Listen to Cinema Chat Thursday mornings on 89.1 WEMU, or visit https://www.wemu.org/programs/cinema-chat

In this week’s “Cinema Chat,” WEMU’s David Fair and Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins talk about the latest movie news and all of the new films hitting the big screen this weekend. Plus, Leslie Raymond drops by to give you the inside scoop on the 57th Ann Arbor Film Festival.

OPENING DOWNTOWN

“Us”

At the State (Sneak Peek Thursday, Mar. 21 and opens for a full run Friday, Mar. 22): This is a new nightmare from the mind of Oscar® winner Jordan Peele, writer/director of “Get Out.” Accompanied by her husband and children, Adelaide Wilson (played by Lupita Nyong’o) returns to the beach home where she grew up. Haunted by a traumatic experience from the past, Adelaide grows concerned that something bad is going to happen to her family. Her worst fears soon become a reality when four masked strangers descend upon the house, forcing the Wilsons into a fight for survival. Also stars Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, and Tim Heidecker.

“Gloria Bell”

At the Michigan (Sneak Peek Thursday, Mar. 21 and opens for a full run Friday, Mar. 22): In this film, Gloria (played by Julianne Moore) is a free-spirited divorcée who spends her days at a straight-laced office job and her nights on the dance floor, joyfully letting loose at clubs around L.A. After meeting Arnold (played by John Turturro) on a night out, she finds herself thrust into an unexpected new romance, filled with both the joys of budding love and the complications of dating, identity, and family.

“Birds of Passage”

At the State (Opens Friday, Mar. 22): From the Oscar®-nominated team behind “Embrace of the Serpent” comes an equally audacious saga centered on the Wayúu indigenous people during a crucial period in recent Colombian history. It was selected as the Colombian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards, making the December shortlist. Torn between his desire to become a powerful man and his duty to uphold his culture’s values, Rapayet begins drug trafficking in the 1970s and finds success despite his tribe’s matriarch Ursula’s disapproval. Ignoring ancient omens, Rapayet and his family get caught up in a conflict where honor is the highest currency and debts are paid with blood.

LIMITED ENGAGEMENT

“The Russian Five”

The 2018 Cinetopia Film Festival favorite plays Saturday, March 23 at the Michigan Theater at 7:30 PM, Sunday, March 24 at 3:30 PM and Monday, March 25 at 7:30 PM at the State Theatre! The screening on Saturday, March 23 will include a Q&A with Director Joshua Riehl and Producer Jenny Feterovich. This is the dramatic story of the five Russian hockey stars who helped propel the Detroit Red Wings to two Stanley Cup championships and created one of the most memorable chapters in Motor City sports history. The film gives the behind-the-scenes story of the Red Wings’ strategy in luring the five Russian players and provides new insight into many key moments in Wings’ history, including coach Bowman’s decision to play all the Russian Five at the same time, the bloody rivalry between the Wings and Colorado Avalanche, the 1996-97 Stanley Cup run, and the horrific limousine accident that seriously injured Konstantinov and masseur Sergei Mnatsakanov in the celebration aftermath.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

“I Can Speak”

This film plays Saturday, March 23 at 1 PM at the Michigan Theater as a part of the Korean Cinema NOW Film Series presented by the UM Nam Center for Korean Studies. Free and open to the public! Civil Servant Park Min-Jae (played by Lee Je-Hoon) gets transferred to a new district in Seoul. He is a young man of principle and diligent at his job. At his new ward office, Park Min-Jae gets inundated with civil complaints by grumpy, elderly resident Na Ok-Boom (played by Na Moon-Hee). He tries to appease her as best as he can. Meanwhile, Na Ok-Boom practices English when she’s not working at her tailor shop or filing complaints at the local ward office. When she realizes Park Min-Jae can speak English almost fluently, she asks him to teach her to speak English. She has her reasons why she wants to speak English.

“The Greatest Showman Sing-Along”

This film plays on Sunday, March 24 at 3 PM at the Michigan Theater with onscreen lyrics! Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum and with music composed by Oscar, Grammy, Tony, and Golden Globe Award-winning songwriters Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, who also graduated from U of M! This is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. Stars Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum, Zac Efron, Rebecca Ferguson, and Zendaya.

“Antony & Cleopatra”

This will be broadcast live in HD from the National Theatre in London on Sunday, March 24 at 7 PM at the Michigan Theater, presented in partnership with UMS. In the aftermath of Julius Caesar’s assassination, General Mark Antony now rules alongside his fellow defenders of Rome. But the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and Mark Antony have fallen fiercely in love. Having neglected his political duties while in Egypt, Antony returns to Rome to attempt to restore his political position. Torn between his duty to Rome and his devotion to Cleopatra, Antony’s actions spark a war that threatens to destroy their love. Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo play Shakespeare’s famous fated couple in this great tragedy of politics, passion, and power in a slick, stylish, and modern production that includes a stunning revolving set and gorgeous costumes.

“Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land (An Lian Tao Hua Yuan)”

This film plays Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at 7 PM at the State Theatre presented by UM China Ongoing Perspectives. Free and open to the public! A pre-viewing welcome reception will be held for the and following the film a Q&A with Director Stan Lai. Trapped at the same theater, two drama troupes had to share the stage rehearsing two seemingly different plays simultaneously, a medieval comedy, and a contemporary sad love story. What overlap may happen?

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

“The Wedding Guest”

At the Michigan: This propulsive, globetrotting thriller from acclaimed director Michael Winterbottom (“A Summer in Genoa;” “A Mighty Heart;” “Everyday”) is a breathless tour through the shadowy underworlds and hidden realms of Pakistan and India. Jay (played by Dev Patel) is a man with a secret who travels from Britain to Pakistan to attend a wedding – armed with duct tape, a shotgun, and a plan to kidnap the bride-to-be. Despite his cool efficiency, the plot quickly spirals out of control, sending Jay and his hostage on the run across the border and through the railway stations, back alleys, and black markets of New Delhi – as all the while attractions simmer, loyalties shift, and explosive secrets are revealed. Pulsating with the sights and sounds of the Indian subcontinent, the film conjures a colorful world where danger lurks at every turn and nothing is as it seems.

“Apollo 11”

Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, this film takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission—the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names. The film was one of the opening-night documentaries at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, offering a fully captivating look at the mission whose 50th anniversary will arrive in July of this year.

“Captain Marvel”

At the State: The story follows Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races. Set in the 1990s, this is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Brie Larson (“The Spectacular Now,” “Trainwreck,” “Room” – Academy Award for Best Actress) stars as Danvers, alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, and Jude Law.

“Everybody Knows”

This film follows Laura (played by Penelope Cruz) on her travels from Argentina to her small home town outside of Madrid, Spain for her sister’s wedding, bringing her two children along for the occasion. Amid the joyful reunion and festivities, the eldest daughter is abducted. In the tense days that follow, various family and community tensions surface and deeply hidden secrets are revealed. Also stars Javier Bardem.

 

ANN ARBOR FILM FESTIVAL – March 26-31

Ann Arbor Film Fest director Leslie Raymond
CREDIT ANN ARBOR FILM FEST / AAFILMFEST.ORG
Special Interview guest, Leslie Raymond, Festival Director

The 57th Ann Arbor Film Festival will be taking place Tuesday, March 26 to Sunday, March 31 at the Michigan Theater. This is the oldest avant-garde and experimental film festival in North America, founded by George Manupelli in 1963. Internationally recognized as a premiere forum for independent filmmakers and artists, each year’s festival engages audiences with remarkable cinematic experiences. The six-day festival presents 40 programs with more than 180 films from over 20 countries of all lengths and genres, including experimental, animation, documentary, fiction, and performance-based works! For more information on that, visit aafilmfest.org.

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