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Cinema Chat: Cinetopia Passes, 'A Hologram For The King,' 'Purple Rain,' 'Keanu,' And More

Michigan Theater
Wikipedia Media Commons

Same great movie news, different morning host.  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's Patrick Campion fills in for David Fair and talks to Michigan Theater executive director Russ Collins about the film business and all the movies heading to the big screen this weekend.

Doctor Strange Will Be Different From All Other Marvel Comics Movies, According To Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch, aka Doctor Strangehimself, commented on what will make it different:

“It’s a very different feel, different hero and different set of circumstances to what we’ve seen before.”

Which was the sort of expectation set with director James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy.  Doctor Strange is the more mystical section of Marvel's comic canon and Doctor Strange’s director ScottDerrickson's appears to have promise.  Having Benedict Cumberbatch fans and the ComicCon worlds colliding could make for some interesting movie marketing.  Benedict Cumberbatch's Sorcerer Supreme is a crucial piece in keeping the Marvel Cinematic Universe moving into fresh territory.  We'll see how effective his magic hands are when the film opens on November 4th.

CINETOPIA – JUNE 3-12, Detroit, Dearborn & Ann Arbor

Festival Passes Now on Sale!  Michigan Theater members–purchase your 2016 Cinetopia passes now!  Use your Michigan Theater member account to access prices.  Passes will be available to the general public beginning Monday, April 25.  Over 50 different feature length films and 120 screenings in great venues like the Detroit Institute of Arts, Campus Martius, Cinema Detroit, Redford Theatre, Maple Theatre, Henry Ford Museum, and Michigan Theater.  See movie stars, film directors and marvelous movies selected especially for you from the world’s best film festivals.  Cinetopia 2016.  Get your pass and be part of the action today!

Continuing Downtown

"Hello My Name is Doris"

ENDS TODAY!  When Doris (Sally Field) meets John (Max Greenfield), her company's hip new art director, sparks fly - at least for Doris.  In the cluttered house she shared with her late mother, Doris mines the Internet for information on her one-and-only.  Her guide to, for Doris, the baffling digital/Internet age is the 13-year-old granddaughter of her best pal Roz (Tyne Daly).  When Doris begins showing up at John's regular haunts, she wins over his Williamsburg friends.  Her new life brings Doris a thrilling perspective, but also creates a rift between her and her longtime friends and family, who believe she's making a fool of herself over a guy half her age.  Doris throws caution to the wind and follows her heart for the very first time.  

"Eye in the Sky"

Starring Helen Mirren as Colonel Katherine Powell, a UK-based military officer in command of a top secret drone operation to capture terrorists in Kenya.  Through remote surveillance and on-the-ground intel, Powell discovers the targets are planning a suicide bombing and the mission escalates from "capture" to "kill."  But as American pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) is about to engage, a nine-year old girl enters the kill zone triggering an international dispute, reaching the highest levels of US and British government, over the moral, political, and personal implications of modern warfare.  The film also featuresAlan Rickman in his final screen performance; Stephen Holden of the New York Times writes “(Rickman’s performance) is a great one, suffused with a dyspeptic world-weary understanding of war and human nature… Ms. Mirren has rarely been icier, and her powerful, scary performance doesn’t strive to make her character likable.

"Elvis & Nixon"

It starts on a quite December morning in 1970, when the King of Rock 'n Roll showed up on the lawn of the White House to request a meeting with the most powerful man in the world, President Nixon.  The untold true story behind this revealing, yet humorous moment in the Oval Office forever immortalized in the most requested photograph in the National Archives.  David Edelstein of New York Magazine says, “In the opening crawl, Elvis & Nixon alerts us to the fact that no transcript exists of the title encounter, but if it didn't happen the way it does here, it should have.” 

"Miles Ahead"

It's not just about the music.  It's about what we all face at one time or another in our lives; questions about who we really are, what we have to say and how will we say it.  How will we ultimately be defined and who gets to say so?  Don Cheadle gives a virtuoso performance as Miles Davis in a film that Steven Rea of the Philadelphia Inquirer called “more a provocative character sketch than a meaty portrait, but it's a film that should be applauded for its daring, and for Cheadle's shape-shifting, soul-baring work.” 

Opening Downtown

"A Hologram for the King"

Cultures collide when an American businessman (Tom Hanks) is sent to Saudi Arabia to close what he hopes will be the deal of a lifetime.  Baffled by local customs and stymied by an opaque bureaucracy, he eventually finds his footing with the help of a wise-cracking taxi driver (Alexander Black) and a beautiful Saudi doctor (SaritaChoudhury).  Stephen Holden of the New York Times writes, “It takes an actor with the finesse of Tom Hanks to turn a story of confusion, perplexity, frustration and panic into an agreeably uncomfortable comedy.  But that’s what Mr. Hanks accomplishes in German filmmaker TomTykwer’s easygoing screen adaptation of DaveEggers’s novel.  This fanciful tale… has been transformed through the force of Mr. Hanks’s nice-guy personality.  His performance elevates an ominous, downbeat reflection on American decline and runaway technology into a subdued absurdist farce with dark geopolitical undercurrents.”  “A Hologram for the King” opens Friday at the Michigan.

"Green Room"

A brilliantly crafted and wickedly fun horror-thriller starring Patrick Stewart as a diabolical club owner who squares off against an unsuspecting but resilient young punk band.  Down on their luck punk rockers The Ain't Rights are finishing up a long and unsuccessful tour, and are about to call it quits when they get an unexpected booking at an isolated, run-down club deep in the backwoods of Oregon.  What seems merely to be a third-rate gig escalates into something much more sinister when they witness an act of violence backstage that they weren't meant to see.  Now trapped backstage, they must face off against the club's depraved owner, Darcy Banker (Stewart), a man who will do anything to protect the secrets of his nefarious enterprise. But while Darcy and his henchmen think the band will be easy to get rid of, The Ain't Rights prove themselves much more cunning and capable than anyone expected, turning the tables on their unsuspecting captors and setting the stage for the ultimate life-or-death showdown.  Ty Burr of the Boston Globe writes “’Green Room’ is brutal, exploitive, nerve-wracking, and bloody as hell.  It’s also one of the best pure genre movies to come down the highway in many a moon: a siege thriller with a novel setting and characters real enough to make you forget the story is as old as the human urge to survive.”  “Green Room” opens Friday at the State.

Special Screenings Downtown

"Purple Rain"

This was a box office smash when it was released in 1984, largely off the strength of the original soundtrack.  Prince’s film debut tells the story of a young Minneapolis-based musician who finds himself at odds with his abusive parents, a musical rival, a romantic interest, and his own band as he struggles to make it as an artist.  Prince received two Grammys and an Oscar for the music underpinning the movie; the soundtrack also spent 24 consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard charts.  In their original 1984 review of the film, GeneSiskeland Roger Ebertgave the film two thumbs up, saying that “Purple Rain” “ought to be studied for the way it uses music dramatically” (Siskel) and “the best rock film since ‘Pink Floyd: The Wall’” (Ebert).  “Purple Rain” plays Friday April 30 at 7 PM at the Michigan.

Opening at the Multiplex


Cousins Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) and Rell (Jordan Peele) live in the city, but they are far from streetwise.  When Rell’s beloved kitten, Keanu, is catnapped, the hopelessly straight-laced pair must impersonate ruthless killers in order to infiltrate a street gang and rescue the purloined feline.  But the incredibly adorable kitten becomes so coveted that the fight over his custody creates a gang war, forcing our two unwitting heroes to take the law into their own hands.  “Keanu” opens Friday.

"Mother's Day"

This film features intertwining stories revolving around a television host (Julia Roberts), a divorcee (Jennifer Aniston) looking for love, and a woman (Kate Hudson) who wants to strengthen her relationship with her mother.  Directed by Garry Marshall, “Mother’s Day” opens Friday.

"Ratchet and Clank"

This tells the story of two unlikely heroes as they struggle to stop a vile alien named Chairman Drek from destroying every planet in the Solana Galaxy.  When the two stumble upon a dangerous weapon capable of destroying entire planets, they must join forces with a team of colorful heroes called The Galactic Rangers in order to save the galaxy.  Along the way they'll learn about heroism, friendship, and the importance of discovering one's own identity.  Featuring the voices of Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Rosario Dawson, andSylvester Stallone, “Ratchet and Clank” opens Friday.

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— Patrick Campion is the WEMU Program Director.  You can contact Patrick at734.487.3363, on twitter @WEMUPC, or email him at pcampion@emich.edu.

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