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Cinema Chat: Cinetopia Announcement, 'The Dinner,' 'Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2', And More


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 films hitting the big screen this weekend.  Plus, they have a huge update on what to expect for this year's Cinetopia Film Festival!

TODAY – Cinetopia – The Films Will Be Announced!  

The Cinetopia Film Festival program will be announced online today at 10 AM, Thursday, May 4.  Go to CinetopiaFestival.org.

Created for the people of southeastern Michigan, the Cinetopia International Film Festival features the best feature-length dramas, comedies, and documentaries from the world’s best film festivals (e.g. Sundance, Cannes, Venice, Toronto, Berlin, SXSW, Tribeca, etc.).

The extensive festival program will feature over 100 screening of over 50 films over 11 days at 11 different venues in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area.  Cinetopia honors the rich heritage of cinematic culture and Michigan’s proud legacy of outstanding cinema artists through special pre- and post-film events, including presentations, discussion panels, and Q&A sessions with directors, writers, and stars. 

Cannes Classics 2017 Lineup Includes ‘Belle de Jour’ Restoration, Stanley Kubrick Doc and More

The 2017 Cannes Film Festival has announced the lineup for Cannes Classics, a selection of vintage films and masterpieces from the history of cinema.  This year’s program is dedicated primarily to the history of the festival, and includes one short film and five new documentaries.  Highlights from the lineup include “Belle du Jour” (1967), Luis Bunuel’s classic about a housewife who dabbles in prostitution, and “All That Jazz ” (1979) Bob Fosse’s story of a womanizing, drug-using dancer played by Roy Scheider.  There is also the documentary “Filmworker,” which tells the story of Leon Vitali, an actor who abandoned his career after “Barry Lyndon” to become StanleyKubrick’s right hand man and creative collaborator behind the scenes.

Opening Downtown

"The Dinner"

When Stan (Richard Gere), a popular congressman running for governor, invites his estranged troubled younger brother Paul (Steve Coogan) and his wife Claire (Laura Linney) to join him and his wife Katelyn (Rebecca Hall) for dinner at one of the town’s most fashionable restaurants, the stage is set for a tense night.  Their 16-year- old sons are friends, and the two of them have committed a horrible crime that has shocked the country.  While their sons’ identities have not yet been discovered and may never be, their parents must now decide what action to take.  Based on the novel by Herman Koch, “The Dinner” opens Friday, with a special advance screenings Thursday night.

"Their Finest"

The year is 1940.  London.  With the nation bowed down by war, the British ministry turns to propaganda films to boost morale at home.  Realizing their films could use "a woman's touch," the ministry hires Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) as a scriptwriter in charge of writing the female dialogue.  Although her artist husband looks down on her job, Catrin's natural flair quickly gets her noticed by cynical, witty lead scriptwriter Buckley (Sam Claflin).  Catrin and Buckley set out to make an epic feature film based on the Dunkirk rescue starring the gloriously vain, former matinee idol Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy).  As bombs are dropping all around them, Catrin, Buckley, and their colorful cast and crew work furiously to make a film that will warm the hearts of the nation.  “Their Finest” opens Friday.

Films Continuing at the Michigan Theater

"A Quiet Passion"

Cynthia Nixon delivers a triumphant performance as Emily Dickinson in “A Quiet Passion,” personifying the wit, intellectual independence and pathos of the poet whose genius only came to be recognized after her death.  Acclaimed British director Terence Davies exquisitely evokes Dickinson's deep attachment to her close knit family along with the manners, mores and spiritual convictions of her time that she struggled with and transcended in her poetry.

"Get Out"

A young African-American man visits his white girlfriend’s family estate and becomes ensnared in a more sinister real reason for the invitation.  At first, Chris reads the family's overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined.  Written and directed by Jordan Peele (of “Key and Peele” fame), “Get Out” has received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike.  


Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is an out-of-work party girl who, after getting kicked out of her apartment by her boyfriend, is forced to move back to her hometown.  When news reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, South Korea, Gloria gradually comes to the realization that she is somehow connected to this far-off phenomenon.  As events begin to spin out of control, Gloria must determine why her seemingly insignificant existence has such a colossal effect on the fate of the world.

Special Screenings Downtown

"The Silence of the Lambs"

In the Oscar-winning thriller,Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI's training academy whose shrewd analyses of serial killers lands her a special assignment: the FBI is investigating a vicious murderer nicknamed Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine), who kills young women and then removes the skin from their bodies.  Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath, serving life behind bars for various acts of murder and cannibalism.  Crawford believes that Lecter may have insight into this case and that Starling, as an attractive young woman, may be just the bait to draw him out.  “The Silence of the Lambs” is one of only three films to win Academy Awards in all the top five categories: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Screenplay.  Directed by Jonathan Demme, “The Silence of the Lambs” plays Sunday, May 7 at 8 PM.

The Jewish Film Festival

This is an annual event celebrating film and the impact and influence which Jewish culture has played on society, current movies and filmmakers of today.  It also provides a forum for discussion about films from around the world that illuminate Jewish issues and principles.  The festival’s goal is to enhance a sense of community and inclusion for a broad range of audience members.  There is something to see for everyone during the Festival!  The Jewish Film Festival takes place Monday – Thursday, May 8-11, at the Michigan Theater.

CINEMA REVOLUTION: Independent Films That Defined A Genre

This spring, Cinetopia Film Festival and Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater will celebrate the glory days of Art House cinemas with a new film series: Cinema Revolution: Independent Films That Defined a Genre.  The eleven film series captures the spirit of cinematic revolution—a revolution that disrupted the Hollywood Studio system, created contemporary foreign film culture and brought to light visionary American directors and new generations of cinematic voices. 


"The Brother From Another Planet"

U-M Maverick & Maker John Sayles wrote, directed, and edited this film, a sci-fi exploration of the immigrant experience of assimilation, which follows a mute alien and escaped slave (Joe Morton) when he crash-lands in the middle of Harlem.  Though the locals are put off by the slave's inability to speak, they are won over by his technical wizardry.  He is adopted as a "brother" by his new friends, who protect him from pursuing white aliens played by director Sayles and David Strathairn.  “The Brother From Another Planet” plays Monday, May 8 at 7 PM. 

5/15 - 7:00 – A Room with a View(1985 – James Ivory – Ideal Art House shining moment)

5/22 - 7:00 – My Own Private Idaho (1991 - Gus Van Sant – youth oriented Art House shining moment)

5/29 - 7:00 – The Player (1993 - Robert Altman; Archive connection– Hollywood’s shallow side and Art House shining moment)

Opening at the Multiplex

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2"

Marvel continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos.  The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage.  Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universecontinues to expand.  StarringChris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, and Dave Bautista, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” opens Friday.

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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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