“SXSW Short Films”: Film Review Podcast Thursday, Apr 2 2020 

Surfing about for something to read or watch or listen to on my laptop while dining last night, I came across a site that’s posted a bunch of short film entries to that portion of SXSW.

I’ve watched three so far, and each in its own way is pretty spectacular. I shall delve further.

One is a story that completely touches the dynamics of twentysomething relationships and mother/ daughter relationships in eight minutes.

Another is a sweet three minute animated tale about Christmas longing. It won the Grand Prize even though the festival, like everything else, was cancelled.

And perhaps the most artistic, creative documentary I’ve ever seen. An eleven minute telling of the crusade that saved a thousand broken musical instruments in the Philly school system, called “Broken Orchestra.” Relatively dry topic, incredible filmmaking.

For further details where to find these gems, listen to the podcast below:

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“A Black and White Night”: Film Review Podcast Friday, Mar 27 2020 

So, among the blessings in these strange and perilous times are the many musical events that can be watched on the interweb.

Just last night, I watched an entire concert of my favorite group, Tedeschi Trucks Band, from last fall at the Beacon Theater. They were smokin’ hot, and I actually was up and dancing during some of the tunes.

(Feel free to close your eyes at that the virtual visual, but it’s a moment to savor these days when we can be carefree.)

So, I thought of a concert film you might not know about.

“A Black and White Night” is a Roy Orbison made for TV gig, filmed in late ’87, and first shown the following January.

It is evocatively shot in, duh, high contrast black and white, adding to the panache.

His back up band is arguably as star studded a contingent as there’s ever been. I name names in the podcast below.

Orbison’s an icon from the first wave of rock & roll, but his voice was still in fine fettle decades later.

It’s available online, but you’re going to have to listen to the podcast to find out where. (See what I’m doing here, nodding like the woman in the H&R Block advert to my podcast link below.)

For more details, listen, you know, down below. It’s a great set of live music from one of the greats.

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“The In-Laws” (1979): Film Review Podcast Wednesday, Mar 18 2020 

So, in these weird times, I feel compelled to hip you to a funny movie.

It’s one of my favorite comedies of all time.

The original 1979 version of “The In Laws.” (Do not fall prey to the horrible remake.)

Vince Ricardo (Peter Falk) is a renegade CIA op, whose son is marrying the daughter of Sheldon Kornpett (Alan Arkin).

Ricardo induces Kornpett to help him with an errand in the days before the wedding. They end up in front of a firing squad in a banana republic, whose dictator, General Garcia, is played by Richard Libertini in a film stealing cameo.

The film is actually showing this Friday, March 20, on a cable/ satellite channel near you. And can also be streamed for a couple bucks at Amazon Prime.

For more details, and more info about the flick, listen to the podcast below:

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“Hoop Dreams”: Film Review Podcast Thursday, Mar 12 2020 

These are troubled times, kids, so before I start, let me add my voice to those who advise to take all precautions, and to follow the advice of medical pros who know what they’re talking about.

I know a lot of folks, like me, will be hunkering in the ol’ hacienda more than usual.

And, for those of us who love college basketball, we won’t be able to watch any as we’d normally be doing this time of year, because it’s all been called off, justifiably, in the name of national health and safety.

So, I recommend to my followers, as I’ve done before, the absolute best film ever made about basketball.

The filmmakers of “Hoop Dreams” followed a couple Chicago prep phenoms over almost 8 years, edited down hundreds of hours of footage and fashioned this incisive and intimate portrait of their lives and fortunes.

It’s available at Amazon Prime and maybe elsewhere.

For more on the film, listen to my podcast below:

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“Once Were Brothers”: Film Review Podcast Tuesday, Mar 3 2020 

Saugerties, NY: 1968. The Band behind Big Pink‚ Easter Sunday, West Saugerties. Robbie Robertson, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Levon Helm. ©Elliott Landy / The Image Works

I was chatting up some guy I didn’t know in the hallway before the beginning of the reunion concert I saw with Dylan and The Band in Bloomington in ’74.

The guy was talking about how “Dylan was OK,” but he was really there to see The Band.

I, of course, ever wise, and full with my own opinionation, dismissed his utterance as foolishness.

Upon further contemplation through the decades, I, like many, have come to understand the transcendence of The Band’s music and place within the pantheon of rock & roll.

Of course, they’re not Dylan. Then again, they’re a cut above and more significant than just about everybody else in the rock era.

“Once Were Brothers” is a Robbie Robertson-centric documentary about the group’s origins and demise. Lots of great footage. Some interesting interviews, especially with Ronnie Hawkins.

If you care about rock & roll, it is to be seen.

For more, listen to the podcast below:

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“The Assistant”: Film Review Podcast Wednesday, Feb 26 2020 

So, “The Assistant” arrived in town the same week that in a NY courtroom, Harvey Weinstein received the first of many guilty verdicts to come, one for rape.

Coincidence? I don’t know. But it’s a lede.

This film centers on a single workday of a young college grad, breaking into the entertainment business as the gofer/secretary of a mogul, whom she believes is a sexual predator.

We never see the guy, but hear him, and read a few of his emails.

This austere but very astute movie features Julia Garner as the assistant of the title. Her acting here is exemplary, underscored by her ability to project emotions and thoughts just by the looks on her face.

Besides the sexual harassment element, presented with power but subtlety, this also serves as commentary on office politics.

Kitty Green wrote and directed a searing yet understated contemplation of these most contemporary cultural issues.

For more insight into the movie, listen the podcast below. (Caveat: It was inadvertently recorded at a low level. You might need to turn up your volume.):

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“American Factory”: Film Review Podcast Sunday, Feb 16 2020 

A General Motors factory closes in Dayton, Ohio, putting many out of work.

The facility is purchased by a Chinese auto glass manufacturing company, and reopens under that new leadership. Many of the former GM workers are rehired.

This compelling documentary examines the culture clash, both personal and industrial.

Beautifully shot, and with almost unfathomable access to the people involved and situation, this is fascinating contemplation.

For more on the movie, listen to the podcast below:

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Film festival exposes moviegoers to various French films Thursday, Feb 13 2020 

By Blake Wedding —

Diversity seems to be at the heart of this year’s French Film Festival, as the University of Louisville aims to showcase a varied compilation of uniquely distinguished films for students. 

This year the French Film Festival includes everything from romantic comedies, animated films to more serious dramas. Some of these films reflect on current events, while others offer more detailed character studies. 

Associate French professor Matthieu Dalle is one of the people behind the festival who has worked tirelessly to bring this carefully selected collection of films to students. 

Dalle hopes the festival will shed light on the importance of French cinema to students and act as an introduction to French cinema. He hopes this selection of films might convey how French cinema is unique to American cinema and highlight how it is unique and unparalleled to contemporary American cinema.

He believes the French Film Festival will cater to the needs of any type of casual movie-goer, film-buff and cinephile alike. Dalle believes that the films selected for this year’s festival reflect an urgency for inclusion of all types of movie-goers. 

“We want students to realize that there is something for everyone,” Dalle said. “French cinema does not always have to be experimental or ‘intellectual’ in nature.” 

Dalle also understands there is a common false assumption amongst American moviegoers that French cinema is oftentimes arduous, experimental, artsy or avant-garde in nature. 

Dalle and his collaborators working behind this year’s festival are hoping to dispel those notions and change audience beliefs little by little. “On one hand you have a French romantic comedy called ‘Return of the Hero,’” Dalle said. “And on the other, you have a film like ‘Young Ahmed’, which is directed by the Dardenne brothers, which couldn’t be more different.” 

According to Dalle, “Young Ahmed” is looking to be the best pick of the festival. “Young Ahmed” was first screened at last year’s Cannes Film Festival to almost universal critical acclaim and tells the story about a boy who becomes exposed to radical Islamic principles. Dalle believes this is just one film at the festival that is successful in telling a complex and harrowing story in a nuanced and thoughtful manner.

The French Film Festival is currently screening at U of L’s Floyd Theater on Thursdays and Saturdays now through March 7 with an additional screening of the animated film “Dilili in Paris” at the Speed Cinema Feb. 23. 

Graphic by Alexis Simon//The Louisville Cardinal

The post Film festival exposes moviegoers to various French films appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

“Miss Americana”: Film Review Podcast Friday, Feb 7 2020 

Oh my, how we do crave knowing about the private lives of the stars who float our boat, what they’re really — I mean, really — like?

Music faves. Sports stars. Hollywoodland elite.

And, at least among a certain generation, there’s no bigger pop star than Taylor Swift.

The singer hit the scene — hugely — at a tender age. Platinum albums. Awards. Social media icon. Boyfriend issues.

But, what’s she really like?

The Netflix documentary, “Miss Americana,” is actually a way more intimate look into Swift’s private life than one might expect.

Her song writing methods. Her interaction with fans. Her insecurities.

Many, though I doubt all, are laid bare.

For more information and my review of the doc, listen to the podcast below:

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“Louisville Jewish Film Festival”: Podcast Preview Tuesday, Feb 4 2020 

The 2020 Louisville Jewish Film Festival opens this Saturday, February 8, with a showing of the documentary, “Fiddler on the Roof: A Miracle of Miracles.”

It runs through the beginning of March at various venues.

The offerings include the usual potpourri of documentaries, dramas and comedies. Many showings will be accompanied by lectures and discussions.

There’s a nifty satire, playing Saturday, February 29, at the Village 8 Theatres, titled “Tel Aviv on Fire.”

The screenplay was written by native Louisvillian, later professor of film at Columbia University, Daniel Kleinman, who will be in attendance and speaking at the showing.

For a complete list of the films and venues and schedule and ticket info, click here.

For more info, and a preview of a fascinating documentary about Carl Laemmle, on the pioneers of the industry in America, listen to the podcast below:

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