Tag Archives: Robert Zemeckis

Cinema Dispatch: Welcome to Marwen

WELCOMETOMARWENCD0

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!

WELCOMETOMARWENCD1

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

Continue reading

Cinema Dispatch: Allied

alliedcd0

Allied and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Oh hey!  I remember that guy!  Didn’t he do that one movie no one saw last year?  Sure, Zemeckis hasn’t had the best track record since Cast Away (mostly due to his obsession with CG animated films for a while there), but The Walk was a pretty solid film that just didn’t get much attention for some reason.  Sure, it wasn’t full of explosions or even A list actors (Joseph Gordon Levitt still has a ways to go), but it still a really well made little caper that kept things light and fun.  Now it seems that Zemeckis is going in the opposite direction with this sizably budgeted war thriller with two super stars in the cast and a much more intense feel to it.  Not to say that any of that is a BAD thing; it’s just interesting that his new film seems to be so diametrically opposed to what he did just last year.  Is this movie not only another stellar outing for Zemeckis but the big hit that The Walk just couldn’t manage to be, or will we be wishing to see Philippe Petit walk across another tightrope before this film is over?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Canadian Super Spy Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) arriving in Casablanca Morocco to meet up with French Resistance Fighter Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) to do the one thing you’re supposed to do Casablanca during World War 2; kill some damn Nazis!  Say what you will about the greatest generation; at least they knew not to VOTE for them!  Of course, during the course of this mission they end up falling in love and Max manages to get Marianne passage to England so that they can get married and he can take a desk job in British Intelligence.  Things seem to be going well for some time (they even have a kid together), but then one day some dude who’s like fifty pay grades above Max that they suspect Marianne to be a German Spy.  Not only that, but if they find OUT she’s a spy then he’ll have to kill her with his own hands; lest he get charged with treason hang from a noose.  Okay… I’m pretty sure that’s still murder even if some dude in the government tells you to do it, but whatever.  Needless to say that Max doesn’t buy this for a second and then proceeds to break every rule in the book to try and prove his wife’s innocence despite the evidence this government dude is laying out for him.  Will Max find the truth and is it the truth he’s hoping for?  Where exactly did the higher ups get all this evidence, and why are they coming to Max like this while they’re still investigating?  If she’s REALLY a Nazi what the hell could she POSSIBLY hope to get by going THIS deep under cover for THIS long when she’s hooking up with THIS pencil pusher!?

alliedcd1

“Did you get that promotion yet?”     “No, I’m still in Human Resources.”     “Oh well.  Let’s play Show Me What’s In Your Briefcase!”     “Again!?”

Continue reading

Living on Netflix: Flight

F0

Robert Zemeckis’s triumphant return to live action movies hit with a bang.  Hailed as one of the best movies of 2012, Flight is the emotional tale of Denzel Washington trying to win another Oscar in this remake of Leaving Las Vegas.  That’s how I see it at least.  Did I like the movie?  Keep reading to find out!

Continue reading