Tag Archives: Robert Zemeckis

Welcome to Marwen Trailer #2 (2018) “To Dream is To Heal”

Steve Carell plays a traumatized photographer in the new movie Welcome to Marwen, the true story of artist Mark Hogancamp’s battle with PTSD by creating miniature World War II town.  Director Robert Zemeckis puts a cinematic spin on the story, which was depicted in the 2010 documentary Marwencol. The tech-savvy filmmaker combines flesh-and-blood footage with motion capture action to capture Hogancamp’s fictitious town, which he populated with characters resembling himself, his loved ones and, as Nazis, the men who attacked him and left him brain damaged.

The film’s synopsis states, “When a devastating attack shatters Mark Hogancamp and wipes away all memories, no one expected recovery. Putting together pieces from his old and new life, Mark meticulously creates a wondrous town where he can heal and be heroic. As he builds an astonishing art installation—a testament to the most powerful women he knows—through his fantasy world, he draws strength to triumph in the real one.”

Welcome to Marwen, which opens in time for awards season on November 21st, co-stars Janelle Monae, Leslie Mann, Diane Kruger and Eiza Gonzalez.
*Text from Rolling Stone

Welcome to Marwen Poster

My Favorite Scene: Back to the Future (1985) “The Clocktower”

This week I was having a discussion with a friend about whether directors are really storytellers at all or if they are helpless without a good script.  I don’t think you can have a good movie without a good script.  It’s the foundation of all great films.  I remain perpetually baffled that movies spend $20 million on a special effect but won’t drop a quarter of that on a script.  Some directors are just not great storytellers, but there are some who, when given something solid to work with (like Bob Gale’s great script for Back to the Future) can take those words and bring it to life in a way that exceeds anything printed on a page.  Robert Zemeckis is absolutely at the top of the list of these “storytelling directors”.

Back to the Future, over 30 years after its release, still holds up as one of the great action comedies of recent memory.  The film is full of iconic moments from the hoverboard chase, to Johnny B. Goode, to every time Christopher Lloyd bellows “GREAT SCOTT!”, but my favorite scene is the climactic clocktower set piece.  CineFix in an Art of the Scene piece from a few years ago does a wonderful job of breaking down the nuts and bolts of how one of the most iconic scenes of the 1980s came to life.  What’s probably most stunning is how much of the clocktower scene are practical effects.  In an age when CGI has taken a lot of the ingenuity out of F/X work, you don’t see this kind of brilliance anymore.  Back to the Future worked so well because it blended a great script, a great director, Michael J. Fox in his breakout role, and old-fashioned movie wizardry to tell a time-traveling tale that has, over the decades, become timeless.

Welcome to Marwen Trailer #1 (2018) *Definitely a Most Unexpected Place*

Steve Carell plays a traumatized photographer in the new movie Welcome to Marwen, the true story of artist Mark Hogancamp’s battle with PTSD by creating miniature World War II town.  Director Robert Zemeckis puts a cinematic spin on the story, which was depicted in the 2010 documentary Marwencol. The tech-savvy filmmaker combines flesh-and-blood footage with motion capture action to capture Hogancamp’s fictitious town, which he populated with characters resembling himself, his loved ones and, as Nazis, the men who attacked him and left him brain damaged.

The film’s synopsis states, “When a devastating attack shatters Mark Hogancamp and wipes away all memories, no one expected recovery. Putting together pieces from his old and new life, Mark meticulously creates a wondrous town where he can heal and be heroic. As he builds an astonishing art installation—a testament to the most powerful women he knows—through his fantasy world, he draws strength to triumph in the real one.”

Welcome to Marwen, which opens in time for awards season on November 21st, co-stars Janelle Monae, Leslie Mann, Diane Kruger and Eiza Gonzalez.
*Text from Rolling Stone

Welcome to Marwen Poster

My Favorite Scene: Forrest Gump (1994) “Jenny’s Grave”

Unlike most of humanity, I don’t love Forrest Gump.  CALM DOWN!  I respect the film for the performances and for breakthroughs in the craft of filmmaking, but in no way do I think the film is one of the greatest motion pictures of all-time.  “Gumpmania” swept the country in 1994, denying what should have been the most critically recognized film of the year, The Shawshank Redemption, the acclaim it has since received in the two decades since both were released.  Likewise, Tom Hanks has given at least three to five performances that were stronger Oscar candidates than Forrest Gump.  I will give the film credit, though, for some incredibly powerful, authentic scenes of types of emotion we don’t often see in film. Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Forrest Gump (1994) “Jenny’s Grave”

Top 5: Scenes from Forrest Gump (IMDB Top 250 #13)

Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks, Robert Zemeckis

Every other month, we take a look at a movie on the Internet Movie Database’s List of the TOP 250 FILMS OF ALL-TIME.  These are movies that transcend a simple “My Favorite Scene” column.  These are movies that are hard to just pry five gems from, but we do and examine the film overall.  We’re on our thirteenth installment in this series.  Click on the links for The Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Dark Knight, Pulp Fiction , Schindler’s List, 12 Angry Men, The Good The Bad and The Ugly, The Return of the King, Fight Club,  and The Empire Strikes Back to check out previous installments.

At  #13, we come to 1995’s Best Picture: Forrest Gump, directed by Robert Zemeckis.  These columns usually come out faster, and for that I’m sorry, but I’ve hit a road block with this one that I haven’t encountered since we did Pulp Fiction: I really don’t like Forrest Gump.  CALM DOWN!  I respect the film for the performances and for breakthroughs in the craft of film making, but in no way do I think the film is one of the greatest motion pictures of all-time.  “Gumpmania” swept the country in 1994, denying what should have been the most critically recognized film of the year, The Shawshank Redemption, the acclaim it has since received in the two decades since both were released.  Likewise, Tom Hanks has given at least three to five performances that were stronger Oscar candidates than Forrest Gump.  It is, however, undeniably a hugely popular film, and like Pulp Fiction, it does have scenes (most involving my favorite character) that are worthy of recognition and examination. Continue reading Top 5: Scenes from Forrest Gump (IMDB Top 250 #13)