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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8:03pm

Fri July 24, 2015
Movie Reviews

'A Gay Girl' Who Was Not What She Seemed

Originally published on Sat July 25, 2015 1:53 am

A scene from A Gay Girl in Damascus.
IFC Films

Imagine discovering a blog written by an attractive, vivacious woman who lives in a city torn by civil war. Imagine corresponding with that woman, falling in love with her, and receiving erotic messages and nude photos from her. Then imagine hearing that this online lover has been kidnapped, probably by her repressive country's secret police.

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5:23pm

Thu July 16, 2015
Movie Reviews

A Widely Praised Documentary Gets An Even Better Second Chapter

A scene from Joshua Oppenheimer's documentary The Look of Silence.
Drafthouse Films and Participant Media

Almost three years ago, Joshua Oppenheimer unveiled The Act of Killing, a startling documentary about the 1965-66 mass killings in Indonesia. Its audacious ploy was to encourage unrepentant murderers to re-enact their deeds in the form of scenes from action flicks, a tactic that was extremely well-received by Western critics.

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5:03pm

Thu July 9, 2015
Movie Reviews

Coming Back As A Better Slab Of Beef Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be

Originally published on Thu July 9, 2015 7:23 pm

Madeline (Natalie Martinez) and daughter Anna (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen) with Young Damian/Edward (Ryan Reynolds) in Self/less.
Alan Markfield Gramercy Pictures

The rich are different from you and me. They can buy fresh bodies when the old ones wear out.

Well, at least they can in Self/less, a movie that raises provocative questions about identity and then doesn't think about them at all. In this sci-fi fantasy, rebottling your soul in a new vessel begets not contemplation but chase scenes. Lots of chase scenes.

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4:19pm

Fri July 3, 2015
Movie Reviews

Investigating The Drug Trade In 'Cartel Land'

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 5:37 pm

Jose Manuel Mireles Valverde, spokesman for the Autodefensas, a militia organized against the Knights Templar mob.
The Orchard

Observing the consequences of the Mexican drug trade on both sides of the U.S. border, Cartel Land toggles between Arizona and the state of Michoacan, about 1,000 miles to the south. Only the latter of the twinned storylines really pays off, but that one is riveting.

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5:03pm

Thu June 18, 2015
Movie Reviews

The House Music Of Paris Takes Center Stage In 'Eden'

Felix De Givry in Eden.
Broad Green Pictures

A subtle portrait of an EDM Adam, Eden is neither a star-is-born fable nor a soul-is-lost parable. In 1992, teenage Paul (Felix de Givry) gives his life to Paris' house-music scene. Two decades later, he reluctantly takes it back.

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5:03pm

Thu June 11, 2015
Movie Reviews

A Poet Can Indeed Be Trouble In 'Set Fire To The Stars'

Elijah Wood in Set Fire To The Stars.
Strand Releasing

"How much trouble can one poet be?" That's literature professor John Malcolm Brinnin's rhetorical response to his buttoned-way-down colleagues' fears about a writer's proposed visit to New York in 1950. Today, the query can't be heard as anything other than an inside joke. For the poet is Dylan Thomas, who was trouble for most of his 39 years.

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5:01pm

Thu June 4, 2015
Movie Reviews

A Simplified Brian Wilson In 'Love And Mercy'

Originally published on Fri June 5, 2015 12:37 pm

Paul Dano plays a young Brian Wilson in Love and Mercy.
Francois Duhamel Roadside Attractions

Wouldn't it be nice if Beach Boy Brian Wilson's troubled life were as easily understood as Love & Mercy makes it appear? Where the Pet Sounds auteur is known for multi-part harmonies, director Bill Pohlad's biopic is a series of simple duets.

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5:03pm

Thu May 28, 2015
Movie Reviews

'Gemma Bovery': Retelling A Classic With A Light Touch

Hervé (Niels Schneider) and Gemma (Gemma Arterton) in Gemma Bovery.
Jerome Prebois Music Box Films

French director Anne Fontaine's Gemma Bovery is a comic reworking of Madame Bovary, but that's merely the first of the movie's several layers. The bilingual film is adapted not from Flaubert's classic but from British cartoonist Posy Simmonds' graphic novel, set in contemporary times and with the Boverys as a London couple that just relocated to Normandy.

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5:33pm

Thu May 21, 2015
Movie Reviews

In 'The Seeds Of Time,' One Man's Quest To Save Our Food Supply

Seeds of Time
Hungry, INC. Kino Lorber

Cary Fowler is an easygoing, soft-spoken Tennessee native who travels the world with an urgent message: The human race may starve to death. If that threat becomes likely, however, people can turn to the biological archive that director Sandy McLeod's documentary calls The Seeds of Time.

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5:01pm

Thu May 14, 2015
Movie Reviews

Why 'Forbidden Films' Remain Officially Locked Away

A scene from the 1941 Nazi propaganda film Homecoming by Gustav Ucicky. As seen in Felix Moeller's Forbidden Films.
Zeitgeist Films

At the beginning of Forbidden Films, documentarian Felix Moeller's camera warily contemplates a fortified bunker. The contents are, a curator warns, "literally explosive" — Nazi propaganda films on highly flammable nitrocelluloid stock.

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