Review-Fighting with my family

The idea for the film came about, when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson watched a documentary one sleepless night. That documentary was ‘The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family’. The next morning he called his good friend, The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant and pitched the idea. Merchant loved it and started writing the script immediately.

Paige and her brother Zak (Florence Pugh and Jack Lowden) were born into a wrestling family. They’ve spent their entire lives dreaming about leaving their small town of Norwich and heading to America, to join the WWE. Their parents (Nick Frost and Lena Heady) run a local wrestling club and have raised them to be champions. The pair both get called for WWE try outs, but only Paige makes the grade. She then heads off to Florida for training, whilst Zak is left in Norwich.

Although Stephen Merchant has been writing/directing films and TV for nearly 20 years, this is his first time going solo and he shines. His signature razor-sharp dialogue is present throughout. Fighting With My Family is the first great film of 2019, given that it’s Merchant’s baby, I went in expecting a feel-good, character-based comedy. This is much deeper than that. The laughs come thick and fast, but the film isn’t afraid to tone down the comedic elements, when the story calls for it and it. The dialogue and characters always feel authentic and, it never falls foul to any sports biopic tropes. There’s no unnecessary romantic subplot, even the “mean girls” cliché is wonderfully subverted.

This is also quite possibly the most realistic sibling relationship ever put on screen. Pugh and Lowden are instantly believable as brother and sister, their equal respect and jealously for each other is perfectly balanced.

Merchant has crafted a wonderful film, that excellently reflects the highs and lows that come with chasing your dreams, but it also teaches us that even if you don’t quite achieve what you’ve wanted. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed. This film will appeal to both wrestling fans and those, like me-who’ve never seen a match.

Venom-Blu Ray review

Venom is a bold project for Sony, they’re attempting to launch a Spider-Man universe, without Spider-Man. They want this universe to stand alone, but they don’t want to rule out the chance of a future crossover.

Whilst it’s never stated this is in the MCU (Marvel cinematic universe) they don’t say anything to contradict that it isn’t. Instead of New York, the action takes place in San Francisco.

Tom Hardy plays Eddie Brock, an investigative journalist. Eddie lives with his fiancé Anne (Michelle Williams), a successful lawyer, working for a firm that represents the controversial billionaire Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed).

One night, Eddie makes a bad decision and ends up losing his job, his relationship and his apartment.

Cut to six months later. Eddie has given up on himself — but when Dr. Dora Skirth (Jenny Slate), a scientist who works for Drake, tells Eddie that Drake is sacrificing homeless people in mad experiments, Eddie decides to leap back into action to expose him. Whilst exploring the lab, Eddie gets bonded with an alien, that calls itself Venom.

All of a sudden we’re in a slapstick/buddy comedy. Invoking the obligatory talking alien mechanical baritone, Venom at first barks out primal commands such as “HUNGRY!” and “FOOD!”, but soon he’s commenting on Eddie’s romantic life and opening up about how he was considered a “loser” on his home planet.



The movie is a strange beast, it never truly settles on an identity. It’s unevenly dumb, part superhero movie, part horror/comedy and it doesn’t really do either well. It is funny? Yes, at times. I’ll admit I laughed. But, not always at the times the film wanted me to.

According to Hardy his favourite bits of the film, are the 40 minutes that ended up on the cutting room floor. He’s also said in interviews, that he mostly improvised his scenes. Which could explain some of the choppy editing, or inconsistencies in characters motivations.

The film wants us to want Eddie and Anne back together, but they’ve put her in a relationship with Dr. Dan, probably the nicest/most understanding man in the universe. Venom feels like it fell through a time vortex, this is like a pre-MCU superhero movie. Something akin to 2003’s Daredevil.

The special effects are underwhelming. The CGI is terrible and the fight scenes are predictable and murky at best. The villains — human and extraterrestrial — are forgettable. And neither the ordinary guy nor his alter ego is particularly compelling to watch.

This film cerments Tom Hardy, as the British Nicholas Cage.

Blu-ray Disc Exclusives

  • Extended Post Credit Scene and Deleted Scenes
  • PLUS over an hour of extras including
  • Venom Mode: Trivia Track
  • The Lethal Protector in Action
  • The Anti-Hero
  • Venom Vision
  • Designing Venom
  • Symbiote Secrets

*AND MORE

Also includes

  • Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Sneak Peek
  • Eminem Music Video

Blu Ray review-Reign of the supermen

Six months after Superman (Jerry O’Connell) sacrificed himself to defeat Doomsday, the world has been introduced to four new versions of the man of steel; Superboy, Steel, Cyborg-Superman, and the Eradicator. Each one of them is very different in their personalities and crime-fighting style compared to the original Man of Steel; leaving the world questioning which one, if any, is the true Superman.

At 87 minutes, this is one of the longer DC Universe Animated films. But the extra length enables it to achieve a number of things, such as continuing threads that were set up in ‘The Death of Superman’. We also get a great amount of character development, not only do we see some really touching moments between the Kents and Lois Lane (Rebecca Romijn). We also see Lois develop a friendship with Wonder Woman (Rosario Dawson). Lex Luthor also plays a very active role in this story-excellently voiced by Rainn Wilson. It also allows for the film to set up the wider DC animated universe.

Let’s just say, DC’s animation department has done it again. Reign of the Supermen is a triumph. Despite being based on a comic book from 1993, writers Tim Sheridan and Jim Krieg-along with director Sam Liu, manage to keep the film feeling fresh and engaging. They understand just how much the original comics mean to fans and expertly adapt them for the screen.

This is the kind of movie I wish DC’s live-action department were making. It’s got a darker/edgy tone, the heroes actions have consequences. But, it doesn’t take itself seriously. There’s a lot of fun to be had here.

REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN is available now on Digital Download, Blu-ray™ and DVD

The Blu Ray special features include;

Lex Luthor:The greatest nemesis

Sneak peak at Justice League vs The Fatal Five

From the vault-two bonus cartoons.

Book review-Doctor Who:Scratchman

Roughly 40 years ago, one Thomas Stewart Baker sat in the pub with his Doctor Who co-star, Ian Marter and started writing a Doctor Who movie, Doctor Who meets the Scratchman.

Ultimately, it never secured the required funding and the un-produced film became the stuff of legend. Tom Baker later had to apologise, after kids started sending their pocket money to the BBC. After he joked that fans could fund it.

Over the years, you’d hear a rumour here and there at fan gatherings and meet ups. Some people even claimed they’d read it. It sounded bonkers, the fourth Doctor going up against the devil and at some point, pinball would be involved..

Now, after years of speculation and “what ifs” Tom Baker- with the help of James Goss, has adapted the screenplay into a novel.

The Doctor, Harry and Sarah Jane Smith arrive at a remote Scottish island, when their holiday is cut short by the appearance of strange creatures – hideous scarecrows, who are preying on the local population. The islanders are living in fear, and the Doctor vows to save them all. But it doesn’t go to plan – the time travellers have fallen into a trap, and Scratchman is coming for them.

With the fate of the universe hanging in the balance, the Doctor must battle an ancient force from another dimension, one who claims to be the Devil. Scratchman wants to know what the Doctor is most afraid of. And the Doctor’s worst nightmares are coming out to play…

Baker and Goss have taken full advantage of the novel medium. There’s a sense of freedom here, that a film probably wouldn’t allow. The story takes its time and feels like the fourth Doctor era, but it’s also clearly influenced by the big sci-fi/horror films from the 70’s. Mostly John Carpenter’s work, but I also got hints of Wicker man and the Omen. This blend makes for an intriguing read.

The first half reads very much like a standard Doctor Who story, it’s the second half that gets whacky, outlandish and high-concept. I don’t want to spoil it. It’s a bit far-out and some may feel it makes the book a bit disjointed. But it worked for me.

This is the most fun I’ve had with a book for years. Tom Baker claims this will be his last time writing a Doctor Who book, if that’s true then he’s left us with an entertaining read. However, I’m hoping he can be talked into another.

Trailer-John Wick 3

In John Wick, he came back to seek revenge. In John Wick: Chapter 2, he was forced to repay a debt. And now, after grossing a combined total of nearly $300 million at the worldwide box office, The Boogeyman returns for JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM.

In this third instalment of the adrenaline-fueled action franchise, super-assassin John Wick returns with a $14 million price tag on his head and an army of bounty-hunting killers on his trail. After killing a member of the shadowy international assassin’s guild, the High Table, John Wick is excommunicado, but the world’s most ruthless hit men and women await his every turn.

Returning to the John Wick universe are Keanu Reeves (The Matrix Trilogy, Speed) as the eponymous John Wick; Laurence Fishburne (Boyz n the Hood, The Matrix Trilogy); Lance Reddick (White House Down, American Horror Story); Tobias Segal (Sneaky Pete, Mindhunter) and Ian McShane (Deadwood, American Gods).

They will be starring alongside new cast members Halle Berry (Monster’s Ball, The X-Men franchise); Mark Dacascos (Brotherhood of the Wolf, Only the Strong); Asia Kate Dillon (Orange Is the New Black, Billions); Jason Mantzoukas (The Dictator, The Lego Batman Movie); and Angelica Huston (The Royal Tenenbaums, The Addams Family).

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is directed by Chad Stahelski (the John Wick series), written by Derek Kolstad(the John Wick series), and produced by Basil Iwanyk (Sicario, The Expendables) and Erica Lee (Sicario, A Private War).

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM will be seeing you in cinemas across the UK on 17 May 2019 by Lionsgate UK. 

Trailer-Torchwood: God among us volume 2

Big Finish has released the story details, cover art and trailer of the sixth series of Torchwood: God Among Us 2.

Norton Folgate rejoins Torchwood, Andy and Yvonne get very close indeed, and the world is truly going to hell…

Norton Folgate’s come from the 1950s to warn Torchwood it’s the end of the world. He might have a point – there’s an alien god wandering the city, and a sinister force manipulating events behind the scenes. Where are all the homeless people going? And why doesn’t it stop raining?

1. Flight 405 by Lou Morgan

Flight 405 went missing over 60 years ago, but tonight the plane finally lands. Norton Folgate is a Torchwood agent from the 1950s and he swears Flight 405 contains the secret to the end of the world, but can Torchwood trust him?

2. Hostile Environment by Ash Darby

An app’s been launched that allows you to tag the homeless. People think they’re doing a good thing and helping out. It does seem a remarkable success. After all, since it’s launched, there are a lot less homeless people on the streets – so it must be doing some good, mustn’t it?

3. Another Man’s Shoes by Tim Foley

Yvonne wakes up in Andy’s body – and both have difficult days ahead of them.
Meanwhile, Norton’s making himself very much at home in Tyler’s body, much to Tyler’s alarm, and Ng is worried she knows what’s going on.
Someone’s playing a terrible trick on Torchwood. But who will win?

4. Eye of the Storm by David Llewellyn

An alien power station is sending out waves of lethal energy, people are turning to stone and the water levels are rising. As Torchwood set out on a desperate mission, god takes tea with someone who has been playing a very long game. Has the time come for Norton Folgate to save the world?

Review-Stan & Ollie

I adore Laurel and Hardy, I remember the first time I discovered them-age 10, in 1992. I was captivated, I would memorise scenes and try to get my friends to act them out with me. It’s clear that the team behind “Stan & Ollie” love them even more.

The film opens in 1937 with Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (John C. Reilly) making the classic ‘Way our west’. The duo are at the height of their careers. They’re popular, happy and enjoying a good-natured chat about alimony, filming schedules and attending a party with Clark Gable.

We then flash forward 15 years with the pair reuniting after a creative break-up, hoping to use a series of live performances to generate interest in a film they want to make.

The tour doesn’t get off to a good start, they’re staying in a second-rate hotel, whilst the youngster on reception tells them how much her mum loves them, highlighting their fall from grace. The audiences is sparse and their tour manager is more interested in promoting Norman Wisdom.

Steve Coogan and John C Reilly both put in tremendous performances in this ambitious film.

Coogan has Laurel’s mannerisms down to a T, he even sounds like him. Switching between an American accent when filming and a transatlantic accent when not (Stan Laurel was originally from Yorkshire). Reilly brings a light touch to Oliver Hardy and captivates in every scene. Watching the two of them re-enact classic sketches is an absolute joy to see.

Nina Arianda and Shirley Henderson star as Laurel’s and Hardy’s wives-respectively. They hold their own throughout and are portrayed as equal partners, as well as the most important people in either man’s life.

Stan & Ollie is a wonderfully sweet film, a proper love letter to true Hollywood icons. See it on the big screen.

Stan & Ollie will be in cinemas, 11 January 2019.

DVD review-The Festival

After his girlfriend Caitlin (Tointon) dumps him at graduation, Nick (Thomas) is convinced by his best friend Shane (Animashaun) to attend a music festival, they’d previously booked tickets for-even though it means running into her.

On the train, they meet the annoying Amy (O’Doherty).

Sure enough, they run into Caitlin and after a number of humiliating situations, Nick ends up getting himself and Shane arrested, which leads to Shane’s mum’s boyfriend(Clement) bailing them out.

Whilst the cast provide enough energy to make it watchable, the film feels like it’s made from rejected jokes from The Inbetweeners. Which makes sense considering it’s written by the shows co-creator and stars Joe Thomas.

The script is packed with gags-none of which land. In fact, some of the humour is so grotesque and tasteless that it’s jarring, alienating and cringe-worthy. The filmmakers abruptly cut scenes to distract from the thin plot and random set-pieces.

Jermaine Clement gives a great performance and steals every scene he’s in. Nick Frost and Noel Fielding manage to raise a few smiles, with their cameos. But there’s little substance here. Ultimately, the film feels like that random drunk guy on a train. Chattering endlessly, but never getting to a point.

James Marsters returns to Big Finish

James Marsters, the star of cult television shows Buffy The Vampire Slayer and, Angel. Is set to reprise his role as Captain John Hart, in a series of his own adventures in the Torchwood audio universe.

The rambunctious, deadly and ever-so charming captain will be back at the helm in a new four-story box set, The Sins of Captain John, created by Big Finish Productions in association with BBC Studios.

Captain John Hart made his audio debut in The Death of Captain Jack, released in March 2018. In this story he killed the entire Torchwood team – including John Barrowman’s supposedly immortal Captain Jack Harkness.

He also married Queen Victoria and had no less than three ‘relationships’ with characters from history. Who knows what he’ll get up to in this next box set of adventures!

James Marsters said:

“Doing The Death of Captain Jack was incredible! I have missed doing Torchwood so much. Beyond being proud of playing a part in it, the character itself is a blast to play, and those two episodes just weren’t enough.”

Set for release in January 2020, The Sins of Captain John will see Captain John Hart leading the universe into rack and ruin in four new adventures…

The Restored
Escape from Nebazz
Peach Blossom Heights
Darker Purposes

In these stories we’ll find the villainous anti-hero thriving in Restoration London, exploring gas planets, playing ‘Stepford wife’ and kissing (then killing) countless victims… Just a day in the life of a rogue Time Agent!

Writer, David Llewellyn added:

“Writing The Death of Captain Jack was a total blast, and both James Goss (producer of the Torchwood range) and I realised we could have a lot more fun with Captain John Hart, providing James Marsters was happy to return. Captain John is this chaotic, disruptive, insubordinate force of nature; completely amoral and unpredictable, so that gave me a lot of freedom! Writing is often a case of knowing when to hold back, when to tread a more subtle line, but with Captain John it’s the complete opposite. And setting it before Torchwood on television meant we were able to go to places where Torchwood can’t.”

Torchwood fans will also find answers to some of the questions and plot points that have so far been left hanging from the beginning of the television show. More details on this in the future…

Trailer-Hellboy

The trailer shows off the titular character working with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) as they fight against monsters that threaten the world.

This new film isn’t connected to the two previous, Guillermo del Toro directed Hellboy films. This is a complete reboot, directed by Neil Marshall.

Honestly, as a fan of the source material and of the two Del Toro films. This trailer has me worried. It’s tone is all over the place, one second it’s tongue-in-cheek, the next deadly serious. It’s also full of Americans doing “cock-er-knee” accents, that would give Dick Van Dyke a run for his money.