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Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Rhys Meyers’

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Bront Palarae

“EDGE OF THE WORLD” My rating: C- (VOD)

104 minutes | No MPAA rating

There’s undoubtedly a great film to be made of the life of Sir James Brooke, the Englishman who in the early 19th century schemed and fought his way into ruling a good chunk of the island nation of Borneo.

Alas, “Edge of the World” isn’t that movie.

Written by Rob Allyn, directed by Michael Haussman and starring a horrendously miscast Jonathan Rhys Meyers, this movie doesn’t succeed even as coherent storytelling.

Brooke was the real-life inspiration for Conrad’s characters from Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness (see also John Milius’ 1989 “Farewell to the King” and Francis Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now”), an adventurer out of sorts with traditional Victorian society who went rogue and carved a place for himself on the edge of civilization.

What sort of personality would it take to maneuver his way into such a position of power, to juggle and exploit the antagonisms among local political/tribal factions and to combat attempts to unseat him?

Keep asking. This movie offers little insight. Rhys Meyers’ charisma-free performance suggests a man with a 24/7 migraine and dyspepsia. But as to his moral compass, his motivations, his innermost feelings — we’re out of luck. The film is heavy on Brooke’s voiceover narration, but he doesn’t actually say much.

Dominic Monaghan is unmemorable as Brooke’s right-hand man, while Josie Ho plays the colorless local girl who becomes the white rajah’s bride. About the only fun performance here comes from Bront Palarae as Brooke’s scheming, amoral rival, a local prince who thinks nothing of casually lopping off the noggin of any poor peasant who gets in his way.

Director Haussman comes to features after a career in music videos. It shows. The film often looks good, but the means of presenting an effective long-form narrative elude him.

| Robert W. Butler

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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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