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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5:03pm

Thu November 8, 2012
Movie Reviews

'Chasing Ice,' And Capturing Climate Change On Film

Environmental photographer James Balog captures a multiyear record of the world's glaciers in Chasing Ice.
Adam LeWinter Extreme Ice Survey

Two decades ago, James Balog was one of the people who couldn't wrap his head around the prospect of global warming. The threat seemed too abstract, and the science too linked to the sort of computer-model analysis he disdained.

But the geographer-turned-photographer (principally for National Geographic) doesn't think that way any more. Neither will most of the viewers of Chasing Ice, the documentary that observes Balog's efforts to chronicle the planet's shrinking glaciers.

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5:03pm

Thu November 1, 2012
Movie Reviews

Eyeliner, Lipstick And Finding Your 'Place'

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 7:46 pm

Aging musician Cheyenne (Sean Penn) and his wife, Jane (Frances McDormand), live a relatively normal life out of the spotlight.
The Weinstein Co.

A near-agoraphobic musician is an odd protagonist for a road movie, but then "odd" is the operative term for This Must Be the Place, Italian director Paolo Sorrentino's first English-language film. This mashup of genres and themes doesn't entirely succeed, but it is warm, funny and ably crafted.

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5:03pm

Thu October 25, 2012
Movie Reviews

An 'Orchestra' Lacking Harmony

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 9:51 am

The real Palestine Symphony Orchestra, subject of Aronson's documentary.
Pro-Or

Near the end of the 19th century, an 8-year-old Polish Jewish violin prodigy moved to the capital of European classical music: Berlin. Bronislaw Huberman was more than accepted. He was hailed throughout the continent and endorsed by one of his favorite composers, Johannes Brahms. Yet Huberman is now best known for leading an exodus from Europe, a story told by Josh Aronson's documentary Orchestra of Exiles.

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5:03pm

Thu October 25, 2012
Movie Reviews

Masculinity Crisis In The Caucasus Mountains

An engaged couple (Gael Garcia Bernal and Hani Furstenberg) backpacks through the Caucasus Mountains with their guide (Bidzina Gujabidze), but their bond is soon tested by fate.
IFC Films

The backpacking protagonists of The Loneliest Planet are experienced world travelers, but also wide-eyed kids. Nica (Hani Furstenberg) and Alex (Gael Garcia Bernal) have recently arrived in the foothills of Georgia's Caucasus Mountains, where they frolic with local children. Even what we see of the couple's lovemaking is mostly horseplay.

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5:03pm

Thu October 18, 2012
Movie Reviews

Tyler Perry Takes A Shot At Thriller Territory

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 12:17 pm

Cross, Monica Ashe (Rachel Nichols) and Tommy Kane (Edward Burns) race against the clock to find the sociopathic assassin.
Sidney Baldwin Summit Entertainment

A vigilante with the heart of a social worker, the protagonist of Alex Cross wants to nurture and uplift — but also to make the sort of moves that delight a multiplex crowd.

He is, in short, Tyler Perry's alter ego.

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5:03pm

Thu October 18, 2012
Movie Reviews

Nothing 'Zero' About This Kung Fu Hero

Sammo Hung, the film's fight choreographer, has worked with kung fu artists like Jackie Chan and John Woo.
Okazaki Hirotake Variance Films

With its frisky camerawork, eclectic scenario and playful stylization, the Chinese period action romp Tai Chi Zero is an impressive package. That there's not much inside the glittery wrapping is just a minor drawback.

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5:03pm

Thu October 11, 2012
Movie Reviews

A 'Big Picture' Intently Focused On The Details

Paul (Romain Duris), an aspiring photographer, assumes another man's identity to escape his job, marriage and dull life.
MPI Media Group

The original French title of The Big Picture — 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.

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5:03pm

Thu October 4, 2012
Movie Reviews

'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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5:03pm

Thu October 4, 2012
Movie Reviews

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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5:03pm

Thu September 27, 2012
Movie Reviews

'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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