Mark's Movie (etc) Reviews

Wherein I comment on the films 'n' stuff I've seen.  Don't expect any profound insights or well-reasoned critisism.  It's just me talking about what I liked and didn't like.
My rating system:
0 Stars Zero stars.  The Freezing Vacuum of Space.   (Which sucks, by the way.)
1 Star One star.  Sirius (Canis Majoris), the "Dog" star.   (Yes, I know it's also the brightest star, but it's a dog.)
2 Stars Two stars.  The Hunting Dogs (Canes Venatici).   (No reason; it's got two stars.  Somehow a bit less doggy than the Dog Star?)
3 Stars Three stars.  The Furnace (Fornax.)   (Again, no reason except that it's got three stars.  "Getting warmer"?)
4 Stars Four stars.  The Little Horse (Equuleus.)   (A little horsey is a nice thing.  It's a pony!)
5 Stars Five stars.  The Southern Cross (Crux Australis.)   (A bit of a stretch adding ε but I needed that fifth star.  This is my "home" constellation.)

Cube 4 Stars
I raved about this one for a while.  A little gem, like a great Science Fiction short story.  Basically just one idea, but a good idea and realised so well.

Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels 4 Stars
Very violent but it's leavened with plenty of humour.  I enjoyed the (English) accents and the knowledge that most of the audience was probably thinking, "Damn! Why didn't they subtitle this?"

Go! 5 Stars
I liked it so much I saw it twice.  It's funny and clever and keeps you guessing.   It teeters on the edge of real horror then changes direction to deliver laugh-out-loud humour.  I suspect it works so well with me because of its structure; repeating the story from the perspective of different characters is a very refreshing change from either the standard linear exposition or "flashback" style.  See this film!

Eyes Wide Shut 1 Star
I disliked this movie a lot.  I went in with high hopes; it's a Kubric, it's bound to be good, right?  But no, I found it irritating (especially that damn Plink, Plink, Plink soundtrack, what were they thinking?)  The parts that were meant to be tense, I found laughable.  Some of the acting and dialog was ridiculous (the suave foreign man dancing with Kidman at the start).   It was about nothing really, very little actually happened...   The masks in the "orgy" scene were the best bit.
August 13, 1999

Bowfinger 4 Stars
This was fun.  I have a great deal of respect for Steve Martin; he's a very funny, very clever guy and he didn't let me down here.  A very clever idea (make a movie with a big star without the star knowing), cleverly executed.  Some funny swipes at Hollywood pretentions (like the clip-on ponytail.)  Eddie Murphy was much better than I expected (what's he done lately?) and what can I say about Heather Graham...:-)?
August 20, 1999

The Comedy of Errors (Play) 5 Stars
A free performance of one of Shakespeare's early works, performed outdoors in Cupertino's Memorial Park.   Very pleasant indeed (apart from the odd rogue barking dog and crying child).   An excellent production, cleverly transported to Maine and with 20th Century references sprinkled here and there (Mafioso delivering Shakespearean lines).  The Director took "minor liberties" with the text, trimming "Elizabethan jokes", however, I'm sure there was a reference to an ell in there still :-).   One thing that particularly struck me was hearing the phrase "without rhyme or reason" .   It's almost eery to note that this is where it first occurs; it entered the language on the day the play was first performed (well, pretty much -- the OED lists Shakespeare's work as the first written occurence).   Shakespeare added so many phrases to English that watching one of his plays is like looking at baby photos of old friends.  All the world's a stage, bated breath, cruel to be kind, dogs of war, eaten out of house and home, foregone conclusion,...
August 21, 1999

The Matrix 5 Stars
This perhaps didn't quite match my expectations of it, based on the trailers I saw, (foolish to expect otherwise, I know) but a fun movie never-the-less.  Pretty cool effects; the bullet dodging moves and the baby harvesters stood out particularly.  The Special Agent Guy was great.  Was Keanu's "Wow!" line self parody or what?

The Sixth Sense 5 Stars
A really original film, for me at least.  One that actually took me by surprise at the end.  The sort of film where afterwards you think you'd like to see it again, knowing what you do now...

American Beauty 5 Stars
Great, just great.  Brilliantly acted and beautifully filmed (the bag scene especially).   Bleak and a little depressing, but ultimately quite uplifting.   Often after a film my friends and I will discuss it before heading off to our cars; "that scene was cool", "excellent effects", "that was funny" etc, etc.  After American Beauty, we discussed the characters; "what do you think happened to x?", "I was glad y didn't do through with it", etc, etc.