Mark Jenkins http://wamc.org en It's Faction Against Faction In A Grim Future Chicago http://wamc.org/post/its-faction-against-faction-grim-future-chicago The latest teen-girl fiction series to become a movie franchise, <em>Divergent </em>delivers adolescent viewers some bad news and some good news. The bad is that the dystopian future will be just like high school, with kids divided into rigid cliques. The good is that adulthood will be just like high school, so teens face no major surprises.<p>In the first of three movies adapted from Veronica Roth's trilogy, Beatrice (Shailene Woodley) lives in a trashed, walled-in Chicago where everyone belongs to one of five castes: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless or Erudite. Thu, 20 Mar 2014 21:03:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 86332 at http://wamc.org It's Faction Against Faction In A Grim Future Chicago In 'Stalingrad,' Where The Fog Of War Is Plenty Thick http://wamc.org/post/stalingrad-where-fog-war-plenty-thick If you're only going to see one film about the Battle of Stalingrad — and there are many — <em>Stalingrad </em>would be the wrong choice. Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk's treatment of the World War II turning point is shallow and contrived, if sometimes impressively staged. The movie wins points, however, for sheer wackiness.<p>This is first film about Stalingrad, for example, to open with voiceover in Japanese. The completely unnecessary framing story is set in the Tohoku region just after it was pummeled by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Thu, 27 Feb 2014 22:03:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 84820 at http://wamc.org In 'Stalingrad,' Where The Fog Of War Is Plenty Thick Dark Wings Over Tokyo, With A Dash Of Feline Mystery To Finish http://wamc.org/post/dark-wings-over-tokyo-dash-feline-mystery-finish <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v41xP1z_mAI</p> Tue, 27 Aug 2013 23:08:53 +0000 Mark Jenkins 72340 at http://wamc.org Dark Wings Over Tokyo, With A Dash Of Feline Mystery To Finish Lives And History, Through The Eyes Of Big And Small http://wamc.org/post/lives-and-history-through-eyes-big-and-small In their approaches to history, Joshua Michael Stern's <em>Jobs</em> and <em>Lee Daniels' The Butler</em> could hardly be less similar. The former is an example of Victorian-style great-man biography, updated for the iThings era. The latter observes monumental events, mostly involving the civil rights movement, from an Everyman's perspective.<p>Yet the two movies have much in common. Neither seriously exerts itself to examine psychology or illustrate character. Nor does either offer significant challenges to conventional wisdom. Fri, 16 Aug 2013 01:10:08 +0000 Mark Jenkins 71550 at http://wamc.org Lives And History, Through The Eyes Of Big And Small 'Renoir': Impressionism, Rapturously Realized http://wamc.org/post/renoir-impressionism-rapturously-realized "A girl out of nowhere, sent by a dead woman." That description of its catalyst makes <em>Renoir</em> sound like a thriller. But this film is actually a relaxed, visually lush tribute to Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir and his son Jean, who was to become one of France's most esteemed filmmakers.<p>The "girl out of nowhere" is aspiring actress Andree Heuschling (Christa Theret), a red-haired, orange-clad gamine who bicycles through the opening scene like a creature from another world. Fri, 29 Mar 2013 02:32:34 +0000 Mark Jenkins 60968 at http://wamc.org 'Renoir': Impressionism, Rapturously Realized 'Dangerous Liaisons' Gets A Far-East Makeover http://wamc.org/post/dangerous-liaisons-gets-far-east-makeover Relocating<em> Dangerous Liaisons</em>, the 18th-century French erotic intrigue, to 1930s Shanghai is a bold move. And yet it's not especially surprising. In Chinese movies, that city in that decade frequently serves as shorthand for decadence. And what could be more decadent than two debauched ex-lovers cold-heartedly planning to destroy the innocence of not one but two virtuous women?<br /> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 22:03:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 51661 at http://wamc.org 'Dangerous Liaisons' Gets A Far-East Makeover A 'Big Picture' Intently Focused On The Details http://wamc.org/post/big-picture-intently-focused-details The original French title of <em>The Big Picture</em> — an adaptation of a novel by American expatriate writer Douglas Kennedy — means "the man who wanted to live his life." That's pointedly ironic, since this existential thriller is about a person who seeks personal freedom by becoming somebody else.<br /> Thu, 11 Oct 2012 21:03:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 49672 at http://wamc.org A 'Big Picture' Intently Focused On The Details