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 November 15, 2012

'Buffalo Girls' Fight For Survival In Rural Thailand

Buffalo Girls follows two 8-year-old professional Muay Thai fighters. Pet Chor Chanachai not only fights to support her family, but does so while suffering from a heart defect.
108 Media

It's no secret that, in many parts of the world, children don't experience what affluent Westerners would term "childhood." Still, even the most hardened documentary buffs may be dumbfounded by Buffalo Girls, a look at two 8-year-old Thai girls who support their respective families.

They do so by hitting each other in the head.

Stam and Pet compete in Muay Thai, a form of boxing in which kicking as well as punching is allowed. As depicted in fictional action movies, Muay Thai is both graceful and brutal. Practiced by 8-year-olds, it's neither.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Ending The 'Silence' Around Priests' Sex Abuse

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God documents the claims made by four deaf men who accused a Catholic priest of sexual abuse — and in chronicling the response of the church, details the role the current pope played in such scandals earlier in his career.
TIFF

By the time Father Lawrence Murphy died in 1998, it's alleged, he had sexually abused more than 200 children. Many of them must have seemed ideal victims: Students at St. John's School for the Deaf in Milwaukee between 1950 and 1974, they possessed limited ability to communicate with others. Commonly in that period, the boarding school's pupils had hearing parents who didn't know American Sign Language.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

'Dangerous Liaisons' Gets A Far-East Makeover

Xie Yifan (Jang Dong-gun) sets out to seduce a young widow, Du Fenyu (Zhang Ziyi), at the behest of his former flame.
Well Go USA

Relocating Dangerous Liaisons, the 18th-century French erotic intrigue, to 1930s Shanghai is a bold move. And yet it's not especially surprising. In Chinese movies, that city in that decade frequently serves as shorthand for decadence. And what could be more decadent than two debauched ex-lovers cold-heartedly planning to destroy the innocence of not one but two virtuous women?

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

'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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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Eyeliner, Lipstick And Finding Your 'Place'

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

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

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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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

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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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Tyler Perry Takes A Shot At Thriller Territory

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

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

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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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

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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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 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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