It’s a summer of love

Dan Stevens and Emily Browning  in Summer in February
Dan Stevens and Emily Browning in Summer in February

Depicting a true-life Edwardian era love triangle among an artist’s colony in Cornwall just before the First World War, Summer in February (Cert 15) is a fictionalised account based on a novel by Jonathan Smith.

He is a former schoolteacher whose pupils included Dan Stevens who went on to make his name in Downton Abbey and has signed up not only to star in the film but as one of the producers.

His character of Gilbert Evans, an army officer overseeing the Lamorna estate where the artists hang out, is not unlike Matthew Crawley in Downton, a sensitive and principled good egg.

The life and soul of the colony is Alfred ‘AJ’ Munnings, a charismatic extrovert whose wayward life rather belies the conservatism of his art - best known for painting horses and believing poetry should be recited by rote.

Into their life comes Florence Carter-Wood (Emily Browning), an aspiring artist trying to escape her domineering father (a blimpish Nicholas Farrell) and both men are smitten and she with them.

From then on each of the characters make decisions which are never truly explained but lead to heartbreak and catastrophe.

We are clearly meant to see Florence as a tragic figure, a woman of her time stifled in life and in art but you feel her problems are largely of her own making. Summer in February can’t be faulted on cast, period detail and locations but lacks an engaging narrative.

In Josh Boone’s semi-autobiographical feelgood romantic dramerdy Stuck in Love (Cert 15) a dysfunctional bookish West Coast family come to terms with the complexities of love in all its forms over the course of a year.

Greg Kinnear is novelist Bill Borgens (Greg Kinnear) who remains obsessed with his ex-wife Erica (Jennifer Connelly) three years after she left him for a younger man.

Meanwhile, his precocious student daughter Samantha (Lily Collins) whose first novel is about to be published cynically pursues sex with no strings, spurning the attentions of nice guy classmate Lou (Logan Lerman).

Teenage son Rusty (Nat Wolff) is trying to find his voice, both as a fantasy writer and to attract the attention of the hottie in his class.

There’s some gentle humour along the way to the film’s highly-predictable resolution.

The big film of the week is, of course, Zack Snyder’s reboot of the Superman franchise. Man Of Steel (Cert 12A) which by all accounts is cast more in the dark mould of Christopher Nolan and Batman Begins than the 1970s and 1980s big screen incarnations of the superhero.

When planet Krypton faces destruction, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) sends his son to Earth in the hope that the child will be spared.

The infant is adopted and raised by farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent (Kevin Costner, Diane Lane), who christen the boy Clark and raise him as their own flesh and blood. From an early age, Clark (played by Cooper Timberline and Dylan Sprayberry) realises he is different from the other children in Smallville, Kansas and when the school bus is involved in a terrible accident, Clark uses his untapped powers to save his classmates.