Rupert Friend

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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.

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With Paul Walker‘s untimely passing comes casting holes in upcoming films he was set to star. 2007′s Hitman, based on the popular video game featuring an elite assassin originally starred Justified-lead Timothy Olyphant, but its upcoming sequel, Agent 47, was to begin shooting with Walker in the title role after completing his Fast and Furious 7 duties. It now appears Homeland star Rupert Friend is in early discussions to fill the position in his stead. Friend is also known for his role in 2008′s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. James Marsden is also in preliminary talks to take Walker’s place in the Nicholas Sparks romantic novel adaptation of The Best of Me, where he’d star alongside Michelle Monaghan as reunited high school sweethearts in rural North Carolina. Marsden is best know in his role as Scott Summers/Cyclops in Bryan Singer’s X-Men, and most recently appeared in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues alongside Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd.  

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War zone reporters and the dangerous, adrenaline-fueled lives they lead are not new topics in narrative cinema. They’ve been around as long as there have been movies, but the 80s seemed to be the genre’s heyday with films like The Year Of Living Dangerously, Salvador, and The Killing Fields all providing political commentary and harrowing drama. Recent years have seen far fewer films on the topic even though there appears to be just as many international conflicts in need of documenting. Richard Gere took a stab at it in 2007 with the Bosnia-set film The Hunting Party, but that may just be it for recent non-documentaries focused on journalists under fire. (Well, unless we’re counting Uwe Boll’s Far Cry of course.) The past year has seen a slight uptick though as two new films hit screens with stories about members of the press on the front lines of battles around the world. The first one, The Bang Bang Club, was released earlier this year (and arrived on DVD this week) and focuses on photographers covering the fall of apartheid in South Africa. The second film starts a limited theatrical run on Friday and explores the conflict around Russia’s invasion of neighboring Georgia in 2008, but what starts as an earnest and important look at a real-world travesty quickly fades into a generic series of action scenes and setups. Should we have expected more from a post-millennium Renny Harlin film? Probably not, but it never hurts to dream. (Unless you’re a […]

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This reunion of ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ director Stephen Frears, screenwriter Christopher Hampton and star Michelle Pfeiffer never resonates as it should.

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Emily Blunt in The Young Victoria

Today brings us a lavish first look at Emily Blunt as Queen Victoria in her younger years in Jean-Marc Vallee’s The Young Victoria. Inside we have the film’s first teaser trailer as well as a gallery of 30 images for your viewing pleasure.

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