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
10:29 am
Fri May 3, 2013

'In The Air,' A Sense Of Stakes For A '70s Youth

Christine (Lola Creton) and Gilles (Clement Metayer) are the sometime couple at the center of Olivier Assayas' smart, clear-eyed examination of a still-painful period in France's recent past.
Carol Bethuel MK/Sundance Selects

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 4:03 pm

In the opening minutes of Something in the Air, the protagonist carves an "A" (for anarchy) into his school desk, and participates in a street demonstration that ends in a punishing flurry of police billy clubs. "The revolution's near," apparently β€” to quote the 1969 Thunderclap Newman hit that provides the film's title.

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Movie Reviews
12:59 pm
Sat April 27, 2013

'Arthur Newman': A Bored Man's Bland Ambition

Mike (Emily Blunt) and Wallace (Colin Firth) try on new clothes β€” and new identities β€” in the unconvincing comedy Arthur Newman.
Cinedigm Entertainment Group

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 4:03 pm

Being a movie actor is glamorous servitude. On the silver screen, the actor's presence is necessarily bigger than life β€” yet it's often yoked to parts that are much smaller.

The dreary Arthur Newman inspires such musings not just because it's about role-playing, but also because its two principals are so clearly acting β€” if for no other reason than they're famous Brits playing ordinary Yanks. This is a movie that wants viewers to believe that Colin Firth, best known to filmgoers as King George VI, is a nobody from nowheresville.

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Movie Reviews
12:55 pm
Sat April 27, 2013

In 'Paradise,' Pursuing Something Less Than Love

Teresa (Margarethe Tiesel) travels to a beach resort in Kenya for vacation, where she dabbles in sex tourism with a series of local men.
Strand Relesasing

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 4:03 pm

The opening sequence of Paradise: Love doesn't really have anything to do with what follows, but it does establish director Ulrich Seidl's unflinching eye. At a pavilion somewhere in Austria, a group of cognitively challenged children, many apparently with Down syndrome, ride bumper cars under the supervision of Teresa (Margarethe Tiesel). There's no hint of sentimentality, no attempt at reassurance.

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Movie Reviews
12:25 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Building A Home For A Client Who Can't Live In It

Artist Jackie Sumell set out to build a dream home for bank robber Herman Wallace, whose additional conviction for killing a prison guard is the subject of a long-running dispute.
First Run Features

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 4:03 pm

The off-screen protagonist of Herman's House, Herman Wallace, already has a dwelling for his body: a 6-foot-by-8-foot cell at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, aka Angola. But the documentary's on-screen protagonist, Jackie Sumell, wants him also to have a place for his soul: a dream house for a man who desperately needs dreams.

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Movie Reviews
2:16 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

A Hazy Ode 'To The Wonder' Of Hidden Worlds

Jane (Rachel McAdams) rekindles an old affair with the taciturn Neil (Ben Affleck), an environmental investigator whose work takes him to a remote Oklahoma town in the enigmatic new film To the Wonder.
Mary Cybulski Magnolia Pictures

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 4:03 pm

Pretty but inert, To the Wonder is a vaporous mystery wrapped in a gauzy enigma β€” a cinematic riddle that'll appeal principally to those eager for another piece, however tiny, of the puzzle that is Terrence Malick.

To the Wonder continues in the lyrical-to-a-fault mode of the writer-director's The Tree of Life; in fact, this film includes some footage originally shot for that one. But it excludes Rachel Weisz, Amanda Peet, Barry Pepper, Jessica Chastain and Michael Sheen, who all reportedly played roles that vanished from the final cut.

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Movie Reviews
9:13 am
Sat April 6, 2013

Robert Redford Keeps Revolutionary'Company'

Jim (Robert Redford) must flee with his daughter, Isabel (Jackie Evancho), to the scene of a past crime in order to avoid a probing amateur reporter.
Doane Gregory Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 4:03 pm

Crisp in execution and classic in ambiance, The Company You Keep is star Robert Redford's most persuasive directorial work since 1994's Quiz Show. It's a pleasure to watch, even if the payoff is rather less substantial than the backstory.

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Movie Reviews
2:33 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

'Renoir': Impressionism, Rapturously Realized

A budding romance between Jean Renoir (Vincent Rottiers) and the model Andree (Christa Theret) both informs and distracts from the movie's larger narrative.
Samuel Goldwyn Pictures

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 9:10 pm

"A girl out of nowhere, sent by a dead woman." That description of its catalyst makes Renoir sound like a thriller. But this film is actually a relaxed, visually lush tribute to Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir and his son Jean, who was to become one of France's most esteemed filmmakers.

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Movie Reviews
2:28 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

'The Place Beyond The Pines': It's A Far Piece

Angsty stunt performer Luke (Ryan Gosling) quits the circus and becomes a busybody father after a former girlfriend reveals she's had his child.
Focus Features

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 4:03 pm

There are moments, as Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine informed us, when the barely controlled rage that is masculinity can be tempered by feelings for woman and child. But eventually the male Id will erupt, and everything will go to hell.

That happens more than once in Cianfrance's new The Place Beyond the Pines, a would-be epic that shifts from character to character and story to story to show how fury passes from fathers to sons. But too much of this seething drama is devoted not to characterization but to posturing.

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Movie Reviews
2:28 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

'Retaliation': Harsh Payback For Poor G.I. Joe

Duke (Channing Tatum) and Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson) are live-action G.I. Joes in the big-screen franchise's latest thoroughly disposable installment.
Jaimie Trueblood Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 4:03 pm

What's the difference between an action figure and an action star? Very little in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which features no performances of note, even from such combat-tested thespians as Bruce Willis, Jonathan Pryce and Dwayne Johnson.

The sequel to 2009's G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the latest Joe is a near-surrealistic mashup of serious themes and juvenile humor, realistic locations and cheesy CGI. Adapted to 3-D after it was shot, the movie is also one of the most aggressive examples ever of the chucking-stuff-at-the-viewer aesthetic.

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Movie Reviews
11:59 am
Mon March 25, 2013

A 'Devil' In The Details Of A Brotherly Rivalry

Brothers Rash and Mo (James Floyd and Fady Elsayed) live in the rough working-class London neighborhood of Hackney β€” but which sibling is the titular designee in My Brother the Devil gets harder and harder to determine as the film goes on.
108 Media

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 4:03 pm

Shot entirely in Hackney β€” a mostly ungentrified London borough β€” My Brother the Devil has a strong odor of authenticity. The main characters are of Egyptian origin, but their friends include people rooted in West Africa and the Caribbean. All are linked by poverty, alienation and a gangsta worldview popularized by American movies and hip-hop.

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