Mark Walker is the man behind Marked Movies and another one of my first acquaintances in the blogosphere. Hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, Mark’s page is a great place to go for a great variety of reviews as well as his extremely entertaining weekly segment, Tuesday Trivia Tidbits.
Rorschach Reviews: There are plenty of film fans like us out there in the world, yet only a small percentage of us take the extra step of publishing our opinions on a regular basis. Who or what exactly led you to make the transition from ordinary movie lover to blogger extraordinaire?
Mark Walker: Blogger extraordinaire? I like that! Yeah, ever since I was a teenager, I always had a little notebook where I’d jot down my thoughts and ratings on films. This went on for years before I finally got access to the Internet and started using Flixster. I ended up achieving a super reviewer status on there and realised that there was a large film community interested in my opinion. Flixster changed their format about a year ago which I wasn’t entirely happy about so I decided on setting up my blog. The feedback since then has been excellent and it’s a change I’ve never regretted.
RR: Flixster seems to be a fairly popular start for a lot of bloggers, I myself started off blogging with the intention of one day being a contributing reviewer for Rotten Tomatoes. What were some of your long term dreams/goals when you first started Marked Movies?
MW: If truth be told, I didn’t really have any long term dreams or goals when my blog began. For me it was just a means of doing away with a notepad full of stuff and I was just happy to take things slowly and build the same interaction that I once enjoyed on Flixster. Thankfully, that has now happened and if anything it has surpassed the community that Flixster ever had. Now, I find myself in a position where I want to make it a better and more user friendly site where everyone will hopefully find something of interest.
RR: Like a lot of us bloggers who aren’t made of money, most of the films you review are either classics or recent DVD releases. What does a movie have to promise in order to get you to pay to see it in theaters, and what are some upcoming films that might take you there?
MW: I went through a phase where a lot of my reviews were recently released films but now I’ve found it a little harder to make it to the cinema. Anytime I do, it’s normally with my kids for the likes of Brave or most recently Paranorman. When I’m choosing a film for myself, I normally gage it on whether I feel it would benefit from the big screen treatment. Looper is one that’s on my cards just now. I also want to see Killing Them Softly but feel that that might work just as well on the small screen. It’s probably more about timing for me.
RR: I definitely agree with the criteria of what would benefit from big screen treatment. That’s why I’ve seen movies like the Transformers series in theaters but leave other (and much, much better) movies like The Master or Ruby Sparks for DVD releases. What would you say was the most disappointing movie you’ve ever seen in a theater?
MW: I tend to choose fairly wisely when it comes to my cinema choices. Like you say, it’s not cheap anymore and you have to be sure that you’re not just throwing your money away. Being conscious of this has always stood me in good stead and I’ve very rarely been disappointed when I’ve came out a movie. One that does come to mind though is Prometheus. It wasn’t a bad film but I really felt like I’d been the victim of hype and that it could have been so much better.
RR: Completely agree on Prometheus. What are some of the biggest factors that made it a disappointment to you?
MW: Yeah, Prometheus firstly suffered from hype. I think the level of secrecy involved before it was released actually went against it. It raised expectations very high to the point that it was near impossible for it to live up to. The biggest problem I had with it though, were the abundance of plot holes and lack of character development. Some characters’ motivations were unexplained and baffling to say the least. For a film that promised an inclusion into sci-fi genre classics, it ended up being no more than an expensive B-movie. It was decent but it could definitely have been tighter. I’m dreading Scott’s sequel to Blade Runner now, which is one of my all-time favourite films.
RR: There seem to be a lot of people echoing that concern. Between Red Dawn, Total Recall and countless more, Hollywood is showing no sign of slowing it’s trend of remaking perfectly good 80 and 90s movies. if you could have one movie from those two decades remade (and remade well), what would you choose?
MW: That’s a difficult question. I grew up with movies in those decades and I have fond memories of many of them. Most I wouldn’t bother remaking but I have recently been revisiting some John Carpenter movies like “Escape From New York” and “Prince of Darkness”. Carpenter had such timeless and innovative ideas that modern movie makers could be doing with. Those films mentioned could be ripe for a remake (particularly the latter) with some decent money thrown their way. That being said, I’d probably still want Carpenter to do it.
RR: Based on his most recent movies (Ghosts of Mars and The Ward), I might have a little hesitation as to whether or not the man has lost his spark, but I would definitely watch a well-done remake of either of those films. Before we go, if you had to pick 3 movies from this decade that people will think of as “classics” 50 years from now, what would they be?
MW: Oh! Another tricky question… if I had to pick three from this decade? Meaning 2010 till present? That doesn’t leave a lot of leg room. There are many good films over the last few years that could potentially be considered classics in 50 years’ time but the three I’d narrow it down to are: Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive”, Steve McQueen’s “Shame” and Terrence Malick’s “The Tree Of Life”. I could have picked many more but these I think will stand the test of time and some of the finest pieces of cinema I’ve seen in recent times.
You can follow Mark on Twitter at @MarkusMarakai or catch up with his blog over at Marked Movies