Continuing Downtown

Great films are continuing at the Michigan this week!  An atmospheric thriller written and directed by Academy Award winner Sofia Coppola, “The Beguiled” weaves a story fraught with sexual tension, dangerous rivalries, and broken taboos following an unexpected turn of events.  At a girls’ school in Virginia during the Civil War, where the young women have been sheltered from the outside world, a wounded Union soldier is taken in. Soon, the house is taken over with sexual tension, rivalries, and an unexpected turn of events.  Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly writes “Coppola, who took home the Best Director prize for the movie last month at Cannes (only the second woman in the festival’s 70-year history to do so), has her own narrative hand to play, and she does it with a coolness that both obscures and inverts the most obvious interpretations of her characters’ choices.”  “The Beguiled” stars Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning.

In the Cinetopia Film Festival hit “The Hero,” Western star of yesteryear Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott) likes to reminisce with his former-co-star-turned-dealer, Jeremy (Nick Offerman), about the good times gone by, until a surprise cancer diagnosis brings his priorities into sharp focus. Lee gets a fresh chance to reclaim the spotlight with the help of his new lover Charlotte (Laura Prepon) and an industry award for his work, all while searching for one final role to cement his legacy. Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post writes “There are moments when Elliott evokes more meaning and sympathy from the back of his wiry, weathered neck than most actors do from all manner of scenery-chewing… That’s the weird alchemy of screen acting: At its best, it’s a combination of careful technique, canny withholding and unquantifiable charisma. And it’s what Elliott embodies in every frame of this modest but inordinately absorbing little movie.”

Special Screenings Downtown

In Alfred Hitchcock’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s thriller “Strangers on a Train,” tennis star Guy Haines (Farley Granger) is enraged by his trampy wife’s refusal to finalize their divorce so he can wed senator’s daughter Anne (Ruth Roman). He strikes up a conversation with a stranger, Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker), and unwittingly sets in motion a deadly chain of events. Psychopathic Bruno kills Guy’s wife, then urges Guy to reciprocate by killing Bruno’s father. Meanwhile, Guy is murder suspect number one.  “Strangers on a Train” plays Sunday July 9 at 1:30 PM.

“Rear Window” is one of Hitchcock’s most suspenseful films.  Laid up with a broken leg, photojournalist L.B. Jeffries (James Stewart) is confined to his tiny, sweltering courtyard apartment. To pass the time between visits from his nurse (Thelma Ritter) and his fashion model girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly), the binocular-wielding Jeffries stares through the rear window of his apartment at the goings-on in the other apartments around his courtyard. As he watches his neighbors, he assigns them roles and character names.  Of particular interest is seemingly mild-mannered travelling salesman Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr), who is saddled with a nagging, invalid wife. One afternoon, Thorwald pulls down his window shade, and his wife’s incessant bray comes to a sudden halt. Out of boredom, Jeffries casually concocts a scenario in which Thorwald has murdered his wife and disposed of the body in gruesome fashion. Trouble is, Jeffries’ musings just might happen to be the truth. “Rear Window” plays Tuesday July 11 at 7 PM.  Both “Strangers on a Train” and “Rear Window” play as part of the Michigan Theater’s Summer Classics: Hitchcock Goes Hollywood series.

An imposing black structure provides a connection between the past and the future in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the enigmatic adaptation of a short story by revered sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke. When Dr. Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) and other astronauts are sent on a mysterious mission, their ship’s computer system, HAL, begins to display increasingly strange behavior, leading up to a tense showdown between man and machine that results in a mind-bending trek through space and time. “2001: A Space Odyssey” plays Thursday July 13 at 9:30 PM as part of the Summer Classics: Kubrick After Dark series.

Opening at the Multiplex

In “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” a young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine–distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man–but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.  “Spider-Man: Homecoming” opens Friday.

See you at the movies!


From Russell B. Collins


Director, State & Michigan Theaters – Ann Arbor

Founder/Director, Art House Convergence – Utah

Artistic Dir./Founder, Cinetopia Festival Detroit/A2

Strengthening communities with persistent creativity