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Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Rhys Meyers’

Lois Robbins, Jonathan Rhys Meyers

“THE ASPERN PAPERS” My rating: D+ 

90 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Not even the presence of the iconic mother/daughter acting team of Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson can salvage the sodden shipwreck that is “The Aspern Papers.”

Julian Landais’ film is only the latest dramatic incarnation of Henry James’ celebrated 1888 novella (there have been a half dozen previous adaptations), but it’s such a spectacular misfire that it should scare the smart money away from future versions.

In the 1880s an American scholar comes to Venice intent on researching the life of the famed poet Jeffrey Aspern, who died 60 years earlier leaving a couple of books of devastating verse and a beautiful corpse.  Our protagonist and  narrator, unnamed in the book but here calling himself Edward Sullivan, is portrayed by an abysmally miscast Jonathan Rhys Meyers at his creepiest.

“Edward” rents quarters in the crumbling villa of the money-strapped Madame Bordereau (Redgrave), who was Aspern’s lover back in the day. The old lady is a hard, utterly unsentimental case, but Edward sees an opening in her spinster niece, Tina (Richardson).  He gets to work insinuating himself into the women’s lives, courting  the lonely, shy Tina as a way of accessing Aspern’s personal papers, a veritable treasure trove he is certain Bordereau possesses.

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Antonio Banderas, Piper Perabo

“BLACK BUTTERFLY” My rating: C+

93 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Brian Goodman’s “Black Butterfly” is a moderately effective thriller with several “gotcha!” twists…until it delivers one gotcha twist too many.

Paul (Antonio Banderas) is a once-promising novelist and screenwriter now fallen upon hard times. He sits in his remote cabin home in the Rockies (actually, the film was shot in Italy) pecking aimlessly at his typewriter, drinking heavily and hoping for inspiration. It isn’t forthcoming.

Meanwhile a serial killer has been terrorizing the neighborhood, snatching young women who are never seen again.

During a confrontation at a local diner with a bad-tempered trucker, Paul is defended by Jack (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a mysterious drifter. Thankful for the intervention, he invites Jack to stay a few days at his home.  Jack agrees to make some repairs to the place, which the financially-strapped Paul must reluctantly sell.

But there’s something a bit off about this guest.  Jack keeps in his backpack newspaper clippings about the missing women. He can be surly and suspicious.

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