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The Conjuring 2 Review

Very Good

Continuing on from the 2013 hit, this sequel blends fact and fiction to follow real-life ghostbusters Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) from the 1976 Amityville haunting to an encounter with the Enfield poltergeist in 1977 London. Filmmaker James Wan continues to deploy every cinematic gimmick he knows to freak out the audience, and the fact that it's based on a true story makes it even more unsettling. Although the cliches of the genre feel a bit tired.

The story opens in Amityville, where the Warrens are deeply disturbed by supernatural forces and decide to take some time off. But they're soon summoned to England to help a family being terrorised by a nasty spirit. Arriving in Enfield, North London, they meet Peggy Hodgson (Frances O'Connor), a plucky single mother of four, who is worried that the ghost of an angry old man is threatening her 11-year-old daughter Janet (Madison Wolfe). Now staying with neighbours (Simon Delaney and Maria Doyle Kennedy) across the street, Peggy has also called in two experts, a true believer (Simon McBurney) and a sceptic (Franka Potente), to work with the Warrens to clear this malevolent presence from the family home.

While the script inventively intermingles the facts of the case with a generous dose of movie fiction, Wan fills the screen with all kinds of creepy goings-on, including banging noises, levitating furniture and flickering TV screens. Additional standard scares include a nerve-jangling toy and a seriously scary nun (who's about to get her own spin-off film, like the creepy doll Annabelle from the first movie). Wan also uses manipulative movie trickery from moody music to grubby production design to prowling camerawork that constantly reveals something frightening in the deep shadows. What he never does is find a new way to scare the audience: we have seen all of these tricks before, but of course they still work.

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Frances O'Connor - 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival - "The Conjuring 2" Premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX, Los Angeles Film Festival - Hollywood, California, United States - Tuesday 7th June 2016

Frances O'connor
Frances O'connor
Frances O'connor
Frances O'connor

Vera Farmiga , Frances O'Connor - 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival 'The Conjuring 2' premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX - Arrivals at TCL Chinese Theater IMAX, Los Angeles Film Festival - Los Angeles, California, United States - Wednesday 8th June 2016

Vera Farmiga and Frances O'connor
Renn Hawkey and Vera Farmiga
Renn Hawkey and Vera Farmiga
Vera Farmiga
Vera Farmiga
Vera Farmiga

Frances O'Connor - 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival 'The Conjuring 2' premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX - Arrivals at TCL Chinese Theater IMAX, Los Angeles Film Festival - Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 7th June 2016

Frances O'connor
Frances O'connor
Frances O'connor

The Conjuring 2 Trailer


Not fazed by their previous experiences, Lorraine and Ed Warren are still successful paranormal investigators and their reputations have made them known around the world. As they hunt for new cases to investigate they decide to travel to England, Enfield just outside London to help a single mother and her children who are being haunted by a nasty spirit. 

Continue: The Conjuring 2 Trailer

Frances O'Connor - A host of stars were snapped as they attended the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) Los Angeles Tea Party which were held at The Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 11th January 2015

Frances O'connor

Frances O'Connor - A host of stars were photographed as they took to the red carpet at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards which were held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 11th January 2015

Frances O'connor
Frances O'connor

The Hunter Review


Excellent
Shot in the breathtaking wilds of Tasmania, this evocative dramatic thriller puts us into the head of a troubled man forced to confront uncomfortable truths about himself and the work he does. It's a riveting, unsettling, involving film made with skill and artistry.

Mercenary hunter Martin (Dafoe) is a loner hired by a mysterious client (Koman) to track down the last remaining Tasmanian tiger, a breed thought to be extinct. Shunned as a "greenie", he's given a room in a country home where Lucy (O'Connor) lives in isolation with her two kids (Davies and Woodlock), waiting for the return of her missing zoologist husband. With Jack (Neill) as a guide, Martin sets out to find the elusive tiger, but his efforts to avoid bonding with the family are much trickier.

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Piccadilly Jim Review


Weak
A rather hysterical oddity that can't decide what era it's set in or what mood to play, Piccadilly Jim just chucks it all at the screen and hopes that some wit will come through and generate some laughs. Fortunately for the audience, some of it does - unfortunately for the film, not nearly enough.

Based on P.G. Wodehouse's novel, the film concerns the exploits of one Jim Crocker (Sam Rockwell), a young wastrel whose social-climbing American mother (Allison Janney, sharp as a tack) has forced him and his father (Tom Wilkinson), a failed British actor, to live in London and try and impress the swells there. She does this just to tick off her competitive sister, Nesta (Brenda Blethyn), a fact not wasted on the men of the family. Spoiling his mother's plans is Jim's penchant to booze it up all over town, getting into fistfights and leaving flappers scattered about the house and in his bed. Jim decides to ostensibly reform his wayward ways when he meets Nesta's step-niece Anne (Frances O'Connor), who won't have anything to do with him unless he pretends to be someone else - Jim once wrote a gossip column under the name "Piccadilly Jim", and once someone else writing the column (he hasn't worked on it for years) gave a negative review to a collection of Anne's poems. Jim thusly does the only sensible thing a fellow could do: He pretends to be a teetotaler Christian named Algernon Bayliss. Somehow, along the way, a German spy and some scientific secrets come into play, but one would be well-served to not wonder how.

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Mansfield Park Review


Very Good
What is it about Jane Austen? This box-office stalwart has inspired five major film adaptations in the '90s (six counting the excellent BBC/A&E production of Pride and Prejudice in 1995).

I think I know what Austen's secret is: Her books are recent, but not modern. Her central characters have good manners and triumph over bad marriages or economic straits, instead of succumbing to their own vices or whining too much about their problems.

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Bedazzled (2000) Review


Weak
There truly is nothing quite like a Brendan Fraser movie, is there? Encino Man, Dudley Do-Right, Mrs. Winterbourne... these are the films that a generation uses to mark the passage of time.

It's nigh time we added another sparkling gem to the 30-picture oeuvre that is The Brendan Fraser Experience... and that gem is Bedazzled, a limp remake of a 1967 Dudley Moore vehicle -- a Dudley Moore vehicle which was also co-written by Dudley Moore. Just so you know we're working with some stellar raw material here.

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Windtalkers Review


Extraordinary
Action is John Woo's middle name. After directing frenetic flicks such as Mission: Impossible II, Face/Off, and Broken Arrow, I knew we would get enough bombs, blood and broken body parts to give his WWII drama Windtalkers an accurate feel. But the film is about more than good gore; it has tremendous heart, too.

During the war, the Japanese were masters at stealing and translating the codes used by U.S. troops to communicate messages to and from the front lines. There was a huge loss of life as a result of these interceptions. In response, the Marines recruited Navajos to act as code talkers, and used their intricate tribal language as a new, unbreakable code. Woo's Windtalkers is an intense and emotional look at the critical role the Navajos played in the United States' success in the war.

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A.I. Artificial Intelligence Review


Good
I remember sitting in a movie theater at the tender age of 14, watching a little film called D.A.R.Y.L., about a boy with a computer brain trying to cope with modern society and questions of emotion and identity. D.A.R.Y.L. was not some overblown, 2 1/2-hour ordeal. It was 99 breezy minutes of fun fun fun!

A.I. Artificial Intelligence is, too my deep dismay, neither breezy nor particularly fun. The level of anticipation of the film, of course, would be impossible to effectively sate, but A.I. just doesn't cut it. It doesn't even come close.

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Windtalkers Review


Weak

The Navajo code talkers who are the ostensive focus of the new John Woo World War II movie have so little to do with the story that calling the picture "Windtalkers" feels like a sham.

Sure it opens with a breathtaking shot of rock formations in the Arizona's Monument Valley, giving the film an immediate sense of place and spirituality. But it's essentially the same shot Woo used to open "Mission: Impossible 2," minus a rock-climbing Tom Cruise and plus a touch of reverent native flute music on the soundtrack.

Sure one of the main characters is a Navajo named Ben Yahzee (Adam Beach) who has a hard time fitting in with his Marine unit, which is teeming with countrified Southern bigots. And sure, once the Pacific island combat scenes get rolling Ben calls in a few air strikes using the never-broken Navajo language-based code that helped win the war.

Continue reading: Windtalkers Review

Mansfield Park Review


OK

The latest Jane Austen novel lovingly adapted to film, "Mansfield Park" features a predictably resolute heroine named Fanny Price, a 10-year-old girl from a poor family who is sent to live with wealthy relations at their country estate.

The first thing her aunt says to her is "Let's have a look at you...Well, I'm sure you have other qualities." When her uncle thinks she's out of earshot, he tells his daughters, "she's not your equal," and he insists she live in the servants' wing to prevent her from tempting her male cousins. Nonetheless, young Edmund takes a shine to her and makes her feel at home, which is the beginning of a life-long friendship.

Well, I think we all know where this is going. As witty and wildly engaging as Austen's coy 18th Century romances are, they're nothing if not predictable.

Continue reading: Mansfield Park Review

Frances O'connor

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Frances O'Connor Movies

The Conjuring 2 Movie Review

The Conjuring 2 Movie Review

Continuing on from the 2013 hit, this sequel blends fact and fiction to follow real-life...

The Conjuring 2 Trailer

The Conjuring 2 Trailer

Not fazed by their previous experiences, Lorraine and Ed Warren are still successful paranormal investigators...

The Hunter Movie Review

The Hunter Movie Review

Shot in the breathtaking wilds of Tasmania, this evocative dramatic thriller puts us into the...

Mansfield Park Movie Review

Mansfield Park Movie Review

What is it about Jane Austen? This box-office stalwart has inspired five major film...

About Adam Movie Review

About Adam Movie Review

So what about Adam, exactly? This Brit flick tells of a presumably dashing young...

Timeline Movie Review

Timeline Movie Review

At least one can be thankful for a movie like Timeline that hires Billy Connolly...

Bedazzled (2000) Movie Review

Bedazzled (2000) Movie Review

There truly is nothing quite like a Brendan Fraser movie, is there? Encino Man,...

Windtalkers Movie Review

Windtalkers Movie Review

Action is John Woo's middle name. After directing frenetic flicks such as Mission: Impossible...

A.I. Artificial Intelligence Movie Review

A.I. Artificial Intelligence Movie Review

I remember sitting in a movie theater at the tender age of 14, watching a...

Bedazzled Movie Review

Bedazzled Movie Review

It's easy to understand why Brendan Fraser wanted to star in "Bedazzled." He gets to...

About Adam Movie Review

About Adam Movie Review

Let's see if I can, without giving away too much, get to the crux of...

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