The Rum DiaryDirector: Michel Hazanavicius, The Weinstein Company, Rated PG, 119 mins
Johnny Depp’s latest movie is based on journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s novel The Rum Diary with Depp paying tribute to his friend by portraying Thompson as a hard-drinking American journalist in the fictional role of Paul Kemp, having earlier played a similar character to Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in 1998- just a few years prior to Thompson’s death in 2005.
Under the direction of occasional filmmaker Bruce Robinson (whose last movie was Jennifer Eight in 1992), Kemp (Depp) takes on a journalist job with The San Juan Star in Puerto Rico run by stressed-out editor Lotterman (Richard Jenkins - Friends with Benefits) at the same time as maintaining his high consumption of alcohol (especially liking the small bottles of rum) which he enjoys with journalist colleagues Sala (Michael Rispoli - The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3) and Moberg (Giovanni Ribisi -
Besides his alcoholic addiction, Kemp then becomes obsessed with Chenalt (Amber Heard - And Soon the Darkness) the stunning fiancé of the island’s ambitious developer Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart - The Dark Knight) who is keen for the inebriated journalist to promote his shady property development deals at the expense of the locals, causing Kemp to have some serious reservations.
In what appears to be a lack of direction and a poor script, Robinson is still unable to salvage his unsatisfactory storyline through the presence of Depp in the leading role, with his performance as a boozy journalist coming over as stilted and unsatisfying.
Even more disappointing is the conclusion where the director opts to provide a post-script to what actually happens to Thompson (after leaving Puerto Rico) in the concluding credits of the movie.
VIC'S VERDICT: 2 Rubber Stamps
AnonymousReleased last month
Director: Roland Emmerich, Sony Pictures, Rated M, 130 Mins.
Anonymous is from director and sci-fi supremo Roland Emmerich (Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow)whohas suddenly made his first period drama by turning his focus onto the world’s greatest playwright and poet- even challenging the authorship of his extensive body of literary work and indicating that it was really Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford instead of the internationally proclaimed William Shakespeare.
Written for the screen by John Orloff, Emmerich’s production is set against the backdrop of the Elizabethan period that is filled with political intrigue and a scandalous dalliance by the Virgin Queen.
Despite his fictionalised fantasy relating to the veracity of the famous playwright, Emmerich’s Anonymous still features a wonderful ensemble cast that includes Rys Ifans as the Earl of Oxford, Rafe Spall as William Shakespeare, Vanessa Redgrave as Queen Elizabeth, Joely Richardson as a young Queen Elizabeth and Jamie Campbell Bower as the younger Earl of Oxford.
In addition to some good performances there is a realistic recreation of 16th century London and a replica of the Rose Theatre where some of Shakespeare’s well known plays were staged at which the Earl of Oxford (Ifans) insists that playwright Ben Johnson (Sebastian Armesto) pose as the author of de Vere’s plays – only to be usurped by the actor Will Shakespeare (Spall).
Overall, Emmerich’s fanciful story is still compelling viewing that is complemented by some stimulating settings featuring the Elizabethan period and an array of interesting bonus features including the featurette “Who is the Real William Shakespeare”.
VIC'S VERDICT: 4 Rubber Stamps
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1Released in March
Director: Bill Condon, Sony Pictures, Rated M, 117 mins.
The much anticipated finale to the Twilight series has been split into two parts similar to the Harry Potter franchise but in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 the focus is mainly on the romantic relationship between the vampirish Edward (Robert Pattinson) and the beautiful Bella (Kristen Stewart) in particular their wedding, Bella’s pregnancy and the aftermath as well as the continuing presence of the wolf-like Jacob (Taylor Lautner), the third person in this ongoing love triangle.
In this latest part of the Twilight Saga director Bill Condon has pushed the supernatural melodrama to its absolute limits by ensuring that the majority of moments that fans have been dying to see are played out, delivering an engaging and entertaining spectacle that also includes the main protagonists from the earlier movies-the vampires and the werewolves.
But it is Stewart’s performance that is most impressive in this instalment carrying the story over to the final showdown, to be revealed in the gripping conclusion, namely Part 2 of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn which Condon is also to direct.
As with the previous movies this DVD is being released as a 2 Disc Edition that includes the standard commentary from director Condon and a special documentary titled “The Making of the Twilight Saga-Breaking Dawn Part 1” which should please in particular die-hard fans of the series and is a worthy addition to the Twilight collection.
It is a pity that one will have to wait until later in the year to see the final instalment to this box-office phenomenon.
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 ½ Rubber Stamps
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