Listen to Cinema Chat with Russ Collins and David Fair Thursday mornings on 89.1 WEMU or visit https://www.wemu.org/programs/cinema-chat
At the Michigan (Opens Friday, June 7): In All is True, the year is 1613, Shakespeare is acknowledged as the greatest writer of the age. But disaster strikes when his renowned Globe Theatre burns to the ground, and devastated, Shakespeare returns to Stratford, where he must face a troubled past and a neglected family. Haunted by the death of his only son Hamnet, he struggles to mend the broken relationships with his wife and daughters. In so doing, he is ruthlessly forced to examine his own failings as husband and father. His very personal search for the truth uncovers secrets and lies within a family at war. Directed by and stars Kenneth Branagh. Critics Consensus: Impressively cast and beautifully filmed, All Is True takes an elegiac look at Shakespeare’s final days.
At the State (Opens Friday, June 7): At once enrapturing and mysteriously unsettling—and featuring a profoundly layered breakout performance by Honor Swinton Byrne—The Souvenir is an essential and enduring film from one of our most distinctive and exciting filmmakers. A shy but ambitious film student (played by Honor Swinton Byrne) begins to find her voice as an artist while navigating a turbulent courtship with a charismatic but untrustworthy man (played by Tom Burke). She defies her protective mother (played by Tilda Swinton) and concerned friends as she slips deeper and deeper into an intense, emotionally fraught relationship that comes dangerously close to destroying her dreams. From acclaimed writer-director Joanna Hogg comes an enigmatic and personal portrait of the artist as a young woman, combining passionate emotions and exquisite aesthetics into a lush, dreamlike story of young adulthood and first love. Critics Consensus: Made by a filmmaker in command of her craft and a star perfectly matched with the material, The Souvenir is a uniquely impactful coming of age drama.
The Iron Giant plays Saturday, June 8 at 10:00 PM at the State Theatre as a part of the Like It’s 1999 Late-Night film series. In this animated adaptation of Ted Hughes’ Cold War fable, a giant alien robot (voiced by Vin Diesel) crash-lands near the small town of Rockwell, Maine, in 1957. Exploring the area, a local 9-year-old boy, Hogarth, discovers the robot, and soon forms an unlikely friendship with him. When a paranoid government agent, Kent Mansley, becomes determined to destroy the robot, Hogarth and beatnik Dean McCoppin (voiced by Harry Connick Jr.) must do what they can to save the misunderstood machine.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes plays Sunday, June 9 at 1:30 PM and Wednesday, June 12 at 7:00 PM at Michigan Theater as a part of The SavCo Hospitality Summer Classic Film Series, presented by the University of Michigan Credit Union with media support from MLive. In June, July, and August, we will be celebrating generations of filmmakers and their nostalgic treasures! Lorelei Lee (played by Marilyn Monroe) is a beautiful showgirl engaged to be married to the wealthy Gus Esmond (played by Tommy Noonan), much to the disapproval of Gus’ rich father, Esmond Sr., who thinks that Lorelei is just after his money. When Lorelei goes on a cruise accompanied only by her best friend, Dorothy Shaw (played by Jane Russell), Esmond Sr. hires Ernie Malone (played by Elliott Reid), a private detective, to follow her and report any questionable behavior that would disqualify her from the marriage.
Dear Son (Weldi – Original Title) plays Sunday, June 9 at 7:00 PM at the State Theatre as a part of the Arab American Film Festival! Riadh is about to retire from his work as a forklift operator at the port of Tunis. The life he shares with his wife Nazli revolves around their only son Sami, who is preparing for his high school exams. The boy’s repeated migraine attacks are a cause of much worry to his parents. But when he finally seems to be getting better, Sami suddenly disappears…
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese plays Tuesday, June 11 at 7:00 PM at the Michigan Theater. This documentary captures the troubled spirit of America in 1975 and the joyous music that Dylan performed during the fall of that year. Part documentary, part concert film, part fever dream, Rolling Thunder is a one of a kind experience, from master filmmaker Martin Scorsese.
Marjoun and the Flying Headscarf plays Tuesday, June 11 at 7:00 PM at the State Theatre as a part of the Arab American Film Festival! Set in 2006, in the aftermath of 9/11, the Second Intifada, and Iraq War. We experience these shifts in Arab and Muslim American lives through the three women in Marjoun’s household, in a time when young Muslim women are choosing the hijab independently of their familial traditions to find meaning and strength in their own choices. Finally, this film is set also at Magnolia Grove Monastery in Mississippi. This Zen Buddhist monastery has been established in the tradition of the friendship of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, bringing together the themes of civil rights movements and interfaith practice.
At the Michigan: The White Crow follows the life of Rudolf Nureyev, played by Acclaimed dancer Oleg Ivenko. From his poverty-stricken childhood in the Soviet city of Ufa, to his blossoming as a dancer in Leningrad, to his arrival at the epicentre of western culture in Paris in the early 1960s, this is the true story of an incredible journey by a unique artist who transformed the world of ballet forever. Director Ralph Fiennes’ The White Crow was inspired by the book Rudolf Nureyev: The Life by Julie Kavanaugh.
This years Direct from Sundance selection! The Biggest Little Farm chronicles the eight-year quest of John and Molly Chester as they trade city living for 200 acres of barren farmland and a dream to harvest in harmony with nature. Through dogged perseverance and embracing the opportunity provided by nature’s conflicts, the Chester’s unlock and uncover a biodiverse design for living that exists far beyond their farm, its seasons, and our wildest imagination.
At the State: Rocketman is an epic musical fantasy about the incredible human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years. The film follows the fantastical journey of transformation from shy piano prodigy Reginald Dwight into international superstar Elton John. This inspirational story — set to Elton John’s most beloved songs and performed by star Taron Egerton — tells the universally relatable story of how a small-town boy became one of the most iconic figures in pop culture. Rocketman also stars Jamie Bell as Elton’s longtime lyricist and writing partner Bernie Taupin, Richard Madden as Elton’s first manager, John Reid, and Bryce Dallas Howard as Elton’s mother Sheila Farebrother.
Told from a wildly original, fresh and modern perspective, Booksmart is an unfiltered comedy about high school best friends and the bonds we create that last a lifetime. The story follows two academic superstars and best friends who, on the eve of their high school graduation, suddenly realize that they should have worked less and played more. Determined never to fall short of their peers, the girls set out on a mission to cram four years of fun into one night. From Director Olivia Wilde and starring Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Jessica Williams, Lisa Kudrow, Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis.
In Photograph, two lives intersect in Mumbai and go along together. A struggling street photographer, pressured to marry by his grandmother, convinces a shy stranger to pose as his fiancée. The pair develops a connection that transforms them in ways that they could not expect.
Chronicling the extraordinary rise of one of the most colorful and controversial religious movements in American history, Hail Satan? is an inspiring and entertaining new feature documentary. When media-savvy members of the Satanic Temple organize a series of public actions designed to advocate for religious freedom and challenge corrupt authority, they prove that with little more than a clever idea, a mischievous sense of humor, and a few rebellious friends, you can speak truth to power in some truly profound ways.
OPENING AT THE MULTIPLEX FRIDAY, JUNE 7
This is the story of one of the X-Men’s most beloved characters, Jean Grey, as she evolves into the iconic Dark Phoenix. During a life-threatening rescue mission in space, Jean is hit by a cosmic force that transforms her into one of the most powerful mutants of all. Wrestling with this increasingly unstable power as well as her own personal demons, Jean spirals out of control, tearing the X-Men family apart and threatening to destroy the very fabric of our planet. The film is the most intense and emotional X-Men movie ever made. It is the culmination of 20 years of X-Men movies, as the family of mutants that we’ve come to know, and love must face their most devastating enemy yet — one of their own.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 will follow summer 2016’s blockbuster about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day. Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri and his longtime collaborator Janet Healy will produce the sequel to the comedy that had the best opening ever for an original film, animated or otherwise. The Secret Life of Pets 2 will see the return of writer Brian Lynch (Minions) and once again be directed by Chris Renaud (Despicable Me series, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax). Features voices from Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Harrison Ford, Patton Oswalt, Eric Stonestreet, Jenny Slate, Hannibal Buress, and more!
That’s all for this week. See you at the movies!
From Russell B. Collins
Exc. Dir., State & Michigan Theaters – Ann Arbor
Founding Director, Art House Convergence – Utah
Festival Founder, Cinetopia Festival – Detroit/A2