Jack O’Connell Weekend – Starred Up (2013) Movie Review

Director: David Mackenzie

Writer: Jonathan Asser (Screenplay)

Starring: Jack O’Connell, Ben Mendelsohn, Rupert Friend, Sam Spruell

Plot: Eric Love, 19, is locked up in prison. On first day he assaults another inmate and several guards. He’s offered group therapy and his dad, an inmate as well, tries to talk sense into him. Can he be rehabilitated?


Tagline – We’re all different on the inside

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Gritty and Hard Hitting

Story: Starred Up starts as Eric (O’Connell) first arrives in prison, put in a single room being classed as high risk, he knows the tricks of the trade to get the things he needs that aren’t given out, it doesn’t take long before he gets into trouble, assaulting a fellow inmate and guards who try to restrain him.

Oliver Baumer (Friend) does see that Eric needs help to control his violence and offers to help him improve himself to stand a chance of getting back into society, which becomes more difficult with Eric’s father Neville (Mendelsohn) being somebody that does seem to run the prison.

Thoughts on Starred Up

Characters – Eric Love has been transferred from a young offenders prison to an adult one, he is violent with a short temper that can see him get into more trouble than he is already in, in this prison his distant father looks down on his decisions, while being offered a chance to learn to calm down in therapy, he is at the crossroads, where he must learn where to continue his violent ways or learn to become a better person and make up for his mistakes. Neville is his father and is one of the men that runs the prison from the inside, he wants to see his son clean up his act, but not get involved with any gang, he is racist in nature and wants to learn more about the therapy his son is on. Oliver is a man that is trying to help the angrier inmates by trying to get them to discuss their problems in group instead of seeing them fight for the sake of it, he is the one that will stick up for Eric.

PerformancesJack O’Connell gives a breakthrough performance here one that shows his ability to play the prisoner with problems, with glimpses of what he could have more of a serious character. Ben Mendelsohn and Rupert Friend both shine in the supporting roles too.

StoryThe story follows a young offender being sent to an adult prison where he finds himself needing to navigate a new set of gangs that are looking to have control of the prison and it isn’t long before he gets himself in trouble. This story does show us just how difficult the system can be for the people of Eric’s age who never knew better and will continue to make the mistakes of his father. The prison setting shows us how the story acts along the idea that people will act violent for no reason here, though it would have been interesting to see just what Eric did to get himself locked up in the first place. Deep down this is about a father son relationship that gets to push the true boundaries of everything they never had.

CrimeThe crime side of the film shows us just how the violence of criminals will only continue in prison because they are all acting like animals.

SettingsThe film is set in the prison, it shows how the men there will do anything for the position of power over the rest and how if they don’t fight back they will just get killed.


Scene of the Movie – Final incident.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not learning enough about the crimes in the first place.

Final Thoughts This is a hard hitting prison drama that focuses more on the father son relationship rather than what they did in the first place.

Overall: Hard Hitting.

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – A – Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion (2018) Film Thoughts

Director: Alexandre Astier, Louis Clichy

Writer: Alexandre Astier, Louis Clichy (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Christian Clavier, Guillaume Briat, Alex Lutz, Alexandre Astier, Elie Semoun

Plot: Getafix/Panoramix decides it’s time to pass the magic potion recipe on to a young, trustworthy druid. He looks all over Gaul with Asterix and Obelix as Demonix is out to get the recipe.

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun for the Kids

Story: Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion starts as Fetafix is looking to pass on his magic skills to a new druid, with him needing to travel the land in search for one, even though he finds a replacement that would be against everything he has been taught. When Demonix looks to gain the power for himself, it becomes a race against time to find a replacement, with Gaul needing to keep defending itself from a new threat heading its way.

Thoughts on Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion

Final Thoughts When it comes to the Asterix franchise, be it comic book or animated series, it feels like you will need to be part of the back story behind the characters to get the truly enjoyable level out of this film. The story does show their wild adventures taking them across the land in search of a new person to hold the secret to the power of the people, with evil trying to gain control before it is too late. It doesn’t seem to have much magic in the story, with everything feeling overly stretched, rather than just having the adventures you would expect to see.

Overall: Animation 101.

Black Water: Abyss (2020) Movie Review

Director: Andrew Traucki

Writer: John Ridley, Sarah Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Jessica McNamee, Luke Mitchell, Amali Golden, Anthony J Sharpe, Benjamin Hoetjes

Plot: Five friends exploring a remote cave system in Northern Australia find themselves threatened by a hungry crocodile.


Tagline – Descend into Fear

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Poor Creature Feature

Story: Black Water: Abyss starts as five friends Cash (Sharpe), Jennifer (McNamee), Eric (Mitchell), Yolanda (Golden) and Viktor (Hoetjes) head to a new cave system that Cash has found, once inside the friends explore, discover a beautiful underwater lake.

Things take turn for the worse when a storm starts to get the lake flooded, before they learn they are trapped in the room with rising water and a killer crocodile, in what becomes a battle to survive and escape.

Thoughts on Black Water: Abyss

Characters – Jennifer is the lead of the friends, she isn’t interested in going and has started to see her relationship with Eric going downhill and once inside the cave, she finds herself not wanting to stay get in the water even though it could be the rescue plan. She is also the character with the least about her. Eric leads the exploration taking charge of when things go wrong, showing his leadership skills. Yolanda and Viktor are a couple that have more about their relationship with Yolanda secretly being pregnant showing they both have more to fight for, while Cash is the slacker type figure in the lives, who takes them to the cave, though he isn’t used to this environment.

PerformancesWhen it comes to performances, the cast really don’t have much to work with, making it very hard to any of them to make an impact in the film.

StoryThe story here follows the five cavers that become trapped in an underwater cave with rising water and a killer crocodile looking to defend its territory. This is a simple enough story, that gives us thin character development, which does seem to focus on the personal dramas over the actual survival, while we have a moments where people go on a plan to escape, when the others just go on to do something more stupid, this is more frustrating than anything.

Action/HorrorThe action does have realistic attacks, only they are horrendously shot, with the horror relying on the music for the attacks.

SettingsWe spend the film inside the cave, which does give us a contained location, with even more peril for the film.


Scene of the Movie – The crocodile attacks spin are at least realistic.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Focusing on the characters too much with their personal dramas.

Final Thoughts This is a poor creature feature that just doesn’t make us care for the characters and gives us poor shot attack sequences.

Overall: Sloppy Creature Feature.