Fans of romantic fiction may enjoy this gimmicky comedy, which cleverly plays around with Jane Austen's fiction but kind of misses its own joke. The screenwriters seem to think they're combining sudsy fantasy with darker realism. But actually everything on screen is plainly ridiculous, only livened up by a couple of the actors.
The story starts in America, where Jane (Russell) is so obsessed with Austen's novels that she's sure Mr Darcy is coming for her any day now. So she spends her savings on a holiday at Austenland in England, where Mrs Wattlesbrook (Seymour) lets her clients live as if they're in a 19th century novel. Jane's only fellow guests are Elizabeth and Amelia (Coolidge and King), both of whom flirt shamelessly with Nobley, Andrews and East (Feild, Callis and Whittle), the actors on hand to play dashing bachelors. But Jane is more interested in sexy stable boy Martin (McKenzie).
As the script strains to layer romance and fantasy into this goofy set-up, there are a few snappy one-liners that get us laughing, thanks mainly to the expert improvisation skills of Coolidge, who can make anything funny. By contrast, Russell is annoyingly naive and sulky, while King tips the opposite way into broad farce. The men are more interesting because we occasionally get to see them as the actors they really are, but none of them are very complex, and we can guess where the story is going from the start.
Continue reading: Austenland Review
Jane Seymour, Jennifer Coolidge, JJ Feild, Georgia King, Ricky Whittle, Keri Russell, James Callis and Bret McKenzie - Los Angeles Premiere of 'Austenland' at ArcLight Hollywood - Red Carpet Arrivals - Los Angeles, CA, United States - Thursday 8th August 2013
But as "Captain America" he's just a propaganda tool until he gets a chance to prove himself on the front line as a key weapon against the deeply evil Nazi Schmidt (Weaving).Shot more like a rollicking adventure than a typical superhero movie, the script spends just about enough time on the origin story to grab our attention, including nifty effects that render Evans as a 90-pound weakling. Then the action kicks off, powering through one set piece after another. Refreshingly, it never bothers to deepen the story with random sideplots, superfluous characters or knowing winks. So it's a lot of fun to watch.
The action sequences are thrilling without being too suspenseful and, for the most part, the filmmakers keep the stunts and explosions within believable proportions. In fact, the film has a wonderfully dishevelled look, combining more rough-and-ready filmmaking touches with the slick 1940s clothes and architecture. Which almost makes it feel like one of the propaganda films it so cleverly recreates.
Continue reading: Captain America: The First Avenger Review
James (Cumberbatch) has just turned 29 and he's dying of cancer. As a birthday wish, he gets his best mates Miles, Davy and Bill (Feild, Burke and Robertson) to take him on a hike across Pembrokeshire to his favourite beach. Along the way, good-natured banter gives way to sometimes too-honest conversations as they have a series of small adventures on the vertiginous cliffs. The question is whether their friendship can survive all of the things that are finally about to be said.
Continue reading: Third Star Review
When Sarah (Janet McTeer) and her surveyor fiancee Hamish (JJ Feild) arrive in the jungle, they assume great things are on the way. But no sooner has Hamish completed his first expedition than they find the rules changing and the sad little village getting more and more disturbing. Money is withheld, sickness is contracted, murders are committed. Before long, Sarah is pathetically turning to prostitution to earn a little cash -- or even to get back the money that was stolen from her.
Continue reading: The Intended Review