Mark H.'s Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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October 2011

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Rating History

What's Eating Gilbert Grape
19 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

A slice of life film about a small town family struggling to make it years after a family tragedy (the suicide of Gilbert Grape's father). Gilbert is played by Johnny Depp in his (in my opinion) best performance of his career. Depp was reportedly struggling with personal issues of his own during filming, and he certainly seems to use that despair in his performance. A tremendous cast, including a then unknown John C. Reilly, a young and incredible Leonardo DiCaprio, Juliette Lewis, and many relatively unknown others who give this movie tremendous depth. Everywhere you look there are talented actors adding color to this movie and almost every scene is affecting. It's a toss up between DiCaprio's performance as a boy with special needs, and Darlene Cates, a morbidly obese woman who had never acted before in her life for finest performance in this movie. Depp is excellent, but DiCaprio is a revelation and Cates is painfully honest and brave. This movie feels more like what real-life feels like than most Hollywood films have achieved. There are funny moments, tender moments and sad, lonely and desperate moments. Life can be very hard, with responsibilities and relationships to manage, and this movie captures that struggle and makes it compelling. Despite mostly positive reviews, this film remains underrated and is quickly becoming a forgotten masterpiece.

The Shining
The Shining (1980)
19 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

In true Kubrick style, The Shining is an odd horror/ghost story based on a Stephen King novel. For those who embrace movies as art, an argument can be made that while flawed, the Shining is one of the most beautiful ghost stories ever put on film. Kubrick focused on imagery and atmosphere, and not so much on storyline or even pacing. The pace is uneven. It begins slowly, which is fine, but once Jack begins to succumb to the darkness within the Overlook and himself, he goes off the deep end a little too abruptly. Movies are movies. They are never perfect. As an artistic expression of King's novel, Kubrick's imagining is chilling, creepy fun with some truly unforgettable scenes and images. This is a sophisticated horror movie, and one that warrants many viewings and critiques. Unique, iconic and memorable, but at times very cerebral and confusing too.

The Muppet Movie
19 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Many Muppet movies have come and gone since the 1979 original, but none come close to capturing the magic of the Muppets like The Muppet Movie. Good script, good songs, fun scenes and cameos, and genuinely tender moments performed with such skill and care that we often forget we are watching hand puppets and not real, living creatures. And who can forget Kermit singing The Rainbow Connection on his log (in a first-ever full-body shot made possible by submerging an obviously committed Jim Henson in a waterproof box under water)? That song should have taken the Oscar for best song. All the magic and joy Jim Henson infused into his life's work, the Muppets, is all on screen in this fantastic road movie.

House of Wax
House of Wax (2005)
56 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Inspired, creative, well-made and conjuring dusty, dirty horror movies of the 60's and 70's such as Texas Chainsaw and Tourist Trap, this movie is really far better than most of its critics gave it credit for. Admittedly, the movie is formulaic, especially during the first act when we are introduced to a typical group of immature, horny, ignorant teenagers who embody the usual stereotypical characters - the jock, the slut, the "good girl," the criminal/bad boy and his henchman, and the sole black guy. With the victims in place, they quickly drive out to the middle of nowhere and get lost, oversleep, suffer vehicle problems and end up separated (naturally) in a very creepy, frozen-in-time town which seems to be void of actual living people, save for a filthy local who picks up roadkill, and a rude local who runs the town gas station. You cannot begin to examine the plot (and plot holes) in a movie like this and still hope to enjoy it on any level. It's a ridiculous plot which cannot stand up to the slightest scrutiny. However, on its surface, the film is first-rate in some very key areas when it comes to horror. The sets, props, makeup and production design are fantastic, and worth the price of admission. If this movie had even an average script, it might have been a small masterpiece thanks to it's production design and wax figures, fake town and attention to detail. I was totally sucked into this little town frozen somewhere in the 40's or 50's, although it isn't quite clear when things went south for this place. In any event, turn off your brain, pop some corn, and enjoy the visual splendor that is House of Wax, a very scary movie with some real thrills and a dynamite closing act.

The Woman in Black
3 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Solid, old-fashioned haunted house tale uses ambience, dim lighting and first-rate production design to create scares. Virtually no violence or gore, just some spooky old toys and an old woman who pops up from time to time. Daniel Radcliffe is ok as a young lawyer sent to the old mansion to settle the estate. What he finds is a mystery that could have been much more intriguing if fleshed out more. This film may have been a classic had there been a better mystery beneath the strange goings on. Instead, the result is still a very good ghost story that with a bit better writing, could have been great. Excellent slow-burn atmosphere though.