Fighting with My Family (2019)

Director: Stephen Merchant

Writer: Stephen Merchant (Screenplay)

Starring: Florence Pugh, Lena Headey, Dwayne Johnson, Vince Vaughn, Nick Frost, Stephen Merchant, Jack Lowden

 

Plot: A former wrestler and his family make a living performing at small venues around the country while his kids dream of joining World Wrestling Entertainment.


Tagline – A Comedy About a Family That Fights a Little Differently

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Funny & Inspiring

 

Story: Fighting with My Family starts as we meet the Knight family, father Ricky (Frost), mother Julia (Headey), children Zak (Lowden) and Saraya (Pugh) who are wrestling family, they have their own gym where they put on the shows, train the children from the local area of Norwich. Zak and Saraya both have a dream, that dream is to become WWE superstars and champions.

When the WWE offer them both a tryout with coach Hutch (Vaughn) only Saraya gets offered a place in the developmental brand NXT. Saraya will need to move to Florida at the age of 18 to follow her dream, where she must learn the difficulties of the training and adapting to life in another country, while Zak starts to spiral out of control after seeing his own dream shattered. Can both put their lives back on track to be a supporting and successful family?

 

Thoughts on Fighting with My Family

 

Characters – This is based on the real Knight family, while certain performers and coaches tend to have their names changed. Saraya is the youngest member of a wrestling family, she has been in the ring for years and at 18 she gets her chance to try out for the WWE, getting the job, moving across the world, isolated and alone, she is different to the rest of the other women selected, she has a wrestling background, while they have an athletic or modelling background. We see how she must learn to grasp her chance to follow her dream, which would see her lead a revolution in women’s wrestling. Zak is her brother, he has been working in the ring longer, dreaming that he could make it, he has a child on the way and is the main teacher at the wrestling school, he is left shattered by the idea he can’t follow his dream, closing off from the world, ready to follow in his step-brothers violent reaction to not making the cut. He needs to learn to enjoy his sister’s success and live his own life where he is achieving amazing things nobody else is. Ricky and Julia are the parents that fell in love over wrestling, they turned their own lives around to make something of themselves and push their children to succeed in the ring. Hutch is the coach that selects the potential talents, he is strict with the candidates and knows his decisions will make or break dreams. Dwayne Johnson is playing himself in this film, he gives the speeches where needed and shows that he is the good guy we all know.

PerformancesFlorence Pugh has made a big impact in her short career and this showed her puling off another role that required a lot of physical training to go with the emotional side of the story. Jack Lowden impresses here too, his character deals with the lose of the dream and he shows us this in every scene as the look of disappoint grows as time goes by. Lena Headey and Nick Frost show wonderful chemistry through the comedy of the film, while Vince Vaughn is strong in the coach role, which must be the calming pushing presence. Dwayne Johnson is mainly playing himself and isn’t in too many scenes that you haven’t seen in the trailer.

StoryThe story follows the career of WWE superstar Paige, from her wrestling family in Norwich through the life changing opportunity to be part of the WWE developmental brand NXT, while her brother much deal with the fact he didn’t get selected and must focus on living a life where his dream doesn’t come true. This is based on the real family, the real journey, the real moment bought a tear to my eye watching it live. This does bottle down to the idea of t chasing the dream, taking the chance given to your movie, which is the Saraya side of the film. I did however think the Zak side of the story is handled well because seeing him dealing with losing his own dream and seeing his life feel like he is worthless, his hard work was for nothing shows just how hard the news can be. This does feel like a feel-good story of inspiration dreaming.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic side of this film shows how hard the family has worked to be successful in the wrestling business, it shows the life changing decision being made. The comedy will have you laughing at every joke, with many being British humour.

SettingsThe film does show the different worlds, the small-town Norwich wrestling which could see people falling into the wrong side of the law, to the big glossy heights of the WWE, it shows how you can start at the bottom to reach the top.


Scene of the Movie –
Training.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Skipping the success Paige has in NXT.

Final ThoughtsThis is a feel-good inspirational story that will give you a smile, even if you do know how the story ends, both in the film and the years after.

 

Overall: Delightfully funny biopic.

Rating

 

 

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Laid to Rest (2009)

logoDirector: Robert Hall

Writer: Robert Hall (Screenplay)

Starring: Bobbi Sue Luther, Kevin Gage, Lena Headey, Sean Whalen, Richard Lynch, Johnathon Schaech, Thomas Dekker, Nick Principe

 

Plot: A terrifying story of a young girl who wakes up in a casket with a traumatic head injury and no memory of her identity. She quickly realizes she was abducted by a Deranged Serial Murderer and in an isolated rural town she must survive the night and outsmart the technologically inclined killer who is hell-bent on finishing what he started.

 

Verdict: Modern Slasher

 

Story: Before we go anywhere I would like to say I will not comment on the acting until later this will be the story itself. Girl wakes up in coffin only to find out she is being stalked by a masked killer with a camera, she runs around helplessly until she meets a stranger who wants to help her. They spend the night on the run from the killer and doing almost everything wrong while doing so. Let’s not forget that this girl is struggling to remember anything about herself and the killer could have all the answers she needs. The slasher genre has struggled to really make an impact in the modern found footage world of horror, this story is easy to follow even if you will be screaming at the stupid decisions the characters make. We also get a good potential new franchise killer who takes no prisoners and is very resourceful. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Bobbi Sue Luther: The Girl after waking up in a coffin she can’t remember who she is or where she is, she escapes and finds some friendly folks who help her, but in the end she joins forces with them to try and stop the killer and figure out who she really is. The character seems to make all the wrong decisions and really comes off very annoying. Poor performance as she never really convinces in the lead attempted scream queen role. (2/10)

 girl

Nick Principe: Chromeskull masked killer with a camera and a very deadly knife. He is a serial killer who likes to film his victims and with the girl being his latest choice of victims he will not stop killing until he gets her back. Good performance which could make a new serial killer franchise. (7/10)

chromskull

Kevin Gage: Tucker friendly driver who helps the girl but ends up spending the night trying to keep her alive even after suffering a personal lose. Basic support performance who gets to say all the funny lines as well as the strong lines but really just ends up being a protector. (6/10)

 

Lena Headey: Cindy she seems to be the smart partner of Tucker who tries to help out the young girl, but she doesn’t last long. Has very limited screen time and is almost used as the bigger name cameo. (5/10)

 cindy

Sean Whalen: Steven second person who ends up spending the night trying to save the girl, he is different to Tucker as he is meant to be more intelligent but also is much more fearful. Good difference between the heroes but in the end they end up the same. (6/10)

 steven

Supporting Cast: Nearly all the supporting cast are included to be disposable and involved with gore deaths. (3/10)

 

Director Review: Robert Hall – Creates a potential new era slasher but with some poor casting choices we end up not getting dragged in as much as we should. (6/10)

 

Horror: Gore, Blood and a new killer all these come out from this film but in the end the poor acting takes away the real fear. (7/10)

Thriller: With the mystery surrounding the girl we do want to know more about her as well as who will end up making it through the night. (7/10)

Settings: None of the settings are really used to their full effect. (3/10)
Special Effects
: Great practical special effects used throughout all used for the kills though. (9/10)

Suggestion: This is one for the horror fans out there to enjoy it has plenty of gore for the fans too. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Some of the kills are very good.

Worst Part: The leads’ acting is terrible.

Kill Of The Film: Ear one, won’t say who as it would be a spoiler.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has a sequel

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

Overall: Solid horror with the typical wrong decisions made.

Rating 60

Franchise Weekend – Ripley’s Game (2002)

ripleyDirector: Liliana Cavani

Writer: Charles McKeown, Liliana Cavani (Screenplay) Patricia Highsmith (Novel)

Starring: John Malkovich, Dougray Scott, Lena Headey, Ray Winstone, Chiara Caselli

 

Plot: Tom Ripley persuades a man to commit a murder for a large sum of money. The situation goes out of control, and that man must escape trouble.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappointing Sequel

 

Story: Ripley’s Game starts as we see an older Tom Ripley (Malkovich) trying to make a deal that his partner on this case Reeves (Winstone) has ruined the full amount on. 3 years later Tom is back in Italy in his mansion.

Trying to live a quiet life Ripley’s old partner is back Reeves wants Ripley to help him with a problem back in Germany with Ripley looks at his neighbour Jonathan Trevanny (Scott) to do the dirty deed as a final attempt to help Jonathan financial future with his sickness.

When Jonathan does the job, he has to deal with the consequences that has Reeves continue to contact him to do other jobs for him but has he found himself in the middle of a deadly game that only Tom can save him from.

 

Thoughts on Ripley’s Game

 

StoryThis is a follow up to the 1999 film taking place years after the events in that film. Ripley is in full control of his abilities now and his ability to complete any job required. The problem I have with the story this time is that it feels like a heist film gone wrong rather than a smart slick con-artist film. I just don’t think this film clicked on the levels of the first film.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime side of the story does in fact feel bigger throughout this film it just doesn’t balance with the thrilling side of the story leaving the crime elements feeling average because Ripley is designed to be slick with his actions.

Characters/PerformanceMalkovich is always an interesting performer and his grabs this role and makes it his own but when it comes to both the performance of Scott and Winstone they feel out of place to the world created making it hard to be pulled into the world we are watching this time around.

SettingsThe first film captured the background if Italy perfectly this time around everything just feels slightly messy with not a single scene being iconic when it comes to seeing what we do with the character’s decisions.

Final ThoughtsThis is really a sub-par sequel that never reaches the heights of the Talented Mr Ripley.

 

Overall: Heads in the wrong direction for what the film had created.

Ratingcard

 

 

Reckless (2015)

recklessDirector: Mora Stephens

Writer: Mora Stephens, Joel Viertel (Screenplay)

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Lena Headey, Ray Winstone, Richard Dreyfuss, John Cho, Dianna Agron, Christopher McDonald, Alexandra Breckenridge

 

Plot: A family man has it all until he risks losing everything due to his inability to fight off his obsessive temptation for other women.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Thriller

 

Story: Reckless starts as we meet Federal Prosecutor Sam Ellis (Wilson) who is on the verge of a bright political future. When Sam’s latest case may require the witness to be a high earning former escort he finds himself drawn into the website and with his wife Jeannie (Headey) away takes the risk and calling for an escort.

When Sam decides to move on with his political career to become District Attorney but his obsession with the escorts leaves him hiding from his wife to fulfil his sexual needs but how will this affect his career?

Reckless puts us through the political campaign of one man who also has an obsession with sex. This film shows how this affects his personal life with the victims being his family but how they will need these sort of things covered up. The thriller side of the story keeps us guessing on how long it will be until Sam gets exposed and just how much damage it will do to his career.

 

Actor Review

 

Patrick Wilson: Sam Ellis is the brilliant prosecutor who about to enter into the race for district attorney but after discovering the high end escort service Sam puts his own career and personal life at risk to fulfil sexual desires. Patrick is great in this leading role where we get to see his descent into obsession.

Lena Headey: Jeannie Ellis is the wife of Sam who has been loyal to him from the start of campaign and is pushing him to take the next risk in his career. As Sam’s problems mount up she find herself having to make a difficult decision about their son. Lena is strong as the wife to Sam where we do get to see a different character from her Game of Thrones iconic role even with the same motives.

Ray Winstone: Coaker is a reporter that wants to write a story on Sam, he is friends with Jeannie side of the family and intimidates Sam. Ray is good in this role where we get to see a subtle side of his abilities.

Richard Dreyfuss: George Hiller is leading the campaign for Sam and with his reputation of getting the job done but also doing things the dirty way Sam has to risk it all by doing this. Richard is good in this supporting role but we only see him in a few scenes.

Support Cast: Reckless has a supporting cast that includes most of the different escorts and co-workers that work with Sam.

Director Review: Mora StephensMora gives us a thriller that shows the thin line between temptation and desire.

 

Thriller: Reckless keeps us on edge as we are left to wonder just what will happen to Sam’s career and life.

Settings: Reckless keeps the settings showing both sides of the world Sam finds himself involved.
Suggestion
: Reckless is one I do think people can enjoy but it won’t be as slick as everyone will be liking. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Wilson shines in this role.

Worst Part: Won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

 

Believability: Part could be.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $4.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

Tagline: Why Take the Risk

 

Overall: Good thriller showing the darker side political world.

Ratingcarrd

 

 

300: Rise of an Empire (2014)

logoDirector: Noam Murro

Writer: Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad (Screenplay) Frank Miller (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, Callan Mulvey, David Wenham, Rodrigo Santoro, Jack O’Connell

 

Plot: Greek general Themistokles leads the charge against invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes and Artemisia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over the Top Sequel

 

Story: 300: Rise of an Empire starts by right where the previous one finished with Xerxes (Santoro) taking the head of Leonidas. Queen Gorgo (Headey) is leading the next onslaught on the Persians.

I think we go prequel with Themistokles (Stapleton) leading the Greek army back against the Persians before they can take any of the Greek cities. The battle leads to the death of King Darius (Naor) leads to Artemisia (Green) and Xerxes son of Darius go on the revenge mission with Xerxes entering into the world of the Gods becoming a God King.

Themistokles goes to Sparta to build a united Greece while Xerxes is waiting for word from the messenger sent. We learn of Artemisia is Greek by descent and is out for revenge on any Greek person she finds after they raped and murdered her whole family. Themistokles builds his navy army for a battle on the sea against the Persian fleet leading to epic battles on the ocean. What follows is a string of battles each one with the other trying to get the upper hand.

Suffering a defeat Themistokles uses his defeat and the Spartans defeat as fuel to unite Greece once and for all as they take the battle to a conclusion once and for all.

300: Rise of an Empire does play the idea of following another side of the battle really well, mixing between the prequel elements and sequel elements. The main problem is that the scenes of the battles come off very confusing which is the main reason for the story. It does show the new historical legends even though they are lesser known names. It really ends up feeling like a forced sequel that has come too late after the first one. I feel this focuses too much on its action sequences and the story falls into the background after a while. (5/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Sullivan Stapleton: Themistokles Greek warrior who leads the navy fleet into battles on the sea against the Persians after he kills their King Darrius. Sullivan does give a good performance and looks the part. (7/10)

 themstokles

Eva Green: Artemisia leader of the Persian naval unit who also plays Xerxes to go into combat the way she wants to win the war. Eva gives a good performance and makes for a great villainous role. (7/10)

 green

Rodrigo Santoro: Xerxes God King of Persia who is at battle with the Spartans and the Greeks. Rodrigo gives a solid performance and has to get praised for the look he ends up having after the makeup. (7/10)

erxes

Support Cast: 300: Rise of an Empire has a huge support cast that are all warriors in either side of the battle.

 

Director Review: Noam Murro – Noam does a solid job directing making the action look very good but doesn’t pull the story through as much as he should be. (6/10)

 

Action: 300: Rise of an Empire can’t be denied about how good the action is even if the naval moments come off confusing at times. (8/10)

War: 300: Rise of an Empire really is one of the war films that really do end up putting the fantasy into legend. (7/10)

Settings: 300: Rise of an Empire creates settings that look the part for the time of the battles. (7/10)
Special Effects
: 300: Rise of an Empire has great effects at time but slowly start to feel over used. (7/10)

Suggestion: 300: Rise of an Empire is one to be watched if you enjoyed the first one but not the most interesting for the first time viewer. (Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Final battle looks good.

Worst Part: A Horse on a boat, really?

Action Scene Of The Film: Final Battle.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Left open for another sequel.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $337 Million

Budget: $110 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

Tagline: Seize your glory

Trivia: The original script featured King Leonidas from 300 (2006), but he was ultimately cut out. This was due to Gerard Butler, who turned down to reprise his role as Leonidas, since it “wasn’t really [his] thing”.

 

Overall:  Sequel we didn’t really need

Rating 54