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Sunday, January 1 1995

Magnolia (1999)

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Man on the Moon (1999)

Far be it from me to accuse Hollywood of wishful thinking. But as the closing credits for Man on the Moon roll under Andy Kaufman's (Jim Carrey's) timid gaze, it's easy to think the film has been seduced by its own notion that a life of sufficient celebrity can offer freedom from the mortality that afflicts ordinary souls.


The Mummy Returns (2001)

Everything in 'The Mummy Returns' is bigger and more expensive, from its impressively enormous matte shots and massive armies composed of thousands of digitized soldiers, to its great swirling sand effects and outsized characters.


The Mexican (2001)

On its good-looking surface (being well-composed and carefully lit), 'The Mexican' is a love story.


The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)

Early on in the very long Luc Besson film, The Messenger, John Malkovich (playing Charles, Dauphin of France) wishes he could be someone else. It was the one and only time that I identified with anything in the film - I wished I could watch him be someone else! Like himself in Being John Malkovich. The Messenger is an unbelievably dull movie, which is a startling achievement given that the legend of Joan of Arc lends itself pretty well to storytelling of any type.


Music of the Heart (1999)

Music of the Heart tells a terrific story of passion, music, and success. The problem with this film is that director Wes Craven is so intent on telling the story, its very seamlessness becomes a drawback. In short, this movie is too much Hollywood and not enough grit.


Men of Honor (2000)

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Me, Myself & Irene (2000)

Charlie is mad at this point in the film, despite and because of the fact that he's the designated 'nice' part of this self-sandwich.


Meeting People is Easy (1998)

Grant Gee's 1998 documentary Meeting People is Easy, which follows rock band Radiohead on their OK Computer tour, is often wildly kinetic, sometimes eerily static but always bubbling under the surface with distortion and static.


Mission to Mars (2000)

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The Mystery of Oberwald (Mistero di Oberwald, Il) (1980/2001)

Set in 1903, 'Oberwald' is an adaptation of a Jean Cocteau play called 'The Two-Headed Eagle'. The play and subsequent video are both premised on the kind of everyplot that evokes many common narratives at once.


Me, Myself & Irene (2000)

Charlie's suppressed despair over the failed marriage and the humiliations he suffers as a highway patrolman coalesce into alterego Hank, who emerges David Banner style whenever Charlie encounters confrontation or conflict.


Mr. Death:  The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (1999)

When he places an ad in the local paper to sell a used lethal injection machine, Fred Leuchter seems genuinely surprised to learn the ad has been pulled and banned from publication. To say the least, Leuchter appears out of touch with reality.


Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)

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The Man Who Cried (2001)

...a sprawling affair, filled with bad accents (Cate Blanchett's tortured 'Russian'), tired cliches about studly horsemen and young girls' sexual awakenings, and really bad lip-syncing to Italian opera.


Mission to Mars (2000)

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The Mexican (2001)

On its good-looking surface (being well-composed and carefully lit), 'The Mexican' is a love story.


Memento (2001)

Imagine that, like Leonard (Guy Pearce), you find yourself in mid-run, with a scary-looking guy with a gun running nearby, and you have to figure out who's chasing whom. In practical terms, it only takes a second to realize that he's chasing you, because he fires his gun at you and heads your way.


Mansfield Park (1999)

On Mansfield Park's official Miramax website, the book upon which the film is loosely based is heralded as Jane Austen's third and most controversial novel. This claim, directed at Mansfield Park the novel, seems an attempt to re-invigorate interest in a text oftentimes considered Austen's blandest.


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