Mark Jenkins http://wvasfm.org en 'A Most Wanted Man': A Parable Grounded In The Real World http://wvasfm.org/post/most-wanted-man-parable-grounded-real-world Fittingly, one of Philip Seymour Hoffman's final performances is in a movie about role-playing. The masterly actor mutters and growls his way through <em>A Most Wanted Man</em> as a spy who's simultaneously fighting two losing wars: against the West's enemies as well as his own putative allies.<p>Further deepening the movie's ambiguity, the American actor plays a German in a story whose payoff is pungently anti-American.<p>Although set in Hamburg rather than London, this is familiar turf for John le Carre, whose 2008 novel is the movie's source. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:46:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 51995 at http://wvasfm.org 'A Most Wanted Man': A Parable Grounded In The Real World 'I Origins': There's More Than One 'I' In 'Ridiculous' http://wvasfm.org/post/i-origins-theres-more-one-i-ridiculous Viewers of earnest sci-fi dramas like <em>I Origins</em> are required to suspend disbelief, but the scripters of such movies have responsibilities, too. They can't introduce ideas so ridiculous, or suddenly twist their premises so illogically, that audiences are fatally distracted.<p>Take, for example, <em>Snowpiercer</em>, set on a frozen future Earth. While a home nestled in the warm bedrock would be the logical place to wait out an ice age, let's accept that the few surviving humans are instead circling the globe on a "high-speed" train. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 21:03:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 51613 at http://wvasfm.org 'I Origins': There's More Than One 'I' In 'Ridiculous' A 'Closed Curtain' Conceals A Director's Real Confinement http://wvasfm.org/post/closed-curtain-conceals-directors-real-confinement Banned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi could hardly have found a more engaging surrogate than the four-legged co-star of <em>Closed Curtain</em>, the second movie Panahi has directed since he was officially forbidden from doing so. Making his entrance by hopping from the duffel bag that's hidden him, the dog called Boy embodies Iranian outcasts at their friskiest.<p>Bushy-tailed Boy, it seems, is the reason the principal human character, played by co-director Kamboziya Partovi, has traveled to this resort home on the Caspian Sea. Thu, 10 Jul 2014 21:03:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 51220 at http://wvasfm.org A 'Closed Curtain' Conceals A Director's Real Confinement The Devil's In The Derails: 'Deliver Us,' Indeed http://wvasfm.org/post/devils-derails-deliver-us-indeed For decades, cop dramas have depicted the South Bronx as the devil's playground. <em>Deliver Us From Evil</em> takes that idea all too literally. But then this slow-witted occult thriller takes everything literally, from the Catholic rite of exorcism to Jim Morrison's shamanic posturing.<p>The movie is derived from a book of the same name by former NYPD Sgt. Ralph Sarchie, who reportedly came to believe that some of the criminals he faced were literally possessed. Thu, 03 Jul 2014 21:03:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 50851 at http://wvasfm.org The Devil's In The Derails: 'Deliver Us,' Indeed 'Begin Again,' A Music Fantasy Both Sticky And Sweet http://wvasfm.org/post/begin-again-music-fantasy-both-sticky-and-sweet You can be the scrappy newcomer only, well, once. That's a problem for <em>Once</em> writer-director John Carney, who has refashioned his low-budget 2006 hit as the slicker, cornier <em>Begin Again</em>. The new film excels as a pop-music fairy tale, but its real-world notes are seriously off-key.<p>The movie originally traveled the film-fest circuit under an unfortunate title, <em>Can A Song Save Your Life?</em> As in Carney's earlier effort, the life to be saved is that of a struggling man, and the rescuer is a young woman. Thu, 26 Jun 2014 21:10:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 50457 at http://wvasfm.org 'Begin Again,' A Music Fantasy Both Sticky And Sweet You're A Little Flat, 'Boys' http://wvasfm.org/post/youre-little-flat-boys For the final credits of <em>Jersey Boys</em>, director Clint Eastwood sends the whole cast into a backlot street to dance to the Four Seasons' most recent chart-topper, 1976's "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)." <em>Hmmm</em>, the confused viewer might wonder, <em>perhaps this is supposed to be a musical</em>....<p>The movie is, of course, derived from the long-running Broadway hit, and includes numerous Four Seasons songs. But this adaptation, as reworked by original writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, adds dialogue and subtracts music. Thu, 19 Jun 2014 21:03:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 50042 at http://wvasfm.org You're A Little Flat, 'Boys' In 'Manuscripts,' A Barred Filmmaker Considers Dissident Art http://wvasfm.org/post/manuscripts-barred-filmmaker-considers-dissident-art Iranian writer-director Mohammad Rasoulof is known for such lovely yet elusive allegories as <em>White Meadows</em>, but his response to being barred from filmmaking has not been to recede further into symbolism. His <em>Manuscripts Don't Burn</em>, smuggled out of Iran last year, is direct and unflinching.<p>Rasoulof and fellow director Jafar Panahi were arrested in 2010, and forbidden from making movies for 20 years. Thu, 12 Jun 2014 21:03:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 49655 at http://wvasfm.org In 'Manuscripts,' A Barred Filmmaker Considers Dissident Art All Eyes Turn To One 'Beauty' In Interwoven Tales Of Families And Politics http://wvasfm.org/post/all-eyes-turn-one-beauty-interwoven-tales-families-and-politics Four stories and at least that many themes interlace in <em>Dormant Beauty</em>, veteran Italian director Marco Bellocchio's latest bid to combine the personal and the political. The central issue is euthanasia, which became a national argument in 2009, when the father of Eluana Englaro asked to end her life after 17 years in a vegetative state.<p>The controversy over the real-life case is the backdrop for the director and co-writer's multistrand drama. Thu, 05 Jun 2014 21:08:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 49277 at http://wvasfm.org All Eyes Turn To One 'Beauty' In Interwoven Tales Of Families And Politics Punk Is Alive And Living In Three Swedish Girls http://wvasfm.org/post/punk-alive-and-living-three-swedish-girls Somewhere in liberal-minded but boring Sweden, two teenage girls begin a rebellion. If the premise of Lukas Moodysson's <em>We Are the Best!</em> sounds familiar, that's because it's roughly identical to that of the writer-director's charming 1998 debut, <em>Show Me Love</em>.<p>As well as being something of a retread, <em>We Are the Best!</em> is a thematic retreat from its predecessor, <em>Mammoth</em>, a well-meaning if contrived globalization parable. Artistically, however, the new film is a rebirth. Fri, 30 May 2014 21:03:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 48970 at http://wvasfm.org Punk Is Alive And Living In Three Swedish Girls Dizzy From Time Travel, Overstuffed With Mutants http://wvasfm.org/post/dizzy-time-travel-overstuffed-mutants As the seventh X-Men movie begins, New York City is in ruins, its residents nearly annihilated. Yet <em>X-Men: Days of Future Past</em>'s true plight is overpopulation. The film is so stuffed with characters that including twin versions of Professor X and Magneto scarcely boosts the confusion.<p>The first X-flick directed by Bryan Singer since 2003's <em>X2</em> clicks in its middle section, which mostly focuses on the younger crew of heroes introduced in 2011's <em>X-Men: First Class</em>. Thu, 22 May 2014 21:03:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 48524 at http://wvasfm.org Dizzy From Time Travel, Overstuffed With Mutants