallery. Supreme artist Joseph Mallord William Turner (Timothy Spall) returns to his London home after a trip to Amsterdam. He is estranged from his wife and daughters so lives with his housekeeper, Hannah Danby (Dorothy Atkinson); she thinks a lot of her employer and her services go beyond more than just waiting on him hand and foot, which he is more than happy to take advantage of. Although a member of the Royal Academy of Arts, Turner is not one to conform: far from it. In fact, you can bet that if feathers are ruffled, it's bound to be Turner doing the ruffling.

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boom reviews The Maze Runner The Maze Runner (12A)

Oh Lord, not yet another adaptation of a young adult fiction book series. An understandable reaction considering Hollywood's current trend for tapping into this bottomless pit of a market. It's obvious however that the fans of these books are keen to see their favourite characters come to life off the page and onto the silver screen, and are happy to pay for the privilege. So, along with characters running around in Lycra trying to save the day with their super powers, it's a trend that looks likely to stay. Joy. And yet here's the thing: The Maze Runner is quite a thrilling spectacle. No, we weren't expecting it either.

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