In this week's installment of "Cinema Chat", you get news from the Toronto Film Festival, predictions of a box office comeback in 2015 and an insiders look at how "Star Wars" presents Disney with a huge opportunity. Additionally, Michigan Theater Executive Director Russ Collins provides previews of this week's movie offerings.
Now Playing Downtown
Frank - Ends Thursday night, 9/18
An offbeat comedy about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), who finds himself out of his depth when he joins an avant-garde pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender), a musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head, and his terrifying bandmate Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal).
Magic in the Moonlight - Ends Thursday night, 9/18
Set in the 1920s on the opulent Riviera in the south of France, Woody Allen‘s Magic in the Moonlight is a romantic comedy about a master magician (Colin Firth) trying to expose a psychic medium (Emma Stone) as a fake.
The Drop follows lonely bartender Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) through a covert scheme of funneling cash to local gangsters – “money drops” – in the underworld of Brooklyn bars. Under the heavy hand of his employer and cousin Marv (James Gandolfini), Bob finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry.
Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (a breakthrough performance by Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette.
The One I Love
On the brink of separation, Ethan (Duplass) and Sophie (Moss) escape to a beautiful vacation house for a weekend getaway in an attempt to save their marriage.
My Old Lady
In “My Old Lady,” down-on-his-luck New Yorker Mathias (Kevin Kline) inherits a Parisian apartment from his estranged father - the ONLY thing his recently deceased father has left him in his will. Mathias has spent his last dime getting to Paris from America, and he'd like to sell the apartment as soon as possible.
However, there is one catch; the apartment's current resident and the old lady of the title, nonagenarian Mathilde Girard (Maggie Smith), turns out to be his partner in a viager, a complex French real estate transaction. The bottom line is that Mathias can't occupy the apartment until Madame Girard dies, and he has to pay her a monthly fee in the bargain.
On top of the twisted real estate deal is the fact that Kevin Kline’s character is a ne'er-do-well, thrice-divorced unpublished novelist with a drinking problem who has not made much of his life. When he complains to Maggie Smith’s character about the brusqueness of her judgment of him, she snaps right back, "I'm 90. Subtlety is not something that interests me."
Though her character is considerably more fragile than the dowager dragon she plays on "Downton Abbey," no one can deliver dialogue like this like Maggie Smith. Alonso Duralde of The Wrap says “the setup might seem familiar and charming, but this film's payoffs come from unexpected places and require an audience's willingness to travel down some dark and rocky paths.”
“My Old Lady” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.
Opening at the Multiplex
In “Maze Runner,” based upon the best-selling novel by James Dashner, Thomas wakes up trapped in a massive maze with a group of other boys, yet he has no memory of the outside world other than strange dreams about a mysterious organization known as W.C.K.D.
Only by piecing together fragments of his past with clues he discovers in the maze can Thomas hope to uncover his true purpose and a way to escape. Ella Taylor of Variety says, “As world-creation YA pictures go, ‘The Maze Runner’ feels refreshingly low-tech and properly story-driven.” “Maze Runner” opens Friday.
This Is Where I Leave You
Based on the hilarious and poignant best-selling novel by Jonathan Tropper, “This is Where I Leave You“ features an ensemble cast including Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, and Jane Fonda. When their father passes away, four grown siblings are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens.
Scott Foundas of Variety calls the film “A sprawling ensemble dramedy that starts out like a full-tilt sitcom and gradually migrates to a place of genuine feeling.” “This is Where I Leave You” opens Friday.
Director Kevin Smith takes the helm of “Tusk,” starring Justin Long as a podcaster who is targeted by a sadistic killer while attempting to land an interview with a misanthropic adventurer (Michael Parks). Also starring Genesis Rodriguez and Haley Joel Osment, “Tusk” opens Friday.
Special Screenings Downtown
In “Space Jam,” a wacky combination of animation and live action, Bugs Bunny and company call on basketball icon Michael Jordan to help regain their freedom. “Space Jam” plays Saturday at 11:59 PM at the State Theatre.
The Princess Bride
"The Princess Bride" plays Sunday, September 21 at 1:30 pm. and kicks off the Michigan Theater’s Family Friendly Film Series. In this enchantingly cracked fairy tale, the beautiful Princess Buttercup and the dashing Westley must overcome staggering odds to find happiness amid six-fingered swordsmen, murderous princes, and rodents of unusual size (or R.O.U.S.)! Children 12 and under are admitted FREE!
The Two Gentlemen Of Verona
Royal Shakespeare Company Live in HD presents “The Two Gentlemen of Verona,” the Bard’s tale of Valentine and Proteus, best friends who fall in love with the same girl. It plays Sunday, September 21 at 7 PM at the Michigan Theater.
A Short Film About Killing
In “A Short Film About Killing,” Yatzek murders a testy taxi driver in a gut-wrenching scene of excessive violence. Tension continues to build as a newly licensed young attorney is chosen to represent Yatzek in court. Much anticipated and well-received at Cannes, the film won the European Film Academy Award for “Best European Film” in 1988. “A Short Film About Killing” plays Monday, September 22 at 7 PM. Part of Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema.
Finding Mr. Right
Peppered with references to “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Finding Mr. Right” (Cinetopia 14) follows impudent Chinese girl Jiajia to Seattle, where she’s to deliver her wealthy lover’s child in an illegal “maternity mansion.” Torn between an upscale life filled with loneliness and a modest existence defined by love, Jiajia is driven to ask herself what she really wants. “Finding Mr. Right” plays Wednesday, September 24 at 7 PM. FREE admission. Part of Electric Shadows: Premiere Contemporary Chinese Film Series presented by the UM Confucius Institute.