ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – P – Pride (2014)

Director: Matthew Warchus

Writer: Stephen Beresford (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Paddy Considine, Ben Schnetzer, Andrew Scott, Freddie Fox, George MacKay


Plot: U.K. gay activists work to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984.

Tagline – Based on the inspirational true story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Brilliant


Story: Pride starts in the summer of 1984, the miner’s strikes are on and the Pride movement is taking over London, Mark (Schnetzer) one of the leading campaigners joined by shy college student Joe (MacKay) in a movement known as ‘Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners’ after Mark sees that they are struggling through the same problems from the authority figures.

Dai (Considine) is part of one of the mining communities in Wales, he is the only person that will even consider taking the money raised by the support group, with the group heading to Wales, they are welcomed by some including the head of the committee Cliff (Nighy), but not everyone is as welcoming as the rest.


Thoughts on Pride


Characters – Mark is the leader of the Lesbian & Gays Support the Miners group, he believes if the two work together they could one day stop the problems they are facing, he inspires his group, builds bridges between the communities become one of the most iconic members of the movement. Joe is a young gay that is still in the closest, he wants to support the group and joins in the activities only to need to keep things secret from the rest of his family. Dai is the man that is willing to listen to the group, he welcomes the group to the village. Jonathan is one of the oldest members of the group, he has lived with the taboo for his whole life and will help the group make the right connections. Cliff is one of the miners that welcomes the group with open arms not seeing them to be different in anyway. Hefina is one of the committee that will push for any rights to help her community that has suffered for so long.

PerformancesBen Schnetzer in the leading role is fantastic, showing the charisma required as well as giving us the feeling that he doesn’t know what will happen. George MacKay continued to show he is going to be a big name in the future with his withdrawn and important performance in this film. Dominic West is good in his role which shows us just how much range he has. Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton both shine in the supporting roles.

StoryThe story here shows us how the Lesbian & Gay community came together even against their own battle to help the minders in their own strike against the government. We are shown how communities would have needed to come together to be given their chance to just have equality in the world, this both frustrates because of what was around and shows the support needed to make things happen and how easily minds can be changed. We get to see the people that made a difference in the world, the people that held them back and just how important each and every person that supports equality can be. This is one that could show us how the country changed, came together and most importantly showed us how difficult the steps can be for the people who are struggling.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic side of the film shows us how the people who were truly involved showed the courage to stand up for what they believe in. the comedy comes from the actions from both sides of the fight and how they remained confident and broke barriers.

SettingsThe film uses two main settings, London where we follow the LGB community with their own fight and in Wales as we see the miner’s village which has been struggling with their problems with the strike.

Scene of the Movie –
The march

That Moment That Annoyed Me Knowing this was still a problem in 80s.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the powerful biopic that shows us just what people can achieve by working together to make a difference in the world.


Overall: Must watch.




Maleficent (2014)

logoDirector: Robert Stromberg

Writer: Linda Woolverton (Screenplay) Charles Perrault, Erdman Penner, Joe Rinaldi, Winston Hibler, Bill Peet, Ted Sears, Ralph Wright, Milt Banta, Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm (Original Material)

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Sam Riley, Brenton Thwaites, Kenneth Cranham


Plot: A vengeful fairy is driven to curse an infant princess, only to discover that the child may be the one person who can restore peace to their troubled land.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Darkly Fantasy


Story: Maleficent start with narration that informs us that we have two different kingdoms that are at war who could only be separate by good guy or a villain. We meet Maleficent the good kind young fairy part of the fantasy kingdom. The young Maleficent gets to meet her first human when young Stefan enters into the world and as time goes by the two become friends and eventually fall in love.

Maleficent (Jolie) fully grown becomes the guardian of the Moors and after starting to grow apart from Stefan the war between humans and fairies was ready to come to ahead. Stefan (Copley) rising through the kingdom gets a chance to become king along with the rest of the loyal followers of the King all they had to do was bring Maleficent head to him. Stefan’s desire for power sees him betray Maleficent by taking her wings.

Maleficent fuelled by rage brings darkness to her kingdom while see waits for her chance to get revenge on King Stefan. When King Stefan has a baby Maleficent puts a curse on the baby that upon pricking her finger on a spinning wheel she will fall into sleep never to awaken until she has true loves kiss. Maleficent continues to watch Aurora (Fanning) grow hoping for the chance that when she will get cursed. As Aurora continues to grow Maleficent becomes a friend with and turns into the Godmother and even tries to lift the curse but with no luck. Aurora is doomed to need to find true loves kiss to survive.

Maleficent manages to take an old story of Sleeping Beauty and turn the story on its head, much like Oz the Great and the Power did. This time we learn that the evil from that story had a motive and wasn’t just purely evil. We learn that anyone that gets hurt in love could break and the results could turn into something that looks like this. We do get the traditional Disney ‘true love’ theme running throughout which does get used too much but on the plus side we get to see the real meaning behind it. This tries to make everything seem like it is a lot darker than the first story but in the end just sends up round in circles and coming off very been there seen that *cough* Frozen. (5/10)


Actor Review


Angelina Jolie: Maleficent fairy who gets betrayed by a human filling her with darkness against that human before putting a curse upon his baby daughter. Over time Maleficent becomes the fairy godmother watching over the young girl before trying to lift the curse. Angelina shines in this villain with a heart role, playing both sides throughout the film we get to see what she is capable off. (8/10)


Elle Fanning: Aurora the young girl who becomes cursed, while her good nature changes Maleficent making her want to lift the curse. Elle is a great actress coming through but we don’t get to see enough of her character in this film. (6/10)


Sharlto Copley: Stefan a childhood friend of Maleficent who gets consumed by power which ends up making him betrays her on his way to become king. Once he is king Maleficent puts a curse on his baby girl which ends up pushing him into darkness trying to get revenge on her. Sharlto is a good actor normally but I do feel like he looks kind of lost in this role. (5/10)


Support Cast: Maleficent has a supporting cast that includes Maleficent loyal slave and three pixies who are there for comic relief, most of the rest of the characters are there to look the part and never really get involved in what is going on.


Director Review: Robert Stromberg – Robert does a good job visual with his direction debut but really doesn’t make a true classic from which the source material could be considered. (7/10)


Action: Maleficent has a few fantasy fights but nothing over the memorable. (5/10)

Family: Maleficent is a dark tale to take the family to see and might not be suitable for the youngest family members. (5/10)

Fantasy: Maleficent takes us into a beautiful fantasy world that changes with the mood of Maleficent. (9/10)

Romance: Maleficent plays the old romance and true love storyline which feels tired through this one. (5/10)

Settings: Maleficent each setting is brilliantly created for the characters to live in. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Maleficent has good effects to create the worlds. (9/10)

Suggestion: Maleficent one for the family really, and also for the Disney princess fans. (Family or Princess fans Watch)


Best Part: The Effects are brilliant.

Worst Part: Seen the story before.


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Oz The Great and the Powerful


Oscar Chances: Nominated for One Oscar in Costume Design..

Box Office: $758 Million

Budget: $180 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

Tagline: Don’t believe the fairy tale


Overall: Maleficent is a fantasy film that ticks all those boxes but ends up falling short with the original story ideas.

Rating 60

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

logoDirector: David Yates

Writer: Michael Goldenberg (Screenplay) J.K. Rowling (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Harry Melling, Fiona Shaw, Richard Griffiths, Ralph Fiennes, Brendan Gleeson, Gary Oldman, Maggie Smith, David Thewlis, Michael Gambon, Tom Felton, Jason Isaacs, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Imelda Staunton


Plot: With their warning about Lord Voldemort’s return scoffed at, Harry and Dumbledore are targeted by the Wizard authorities as an authoritarian bureaucrat slowly seizes power at Hogwarts.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: The Battle Is Coming


Story: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix starts by Harry (Radcliffe) getting bullied by his cousin before getting attack by two getting attacked by two dementors. Fighting them off leads Harry to get expelled from Hogwarts while he is still dealing with the nightmares of what happened with Cedric. Harry does get rescued from his human home by Moody (Gleeson) and taken to meet up with his friends, where he learns of the Order of the Phoenix who come together to protect against Voldemort. Harry has to go to a hearing to decide whether he can return to Hogwarts. Harry does get its expulsion over turned he returns to Hogwarts with a war approaching.

Harry has to deal with the other students who question what really happened with Cedric but his friends Ron (Grint) and Hermione (Watson) stay loyal to him. The teachers who have joined (yes more teacher changes) are selected by the Witches Council who are out to show Harry as a liar and expose Dumbledore (Gambon). The new dark arts professor Dolores Umbridge (Staunton) is out to change the school and stopping the wizards from learning to fight back against any evil that comes their way. Harry ends up trying to teach his classmates to defend themselves much against the new rules put in place at the school. With the school divided Harry learns who he can trust and who he will have to battle against.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, continues on from the last one with the consequences having an effect on the world we have got to know. We show the sides starting to be drawn up in the battle along with the personal battle between good and evil going on inside Harry. This once again returns to the building up to the bigger battle showing each side preparing and even though we have a battle in the end it is just a test to see how each side is doing with the battles. It is a solid builder to the next chapter but it would be nice to see the bad guys get the final word for once much like Star Wars did. (9/10)


Actor Review


Daniel Radcliffe: Harry Potter after surviving his first encounter with Voldemort he has to help the students get ready for a battle against the dark lord but he has to do this in secret while learning about the dangers that may lie ahead. Daniel continues to improve in the role that is showing a higher level of maturity in his performance. (9/10)


Emma Watson: Hermione while she helps Harry find the motivation to stand up for what he believes in she also learns more about her own powers. Emma gives a good supporting performance that seems to be getting small as each film unfolds. (7/10)


Rupert Grint: Ron as the trusty friend of Harry he helps Harry stand up to the other students who doubt him. Much like Emma, Ron’s performance was good for a supporting role which is getting smaller. (7/10)


Imelda Staunton: Dolores Umbridge part of the Wizard’s Council who becomes the head teacher at Hogwarts and tries to change everything that the students learn. Imelda gives a good performance as the very unlikable teacher. (9/10)


Support Cast: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix introduces yet more character that all end up helping the next chapter of the story unfold, this does have side effects because the regular characters seem to be getting less screen time.


Director Review: David Yates – David does a good job directing what is the build-up to what will be a bigger battle in the future. (8/10)


Adventure: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix continues the adventure side to the story that we have all got to know. (9/10)

Family: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is starting to sway towards the older family and losing the appeal to the younger children. (8/10)

Fantasy: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix keeps us in the world on fantasy throughout. (9/10)

Mystery: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix offers up a solid level of mystery as we are not sure who is on what side. (8/10)

Settings: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix uses the best settings it can making everything feel very authentic throughout. (10/10)
Special Effects
: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix uses good special effects but sadly you can see how much CGI has gone into them. (7/10)

Suggestion: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix should be watched by the fans of the series but by now it will be too late to pick up in the middle. (Watch After The Rest)


Best Part: Magic training.

Worst Part: CGI lets it down again.


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: 5 – 8 of the series

Post Credits Scene: No


Awards: Nominated for 2 BAFTAs

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $940 Million

Budget: $150 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 19 Minutes

Tagline:  The Rebellion Begins


Overall: Battles Lines Drawn

Rating 90

The Awakening (2011)

logoDirector: Nick Murphy

Writer: Stephen Volk, Nick Murphy (Screenplay)

Starring: Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Shaun Dooley, Joseph Mawle


Plot: Florence Cathcart (Hall) goes around London exposing the truth behind supernatural hoaxes fooling people in 1921. Building up her reputation she gets recruited by Robert Mallory (West) into finding out the truth about a ghost child haunting a boarding school. The ghost has caused one pupil to die and after researching photos through the years it appears that the same child has appeared in the school photo every year for twenty years.


Against her better judgement Florence goes to the school during a half term leaving the school pretty much empty apart from one lone school boy Tom (Wright) and few staff including Matron Maud (Staunton). Setting up her equipment in hopes of finding an easy solution she ends up question her own beliefs in a case she can’t seem to solve.


Verdict: Ghostly goings on


Story: What looks like a simple sceptic trying to solve the mystery of ghosts takes a surprise twist that will test that person’s belief. Along with the idea of offering us plenty to guess what is going on the end surprise will shock but make you think. It also has under storyline of social difference in a post war England. If truth be told this has nothing new in the ghost side of the story but the twist will and does make this a better film. (7/10)


Actor Reviews


Rebecca Hall: Florence the de-hoaxer with a haunted past that may well catch up with her in the end. Solid lead performance showing she is ready for bigger roles. (8/10)


Dominic West: Robert the war veteran turn school teacher who is also haunted by his past and that he made it back while his friends didn’t. Good performance but the character seems very against any possibility if what is going on. (7/10)


Imelda Staunton: Maud the matron of the school, all the children like her and her calm persona makes it easy to see why. Solid performance but it is once the secret is revelled that we see her in action. (7/10)


Isaac Hempstead Wright: Tom the only child to be left behind who wants to help but is he real? Good performance from the young man who will only go onto bigger things. (7/10)


Director Review: Nick Murphy – Creates a good atmospheric horror thriller that will keep you guessing. (7/10)


Horror: Only a few jumps none of which are shocking. (7/10)

Thriller: Doesn’t pull you in as well as it should. (7/10)

Settings: The isolation setting works perfectly for this film. (10/10)

Special Effects
: Good special effects to create the ghost appearances. (8/10)

Suggestion: I think this is only one to try it doesn’t tick enough boxes to be scary and could offer some simple jumps. (Try It)


Best Part: The Dollhouse seconded visit.

Worst Part: Not scary enough.

Scariest Scene: A moment in the attempted rape scene.

Believability: (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Haunted


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $209,696

Budget: £3Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

Tagline: All the children are gone… except one.


Overall: Easy Jumps A Clever Twist That Saves It

Rating 70

Blackball (2003)

logoDirector: Mel Smith

Writer: Tim Firth (Screenplay)

Starring: Paul Kaye, James Cromwell, Alice Evans, Bernard Cribbins, Johnny Vegas, Vince Vaughn, Imelda Staunton, James Fleet


Plot: Cliff (Kaye) is a loud mouth, fingers up to the rules bowler who eventually get banned by his local club by old school bowler Ray (Cromwell). After hearing about this American sports agent Rick (Vaughn) helps changes Cliff’s ways to make the image of the bad boy of bowls, but at a cost. This leads him to team up with Ray to take on the old enemy from down under the Australians.  


Verdict: First the only Bowls film?

Story: Let’s face it a film about lawn bowls isn’t going to bring in a crowd without a good story. This has a good story that reflects the real world view on bowls, full of rules that are for older generation. Cliff represents the new young generation that wants to just give a sport a go his way because everything has always been against him. The story also shows that however big you become you should remember the people that were there when you first started. (7/10)


Actor Review: Paul Kaye – Cliff the young man from the wrong side of town or thinks because he is from the wrong side of town will never get a chance to play the game he loves. Good performance that he gets to have a lot of fun with. (8/10)


Actor Review: James Cromwell – Ray the champion bowler who knows the rulebook inside out and that has total respect from his fellow club members. Perfect choice for the role in Cromwell, as he can play this role without any effort. (9/10)


Actor Review: Alice Evans – Kerry, Ray’s daughter and Cliff’s love interest who gets caught up in their rivalry. This character doesn’t make too much sense but Alice plays it well. (7/10)


Actor Review: Johnny Vegas – Trevor Cliff’s best friend who he gets up to all sorts of trouble with, but their friendship gets tested by Cliff’s new found success. Vegas does what he does well and makes us have the laughs.  (8/10)


Actor Review: Vince Vaughn – Rick the sports agent who makes Cliff the star and saves bowls from cancellation on TV. This is one of the first times Vince played a quick talking wise arse which he is well known for now. (8/10)


Director Review: Mel Smith – Good direction throughout the film to make a nice entertaining comedy. (8/10)


Comedy: Not the most laugh out loud but good for a few laughs. (6/10)

Believability: This is based on a true story of a player who got banned for writing tosser on a score card. (9/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: Torquay makes a great setting for this film. (9/10)

Suggestion: It would be hard to talk someone into watching this but as I am from a family that has played bowls for my whole life I see more humour in certain parts of it. I think even if you think bowls isn’t a sport for you, you should give it a go you may enjoy it. (Try It)


Best Part: The dinner after Cliff gets banned

Worst Part: The rules.

Funniest Scene: The dinner scene.

Trivia: Johnny Vegas was the only cast member who knew how to bowl and he doesn’t do any.

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: No


Overall: British Bowls Comedy Fun

Rating 70