Jack O’Connell


War is different now. The lines between “battlefield” and “home front” have shrunk down exponentially, and “going to war” doesn’t always mean, well, actually having to go somewhere. Set during the decades-long “Troubles” in Northern Ireland, Yann Demange‘s brutal and ambitious ’71 distills war down to a microcosmic and very personal level, effectively illuminating a still-important piece of world history through one hell of a pulse-pounding adventure. Jack O’Connell stars in the film as young British solider Gary Hook, who is unexpectedly shipped off to Belfast to help combat and quell rising tensions from the Irish nationalists and republicans, regular people who have started taking their battles quite literally to the streets. Gary doesn’t really have much of a dog in this particular fight, but he also doesn’t a choice when his unit is deployed across the Irish Sea. Gary doesn’t appear to have many options, and we learn early on that he’s got a little brother who clearly loves him and counts on him (before Gary ships out, the two toss the ball around together before Gary takes the kiddo back to, what we can only assume, is a home for boys he used to live in, as well). At the mercy of his superiors and the system they’re all trapped inside, Gary goes to Belfast. It’s not so great there.


Starred Up

It’s a point that we should make clear: prison is hard. Really, really hard. And dangerous and scary and terrible. Now let’s watch a film about it! British director David Mackenzie (Perfect Sense, Young Adam) is back at it with Starred Up, a prison drama packed to the rafters with talented dudes, including Jack O’Connell, Ben Mendelsohn, and Rupert Friend. The film puts a little twist on the old prison tale, as O’Connell stars as a teenage dirtbag sent to stay at the exact same facility his own criminal dad (Mendelsohn) lives at. (Insert joke about how you thought your family had issues, guffaw, move on.) The tension doesn’t just come from prison love — though, man, there’s plenty of tension to go around there — but when O’Connell’s Eric starts making some changes that will put him on the straight and narrows. Turns out, dear old dad just might not be taking too kindly to said changes. But before Eric mixes things up, yeah, he does some bad stuff. And now we have a clip of some of them! And, heads up, this lil guy is definitely red-band and very NSFW. There’s blood, okay? Still in? Hit the break.


Unbroken Movie

First of all, Angelina Jolie‘s Unbroken looks like a breakout moment for Jack O’Connell, regardless of how the movie itself does overall. He stars as the real-life Louis Zamperini, who did more in his lifetime than we could do in five. Long distance Olympic athlete who met Hitler, WWII POW survivor, inspirational speaker, Zamerini had a hell of a biography before passing away July 2nd of this year. Now, his story will be secured in cinema with O’Connell at the forefront of what looks like a whirlwind performance. Second of all, my fingers are crossed tight enough to break off circulation, hoping this movie isn’t even one tenth of how schmaltzy a slab of forced inspiration the trailer makes it out to be.



Yes, I suppose you could watch the just-released trailer for Unbroken and be all inspired by the part-Olympic hero, part-WWII hero Louis Zamperini, played by Jack O’Connell. But why would you, when you could see O’Connell melt a razor blade into the backside of a toothbrush and swing it at an authority figure? I vote “prison shanking” every time. This extreme opposite of Unbroken‘s “be inspired until the inspiration pours from every orifice” approach comes from the new prison drama Starred Up, from director David Mackenzie. Well, new-ish — the film released in its native United Kingdom back in March, but it’ll be getting a limited release here this August. So us American folk get a Starred Up trailer all our own. Here, O’Connell plays Eric Love, who decided early on that his name would be an ironic one, and thus spent most of his youth getting in and out of prison. In fact, he’s so skilled at getting himself locked away that the authorities have decided to transfer him early, from the juvenile facilities to the adult ones, even though he’s just a teen (which is what the phrase “starred up” refers to). And that’s where he’ll meet two very important people. One is a prison psychologist, played by Rupert Friend, who really wants Eric to turn his life around. The other is Eric’s father, played by Ben Mendelsohn, who happens to be a con himself in the very same prison. The three of them then proceed to play tug-of-war with Eric’s future.



What is Casting Couch? It’s the place to go to find out which upcoming movies are going to star which actors. Keep reading to discover the cast of veterans Adam Carolla wants you to help him make a movie with. Given Johnny Depp’s penchant for always sporting flashy accessories and conspicuous facial hair, his next project should prove to be right in his wheelhouse. The Wrap is reporting that he’s all set to star in Mortdecai, which is an adaptation of Kyril Bonfiglioli‘s comedic crime novel “The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery,” and possibly the launcher of a new franchise for the actor. David Koepp (Premium Rush) will direct the film, which will cast Depp as Charlie Mortdecai, a dashing art dealer who often finds himself caught up in espionage and intrigue. This particular Mortdecai story is one that involves rare paintings and Nazi gold, which most of the best stories often do.


ff review_tower block

The residents of the Serenity House highrise are in a rough patch. Most of them are broke, the building’s meaner occupants are threatening and extorting the rest and now the owner is evicting everyone so the tower can be demolished. Crime in the building is at an all time high too with the most recent incident leading to the death of a young man while his neighbors listened in fear from behind their own locked doors in an ode to Kitty Genovese. As the final days wind down and the residents prepare to move only one floor remains occupied. And then the shooting starts. A sniper with a high powered rifle begins picking people off through exposed windows, and when they try to flee they find the elevators unresponsive, booby trapped doors and the exterior stairwells open to gunfire. Men, women and children are all fair game to the faceless killer, but a handful of them survive and make it to the hallway as a temporary refuge. Now it’s up to these formerly distant neighbors to work together with the hope of escaping the mysterious gunman’s sights. Tower Block sets an improbable premise for itself as it really wouldn’t be all that difficult to avoid a sniper located on just one side of a building, but it still manages to find suspense with the actions of and towards its eclectic group of neighbors and personalities.



In a surprising move, Alcon Entertainment has quietly replaced the male lead in their upcoming big screen adaptation of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl‘s “The Caster Chronicles” novel, Beautiful Creatures. British actor Jack O’Connell was first set for the role of Ethan Wate back in February (along with lead actress Alice Englert), but Deadline Burlington now reports that he’s been replaced by Alden Ehrenreich. There’s no word on just why the replacement has occurred. Ehrenreich has been on the cusp of stardom since Francis Ford Coppola cast him in 2009’s Tetro, and he’ll next be seen in the director’s Twixt. Beyond that, Ehrenreich has only lined up a few other roles, including a supporting role in Chan-wook Park’s Stoker and a starring spot in Melanie Shaw’s Running Wild, so this casting should prove to be a huge boost for his career. The film is set in small town Gatlin, South Carolina and it follows the intersecting lives of Lena (Englert) and Ethan (Ehrenreich) after the bewitching Lena moves to town. Lena is apparently in possession of some sort of supernatural power as a “Caster,” one that endangers both her and Ethan after they fall for each other and discover a family curse that involves both them and most of Gatlin.



Sometime around 2008, when The Twilight Saga was proving to be beyond bankable, bookstores were deluged with a bevy of YA titles that all seemed hellbent on capturing the presumed magic of Stephenie Meyer’s series. As if some of their plotlines didn’t already sound interchangeable enough (magic, mythical creatures, forbidden love, weak characterization), most of their cover art looked oddly similar – which is why I can recall seeing the covers of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl‘s Caster Chronicles series, but never happened to pick them up to take a look. It looks like I might need to change that, at least if I want to stay current with my YA-books-getting-turned-into-movies news. The first book in the five-book series is set for a big screen adaptation, thanks to Warner Bros. and Alcon Entertainment, and while Beautiful Creatures already got a major credibility bump when Viola Davis joined its cast last week, now the real news is out – who will star as the leads in yet another tale of star-crossed lovers. Jack O’Connell (“Skins,” This is England, Harry Brown) and relative newcomer Alice Englert (The Water Diary) are set to play Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes, respectively. Beautiful Creatures is set in the small town of Gatlin, South Carolina and follows the fortunes of Lena and Ethan after the bewitching Lena moves to town. What I’ve gleaned from some Internet sleuthing is that Lena possesses some type of supernatural power (the fan site CasterGirls tells us that a caster is […]


0.5 Skulls Out of 5

We continue our journey through a month of frightening, bloody and violent films. For more, check out our 31 Days of Horror homepage. Synopsis In a manner that suggests that they have never seen a horror film, a young couple – Jenny (Kelly Reilly) and Steve (the always excellent Michael Fassbender) – head for a romantic weekend break to a wooded area around a lake. After being interrupted by a gang of local teenagers on the lake-side, but ignoring them, the couple find themselves hassled and then ultimately terrorised by the group after Steve confronts them. The situation quickly spirals out of control, and is then hurled dead-long into the realms of horror when Steve accidentally kills a dog belonging to the leader of the gang Brett (played with typical menace by rising star Jack O’Connell), and he seeks bloody retribution.

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published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015

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