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Cinema Chat: Academy Awards Weekend

The Oscars
Antoine Taveneaux
Creative Commons

  There is plenty of Hollywood and movie related news this week, and there are some new films showing this weekend. 89.1 WEMU's David Fair and Michigan Theater Executive Director and CEO, Russ Collins, have the breakdown for you.


It's Cinema Chat and you can listen right here:


Opening Downtown

In "The Wind Rises," Jiro Horikoshi dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes. Nearsighted from a young age and unable to be a pilot, he joins a major Japanese engineering company in 1927 and becomes one of the world's most innovative and accomplished airplane designers. Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post says, “Visually, ‘The Wind Rises’ is a thing of sensual, contemplative poetry, from the pearlescent cloudscapes and verdant countryside of Horikoshi's youth to the hulking gray factories he visits in prewar Germany as a young man.” “The Wind Rises” opens Friday at area multiplexes and the Michigan Theater; the film will be presented at the Michigan Theater in both dubbed and subtitled versions, so check www.michtheater.org for screening times.

“Gloria” is a “woman of a certain age” who still feels young. Though lonely, she fills her nights seeking love at social dance clubs for single adults. Her fragile happiness changes the day she meets Rodolfo. Their intense passion, to which Gloria gives her all, leaves her vacillating between hope and despair — until she uncovers a new strength and realizes that, in her golden years, she can shine brighter than ever. The film was Chile's official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, and stars Paulina García in a tour de force performance that captured the Silver Bear Best Actress Award at this year's Berlin Film Festival. Tom Long of the Detroit News says, “’Gloria’ is that rare work, a truly adult film. By its end, you want to cheer the simple act of living.” “Gloria” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

Opening at the Multiplex

“Son of God” brings the story of Jesus' life to audiences through compelling cinematic storytelling that is both powerful and inspirational. Told with the scope and scale of an action epic, the film features powerful performances, exotic locales, dazzling visual effects and a rich orchestral score from Oscar -winner Hans Zimmer. “Son of God” opens Friday.

Liam Neeson stars in “Non-Stop,” a suspense thriller played out at 40,000 feet in the air. During a transatlantic flight from New York to London, U.S. Air Marshal Bill Marks (Neeson) receives a series of cryptic text messages demanding that he instruct the government to transfer $150 million into an off-shore account. Until he secures the money, a passenger on his flight will be killed every 20 minutes. “Non-Stop” opens Friday.

Hitchcock: the Master of Suspense series continues

This week the Michigan Theater’s Alfred Hitchcock retrospective continues with a new restoration from the British Film Institute of Hitchcock’s 1927 silent film “The Ring,” a traditional prizefighting melodrama, elevated by the richness of the characterizations and the stylish, Germanic use of the camera. “The Ring” plays Sunday, March 2 at 4 PM at the Michigan Theater.

Also this week is “Suspicion” starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine, about a husband who grows more fascinated with the idea of murder and a wife who begins to believe he's trying to kill her; “Suspicion” plays on Tuesday, March 4 at 7 PM at the Michigan Theater.

Special Screenings Downtown

The original and preeminent exhibition of fly fishing cinema, The Fly Fishing Film Tour is a one of a kind experience. Each year fishy folk of all ages gather at premieres to soak up films from around the world, spin a few yarns amongst friends and dream about casts still unmade. The Fly Fishing Film Tour plays Friday, February 28 at 7 PM at the Michigan Theater.

In “How To Train Your Dragon” the son of a Viking chief must capture a dragon in order to mark his passage into manhood and prove his worthiness to the tribe. “How To Train Your Dragon” plays Sunday, March 2 at 1:30 PM and is FREE for kids 12 & under.

The Arab Film Festival is designed for fans of Arabic-language movies and adventurous art-film lovers seeking new perspectives. This year’s selections were all acclaimed on the international festival circuit but are unlikely to reach big-screen U.S. viewers. The opening night films are taking place in Ann Arbor at the Michigan Theater with “When I Saw You” and the short film “The Forgotten.” The Arab Film Festival kicks off on Thursday, March 6 at 7:30 PM. After the opening night screenings at the Michigan Theater the Arab Film Festival will continue at the Arab American National Museum in Detroit on Friday, March 7 Saturday, March 8.

Oscars 2014: A Vegas oddsmaker ranks the races

Once upon a time, unsuspecting people actually filled out their office Oscar pool ballots based on their favorite movies of the year. (Those poor, uninformed souls!) But now that the Academy Awards are subject to as much speculation as a Triple Crown race, there’s hard data we can all use to our betting advantage — and nobody knows it better than professional oddsmaker.

12 Years a Slave is a 71 percent favorite, and Blue Jasmine star Cate Blanchett has a whopping 85 percent probability of bringing an Oscar home. The tightest race in the major categories is Best Original Screenplay, which pits Her (46 percent) against American Hustle (40 percent).

Best Picture

  1. 12 Years a Slave: 71% chance ($300 wins $100)
  2. Gravity: 16% chance ($100 wins $500)
  3. American Hustle: 7% chance ($100 wins $1,200)
  4. The Wolf of Wall Street: 2% chance ($100 wins $5,000)
  5. The Dallas Buyers Club: 2% chance ($100 wins $5,000)
  6. Captain Phillips: .5% chance ($100 wins $20,000)
  7. Her: .5% chance ($100 wins $20,000)
  8. Nebraska: .5% chance ($100 wins $20,000)
  9. Philomena: .5% chance ($100 wins $20,000)

 Best Director

  1. Alfonso Cuaron: 81% chance ($1,000 wins $100)
  2. Steve McQueen: 13% chance ($100 wins $600)
  3. David O. Russell: 3% chance ($100 wins $3,000)
  4. Martin Scorsese: 2% chance ($100 wins $5,000)
  5. Alexander Payne: 1% chance ($100 wins $10,000)

 Best Actor

  1. Matthew McConaughey: 74% chance ($500 wins $100)
  2. Chiwetel Ejiofor: 13% chance ($100 wins $600)
  3. Leonardo DiCaprio: 10% chance ($100 wins $800)
  4. Bruce Dern: 2% chance ($100 wins $4,000)
  5. Christan Bale: 1% chance ($100 wins $10,000)

 Best Actress

  1. Cate Blanchett: 85% chance ($1,200 wins $100)
  2. Amy Adams: 6% chance ($100 wins $1,500)
  3. Sandra Bullock: 4% chance ($100 wins $2,000)
  4. Judi Dench: 3% chance ($100 wins $3,300)
  5. Meryl Streep: 2% chance ($100 wins $5,000)

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Jared Leto: 81% chance ($1,000 wins $100)
  2. Michael Fassbender: 11% chance ($100 wins $700)
  3. Jonah Hill: 3% chance ($100 wins $3,000)
  4. Barkhad Adbi: 3% chance ($100 wins $3,000)
  5. Bradley Cooper: 2% chance ($100 wins $4,000)
  6. Best Supporting Actress
  7. Lupita Nyong’o: 65% chance ($250 wins $100)
  8. Jennifer Lawrence: 28% chance ($100 wins $225)
  9. June Squibb: 3% chance ($100 wins $3,300)
  10. Julia Roberts: 2% chance ($100 wins $4,000)
  11. Sally Hawkins: 2% chance ($100 wins $4,000)

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. 12 Years a Slave: 75% chance ($600 wins $100)
  2. Philomena: 8% chance ($100 wins $1,000)
  3. Before Midnight: 7% chance ($100 wins $1,200)
  4. The Wolf of Wall Street: 6% chance ($100 wins $1,500)
  5. Captain Phillips: 4% chance ($100 wins $2,000)

Best Original Screenplay

  1. Her: 46% chance ($110 wins $100)
  2. American Hustle: 40% chance ($100 wins $120)
  3. Blue Jasmine: 6% chance ($100 wins $1,500)
  4. Dallas Buyers Club: 4% chance ($100 wins $2,000)
  5. Nebraska: 4% chance ($100 wins $2,000)


Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
Russ Collins is the executive director of Marquee Arts, the nonprofit that oversees the Michigan Theater and State Theater in Ann Arbor.