Marwencol

marwencol miniature

Jeff Malmberg’s 2010 documentary Marwencol is one of the most interesting, immersive nonfiction stories that has been put together in the past few years. If it was just about a guy who was beat so bad by a group of drunk young men that he had to figure out a way to piece his fractured mind back together afterward, it probably would have been interesting enough. If it was just about a grown man who was so good at playing with dolls that the pictures he took of the little scenarios he concocted with them eventually got put into art galleries, it probably would have been interesting enough. But Marwencol combines both these stories and other layers that shouldn’t be given away to create a moviegoing experience that’s sometimes unsettling, often strangely comforting, but always rich. It’s kind of like movie lasagna. The subject of the film is a man named Mark Hogancamp, who was the victim of the aforementioned beating, and who dealt with his trauma by creating and photographing the aforementioned doll world. To be more specific, Hogancamp took the people and places he knew, and he recreated them through the lens of a fictional World War II-era Belgian town called Marwencol that was known for its bounty of friendly hookers, the brutality of its SS raids, and the blue-haired, time traveling witch named Deja Thoris who called it home. All of that sounds pretty weird, right? That’s why Robert Zemeckis thinks it’s the perfect material to tackle […]

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This Week in Blu-ray

It’s another week of high definition hijinks here on This Week In Blu-ray. Perhaps one of the slower weeks we’ve seen this year, but certainly not one lacking in quality. Besides the big Pixar Pick that you see below, you’ll find something to love when I review the latest Harry Potter flick, one of 2010’s best and most underrated docs, and the latest Criterion release. We’ll also touch on that movie in which Gwyneth Paltrow sings country songs, but only momentarily. The Incredibles Every new release that Pixar has brought to the Blu-ray format has been of a certain quality. Plenty of extras, brilliant transfers and all the little goodies that make Disney one of the better distributors of the format. The same can be said of their back catalog releases, including Monsters Inc. and Toy Story 2. To that end, The Incredibles is perfectly matched to that standard of quality. The 2004 film, not old by any means, looks particularly brilliant in 1080p because of the colorful nature of its story. From the flashy red of the family’s suits to the lush jungle around Syndrome’s volcanic layer, this film pops with every frame. It’s the reason videophiles have been drooling over its potential HD release for some time now. Feel free to celebrate, fair ‘philes, as your day has come. The Incredibles is just as incredible as you’ve imagined it would be. For those with tastes that run behind the arts, there are brand new featurettes in which the […]

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This Week in DVD

Welcome to our weekly look at this week’s DVD releases of the week! Did I mention that this is a weekly column? It’s true. The titles coming to DVD this week run the gamut from documentaries to horror, and the only common thread is that they’re releases you probably haven’t heard of before. That is, with one fairly big exception. Harry Potter, one of the biggest franchises in cinema history, is coming to an end with a two part finale. Part one was a commercial and critical success, and part two promises to be even bigger when it hits screens later this year. It will be a sad day indeed for folks who enjoy watching teenage boys playing with their wands. Editor’s Note: Click on any of the titles or cover art below to find out more about the release at Amazon.com. A Summer In Genoa A car crash takes the life of a young mother but spares her two daughters, and five months later the girls and their father (Colin Firth) head to Italy to escape their grief for a year abroad. Michael Winterbottom’s film is a raw and unavoidably sad look at guilt, loss, and the difficulty of moving on after the death of someone you love. Firth puts his eternally sad eyes to good use, but the real emotion here comes from the two daughters struggling to deal with events in their own ways. It’s a beautiful film imbued with love, sadness, and the constant feeling of […]

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As with any other cinematic year, many of the best movies of 2010 flew so far under the mainstream, 3D-centric radar that there was almost no way to catch them in theaters, unless you live in New York or L.A., or are blessed by a local arthouse. Now, then, is an appropriate time to thank the movie gods for Netflix (and, to a lesser extent, video on demand), where these ten terrific movies will be given the shelf-life denied them on the theatrical circuit. Without further ado, here are our picks for the year’s best movies you didn’t see.

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The top nominations for this year’s Indie Spirit Awards are no surprise. Winter’s Bone continues its march through the woods to find its father and an Oscar with 7 nominations (which is almost all it was even eligible for). In a close second, The Kids Are All Right finds itself with 5 nominations. If you’re a fan of female directors, this year is celebrating a number of them in the top spots, but it’s also incredibly important to point out that Samuel L. Jackson and Bill Murray are finally up for the same award. The Indepdenent Spirit Awards make a good primer for the films that might make their way into the Academy Award nominee pool. In recent tradition, the winner of the Best Feature prize goes on to be an Oscar contender (and occasional winner). Examples of that include Precious, The Wrestler, Juno, and Brokeback Mountain. The full list of nominees continues below:

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SXSW Film 2010

As is the case every year at this time, we need to wrap things up. Much to our dismay, SXSW cannot go on forever. And while reviews will continue to post in the next week as we get caught up on screeners and anything we haven’t written up from the actual fest, we’re confident that we can present you with our picks for the 15 Best Films of SXSW 2010.

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SXSW Film 2010

When you visit a film festival, you are sure to find plenty of films that seem odd in subject matter and some that have odd names. Marwencol can own up to both of those distinctions. In the end though, the film can call itself the Best Documentary Feature of SXSW 2010, and my favorite documentary of recent memory.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Brian Gibson and I break down what’s hot and what’s sweaty here at South By Southwest.

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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.19.2014
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published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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