Manzor's script grafts upon this movie a Citizen Kane-type structure as it shunts us between the occasion of Napoleon's exhumation in Paris in 1840 and 20 years earlier, during Napoleon's island imprisonment. Upon his exhumation, the question is raised of how Napoleon died -- from an ulcer or slow poisoning? -- and whether Napoleon died at all -- or, as rumor has it, he foisted his butler Cipriani's body in place of his own and escaped to an anonymous life elsewhere. To find out, Heathcote questions Napoleon's mistress, Albine (Elsa Zylberstein), and the few officers who attended to him on St. Helena, as well as the British governor, Hudson Lowe (Richard E. Grant), once in charge of Napoleon's imprisonment and now reduced to an aging and disgraced wreck. Their reflections -- alternately wistful and caustic -- cue us to extended flashbacks of those island years and of Napoleon's shrewdly enigmatic persona. There is also the question of Betsy Balcombe (Siobhan Hewlett), an English merchant's daughter on St. Helena with whom Napoleon has an affair -- much to Albine's chagrin and Heathcote's too, for we're meant to believe that Heathcote's also smitten with her. But his gambit, at one point, to express his feelings to her is laughable, because it's such an obvious ploy by Manzor to bring his character to some turn-of-fate, having arrived here using voiceovers as a shortcut device and never treading the hard road of character development to earn his way.
Continue reading: Monsieur N. Review
Mira Sorvino plays a princess who dresses up as a dandified male student to infiltrate the summertime estate of a misogynistic philosopher (Ben Kingsley). Under the old man's tutelage, a dashing prince (Jay Rodan) has been instructed to distrust the female sex. So clever Sorvino attires herself as a man to earn his friendship, trust, and above all, love.
Continue reading: Triumph Of Love Review
"The Caveman's Valentine" is a terrible title for an intelligent movie. It sounds like some B-grade fright flick from the 1950s with screaming blondes in strategically torn outfits being abducted by ape men found living on an uncharted island.
As it turns out, this "Caveman's Valentine" is actually a provocative, stylized psychological thriller/murder mystery about a one-time musical genius long ago driven out of a normal life and into homelessness by acute paranoid schizophrenia.
Played with an astonishing array of nuance by cinematic chameleon Samuel L. Jackson, Romulus Ledbetter is a disheveled, massively dreadlocked, ranting but misunderstood madman. His mind has become a tangled, delusional plane where an unseen evil -- an omnipotent adversary with powerful ray weapons -- conspires against him to take over the world.
Continue reading: The Caveman's Valentine Review
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