Welcome to Marwen is a drama directed by Robert Zemeckis, who co-wrote the script with Caroline Thompson. It is inspired by Jeff Malmberg’s 2010 documentary, Marwencol. This movie follows the true story of Mark Hogancamp, a man struggling with PTSD who, after having his memory erased from being physically assaulted by Nazis, creates a fictional village to ease his trauma. The film was a box office bomb, with projected losses running as much as $60 million. Still, I was excited about seeing this movie — while it didn’t thoroughly satisfy my overall enthusiasm, I loved the brilliant special effects and thought the acting was superb.
Welcome to Marwen begins with a World War II warplane, piloted by a doll-like figure, hit by enemy fire and forced to crash land into a ditch. The pilot’s shoes have burned up because of the forced landing. While canvasing the area, the pilot finds a pair of women’s high heel shoes, which he decides to wear. The pilot is confronted by doll-like German soldiers, who taunt him after discovering he is wearing women’s shoes. The Germans threaten to emasculate him, but are killed by a group of doll-like women who come to the pilot’s rescue.
Shown in flashback, it is revealed that the doll-like figures are actually modified Barbie dolls photographed by Mark Hogancamp/Cap’n Hogie (Steve Carell), who has created a model village named Marwen (later renamed Marwencol) to help him deal with his diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and memory loss from an attack some time earlier by five men after he unwisely told them about his fetish for wearing women’s shoes. Mark fantasizes that the dolls are alive and act out in scenes, which he photographs. The dolls correspond to people that he knows in real life: himself as the pilot; female friends as his protectors; and his attackers as Nazi soldiers. A green-haired doll named Deja Thoris (Diane Kruger) is a witch who prevents Cap’n Hogie from becoming too close to any woman, sending the women far into the future. Deja Thoris herself represents the pills which Mark takes to relieve his pain, to which he has become addicted.
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Mark has a court date to make a victim impact statement at the sentencing of the men who attacked him. After being initially reluctant to appear in court to confront his attackers, Mark is finally convinced to make an appearance at the hearing by his lawyer Demaryius Johnson (Conrad Coates) and Roberta (Merritt Wever), who is a sales clerk at the hobby store where he buys dolls for his village, but flees the court when he imagines the defendants becoming Nazi soldiers and shooting at him. Judge Martha J. Harter (Veena Sood) reschedules the sentencing hearing for the same day that Mark’s photographs will be shown to the public at an art gallery.
Mark falls in love with a woman named Nicol (Leslie Mann) who moves into the house across the road. He then buys a doll named Nicol to represent her. The doll Nicol, is in love with Cap’n Hogie and they get married. In real life, Mark proposes marriage to Nicol, who tells him that she just wants to be his friend. Mark takes Nicol’s rejection very hard and contemplates suicide. Mark imagines Nicol being shot by a Nazi, who in turn is killed by Cap’n Hogie and brought back to life.
Welcome to Marwen is a very interesting movie. After a tragedy, art reared it’s head in the creation of a Nazi village, represented by Barbie dolls. The fact that Welcome to Marwen is based on a true story makes it one of the most imaginative films I’ve seen. The special effects were absolutely brilliant and Steve Carell’s performance was convincing and showed a side of him you would otherwise rarely see. Welcome to Marwen is a fascinating movie that wheels you into a world of fantasy yet truth for Mark Hogancamp. While I don’t think this movie is for everyone, I highly recommend it for its art form and enlightenment. Check “Welcome to Marwen” out!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, STREAMING
Tagged alexander lowe, anna, cap'n hogie, caralala, carl nikolai witschl, conrad coates, deja thoris, demaryius johnson, diane kruger, Eiza González, elsa, eric keenleyside, falk hentschel, friar, gwendoline christie, hauptsturmfüher ludwig topf, janelle monae, judge martha j harter, julie, kurt, larry, leslie mann, leslie zemeckis, louis matt o'leary, lt benz, mark hogancamp, marwencol, merritt wever, neil jackson, nicol, roberta, rudolph, rudy patrick roccas, siobhan williams, stefan, stefanie von pfetten, steve carell, stevie, suzette, the belgian witch, veena sood, vern, welcome to marwen, wendy, werner
Finally, a summer movie with a very different theme. Baby Driver is not your run-of-the-mill gangster movie flick. Instead it is a unique story about a young adult who made a mistake and put himself into a bad situation. That was the good news, the bad news is he now has to pay it off. The problem with paying off debts to bad people is you’re never done, especially if you’re good at what you do. Baby Driver takes place in Atlanta, Georgia and tells the story of Baby, who mostly grew up as an orphan when his parents died while arguing during a car accident. Baby was strapped in the back seat and the only survivor.
As a result of the car accident that left Miles “Baby”, (Ansel Elgort) / Young “Baby” (Hudson Meek) an orphan, he suffered tinnitus causing him to use music to block out the humming in his ears. In addition, he uses music to re-record everyday conversations as remixes and gives them relative titles, which he constantly listens to while driving for his boss, Doc, (Kevin Spacey) a veteran criminal mastermind heist planner and mysterious kingpin of the rag-tag crew of bank robbers. A while back, Baby stole a car belonging to Doc, which had valuable equipment inside — Baby has been paying Doc off by working for him as a get away driver ever since. Baby’s skills as a driver is unmatched as he has been 100% successful. Each job affords Baby $10,00 which he has been saving under the floor boards in his apartment, where he lives with his handicap foster father, Joseph, (C.J. Jones) who is in a wheel chair, unable to speak. The 2 have a loving relationship as Baby cares for Joseph, cooking for him, feeding him and watching TV together. While discussing Baby’s future, via sign language, Baby reveals a new love interest he met, who is a waitress named Debora, (Lily James) who works at the diner he frequents. Joseph convinces Baby to take a job delivering pizza now that he won’t be driving for Doc since he has now paid off his debt.
Doc never uses the same crew twice. Having informed Baby that his debt is paid, Doc is without a driver. Since Baby is the best, Doc is not about to let Baby go. Doc has all the information about Baby and Baby’s loved ones he needs to keep him working for him. The plot thickens from here. The crews and the dynamics between Doc and Baby and Doc and the crews and Baby are pretty interesting and the driving is incredible. The bank robbing crews consist of Monica “Darling” Castello (Eiza González), Jason”Buddy” Van Horn, (Jon Hamm) former Wall Street trader and Darling’s boyfriend, Griff, (Jon Bernthal) bank robber who consistently mocks Baby and Leon “Bats” Jefferson, III (Jamie Foxx), a gun slinging cohort of the bank robbing crew, to name a few. The cast is colorful, well acted and convincing as some of the most paranoid bank robbers to come along in a while. Baby Driver received great reviews and great scores. I enjoyed it very much and highly recommend you check it out! BTY: I think Ansel Elgort has a huge future ahead of him as an extremely handsome young man and a very good actor.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged ansel elgort, baby driver, cj jones, debora, doc, Eiza González, griff, hudson meek, Jamie foxx, jason buddy van horn, jon bernthal, jon hamm, joseph, kevin spacey, leon bats jefferson iii, lily james, monica darling castello