Tag Archives: gwendoline christie

WELCOME TO MARWEN (2018) – My rating: 7.8/10

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.

**** SPOILERS BELOW ****

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!

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI: (2017) – My rating: 9/10

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an American epic space opera written and directed by Rian Johnson. It is the second installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy and the eighth main installment of the Star Wars franchise, following Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).  The Last Jedi is produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and includes an all star cast, including the late Carrie Fisher who past in December of 2016.  Star Wars never gets old.  I still find the series to be just as refreshed and interesting as the first.  The battle for the reign of the Empire is just as existing and just as much of a struggle as any two countries fighting for control of territory, Star Wars is just more modern and more futuristic.  May the Force be with them!

Many folks are still a little fuzzy about Rough One.  Some questioning why it even existed.  It almost seemed as if it was an after though or a fill in because of the disconnection from the rest of the Star Wars story and crew.  Questions like where did Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) come from and where are all the other familiar characters we have all grown to know and love?  When all was said and done, we were no closer to the answers than we were before Rough One began.  Finally, Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrived.  But as we take a long hard look, all the old characters have died, except one.  I’m not so sure this was the way to go but this is the way it went so now we are faced with a whole new era of Star War characters leaving the likes of  Mr. Yoda (Frank Oz), Luke Ski Walker and Darth Vader only briefly able to appear when needed.  There’s now only 1 hint of a female Jedi and a limited amount of the Resistance left with nowhere to live. In the Last Jedi, the Resistance fighters are led by General Leia Organa, who I figure will take her leave as well or be replaced by someone new to play her part since the beloved actress is no longer with us.  The characters from Star Wars: Rogue One are not a part of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and it’s still not clear why that whole story was presented or why they were brought into the fold.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi focuses on Rey (Daisy Ridley) traveling to the Planet Ahch0-To in order to confront Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and convince him to return to the Resistance, which is in dire need of help to survive and fight the First Order.  Rey must also complete her Jedi training to help the Resistance.  Of course Luke is resistant, stubborn and uncooperative, refusing to even talk to Rey who is equally as stubborn, camping out at his door everyday.  Eventually, after several incidents, the two come to an understanding.  Rey receives Jedi training from Luke Skywalker in hopes of turning the tide for the Resistance in the fight against Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order. Kylo is also the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke’s (Andy Serkis) disciple, who is strong with the dark side of the Force and leader to the Knights of Ren.  Meanwhile, Kylo Ren and Rey have a telepathic meeting of the minds where Kylo tries to sway Rey over to the dark side while capturing her mind even though they are in separate locations.

Later, in a memorable battle, the Resistance fighters are forced to evacuate their base upon arrival of a First Order fleet. Following an effective but costly counterattack led by Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), a high-ranking X-wing Resistance fighter pilot introduced in The Force Awakens. Resistance fighters manage to destroy a First Order dreadnought, before the Resistance vessels jump into hyperspace to escape, but the First Order pursues them using a tracking device. Kylo Ren who has already killed his father, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and is also General Leia Organa’s (Carrie Fisher) son, destroys the Resistance support fighters, but hesitates to fire at the lead Resistance ship, after sensing his mother’s presence on board. However, TIE fighters destroy the bridge of the ship, killing several Resistance leaders and incapacitating Leia, who only survives by using the Force. Command falls to Vice Admiral  Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern. Disapproving of Holdo’s passive strategy, Poe, Finn (John Boyega), the former Stormtrooper of the First Order who defected to the Resistance, BB-8 (controlled by puppeteers, Dave Chapman and Brian Herring), and mechanic Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), works in maintenance but ends up becoming much more, saving many lives and appears as a possible love interest for Finn — embark on a secret plan to disable the tracking device. In the meanwhile, Kylo invites Rey to rule the galaxy with him, but Rey refuses. Using the Force, they struggle for possession of Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber, which splits in two.

As you can see, The Last Jedi is long and complex.  I’ve told much of the story but not nearly a quarter of what makes up this great story.  I suggest you check it out as soon as you can.

[Star Wars: The Last Jedi is Oscar nominated for Best Visual Effects]