1. The Maze Runner (Fox, 3,604 Theaters, 113 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images): So, I guess the secret to a best selling young adult novel is to be bleak and derivative?
If The Hunger Games married Death Note to Brave, this film marries The Lord of the Flies to ancient Greek myth.
The films is about an amnesiac boy who is released into a glade where other boys are being held prisoner. The only way out is through an impenetrable maze. However, the boy might hold the secret to defeating the maze and the path to freedom, if only the leaders of the society in the Glade will let him regain his memories.
The film has received good reviews but will audiences go for another high concept YA film where kids die? If they do, there are two more books in the series.
2. This is Where I Leave You (Warner Brothers, 2,868 Theaters, 103 Minutes, Rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use): Ah, the “dysfunctional family all forced to be under one roof” genre, that old chestnut. However, this one is a bit different as it was adapted from the novel by Jonathan Topper.
The dysfunctional Altman clan gathers together after their father passes, and they find that dad made one final request–that they all had to spend time with each other for a week. As combative as the siblings are, this could only lead to chaos or destruction or a tighter bond.
If you’ve seen these kinds of films before, you know you’ll get a little of the former before you get the latter. The cast is fantastic, but haven’t we’ve all seen this before?
3. A Walk Amongst the Tombstones (Universal, 2,712 Theaters, 113 Minutes, Rated R for strong violence, disturbing images, language and brief nudity): It might not be fair but it is inevitable–any film where Liam Neeson talks on the phone in the trailer will be compared to Taken. However, this film is slightly different.
Neeson plays a retired police detective who is hired by a drug dealer to find the men who murdered his wife. The killers are able to keep the cops at bay, but Neeson plays by a different set of rules. When he finds the killers, he might deliver his own justice to them.
This is based on a novel by Lawrence Block and Neeson’s character has appeared in 17 books. If this goes well, the actor might have another franchise on his hands.