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

“JOKER” GETS 8-MINUTE STANDING OVATION AT VENICE FILM FESTIVAL

The long-awaited premiere for director Todd Phillips’ Joker took place on Saturday night at the Venice Film Festival. Phillips, along with Joaquin Phoenix — the actor behind the latest onscreen incarnation of the long-famed and wicked DC Comics villain — received a whopping eight-minute-long standing ovation for their work on the two-hour feature, according to Variety. The highly anticipated Warner Bros. film takes a look at the origins of Batman’s arch-nemesis Arthur Fleck before he becomes “the Joker.” The fictional comic book character, previously made popular by actors Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, and Jared Leto, has alternated between camp humour and outright sadism over the years. Here, Phoenix seems to have delivered the latter. Following the screening, Venice Film Festival artistic director Alberto Barbera suggested that Joker will soon be on its way “straight to the Oscars.”

Joker will play at a screening at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) before it arrives in cinemas on Oct. 4.

OPENING DOWNTOWN

“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.

“David Crosby: Remember My Name”

At the State (Opens Friday, September 6): This is a revealing and deeply personal documentary exploring the life and creative renaissance of music icon David Crosby. With unflinching honesty, self-examination, regret, fear, exuberance, and an unshakable belief in family and the transformative nature of music, Crosby shares his often-challenging journey with humor and bite. You thought you knew him. Meet David Crosby now in this portrait of a man still tilting against every windmill, with everything but an easy retirement on his mind. This inspirational story, filled with music, will speak to loyal fans, and legions of new ones.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

“The Big Lebowski”

This film plays Saturday, September 7 at 10:00 PM at the State Theatre as a part of the Late-Night Series. Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski is mistaken for Jeffrey Lebowski, who is The Big Lebowski, which explains why he’s roughed up and has his precious rug peed on. In search of recompense, The Dude tracks down his namesake, who offers him a job. His wife has been kidnapped, and he needs a reliable bagman. Aided and hindered by his pals Walter Sobchak, a Vietnam vet, and Donny, master of stupidity.

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

“After the Wedding”

At the Michigan: 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.

“One Child Nation”

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.

“Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”

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.

“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.

“Cold Case Hammerskjöld”

At the State: 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.

“Blinded by the Light”

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!

“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 WEEKEND

“IT Chapter Two” opens in theaters nationwide!