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October 28th, 2011

Movie Review - The Rum Diary

(Can't got see Puss-n-Boots or In Time since hubby is at a cutover! So went to see this instead. (Hey, since I ask him not to see stuff I
want to see when I'm at cons, I can only do the same for when he has to work, no?) :)

The Rum Diary

Starring: Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Rispoli, Amber Head, Richard Jenkins, Giovanni Ribisi, Amaury Molasco, Marshall Bell, Bill Smitrovich, Julian Holloway, and more.

Directed by: Bruce Robinson  Screenplay by: Bruce Robinson Based on the Novel by: Hunter S Thompson Original Music by: Christopher Young.

Premise: In 1960, Paul Kemp, a failed novelist/freelance reporter lies to get a job at an end of the line newspaper in Puerto Rico, The San Juan Star. On a path of self destruction, he inconveniently meets the woman of his dreams. But she belongs to another, a man interested in using Paul's fiction making skills to squeeze all the money he can from the tourist boon on the Emerald Isle, burying the natural beauty and the natives in his way while he's at it. (Rated R)

Review: I was interested in seeing this movie for two reasons - 1) Johnny Depp 2) Puerto Rico.  I got decent amounts of both.

Happily they actually filmed on location, so you see bits and pieces of the island (not enough!), but even better a lot of the sounds. (If you're in the country or mountains, the sounds of roosters are super common. And the coqui, a small frog indigenous to the island, has a very particular sound you'll get to hear.) CGI was used to turn back the clock here and there as open, untouched pieces of beach front property are rare in this day and age.  But the CGI was virtually seamless, which was totally awesome for setting up the past. 

Strangely, though, you get extreme views of the people living on the island itself. The super rich and the super poor. The reporters themselves falling into the pretty poor category.  Of middle class life there was very little, if any, seen.  But I suppose it aligned things better for the points being made in the film. And places like the shanty town shown in the movie still exist today, like everywhere. 

The acting was superb and there are several laugh out loud moments. Mr. Depp makes a great fish out of water, and he makes the slide into deeper destruction easy to believe. And he's not alone, befriending Sala and Moburg, two other journalists spiraling into darkness as greed and corruption deepen.

Yet it is in this darkness with little hope that Kemp finally finds himself and his voice. But all is not happily ever after as you'll see. Though the film ends on a bitter note, you're given an uplift by text to take the sting out. Not sure it quite worked as intended though. Or even enough.

Did love the LSD scene and a quote from it "You're high!
(As in it was a bad thing) Have some rum!" (As in it would help - NOT).
Better in context. lol.

To Boricua's and jouralists/authors this movie will resonate because of the subject matter and pieces of the journey. Though they did try to explain and throw in subliminally as much as they could about the time period and the island, not sure what regular audiences will get from it. But it is a nice piece of history not often covered, even if set in a fictional venue.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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