Mark Jenkins

Mark Jenkins reviews movies for NPR.org, as well as for reeldc.com, which covers the Washington, D.C., film scene with an emphasis on art, foreign and repertory cinema.

Jenkins spent most of his career in the industry once known as newspapers, working as an editor, writer, art director, graphic artist and circulation director, among other things, for various papers that are now dead or close to it.

He covers popular and semi-popular music for The Washington Post, Blurt, Time Out New York, and the newsmagazine show Metro Connection, which airs on member station WAMU-FM.

Jenkins is co-author, with Mark Andersen, of Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital. At one time or another, he has written about music for Rolling Stone, Slate, and NPR's All Things Considered, among other outlets.

He has also written about architecture and urbanism for various publications, and is a writer and consulting editor for the Time Out travel guide to Washington. He lives in Washington.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

'Sister': Children Living On The Fringe Of Society

Lea Seydoux plays the titular role of a young woman largely living off the generosity of her younger, petty-thieving brother.
Adopt Films

The Swiss canton of Vallais isn't exactly South Central, but it does have a crime problem: His name is Simon, and he seems to have found the perfect racket. Sister's 12-year-old protagonist (Kacey Mottet Klein) steals skis, gear and clothing at an upscale mountain resort that's just a short tram ride above his bleak flatland apartment.

Not only is the ski lodge convenient, but it's frequented by people who are too rich to sweat the loss of their stuff. ("They'll just buy a new one," Simon explains to one of the townies who buy his purloined goods.)

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

When It Comes To Drugs, A 'House' Deeply Divided

Eugene Jarecki's The House I Live In takes a measured, multiperspective look at U.S. drug policies, which approach drug use as a criminal matter rather than a medical one.
Samuel Cullman Charlotte Street Films

Drug abuse is primarily a medical problem, not a crime against
society. American anti-drug policy is a means of social control that's
rooted in racial and ethnic prejudice. The country's incarceration
industry has become a self-sustaining force, predicated on economics
rather than justice.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

'Vulgaria': Raunch Comedy With An Asian Accent

Guangxi gangster Brother Tyrannosaurus (Ronald Cheng, left) agrees to back a film for producer To Wai-Cheung (Chapman To) — with a few conditions.
China Lion Entertainment

Some men, it's said, think about only one thing. Hong Kong movie producer To Wai-Cheung, for example, is absolutely obsessive about film. Yet when he discusses it, he always seems to be talking about something else that's often on men's minds.

To (Chapman To) is the protagonist of Vulgaria, a Hong Kong movie-biz satire and sex comedy. Directed by Pang Ho-Cheung, the film boasts the spontaneity of a French New Wave romp, while including raunchy gags worthy of The Hangover and Clerks II.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Eastwood, Adams Keep Up With The 'Curve'

Mickey (Amy Adams), a successful lawyer, reluctantly hits the road to assist her father (Clint Eastwood), an Atlanta Braves baseball scout whose eyesight has begun to fail.
Keith Bernstein Warner Bros. Pictures

Predictable but appealing, Trouble with the Curve is the latest of Clint Eastwood's odes to old-fashioned attitudes and virtues. That the star neither wrote nor directed the movie in no way prevents it from being another political address from a man who considers terseness one of a hero's greatest qualities.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

The Pangs And 'Perks' Of High School, Revisited

Sam (Emma Watson), Charlie (Logan Lerman) and Patrick (Ezra Miller) help each other through the lowest parts of high school in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
John Bramley Summit Entertainment

Writer-director Stephen Chbosky's adaptation of his own 1999 novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, might just as aptly be titled The Pains of Being a Wallflower. This fable of early-'90s high school recounts (if it usually doesn't show) abundant trauma — including suicide, child sexual abuse, psychotic blackouts and a gay boy who's bashed by his own father.

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Movie Reviews
5:55 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

'Liberal Arts': A Lesson In Arrested Development

Emotionally stunted Jesse (Josh Radnor) forms a relationship with Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen), a much younger woman, in Liberal Arts.
IFC Films

Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 8:08 am

In his first big-screen sitcom, HappyThankYouMorePlease, writer-director-star Josh Radnor emulated Woody Allen. Radnor's second feature, Liberal Arts, is less Allenesque, except for one crucial, and vexing, aspect: It's about an older man's infatuation with a younger woman.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

'For Ellen,' With Something Distantly Like Love

Joby (Paul Dano) is increasingly detached from the rest of humanity as he travels to sign divorce papers with his soon-to-be-ex-wife.
Carolyn Drake Tribeca Film

The centerpiece of For Ellen is the long-postponed meeting between a rock-band singer, Joby Taylor, and the 6-year-old daughter whose name is in the title. But writer-director So Yong Kim's wintry character study is primarily a solo act, punctuated by the occasional duet.

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Movie Reviews
4:04 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

An 'Ambassador' Of Sorts, But Hardly Diplomatic

Mads Brugger, in character as diplomat Mads Cortzen, conferences with various members of the Central African Republic's government.
Drafthouse Films

Originally published on Tue August 28, 2012 4:42 pm

"If the Congo was the heart of darkness, this is the spleen."

That's how Danish guerrilla filmmaker Mads Brugger introduces the Central African Republic, the focus of his hidden-camera documentary The Ambassador.

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Movie Reviews
6:01 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

In A French Confection, A Hollywood Aftertaste

Friends Antoine (Laurent Lafitte), Eric (Gilles Lellouche) and Marie (Marion Cotillard) are among the troubled group that makes an annual retreat to a home in Cap Ferret.
MPI Media Group

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 8:32 pm

It's summer in France, time for stressed urbanites to head to the beach and forget their problems. For the circle of friends featured in Little White Lies, however, this year's problems are a little more memorable than most.

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Movies
5:03 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

A Song-And-Dance Show About Dark Realities

Catherine Deneuve and Chiara Mastroianni — mother and daughter in real life — portray two generations of romantics in Christophe Honore's second musical.
IFC Entertainment

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 12:53 pm

With Love Songs, his 2007 musical, French writer-director Christophe Honore updated such 1960s bonbons as The Umbrellas of Cherbourg for our age of expanded erotic frankness and possibility. Beloved, Honore's second musical, goes even farther, layering death, AIDS and Sept. 11 among the merry melodies.

This stylish film is enormous fun, whirling and warbling across four decades of amour. But it stumbles a few times in its last half-hour and ultimately seems a little too frisky for the graver issues it addresses.

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