Tag Archives: Diane Kruger

Cinema Dispatch: Welcome to Marwen

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Mary Poppins Returns and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

This is one of the weirder cases of nostalgia I’ve had because I don’t have nostalgia about this story or the documentary from 2010.  I have nostalgia for a review of it.  Around that time I had just learned about Spill.com (which is now more or less split between Double Toasted and One Of Us) and one of the earliest podcasts I had heard from them was a series of reviews about films they saw at SXSW 2010 which included a review of the documentary.  So when they announced this movie, I actually was rather interested to see it because I had never gotten around to the documentary but that review for whatever reason always stuck with me and so seeing a big budget studio adaptation of something I had THAT tertiary of knowledge for would be interesting; not to mention seeing what those same critics thought of this movie as well.  Does this story of a man who found a way to cope with his trauma through the use of imaginative and painstakingly detailed art pieces manage to convey the raw emotional power of this man’s life and work, or are we stuck with another treacly adaptation that fails to live up to the material it’s based on; including the critically acclaimed documentary?  Let’s find out!!

Loosely based on the true story of Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carrell), this movie follows the story of Mark who was nearly beaten to death by five Neo-Nazi monsters who did so after they learned that Mark enjoyed wearing women’s shoes.  Fortunately Mark survived and the men were caught, but sadly he lost his memories, a lot of his motor skills (making it nearly impossible for him to write or draw), and has been suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder since.  In order to cope with what has happened, he created a World War II village named Marwen in his yard and stages elaborate action scenes and character moments using dolls that represent him, the Nazis who beat him up, and the women in his life who helped him afterwards.  This includes Anna (Gwendoline Christie) a nurse who visits him once a month to bring him medication and check on his physical health, Julie (Janelle Monáe) a physical therapist with one leg who helped him walk again and has since been traveling the world and running in marathons, Caralala (Eiza González) who is Mark’s coworker at his part time job, Roberta (Merritt Wever) who works at the town’s hobby shop and has helped Mark get the parts he needs to bring this made up town to life, and Suzette (Leslie Zemeckis) who he may not know in person but has starred in some of his FAVORITE films!  Sadly, the one doll that is based on Wendy (Stefanie von Pftetten) who the town is partially named after (Marwen is short for Mark and Wendy) has been permanently removed and put into the RIP bin for reasons that aren’t made explicitly clear but can be somewhat inferred as we learn more about Mark’s life as well as the struggles and demons he’s had to work through.  One such demon is the Belgian Witch Deja Thoris (Diane Kruger) who is the cause of many of Marwen’s woes and has a very distinct counterpart in the real world that you’ll have to keep an eye out for while watching them movie.  Things seem to have been going along like this for some time now, but when Mark gets a new neighbor across the street named Nicol (Leslie Mann), well it looks like Marwen’s about to get a new resident which will certainly add a few more stories to the town’s ever expanding lore, but maybe this is the point where he takes things too far with his work; not to mention the overwhelming stress he’s feeling about the attack now that the men responsible are going to finally be sentenced for their crimes.  Will Mark be able to face his attackers in court and put the incident behind him once and for all?  Will Nicol understand what Mark is going through or will his behavior cross some very clear lines that he seems completely oblivious to when dealing with women outside of his fantasy world?  Is it just me, or should they start making Marwen merchandise at some point?  I want that Deja Thoris doll!

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“Alright, Mark.  If things go bad then chuck me at their head and make a break for it!  FOR FREEDOM!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Infiltrator

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The Infiltrator and all the images you see in this review are owned by Broad Green Pictures

Directed by Brad Furman

So… Bryan Cranston is going back to the well, huh?  You can hardly blame him though!  Breaking Bad is one of the most influential and critically praised shows to ever come out, so if anyone deserves to be in a movie about drugs and violence, then it’s the guy who made that shit work for five seasons!  Does Bryan Cranston come out on top once again with a movie tailor made for his particular set of skills, or will this just be an actor trying to relive their glory days before sinking back into obscurity and finding a niche in shitty comedies (*cough* Why Him? *cough*)?  Let’s find out!!

The movie which is BASED ON A TRUE STORY (ugh…) follows Robert Mazur (Bryan Cranston) who is a Federal Agent working for US Customs and primary does undercover work to bust drug dealers.  Apparently petty drug dealers work with a lot of fifty year old dudes who look like Target managers, but I guess that just makes Robert that much more of an unassuming figure.  Anyway, his colleague Emir Abreu (John Leguizamo) gives him a tip that some big players in the Columbian Cartel (at the time being led by Pablo Escobar as this movie takes place in the eighties) will be in town and are in the market for a money launderer (at least I think that’s what the tip is about) and so he starts posing as an accountant who’s more than willing to handle the Cartel’s money; hoping to bust them for the drugs and the bankers at The Bank of Credit and Commerce International who are willingly doing this for them.  Of course with any undercover work, there’s always the danger of getting himself and his fellow agents caught, especially Kathy Ertz (Diane Kruger) who is playing his pretend fiancée who’s only part of this mission because Robert fucked up at one of the meetings with the drug lords; not to mention that with any undercover work there’s always a chance of getting in too deep.  Can Robert bust these guys before getting a bullet in the back of the head or worse?  Will his real life crumble to pieces as he gets more and more engrossed in his work?  WILL HE BE THE ONE WHO KNOCKS!?

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“I mean really, what’d you expect me to do? Just simply roll over and die!?”     “So you lost ONE Oscar!  Could you at least have something more original between now and Power Rangers!?”

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