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Cinema Chat: Cinetopia, 'Love & Friendship,' 'The Lobster,' 'Letter To Anita,' 'X-Men,' And More

Michigan Theater
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Cinetopia is only a week away!  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan Theater executive director Russ Collins about the upcoming film festival and all the movies opening this Memorial Day weekend.

Cinetopia International Film Festival

Do you have your Cinetopia pass?  The fifth annual Cinetopia International Film Festival kicks off in Detroit in about a week - on June 3 and comes full force to Ann Arbor June 9-12. This annual cinema extravaganza brings great films from the planet’s best festival to Metro Detroit.  Founded and grown by the Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater, it was named the Best Film Festival in Detroit by the Metro Times and will feature 55 different film programs. Every kind of movie, story-based feature length films, documentaries, shorts films – great movies from all over the world!  Get more information, festival passes and tickets at http://www.cinetopiafestival.org/.

Continuing Downtown

"The Meddler"

With a new iPhone, an apartment near the Grove, and a comfortable bank account left to her by her beloved late husband, Marnie (Susan Sarandon) has happily relocated to Los Angeles to be near her daughter Lori (Rose Byrne), a successful (but still single) screenwriter.  But when Marnie’s texts, unexpected visits, and conversations dominated by unsolicited advice force Lori to draw strict personal boundaries, Marnie finds ways to channel her eternal optimism and forceful generosity to change the lives of others - as well as her own - and find a new purpose in life.  “The Meddler” plays at the State.

"The Man Who Knew Infinity"

This film charts the incredible life of SrinivasaRamanujan (“Slumdog Millionaire’s” Dev Patel), whose genius for mathematics takes him from the slums of India to Cambridge University in the early 20th-century.  Spurred on by his mentor G. H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons), Ramanujan overcomes racism and the rigidity of academia to revolutionize the field with his startlingly original theorems, which he attributes to divine inspiration.  “The Man Who Knew Infinity” plays at the State.

Opening Downtown

"Love & Friendship"

Based on the Jane Austen novella “Lady Susan," it tells the story of beautiful young widow Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale), who visits the estate of her in-laws to wait out the rumors about her dalliances circulating through polite society.  Whilst ensconced there, she decides to secure a husband for herself and a future for her eligible but reluctant daughter. In doing so she attracts the simultaneous attentions of three men, complicating matters severely.  “Love and Friendship” opens Thursday, May 26 at the Michigan. Critics Consensus: Love & Friendship finds director Whit Stillman bringing his talents to bear on a Jane Austen adaptation -- with a thoroughly delightful period drama as the result. 99% positive reviews.

"A Bigger Splash"

Rock legend Marianne Lane (Tilda Swinton) is recuperating on the volcanic island of Pantelleria with her partner Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts) when iconoclast record producer and old flame Harry (Ralph Fiennes) unexpectedly arrives with his daughter Penelope (Dakota Johnson) and interrupts their holiday, bringing with him an A-bomb blast of nostalgia from which there can be no rescue.  “A Bigger Splash” is a sensuous portrait of desire, jealousy and rock and roll, under the Mediterranean sun.  “A Bigger Splash” opens Thursday, May 26 at the Michigan.  Absorbing, visually arresting, and powerfully acted by an immensely talented cast, A Bigger Splash offers sumptuously soapy delights for fans of psychological adult drama. 90% positive reviews

"The Lobster"

In the absurdist comedy, every adult must be part of a couple. Recently dumped by his wife, David (Colin Farrell) is assigned to a countryside “hotel” where he must find a suitable mate or be turned into the animal of his choice (part of the absurdist nature of this movie).  David attends group meetings and mixers designed to foster compatible pairings. David’s search ultimately leads him to escape from the “hotel” to join a group of militant outcasts who live in the woods. “The Lobster” won the Jury Prize at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, as well as the controversial Direct from Sundance screening at the Michigan in February. “The Lobster” opens Friday at the State.  Critics Consensus: As strange as it is thrillingly ambitious, The Lobster is definitely an acquired taste -- but for viewers with the fortitude to crack through Yorgos Lanthimos' offbeat sensibilities, it should prove a savory cinematic treat.  90% positive reviews.

Special Screenings Downtown

"Letter to Anita"

Big Hearts for Seniors presents this film, which documents the effects of Anita Bryant’s 1970s anti-gay campaign on the life of former University of Michigan Spectrum Center Director, Ronni Sanlo.  Dr. Sanlo, honorary event chair and former Ann Arbor mayor Ingrid Sheldon, and local LGBTQ activist Jim Toy will join us in examining how yesterday’s discrimination has shaped today’s LGBTQ older adults.  “Letter to Anita” plays Thursday, May 26 at 7 PM. 

"Cruel Intentions"

Two wealthy step-siblings (Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Philippe) who attend an elite Manhattan prep school make a wager: to de-flower the new headmaster’s daughter (Reese Witherspoon) before the start of term. "Cruel Intentions" plays Saturday, May 28 at 11:59 PM at the State.

Ann Arbor Academy Film Festival

Ann Arbor Academy and 2457 Productions present the 2nd Annual Ann Arbor Academy Film Festival!  Chad Talo's Video Production class has produced a handful of short films during this academic year.  Come share in the excitement as these wonderful projects are premiered on the big screen.  The Ann Arbor Academy Film Festival plays Tuesday, May 31 at 7 PM.  Free admission!

Opening at the Multiplex

"Alice Through the Looking Glass"

Alice (Mia Wasikowska) embarks on a quest to borrow the Chronosphere, a metallic globe inside the chamber of the Grand Clock which powers all time.  Returning to the past, she comes across friends - and enemies - at different points in their lives, and embarks on a perilous race to save the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) before time runs out.  "Alice Through the Looking Glass" opens Friday.  36% positive reviews

"X-Men: Apocalypse"

Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel's X-Men universe, awakens after thousands of years and is disillusioned with the world as he finds it. He recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order.  As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), with the help of Professor X (James McAvoy), must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis.  “X-Men: Apocalypse” opens Friday.  50% positive reviews.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu

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.
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