This week’s movie releases

A group of youngsters charts a deadly labyrinth in dystopian teen sci-fi drama ‘The Maze Runner’

Lost world: Wes Ball’s ‘The Maze Runner.’
Lost world: Wes Ball’s ‘The Maze Runner.’

Hoping to create a Hunger Games-style teen dystopian sci-fi franchise, first-time feature maker Wes Ball’s The Maze Runner sprints on to Spanish screens this week. Based on James Dashner’s bestseller, it stars Dylan O'Brien as teenager Thomas, who one day wakes up in The Glade, an expanse of trees and meadows populated by a group of other youngsters who, like him, have scant recollection of how they got there. Surrounded on all sides by impassable walls, it seems to have just one exit: an opening that leads into a deadly maze guarded by spider-like creatures called The Grievers.

Another film full of labyrinthine passageways, found-footage horror flick As Above, So Below is set in the catacombs that snake beneath the streets of Paris. Directed by John Erick Dowdle, who made REC remake Quarantine, it centers on a group of explorers journeying deeper and deeper underground in search of the fabled philosopher’s stone, but only finding more and more terror with every step.

Almost as twisting is the career of David Gordon Green, who started out making the kind of lyrical dramas that earned him comparisons with Terrence Malick (such as 2000’s George Washington), before switching to knockabout stoner comedies such as Pineapple Express and Your Highness. Now, Deep South-set drama Joe sees him come more or less full circle, starring Nicolas Cage as an ex-con trying to stay out of trouble who sees an opportunity to find redemption when a 15-year-boy comes under his wing.

Documentary filmmaker R. J. Cutler – whose works include The War Room, about Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign, and The September Issue, about Vogue magazine – makes the jump into fiction with teen weepie If I Stay. Based on the bestseller by Gayle Forman, Chlöe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass) plays a teenage cello virtuoso who undergoes a kind of out-of-body experience after a car accident leaves her in a coma. Switching between the present and her life before the accident, the film follows her as she wrestles with the agonizing dilemma of whether she should stay in this world, or move on to the next.

Scottish independents

Written and directed by Stuart Murdoch, the front man of Scottish indie giants Belle & Sebastian, God Help the Girl is a pop musical about young hopefuls on the Glasgow music scene based around a series of songs Murdoch began writing 10 years ago. Emily Browning, Olly Alexander, Hannah Murray and Pierre Boulanger star.

A French biopic of the famous designer, Yves Saint Laurent begins in 1958 when the 21-year-old YSL was called in to take over the reins at Christian Dior, after its founder’s death, before going on to chart his ascent to the summit of global fashion. Director Jalil Lespert’s film stars Pierre Niney and Guillaume Gallienne as his lover and business partner Pierre Bergé.

Directed by Gabriel Ochoa, El amor no es lo que era is a Spanish relationships drama about three couples of different ages starring Aida Folch, Alberto San Juan, Petra Martínez, Carlos Álvarez-Novoa, Blanca Romero, José Coronado and Nicolás Coronado.

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