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MOVIES 101 IS RETURNING TO THE MICHIGAN THEATER

Motion pictures have their own special language that enables them to communicate action, ideas, and emotions. During four three-hour sessions, we will look closely at four basic linguistic tools that most films use. They are mise-en-scene, editing, sound, and narrative structure. We will use examples drawn from classic and contemporary films and will show a complete feature film during each meeting. The classes will meet from 12:00—3:00 p.m. on Sundays, September 8, September 15, September 22, and October 6. They will be taught by Dr. Henry Aldridge, Emeritus Professor of Film Studies at EMU and an active volunteer at the Michigan Theater. To register for the full course or individual sessions, visit michtheater.org.

 

OPENING DOWNTOWN

“After the Wedding”

At the Michigan (Opens Friday, August 30): In this film, Isabel (played by Michelle Williams) has dedicated her life to working with the children in an orphanage in Calcutta. Theresa (played by Julianne Moore) is the multimillionaire head of a media company who lives with her artist husband (played by Billy Crudup) and their twin boys in New York. When word comes to Isabel of a mysterious and generous grant for the financially struggling orphanage, she must travel to New York to meet the benefactor–Theresa–in person.

“Cold Case Hammerskjöld”

At the State (Opens Friday, August 30): Cinetopia 2019 Audience Award Winner! This film begins in 1961, where Secretary General of the UN, Dag Hammarskjöld, died in a plane crash in Northern Rhodesia. He was en route to ceasefire negotiations between noncombatant UN forces and troops from the breakaway state of Katanga. He was taking a stance in the fight against colonialism in times of instability and the Cold War. What started as conspiracy theories have evolved into a growing consensus that Hammarskjöld and 15 other people were shot down, inciting the UN to reopen the case on the suspicion of assassination.

“Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles”

At the Michigan (Opens Thursday, September 5): This film includes rare archival footage and interviews with musical luminaries explore the legacy of the long-running, award-winning musical “Fiddler on the Roof.” When this musical opened on Broadway in 1964, it explored themes of tradition, religion, and anti-Semitism against a modern backdrop of radical social change that addressed gender roles, sexuality, and race.

“It Chapter Two”

At the State (Opens Thursday, September 5): Evil resurfaces in Derry as director Andy Muschietti reunites the Losers Club in a return to where it all began in the conclusion to the highest-grossing horror film of all time. Twenty-seven years after the Losers Club defeated Pennywise, he has returned to terrorize the town of Derry once more. Now adults, the Losers have long since gone their separate ways. However, kids are disappearing again, so Mike, the only one of the group to remain in their hometown, calls the others home. Damaged by the experiences of their past, they must each conquer their deepest fears to destroy Pennywise once and for all…putting them directly in the path of the clown that has become deadlier than ever. Stars Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Finn Wolfhard, and Bill Skarsgård.

 

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

“Mary Poppins Returns”

This film plays Friday, August 30 at New Center Park in Detroit as a part of Cinetopia Film Festival’s free summer screenings. Grab a park chair or spread your blanket on the lawn and enjoy this film at 7:30 PM! Decades after her original visit, the magical nanny returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael’s children through a difficult time in their lives. Stars Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, and Julie Walters with Colin Firth and Meryl Streep.

“John Wick”

This film plays Saturday, August 31 at 10:00 PM at the State Theatre as a part of the Late-Night Series. Legendary assassin John Wick (played by Keanu Reeves) retired from his violent career after marrying the love of his life. Her sudden death leaves John in deep mourning. When sadistic mobster Iosef Tarasov (played by Alfie Allen) and his thugs steal John’s prized car and kill the puppy that was a last gift from his wife, John unleashes the remorseless killing machine within and seeks vengeance. Meanwhile, Iosef’s father (played by Michael Nyqvist) — John’s former colleague — puts a huge bounty on John’s head.

“Casablanca”

This film plays Monday, September 2 at 7:00 PM at the 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. Rick Blaine (played by Humphrey Bogart), who owns a nightclub in Casablanca, discovers his old flame Ilsa (played by Ingrid Bergman) is in town with her husband, Victor Laszlo (played by Paul Henreid). Laszlo is a famed rebel, and with Germans on his tail, Ilsa knows Rick can help them get out of the country. This film is sponsored by Ashley’s and free for students with valid ID!

“A Star is Born”

This film plays Wednesday, September 4 at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market as a part of the Cinetopia Film Festival and Exchange Capital Management Flicks on Bricks. Join us for this FREE outdoor screening and enjoy food trucks, a beer garden, pre-movie entertainment and circus performances, popcorn, and more! Festivities start at 6:00 PM and movies at sundown! Seasoned musician Jackson Maine discovers — and falls in love with — struggling artist Ally. She has just about given up on her dream to make it big as a singer until Jackson coaxes her into the spotlight. But even as Ally’s career takes off, the personal side of their relationship is breaking down, as Jackson fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons.

 

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

“One Child Nation”

At the Michigan: 2019 Cinetopia Film Festival Favorite! From award-winning documentarian Nanfu Wang (“Hooligan Sparrow,” “I Am Another You”) and Jialing Zhang, the sweeping film explores the ripple effect of this devastating social experiment, uncovering one shocking human rights violation after another — from abandoned newborns, to forced sterilizations and abortions, and government abductions. China’s One Child Policy, the extreme population control measure that made it illegal for couples to have more than one child, may have ended in 2015, but the process of dealing with the trauma of its brutal enforcement is only just beginning.

“Luce”

In this film, it’s been ten years since Amy and Peter Edgar (played by Naomi Watts and Tim Roth) adopted their son from war-torn Eritrea, and they thought the worst was behind them. Luce Edgar (played by Kelvin Harrison Jr.) has become an all-star student, beloved by his community in Arlington, Virginia. His African American teacher, Harriet Wilson (played by Octavia Spencer), believes he is a symbol of black excellence that sets a positive example for his peers. But when he is assigned to write an essay in the voice of a historical twentieth-century figure, Luce turns in a paper that makes an alarming statement about political violence. Worried about how this assignment reflects upon her star pupil, Harriet searches his locker and finds something that confirms her worst fears.

“Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”

At the Michigan: Based on the runaway bestseller, this is an inspiring comedy about Bernadette Fox (played by Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett), a loving mom who becomes compelled to reconnect with her creative passions after years of sacrificing herself for her family. Bernadette’s leap of faith takes her on an epic adventure that jump-starts her life and leads to her triumphant rediscovery. Stars Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig, Emma Nelson, James Urbaniak, Judy Greer, Troian Bellisario, Zoë Chao, and Laurence Fishburne.

“Blinded by the Light”

At the State: In this film, Javed is a British teen growing up in 1987 England. Amidst the racial and economic turmoil, he writes poetry to escape his rundown hometown and the rules of his traditional Pakistani household. But when a classmate introduces him to the music of Bruce Springsteen, Javed sees parallels to his working-class life in the powerful lyrics. As Javed discovers an outlet for his own pent-up dreams, he also begins to express himself in his own voice.

“Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”

Quentin Tarantino’s film visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age. Also stars Bruce Dern, Luke Perry, Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino, and many more!

“Maiden”

This film is the story of how Tracy Edwards, a 24-year-old cook in charter boats, became the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World yachting competition in 1989. Tracy’s inspirational dream was opposed on all sides: her male competitors thought an all-women crew would never make it, the chauvinistic yachting press took bets on her failure, and potential sponsors rejected her, fearing they would die at sea and generate bad publicity. But Tracy refused to give up: she remortgaged her home and bought a secondhand boat, putting everything on the line to ensure the team made it to the start line. Although blessed with tremendous self-belief Tracy was also beset by crippling doubts and was only able to make it through with the support of her remarkable crew. With their help she went on to shock the sport world and prove that women are very much the equal of men.

“The Farewell”

Cinetopia 2019 Audience Award winner for Best U.S. Narrative! In this film, Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi (played by Awkwafina) reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai, has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself. To assure her happiness, they gather under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, uniting family members scattered among new homes abroad. As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations and proprieties, she finds there’s a lot to celebrate: a chance to rediscover the country she left as a child, her grandmother’s wondrous spirit, and the ties that keep on binding even when so much goes unspoken.

 

OPENING AT THE MULTIPLEX THIS FRIDAY, AUGUST 30

“Don’t Let Go”

In this American supernatural thriller film, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Detective Jack Radcliff (played by David Oyelowo) gets a shocking phone call from his recently-murdered niece Ashley (played by Storm Reid). Working together across time, they race to solve her murder before it can happen.