Movie Previews: ‘Summer in February,’ ‘G.B.F.,’ ‘Reasonable Doubt,’ ‘Nut Job’


Headed to the movies this weekend? Check out out Cineast film previews first to decide which is worthy of your $11.

Summer In February
Coming at just about the time when we might be longing for some warmer temperatures, Summer In February is actually a period costume drama from England, that bottomless well of period costume dramas. Set during the summer of 1913—the last, wistfully remembered summer before the calamity of the Great War—the film is about the true-life love triangle between the up-and-coming British painter Alfred Munnings, his friend Gilbert Evans and Florence Carter-Wood, the woman they both loved. Even though it was shot against a backdrop of breathtaking Cornish countryside, the film seems strictly for the set that, even after years of Masterpiece Theater, still wants more sepia-tinted scenes of handsome, tweed-clad young men, beautiful but repressed young women and overwrought British acting.

The title G.B.F. may seem like the name of a company that makes roofing supplies, but it actually stands for Gay Best Friend. The notion behind the film G.B.F., and it’s a pretty clever one as teen exploitation films go, is that the FIRST boy at any high school to come out as gay will become instantly popular as all of the girls in the school will compete with each other to make him their “Gay Best Friend.” Expect a thorough airing of every cliché having to do with the interaction between straight girls and gay boys: the mutual obsession with clothes, the mutual stroking of fragile egos, the mutual love of shopping, the shared joy of catty gossip. Could it be that Hollywood’s approach toward youthful homosexuality has gone from treating it as completely taboo to treating it as a ready-made plot device without any of the awkward in between stages?

Reasonable Doubt
Speaking of ready-made, the film Reasonable Doubt feels as off-the-shelf Hollywood as you can get, starting with the title. Dominic Cooper stars as Mitch Brockden, a district attorney who one night while driving drunk strikes and kills a pedestrian—and then drives away. The death gets blamed on another man, played by Samuel L. Jackson, who Brockden works surreptitiously to acquit, only to later find that Jackson did play a role in the victim’s death. Brockden begins digging a hole that will soon come to jeopardize his young family. Sort of like a very dumbed-down Cape Fear, with Samuel L. Jackson standing in for Robert Mitchum as the vengeful, murderous villain.

The Nut Job
One for the kiddies, The Nut Job is an animated film about a group of squirrels (with some birds and a dog thrown in for good measure) who undertake to rob a nut store. Featuring the voices of Katherine Heigl, Will Arnett and Brendan Fraser, the film is rated PG for some mild action and the de rigeur potty jokes, but it shouldn’t be anything your average 5 year old couldn’t take.

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