“Reel Talk” – with Chris Reed and Roxana Hadadi – on the 2018 Academy Awards, “Annihilation” and “A Wrinkle in Time”

Christopher Llewellyn Reed, “Reel Talk” host, w/ Roxana Hadadi, of “Chesapeake Family” and “Pajiba”

Welcome to the third episode of the 2017-2018 season of Dragon Digital Media‘s Reel Talk with Christopher Llewellyn Reed. My guest this time was Roxana Hadadi, film critic for Chesapeake Family and Pajiba. We discussed this year’s Academy Awards and reviewed two recents films: Annihilation and A Wrinkle in Time. Like what you see? Be sure to check out the first and second episodes of this current season, as well.

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!

Podcasts on #Oscars2018 (@RoughlySpeaking) and #SXSW2018 (@fogoftruth)

Yesterday, we posted another special bonus episode of my podcast on documentaries  – The Fog of Truth (available on iTunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher) – this past week, on the documentaries of the upcoming SXSW festival. Earlier in the week, on Monday, Linda DeLibero and I joined Dan Rodricks on his Baltimore Sun podcast, “Roughly Speaking,” to discuss the Academy Awards of the night before. Here is the link to that episode. Enjoy!

6 Reviews @filmfesttoday & @hammertonail: “Breaking Point: The War for Democracy in Ukraine,” “Death Wish,” “Loveless,” “On Body and Soul,” “The Young Karl Marx” + all 15 Oscar-Nominated Short Films

This past week, Film Festival Today ran one review of mine – of Death Wish – and Hammer to Nail ran five: Breaking Point: The War for Democracy in UkraineLovelessOn Body and SoulThe Young Karl Marx, and a piece on all 15 Oscar-nominated short films. Here are links to all 6 articles:

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!

@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!

Rodricks, Reed and DeLibero on 2017 Oscar Nominations

Academy Awards 2016

Yesterday, 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,” where we discussed this year’s Oscar Nominations.

Here is the link to the show. Enjoy!

“Reel Talk” – with Chris Reed and Max Weiss – on #Oscars2016, “Hail, Caesar!” and “Deadpool”

HCC-TV Reel Talk_2016-03

Christopher Llewellyn Reed, “Reel Talk” host, w/ Max Weiss, Film Critic, “Baltimore Magazine” & WBAL-TV

Welcome to the fourth episode of the 2015-2016 season of Dragon Digital Media‘s Reel Talk with Christopher Llewellyn Reed . My guest this time was Max Weiss, film critic for Baltimore Magazine and WBAL-TV. We reviewed the 2016 Oscars (the ceremony, itself, and the winners), plus two recent films: Hail, Caesar! and Deadpool. We also discussed the role of the film critic, in general, and whether it is ever acceptable to leave a screening before the end. 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 episode and third episode of this season, as well.

As always, the amazing Dragon Digital Media team did a fantastic job putting this together, especially producer Karen Vadnais and director Danielle Maloney. Our next episode will premiere in May of this year (not sure what we’ll review yet, but I promise that the discussion will be great!). 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!

Mr. Reed’s Metaphysical Neighborhood on the 2016 Oscar-Nominated Live-Action Shorts

Oscar-Nominated Live-Action Shorts 2016

I have a piece up at Hammer to Nail on the 2016 Oscar-nominated documentary shorts. Those 5 films set the bar very high, and were I part of the Academy, I would have  hard time determining the winner. Unfortunately, the other two categories of short films – animated and live-action – are not nearly as consistently strong. Here are my thoughts, in order by my preference, on the live-action category, which is, as a collection, slightly better than the animated films:

Everything Will Be Okay (“Alles Wird Gut”) (Patrick Vollrath, 30min.)

Wow! I’m not even sure if I like this taut German film, but it is a tour-de-force family drama with such strong performances by the two main actors that I almost don’t care. This is the story of Michael (Simon Schwarz, terrific), a divorced father who, when we first meet him, is pacing nervously outside the house of his ex-wife. We soon discover that today is his visitation day, and it is clear from the lack of words exchanged between the former spouses that the separation was not amicable. But joy of joys, he gets to see Lea (Julia Pointner, born in 2005 and utterly amazing), his young daughter, and as they drive away, we think we’re watching one kind of film, only to then discover that, no, this is something much more brutal. For Michael has plans, which we suspect early on without fully knowing for certain, and then watch in horror as he puts those plans into action. Don’t worry, he is a loving father, but a father with a desperate idea of how to keep Lea all to himself. Beautifully executed, with a sustained tense atmosphere throughout, Everything Will Be Okay is the clear standout, for me, among these five short films.

Stutterer (Benjamin Cleary, 12min.)

Next up, we have the British Stutterer, which feels very slight compared to Everything Will Be Okay, but is exquisitely shot and edited, with a fine central performance. Greenwood (Matthew Needham, very strong) is a man with a serious stuttering problem who is about to face a major crisis when Ellie, the woman with whom he has been communicating online for 6 months, announces (via text) that she is coming to London. To be honest, it strains credulity that someone would be this ashamed of such a disability in 2015, but perhaps the truth is more complicated. Which it is. We keep hoping that Greenwood will overcome his shyness and agree to a meeting, and if we don’t quite believe in that reticence, at 12 minutes the film does not overstay its welcome. It’s funny and sweet, and devoid of false sentimentality. Kudos to that.

Day One (Henry Hughes, 25min.)

Here’s another brutal movie. It has excellent intentions, but somehow ends up feeling more manipulative than genuine. Feda (a superlative Layla Alizada) is a divorced young Afghan woman on the first day of her new job as an interpreter for the United States military. Game, but totally unprepared for the realities of war, she heads off into the mountains with her assigned unit. Right away, things go very wrong, and she must test her mettle in a crucible of blood and terror. The film is based on director Henry Hughes’ actual experiences in combat, and I admire his resolve not to shrink from the unpleasant details of battle. Still, the situation, as it plays out here, has an element of transparent calculation – of continual raising of the stakes – that ultimately detracts from the sincerity of the narrative. See it for Alizada, but expect to be (a little) disappointed. I look forward to Hughes’ sophomore effort, however.

Shok (Jamie Donoughue, 21min.)

Shok offers another take on the horrors of war, this time in Kosovo in the late 1990s. Two Albanian boys, best friends, find themselves caught in the middle of the crisis, as Serbian militias begin a process of ethnic cleansing. The ups and downs of the boys’ relationship – one wants to deal with the Serbs, while the other hates them – are set against the increasingly violent actions of the occupying troops. It’s a nice technique that disarms us by hiding the director’s true intentions, not revealed until the end, but the film is hampered by the less-than-stellar performances of all involved. It feels as if everyone could have used an additional take (or two) to remove the last vestige of artifice from their on-screen behavior. As it is, what could have been truly moving ends up being, instead, a blueprint for a better movie, to be directed and acted by others.

Ave Maria (Basil Khalil, 15min.)

The only outright comedy of the lot (albeit a bitter one), Ave Maria is set in the present-day West Bank of Israel, where a dysfunctional family, on their way home from a far-flung Jewish settlement, crashes their car into the side of a Palestinian convent (run by the “Sisters of Mercy”). More specifically, they smash up a statue of the Virgin Mary, beheading her, leading to the two best gags in the film, one visual, the other spoken: when we first see the statue, the severed head lies on the ground, oil from the car seeping from behind, like blood; when the youngest nun runs inside to explain the noise to her fellow sisters, she screams, “Jews have violated the Virgin Mary.” Ha ha! Positioned as one of those stories of culture clashes where all must learn to get along, the film is marred by uneven performances and clumsy pacing. Most of the jokes – as well as the entire situation – feel forced, and the Jewish family is so caricatured that it’s hard not to read some not-so-latent anti-Semitism into their portrayal, acknowledged or not (the director is, himself, Palestinian). Leaving that aside, in terms of purely cinematic concerns, this is the most amateurish movie among the nominees.