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Cinema Chat: 'Cafe Society,' 'Tickled,' 'Weiner,' 'Jason Bourne,' And More

Michigan Theater
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The dog days of summer keep on coming, but so do the movies at your local movie house.  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan Theater executive director Russ Collins about the movie business and all the flicks heading to the big screen this weekend.

Oprah Winfrey To Star In ‘A Wrinkle In Time’, Re-Teaming With ‘Selma’ Helmer Ava DuVernay

Selma director AvaDuVernay are setting Oprah Winfrey to star in "A Wrinkle In Time," an adaptation of the 1963 Newbery Medal-winning Madeleine L’Engle fantasy classic novel that has a script by Oscar-winning Frozen writer and co-director Jennifer Lee.  Winfrey will play the role of Mrs. Which.  The studio is moving quickly to cast the film, with actors including Amy Adams and Kevin Hart chief among those circling.  Winfrey is in final negotiations.  She starred for DuVernay in Selma and played a role behind the scenes in helping to make the movie happen.  Winfrey and DuVernay also co-created and are executive producing the upcoming OWN series Queen Sugar.

Bridesmaids writer Annie Mumolo is adapting Auntie Mame for Tilda Swinton

In an interview with Vanity Fair, AnnieMumolo, co-writer of Bridesmaids and Bad Moms star, reveals that she’s working on an adaptation of Patrick Dennis’ 1955 novel Auntie Mame for the very Auntie Mame-ishTildaSwinton.  The book chronicles the comic adventures of a young boy living with his eccentric (read: free-thinking and independent) aunt after his father dies.  In 1958, Warner Brothers released a film adaptation that starred Rosalind Russell as the titular heroine.  Russell was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe for her performance.  The film went on to become the highest-grossing U.S. film the following year because viewers found no end to the hilarity of a woman making her own decisions every day.

Currently Playing Downtown

"The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble"

This tells the extraordinary story of the renowned international musical collective created by legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma.  New York Times: “While [the film] is lovely to watch, it’s even more beautiful to hear.”  Directed by Morgan Neville (“Twenty Feet from Stardom”), “The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble” is at the Michigan.

"Dark Horse"

Set in a former mining village in Wales, this is the inspirational true story of a group of friends from a working men's club who decide to take on the elite “sport of kings” and breed themselves a racehorse.  Raised on a slagheap allotment, their foal grows into an unlikely champion, beating the finest thoroughbreds in the land, before suffering a near fatal accident.  Nursed back to health by the love of his owners, he makes a remarkable recovery, returning to the track for a heart-stopping comeback.  “Dark Horse” is at the Michigan Theater.

"Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie"

Edina and Patsy are still oozing glitz and glamour, living the high life they are accustomed to: shopping, drinking and clubbing their way around London's trendiest hotspots.  Blamed for a major incident at an uber-fashionable launch party, they become entangled in a media storm and are relentlessly pursued by the paparazzi.  Fleeing penniless to the glamorous playground of the super-rich, the French Riviera, they hatch a plan to make their escape permanent and live the high life forever more!  “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” is at the Michigan Theater.  Critics Consensus:  Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie picks up pretty much where its source material left off, delivering an adaptation that, as fans of this British export might say, does what it says on the tin.

Opening Downtown

“Café Society”

Set in the 1930s, Woody Allen's bittersweet romance follows Bronx-born Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg) to Hollywood, where he falls in love, and back to New York, where he is swept up in the vibrant world of high society nightclub life.  Centering on events in the lives of Bobby's colorful Bronx family, the film is a glittering valentine to the movie stars, socialites, playboys, debutantes, politicians, and gangsters who epitomized the excitement and glamour of the age.  Also starring Steve Carell,Parker Posey, Kristen Stewart, and Blake Lively,  “Café Society” opens Thursday July 28 at the Michigan.

"Captain Fantastic"

The Cinetopia hit returns to Ann Arbor!  Deep in the isolated forests of the Pacific Northwest, a devoted father (Viggo Mortensen) dedicates his life to transforming his six young children into extraordinary adults.  But when a tragedy strikes the family, they are forced to leave this self-created paradise and begin a journey into the outside world that challenges his idea of what it means to be a parent and brings into question everything he's taught them.  "Captain Fantastic” opens Thursday, July 28 at the State.


After stumbling upon a bizarre “competitive endurance tickling” video online, wherein young men are paid to be tied up and tickled, reporter David Farrier reaches out to request a story from the company.  But the reply he receives is shocking—the sender mocks Farrier’s sexual orientation and threatens extreme legal action should he dig any deeper.  So, like any good journalist confronted by a bully, Farrier does just the opposite and uncovers a vast empire – and the more he investigates, the stranger it gets, discovering secret identities and criminal activity.  “Tickled” plays Saturday, July 30 through Wednesday, August 3 at the Michigan.

Special Screenings Downtown

"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"

The Summer Classic Film Series continues with “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.”  Blondie (Clint Eastwood) and Tuco (EliWallach) are gunmen who admire each other professionally but dislike each other personally.  Encountering a group of dying soldiers, Tuco learns the location of the graveyard where a Confederate treasure is buried, while Blondie learns the identity of the exact grave.  Joined by mercenary drifter Angel Eyes (Lee VanCleef), they cross the desert, each of the desperadoes knowing part of the secret and each focusing his squinty eyes on the $200,000 bounty.  “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” plays Sunday July 31 at 1:30 PM and Tuesday August 2 at 7 PM at the Michigan.

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 Idol"

This tells the real-life story of Palestinian Mohammad Assaf, who won “Arab Idol” in 2013 and became a hero for his country.  The film focuses as much on his early days – set against the brutal backdrop of life in Gaza and the illness of his sister – as it does on the challenge Assaf has in trying to take part in the Idol try-outs in Egypt.  Once the competition starts, the film cleverly balances the feel-good success with the harsh realities of Assaf’s life.  “The Idol” plays July 28 at the Michigan.


Winner of the top documentary prize at Sundance, this tracks the can’t-look-away implosion of Anthony Weiner’s doomed 2013 New York City mayoral campaign.  The film is a behind-the-scenes look at former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner's catastrophic race for Mayor of New York City.  Mr. Weiner became embroiled in his second widely publicized sexting scandal during the race, derailing his once-promising political career.  Weiner is directed by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg.  Critic Consensus: Weiner uses sharp insight and untrammeled access to offer a portrait of a political and personal collapse that's as queasy as it is undeniably compelling.  “Weiner” plays Saturday, July 30 through Monday, August 1 at the Michigan.

"Zero Days"

This is a documentary thriller about the world of cyberwar.  For the first time, the film tells the complete story of Stuxnet, a piece of self-replicating computer malware (known as a “worm” for its ability to burrow from computer to computer on its own) that the U.S. and Israel unleashed to destroy a key part of an Iranian nuclear facility, and which ultimately spread beyond its intended target.  ZERO DAYS is the most comprehensive accounting to date of how a clandestine mission hatched by two allies with clashing agendas opened forever the Pandora’s Box of cyberwarfare.  “Zero Days” plays Thursday, August 4 at the Michigan.

Opening at the Multiplex


Industrious high school senior Vee (Emma Roberts) has had it with living life on the sidelines.  When pressured by friends to join the popular online game Nerve, she decides to sign up for just one dare in what seems like harmless fun.  But as Vee finds herself caught up in the thrill of the adrenaline-fueled competition, the game begins to take a sinister turn with increasingly dangerous acts.  “Nerve” is in theaters now.

"Jason Bourne"

This film picks up years after the events of “The Bourne Ultimatum,” as former CIA assassin Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) resurfaces just as his former employers are implementing a new program aimed at hunting him down.  Now fully recovered from his amnesia, Bourne sets out to uncover the ultimate truth about his past while simultaneously exacting revenge and eluding capture by the government forces hot on his trail.  “Jason Bourne” opens Friday.

"Bad Moms"

Amy (Mila Kunis) has a seemingly perfect life--a great marriage, over-achieving kids, beautiful home, and a career.  However, she's over-worked, over-committed, and exhausted.  Fed up, she joins forces with two other over-stressed moms (Kristen Bell,Kathryn Hahn) on a quest to liberate themselves from conventional responsibilities - going on an un-mom-like binge of long overdue freedom and self-indulgence.  Also starring Christina Applegate, Emjay Anthony, and Jada Pinkett Smith.  “Bad Moms” opens Friday.  NO 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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