Charlie Says (2018) Movie Review

Director: Mary Harron

Writer: Guinevere Turner (Screenplay) Ed Sanders, Karlene Faith (Book)

Starring: Hannah Murray, Matt Smith, Sosie Bacon, Marianne Rendon, Merritt Wever, Suki Waterhouse, Chace Crawford

Plot: The tragic tale of an all-American girl who was transformed into a cold-blooded killer in the summer of 1969.


Tagline – Dreamers. Victims. Murderers.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Been There, Seen This

Story: Charlie Says starts as we meet the three women Lulu (Murray), Katie (Bacon) and Sadie (Rendon) who are serving their sentence on death row, without a death penalty being allowed, graduate student Karlene Faith (Wever) who has been offering lessons to other female prisoners, is given a chance to offer the women something to do.

This leads us to meet Lulu, when she was still Leslie, first bought into Spahn ranch and learning the methods of Charles Manson (Smith), as he ended up offering up a free love idea, which shows us how close they are and how controlling he is with the people.

Thoughts on Charlie Says

Characters – We follow Leslie as she joins the family and becomes Lulu, we see how she gets to learn how the family operates becoming on of the followers, as she learns about the family, we learn about them. Katie and Sadie are two more of the followers that have all been locked up for the murders, they teach Lulu and in prison they still believe in the theories of Charlie, while being offered a chance for a future. The three main women are shown just how they are easily controlled and become devoted followers that would go onto do a horrendous crime. Charles Manson is the cult leader that drugged, controlled and forced people into doing his actions, fighting back against society that he felt controlled people, he is still one of the vilest people to walk the Earth.

PerformancesThe performances here have three women in, Hannah Murray, Sosie Bacon and Marianne Rendon who are all fine, they don’t get do much that we haven’t seen before, while Matt Smith as Charles Manson is the same as everyone else’s idea of the monster.

StoryThe story here follows three members of the Manson Family who have been put in prison after their murder, as we see how they are given a chance at education, while we learn how they became part of the family under the controlling monster. It is getting close to the time where we need to ask why we need to keep telling the Manson family stories, we know they were monsters who used drugs as an excuse to commit horrendous crimes, we do try to follow the revival of their humanity, which on the outside would have been very interesting, but we spend too much time just watching the brainwashing and actions behind what Charles did to them. It offers very little to what we know, unfairly paints the women as the victims, rather than the monsters they were.

Biopic/CrimeThe biopic side of this film is trying to put a light of sympathy onto the three women, as we learn how they tried to remember their time in the Manson Family, no matter how difficult remembering would have been, while we know the crime, we seem to focus more on the aftermath, rather than the horrendous action itself.

SettingsThe film uses two main settings, the ranch, where Charles controlled the women and the prison where they didn’t have any control.


Scene of the Movie – Most of Karlene’s struggles.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We focus too much on the ranch.

Final Thoughts This is another needless version of the Manson family, putting more spotlight on the people who don’t deserve it, instead of condemning them for their actions.

Overall: Needless.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – F – The Fighter (2010)

Director: David O. Russell

Writer: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson (Screenplay) Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington (Story)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, Jack McGee, Melissa McMeekin, Bianca Hunter

Plot: Based on the story of Micky Ward, a fledgling boxer who tries to escape the shadow of his more famous but troubled older boxing brother and get his own shot at greatness.


Tagline – Every dream deserves a fighting chance.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Brilliant

Story: The Fighter starts as we meet Micky Ward (Wahlberg) as he is preparing to follow in his brother’s footsteps Dicky Eklund (Bale) with a camera crew following them around because this is meant to be Dicky’s big return to the boxing world after his famous win as Sugar Ray Leonard.

Micky is meant to have an easy win fight, but a surprise change leaves him defeated once again, he starts to date Charlene (Adams) a local bar maid, who pushes him into standing up to his pushy family of Dicky who is always at a crack house and his mother Alice (Leo) that always believes she knows what is right for Micky, can he still create his own chance or not.

Thoughts on The Fighter

Characters – Micky Ward is the uprising boxer who is preparing for a big fight, he is trained by his older brother who has his own addiction, Micky lets his family guide him, mostly down the wrong roads, he meets a new woman in Charlene that helps him push back to restore his family’s name. Dicky is the older brother and former boxer, he feel out of the spotlight with his drug addiction and is looking to bring his brother into the light by being his trainer, the problems start by the fact he can never arrive on time and is letting his drug addiction control his life, breaking the law to try and do the right thing. Charlene Fleming is barmaid that Micky falls in love with, she tries to help him go after his own path instead of letting his family hold him back. Alice Ward is the mother of the boxers, she is their manager, but doesn’t always have their best interest in mind

PerformancesMark Wahlberg gives one of his career best performances of his career here, he doesn’t turn to any of the wise cracking which is often his trademark either. Christian Bale once again proves he can adapt to any role which will see him do a body transformation. Amy Adams and Melissa Leo complete the brilliant performances in this film which shows us just how talented this cast truly is.

StoryThe story here follows Micky Ward the brother of a former professional boxer that is looking to make his way to the top in boxing too, he is being held back by his controlling mother and fame seeking crack addict brother, until his girlfriend comes along to help put him back on the right path. This is based on the real boxers from the mid-90s and how they had to overcome their own personal problems to make it in boxing, we do a follow more of the family drama behind everything, how Micky was torn between who to take help from and how Dicky was full of himself due to his addiction. This does show us just how family can take life in negative directions if you let them take over your own potential if you let them and finding your own path can make you a success.

Biopic/SportsThe biopic side of the film shows just how difficult it can be to live in the shadow of a former professional and follows the family who have been through a lot, meaning the fighting is now for family honour. The boxing is limited till the final fight which is the longest any fight last and shows just how realistic you can be on the body.

SettingsThe film uses the settings that the family is from a very close neighbourhood which idolises Dicky and want to be behind Micky on his rise, they help each other and support their local heroes.


Scene of the Movie – Title fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – You could have seen more from the recovery process for Dicky.

Final Thoughts This is an excellent fighting drama that shows how family can be the best and worst part of any boxer’s life when they are going to try and make history.

Overall: Brilliant drama.

Rogue Warfare (2019) Movie Review

Director: Mike Gunther

Writer: Mike Gunther (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Yun Lee, Jermaine Love, Rory Markham, Stephen Lang, Bertrand-Xavier Corbi, Katie Keene

Plot: A group of the best military personnel from the U.S., Russia, UK, China and France join forces to fight an underground terrorist network.


Tagline – All nations, one enemy.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Military 101

Story: Rogue Warfare starts when a new deadlier terrorist rises, this sees countries from around the world to select the soldiers, China Daniel (Lee), UK Ralph (Love), America James (Markham), France Jacques (Corbi), Russia Galina (Keene) and Xu (Chien) to go behind enemy lines to look to eliminate this threat from the world.

The international team must work together to battle the greater threat the world could be facing, from the Supreme Leader who wants to use a dirty bomb to send a message to the world.

Thoughts on Rogue Warfare

Characters – Daniel is the Chinese soldier in the unit, he will keep the others together more than the conflict other show between each other, he will go above and beyond the rest of the soldiers to make the rest of the group safe. Ralph is the British soldier, while James in the American, the two do clash at times, only learning more skills when the two work together. Jacques is the French explosives expert that is always calmer during the mission, while Galina is the Russian sniper, watching from a far as she builds her own body count.

PerformancesWill Yun Lee takes the leading role in this film, he along with the fellow stars, Jermaine Love, Rory Markham, Bertrand-Xavier Corbi and Katie Keene all work very well together, even if most of the military movement is everything we have seen before.

StoryThe story follows an international group of soldiers that are bought together to eliminate a new terrorist threat that has promised to bring destruction to the world. When it comes to the story, we do spend time learning what the terrorist wants from his actions, making us understand his evil mindset, which is unusual for a military based film. When it comes to the military unit, we do get the generic characters, with actions that we are used to seeing operate against an evil. This is mostly just an introduction to a future set of films, as we are meant to learn who the team is and how they will learn to operate together.

ActionThe action is mostly military movement, which isn’t the most original, though it doesn’t look out of place in the film.

SettingsThe film here is set-in war-torn country, that shows us how a dictator would leave you with no option but to fight with him, while the battles are all in different potential strongholds.


Scene of the Movie – What is in the tents.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We have seen most of it before.

Final Thoughts This is a by the book military movie that is mostly just set up for the rest of the franchise, think Expendables without the charisma.

Overall: By the book.

Rogue Warfare will be available on Digital Download from 10th February and is available for Pre-Order here