VOTD: 9 Kisses, Video Series That Encompass Acting in 2014

9 Kisses

As the end of the year approaches, critics and awards voters everywhere are scrambling to put together their lists of 2014′s best performances. But the New York Times has outdone them all by actually getting the brightest talents of the year in a room together — and then asking them lock lips with one another.

The 9 Kisses video series pairs off 18 of the year’s best actors, ranging from established A-listers (Reese Witherspoon) to recent breakthroughs (Jenny Slate). Each couple plays out an intimate moment in a public setting at night, though the details within those parameters vary wildly. Some of the kisses are passionate and warm, others are awkward or funny. Watch the 9 Kisses videos after the jump.  Read More »

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Unbroken

Fairly or not, each year a handful of pictures are pegged as probable Academy Awards contenders sight-unseen. Angelina Jolie‘s Louis Zamperini biopic Unbroken was one of those for months, but now the picture has come into clearer focus as the first reviews have hit the web.

The general consensus so far is that Unbroken is good but not great. Critics praised the talent involved, including lead actor Jack O’Connell, cinematographer Roger Deakins, and composer Alexandre Desplat, and enjoyed the extraordinary fact-based plotline. However, they were less impressed by Jolie’s dutifully conventional, cripplingly respectful approach.

Whether the good outweighs the bad is something we’ll have to find out for ourselves when the film hits theaters December 25. But in the meantime, get the Unbroken early buzz after the jump.  Read More »

Man Who Killed Don Quixote casting

Update: O’Connell has now officially been cast in Gilliam’s film. Our original article follows, and is updated with a new synopsis below.

Jack O’Connell may well be the next big guy to watch. After his stint on Skins, he showed up in 300: Rise of an Empire and ’71, and received rave notes for his work in Starred Up. Holding the lead role in Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken means that half the families in the US are going to know his face after that film opens at Christmas. And now he might be the man for Terry GilliamThe Man Who Killed Don Quixote. He would play, according to the most recent draft of the script, a guy who is connected to a Don Quixote movie which has had a fairly undesirable effect on some audiences. Read More »

71 trailer

The name Jack O’Connell may not mean anything to you now, but the way things are going it will very soon. The young English actor is poised to blow up with a lead role in Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, and has already wowed critics with the prison drama Starred Up.

Today we have a trailer for another of his acclaimed recent performances, in the historical drama ’71. O’Connell plays a British soldier patrolling Belfast during the height of the Troubles. When he’s separated from his unit, he’s forced to make his way back home alone in the midst of violent riots. Hit the jump to watch the ’71 trailer.

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Unbroken trailer

Angelina Jolie’s feature directing debut In the Land of Blood and Honey didn’t get a ton of attention. But her follow-up Unbroken is already looking like an early contender for the Oscar race, with an uplifting fact-based plot and a plum Christmas release date.

Based on the book by Laura Hillenbrand (Seabiscuit), Unbroken follows Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) from his humble roots to his Olympic stardom, World War II service, and stay in a Japanese POW camp. Domhnall Gleeson, Takamasa Ishihara, Garrett Hedlund, and Finn Wittrock also star. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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Starred Up review

Jack O’Connell is one of those names you don’t know yet, but will very soon. The 24-year-old British actor has been in the mix for a bunch of high-profile roles over the past few years, and finally booked one in 300: Rise of an Empire — before nabbing an even bigger one in Angelina Jolie‘s Unbroken. And while we’ve seen lots of pretty young faces come and go, his performance in David Mackenzie‘s excellent prison drama Starred Up suggests that this one has real staying power.

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Joe Cornish to Direct MI6 Thriller ‘Section 6′

Joe Cornish Section 6

Joe Cornish made quite a splash in 2011 with his debut directorial effort Attack the Block. And he’s kept busy since, co-writing Ant-Man and The Adventures of Tintin with Edgar Wright. But it’s only now that he’s getting around to making a decision on his next directing gig.

Universal has tapped Cornish to direct Section 6, a Black List script about the formation of British intelligence agency MI6. Brit up-and-comer Jack O’Connell has been set to star since earlier this year. More details on the movie after the jump.

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Starred Up

Jack O’Connell is one of those young actors who’s right on the verge of breaking out. He’s not too well known in the U.S. yet (except maybe to U.K. Skins enthusiasts), but he’s on his way there, having come close to some high-profile projects like The Secret Service and Beautiful Creatures. And he should be much more famous by the end of this year, once 300: Rise of an Empire and Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken are through with him.

The film that marks the turning point in his career is Starred Up, a gritty British drama that earned raves upon its Telluride premiere last year. O’Connell plays young Eric Love, a 19-year-old who winds up incarcerated in the same prison that holds his dad, Neville (Ben Mendelsohn). David Mackenzie (Perfect Sense, Young Adam) directed, and Rupert Friend also stars. Watch the intriguing first trailer after the jump.

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