8:00 PM, 24th August, 2012
For a group of English pensioners the thought of retirement in their homeland is not as desirable as they once hoped. So instead of living out their last years in bungalows with emergency pull cords they make the unconventional decision to travel to India and live out their retirement at the Marigold Hotel. The hotel advertises a budget-priced retirement facility that can provide the retirees with all the luxury and comfort they need to live out their golden years.
Upon arrival at the hotel they discover that it doesn't quite live up to expectations. The hotel is nowhere near completed and, rather than living in comfort in the sun, the group find themselves on an unexpected journey of self discovery, proving that you are never too old for a new adventure.
The star-studded cast of British greats certainly delivers and director John Madden has managed to achieve the daunting task of giving each a moment to shine in this charming comedy. The delights of Indian culture shine through without it being over-romanticised, but it's the subtle, heart-warming spark between the characters of Evelyn (Dench) and Douglas (Nighy) that steals the show. Jean (Penelope Wilton) and Muriel (Maggie Smith) are relied on heavily for comic value. Overall this is a film that will leave you with that feel-good feeling no matter which age group you fall into.
10:18 PM, 24th August, 2012
'Adapted from the Hunter S. Thompson novel' is probably enough for some of you to know what to expect from The Rum Diary - a distorted film seen through the lens of a distorted man. Being one of his early works, this film takes place prior to Thompson's heavy use of the more illicit substances (and as such is much more straightforward than Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). As the title suggests, this is instead a story told through the bottom of a rum glass.
An embellished autobiographical tale, the central character of Paul Kemp (Depp) finds himself looking for journalism work in Puerto Rico after a series of failures to get his career off the ground in America. Scoring a job at the "San Juan Star" he soon grabs the attention of land developer Sanderson (Eckhart), who offers Kemp a better lifestyle than he currently enjoys in exchange for some positive press around his commercial development of a nearby island. This appeals to Kemp (who has not signed a charter of editorial independence), though the opportunity to get closer to Sanderson's fiancée (Heard) is of more interest than any cash incentive. But getting closer to Sanderson reveals truths about them both that make Kemp reconsider the direction his life is taking.
The disconnected nature of the storytelling worked better in Fear and Loathing than it does here, as a potentially interesting story becomes hazy and disjointed as the film progresses. That said, there are some wonderful scenes along the way and the performances are excellent across the board, in particular Giovanni Ribisi as one of the paper's former employees. Worth coming along for, and a stiff drink beforehand may be of value to get in the right frame of mind.