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Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Hunnam’

Charlie Hunnam, Rami Malek

“PAPILLON” My rating: C

136 minutes | MPAA rating: R

There are moments in the new “Papillon” when Brit actor Charlie Hunnam looks so much like the late Steve McQueen that it’s startling.

McQueen, the cinema’s King of Cool throughout the ’60s and early ’70s, starred in the original 1973 film version of Henri Charriere’s best-selling memoir about surviving and escaping from a hellish penal colony in French Guiana. For all of McQueen’s arresting screen presence (and a strong supporting performance from Dustin Hoffman), that Franklin Schaffer-directed adventure was a snooze.

So is this remake.

Still, Hunnam looks so right in the role that one wishes he was making better choices in his projects and directors.

He showed his Yankee bona fides by playing the hunkily charismatic heir to a California motorcycle gang in cable’s long-running “Sons of Anarchy” (aka “Hamlet on Harleys”), but his movie resume has been all over the map, from the low-keyed and under appreciated jungle adventure “The Lost City of Z” to the overblown and nearly unwatchable “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.”  His best films, ironically, have been those in which he played minor character parts: “Children of Men,” “Green Street Hooligans,” “Cold Mountain.”

This “Papillon,” scripted by Aaron Guzikowski and directed by Michael Noer, looks plenty expensive, what with its massive set of a tropical prison and hundreds of extras slaving away like Hebrews building the pyramids.

But on the two vital points on which Charriere’s story pivots — his daring escape attempts and his refusal to break under inhuman treatment — the film loses steam and momentum and ends up drifting in the doldrums. (more…)

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Charlie Hunnam

“KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD” My rating: D+ (Opens wide on May 12)

126 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

Having shrunk the great Sherlock Holmes to fit the limited palette of short attention span theater (more Vin Diesel than Conan Doyle), filmmaker Guy Ritchie has now unleashed his reductive skills on the Arthurian legend.

Predictably, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” is visually elephantine and dramatically stunted.

Know from the start that this “Arthur” has about as much in common with Malory or Tennyson as “Clash of the Titans” did with Bulfinch. Basically it’s a big shapeless slice of sword-and-sorcery, CG battles and quirky humor (providing you find it at all amusing).

In a prologue the kingdom of Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana) is seized during a great battle (war elephants the size of battleships…in England) by his scheming brother Vortigern (a sneering Jude Law, who portrays Watson in Ritchie’s Holmes franchise).

Before dying Uther sends his young son Arthur off to safety.  The boy grows up to be hunky Charlie Hunnam (“Sons of Anarchy”), raised in a brothel and unaware of his royal origins. He’s protective of the harlots who sheltered him, and regularly attends classes at a dojo run by an Asian martial arts master. (Seriously, there’s dialogue referring to “kung fu.” In Medieval London.) (more…)

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Charlie Hunnam

“THE LOST CITY OF Z” My rating: B

141 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

There are really two movies at work in James Gray’s “The Lost City of Z.”

One unfolds in the well-appointed parlors, bucolic fields and imposing halls of turn-of-the-last-century England.

The other plays out in a world of daunting jungles,  piranha-infested rivers and unpredictable Amazonian cannibals.

Holding those two realities together is the real-life figure of Percy Faucett, an Englishman who embodied his era’s spirit of discovery, scientific exploration and a seemingly superhuman need to experience physical challenges and personal perils.

“The Lost City of Z” (the Z is pronounced “zed,” Brit-style) is the most expansive, grandest vision of writer/director Gray’s career (“Little Odessa,” “The Yards,” “The Immigrant”), achieving at times the sweep of a David Lean epic.

And as is the case with Lean, it sometimes seems that the epic overpowers the human elements.

We first meet Faucett (Charlie Hunnam, about 180 degrees away from his biker Hamlet in cable’s “The Sons of Anarchy”) as a struggling young military officer whose prospects are limited, in the words of one aristocratic snob, because he has been “rather unfortunate in his choice of ancestors.”

Faucett gets a shot at fame and glory when he’s asked by the Royal Geographic Society to travel to the Amazon to prevent a war.  Seems the Bolivians and the Brazilians cannot agree on an official border between their two nations; Faucett is to survey the impenetrable jungle and set a boundary that will ensure the peace.

Accompanied by his equally adventurous assistant, Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson in full beard mode), the two not only accomplish their mission but stumble across tantalizing evidence that somewhere deep in the wilderness are the ruins of a centuries-old city, a metropolis that would have been bigger and more sophisticated than anything in Europe at that time.

Returning to Britain a national hero, Faucett touts his belief in the lost city, leading to accusations that he has fallen for an “El Dorado”-type myth. That attitude is as much racist as it is scientific…Faucett’s belief that the Amazon Indians once had a world-class civilization doesn’t go down well with imperialists who embrace the white man’s duty to raise and/or exploit the world’s great unwashed. (more…)

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