Another “Fog of Truth” Episode (#6), on “One of Us” and “Big Sonia”

We posted another episode (#6) of my podcast on documentaries  – The Fog of Truth (available on iTunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher) – today. This latest features a discussion of the Netflix documentary One of Usand an interview with co-director Leah Warshawski about her documentary Big Sonia, which tells the story of her Holocaust-surviving grandmother. 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!

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

Mr. Reed’s Metaphysical Neighborhood Presents the Best and Worst Films of 2017

[For an explanation of my blog post title, check out my “best of” list from 2013.]

Below you will find lists of my favorite films of the year, divided by documentary (nonfiction) and narrative (fiction) formats. Not all the movies mentioned have received a significant theatrical or online release in 2017, though most of them did; a few may still be looking for distributors after making their festival rounds. Where I have previously written reviews of a movie (whether for BmoreArtFilm Festival TodayHammer to Nail or this blog), the title of that movie is hyperlinked to my original review. In the case of one film (noted, below), I only wrote a brief capsule review of it within a film-festival recap, and I link to that write-up, instead. Where I have not (yet) reviewed a film, I have hyperlinked the title to the movie’s Rotten Tomatoes page. If I later write a review (for films not yet out in wide release), I will change that link to my own review.

If a film that you, yourself, saw and liked is nowhere mentioned here, then it is possible that I did not see it (or saw it and liked it, but not enough to include among my favorites, or saw it and, of course, did not like it). As many films as I watch every year, I cannot possibly see everything. If you have questions about any omissions, feel free to comment and/or send me a note. And really, what separates the “Top 10” from the “runners-up” is very little. If you’re in my Top 20, in other words, I like you very much.

Enjoy! Over the next week, I will continue to publish other “best of” lists, for acting and technical/artistic achievements of the year.

Top 10 Documentary Films of 2017 (in alphabetical order):

Top 10 Narrative Films of 2017 (in alphabetical order):

2017 Documentary Film Runners-Up (in alphabetical order):

2017 Narrative Film Runners-Up (in alphabetical order):

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

2017 Documentary and Narrative Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order):

Worst Films of 2017 (in alphabetical order):

Stay tuned for more posts in the week ahead …

1 Interview + 1 Review @hammertonail: Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”) & “Miracle on 42nd Street”

Hammer to Nail ran two pieces of mine this week: an interview with Greta Gerwig, conducted back at the Middleburg Film Festival, in October, in the company of Mae Abdulbaki (of Movies with Mae), Hannah Buchdahl (of Chick Flix) and Leslie Combemale (of Cinema Siren); and a review of Miracle on 42nd Street, a documentary I saw, in November, at DOC NYC. Here are the links:

Enjoy!

5 Reviews + 1 Interview @filmfesttoday & @hammertonail: “Downsizing,” “The Greatest Showman,” “The Other Side of Hope,” “The Post,” “Soufra” + “The Strange Ones”

Over the past week, both Film Festival Today and Hammer to Nail published five reviews of mine, plus one interview: Downsizing, The Greatest Showman, The Other Side of Hope, The Post, Soufra (seen at DOC NYC), and The Strange Ones (the interview, conducted at this year’s Maryland Film Festival). Here are links to all 6 pieces:

Enjoy!

Photojournalist Amy Davis’s Shines Brilliant Light on Baltimore’s “Flickering Treasures”

Yesterday, BmoreArt published my review of Baltimore photojournalist Amy Davis’s beautiful portrait of our city’s lost cinematic treasures – movie theaters of a bygone era – entitled Flickering Treasuresand its accompanying “Home Movies: Portraits of Baltimore’s Neighborhood Movie Houses” exhibit at  Gallery CA (first floor of City Arts Apartments, 400 E. Oliver St.). Here is the link to the article. Enjoy!

@BaltimoreSun’s @RoughlySpeaking Podcast on Sexual Harassment in Hollywood (and Beyond), Oscar Buzz, Current Films, Claude Rains and Ennio Morricone

On Friday, December 8, 2017,  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 following topics: the ongoing revelations of sexual predation and harassment in both Hollywood and the political realm; what’s currently getting Oscar buzz; what is currently out in cinemas that we recommend (including Coco, The Disaster Artist, Lady Bird and the upcoming The Shape of Water); and  highlights from the careers of actor Claude Rains (1889-1976) and film composer Ennio Morricone (1928 – ), both of whose birthdays are on November 10, when we originally planned to celebrate them (a podcast we had to cancel for various reasons). Here is the link to the show. Enjoy!