Weekend Viewing Roundup: Sam Riley, Alternative Austen & Man Up (2015) review

I cannot fix the hour or the spot, or the look or the words which lay the foundation…I was in the middle when I knew it had began…

That was a quote from Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and that pretty much applies to how I feel the same way about the actor playing him… Sam Riley.


I fall even more under Riley’s spell now… [le sigh]

Ok, so yeah, about that weekend roundup, well the past couple of weeks has been filled with quite a few Sam Riley movies: Control (2007), Maleficent (2014), Byzantium (2012) and Franklyn (2008). I didn’t get to see Brighton Rock (2010) yet but hopefully later this week. I’m astonished at his chameleonic ability as an actor, my appreciation post on him will be quite massive let me tell you.

I did see one new release this past week, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, and got a chance to chat w/ the author of the book it’s based on, Kim Barker. Review & interview of that coming next week.

Ok, so these are my weekend viewing roundup, starting with…

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

So this is the first 2016 movie I saw twice on the big screen… and I could’ve gone for a third if it’s still playing for another weekend. Alas, I’d have to settle for all the fun gifs and clips on Tumblr until the Bluray comes out. As you may’ve read in my review, I bloody love this movie and I enjoyed it even more the second time around. Sam Riley & Lily James are now my favorite Darcy & Lizzie pairing amongst the plethora of P&P screen adaptations.


Austenland (2014)

Ok so naturally, watching an alternative Jane Austen movie makes me want to re-watch one of my faves from a couple of years ago. As far an Austen-inspired films go, I actually think this one is even sillier than PPZ movie, believe it or not. Some of the supporting characters are so out there and freakishly bizarre that it made me cringe at times (though that Captain East is one spectacular eye candy). Jennifer Coolidge is a hoot but she went waaay over the top at times, yes even by her standards. But the romance of Darcy & Jane (JJ Feild & Keri Russell) is lovely and of course all the misunderstandings and repressed emotions are all the stuff Austen movies are made of. (my full review)

Man Up (2015)


This British rom-com has a rather unconventional pairing – Simon Pegg & Lake Bell, and that’s the reason I rented it. Bell played a single woman who inadvertently *stole* a stranger’s blind date, and the film took place over the course of a single night. Bell is a natural comedienne and here she gets to show her comedic chops, and also do a pretty convincing British accent.

It’s a pretty fun rom-com even though it doesn’t always avoid the trappings of the genre and is ultimately predictable, but the two likable leads made the movie feels fresh and genuinely funny. Rory Kinnear, who I often see in more serious movies so far, is so hilariously unhinged as Bell’s not-so-secret admirer. I LOVE the London scenery, both during the day and night, which adds to the film’s charm. The finale could’ve been a bit tighter and less verbose, but I think overall this movie is well worth checking out.


Well that’s my weekend recap. So what did YOU watch this weekend? Anything good?

48 thoughts on “Weekend Viewing Roundup: Sam Riley, Alternative Austen & Man Up (2015) review

  1. The only thing I saw was a re-watch of Kingsman and about half of Ryan’s Daughter (which I’ll finish tomorrow). I’ve been too busy with my 29 Days of Bowie series as I’m currently working on the 1995 album Outside which is one of my all-time favorite albums of his as here is my take on the previous album in the soundtrack for The Buddha of Suburbia which more people should listen to as it’s his most underrated album ever.

    1. Kingsman is fun, I don’t mind rewatching that one day. Speaking of Bowie, I just saw CONTROL (2007) and there’s that awesome scene of Ian Curtis worshiping Bowie early in the film.

      1. Bowie was a major influence in Joy Division as the band was originally called Warsaw as it was a take on the track “Warszawa” from Low that Bowie did in 1977 with Brian Eno. In 24 Hour Party People, Bowie is mentioned early on as Curtis believes Bowie is a liar because he thought Bowie would end his career at 25 but had become 30 by the time Low was coming out and the band had just formed. Another noted factor about Curtis’ connection with Bowie was that the album he was listening to on the day of his suicide was Iggy Pop’s The Idiot which was produced by Bowie.

        1. Oh yeah, I knew about Warsaw and the scene when they picked the name Joy Division is also in the film. I didn’t know Bowie produced Iggy Pop’s album. Boy that finale of Control still hit me like a ton of bricks even though I knew what happened to Ian.

          1. I knew about these things. After all, when you love something as much as Bowie and Joy Division. You have to know these things. BTW, what do you prefer. Joy Division or New Order?

            1. I actually haven’t listened to anything by New Order. I’ve just recently found out about Joy Division, and based on the songs played in Control, I think Ian’s a genius! I’m gonna do a CONTROL Music Break at some point, so I hope you’ll stop by then 🙂

              1. Whoa! You’re missing some good dance music with New Order as it’s really Joy Division minus Ian Curtis with guitarist Bernard Sumner on vocals and keyboards by Gillian Gilbert who was drummer Stephen Morris’ girlfriend at the time (and later wife).

                  1. Aside from “Blue Monday” (which I’m sick of as I heard the song too many time), “Ceremony”, “Bizarre Love Triangle”, “Perfect Kiss”, “Regret”, “Run”, “Age of Consent”, “Crystal”, “Touched by the Hand of God” (directed by Kathryn Bigelow), “In a Lonely Place”, “Confusion”

  2. Your crush on Sam Riley cracks me up!

    I watched “Valkyrie” for the first time with the husband, and I’m about to finish up “Shanghai,” which is another WWII movie starring John Cusack that’s actually pretty good!

    1. Ahah yeah, I wear my *cinematic* heart on my sleeve and I’m very vocal about my crushes, esp since they’re usually so underrated!

      I actually saw the documentary about the real life Valkyrie and not sure if I want to see the film version. Do you think it’s any good? Haven’t even heard of Shanghai.

  3. Man Up was a very enjoyable film.

    As you know I went to the festival and except for A Bigger Splash all the movies were great. Review for Demolition (starring Jake Gyllenhaal) is already up.

      1. Bummer about A Bigger Splash as the cast is unbelievable! It seems that Matthias Schoenaerts are everywhere these days. I just bought one of his movies, Suite Francaise, which was only released on dvd in the UK (ugh!) but only because Sam Riley is in it 😉

        1. Yes, Schoenaerts really is everywhere! He’s also in Far From the Madding Crowd and in Alan Rickman’s last movie A Little Chaos. I like him but am not blown away by him or anything.

    1. Hi Nostra! Yeah it seems that my fave rom-coms are usually the British ones.

      I’ll check out Demolition. Out of the ones I haven’t seen yet from the 5 movies, that’s the one I want to see the most.

    1. Hi Allie, well there’ll be more of Sam Riley posts in the future, I hope you won’t be sick of it, ahah. But he’s so awesome and grossly underrated, he deserves more attention!

      Yeah, Man Up is quite fun. I love both leads, they’re so likable. You should check out Lake Bell’s In A World as well which is quite hilarious.

  4. abbiosbiston

    I thought Riley was great in Control but I just don’t find him sexy at all.

    I watched Deadpool and Still Alice over the weekend and started Hoop Dreams but as it’s three hours long I’ll need a bit more time to finish it.

    1. I’m so obsessed w/ Control now and Sam’s performance. He’s not the typical guy I’m into, but he’s unconventionally sexy and I LOVE his voice. I think his performance as Darcy made me fall for him but he’s fantastic in everything else I’ve seen him in.

      What did you think of Deadpool? I haven’t seen Still Alice or Hoop Dreams, is the latter one a basketball movie?

      1. abbiosbiston

        I enjoyed Deadpool but I don’t think it lives up to the hype. Hoop Dreams is a basketball documentary about two disadvantaged urban kids trying to make it into the NBA.

  5. I absolutely loved Man Up. 🙂
    Still need to see P&P&zombies. Now I’ve also got to see for myself what this Sam Riley fuss is about.
    Went to a one day film festival yesterday and saw 5 movies (and blogged about them).

    1. Hi Esther! Man Up is a pretty fresh rom-com, it’s not a genre I gravitate into, unless it’s British which this one is. I also like the two leads.

      You should check out PPZ! I LOVE Riley’s Mr. Darcy and I’m usually not a fan of that character, not even the Colin Firth’s version, but he’s now my fave in the role!

      That’s cool that you went to that film fest too w/ Nostra!

      1. I love a good romantic comedy and don’t mind predictability so much as long as it’s well done – which I thought Man Up was! 🙂
        PPZ – I will watch it, I promise. I just don’t quite know when to fit it in yet. 🙂
        Not a fan of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy? Isn’t that sacrilege? 😉 I love all things P&P, especially Colin Firth as Darcy. Alas, I am not so much a Lily James fan, and there are zombies (not normally my thing either), so I really am very curious to see what PPZ will do to me…

        1. Yeah I think if the performances and chemistry is right, I don’t mind a little predictability.

          Y’know, I’m not a fan of zombie movies at all, I think the only zombie-related movie I really enjoyed was 28 Days Later, which was more of a social commentary. But PPZ movie is more Austen period drama than a zombie film, in fact the zombie action accounts for maybe 15-20 min of the movie peppered throughout. It’s also not very gory which suits me fine.

          Ahah, I think even Sam Riley’s mom LOVES Colin Firth’s Darcy and he said in an interview he’s not sure if she’ll speak to him again, ahah. I didn’t say I didn’t like Firth’s Darcy, I just think he’s kind of robotic, which I suppose is the way he’s written in the book. I actually prefer Matthew MacFadyen’s Darcy though at times he’s TOO puppy-dog-ish which comes across as wimpy. Riley’s Darcy is just perfect, he internalized his feelings but he’s obviously fallen for Lizzie. And he’s definitely no wimp, his fighting skills w/ the Samurai is phenomenal!!

          I like Lily James in Cinderella but I like her even more here as Lizzie. She had a great chemistry w/ Riley, but then again, what girl wouldn’t? 😉

          1. I like Sam Riley’s mum. 🙂 I didn’t like McFadyen as Darcy, he was less Darcy and more a Bronte hero in my eyes. But then I may have been prejudiced because I loved Firth so much in that role.

            Lily James – hmmm… I really didn’t like her in Cinderella and wasn’t too fond of her in the BBC’s War & Peace either, so I remain reluctant there. But, I’ll give her another chance. 🙂

            1. Well I’m curious to see how you feel about Riley’s Darcy then, as clearly we have quite a different version of how we want our Darcy to be. My fave period drama hero is more like Mr. Thornton who seems unlikable at first but he has a good reason for his brooding. I think in PPZ movie, Darcy’s character arc makes you truly understand why he’s such a curmudgeon, but once he falls for Lizzie he goes all puppy-dog-eyed which is quite a juxtaposition considering he’s dressed like a Regency Ninja, ahah.

    1. I’m bummed they’ve yanked it off the theaters, probably to make room for more Deadpool showings. But hey, be sure to rent it when it’s out!

  6. Didn’t see any movie over the weekend, just catching up on The X-Files new episodes. Also, The Walking Dead has returned on the air with new episodes so I’ve watching that show every Sunday.

    I do miss my projector though, I haven’t watched any movie at home in months!

    1. Bummer Ted, when do you think you’ll have your projector? Are you ordering a new one? I’m still catching up w/ Jessica Jones believe it or not, 4 more episodes to go. I’m so slow when it comes to tv shows!

      1. I’m still waiting for a replacement, I don’t want to spend more money on buying a new one. I might have to wait for special sales day coming up in the summer or something, the prices are still way too high for the projector that I want.

        I have yet to watch Jessica Jones and I don’t know if I want to start watching more shows on Netflix with DareDevil and House of Cards coming up next month, I don’t want to be a super couch potato, lol!

  7. Oh, Sam Riley is SO good in Control, and I kind of want to see Man Up.

    I’ve mainly been watching more 2015 films lately, getting ready for the CinSpecs in a few weeks. I watched Listen to Me Marlon last weekend, and it’s wonderful!

    1. Yes indeed! I bought the dvd right away, it should’ve been a Criterion collection!

      Oh I want to see Listen To Me Marlon, that sounds fascinating.

  8. I haven’t seen Man Up yet despite liking both its stars. But, having heard it takes place over one night, I’m rather more intrigued as I love films that have a short time frame such as one day or night.

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