Floyd Theater reopens to students Monday, Sep 7 2020 

By Alex Tompkins —

A barren campus with an all-around strange semester may leave some University of Louisville students feeling there may be no way to connect with others. With the temporary shut-down of many businesses, including movie theaters, some may feel stuck at home.

Luckily, U of L’s Floyd Theater has finally reopened and is now offering students the chance to safely enjoy second-run, indie and classic films throughout the semester. Students have free admission to kick back and relax every Wednesday and Thursday evening at the theater located in the SAC.

Student Activities Board Film Chair, Jennings Collins, said there will be many precautions taken in order to safely accommodate students this year.

“Since the Floyd is now being used as a classroom during the day, we’ve been equipped with sneeze guards as well as cleaning supplies to use around the room,” Collins said. “We are also choosing to refrain from selling concessions to prevent any unnecessary contact.”

Following the precautions being taken by the theater, seating will be limited and accessing entry has been moved to reserving online.

“Students can reserve a seat for any screening on Engage. There are a limited number of spots for each screening, so it is mandatory that students who wish to attend do this,” Collins said.

The re-opening of the Floyd Theater has definitely been anticipated by the theater’s crew. In reopening, Collins wanted to keep students’ best interest in mind when it came to showing films in an accessible and relaxing environment.

“Our goal for this year is to give students a place to unwind. Movies are where I go to relax, and the Floyd was a great resource for me when I was a freshman, so I am determined to keep what we have going in order to bring a fun experience for new and returning students,” he said

The theater will be running “Knives Out” on Sept. 9-10 at 6:00 p.m., followed by Pixar’s “Onward” on Sept. 16-17 at the same time. Closing out September will be the biopic of Mr. Rogers, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” showing on Sept. 23-24. Future showings are listed on the Floyd Theater’s website.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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“A Season of Black Plays” continues with “Six Degrees of Separation” Saturday, Feb 29 2020 

By Delaney Hildreth —

John Guare’s play “Six Degrees of Separation” opened at the Playhouse Feb. 20 as the fifth play in the Department of Theatre Arts’ “A Season of Black Plays.”

The play follows the chain of events set off by a young man named Paul who scams people by telling them he’s the son of famous actor Sidney Poitier. It takes place in the 90s, but it still includes relevant issues such as socioeconomic differences and racial tensions.

Jordan Tudor Haggard, a graduate student pursuing her MFA in performance, plays Ouisa Kittredge while Zachary Stone, a senior theatre major, plays Haggard’s husband, Flan Kittredge.

“I think this play is important because it deals with race and class relations. The couple at the beginning of the play are oblivious to anyone that is not like them and they do not understand the struggles lower class people have. Ouisa has an epiphany halfway through the play that she is connected to everyone on the planet and that we all need to be there for one another. We are all responsible for each other, in a way, and it is good to remember that,” said Haggard.

Paul, played by second-year graduate student Tyler Tate, charms the couple with his stories during the evening, but in the morning, they figure out he has conned them. The conman’s identity only gets more confusing as Ouisa and Flan track down others who have been scammed by him.

The pacing is steady at first, but it picks up quickly as more unexpected things begin to happen. Strong performances from all the cast make this play entertaining and memorable.

Haggard was wonderful as the leading lady who took the audience through both the funniest and most thought-provoking scenes. Stone provided both reassurance and conflict to Ouisa as the story progressed.

Tate was enrapturing with his charming, goofy and intelligent portrayal of Paul and his ability to portray the complexities of his character with ease.

Even smaller parts, like senior Chasidy Moore and sophomore Thomas Simpson as Ouisa and Flan’s unpleasant children and junior graduate student Manuel Viveros’ brief but hilarious role as a hustler are fun and memorable.

“Six Degrees of Separation” is a cleverly written show and narration intersects with dialogue to make scenes flow naturally from one to the next. Through this unique writing style, the audience gains access to the thoughts of characters as they make thoughtful, witty and sometimes incredibly important observations on their situation that adds philosophical value to the play.

Photo by Delaney Hildreth // The Louisville Cardinal

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Horror movies that scream love Wednesday, Feb 5 2020 

By Delaney Hildreth —

Watching romantic comedies has been a token activity for couples and single people on Valentine’s Day, but sticking to the same genre every year can be boring. 

Here are a couple recommendations that’ll get hearts racing, but stick to the theme of Valentine’s Day. 

Phantom of the Opera  (1925 & 2004)

This 1925 classic story of a terrifying man living in the depths of an opera house isn’t a typical black-and-white horror film, but it has the same elements that mix wonderfully with romance, making it an especially great pick for Valentine’s Day. For something more modern, there is another option.

The 2004 version has a hauntingly beautiful score which mostly makes up for the weaker performances.

Either would be a good choice for those not up for extreme scares.

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

In 1900 Australia, after a Valentine’s Day picnic, three students and a teacher from a girls’ academy go missing on a mountain, perplexing the school and the town. When searching for the four, confusion arises as to where they might have gone, and the secrets that the wilderness hides become more perplexing.

While not being traditionally scary, “Picnic at Hanging Rock” has a mysterious aura and eerie editing that heightens the suspense. Viewers must be able to handle slow pacing and an ambiguous ending, but “Picnic at Hanging Rock” is worth the watch.

It Follows (2014)

A supernatural entity that can shape-shift into anyone follows the protagonist, Jay, after a curse is passed on to her from her ex-boyfriend. The creature stalks her wherever she goes and is strong and unstoppable.

As creepy and unsettling as it is, “It Follows” shows strong and solid relationships through the characters who stand by Jay’s side and protect her from the creature. This movie is beautifully captured and told, but with that beauty comes the everlasting paranoia that the leading lady feels. 

Additional recommendations: “Dracula” (1992), “The Cabin in the Woods” (2012), “Jennifer’s Body” (2009) and “My Bloody Valentine” (1981).

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Holiday movie guide to get in the festive spirit Friday, Nov 29 2019 

By Blake Wedding —

It’s that time of year again–nights by the fireplace while sipping eggnog and hot cocoa. The time of year where we think of others more than ever and give gifts. It’s time for holiday parties and cold nights with friends and loved ones. This also means it’s time to snuggle up in the living room and watch holiday movies that remind us why this time of year is so special. The Cardinal has prepared a list of five of the most festive films to make it easier for students to get in the holiday spirit.

1. Planes, Trains and Automobiles – John Hughes (1987)

John Hughes is a legendary filmmaker often regarded for many things, but his greatest gift was in casting the spotlight on the lives of small-town middle Americans in a sympathetic and forward-thinking manner. He is an auteur of the classic “coming-of-age” story in film history, but his 1987 holiday film “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” might be his finest comedic work. Featuring the likes of comedic geniuses Steve Martin and John Candy at the height of their careers, the movie is a wholesome story about two irreverent characters heading home for the holidays. Inevitably, the two characters butt heads due to their incredibly different lifestyles and personalities. But what “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” teaches is to appreciate people who are different than us and to embrace the holiday sense of giving and charity. It is a film that sheds sympathy for the downtrodden, the forgotten and the eccentric people in this world, and it reminds us that helping others is one of the greatest gifts we can give.

2. A Charlie Brown Christmas – Bill Meléndez (1965)

There are few names as well known as “Charlie Brown” when it comes to naming classic holiday films. The Charlie Brown series has its name attached to a number of different holidays over the years, but without a doubt, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is the best of them all. This is a film that captures the spirit and essence of the holidays, as well as the nostalgia and child-like wonder that accompany the holidays. It’s a film about friendship, togetherness, selflessness and caring about people. It also happens to have one of the most recognized and well-regarded soundtracks to any holiday movie.

3. Elf – Jon Favreau (2003)

Just when it seemed like Hollywood was running out of ideas for holiday films, “Elf” came along in 2003 and cemented itself as a modern holiday classic. Sure, the film is filled with clichés and some of Will Ferrell’s goofiest comedy to date, but it’s also an undeniably charming, funny and wholesome holiday film. It’s a film that reiterates already well-known themes of the holidays and why they’re important, but it’s the way “Elf” executes its ideas that makes it an endearing film. Ferrell is hilarious as Buddy the Elf, and as a character, is someone who forces others to reevaluate their selfishness during the holidays.

4. A Christmas Story – Bob Clark (1983)

“A Christmas Story” is a holiday classic in every sense of the word and a film as synonymously American as apple pie. It’s a film that nearly everyone mentions as the quintessential holiday film and one that tells a familiar story of the holidays in small-town America. It’s a funny, endearing and amusing story that shows how an entire family handles the holiday season. From Ralphie’s insatiable desire to have the newest and greatest gifts under the Christmas tree, to his father being overworked and jaded about the holidays, and his mother being overworked and stressed during this time of year, what “A Christmas Story” does best is show us that the holidays can be both full of wonder and worry depending on who you are. Furthermore, “A Christmas Story” manages to tell these stories through a lens that is relatable and undoubtedly hilarious, making it one of the best feel-good movies of the season.

5. It’s a Wonderful Life – Frank Capra (1946)

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a film that has been called the greatest holiday movie of all time year after year, and there is a reason for that. Not only is “It’s a Wonderful Life” the best holiday film ever, it’s also one of the greatest films of any genre ever made. Yes, this is an old movie, and yes, some younger viewers may be thrown off by the original film’s black and white cinematography, but it’s also a rare film that can resonate with people of all ages. It’s a film about learning not to take what you have for granted during the most important time of year. A film that exclaims that no matter how stressful or hard your life may be, you should take time to understand the importance of being thankful for what you do have. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a film about compassion, acceptance, togetherness and, as the title implies, life.

Festive Mentions: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1967); “Home Alone” (1990); “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989); “The Santa Claus” (1994); “Miracle on 34th Street” (1994); “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993); “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1964).

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Far From Home–Movie Review Saturday, Nov 23 2019 

By Anthony Riley — 

The Floyd Theater commonly features free movies with your Cardinal Card and last week they showed “Spiderman: Far From Home.”

Opening with “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston, the first half of the movie takes the tone of a late 90s teen rom-com. “Spiderman: Far From Home” uses a warm and vivid color profile with strong earth and blue tones which evoke a warm fuzzy feeling – for the first half, that is.

Tom Holland plays the iconic Peter Parker who is going on an educational trip to Europe with his class during the summer. He plans to buy Zendaya’s character MJ a necklace and tell her how he feels atop the Eiffel Tower. As expected, there are all sorts of obstacles in Parker’s way like competing classmates and his best friend/wing-man being suddenly romantically preoccupied with another classmate.

However, a new threat arises. Supernatural creatures from another dimension are back to destroy Earth, and it’s up to Nick Fury, Spiderman and newcomer Quentin Beck “Mysterio” (Jake Gyllenhall) to save the planet. However, after all the creatures are ‘defeated’, Peter decides to gift Stark’s entire defense system to Beck because he trusts him. The system is controlled by sunglasses with the name Edith. This is a mistake, as Mysterio is quite the disgruntled, former Stark employee. Beck’s illusion technology was taken by Stark and marketed as a recreational toy, not the world-changing hologram tech Beck had originally intended.

There are two parallel stories here. Parker is trying to have fun with his friends on a school trip, and impending doom as Mysterio tries to take over the planet as the ultimate superhero. All the while, Parker is trying to get MJ to understand how he feels while trying to keep himself and his friends alive. It’s a refreshingly trivial take on a superhero movie because the heroes are real people too, and in this case, Spiderman is but an insecure high-schooler with small goals of having fun and protecting his family and friends.

Overall, it’s unexpected, and overly cheesy at a few points. However, you really do end up caring about the characters, and Gylenhall makes for an irresistible villain. Pretty good, 7.5/10.

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Shedding light on Hulu’s “Into the Dark” series Tuesday, Oct 22 2019 

By Jordan Geisler —

Are you looking for ways to amplify your spooky season? Check out Hulu’s popular collection of movies in their latest collection, the “Into the Dark” series.

The collection of B-level thriller and scary movies are united with Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions, but having a genius on the team doesn’t mean every movie is worth viewing, so here’s your guide to what to watch and movies to miss.

What to watch: “Down,” “I’m Just F*cking With You,” “New Year, New You,” “All That We Destroy,” “Pooka!” and “The Body.”

  • Both “Down” and “I’m Just F*cking With You” are heavy with suspense and keep you intrigued. Even though the twists are somewhat guessable, they’re still entertaining and have you waiting for everyone to get what they deserve.
  • “New Year, New You” boasts bloody catfights and a dialogue full of millennialism that you wouldn’t want to miss. “All That We Destroy” carries a great ending and warns about the potential future of misogyny and toxic masculinity.
  • “Pooka!” and “The Body,” while both a little out in left-field, were some of the first movies made in the series and got away with a lot of violence and craziness before Hulu changed the rest of the series to be more political and have actual lessons.

Movies to miss: “Treehouse,” “School Spirit,” and “Flesh & Blood” are all worth skipping in their own right.

  • “Treehouse” is absurdly complex. It’s storyline consists of a bachelorette party of witches getting revenge on a celebrity chef, which is as crazy as it sounds.
  • “School Spirit” centers on five high-schoolers in Saturday detention while a “ghost” kills the bad students. It tries to be a murderous “Breakfast Club” but fails. The killer is obvious within the first 30 minutes, and the plot is such a slow-burn that it never produces any real fire.
  • “Flesh & Blood” tells the story of a father and daughter relationship that goes bad after the daughter discovers her dad’s murderous tendencies. Its dialogue is ridiculously laughable, but it does have a few shining moments of suspense.

There is a group of in-between movies that can go either way: “Uncanny Annie,” “Culture Shock,” “They Come Knocking” and “Pure” carry mild intrigue but ultimately drag and don’t pack a heavy punch.

Next time you want to get your scare on, try going into the dark!

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal

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“Joker” is no laughing matter Friday, Oct 18 2019 

By Jordan Geisler —

Todd Phillips’s”Joker” is out and causing controversy. In the shadow of the 2012 shooting during a “Dark Knight Rises viewing, the film about the infamous character is creating mixed reviews.

The movie gives the backstory for Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix, and how he evolves into the Joker. Living an unfulfilling life as a clown-for-hire and aspiring comedian, Fleck is abused by many—both verbally and physically—and is written off due to his neurological disorder for inappropriate laughing.

Fleck lives with his mother played by Frances Conroy, and obsesses over Sophie, played by Zazie Beetz, who lives down the hall in his apartment building. But despite the horrors and disappointments of his life, Fleck finds hope and laughter when watching a talk show featuring his favorite comedian Robert DeNiro’s character Murray Franklin.

The movie itself is uncomfortable. Phoenix superbly captures Fleck’s decaying and unhinged mental state, so much so it becomes hard to watch towards the end. The constant abuse that Fleck faces feels personal and painful, and after a certain point you can’t take seeing the same situation play out for Fleck over and over again.

Many critics believe the movie is too violent, but in all actuality, it’s not, or at least not more so than any other movies that have recently been made.

Fleck kills six people in total, which isn’t much compared to a “John Wick” or “Jason Bourne” movie, but the message being sent is that murder is justifiable as revenge and that the way to resolve conflict is to simply kill off your enemies.

Another theme of the movie revolves around mental illness. Fleck, who we learn was institutionalized, is severely depressed and finds happiness through killing people.

Granted, Fleck’s mental instability and history of abuse are clear culprits, but rather than try to evoke sympathy, the moments where Fleck is attacked almost urge you to take his side in rationalizing and accepting murder as the sure-fire way to solve his problems.

More than just another addition to the DC universe, “Jokergoes too far in justifying violence and brutality to an audience that might suffer from the same problems.

Graphic by Shayla Kerr / The Louisville Cardinal

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