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Rum Diary / In Time

By إبن البيطار (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsTwo films for the first time in a while. It should have been three, but despite battling traffic (and a slightly dodgy sat-nav) to get to the cinema in time I arrived to find out that the performance of Tintin I had aimed for wasn’t on. Not for the first time has Cineworld’s web site lied to me. Boo. So, McDonald’s for dinner and then back across the car park for the first of two films.

The Rum Diary

“We’re out of rum.”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: Alcoholic writer arrives in Puerto Rico, gets involved in local (dodgy) politics. Weirdness and mild amusement ensues.

See it if you like: Slightly weird, off-kilter dramas and/or Johnny Depp.

If you know of Hunter S. Thomson then you’ll know what to expect. Slightly off-centre characters, a touch of illegal drugs and a vat of alcohol form the basis of this entertaining story. Set in 1950’s Puerto Rico, Depp plays Kemp – a reporter brought in from the US to work for the slowly dying local rag.

Disillusioned and drunk, Kemp wants to write about what’s wrong with Puerto Rico. His editor, on the other hand, wants fluffy pieces about bowling alleys and sandy beaches. Unwittingly, Kemp ends up embroiled in one of the very corrupt escapades he despises.

Buddied up with a completely brain-fried Swede (Moburg played by Giovanni Ribisi) and a burnt-out photographer (Sala – Michael Rispoli), he soaks up the island, gets arrested, meets the girl of his dreams, annoys an underworld boss and rails against the bringing-down of the newspaper he was brought in to work for.

There are a handful of genuinely laugh-out-loud moments, and sadly the funniest of these is in the trailer. Other than that, it’s just continually amusing. Largely this is due to the performances from the cast as a whole. The dialogue is poetic and insightful in places, while quick-witted in others. A genuinely nice mix.

It is also, however, a little slow going and the last act does feel a bit “cludged together” just to get the story done.

I did enjoy it, but I don’t think it’s the rolloer-coaster ride of hilarity the trailer made it out to be.

In Time

“Don’t waste my time”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: Time is now currency. Run out and you die. Have loads and you’re effectively immortal.

See it if you like: Sci fi thrillers with a twist, and not having to use your brain too much

I love the premise for this film. When you reach 25 years of age, a little clock kicks in on your arm giving you a year to live. Every second on that clock is currency which can be used to buy things. On the downside when it hits zero, your heart stops. In the meantime, your body doesn’t age.

But how is this currency controlled? What happens when people realise they’re running low, or if they manage to amass a fortune? In Time gives its answers to these questions along with a story of what happens if one man, Will Salas (Justin Timberlake), tries to level the playing field a little.

This isn’t a brain-bender along the lines of Total Recall or Inception. It’s a far simpler and the premise isn’t explored beyond the fact that the world simply is like that. No history, no major twists. The overall theme would likely appeal to all those 99% protesters – isn’t it a little unfair that so many people struggle and suffer while a small percentage have the vast majority of the wealth?

Salas, living in the ghetto just getting by day to day as his job tops up his time, finds himself the beneficiary of a windfall. A hundred years. He decides to use it to get into the more exclusive districts and find out who’s controlling all this time. After all, someone’s making a profit from people “timing out”.

He ends up paired up with excessively-skinny waif Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried – seriously, could get legs be any thinner and still carry her weight?) while being chased by Time Keeper Leon (Cillian Murphy) as he fights to expose the high-end corruption that’s costing ordinary people their lives.

It’s a nice enough popcorn movie with some decent action sequences and, as I said, a great premise. It’ll never be a classic but I don’t think it’s trying to be.

Certainly not  waste of time.

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