Oops, went a little long between reviews. Chocolat; Cube; The Truman Show; Stir of Echoes; Galaxy Quest; Shakespeare in Love; Mona Lisa; Bringing Out the Dead
A nice little romantic triviality, with a delicate fairy-tale touch. There were some early scenes that were just marvelously compact writing--we see a scene which is a slight eye-opener, somebody says a single line which twists in a slightly different direction--and on to the next scene. The bits with Johnny Depp were, sadly, el cheese, and the death was a cheap sentimental ploy--the character had already been written out of everyone's lives anyway; and the crucial conversion by Carrie Anne Moss's character was too underplayed or understated or underwritten or something, so I just totally didn't believe it. 4 out 5 stars.
Sort of a clever idea, but it sort of called out itself as 'aren't I a clever idea for how to make a movie on a budget'--compare to, say, Chasing Amy. The characterizations were ok but seemed kind of obvious despite the attempts at arcs. Some people felt like the villainy was inconsistent but I thought it had been played out well enough. The fictional glossing over of the reason for the whole place existing didn't work for me; it was fairly obvious to me that the writers didn't have any clue why the place would exist, and their attempt to have one character explain it as just the machine of bureaucracy just didn't work--look at the human elements of the bureaucracy of Brazil. (Ok, explaining reality from an absurdly unreal movie is a little silly, but hey.) Three stars of five for some fun. Commentary was interesting to learn about the hell that was their set.
The Truman Show
Hm hm hm hm. The story was pretty good, with a few clever bits, and some really gorgeous dialog moments. (But, erm, you can't sneak out without cameras spotting you if you don't know where the cameras are.) Carrey was fine. Ed Harris' character was a little too over-the-top for me, although I guess that was the character not the actor's fault. (But an Oscar nomination? Sheesh.) 4 out of 5.
Stir of Echoes
Sixth Sense just absolutely didn't move me. Partly because I knew the twist already, of course. But there's no excuse for it being such a boring movie even when you know the twist. And in hindisght, it really was boring, and I should have given it two stars. This movie at least brought it all together. But come on, cliche city. And I don't mean the frosty breaths. I mean the way the sort of problem it turns out to be and what has to be done to solve that person's problem. Grr. The hypnotism scene was nice, as was the wacky jerky movements of the... umm... thingie. 3 of 5.
Some funny bits, some tedious bits... there's something wrong with not being able to parody Star Trek as it really is, and having to invent a stand-in and mock that. But ok, some of Tim Allen's portrayal as the enthusiastic "Oh well, this is the role I'll always be known for so I might as well live it up" was a fun Kirk. But overall, the funniness was kinda few and far between. 3 out of 5.
Shakespeare in Love
Whee. Mostly fun. The dialog a bit over the top at the times, but hey, it's Shakespeare. The plot was appropriately Shakespearean--the woman in drag as a boy (if only she had been a woman in drag playing a boy who plays a woman!), the tragic romance, the swordfight. The directing didn't stand out--I almost felt like I was watching a play. Some of the bits of watching them recite Romeo and Juliet back and forth went on far too long. 4 out of 5.
Sigh, loveable small-time crook, beautiful hooker, noir. Oh well, it basically works. Just, sigh, can't we make movies about something else?
Bringing Out the Dead
I just don't get it. Stupid over the top camera work. An unbelievable portrayal of a man past the edge of sanity. And then he does something at the end that he shouldn't do, that we shouldn't be comfortable with him doing it, and the movie seems perfectly happy with him doing it. He spent the whole movie being haunted by someone he couldn't save, and then THIS? Bah. 2 out of 5.