Mark Jenkins http://tristatesradio.com en The Rush Of A River; The Rise Of A Gondola http://tristatesradio.com/post/rush-river-rise-gondola Although they take very different approaches to the eco-documentary, <em>DamNation</em> and <em>Manakamana</em> are both immersive experiences. In the former, one of the directors is the narrator and an onscreen character. In the latter, the directors stay off-camera (or behind the camera) as they turn a simple journey into a slowly unraveling ethnographic mystery.<p><em>DamNation</em> opens with a recording of FDR, who acclaims the then-new Hoover Dam and denounces those of "narrow vision" who reject major public-works projects. Thu, 17 Apr 2014 20:02:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 51711 at http://tristatesradio.com The Rush Of A River; The Rise Of A Gondola 'Boys Of Abu Ghraib' Focuses Too Tightly On An Army Of One http://tristatesradio.com/post/boys-abu-ghraib-focuses-too-tightly-army-one Essentially a one-man show, writer-director-star Luke Moran's <em>Boys of Abu Ghraib</em> observes a soldier's deployment at the prison during its most notorious post-Saddam year, 2003. As such, the movie works pretty well. But spotlighting a single GI sidesteps the group dynamic of what happened at the U.S.-run jail, where poorly supervised guards incited each other to behave in ways that were, at the least, unprofessional.<br /> Sat, 29 Mar 2014 17:29:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 50674 at http://tristatesradio.com 'Boys Of Abu Ghraib' Focuses Too Tightly On An Army Of One Foreign Policy, With A Pugnacious French Twist http://tristatesradio.com/post/foreign-policy-pugnacious-french-twist A frisky tour of the Gallic equivalent of the U.S. State Department, <em>The French Minister</em> boasts robust pacing, screwball-comedy banter and an exuberant central performance. For most American viewers, though, the movie could use footnotes to go with its subtitles.<p>Derived from a graphic novel, the movie observes the travails of Arthur Vlaminck (Raphael Personnaz), a recent graduate of the country's top public-administration college. Thu, 20 Mar 2014 21:03:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 50192 at http://tristatesradio.com Foreign Policy, With A Pugnacious French Twist It's Faction Against Faction In A Grim Future Chicago http://tristatesradio.com/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 50189 at http://tristatesradio.com It's Faction Against Faction In A Grim Future Chicago 'Big Men,' Doing Big Business In Africa's Oil Fields http://tristatesradio.com/post/big-men-doing-big-business-africas-oil-fields There are three categories of schemers in <em>Big Men</em>, Rachel Boynton's illuminating documentary about the oil business in West Africa: businessmen, politicians and bandits. Sometimes, though, it's hard to tell the types apart.<p>Filmed over about five years, the movie follows the seesawing fortunes of Kosmos Energy, a small Dallas oil company. Small, that is, by the standards of ExxonMobil, the massive firm that briefly enters the story as a potential partner. Thu, 13 Mar 2014 21:03:00 +0000 Mark Jenkins 49808 at http://tristatesradio.com 'Big Men,' Doing Big Business In Africa's Oil Fields