by Sarah Payne
Love and Friendship – May 13th – As a literature nerd, I am particularly excited about the release of Love and Friendship, as it’s based on Lady Susan, Jane Austen’s short epistolary novel. “Lady Susan” was actually written around 1794, but it wasn’t published until 1871. It’s also interesting because the main character (played by Kate Beckinsale) is much different than Austen’s typical heroine. She’s a widow and a flirt with questionable morals that attract much younger men (Oh, my!). In his review of the film, Nigel Smith from The Guardian writes, “Beckinsale is a hoot to watch as a character with no redeemable qualities, except her cunning ability to get what she wants…Despite its period trappings, Stillman’s film never feels stilted, largely thanks to his bracingly modern heroine.” Sounds like five stars to me!
The Nice Guys – May 20th – Another period piece, this one set in the 1970s, The Nice Guys is a crime thriller starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe. There’s not much out yet for reviews, but the trailer definitely gives off a dark comedy vibe. In fact, Warner Brothers was a bit creative with the marketing for the film last month. They bought a TV spot that features a real phone number of the detective agency in the film (844-4-NICE GUYS, if you’re interested) that you can call and hear a recording of Gosling and Crowe’s voices. Jury’s still out on whether The Nice Guys will be any good, but I am looking forward to both actors being on the big screen again.
Eye in the Sky – I really wanted to like this one. It has all the right people—Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, even Alan Rickman (this was one of his last films). Mirren plays a British colonel who is tracking terrorists in Kenya. Paul is a drone pilot based in Las Vegas, Nevada. The moral dilemma at the heart of the film is how much risk do you take in modern warfare, especially when there are no ‘boots on the ground’? It’s a fascinating issue for sure, but the execution is a bit melodramatic. Though I will always have a soft spot for Paul’s Jesse Pinkman character from Breaking Bad, it seems he’s now been stereotyped as the “crier”. He cries for what feels like 10 whole minutes in a film that already runs short. I also find it unrealistic that a drone pilot would have the authority to tell off a colonel (my brother, who’s in the military, was sitting next to me and confirmed my suspicions). To be fair, Eye in the Sky does manage to pull at your heart strings through the story of an innocent nine-year-old girl, who is caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. It makes me so grateful to be born in a country where I have legal rights and I am respected as a woman.
Cleopatra by The Lumineers – Are you looking for a relaxing folk album you can play while you clean or read on a Sunday afternoon? Cleopatra, The Lumineers’ sophomore album, may be for you. You may remember their first big hit, “Ho Hey,” back in 2012. They took their time to release new music, and the general consensus among critics is that they’re not too worried about mainstream airplay this time around. Wren Graves from Consequence of Sound writes, “The main ingredients that turned The Lumineers from indie folk into folk pop were the toe-tapping claps, smacks, and bangs. On Cleopatra, many of the tracks make it through the second verse before adding any kind of percussion, and some don’t use any at all.” It’s a refreshing new perspective for the group. My favorite tracks are “Ophelia” (which is playing on alternative radio) and “White Lie”.