Posts Tagged ‘Vanessa Redgrave’

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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“ANONYMOUS”  My rating: B (Opening wide on Oct. 28)

130 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

Here’s a sentence I never expected to read, much less write:

Director Roland Emmerich has made a movie of ideas.

Yes, the man who gave the world high-concept, nutritionally light hits like “Stargate,” “Independence Day,” “Twister,” “Godzilla,” “The Patriot,” “The Day After Tomorrow” and “2012” has put on his thinking cap and delivered a Gordian knot of convoluted history from Elizabethan England.

And if his “Anonymous” is a largely chilly and cerebral affair, it’s positively overflowing with brain-tickling notions.

Nominally this is the story of Edward DeVere, Earl of Oxford, a member of the court of Elizabeth I who in some quarters has been credited with being the true author of Shakespeare’s plays and poems.


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Rachel Weisz

“THE WHISTLEBLOWER” My rating: B (Opening Aug. 26 at the Rio)

112 minutes | MPAA rating: R

For a first feature, Larysa Kondracki’s “The Whistleblower” is a more than competent thriller carrying a considerable emotional punch.

Based on the real experiences of Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska cop who in the late ‘90s signed up for a United Nations peacekeeping force in the former Yugoslavia, this suspenser carries a big dose of moral outrage.

Kathryn (Rachel Weisz) is a member of the Lincoln PD who already has lost primary custody of her kids and now faces losing them entirely, since her ex is relocating to another state.

Strapped with debt and unable to find a law enforcement job near the children, she answers an ad for a high-paying job as a U.N. Peacekeeper. Her idea is to return after a year with enough money to start over.


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