ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – G – The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)

Director: Bill Paxton

Writer: Mark Frost (Screenplay) Mark Frost (Book)

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Stephen Dillane, Elias Koteas, Peter Firth, Stephen Marcus, Josh Flitter


Plot: In the 1913 US Open, 20-year-old Francis Ouimet played against his idol, 1900 US Open champion, Englishman Harry Vardon.

Runtime: 2 Hours


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Champion Golf Drama


Story: The Greatest Game Ever Played starts as we learn how young Harry Vardon comes from a small Jersey (England) island being looked down on about the idea of playing golf, grown-up Harry Vardon (Dillane) is a world champion welcomed to America where he is idolised by Francis Ouimet a young caddy.

When Francis Ouimet (LaBeouf) studies the game becoming a high school age champion before entering an amateur tournament against the wishes of the gentlemen who also look down on him, failing to make an impact Francis gives up his dreams of playing golf.

When Harry Vardon leads Britain’s campaign to retain the US title meaning they could hold all the professional titles in sport, the club enters an amateur into the tournament with Francis being that player following his dream for one final time in a game that will change the face of golf.


Thoughts on The Greatest Game Ever Played


Characters – Francis Ouimet grew up opposite a golf course he was never welcomed as a player growing up, he could be a caddy though. He tries his luck as an amateur but fails to make an impact leading to his early retirement to focus on making a living. He is given one more chance to enter the US Open which brings a strain on his relationship with his father who believes he should make a living and giving up a dream. Harry Vardon came from Jersey, a small island off the coast on England, he had never heard of golf until the rich built a golf course on his family’s home. He learnt the game became a champion but never forgot where he came from, now he looks to reclaim his title from the American players but he still feels the judgement of the rich watching him. We have the family that tries to support Francis, we also have the rich men who believe golf is only for them.

PerformancesShia LaBeouf shows us here that he is a truly capable actor before getting involved with the stranger roles. Stephan Dillane is great as the professional that has respect for the working-class player trying to make their way in the sport.

StoryThe story does show the difference in class of people who were playing golf in 1900’s we have two men at different stages of their career who have come from nothing to show their gifts for the game as they must go against the gentlemen who believe the sport it only for the rich. This game shows why we sports fan enjoy watching and playing, showing us that anyone can have their moment that can launch a career however many people want to get in their way.

History/SportWhen we look at sports records we know there are plenty of upset and shocks through the years, we also have many moments which give people hope who want to learn the game, this story and moment in history is one of the greatest to witness in sporting history.

SettingsWe have the settings that show where both Francis and Harry have come from as they enter the high society side of the sporting world where they are both never truly welcomed until they are champions.

Scene of the Movie –
No bad-mouthing Jersey.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The frustration of seeing the difference in class between the players at the club, giving the attitude between them.

Final ThoughtsThis film is inspirational to sporting fans and players everywhere, it gives us the entertainment needed to keep us on edge through a film to show us that anyone could win a tournament against the odds if given the chance.


Overall: Wonderful sports drama.




Fanged Up (2018)

Director: Christian James

Writer: Daniel O’Reilly, Nick Nevern, Dan Palmer (Screenplay)

Starring: Daniel O’Reilly, Danielle Harold, Stu Bennett, Vas Blackwood, Stephen Marcus, Steven Berkoff, Lauren Socha


Plot: A young rogue is thrown into prison for the weekend, unaware that the guards are blood-sucking vampires and the inmates are their victims.


Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Bloody Hilarious


Story: Fanged Up starts when loud mouth Jimmy Ragsdale (O’Reilly) gets into a fight he ends up being locked up over the weekend, the prison environment seems strange for Jimmy with his Russian cellmate Victor Stanczyk (Bennett) who does offer to help him, even with the strange habits the prison had adopted including midnight meals.

Elsewhere in the prison new doctor Katie Makepeace (Harold) has her first job and isn’t used to the routines set out by the Governor Payne (Berkoff). It doesn’t take long for Jimmy to learn that the guards are vampires and along with his ex-girlfriend Katie and a few inmates including Victor, Shifty (Blackwood) and Reeves (Marcus) the battle to survive the bloody thirsty monsters comes to light.


Thoughts on Fanged Up


Characters – Jimmy is your typical cockney geezer, he talks too much with his mouth always gets him in trouble and this time he lands him in jail. In prison he wants be the tough guy, he isn’t a tough guy, now he must use his cockney lingo to survive the horrors. I will say that Jimmy could be a character you enjoy or one that could get on your nerves though, depending how you react to cockney figures. Katie is the brand-new doctor for the prison, she is taking her first role as a solo doctor, it doesn’t take long for her to clash heads with the Governor and she joins the prisoners in the battle to survive. Victor is the big tough Russian inmate that befriends Jimmy even if part of their conversations get lost in translation. Shifty is the prisoner that can get you anything on the inside, nice guy that helps lead the path to a way out, not much of a fighter though. Governor Payne is the head vampire that has been controlling and planning events in the prison waiting for a certain day to arrive.

PerformancesDaniel O’Reilly takes the leading role in this film, the character feels like it should be early Danny Dyer and while he does balance through the thin line of funny and annoying, you will be liking his character by the end of the film. Danielle Harold is our leading lady and the film even addresses her beauty in the doctor role, she does everything to make her character standout through the film. Stu Bennett was the biggest surprise for me, I know he has gone into acting after wrestling and this type of movie works for him. I do think he pulls the Russian accent off and is a character we did want to see more of. Vas Blackwood is good in this role too and to be honest everyone does a good job through the film.

StoryThe story can be bottled down to one simple line ‘Prisoners vs Vampires’ this is how simple the story is to follow. The idea is an idea we have seen elements to before, anything revolving around vampires needs to take a fresh approach, much like 30 Days of Night bought us to a location that is always dark for 30 days, this brings us to a location for the story to follow criminals that can be used as food for the vampires. We get a thin romance angle, which could easily be dropped and still give the main story the same effect, but otherwise this is a vampire story than can be enjoyed by the fans.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy is hit more often than it misses, we get plenty of bad moves from Jimmy which give us the laughs, a few pop culture references which hit for the time being too. When we look at the horror side of the film we are studying the inclusion of the vampires and whether we would be scared by them, the characters would be, but they are not to the same level of scare as the classic vampires.

SettingsThe film takes place in the prison, this does feel fresh for the vampire genre and using a singular location where the vampires can prey does add to the idea of their calculated nature when it comes to hunting.

Special EffectsThe special effects do work for the film, most of them tend to be blood baths which is fine as long as they are consistent through the film, which they are.

Scene of the Movie –
Jimmy meets Victor.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have liked Victor to get more screen time.

Final ThoughtsIf you like vampire comedy, if you are British or like British comedy, this one is for you, it will make you laugh more than it will make you scream and you will have a good time watching this.


Overall: Blood soaked comedy you can sink your teeth into.




The Rizen (2017)

Director: Matt Mitchell

Writer: Matt Mitchell (Screenplay)

Starring: Sally Philips, Bruce Payne, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Tom Goodman-Hill, Adrian Edmondson, Stephen Marcus, Bruce Herbelin-Earle, Christopher Tajah


Plot: The year is 1955. NATO and the Allied Forces have been conducting secret, occult experiments in a bid to win the Arms Race. Now, they have finally succeeded but what the Army has unleashed threatens to tear our world apart. One woman must lead the only survivors past horrors that the military has no way to control – and fight to close what should never have been opened.

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Twist & Blood Filled Horror


Story: The Rizen starts as we dive into a facility under lockdown, blood flying and memories gone, we meet Frances (Swift) as she starts to look for an exit as creatures roam the hallways. Francis is joined by Professor Baughman (Tajah) and solider Briggs (Knowles) in the attempts to survive the creatures from beyond the grave.

With visions, flashbacks the story is filled in and we learn the truth about Frances and what was being created within the facility.


Thoughts on The Rizen


Characters – Frances is our leading lady, woken without a memory with only paperwork that tell her, her name and her job a cook in the facility, she attempts to lead the survivors out of the facility, while learning her true place and reason for being there. Briggs is a solider on the facility, he refuses to kill the innocent people within leading to him becoming court martialled, he joins the survival group where he shows his worth in battling the creatures. Baughman is the professor that is trying to survive, he does fill in blanks as his memory returns quicker than the rest, he also gives us plenty of comical moments with his reactions to decisions being made.

PerformancesThe performances from our main three stars trying to escape are good without being the most memorable in the genre, we have seen similar characters done better and some done worse, but for the budget of the film this works for the film.

StoryThe film is a mix of survival horror as we follow the group try to locate a way out of the facility, while also giving us an occult meets science storyline where we see how scientist handle getting the information. Think back to the original Resident Evil movie and you have a similar idea, just with much darker tones, settings across the board. The story does have twists along the way, but sometimes we get some just to have another one, which at times can leave you wondering if we needed this many along the way.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is battling the creatures which gives us plenty of blood splatter in the meantime, we start with one enemy and it seems to increase each time we lead into the next battle. The horror comes from the creature creations which are both terrifying and deadly especially with how they can create more. The sci-fi side of the film comes from how the occult and science clash to make what the creatures have used to come through.

SettingsThe film is set in the facility which shows how the characters have no easy escape with creatures hunting them down.

Special EffectsThe effects are a mix of practical effects which are delightful and bloody but the usage of effects to show memory loss are not a pleasant viewing experience.

Scene of the Movie –
The creation of the creature.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The regaining memory sequences, this is the camerawork for it.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good, fun, bloody splatter horror movie, it will be more for the horror fans to enjoy, but don’t be expected to be scared by any moments in the film.


Overall: Blood filled horror for horror fans.