A sleekly made thriller with a sparky sense of humour, this is also a rare action movie that has something important to say. Centred around the corruption in the political and banking systems, the film is just as enlightening as The Big Short, but it's a lot more fun to watch. And it's directed by Jodie Foster as a sharp media satire that seems to be skimming along the surface but is actually taking no prisoners.
It's set on Wall Street, where TV guru Lee (George Clooney) hosts his financial advice show Money Monster, directed by his long-time friend Patty (Julia Roberts). Then in the middle of a broadcast, Lee is interrupted live on-air by Kyle (Jack O'Connell), who is consumed with anger because Lee's investment suggestion resulted in the loss of his life savings. Kyle's real target is the banking executive Walt (Dominic West), who has blamed the wipe-out of share prices on a computer glitch. But something about that story doesn't hold water. While Kyle threatens Lee live, a media storm develops around them. And Patty digs into the story with the help of hackers in Korea, Iceland and South Africa, feeding information to Lee through his earpiece.
As the situation spirals out of control, Foster maintains a terrific sense of balance between the edgy suspense and the jagged comedy. This works because, even amid the virtual globe-hopping, she keeps the focus tightly on the interaction between Lee, Patty and Kyle. Clooney and Roberts aren't hugely stretched by their roles, but they are able to add likeable moments of subtle revelation and interaction along the way. O'Connell is the heart of the film, with an impassioned performance that's surprisingly moving. And of course it's easy for everyone in the audience to sympathise with Kyle's frustration about a system in which bankers and politicians pocket billions while the average person struggles to keep their head above water.
Continue reading: Money Monster Review
If you're looking for news on what stocks to buy, you switch on the TV and watch Lee Gate's show - he's the most popular presenter on the Financial News Network and is full of good tips for his viewers but what happens when one the stocks he hypes up mysteriously crashes out it leaves some of his ex-viewers penniless.
Kyle Budwell was one of those people when Kyle believes he has no other option, he takes Lee and his production team hostage live on TV. Between the presenter and his producer (Patty Fenn) they must find a way to satisfy both their captor and the special forces put on standby who are ready to storm the set.
The Bafta nominations have been revealed, leading to some shock by what has been missed out from the ceremony.
Friday morning's British Academy Film Awards nominations show the predicted BAFTA love for home-grown movies like 'The Imitation Game' and 'The Theory of Everything', but were even more notable for who was missing from the shortlists.
Timothy Spall - snubbed by the academy?
The most obvious snub was for Mike Leigh's acclaimed biographical drama 'Mr Turner', for which Timothy Spall won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival. But the film only has a handful of technical nods (for cinematography, production design, costumes and make-up/hair), with nothing for Spall or Leigh, and most surprisingly no British Film nomination.
Continue reading: Bafta 2015 Nominations Reveal Secrets Of Awards Season
The weekend is looking good for new releases, but The Hobbit still dominates.
What does it say about the Christmas season that a true-to-life war story has topped a fairytale musical adventure at the box office? I’m talking, of course, about the Angelina Jolie-directed, Jack O’Connell starrer Unbroken, which raced past Into the Woods on Friday with $12,3 million, while the Disney reimagining of the popular musical came close with $12,2 million.
Meryl Streep as The Witch is kind of the best thing to ever happen to musical theatre nerds.
Unfortunately, that’s as good as it’s going to get for the new releases this weekend, with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies still dominating the chart. Peter Jackson’s fantasy epic checked in with $15,6 million this Friday and isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon. Of course, we won’t have the final word until later tonight, but you can already see where this is going, can’t you?
Jack O'Connell turns in a stellar performance in 'Unbroken'.
We'd all but discounted Angelina Jolie's Unbroken from the Oscars race after a set of middling reviews but if there's one thing the Academy likes it's a successful box-office biopic and Jolie's tale of triumph under adversity pulled in $850,000 in Christmas Eve showings at just 1,979 venues.
Jack O'Connell stars in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
Universal then expanded the movie to 3,131 locations on Christmas Day given the huge competition of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Annie.
Continue reading: Angelina Jolie's 'Unbroken' Opens To Massive Numbers On Xmas Eve
What are the critics saying about 'Unbroken'?
The reviews are in for Unbroken and the film, directed by Academy Award winning actress Angelina Jolie, has received a mixed reception from critics ahead of its release on Christmas Day in the US and Boxing Day in the UK.
Jack O'Connell stars in Unbroken as Louis Zamperini.
Rising star Jack O'Connell delivers a ripping performance as a young convict with more baggage than you'd think humanly possible. And he's ably supported by Ben Mendelsohn and Rupert Friend in career-best performances. So even if the film indulges in just about every prison-movie cliche imaginable, the focus on intensely realistic characters makes it stand out from other movies.
O'Connell plays Eric, who at 19 is so violent that he has been "starred up" from his young-offenders prison to the big house. The hitch is that he's now on the same wing as Neville (Mendelsohn), the father he's never known. Eric is such a brute that the harsh governor (Sam Spruell) wants to keep him in a hole, but concerned therapist Oliver (Friend) thinks he can help Eric channel his anger in more positive directions. On the other hand, by attending therapy sessions Eric is putting himself right in the middle of his father's rival prison gang.
The demands of the plot are obvious from the start, as the film makes it clear that prison is a hopeless place where violence rules. So while director David Mackenzie (Young Adam) lets the usual vicious nastiness swirl through each scene, he also tries to keep the focus on Eric's more internal struggle against his lifetime of abuse and abandonment. This is of course far more interesting than the prison-life plot, giving O'Connell a chance to deliver a strikingly involving turn as a young guy who's outwardly terrifying but also thoughtful and intelligent.
Continue reading: Starred Up Review
Prison's a scary place to be, as shown Jonathan Asser's brutal drama.
Starred Up will be released tomorrow (21st March) when Jonathan Asser's brutal new drama will be unleashed on UK audiences. The prison therapist-turned-writer lends his unique personal perspective to this gritty and unrelenting snapshot of the British prison system. Asser used to struggle with his extreme rage until he learned to master it - and discovered a skill for calming violent prisoners; a job that gave him plenty of experiences to make his first screen play as raw as possible.
Jack O'Connell Takes Centre-Stage In New British Independent Film, 'Starred Up.'
Jack O'Connell and Ben Mendelsohn are father and son, Eric and Neville, who find themselves locked up in the same prison after Eric (O'Connell) is deemed too dangerous for a Young Offenders Institution and is upgraded, or "starred up," to an adult prison two years early.
Cornish is set to build on his impressive reputation
Joe Cornish at the premiere for his film, 'Attack The Block'
The had been the subject of an intense bidding war, leading Universal to shell out a 7-figure sum amidst competition from high profile rivals. With the spec acquired, Universal set out to find their director, with Cornish beating out David MacKenzie and Tom Hooper for the job.
Continue reading: Universal Finally Land On Joe Cornish To Direct Thriller 'Section 6'
Fans of the 2007 Spartan war romp 300 probably won't care that this spin-off is even more chaotic and much murkier to look at. It still features armies of scantily clad muscle men grunting idiotic declamatory dialogue as they charge into cartoon-style battles against all odds. No, this isn't particularly subtle filmmaking: it's loud and brutal. And good for an unintentional laugh.
At the same time as Spartan King Leonidas (a briefly glimpsed Gerard Butler) is leading his 300 men to battle against Xerses (Santoro), Greek General Themistocles (Stapleton) approaches Leonidas' wife Gorgo (Headey) for help facing Xerses vengeful military commander Artemisia (Green) on another front at sea. Themistocles' main officers are Aesyklos (Matheson) and Scyllias (Mulvey), whose son Calisto (O'Connell) secretly joins the army as they set sail for an epic ship-based battle against Artemisia's fearsome forces. And there are two more watery conflicts to come, each more outrageous than the one before, as Artemisia taunts Themistocles seductively while dispensing fiery death and destruction at every turn.
The addition of two strong women adds a bit of interest here, but the focus is still on the bare-chested men, even if only three or for of them actually emerge into proper characters. Headey's chief contribution is a rambling voiceover narration explaining everything for us, while Green's wry smirk and momentous glower let her steal every scene. By contrast, the men seem rather feeble. Stapleton is manly and commanding, but not hugely charismatic. Rising-star O'Connell barely gets two decent scenes. Santoro is hilariously grouchy eye candy. And everyone else is clearly expendable.
Continue reading: 300: Rise Of An Empire Review
When Leonidas and his valiant army of 300 Spartans were wiped out by the vast forces led by Persian God King Xerxes, the rest of Greece now feel that their country has gained honour following their tragic loss. However, their battle is not over yet as Persia is rapidly sailing in for another invasion. Rival cities Sparta and Athens are forced to set aside their bitterness towards each other if they have any hope of victory - though with Xerxes on their tail with immortal power, their lives teeter on the edge. Nonetheless, the Greeks remained filled with a fierce determination following Leonidas' heroism and so Themistocles of Athens leads his naval fleet to war while Sparta's army prepares for another fight. How can they survive against a seemingly impervious God King and his female ally, the just as ruthless, sword-wielding Artemisia? Outnumbered and overpowered once again, there is still hope.
Continue: 300: Rise Of An Empire - Clips
Louis Zamperini may have been a wayward child, constantly getting into trouble with the local authorities, but he would soon grow up to be an inspiration to people across the world. At a young age he joined his school's track team and eventually went on to land a place on the US 5000 metres team during the 1936 Berlin Olympics. However, as World War II hit the globe, he put his sporting career on hold to protect his country as a member of the US Army Air Force which subsequently saw him and his comrades captured by the Japanese army as prisoners of war after their plane crashed and they were adrift on the Pacific Ocean for 47 days. Louis' incredible determination and strength of character helped him pull through his ordeals and tell his story to the world and now, at the age of 97, he re-tells it for the big screen.
Continue: Unbroken - Teaser Trailer
Jolie's second film looks to be an inspirational tear-jerker.
The trailer for the Angelina Jolie-directed Unbroken, the true-life tale of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini, aired Saturday night during the Olympics telecast. The timing couldn’t be more perfect, although the trailer did steal some of the USA men’s hockey team’s thunder, after their triumph over the Russian team.
Jolie will make a small cameo appearance in Unbroken.
Back to Unbroken, the upcoming Universal pic tells the story of Zamperini’s survival through 47 days at sea and three years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp after his plane is shot down over the Pacific.
Continue reading: Olympic Hockey Overshadowed By Angelina Jolie's 'Unbroken' Trailer
Following Leonidas' honourable though inevitable death alongside his Spartan army of 300 at the hands of Persian God King Xerxes, the rest of Greece cannot help but feel a certain pride at the valiant effort. Now, with Persia quickly threatening invasion, rival cities Sparta and Athens must throw aside their differences and rally together to defeat their forces - but with an all-powerful king like Xerxes, their chances of survival look minimal. Nonetheless, filled with a newfound determination after Leonidas' heroic venture, Athens' naval fleet led by the admiral Themistocles set out to bring Persia down, as Sparta's army prepares another brave attack. They may be outnumbered yet again, but hope is the last thing Greece is going to give up.
With plans to make a film about the life of Louis 'Louie' Zamperini floating around Hollywood for nearly half a century, the war hero's story will at last be told
Louis 'Louie' Zamperini has led an extraordinary life and it comes as little surprise to learn that Hollywood has been trying to immortalise him for some time now. With the news that Angelina Jolie has signed on to work on the project, the great man's wonderful life will finally make the leap to the big screen after a long, long wait.
Jolie with Zamperini
In as early as 1957, Universal Pictures had planned to make a movie about the former Olympiad and surviving prisoner of war, with Kirk Douglas supposedly following up his starring role in Spartacus with a Zamperini turn. Some 56 years later and Universal have finally gotten around to making the film they had always wanted to make, but not without the help of Angelina Jolie and author Laura Hillenbrand.
The film will be about a pilot who survives for 47 days on a raft.
Whilst Brad Pitt films World War II army movie Fury in the UK, Angelina Jolie is busily filming her new movie and second step into directing, Unbroken. The movie will be adapted from the best-selling novel by Laura Hillenbrand that tells the story of a WWII pilot named Louis Zamperini.
Angelina Plans Her Next Move After In The Land Of Milk & Honey.
Olympic runner turned bombardier, Zamperini managed to survive for 47 days adrift at sea on a raft after he was shot down in the Pacific and sent to a Japanese prisoner of war camp. The lead character will be played by Skins' Jack O'Connell whilst Tron: Legacy's Garrett Hedlund and About Time's Domhnall Gleeson will co-star.
Continue reading: Angelina Jolie To Direct Second Film, 'Unbroken,' In Australia
Lena Headey discusses her role in '300: Rise of an Empire' and it seems there is a distinct female presence in the sequel to '300'.
300: Rise of an Empire promises to have a stronger female on-screen presence, which isn't exactly a difficult feat considering 300, released in 2007, was nothing but wash-board abs and a host of handsome men.
Lena Headey at Elle's Women in Hollywood event, held at the Four Seasons Hotel in L.A.
The sequel's list of equally butch men includes Jack O'Connell (Skins); Sullivan Stapleton (Gangster Squad); Hans Matheson (Sherlock Holmes) and Callan Mulvey (Zero Dark Thirty). David Wenham, Andrew Tiernan and Rodrigo Santora are reprising their roles from 300.
All grown up: new series of Skins sees the main characters as working adults.
Skin's Effy Stonem is hardly the kind of girl you'd expect to be working in business but here she is in series seven working ambitiously as a trader for a London hedge fund. The seventh and final series of E4's long-running Skins drama, entitles Skins Redux, is about to air in the UK. However now, the drug-taking, promiscuous, hedonistic days of youth for Effy, Cassie and Cook are long gone as they wrestle with the practicalities of adult life, such as holding down a stable job, the loneliness of the big city, and the resurfacing of the past.
Effy's Life Has Changed Incredibly Since Last Time We Saw Her.
The seventh series will be quite short - in just six parts - but will be divided into three stories following Cassie, Effy and Cook. Each part will be themed differently: 'Skins Pure', 'Skins Rise' and 'Skins Fire,' with a different character taking centre stage in each. The once reserved girl who went off the rails, Effy, brother to Tony Stonem (Nicholas Hoult), is followed through her job working for a hedge fund firm where she embarks on an affair with her boss; with things getting out of hand in typical Skins style, according to The Mirror. Cook (Jack O'Connell) is working as a drug dealer in Manchester but after he falls for a woman he really shouldn't, he is forced to confront his violent past.
Continue reading: Skins Returns For Series 7: Life In The Adult World
After a valiant but ultimately unsuccessful attack by Leonidas' army of 300 Spartan men on Persia's much larger army led by the 'God-King' Xerxes, the rest of the Greeks are at war with Persia determined to end their invasion and bring down their so-called God once and for all. Athens and their strong naval fleet, led by the admiral Themistocles, are forced to team up with Sparta, their civil rivals, and their formidable army though the Greeks are still ultimately outnumbered on a massive scale by Persia. However, with a determination instilled by a national pride in the sacrifice of Leonidas and his men, the Greeks enter in their new battle gladly and with a significantly reduced fear of their enemy.
'300: Rise Of An Empire' is the gritty, action-fuelled follow-up to 2007's '300' directed by Zack Snyder ('Dawn of the Dead', 'Watchmen', 'Man of Steel'). This sequel has been adapted from the graphic novel 'Xerxes' by Frank Miller and directed by Noam Murro ('Smart People'), though Snyder does make his return alongside Kurt Johnstad ('Act of Valor') on the screenwriting credits. With a multi-award winning epic to beat, 'Rise Of An Empire' looks to be a thrilling addition to this war saga and it is set to hit screens in the US on March 7th 2014.
Prepare for the bloodshed to continue, as the 300 series will continue.
Seven years after the original 300 caused students to yell “THIS. IS. SPARTA!!!” at every beer-fueled rager for months on end, we get the trailer for the sequel – that’s not really a sequel – 300: Rise of an Empire. The film has new direction – Noam Murro, taking over from Man of Steel’s Zack Snyder – and a whole new focus and as Murro has pointed out, this will not be a sequel per se – in. It will be more of a prequel and sequel at the same time in terms of the timing, the events take place before, during and after the events of 300. Instead, this new installment will shift its focus. Based on the graphic novel Xerxes by Frank Miller, the film will open with Greek general Themistocles getting ready to battle an invading army of Persians under the mortal-turned-god, Xerxes.
Check out the trailer for 300: Rise of an Empire below:
Continue reading: 300: Rise Of An Empire - Battles, Blood And Brand New Characters
Blackly comical writing and direction add a playful slant to what could have been a typically over-serious British crime thriller. And there's also a coming-of-age element to the plot that holds our interest. It's all relatively simplistic, and never really goes anywhere, but the offbeat approach and vividly well-played characters make it worth a look.
Rising-star Brit Jack O'Connell (Skins) plays 19-year-old Adam, a goof-off who thinks it's hilarious when he wrecks his stepdad Peter's (Mullan) pricey car. But Peter is a mobster, and his patience is wearing thin. Without telling Adam's mother (Wareing), he gives Adam a job to help pay for the damage. He'll be a driver for Roy (Roth), who turns out to be a hitman on a nasty mission. This opens Adam up to a world he has never known, and as the stakes begin to rise he has to grow up very quickly. Then things get even more intense when he and Roy encounter a backpacker (Riley) who sends them on a crazed cat-and-mouse chase.
Mixing comedy with suspense isn't easy to pull off, but writer Wrathall and director Viveiros manage it by keeping the humour pitch black and playing everything dead straight. O'Connell portrays Adam as a hapless buffoon who has no idea how to behave in any given situation. But he's deeply likeable, so we root for him in the face of Roy's stony silence. Roth can play this kind of thug in his sleep, but stirs in some wry exasperation and even a low-lying emotional resonance as things develop. And the chemistry between them never feels remotely safe.
Continue reading: The Liability Review
Adam is just 19-years-old but, after managing to prang his mother's mobster boyfriend's car, is coerced into performing a driving job for jaded hitman Roy who, apart from being visibly annoyed at having to mentor a kid who knows less about organised crime than the average person, would like nothing better than the chance to finally retire from his life of killing. They drive to Northumberland where the unlikely duo dispose of their target deep in a woods. However, despite their presumed isolation, they are spotted by a beautiful young girl who they understand they must also kill to save their own skins. She manages to make an escape though, with some extremely important evidence and the assassins are forced to chase her down. Along the way, they find out her identity and connections that place Adam's stepfather involved in some debauched dealings.
Continue: The Liability - Clip
The filmmakers tell this World War I story beautifully, but they never quite bring it to life as a proper movie. By taking a gently simplistic approach, it never feels like anything new as it deals with the usual topics of battlefield camaraderie, lost innocence and families torn apart by war.
It's set in early 1900s rural Devon, as the Peaceful family's idyllic life comes to an abrupt end when Dad dies. Now Hazel (Peake) and her three sons, Tommo, Charlie and simple-minded Joe (MacKay, O'Connell and Summercorn), must struggle to find enough work to survive. And when the war breaks out, Tommo lies about his age to go off to fight, partly because the girl he loves, Molly (Roach), turns out to be in love with Charlie. So out of guilt, Charlie joins him in the trenches. Which makes both Molly and Hazel worry if either of them will return home.
Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo (War Horse), the film is packed with serious themes that contrast life on a Devon farm with the horrors of battle. The story is framed with scenes of Tommo in a military prison cell, and we have to wait until the end to find out what that's all about, which kind of waters down the impact of the harrowing scenes that come next. This is probably because everything that happens in the meantime reiterates the fact that fate goes where it will, and both good and bad people die in wartime.
Continue reading: Private Peaceful Review
Gritty and claustrophobic, this British horror-thriller holds our interest with well-played characters rather than the wobbly plotting. It's a clever idea for low-budget suspense, because it essentially has just one set. And the premise is unnerving even if we instantly realise its implausibility. Still, once everything is set in motion, the story has no where to go, trapped like the characters themselves on the top floor of a condemned London apartment building.
Aside from the residents of the top floor of this block, everyone else has already been relocated. And after a violent murder in the corridor, these people are ready to get out too. Then one morning sniper fire starts picking them off one by one through the windows. Their phones and internet are down, every way out is blocked, and they have to work out a plan of action. Intriguingly, it's a young woman, Becky (Smith), who rises as the group's leader, tenaciously refusing to give up. Other residents include a local thug (O'Connell), a depressed alcoholic (Tovey), a couple of pensioners (Brown and Baker), a tense mum (Graham) and her teen son (McEntire), and two drug dealers (Elouhabi and Robinson).
As we begin to understand what's happening, there are some massive lapses in logic that continually niggle. The sniper is shooting from one side of the building, so presumably the flats on the other side are safe and undisturbed, and yet everyone remains huddled in the hallway. The building's front door is blocked, but they ignore the fire exit. And how exactly do you block a mobile phone signal at the top of a tall tower in a massive city? Fortunately, the actors make us believe that they aren't worried by these gaping plot holes. Smith is especially good as the feisty Becky, a refreshingly complex female hero who doesn't have to be rescued by the boys. O'Connell adds a few layers to his annoying character, and Tovey is as likeable as ever.
Continue reading: Tower Block Review
Set in Manchester, England in 1990, Weekender tells the story of two best mates Matt and Dylan who decide to hold an illegal weekend rave party, instead of spending their time stealing from pub landlords. After a successful first night, the two friends seize the opportunity to turn it into a business venture. However, their success gets the attention of others in the rave party business, who start taking an interest in what the boys are doing. When Matt and Dylan get invited to parties in Ibiza and Amsterdam and attract the attention of top dog John the Rat, their friendship is tested as they are plunged into the dark and seedy depths of the rave underworld.
Continue: Weekender Trailer
A sleekly made thriller with a sparky sense of humour, this is also a rare...
With a true story that's almost hard to believe, this inspiring biographical drama is made...
Louis Zamperini (Jack O'Connell) is a rebel. His constant fights and reckless behaviour cause more...
Both an intensely personal odyssey and an exploration of the impact of conflict on communities,...
Gary Hook (Jack O'Connell) is a British soldier, nervous about his placement in Belfast during...
Louis Zamperini has learned to fight tooth and nail for what he believes in all...
God's Pocket seems to be an ordinary working class neighbourhood at face value; full of...
Rising star Jack O'Connell delivers a ripping performance as a young convict with more baggage...
Fans of the 2007 Spartan war romp 300 probably won't care that this spin-off is...
When Leonidas and his valiant army of 300 Spartans were wiped out by the vast...