The Rum Diary

This week’s column is brought to you by the letter e – for eBay: the single greatest opportunity for collectors to pick up gems for a tiny portion of their value. Yes, it’s a market that is now unfortunately populated by self-styled “experts” like never before – in the olden, black and white days, you could go to a yard sale, or a car boot sale, and pick up prime merch for a pittance, smiling in the knowledge that you had just robbed some ‘orrible little cretin of their inheritance – but there are still opportunities out there if you look hard enough. And wouldn’t you know it, I’ve found a couple for you – just expect mostly exorbitant prices…

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The Reject Report

What? Tintin? I know what you’re thinking. “I know we had Daylight Saving Time this morning, Jeremy, but you’re taking this “time travel” business a little too far, aren’t you?” You’ve probably notice we’re still at the beginning of November and haven’t been transported magically to December 21st when The Adventures of Tintin gets its US release, and you’d be both observant and right. However, Tintin, world figure that he is, got his release in several foreign markets on October 26th-28th. The ignorant American that I am didn’t bother to address this until now. Well, here you go, foreign markets. It’s your day to shine. The Adventures of Tintin has already pulled in $125.3m in foreign territories, pretty much guaranteeing its worldwide success well before its North American release. The film is already generated income from over 5000 locations in 21 foreign markets, but most of its dollars have come from the United Kingdom and France so far. It made $21 million from France last weekend and $10.9m from the UK. Spain and Germany were also big markets for the film, pulling over $10m from the locations combined.

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The Reject Report

Yes, we know. It’s a little early to be celebrating Christmas already. It’s actually a lot early to be celebrating Christmas, but what’s good enough for the weekend box office is good enough for the Reject Report. There is a Christmas movie hitting this weekend, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, and it’ll be looking to take dollars and laughs away from the other new release, Tower Heist. As much as we’d all like to see Brett Ratner go down in flames to the might of Harold & Kumar, that outcome might not be so foregone. Doesn’t matter to our Christmas spirit, though. We’ll still be singing carols and hanging out underneath the mistletoe. Alone. Practicing on the back of our hands. Oh, right, the box office.

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The Reject Report

And we’re back. Three cups of coffee, and these boots are made for walking. Granted, the walking might be a little jittery. That’s what happens after you’ve gone through a whole pot of the magical, black stuff. It’s kind of like catnip for adult humans. And it all comes back full circle. The circle this week leads to Puss in Boots, that lovable side character from the Shrek films who’s finally getting his own animated adventure. He’s sure to take the grand ball of yarn this weekend, but he’ll have some stiff competition from the returning Paranormal Activity 3 and the triple threat himself, Justin Timberlake, finally getting his name above the title on an action/sci-fi/epic. It’s the Reject Report this week, and we’re seeing the bottom of the cup. Coffee coffee coffee.

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The Rum Diary marks Johnny Depp’s return to Hunter S. Thompson territory, following his cult favorite work in Terry Gilliam’s delirious adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Yet audiences expecting more of the same drug-fueled mania will be disappointed. While it’s filled with offbeat characters and the occasional stylistic quirk, Bruce Robinson’s film offers a straightforward, earnest narrative about a young marble-mouthed author finding his writing voice while fighting capitalist corruption. Set in a volatile Puerto Rico, circa 1960, Thompson’s semi-autobiographical story follows struggling journalist/alter ego Paul Kemp (Depp) as he joins the staff at a local rag run by domineering editor-in-chief Lotterman (Richard Jenkins). It’s a day-to-day portrait of Kemp’s hard living in paradise, set against a backdrop of conflict between the natives hoping to protect their land and the capitalistic cronies interested in transforming the archipelago nation into an overdeveloped tourist spot.

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Getting The Rum Diary to both page and screen has been a real trip. Hunter S. Thompson wrote the book back in the 1960s, chronicling his adventures writin’ and boozin’ and livin’ down in Puerto Rico (as told through the eyes of his alter-ego “Paul Kemp”), but it was not published until 1998. A film adaptation has been kicked around since 2000, with the film ultimately lensing in 2009, though the film won’t be released until later this year. Johnny Depp plays Kemp in the film, marking Depp’s second attempt at playing Thompson (or, more accurately, a Thompson-based character from the author’s own work), after turning in one of his best performances as the gonzo journalist in Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas back in 1998. Depp again takes on his Thompson twang for another dip into the life of the icon. This time, drugs have been swapped for rum, the deserts of Vegas for the oceans of Puerto Rico. The Thompson follies will likely not abate, however. The film also stars Amber Heard, Aaron Eckhart, Richard Jenkins, Giovanni Ribisi, and Amaury Nolasco. Kick back, take a sip, and check out the trailer after the break.

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This being my third Cannes Film Festival in a row, I feel I’m now in the privileged position to demand something of the festival in return for standing thanklessly in queues in the baking sun, and allowing my English Rose skin to wilt/burst into flames under the unforgiving French Riviera sun. So, with that in mind, below is a run-down of what I’d ideally like to see when I get to Cannes in May – along with a few reasonable predictions, based on what’s coming up.

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Boiling Point

Does anyone hate Johnny Depp? Sure, probably. That same person probably also hates chocolate, delicious potato chips, sex, and 8 year old whiskeys. In short, un-fun dicks. Johnny Depp is just one of those guys you have to love. He hasn’t been perfect over the years (The Man Who Cried) but even his odder films (Cry Baby, Dead Man) and his less than great films (The Astronaut’s Wife, Nick of Time) are generally worth watching. Depp was only briefly a secret, but he was never a true star until Pirates of the Caribbean launched him into the stratosphere. Then that cool, off-kilter actor suddenly became a familiar face on toys, notebooks, t-shirts, and the walls of teenage girls. Do I still love Johnny Depp? Of course. But Johnny, I think it might be time to take a break.

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This is not the same Hunter S. Thompson we’ve seen from Johnny Depp in the past. Then again, there is no more strange character in the semi-autobiographical world of Hunter S. Thompson than that found in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. So The Rum Diary will feel different. But it’s still Depp, and it’s still Thompson. All should go well.

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johnny-depp

Johnny Depp can’t say he fears unemployment. The actor who just opened as John Dillinger in Michael Mann’s Public Enemies has a roster of projects ready to be released or in line to be produced.

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depp-rum-diary

Johnny Depp looks slick in this first image from the set of “The Rum Diary,” his return to the wild and wonderful world of Hunter S. Thompson.

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Rum Diary Intoxicates Two More Actors

Amber Heard confirms she’ll be appearing nude in The Rum Diary, and less than a week later, Aaron Eckhart and Richard Jenkins sign up. Coincidence?

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amberheard-header

Once again, nudity wins. Pineapple Express star Amber Heard’s inhibitions about being nude on film may have just landed her a role next to Johnny Depp, pulling the rug out from under Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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