Another “Fog of Truth” Episode (#5), on “Long Strange Trip” and “Dare to Be Different”

We posted another episode (#5) of my podcast on documentaries  – The Fog of Truth (available on iTunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher) – today. This latest features a discussion of the six-part Grateful Dead documentary series Long Strange Stripand an interview with director Ellen Goldfarb about her documentary Dare to Be Different, which tells the story of WLIR, an influential radio station on Long Island. Enjoy!

And in Podcast News … @roughlyspeaking on Oscar Noms and @fogoftruth on “Rat Film” and “The Blood Is at the Doorstep”

On Tuesday, January 23, 2018,  Linda DeLibero – Director, Film and Media Studies, Johns Hopkins University – and Christopher Llewellyn Reed (that’s me) – Chair and Professor, Department of Film & Moving Image, Stevenson University – joined Dan Rodricks on his Baltimore Sun podcast, “Roughly Speaking,” to discuss the  Oscar nominations announced earlier that day. Here is the link to the show. Enjoy!

Then, the next day, my podcast on documentaries  – The Fog of Truth – released its fourth episode (also available on iTunes and Stitcher). This latest was on Theo Anthony’s Rat Film and Erik Ljung’s The Blood Is at the Doorstep. Hope you enjoy this one, as well!

“Reel Talk” – with Chris Reed and Leslie Combemale – on “The Post,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and the Best Films of 2017

Christopher Llewellyn Reed, “Reel Talk” host, w/ Leslie Combemale, of cinemasiren.com

Welcome to the second episode of the 2017-2018 season of Dragon Digital Media‘s Reel Talk with Christopher Llewellyn Reed. My guest this time was Leslie Combemale, film critic at Cinema Siren. We reviewed two recent films – The Post and Star Wars: The Last Jedi – and compared our respective 2017 “best of” lists (here’s mine). If you want to watch the first episode of the season, from November (we skipped September this year), it is very much still available for viewing.

In Howard County, Maryland, you can watch the show on Channel 41 (if you’re a Verizon customer) or Channel 96 (if you’re a Comcast customer), and you can watch it online from anywhere. You can also still catch all six episodes from last year (firstsecondthirdfourthfifth and sixth), plus all six from the previous year (firstsecondthirdfourthfifth and sixth), as well as the six episodes from my first season with Reel Talk (Episode 1Episode 2Episode 3Episode 4Episode 5Episode 6). Enjoy!

The fantastic Dragon Digital Media team did their usual superlative job putting this together, especially producer Karen Vadnais and director Danielle Maloney, as well as floor manager Anthony Hoos. We’ll be back at the start of March with another episode, so stay tuned. Until then, have fun at the movies!

5 Reviews @filmfesttoday & @hammertonail: “The Final Year,” “Jane,” “Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story,” “Phantom Thread” + Criterion’s Blu-ray of “The Lodger”

In the past week, Film Festival Today ran one review of mine – Phantom Thread – and Hammer to Nail ran four: The Final YearJane, Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story and Criterion’s new Blu-ray of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1927 The Lodger. Here are links to all 5 pieces:

Enjoy!

Welcome to “The Fog of Truth,” a Podcast on Documentaries

Logo designed by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell (http://www.cartoonsbyhilary.com)

I just started a new podcast with two other people, Summre Garber and Bart Weiss (read our biographies for more info), entitled The Fog of Truth, devoted to documentary films. Our first episode went live on Wednesday, January 3, 2018. Today, our third episode went up on the site. In it, we look at the rise of drone usage in documentaries and have an in-depth discussion of Strad Style, a film about a charming rural eccentric who makes replicas of historical violins. We also have an interview with Luke Korem, director of Dealt. Our first season will contain a total of 6 episodes (one a week), after which we will take a break until March, 2018, when we will kick off season 2 with a live event recorded at the SXSW Festival, in Austin, TX. Stay tuned, and be sure to listen to the episodes as they drop (there are instructions on our site about how to subscribe on iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher).

4 Reviews @filmfesttoday & @hammertonail: “Big Time,” “Faces Places,” “I, Tonya” and “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood”

Just last week, Hammer to Nail ran three reviews of mine – Big Time (seen at DOC NYC), Faces Places and Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (also seen at DOC NYC) – and Film Festival Today ran one: I, Tonya. Here are links to all 4 pieces:

Enjoy!

Mr. Reed’s Metaphysical Neighborhood Presents the Best Technical and Artistic Film Work of 2017

On December 31, 2017, I published my list of best (and worst) films of the year, and then on Friday, January 5, 2018, my list of best actors. Now it’s time to post about the (often) unsung artists and craftspeople who are essential to the filmmaking process: the writers, cinematographers, editors, production designers, visual-effects artists, and music composers. As with my other lists, the hyperlinked movie title will take you to my review, if one exists (or the movie’s Rotten Tomatoes page, if one does not). In addition, I also hyperlink the artists’ names (mostly to IMDb, but sometimes to their own personal websites), so you can see what other work they have produced over their careers. In the case of the music list, I link to the movie’s actual soundtrack, as well.

In each category, I have chosen only five (however hard that may be – and it is hard), in alphabetical order. These are the films where I thought that the work in that particular area truly enhanced the quality of the movie. If a film is not on this list, I may still really like the work within it, but not as much as my top five. Enjoy, and feel free to leave comments after you look it over!

Best Screenplay (adapted and original, combined):

Best Cinematography*:

[*2 of these are documentaries – Barbecue and Rat Film – which feature beautiful shots that rival any narrative feature.]

Best Editing**:

[**3 of these are documentaries – BarbecueMotherland and Rat Film – which are among the hardest kinds of films to edit, given the huge amount of material to work with, from which one must, somehow, extract a coherent story.]

Best Production Design:


I also want to mention the stellar production-design work in one of my least favorite films of the year – The Book of Henry – by Kalina Ivanov (whom I know, in the interest of full disclosure). Though the movie failed for me completely, her intricate Rube Goldberg-like devices within it were objects of extraordinary beauty.


Best Visual Effects:

[Too many people to mention all, so I have simply hyperlinked, next to the title, to the movie’s crew page on IMDb page, where you can look at the multitude of people involved in the many visual-effects teams.]

Best Original Score:

Mr. Reed’s Metaphysical Neighborhood Presents the Best Film Acting of 2017

On December 31, 2017, I published my list of best (and worst) films of the year, and most actors in most of the narrative (fiction) films on my list turned in admirable performances, at the very least, which makes it hard to select a limited number of them as standouts. As I write every year, I see no need to publish a separate “best directors” list since, if the film is good, I credit the director for much of that quality. A few actors and actresses in films which I did not put among my highest choices still made it onto the list, below, since they were so magnetic (to me), even if the film they were in was less so.

If someone is not on this list, it does not mean that I did not like them; I just liked others even more. What counts the most is how different I imagined the film would be without them. Therefore, the actors and actresses listed below  are those whose work most stands out  within the context of the film they’re in. All movie titles are hyperlinked to my review (if such a review exists) or to the movie’s Rotten Tomatoes page. While last year I listed only 5 actors per category, this year I do 10, since I liked so many performances. For Best Actress, I list 12, since I could not cut it down any more without heartbreak. In alphabetical order, by last name within each category, I give you:

BEST ACTRESS

BEST ACTOR

*Note from 1/9/18 – recent allegations about Franco’s sexual misbehavior now complicate such a nomination. It’s still a great performance, however compromised the actor.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
  • Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
  • Elisabeth MossThe Square
  • Tessa Thompson, Thor: Ragnarok
  • Madeline Weinstein, Beach Rats [link points to my review of films at the 2017 Maryland Film Festival; scroll down past the capsule reviews of documentaries to the #1 fiction film]

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR