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April 28th, 2012

Movie Review - The Raven

The Raven

Starring: John Cusack, Luke Evans, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson, Kevin McNally, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Jimmy Yuill, Sam Hazeldine, Pam Ferris, and more.

Directed by: James McTeigue Screenplay by: Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare Original Music by: Lucas Vidal Cinematography by: Danny Ruhlmann

Premise: Author Edgar Allan Poe is drawn into a criminal investigation when a serial killer uses his stories as the basis for the string of crimes. But just having Poe involved is not enough for the killer, who raises the stakes to force Mr. Poe to write again. (Rated R)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: In my opinion, this might just be one of John Cusack's best performances ever. Backed up by a cast of veterans, the whole ensemble shines. Alice Eve was great as the spunky Emily Hamilton. Luke Evans was delicious as Detective Fields. Great job by all involved.

2) Special Effects - Thumbs Up: Grisly deaths abound, but not too gory, though blood was used in abundance. The pendulum effect was specifically poignant. You could almost hear Vincent Price cackling in the background. 

The added wide city scenes of  Baltimore and Paris were detailed and beautiful but not as convincing as other efforts in the same vein. But otherwise the special effects and CGI team did a great job.

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: Since Poe is dubbed as the inventor of detective fiction, it seemed only apt that he would become embroiled by a serial killer into solving said killer's string of crimes. Better yet was the use of the few facts which are known about the great author's death and weaving them into this fantastical recreation of what may have been the great author's final days.

Bits and parts of many of Mr. Poe's works are woven into the film as well as different aspects of his life. This was obviously written by people who have studied Poe and his works in detail as well as the time period itself. Great job!

The mystery is pretty straight forward with several false trails that still lead forward. Minuscule clues are dotted throughout the tale, but like the protagonists, the viewer must put them together to get a hint of the culprit before all is revealed.

4) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: The theater, Poe's home, the Captain's home, the paper, all the indoor locations were fabulous. The shots of the moon and the raven shown close to the beginning of the film were poignant. 

5) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: The period costumes looked authentic from the people on the street, the aristocracy, to the Baltimore police. I also was very pleased to see that Miss Hamilton did not appear as a freshly pressed flower while she was under duress, giving the film even more authenticity. 

Conclusion: Totally worth watching. Between the atmosphere, the acting, and the story itself, well worth your time.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

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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