Dan Rodricks’ Roughly Speaking on the Films of Summer 2016, So Far …

Rodricks July 22

On today’s edition of Dan Rodricks’ Roughly Speaking podcast for The Baltimore Sun, in addition to coverage of the Republican National Convention and book reviews from Paula Gallagher, we discuss the films of the summer, so far, including Finding DoryGhostbusters, The Infiltrator and Star Trek Beyond, as well as upcoming films like Café Society and Don’t Think Twice.

Here is the link. I come on at the 59-minute mark.


“Reel Talk” – with Chris Reed and Chris Kaltenbach – on “Finding Dory,” “The BFG” and “The Neon Demon”

Christopher Llewellyn Reed, “Reel Talk” host, w/ Chris Kaltenbach, Arts and Entertainment reporter for "The Baltimore Sun"

Christopher Llewellyn Reed, “Reel Talk” host, w/ Chris Kaltenbach, arts and entertainment reporter for “The Baltimore Sun”

Welcome to the sixth (and final) episode of the 2015-2016 season of Dragon Digital Media‘s Reel Talk with Christopher Llewellyn Reed . My guest this time was Chris Kaltenbach, arts and entertainment reporter for The Baltimore Sun. We reviewed three films: Finding Dory, The BFG and The Neon Demon. 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 the first episodesecond episodethird episodefourth episode and fifth episode of this season, as well.

Reel Talk Communicator Award

As always, the amazing Dragon Digital Media team did a fantastic job putting this together, especially producer Karen Vadnais and director Danielle Maloney, thanks to whom our show just received, yet again, another “Communicator Award of Distinction.” We’ll be back in September with a whole new season, so stay tuned. Until then, if you want to watch more of our work, you can check out last year’s episodes in full – Episode 1Episode 2Episode 3Episode 4Episode 5Episode 6 – or watch the various segments from each episode on our YouTube channel. Enjoy! And we’ll see you at the movies!

Swimming Pays Off: “Finding Dory” Is a Worthy Sequel, If Not As Perfect As Its Predecessor

Finding Dory

Finding Dory (Angus MacLane/Andrew Stanton, 2016)

Last year, Pixar gave us two new films, both original scripts: Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur. The first was a sublime example of what that company does best, which is to combine drama, comedy, nostalgia and genuine sentiment into a heady mix of powerful emotion where we laugh and cry in equal measure. The second was an unholy mess, which just goes to show that not all coming-of-age stories are created equal, even if they both come from the same family. This year, Pixar comes to us with Finding Dory, the (long-awaited?) sequel to its 2003 hit Finding Nemo. It’s lovely and sweet, with the same primary cast of characters we grew to love last time, with laughter and tears for all. Still, unlike in Pixar’s best work – which includes, in addition to Inside Out and Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., Ratatouille, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3 and Up – here the sentimental parts of the story feel, upon occasion, forced, as if certain boxes need to be checked to guarantee this or that reaction. If, then, it is not as bracingly fresh as Inside Out, it is still far better than a film like The Good Dinosaur.

Last time, if you remember, the plot revolved around a frantic chase across the ocean to rescue a young clown fish named Nemo from an uncertain fate. This time, one of those rescuers, a blue tang fish named Dory, moves from the wings to center stage. We begin with a flashback to her childhood, when she already suffered from short-term memory loss (her signature issue, source of comedy and tragedy, both). We see her with her parents, who struggle to find ways to help her survive when she so constantly forgets just about everything. And then, the inevitable happens, and she loses not only her way, but her parents, and herself, and in a quick montage we watch as she swims from sea to shining sea, aging into the Dory we know from last time, with the voice of Ellen DeGeneres. And then she runs smack into Marlin (Albert Brooks, A Most Violent Year), Nemo’s father, looking for Nemo, and we are back to the start of the previous film.

Flash forward a year, and Nemo, Marlin and Dory all live peaceably on a reef together. Life is good, until a combination of events evoke certain memories in Dory’s jumbled cerebral cortex, and suddenly she remembers her parents, and insists on trying to find them. Inevitably, Marlin and Nemo (voiced, this time, by newcomer Hayden Rolence) insist on coming along, and before too long the misadventures begin. It’s a journey wherein Dory must reach deep inside to find the best part of herself and motivate others to do the same; in other words, a Pixar film. Beautifully animated (the technology just keeps on getting better), the film features wonderful vocal cameos from the likes of Sigourney Weaver (Avatar) – my favorite, by far – as well as Ed O’Neill (Modern Family), Ty Burrell (also Modern Family), Idris Elba (The Jungle Book), Diane Keaton (And So It Goes) and Eugene Levy (Schitt’s Creek), among others. If the big emotional moments feel a little too obvious to make me love the film, I still like it a lot, and the laughs are more than genuine. Whether you agree with me or not – like it more or like it less – it’s a charming movie that’s perfect for all ages.