Midday on “Jaws” at 40: June 26 @ 1pm

[NOTE: Missed the show? You can always listen to the podcast!]

Jaws original poster

On Friday, June 20, 1975, a then little-known director by the name of Steven Spielberg premiered his second theatrical feature, Jaws. Based on author Peter Benchley’s smash debut novel – a best-seller already a year before its adaptation came out – the film was a phenomenal box-office megahit (the first to make more than $100 million) that transformed how movies were marketed and released; indeed, it almost single-handedly invented the modern blockbuster. Beyond that, it was also an excellent action thriller, made under difficult conditions at sea (it was mostly shot on and off the island of Martha’s Vineyard) that could just as easily have sunk both the film and the career of its young helmer. Instead, Spielberg parlayed his critical and commercial triumph into one of the longest and most successful Hollywood careers of all time. He and his good friend George Lucas (who, with Star Wars in 1977, cemented Hollywood’s embrace of blockbuster culture) may have, in 2013, complained about the kinds of films now made by the studios, but with their one-two knockout punch to the movie industry’s “new wave” experiments of the 1970s, they are largely responsible, for better or for worse, for our current era. Still, Jaws remains ever what it was: a terrifically entertaining movie made with tremendous skill and energy, extremely watchable even 40 years after its release.

Join us on Friday, June 26, at 1pm, on WYPR (88.1FM), on the Midday with Dan Rodricks show, when Linda DeLibero – Director, Film and Media Studies, Johns Hopkins University – and Christopher Llewellyn Reed (that’s me) – Chair and Professor, Department of Film/Video, Stevenson University – will discuss, along with our host, Dan Rodricks, our thoughts on Jaws and Spielberg (about whom we did a previous show, back in January, 2013), as well as on the film’s impact on Hollywood and popular culture. What, to you, has been the film’s legacy since it came out in 1975? If you the saw the film in its original run, what did you think of it then, and what do you think of it now? Do you ever, because of the film, think about sharks when you swim in the ocean (I know I do!)? Do you avoid the water completely? Add your voices to the conversation via email (midday@wypr.org) or phone (410-662-8780 locally, or toll-free at 1-866-661-9309). If you can’t listen live, then check out the podcast later by visiting the show’s site. You can also leave your thoughts in the comment section of this blog. Hope you can listen in!

Third Episode of “Reel Talk” Now Available

From L to R: Christopher Llewellyn Reed, “Reel Talk” host, with Max Weiss, his third guest.

From L to R: Christopher Llewellyn Reed, “Reel Talk” host, with Max Weiss, his third guest.

The third episode of Reel Talk with Christopher Llewellyn Reedon HCC-TV, is now available. My third guest was Max Weiss, Managing Editor of Baltimore Magazine and movie critic for WBAL-TV in Baltimore. We started off the show with reviews of Selma and Unbroken, before then moving on to our favorite films of 2014 (you can see my own “best of” list here, and Max’s here). 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. Enjoy!

The amazing HCC-TV team did a wonderful job, as always, putting this together. The next episode (#4) will air at the start of March. If you want to watch the second episode, click here, and if you want to watch the first episode, click here.

1/16/15: Midday on “Hollywood and the End of the Cold War”

[NOTE: If you missed the live show, you can still listen to its podcast.]

2015-01-16_Rodricks Collage

On Friday, January 16, Linda DeLibero – Director, Film and Media Studies, Johns Hopkins University – and I, Christopher Llewellyn Reed – Chair of Film/Video at Stevenson University – will appear on Midday with Dan Rodricks, on WYPR 88.1FM, Baltimore’s NPR News Station, during the second hour, 1-2pm, to discuss Hollywood and the End of the Cold War, a new book by Dr. Bryn Upton of McDaniel College, with the author. Here is a partial description of the text from the publisher: “In Hollywood and the End of the Cold War: Signs of Cinematic Change, Bryn Upton compares films from the late Cold War era with movies of similar themes from the post–Cold War era. In this volume, Upton pays particular attention to shifts in narrative that reflect changes in American culture, attitudes, and ideas. In exploring how the absence of the Cold War has changed the way we understand and interpret film, this volume seeks to answer several key questions such as: Has the end of the Cold War altered how we tell our stories? Has it changed how we perceive ourselves? In what ways has our popular culture been affected by the absence of this once dominant presence?”

It should be an interesting and far-ranging show! Perhaps you have your own favorites among Cold War-themed films that you would like to contribute to the conversation. If so, please join us by listening live on the radio and emailing comments at midday@wypr.org, or calling in at 410-662-8780 (locally), or toll-free at 1-866-661-9309. If you can’t listen locally, you can live-stream the podcast. If all else, fails, you can always download the podcast afterwards, either via iTunes or the Midday page.

Enjoy the show!

 

Second Episode of “Reel Talk” Now Available

Reel Talk 2

From L to R: Christopher Llewellyn Reed, “Reel Talk” host, with Ben Tschirgi, his second guest.

The second episode of Reel Talk with Christopher Llewellyn Reedon HCC-TV, is now available. My second guest was a former student of mine, Stevenson University/Howard Community College alumnus and actor/writer/director Ben Tschirgi. We reviewed NightcrawlerWhiplash and Birdman. 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. Enjoy!

The amazing HCC-TV team did a wonderful job, as always, putting this together. There will be a new episode aired after the start of the new year. If you want to watch the first episode, click here.

Midday on the Great War at the Movies: 11/7/14 @ 1pm

[NOTE: If you missed the show, you can listen to the podcast on the WYPR website.]

2014-11-07_Rodricks WWI Banner

World War I began 100 years ago this past summer, in 1914, and little did its participants know how much this “war to end all wars” would change the world they lived in. In fact, most thought, at the time, that the war would last but a few months. Before it was over, however, monarchies would fall, empires would crumble and our modern era would be born in a horrible baptism of literal fire and brimstone, the crucible of 19th-century thinking and 20th-century technology. This horrific struggle ran on until 1918, and nearly wiped out a generation of young men. Its duration parallels the rise of the feature-length movie as the dominant expression of global popular culture, yet not as many great – or even memorable – films have been made about the Great War than about its direct descendant, World War II. Still, there a number that are worth discussing, which include – but are not limited to – WingsAll Quiet on the Western FrontLa grande illusionPaths of GloryOh! What a Lovely WarGallipoli and War Horse.

Join us on Midday with Dan Rodricks (WYPR 88.1 FM, Baltimore’s NPR News Station) during the second hour, 1-2pm, on Friday, November 7, as Linda DeLibero – Director, Film and Media Studies, Johns Hopkins University – and Christopher Llewellyn Reed – Chair of Film/Video at Stevenson University – honor the work of filmmakers who have created indelible cinematic depictions of European civilization’s near total collapse.

If you can’t listen locally, you can live-stream the podcast.

And you can always download the podcast afterwards, either via iTunes or the Midday page.

Enjoy the show! Feel free to offer your own thoughts on good World War I movies in the comments to this post.

It’s time for my own personal blog – chrisreedfilm.com

Just recently, I spent a little over a week blogging about my experience watching 14 movies in 7 days. I used my Stevenson University blog to post my reviews, and while there is nothing wrong with that, I thought, at the of the process, that it would make sense to separate my Stevenson life from my outside life. Plus, that other blog should, ideally, be devoted to the work of my students, and not to me or my work.

Enter chrisreedfilm.com. I was lucky enough that this domain name was open. When I created my Twitter account, I had chosen @chrisreedfilm as my handle, and had then subsequently chosen “chrisreedfilm” as my Vimeo account name, as well. I already own the domain name christopherllewellynreed.com, which you’ll notice I have now pointed to that same Vimeo account, but chrisreedfilm.com is much simpler (even if there are many other people with the name “Chris Reed” out there, but only one “Christopher Llewellyn Reed”). And thanks to Google Apps, I now also own the email address chris@chrisreedfilm.com.

Of course, if any of you reading this have also read a lot of Milan Kundera (one of my favorite authors), you’ll know that there can be a dark side to this idea that we all have something to say, ergo we should all write it down for others to read. Here is a quote from Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (the first book of his I ever read, and which I read in Russia, believe it or not, in 1988, when it was still the Soviet Union):

“The irresistible proliferation of graphomania shows me that everyone without exception bears a potential writer within him, so that the entire human species has good reason to go down into the streets and shout: we are all writers! for everyone is pained by the thought of disappearing, unheard and unseen, into an indifferent universe, and because of that everyone wants, while there is still time, to turn himself into a universe of words. one morning (and it will be soon), when everyone wakes up as a writer, the age of universal deafness and incomprehension will have arrived.”

It’s amazing to think that he wrote that in 1978, no? If you copy and paste that text, you’ll see that the quote is by now widely known (and over-used), but I like to keep it in mind as a warning …

So here I am, on my new blog. I think it would be most appropriate to provide a decent segue from the last few weeks of movie reviews, so here is a pdf of the text and links from those posts.

If you don’t feel like reading all of my rambling thoughts on recent movies, you could, perhaps, listen to an excerpt from the first of my two appearances on the Midday with Dan Rodricks show on WYPR, 88.1FM, Baltimore’s NPR News Station: Midday with Dan Rodricks: 2012.07.20_Batman Massacre

I was only on for 10 minutes that day, because we didn’t do the scheduled show – the massacre in Colorado that morning was of more pressing concern than summer movies.

But on Thursday, July 26, I went back on, and we had a great time reviewing movies, as we were supposed to the first time: Midday with Dan Rodricks: 2012.07.26_Summer Movies

Thanks to all who take the time read this and other posts in the future. I am grateful.