Mark Jenkins http://tpr.org en 'Neighbors' Just Wants To Be The Gross Joke Next Door http://tpr.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. Fri, 09 May 2014 02:23:33 +0000 Mark Jenkins 31399 at http://tpr.org 'Neighbors' Just Wants To Be The Gross Joke Next Door Travel And Discovery, For 'Ida' And The Filmmaker Who Watches Her http://tpr.org/post/travel-and-discovery-ida-and-filmmaker-who-watches-her Everyone is on a voyage of self-discovery in <em>Ida</em> — the two central characters certainly, but also Poland-born, Britain-based director Pawel Pawlikowski, making his first film in the homeland he left at 14.<p>The austerely luminous black-and-white drama is set in 1962, an era the director can't remember all that well. (He was 5 at the time.) The title character is 18 and about to learn who she is, or was. Fri, 02 May 2014 00:15:29 +0000 Mark Jenkins 31023 at http://tpr.org Travel And Discovery, For 'Ida' And The Filmmaker Who Watches Her It's Faction Against Faction In A Grim Future Chicago http://tpr.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 28638 at http://tpr.org It's Faction Against Faction In A Grim Future Chicago In 'Stalingrad,' Where The Fog Of War Is Plenty Thick http://tpr.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 27488 at http://tpr.org In 'Stalingrad,' Where The Fog Of War Is Plenty Thick Adam Sandler, Insisting Again That He's A Really Great Guy http://tpr.org/post/adam-sandler-insisting-again-hes-really-great-guy Two decades ago, when stupid Hollywood comedies were relatively smart, they lampooned their own sequelitis with titles like <em>Hot Shots! Part Deux</em>. The genre has become less knowing since then, so the follow-up to 2010's <em>Grown Ups</em> is named simply <em>Grown Ups 2</em>.<p><em>Grown Ups Minus 2</em> would be more apt.<p>Like its predecessor, this is a vehicle for Adam Sandler, his pals and whatever they think they can get away with. Fri, 12 Jul 2013 03:04:49 +0000 Mark Jenkins 14645 at http://tpr.org Adam Sandler, Insisting Again That He's A Really Great Guy 'Dangerous Liaisons' Gets A Far-East Makeover http://tpr.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 1499 at http://tpr.org 'Dangerous Liaisons' Gets A Far-East Makeover A 'Big Picture' Intently Focused On The Details http://tpr.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 398 at http://tpr.org A 'Big Picture' Intently Focused On The Details