Blu-ray review: “Forbidden Room” opens Guy Maddin’s cabinet of wonders

forbiddenroom

“Squid Theft!” “Bones! Bones! Bones!” “Forced to wear a leotard!”

If you want to make a film critic smile, drop one of the intertitles to Guy Maddin’s phantasmagoric last film “The Forbidden Room” in the middle of a conversation. Maddin’s film, now out on DVD and Blu-ray from Kino Lorber is a cinephiliac’s dream and nightmare, as Maddin and co-director Evan Johnson took a treasure trove of plots from lost and never-made films and created giddy, eerie Russian nesting dolls of stories out of them.

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Blu-ray review: “My Winnipeg” shows Guy Maddin can go home again

mywinnipeg

At the Sundance Film Festival last month, I marvelled at the daffy brilliance of Guy Maddin’s “The Forbidden Room,” a cavalcade of interlocking stories based on supposedly lost films where banana vampires terrified damsels, trapped submariners ate flapjacks so they could suck on the air bubbles in the batter, and there was no situation so dire that it couldn’t be solved by a nice hot bath.

And yet, while “Forbidden Room” is wonderful, I think I’ll always consider his “docufantasia” “My Winnipeg” to be my favorite. Maddin’s delightful weird and achingly personal ode to his Canadian hometown mixes truth and fiction  like no other film I’ve seen. The Criterion Collection just released the film on DVD and Blu-ray last month, loaded with great features.

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Sundance Film Festival: Fall down the rabbit hole of Guy Maddin’s “The Forbidden Room”

forbiddenroom

Can’t get into too many movies at this year’s Sundance Film Festival? Make time for Guy Maddin’s latest film, the wonderfully dense and strange “The Forbidden Room.” It’s like 20 movies in one, all put one inside the other like a series of Russian nesting dolls — dolls that have been binge-watching Turner Classic Movies all winter.

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Guy Maddin brings his strange and wonderful movies to Madison

mywinnipeg

You haven’t seen anything like a Guy Maddin film, unless you’ve seen another Guy Maddin film. At the simplest level, the Canadian filmmaker makes elliptical experimental films using the language and iconography of Golden Age Cinema. His last film, “Keyhole,” was a cryptic take on gangster noir, while his most famous, 2004’s “The Saddest Music in the World,” was a parody of the musicals of yesteryear.

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15 reasons to get excited about the Spring 2014 UW-CInematheque calendar

mywinnipeg

Some use ice fishing. Some use football. Some use bourbon.

For me, not surprisingly, what gets me through a Wisconsin winter is the movies. Luckily, just as the thermometer plunges and the snowblower comes out around this time of year, the big Oscar contenders start hitting theaters. And when the holiday rush is past, there’s always a new UW-Cinematheque winter-spring schedule, and the tantalizing signs of the Wisconsin Film Festival up ahead in April, to keep us going until springtime.

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