July 14, 2009



The Edge of Love * (1 star)

Starring Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller, Matthew Rhys, Cillian Murphy. Directed by John Maybury. Released by Image Entertainment. $27.95 (Blu-ray $35.95).

It's so hard, being a poet. Or the wife of a poet. Or the childhood sweetheart of a poet. Or the husband of the childhood sweetheart of a poet.

Such is the wisdom of The Edge of Love, a movie unfortunately as banal as its tagline, "The only thing more dangerous than war is love." Oh, really? Some soldiers on the front lines may disagree. But then, this is a movie that juxtaposes shots of a woman giving birth with shots of a soldier getting his arm hacked off in the midst of battle, seemingly suggesting that the pain of both is roughly the same.

It only compounds the fracture that The Edge of Love is based on real events in the lives of its real characters. Sullen and resolutely churlish Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (Matthew Rhys) can't believe his luck when a chanteuse in the local pub turns out to be his childhood crush, Vera Phillips (Keira Knightley). But then his sotted wife, Caitlin (Sienna Miller) shows up. Only she doesn't spoil the party, but rather joins it, quickly deciding that Vera is her new best friend. Vera, meanwhile, struggles not to become enamored of soldier William Killick (Cillian Murphy), who's head-over-heels for her. Finally, she marries him, and promises to tell him she loves him as soon as he gets back from World War II. In the meantime, she and Caitlin and Dylan live in adjoining houses on a misty Irish shore and spend time wondering who is sleeping with whom.

It would be hard to imagine four less likable characters; their welcomes are worn out within 15 minutes of the opening scene, and even as appealing an actress as Knightley can't change that.

Also out today: For All Mankind (Criterion, $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95), from 1989, is the story of the Apollo space program and its moon missions.

- Chris Kaltenbach


Prototype *** (3 starS)

Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC. $49.99-$59.99.

Alex Mercer has become a monster in Prototype, and he wants to find out how and why.

That's the setup for this open-world game - the second this year, after the PS3-exclusive Infamous, to put players in the shoes of someone who never asked for superpowers. But Mercer makes no pretense of being nice - there aren't any of the moral choices that Infamous protagonist Cole McGrath was given.

Mercer wakes up in a Manhattan morgue with a chest full of bullet wounds and no memories. But he soon finds that he can consume humans, copy their shapes and absorb their memories. He also has enough strength to lift and throw a car, and the ability to run up the sides of skyscrapers.

He starts looking for clues to his disturbing transformation - and to the shadowy military group, Blackwatch, that begins taking over the city.

Absorption and imitation are just the tip of Mercer's shape-shifting iceberg. New abilities are unlocked as Mercer progresses through story missions.

- Justin Heoger, McClatchy Newspapers

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