Colleen Houck


“Chapped rats and bats' wings, brandied worms and adders' stings, Goat's wool and owl's hoot, fish's tongue and dog's foot. Into the potion, all you go, add clockwork hearts, positioned so…" The Lantern's Ember

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  • Double Feature Movie Review: The Maze Runner & Dracula Untold

    October 20, 2014


    The Maze Runner

    I always give spoilers so consider yourself warned. =)

    Colleen’s Movie Review

    Romance: There wasn’t really much of a romance going on in this movie. The characters felt more like friends than anything else.

    Special Effects: Loved the maze, the grievers, and the layout of everything. My favorite shot was when they were in a helicopter flying over the maze.

    What I Liked: The actors. They all seemed to fit the parts really well. The cool things they added to the maze. The grievers.

    What I’d Change: Some things didn’t make sense with the movie. In the book they disappeared over a cliff where in the movie they went through a secret griever tunnel. Seems like they might’ve figured this out without Thomas. They said they tried to climb to the top of the maze to look out over the terrain and saw nothing which doesn’t really fit with what they saw in the helicopter.

    The Tagline:

    Get Ready to Run

    It’s okay.

    Hunky Hero: Dylan O’Brien as Thomas is pretty hunky. He’s a little bit older than I pictured Thomas but he makes a good action hero.

     

    The Villain: In the book the villain is more the grievers and WICKED but in the movie they gave the villain a face in actress Patricia Clarkson. She does a really good job being creepy and the added bits in the movie that weren’t in the book helped answer some burning questions.

     

    Best Line:

    Thomas: “We get out now or we die trying.”
    Minho: “You don’t get it. We’re already dead.”

    Best Scene: The first time you get to see a griever.

    Recommended for YA Fans: Yes! Read the book first though.

    Compared to the Book: I thought the movie did a decent job keeping true to the book. It had the same action and overall feeling. I thought the casting was great. Liked almost everything they did at the end especially the helicopter scene and the entrance into The Scorch Trials.

    Trailer:


     

    Grandma’s Review:

    Grandma’s Bio: My name is Kathleen and I’m Colleen’s mom. I’m a mother of seven and grandmother of eighteen. They’re all great. None of my kids are duds-you know, like the popcorn kernels that don’t pop. My father taught me to love science fiction and mysteries. I’m a dreamer whose secret wish was to be an actress and sing and dance on stage. I have lots of things I still want to do. A few of my favorite things include-discovering new restaurants, going to movies, traveling, seeing plays, children, my dogs, Elvis, reading books, The Beach Boys, and Rhett Butler because he doesn’t give a damn AND he can carry Scarlett up the stairs.

    Definition of Kicky-providing a kick or thrill, exciting

    Review: Grandma did not see this film.

     


    A Guy’s Perspective

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    Bio: I’m Colleen’s husband, Brad. I’m the youngest of four kids. I’ve been Deaf since I was five so I watch every movie with caption glasses. I love sports and reading (I’ll admit I’ve read Twilight but prefer thrillers like Jack Reacher). My favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip. I’ll never turn down a taco. I write poetry. My man credentials include: a high school career in wrestling, watching sports every time my wife is too busy to notice, a receding hairline, two repaired ACL’s, and a stockpile of Axe body wash.

    Review: 

    The Maze Runner was one of those rare movies when the film is better than the book. The action scenes are intense and pretty well done, despite the up-close shots that made the fighting blurred and confusing. Since I already read the novel, I expected a few of the numerous plot questions would be answered, but naturally, it follows the book almost to a T, and many elements didn’t really make sense.

    Warning: Spoilers–If the boys have mapped out the maze, then why do they need runners? But wait, the maze changes daily, so how could it be mapped? Apparently, the gang has tried everything to escape the maze, but they don’t have ladders although they have already been to the top? What kind of a name is “Griever” for a maze monster that terrifies the boys? Apparently, the maze is one grand experiment by the Maze creators, but their subjects are all teenage boys and just one girl? Yet the creators have no problem allowing some boys to be killed, which were not really controlled at all but acts of random killings. See where I’m going with this…? Everything just felt…off.

    I can tell you the entire series is shrouded in mystery and questions with very few satisfying answers. Readers/viewers are strung along with the hope that there will be answers forthcoming, but more questions emerge instead, and every plot twist throws in a million more questions. Still, I don’t regret seeing the film which was somewhat entertaining because the premise is interesting and the acting was adequate. I give this 5.5 Hulk Smash Fists.

     

     

    Brad

     


     

    Dracula Untold

    Romance: Well I really, really liked Dracula. His wife, if you disregarded her age seemed to love him well enough. Personally, I couldn’t get past the age difference and preferred ignoring her and pretending Vlad was talking to me. Like how he didn’t even hesitate to jump off the balcony after her.

     

    Special Effects: Lots of fun effects in this film. Especially enjoyed the changing into a flock of bats. Thought the fist of bats battling an army was silly. You’d pretty much just kill the bats and whoever got in their way. The original vampire was creepy. Good makeup. Liked how a vampire sees the world in heartbeats.

    What I Liked: The original vampire. Great acting on his part. Much more interesting than anyone else on screen. Staring at Vlad was fun. I liked that Dracula was the good guy. Excited about the possibility of monster super heroes.

    What I’d Change: I didn’t understand why Vlad had perfect control over his vampiric tendencies where his created children had no control whatsoever. The different vampires were inconsistent in demeanor. Also why could he survive the sun and the rest couldn’t? What gave him super vampire powers? Were theirs watered down? Who does the original vamp want revenge against? Did he get it? I thought the showdown between the Sultan and Dracula was silly. Oh no! Silver coins! The fight should have been very one sided. Maybe give the bad guy a cross instead or make him battle during the day or something. The son was way to old to have a mother that young. The age of the heroine bothered me so badly I couldn’t look at her. I think the movie would have had more impact at least for me if there was an unfulfilled romance going on instead of trying to save his son or his people.

    The Tagline:

    The Legend Is Born
    Every Bloodline Has a Beginning

    Hmm I like the use of Bloodline so I guess I prefer the second.

    Hunky Hero:

    Woah there. Even vamped out this guy is a hunky hero. My eyes were glued to him the entire time. There’s something compelling about him.

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    The Villain: The villain was supposed to be the Sultan, Dracula’s boyhood friend/conqueror. But honestly, he wasn’t much of a villain. Much more interesting was the original vampire who make Dracula. He was one hundred times creepier than the Sultan. Would love to see a movie with that character and actor again, which, they teased was a possibility at the end of the film.

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    Best Line:

    Ingeras: My father was a great man, a hero, so they say. But sometimes the world doesn’t need another hero, sometimes what it needs is a monster.

    Best Scene: When the master vampire shares his story with Vlad. 

    Recommended for YA Fans: Yes. A little dark for YA but I love the character of Dracula.

    Compared to the Book: This story wasn’t even close to the story of the original Dracula by Bram Stoker but it wasn’t meant to be.

    Trailer:


     

    Grandma’s Review:

    Grandma’s Bio: My name is Kathleen and I’m Colleen’s mom. I’m a mother of seven and grandmother of eighteen. They’re all great. None of my kids are duds-you know, like the popcorn kernels that don’t pop. My father taught me to love science fiction and mysteries. I’m a dreamer whose secret wish was to be an actress and sing and dance on stage. I have lots of things I still want to do. A few of my favorite things include-discovering new restaurants, going to movies, traveling, seeing plays, children, my dogs, Elvis, reading books, The Beach Boys, and Rhett Butler because he doesn’t give a damn AND he can carry Scarlett up the stairs.

    Definition of Kicky-providing a kick or thrill, exciting

    Review: Grandma did not see this movie.

     


     

    A Guy’s Perspective

    Bio: I’m Colleen’s husband, Brad. I’m the youngest of four kids. I’ve been Deaf since I was five so I watch every movie with caption glasses. I love sports and reading (I’ll admit I’ve read Twilight but prefer thrillers like Jack Reacher). My favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip. I’ll never turn down a taco. I write poetry. My man credentials include: a high school career in wrestling, watching sports every time my wife is too busy to notice, a receding hairline, two repaired ACL’s, and a stockpile of Axe body wash.

    Review: 

    “Dracula Untold” is a retelling of how Dracula, perhaps the greatest and most well-known supernatural creature, came into existence. I think this was an untimely release of the film, particularly since the TV series Dracula on NBC endured a quick death after the first season. Perhaps the filmmakers thought that a cinematic, larger-than-life Dracula experience would draw out fans out of their caskets. I’m afraid, however, that Dracula fans will be disappointed with this retelling.

    In only 85 minutes of a retelling, I felt the film was a bit rushed and so much was left undeveloped. The premise was intriguing but the characters surrounding Vlad (Luke Evans), were depicted shallowly. For instance, Sultan Mehmet II of the Ottoman Empire and Vlad apparently had a close brotherhood, but we never see this relationship. Mehmet eventually becomes the antagonist, but his screen time is too brief and fails to impress. As we know, every great story needs a great villain, but this opportunity was lost.

    Despite the film’s flaws, Luke Evans, carried the film admirably. He is a confident actor with an aura such that is easy to believe his transformation to Dracula. However, we don’t really get a sense of the monster he had to become in order to save his family and kingdom. This was a premise the film did not bother to explore, and they didn’t give Evans much to work with.

    The best scene is when Vlad calls forth an intimidating colony of bats to defeat an army of 10,000 Turks. Though it was awesome to see, like the rest of the film it was still too short to leave an impression. It was as though the filmmakers didn’t care if they made an unforgettable film, which is a shame. I would give this film 5 Hulk Smash Fists.
    Brad

     

    This entry was posted in A Guy's Perspective, Movie Review.

    One Response to Double Feature Movie Review: The Maze Runner & Dracula Untold


    1. Susu says:

      If your looking for a good action flick with a decent plot this is the movie for you. With a 90min runtime I was expecting this movie to feel “rushed”, it felt far from that. The action was great, it did not disappoint with all the cool vampire abilities you see in the trailer, especially transforming into a group of bats. Being a Dracula movie there are things you have to expect, yes he receives his power by drinking blood, having all the vulnerabilities as every vampire (which they do very good in this movie) but the way this movie makes you root for Vlad(Dracula) you actually find yourself engulfed in the movie wanting him to overcome the darkness and win. However if you are a history buff and it irks you when movies take real life people and change their history for a movie, you will not enjoy this because it is loosely based off Vlad the Impaler. My Review 8/10 Excellent

      http://susu.ro

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    Colleen Houck
    Colleen Houck

    New York Times Bestselling author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, paranormal, science fiction, and romance. When she's not busy writing, she likes to spend time chatting on the phone with one of her six siblings, watching plays, and shopping online. Colleen has lived in Arizona, Idaho, Utah, California, and North Carolina and is now permanently settled in Salem, Oregon with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.