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Cinema Chat: 'Dough,' 'Swiss Army Man,' 'Raiders!,' 'Independence Day,' And More

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The movies keep on coming!  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan Theater executive director Russ Collins about all the movies in theaters this weekend.

Opening Downtown

"Dough"

Curmudgeonly widower Nat (Jonathan Pryce) clings to his way of life as a Kosher bakery shop owner in London's East End.  Understaffed, Nat reluctantly enlists the help of teenager Ayyash (Jerome Holder), who has a secret side gig selling marijuana to help his immigrant mother make ends meet.  When Ayyash accidentally drops his stash into the mixing dough, the challah starts flying off the shelves and an unlikely friendship forms between the old Jewish baker and his young Muslim apprentice.  “Dough” is a warmhearted and humorous story about overcoming prejudice and finding redemption in unexpected places.  “Dough” opens Friday, June 24 at the Michigan.

"Swiss Army Man"

This film goes from the absurd to the emotional to the whimsical to the profound and back again.  Hank (Paul Dano) is stranded on a deserted island, having given up all hope of ever making it home again.  But everything changes when a corpse named Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) washes up on shore; the two become fast friends, and ultimately go on an epic adventure that will bring Hank back to the woman of his dreams.  “Swiss Army Man” creates a world like no other-a place of pure fantastical imagination, brimming with magical realism yet featuring two characters whose dreams and fears are entirely relatable.  Peter Debruge of Variety called “Swiss Army Man” “the most singularly unique competition title to debut at Sundance in ages.”  “Swiss Army Man” opens Friday, July 1 at the State, with special advance screenings on Thursday, June 30! 

"Our Kind of Traitor"

While on holiday in Marrakech, an ordinary English couple, Perry and Gail (Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris), befriend a flamboyant and charismatic Russian, Dima (StellanSkarsgard), who unbeknownst to them is a kingpin money launderer for the Russian mafia.  When Dima asks for their help to deliver classified information to the British Secret Services, Perry and Gail get caught in a dangerous world of international espionage and dirty politics.  Based on the novel by John le Carre, “Our Kind of Traitor” opens Friday, July 1 at the Michigan, with special advance screenings on Thursday, June 30!

Special Screenings Downtown

"Raiders!:  The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made"

This film showcases the true story of three 11-year-old boys from Mississippi who set out on what would become a 7-year-long labor of love and tribute to their favorite film: a faithful, shot-for-shot adaptation of the action adventure film "Raiders of the Lost Ark."  They finished every scene...except one; the film's explosive airplane set piece.  Over two decades later, the trio reunited with the original cast members from their childhood in order to complete their masterpiece.  Featuring interviews with John Rhys Davies, Eli Roth, and more, Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made is just that: the story of this long-gestating project’s culmination, creating a personal, epic love letter to a true modern classic.  “Raiders!” plays Thursday, June 23 at the State at 7 PM with a special post film Q&A with one of those young filmmakers, Chris Strompolos.

"A Hard Day's Night"

The Summer Classic Film Series continues with “A Hard Day’s Night.”  The year is 1964, and four young lads from Liverpool are about to change the world – if only the madcap world will let them out of their hotel room.  Richard Lester’s boldly contemporary rock ‘n’ roll comedy unleashes the fledgling Beatles into a maelstrom of screaming fans, paranoid producers, rabid press, and troublesome family members, and reveals the secret of their survival and success: an insatiable lust for mischief and a life-affirming addiction to joy.  “A Hard Day’s Night” plays Sunday, June 26 at 1:30 PM and Tuesday, June 28 at 7 PM at the Michigan.

July 3 & 5: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

July 4: The Dirty Dozen (Free for Veterans and Active Military Personal)

July 10 & 12: A Streetcar Named Desire

July 17 & 19: Monty Python & The Holy Grail

July 24 & 26: Funny Face

July 31 & August 2: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

August 7 & 9: Horse Feathers

August 14 & 16: Fargo

August 21 & 23:  Sound of Music Sing-A-Long

August 28 & 30: Metropolis w/ Live Organ

September 5:  Casablanca (Free for Students)

"The Wanted 18"

The award-winning documentary tells the remarkable story of nonviolent resistance during the First Intifada.  It’s 1987, and the Israeli army is in hot pursuit of eighteen dairy cows in the town of BeitSahour, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  The cows are declared a threat to Israel’s national security after a group of Palestinians begin producing milk for the town’s residents.  “The Wanted 18” plays Monday, June 27 at 7 PM at the Michigan.  Presented by Gathr.

"Spaceballs"

This is the Mel Brooks-helmed parody of the classic “Star Wars” franchise.  The planet Spaceball has depleted its air supply, leaving its citizens reliant on a product called “Perri-Air.”  In desperation, Spaceball’s leader President Skroob (Brooks) orders the evil Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) to kidnap Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) of oxygen-rich Druidia and hold her hostage in exchange for air.  But help arrives for the Princess in the form of renegade space pilot Lone Starr (Bill Pullman) and his half-man, half-dog partner, Barf (John Candy).  “Spaceballs” plays Saturday, June 25 at 11:59 PM at the State.  Tickets just $8!

Continuing 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” plays at the Michigan.  99% 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” is at the State.  90% Positive Reviews.  

"Maggie's Plan"

A vibrant, young, working-class woman looking to start a family on her own (Greta Gerwig) becomes involved in a complicated love triangle with a professor (Ethan Hawke) and his theorist wife (Julianne Moore).  Adam Graham of the Detroit News says, "'Maggie's Plan' is Gerwig's show, and once again she proves to be one of the screen's most engaging presences.”  Also starring Maya Rudolph and Bill Hader, “Maggie’s Plan” is at the State Theatre. 

"Genius"

From Academy Award-nominated screenwriter John Logan and acclaimed Tony Award-winning director Michael Grandage in his feature film debut comes a stirring drama about the complex friendship and transformative professional relationship between the world-renowned book editor Maxwell Perkins and the larger-than-life literary giant Thomas Wolfe.  Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post says, "'Genius' may be a bit stodgy and safe, but it tells a story of beauty - as it plays out in an improbably fruitful friendship, and as it's discovered within vast expanses of raw language by a craftsman who was arguably an artist in his own right.”  The film stars Colin Firth as Perkins, Jude Law as Wolfe, Nicole Kidman as Aline Bernstein, a costume designer sharing a tumultuous relationship with Wolfe, Laura Linney as Louise Perkins, Max's wife and a talented playwright, Guy Pearce as F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Dominic West as Ernest Hemingway.  "Genius” is at the Michigan Theater.

Opening at the Multiplex

"Free State of Jones"

This is an epic action-drama set during the Civil War, and tells the story of defiant Southern farmer, Newt Knight (Matthew McConaughey), and his extraordinary armed rebellion against the Confederacy.  Banding together with other small farmers and local slaves, Knight launched an uprising that led Jones County, Mississippi to secede from the Confederacy, creating a Free State.  “Free State of Jones” opens Friday.

"Independence Day:  Resurgence"

This film delivers global catastrophe on an unimaginable scale.  Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defense program to protect the planet.  But nothing can prepare us for the aliens' advanced and unprecedented force.  Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction.  “Independence Day: Resurgence” opens Friday.

"The Shallows"

In this taut thriller, when Nancy (Blake Lively) is surfing on a secluded beach, she finds herself on the feeding ground of a great white shark.  Though she is stranded only 200 yards from shore, survival proves to be the ultimate test of wills, requiring all of Nancy's ingenuity, resourcefulness, and fortitude.  “The Shallows” opens Friday.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu

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