Mark Jenkins http://wdiy.org en A 'Closed Curtain' Conceals A Director's Real Confinement http://wdiy.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 43547 at http://wdiy.org A 'Closed Curtain' Conceals A Director's Real Confinement The Devil's In The Derails: 'Deliver Us,' Indeed http://wdiy.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 43143 at http://wdiy.org The Devil's In The Derails: 'Deliver Us,' Indeed 'Begin Again,' A Music Fantasy Both Sticky And Sweet http://wdiy.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 42741 at http://wdiy.org 'Begin Again,' A Music Fantasy Both Sticky And Sweet You're A Little Flat, 'Boys' http://wdiy.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 42297 at http://wdiy.org You're A Little Flat, 'Boys' In 'Manuscripts,' A Barred Filmmaker Considers Dissident Art http://wdiy.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 41873 at http://wdiy.org In 'Manuscripts,' A Barred Filmmaker Considers Dissident Art All Eyes Turn To One 'Beauty' In Interwoven Tales Of Families And Politics http://wdiy.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 41495 at http://wdiy.org All Eyes Turn To One 'Beauty' In Interwoven Tales Of Families And Politics Punk Is Alive And Living In Three Swedish Girls http://wdiy.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 41173 at http://wdiy.org Punk Is Alive And Living In Three Swedish Girls Dizzy From Time Travel, Overstuffed With Mutants http://wdiy.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 40679 at http://wdiy.org Dizzy From Time Travel, Overstuffed With Mutants In 'Horses Of God,' A Sprawling Slum Breeds A Violent Act http://wdiy.org/post/horses-god-sprawling-slum-breeds-violent-act Anyone seeking to establish an incubator for suicide bombers could hardly improve on Sidi Moumen, a slum on the fringe of Casablanca. As depicted in <em>Horses of God</em>, the neighborhood is a place of crushing poverty, rampant hostility and exceptionally limited options.<p>Those burdens alone, of course, were not enough to motivate the 12 bombers who attacked sites in the nearby city in May 2003, killing 33 people as well as themselves. Thu, 15 May 2014 21:04:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 40265 at http://wdiy.org In 'Horses Of God,' A Sprawling Slum Breeds A Violent Act 'Neighbors' Just Wants To Be The Gross Joke Next Door http://wdiy.org/post/neighbors-just-wants-be-gross-joke-next-door Makers of R-rated comedies face an essential dilemma: finding brand new ways to gross out their snickering adolescent viewers. But as <em>Neighbors </em>demonstrates, there's another challenge that's just as tricky: piloting the raunchy scenario to a payoff that upholds the very middle-class values the movie gleefully profanes.<p><em>Neighbors</em> opens in an upscale suburban Anywhereville, where a house is occupied by a standard sitcom couple: goofy, pudgy dad and improbably beautiful mom. Thu, 08 May 2014 21:03:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 39822 at http://wdiy.org 'Neighbors' Just Wants To Be The Gross Joke Next Door