Reel Review

Reel Review

Reel Review features engaging conversations about film and television with interesting folks and USC experts from across disciplines (public policy, governance, theatre, and cinema) to look at visual storytelling, media literacy, diversity, and the public good. Hosted by Erroll Southers, RR reminds us that film and TV are powerful and passionate mediums that not only entertain, but reflect and comment on our society. Culture, policy, and politics affect our everyday lives, ideas about how we live, and how we live together. It also influences what we watch, as well as what we take away from those programs. We want to be smarter about the images and stories we see, and how we can be better together. Sponsored by: USC Price Video Services http://www.usc.edu/pvs USC Bedrosian Center http://bedrosian.usc.edu Content Partners: USC School of Dramatic Arts https://dramaticarts.usc.edu/ USC School of Cinematic-Arts https://cinema.usc.edu Recorded at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy http://priceschool.usc.edu

Episodes

September 10, 2021

CODA is a film that doesn't take a lot chances, with it's familiar tropes it doesn't stray from the formula. It's a remake of a 2014 French film, it's a coming of age film about a teenage girl breaking away from her family. Audiences get a teen romance or two, an inspiring teacher, and an uplifting ending.

And yet ... CODA transcends the ordinary with solid performances, storytelling, and importantly, with its i...

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Netflix's film Moxie brings riot grrrl punk feminism to a whole new generation: music, zines, and voices coming together to make the world a bit better.

Is the world ready for riot grrrls to go mainstream?

 

 

 

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During our recent episode on Judas and the Black Messiah, Professor Bill Resh spoke about using the film as part of his course on citizenship.

We thought it would be great to revisit the film and see how well this worked. So, today we're revisiting Judas and the Black Messiah with students from his course! We'll ask about the different theories of citizenship, how they felt the film portrayed the time, and their thoughts on...

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Under the threat of prison, Bill O'Neal infiltrated the Black Panther Party in Chicago.

Judas and the Black Messiah looks at the last three years of the Black Panther Party Chairman, Fred Hampton's life. While Hampton was falling in love , taking care of his people, and leading the city revolutionaries ... O'Neal  was forced to navigate the dilemma of the hold the FBI had over him, all while starting to believe in the m...

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Today we’ll be doing something a bit different. We’re looking at two memoirs made into films in 2020:

Between the World and Me, from HBO, based on the book of the same name written by Ta’Nehasi Coates. The film is directed by Kamilah Forbes, and the screenplay adaptation is by David Teague.

Hillbilly Elegy is based on a book of the same name by JD Vance, published in 2016. Ron Howard directed the Netflix film, adapted for screen by...

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Odds are that you know someone raving about the new Netflix coming of age limited series, The Queen's Gambit. Lifted from the novel of the same title, the series is a seven episode tale of a little orphan girl entering the competitive, very masculine, and very adult world of chess.

From pawn to queen, what makes The Queen's Gambit irresistible?

Host Jonathan Schwartz is joined by Alex Ago and Aubrey Hicks in today's epi...

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On the Rocks, the latest film from Sophia Coppola, like many of the director's films, relies on dialogue and character interaction. This time the central relationship is between father and daughter, played by Bill Murray and Rashida Jones.

How relevant do our panel find this depiction of lives of privilege? Host Jonathan Schwartz is joined by Alex Ago, Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro, Aubrey Hicks  and William Resh to discuss On The ...

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Episode one of Lovecraft Country lets viewers know for sure that the question of reality and truth is at the heart of the series. In reality, H. P. Lovecraft was an overt White Supremacist. The series turns this on its head and gives a new generation a ring-side seat to revisiting history from the reality overlooked by textbooks.

Reality is slippery. Truth can be hidden. What does it take to uncover the truth, share your reality, a...

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September 25, 2020

For our September film discussion, we decided on Disney's streaming release of the live-action remake, Mulan. It's a film that is surrounded by controversy both domestically and abroad.

Yifei Liu, the actress who plays the titular character, sparked a boycott hashtag last August (2019) with a pro-police post on Weibo. More controversy hit the film as early viewers realized one of the filming locations is Xinjiang, where the...

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The 2020 Presidential Election brings us to an important tipping point in the American experiment.

In July 2020, the New Yorker ran a piece called "How “Starship Troopers” Aligns with Our Moment of American Defeat," by David Roth. We thought that it would be a great excuse to revisit the 1997 film directed by Paul Verhoeven and the question of fascism in our time.

"The anti-Fascism of 'Starship Troopers' is mor...

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"The story of the Negro in America is the story of America, and it is not a pretty story." - James Baldwin

The year is 1979. James Baldwin writes a letter to his agent describing his next novel, "Remember this House." He describes a personal account of the lives of three of Baldwin's close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. The letter is a history of civil rights in America.

Baldwin nev...

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March 25, 2020

George Floyd is murdered by members of the Minneapolis Police department.

Floyd's murder is the spark that reignites the continuing call for an end to extrajudicial murders perpetrated by the police. How do we talk about progress made without minimizing how far we need to work toward equity and a stronger democracy?

Spike Lee's second film, Do the Right Thing is the perfect vehicle to spark conversation about...

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Released on Netflix March 20, 2020 The Platform is one of the more interesting films to discuss amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The film, directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, follows Goreng as he volunteers to spend six months in The Hole, a vertical prison of sorts. His first roommate, Trimagasis tells him, "There are three kinds of people: those on top, those on the bottom, and those who fall." What does this mean within The...

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In this month's episode, we're covering a lot of dangerous ground with director Craig Zobel's latest satire, The Hunt.

If you've seen the trailer, you likely already get the gist. Right wing conspiracy theories cost the livelihoods of some left wing elites, who decide a fitting punishment is to make the conspiracy come true.

Ostensibly, this is a satire addressing conspiracism, partisanship, social media bullying, c...

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In this month's episode, we're thinking about the latest adaptation of a graphic novel from Netflix originals: I'm Not Okay with This.

Sydney seems like a normal, if awkward teenager. She has a best friend, feels like an outsider, hates the small town she's living in, is annoyed by her (adorable) little brother — but she also has a secret. Perhaps more than one secret.

The graphic novel, written by Charles Forsman,...

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The latest to come out of the DC universe is the story of Harley Quinn. Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn ostensibly follows Quinn after her breakup from Puddin' (AKA The Joker) and her struggle to survive as the men she hurt in the past come for revenge.

Margot Robbie gleefully leads the show as the notorious trickster, and is joined by a band of amazing women. Do they take "the man" d...

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We’re deviating from our normal episode structure today ... we’ll be channeling our inner Leslie Knope to celebrate Parks & Recreation and Galentine's Day.

We all re-watched season 2 episode 16 of Parks & Rec to prepare - but we’re public service nerds, so we can't contain ourselves to just one episode.

Listen as host Aubrey Hicks is joined by Chrysa Perakis, Donnajean Ward, Jovanna Rosen and Prof Nicole Esparza to ...

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December 19, 2019

The description of Jay Roach's Bombshell on IMDB says simply: "A group of women decide to take on Fox News head Roger Ailes and the toxic atmosphere he presided over at the network."

What a stunning understatement. Bombshell dramatizes the story of Gretchen Carlson's lawsuit against Roger Ailes' repeated harassment and the women who finally told there stories during the ensuing investigation.

Listen to our team ...

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November 12, 2019

Host Erroll Southers is joined by Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro, Alex Ago, and Aubrey Hicks to discuss the first episode of the new HBO series Watchmen.

Starring Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson, and an enormously talented ensemble cast, the series picks up beyond the first film and original DC comic series written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. We are in an alternate version of the world, one in which the war in Vietnam w...

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"Just give that man money so he can make his films!" says an ardent fan of Terry Gilliam, director.

We were intrigued at the idea of a retelling of the Cervantes classic Don Quixote, and from acclaimed filmmaker Terry Gilliam. With a film within the film, the work could be a tale of the quixotic nature of storytelling and the medium of film. It could be a tale of madness and exile, of hope and illusion.

Join host Erroll Sou...

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