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.

Near the end of Louder than Bombs , Norwegian writer-director Joachim Trier's first English-language film, a narrator arrives to inform us that one of the characters will remember that particular moment years later. The intrusion is unexpected, but perhaps less so for people who've seen Trier's 2006 debut, Reprise . That playfully serious movie was about the making of a writer's consciousness, so its literary flourishes were apt. In their clever but ultimately disappointing...

"Who needs France without the Louvre? Or Russia without the Hermitage?" These questions, addressed to Francofonia 's audience by director and narrator Alexander Sokurov, may recall Russian Ark , the Siberia-born filmmaker's best-known (and arguably best) movie. But while his new film is nominally about the Paris museum, it's less focused than Russian Ark . That 2002 cinematic pageant presented Russian history in a single, unedited 87-minute take that danced through...

The weepiest man in country-music history, Hank Williams is an unlikely icon of the usually macho genre. But the composer of "Weary Blues from Waitin'," "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," and "I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive" was firmly rooted in the South. As he shifted from blues to gospel to "hillbilly," he remained a good ol' boy. The same can't be said of Tom Hiddleston, who plays Williams in the reverent but clumsy I Saw the Light . The British actor, best known as Loki in a...

Paul Dedalus can be a man of action. The middle-class protagonist of the dynamic yet ultimately melancholy My Golden Days carries a gun into a tense negotiation with a drug dealer, and happily accepts a secret mission to carry documents and cash to Jewish refuseniks while on a high-school trip behind what was then the Iron Curtain. Yet Paul — like his Irish cousin, James Joyce's Stephen Dedalus — is more observer than doer. In fact, he's an anthropology student who will grow up to...

In A War , a Danish commander whose troops are under attack by the Taliban calls in an air strike, and later has to answer for it in a courtroom. Eye in the Sky mashes those two narratives together. While a drone pilot in Nevada prepares to hit al-Shabaab terrorists in Nairobi, the morality of this potential action is debated by politicos in London. The movie is both provocative and fairly gripping, if not altogether convincing. As directed by Gavin Hood, a South African...

Enigmatic writer-director Terrence Malick has made what is essentially the same movie three times in a row: Tree of Life , To the Wonder , and now Knight of Cups . It's time to ask if he knows what he's doing. On one level, he unquestionably does. Malick's movies are elegantly photographed and edited, set to evocative mystical/minimalist music, and intermittently rapturous despite under-baked narratives. And the filmmaker has no trouble attracting Hollywood stars...

In Triple 9's beyond-shadowy opening, a group of reprobates discusses plans for a military-precision bank robbery. The illumination is so dim that a bit of Anthony Mackie's brow is about all that's visible. Subsequent scenes allow a little more light, yet this laughably nihilistic movie just gets darker and darker. The setting is an Atlanta that's so depraved that it must be director John Hillcoat's attempt to top the near-pornographic grimness of his post-cataclysm The Road. Heavily tattooed...

A river cruise is like a movie. The boat glides from scene to scene, the travelers get to know each other, and around the final curve awaits resolution, or perhaps revelation. Or at least that's how the voyage proceeds in Colombian director and co-writer Ciro Guerra's fascinating The Embrace of the Serpent . Nominated for the best foreign-language-film Oscar, the Amazon-set drama is a trip in more ways than one. It intertwines two journeys of discovery, inspired by the real-life...

Chinese writer-director Jia Zhangke's films are grounded in the reality of his frigid, coal-dusted hometown, Fenyang. But that doesn't mean he's a realist. His complex latest film, Mountains May Depart , begins in Fenyang in 1999 as a stylized romantic melodrama and ends, two chapters later, in a place that's not yet actual: Australia in 2025. These places and times are linked by the life of Tao (Zhao Tao, the director's wife and longtime featured player). She's introduced as a...

At the beginning of The Club , four men and a woman are living quietly in a small Chilean seaside town. Their days are filled with prayer and religious songs, but also wine and greyhound racing. One of the house's residents, Vidal (Alfredo Castro) is devoted to the village's stray dogs, and has adopted one of them, Rayo. The greyhound has won a lot of pesos for the men, although they — forbidden to travel in public as a group — must watch their champion through binoculars. Monica ...

Pages