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Cinema Chat: 'Infinitely Polar Bear', 'Irrational Man', 'Fantastic Four', The Gift' And More

Michigan Theater

There is a potential summer blockbuster, a Woody Allen offering and a multitude of film choices to consider  for your weekend plans. David Fair and Michigan Theater Executive Director, Russ Collins have the previews for you in this week's 'Cinema Chat.'

Opening Downtown

Infinitely Polar Bear

In “Infinitely Polar Bear,” Cameron (Mark Ruffalo) goes to a series of quirky, well-intentioned and sometimes frightening lengths to rebuild his relationship with his two daughters and win back the trust of his wife (Zoe Saldana) after being forced to leave his family after having a dangerous episode of his bipolar disorder.   “Infinitely Polar Bear” screened at the Michigan Theater in January 2014 as part of Sundance Film Festival USA, and was a Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominee.  We’re thrilled that it’s coming back to Ann Arbor!  “Infinitely Polar Bear” opens Friday at the State.

Irrational Man

In Woody Allen's “Irrational Man,” philosophy professor Abe (Joaquin Phoenix) is at rock bottom emotionally and feels that everything he's tried to do, from political activism to teaching, hasn't made any difference. Soon after arriving to teach at a small town college, Abe gets involved with two women: Rita (Parker Posey), a lonely professor, and Jill (Emma Stone), his best student, who becomes his closest friend. Jill finds Abe's tortured, artistic personality irresistible.

Pure chance changes everything when Abe and Jill overhear a stranger's conversation and become drawn in. Once Abe makes a profound choice, he is able to embrace life to the fullest again. But his decision sets off a chain of events that will affect him, Jill and Rita forever.  “Irrational Man” opens Friday at the Michigan.

Dark Places

In “Dark Places,” 25 years after testifying against her brother as the person responsible for massacring her entire family, a haunted woman (Charlize Theron) is approached by a secret society that specializes in complex, unsolved cases. Nicholas Hoult, Corey Stoll, and Chloe Moretz co-star. Based on the best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”), “Dark Places” opens Friday at the Michigan.

Special Screenings Downtown

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

The Summer Classic Film Series continues with 1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture!” When a destructive space entity is spotted approaching Earth, Admiral Kirk resumes command of the Starship Enterprise in order to intercept, examine and hopefully stop it. Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, and other original cast members. “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” plays Sunday August 9 at 1:30 PM and Tuesday August 11 at 7 PM at the Michigan Theater.

Opening at the Multiplex

Shaun the Sheep Movie

Aardman Animations, the producers of animated hits like “Chicken Run” and the Wallace and Gromit movies, are back with “Shaun the Sheep Movie.” When Shaun decides to take the day off and have some fun, he gets a little more action than he bargained for. A mix up with the Farmer, a caravan and a very steep hill lead them all to the Big City and it's up to Shaun and the flock to return everyone safely to the green grass of home.  “Shaun the Sheep Movie” opened Wednesday.

Fantastic Four

“Fantastic Four” centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.  “Fantastic Four” opens Friday.

The Gift

In “The Gift,” Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) are a young married couple whose life is going just as planned until a chance encounter with an acquaintance from Simon's high school sends their world into a harrowing tailspin. Simon doesn't recognize Gordo (Joel Edgerton) at first, but after a series of uninvited encounters and mysterious gifts prove troubling, a horrifying secret from the past is uncovered after more than 20 years. As Robyn learns the unsettling truth about what happened between Simon and Gordo, she starts to question: how well do we really know the people closest to us, and are past bygones ever really bygones?  “The Gift” opens Friday. 

Ricki and the Flash 

In “Ricki and the Flash,” three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep stars as Ricki, a guitar heroine who gave up everything for her dream of rock-and-roll stardom, but is now returning home to make things right with her family. Streep stars opposite her real-life daughter Mamie Gummer, who plays her fictional daughter; Rick Springfield, who takes on the role of a Flash member in love with Ricki; and Kevin Kline, who portrays Ricki's long-suffering ex-husband.  “Ricki and the Flash” opens Friday. Directed by Jonathan Demme. Written by Diablo Cody (Juno).

Contact David: dfair@emich.edu