“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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“The Gentlemen”: Film Review Podcast Tuesday, Jan 28 2020 

Before Guy Ritchie went off and married Madonna, then unmarried her, before he ascended to the A List of directors, which allowed him to sit in the chair for the Sherlock Holmes remake abominations, before all that, he jumped on the scene with some clever Brit crime capers.

One was “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels,” which was pretty good.

The other was the funny and engaging “Snatch,” a masterpiece of the genre, which I simply adore.

Well, he’s returned to the scene of the crime, literally and figuratively, with his current release, “The Gentlemen.”

It tells the tall tale of a bunch of too glib scoundrels, attempting to outdo each other to take over a huge pot growing and distribution operation.

For more details, and an assessment of “The Gentlemen,” listen to the podcast below:

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“Little Women”: Film Review Podcast Sunday, Jan 19 2020 

Greta Gerwig’s take on the Louisa May Alcott classic is refreshing.

And fresh. Or, so I’m told.

I’ve never read the book. I cannot recall seeing any of the six or so cinematic renditions.

So, though I knew the name Jo Marsh, and the standing of the iconic character among the females of the populace, the film was essentially new to me. Thus, not having seen Winona Ryder’s or June Allison’s take, Saoirse Ronan’s energetic portrayal is the one that resonates.

Gerwig’s creation is presented in a non-linear fashion, which I thought worked remarkably well.

I really enjoyed this movie.

For more information, listen to the podcast below:

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“1917”: Film Review Podcast Wednesday, Jan 15 2020 

Of course, a well crafted film about two young soldiers sent on an impossible mission during WWI is going to elicit emotions.

Sam Mendes award-nominated “1917” certainly does that.

Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay as the earnest but fearful duo sent off by Command on the perilous mission are marvelous.

Especially MacKay, whose participation is kind of an afterthought. His is a marvelous 1917 face.

But the movie is filmed as a one shot, as if there were no edits. Which is frankly a bit of trickeration.

That aspect is too ever present during the run time, is a bit showy if you ask me, and somewhat distracts and detracts from the movie.

Though the movie remains nonetheless an emotionally impactful cinema experience.

For more, listen to the podcast below:

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“The Two Popes”: Film Review Podcast Thursday, Jan 9 2020 

It is very rare, very very rare, when a Pope resigns.

But that’s what Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins) did, which allowed for the election of his successor, the current Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce).

The former was a solitary man, very conservative, resistant to change in the church.

The latter, just the opposite, a real reformer and man of the people. Not to mention a huge futbol fan.

This incredibly well acted and fascinating film purports to tell the story of the relationship of the two.

For more details and perspective, listen to the podcast below:

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“Uncut Gems”: Film Review Podcast Sunday, Jan 5 2020 

Adam Sandler is truly charismatic as a frankly disagreeable character in the Safdie brothers film, “Uncut Gems.”

Howard Ratner is a NYC jeweler, who is also a compulsive gambler, and therefore never quite even with all the people he owes big money to.

His wife in the burbs is divorcing him. Because of the mistress he keeps in a fancy apartment in the city.

He has a raw chunk of opal he thinks is worth a million that he is going to sell at auction, and then pay everybody off.

At least that’s his plan.

But matters never seem to pan out for him.

To learn more about this incredibly energetic movie, listen to the podcast below:

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“Dolemite is My Name”: Film Review Podcast Sunday, Dec 29 2019 

Eddie Murphy is somewhat of an icon.

Yet it’s been years, frankly, since he’s been front and center and on the nation’s lips.

Which he was recently after a triumphant return to SNL, as a guest host. He trotted out many of his favorite characters from his days on the show.

Well, he’s also returned to the screen, playing another icon from days gone by.

That would be Rudy Ray Moore, who aspired to stardom while working in a record a shop in the 70s. His comedy records struck a nerve in African American neighborhoods across the country. Which success he turned into a movie franchise in the era of Blaxploitation.

Netflix’s “Dolemite is My Name” is Murphy as Moore as Dolemite, and the story of his ascendence to fame and fortune.

This is a generally blemish free telling of his rise.

But, with Murphy if full Murphy mode, it’s way entertaining.

For more details, listen to the podcast below:

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