Love & Friendship Review

The Plot

The unashamedly ruthless and flirtatious Lady Susan Vernon takes up temporary residence at her in-laws’ quiet country estate. While taking advantage of her dismayed relations, she relentlessly schemes toward finding an advantageous match for herself and her unfortunate daughter Frederica

The Good

Love & Friendship is based on Jane Austen’s unfinished novella Lady Susan. However, those anticipating a sweet natured tale of brooding but kind hearted romance may find themselves surprised but thoroughly amused by this adaptation of one of the iconic period drama author’s lesser known works.

Lady Susan’s joyously selfish and unapologetically mean spirited personality immediately distinguishes the film from all other Austen adaptations, instantly injecting a bitterly funny tone that feels strangely modern.  Kate Beckinsale trades well upon her flawless looks and cut glass vocal charms to deliver a loveably loathsome performance.

There’s an undeniable guilty pleasure for audiences in watching her casually manipulate and abuse the assorted kind souls and blithering idiots she is surrounded by in polite Edwardian society. The combined skill of Austen’ writing, Beckinsale’s performance and Whit Stillman’s careful direction conspire to ensure that Lady Susan remains obnoxious but somehow likeable.

Though Beckinsale’s Lady Susan may shamelessly abuse her meek daughter and the assorted proud or foolish aristocracy around her, she rarely has a truly despicable impact on others. This enables audiences to regard her selfish determination with some form of admiration rather than abhorrence.

Newcomer Tom Bennett steals every moment he’s on screen with a performance that perfectly captures the true joy of blithering idiocy. Listening to his wealthy simpleton Sir James Martin assess the merits of the ‘12 commandments’ or extol the virtue of peas is a relentless delight.

A host of familiar faces including Chloe Sevginy, Stephen Fry and James Fleet also round out a well-chosen supporting cast that helps facilitate the film’s saucy comedic approach to the source material. Armed with a skilful ensemble capable of handling the quick spoken verbal  pacing, director Whit Stillman is able to fully realise the innately energetic charms of Austen’s most sharp tongued wit.

The Bad

Those adamantly opposed to enjoying Austen’s corset clad dramatics may still be put off, even with the additional emphasis on comedy and a captivating anti-heroine. Love and Friendship moves at a leisurely pace and offers a relatively simple plot lacking in any actual elements of danger or drama. Ultimately the playfully mean spirited sense of humour may not quite go far enough for anyone suffering from a serious Austen aversion.

The Ugly Truth

Love and Friendship sparkles with a deliciously sharped tongued wit that adds a new dimension of black comedy to the familiar period drama charms of Jane Austen. Scene stealing turns from Kate Beckinsale and newcomer Tom Bennett are particular highlights along a generally amusing ride.

Review By Russell Nelson

The Nice Guys Review

The Plot

A mismatched pair of private eyes investigate the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles.

The Good

Writer/director Shane Black returns to the big screen after dipping his toe into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2013’s Iron Man 3 and brings a consistently funny script as only he knows how. Set in Los Angeles in 1977, The Nice Guys brings together Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as Jackson Healy and Holland March, two hapless private investigators who scour the city in search of the truth behind the death and apparent reappearance of porn star, Misty Mountains (Murielle Telio). To find out what happened, they must first find Amelia (Margaret Qualley) to help piece together the puzzle. The only problem is, Amelia doesn’t want to be found.

Crowe and Gosling manage to bring a fantastically charismatic pairing to the screen in performances which basically see them moving from mistake to mistake as the bumbling investigators. Of the two it is undoubtedly Gosling who is most memorable. His drunken performance as March is a joy to watch while Crowe just looks on in disbelief. That’s not to say Crowe doesn’t get some laughs too. His are just more grounded than Gosling’s.

The real treat however, comes from Angourie Rice who tags along this wacky story as Gosling’s on-screen daughter, Holly. While the two leads are crashing through the plot creating comical chaos, Rice brings arguably the more mature performance of the trio as she tries her hand at her father’s profession and manages to do a much better job of it for the most part.

The Bad

As a buddy cop comedy, The Nice Guys is excellent, but as a Shane Black film, it leaves a lot to be desired. The plot tumbles along from set to set, following the unarguably strong chemistry between the two leads, but once Rice comes into the mix she feels like the more interesting character to follow. Crowe and Gosling do a great job together but don’t get enough character development to make us really care about much more than their comedy. And while Rice gets less character development, her performance brings out a much more intriguing character that feels undervalued. This is despite the fact that she is occasionally slumped into the damsel in distress role – though she manages to hold her own even in those scenes.

The story we’re given takes a long time to become truly interesting as the mystery surrounding the question of whether Misty Mountains is still alive ends up being shunned aside in the second act to make way for the boisterous comedy.

The Ugly Truth

Shane Black brings plenty of laughs as is expected, but the plot feels a touch too empty in the end. While there’s no denying that Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling give two great comic performances (Gosling more so), it’s Angourie Rice who leaves a bigger impact when the credits start to roll.

Review By Johnny Ellis

Kate Beckinsale Talks Underworld Blood Wars

With a little under five months until the latest installment of the Underworld series hits screens, Kate Beckinsale has teased us with promises of ‘lots of mayhem… new bad guys and new worlds’ to explore in the upcoming chapter, Blood Wars. Speaking to Red Carpet News TV at the premiere for Love & Friendship, Beckinsale also discussed her experience working with director Anna Foerster, calling it ‘really wonderful to have a female director finally in charge of a female led action franchise’

Underworld: Blood Wars is due for release on October 14 in the US. While there’s no word yet on the UK release it’s fair to say it’ll be around the same time. In the meantime you can catch Kate Beckinsale in Love & Friendship, out in cinemas this weekend. Check out our full interview below:

Jenn Murray Talks Fantastic Beasts

Love & Friendship star Jenn Murray has been discussing the much anticipated Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them in the lead up to its upcoming release this November. Talking to Red Carpet News TV at the Love & Friendship premiere, Murray told fans to ‘expect creativity and imagination, beautiful sets, beautiful costumes… and a great story’ for the film which is set to explore JK Rowling’s magical world in a 1920s New York setting.

She also had some praise to give to director David Yates who returns to the franchise after directing the final 4 installments of the hugely popular series, describing him as ‘special and unique’ and ‘very generous [making you feel] like your ideas are important’

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is due out on November 18th, with Jenn Murray joining a cast of Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller and Colin Farell, to name a few. In the meantime you can catch Murray in Love & Friendship out in cinemas this weekend. Check out our full interview below:

Mike Myers & Simon Pegg Join Terminal Cast

Upcoming crime thriller Terminal has added Simon Pegg and Mike Myers to the cast. The film, due for release later this year also stars Margot Robbie in a lead role as well as Max irons, Eddie the Eagle director Dexter Fletcher and Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis.

Writer/Director Vaughn Stein is currently shooting the film, his first feature length film, which tells the story of two hit men (Fletcher and Irons) who go on a suicide mission while working for a mysterious employer. While Pegg and Myers’ roles haven’t been announced yet, Margot Robbie plays Annie, a woman who may be more involved in the mission than the hit men first believe.

More news on this as we get it but in the meantime you can check out Simon Pegg as he returns for Star Trek Beyond July 22nd.