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Cinema Chat: 'Won't You Be My Neighbor,' 'Jurassic World,' And More

Michigan Theater
Wikipedia Media Commons

Summer is officially here, and the movie business stays hot!  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins about the latest movie news and all of the new films coming to the silver screen this weekend.


   •      Audience Award- US NARRATIVE: "Woman Walks Ahead" Directed By Susanna White

   •      Audience Award- US DOCUMENTARY:  "Love, Gilda" Directed By Lisa Dapolito

   •     Audience Award- FOREIGN NARRATIVE: "Supa Modo" Directed by Likarion Wainaina

   •     Audience Award- FOREIGN DOCUMENTARY: "Soufra" Directed by Thomas A.Morgan

   •     Festival Award- US NARRATIVE: "Blindspotting" Directed By Carlos Lopez Estrada

   •    Festival Award- US DOCUMENTARY: "Quiet Heroes" Directed By Jenny Mackenzie, Jared Ruga, and Amanda Stoddard

   •    Festival Award- FOREIGN NARRATIVE: "Wajib" Directed By Annmarie Jacir

   •    Festival Award- FOREIGN DOCUMENTARY: "This Is Home"Directed By Alexandra Shiva


Future ‘A Star Wars Story’ Spinoffs on Hold at Lucasfilm

It may be a while before we see any more movies like "Solo: A Star Wars Story"out of Lucasfilm.  Sources with knowledge of the situation tell Collider that Lucasfilm has decided to put plans for more "A Star Wars Story" spinoff movies on hold, instead opting to focus their attention on "Star Wars: Episode IX" and what the next trilogy of Star Wars films will be after that film.  Sources tell us that the previously rumored Obi-Wan movie was in active development, but those who were working on the film are no longer involved.

Jane Fonda to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award at Michael Moore’s Festival

Jane Fonda will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Traverse City Film Festival, which runs from July 31 to Aug. 5.  Fonda has won acting Oscars for “Klute” and “Coming Home” and been nominated for “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?,” “Julia,” “The China Syndrome,” “On Golden Pond,” and “The Morning After.”  She’s also won four Golden Globes, two BAFTAs, and an Emmy. 

Moore, who is the founder and president of the Michigan festival, made the announcement Wednesday.  “I can think of no other artist who has given more to her country,” said Moore.  “What an honor for our festival audience to welcome and to be inspired by the work of this American Icon.  Her voice is as needed today as much as ever.”


"Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

Critics Consensus: "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" takes a fittingly patient and honest look at the life and legacy of a television pioneer whose work has enriched generations.

From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville ("20 Feet from Stardom"), this film takes an intimate look at America's favorite neighbor: Mister Fred Rogers.  A portrait of a man whom we all think we know, this emotional and moving film takes us beyond the zip-up cardigans and the land of make-believe, and into the heart of a creative genius who inspired generations of children with compassion and limitless imagination.  Russ saw this at Sundance – was very moved!!

"American Animals"

Critics Consensus: "American Animals" tangles with a number of weighty themes, but never at the expense of delivering a compelling true crime thriller. 

The unbelievable but true story of four young men who brazenly attempt to execute one of the most audacious antiquarian book heists in US history – stealing rare books from Kentucky’s Transylvania University’s most valuable books, including "Birds of America" by John James Audubon — a set of life-sized engravings by the wildlife pioneer (valued at around $12 million) and an original edition of Charles Darwin’s "Origin of Species."  Determined to live lives that are out of the ordinary, these four privileged young men formulate a daring plan for the perfect robbery (by watching "Oceans 11" and "Reservoir Dogs") only to discover that the plan has taken on a life of its own.  Directed by: Bart Layton

"The Catcher Was a Spy"

In the midst of World War II, major league catcher Moe Berg (Paul Rudd) is drafted to join a new team: the Office of Security Services (the precursor to the CIA).  No ordinary ballplayer, the erudite, Jewish Ivy League graduate speaks nine languages and is a regular guest on a popular TV quiz show.  Despite his celebrity, Berg is an enigma - a closeted gay man with a knack for keeping secrets.  The novice spy is quickly trained and sent into the field to stop German scientist Werner Heisenberg before he can build an atomic bomb for the Nazis.  Directed By: Ben Lewin.  Written By: Robert Rodat.  Also starring: Mark Strong, Sienna Miller, Jeff Daniels, Guy Pearce, and Paul Giamatti.


"Lives Well Lived"

This is a feature documentary film by Sky Bergman that celebrates the incredible wit and wisdom of adults 75 to 100 years old who are living their lives to the fullest.  Encompassing over 3000 years of experience, forty people share their secrets and insights to living a meaningful life.  Their intimate memories and inspiring personal histories will make you laugh, perhaps cry, but mostly inspire you.  The film plays at the Michigan, Saturday, June 23rd to Monday, June 25th.


"Reign of Judges: Title of Liberty"

This film will play Wednesday, June 27 at 7:00 PM.  From a record-breaking Kickstarter to selling over 6,000 tickets worldwide, come see the Grand Finale Premiere of the breakout concept short— the first Book of Mormon war epic.  In 73 BC pre-Columbian New World, a humble soldier rises unexpectedly as the protector of a young republic.  Now Chief Captain of a war-weary nation, Moroni defends his country with revolutionary prowess, but his greatest struggle will be uniting a beleaguered people.



At the State: A modern horror thriller that stars Toni Collette as Ellen, a mother who begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about her ancestry when the matriarch of her family passes away.  The more her family discovers, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited.

"The Rider"

This film stars Brady Jandreau in the film based on his own true story as a once-rising star of the rodeo circuit who is warned that his competition days are over after a tragic riding accident.  Back home, Brady finds himself wondering what he has to live for when he can no longer do what gives him a sense of purpose: to ride and compete.  

"First Reformed"

This film stars Ethan Hawke as the priest of a small congregation in upstate New York who grapples with mounting despair brought on by tragedy, worldly concerns and a tormented past.  Written and directed by Paul Schrader (Writer of "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull"), the film also stars Amanda Seyfried and Cedric the Entertainer.

"Let the Sunshine In"

The film stars Juliette Binoche who delivers a luminous performance in the deliciously witty, sensuously romantic new film from acclaimed director Claire Denis ("White Material").  Isabelle (Binoche) is a divorced Parisian painter searching for another shot at love, but refusing to settle for the parade of all-too-flawed men who drift in and out of her life.

"The Seagull"

This film stars Saoirse RonanCorey Stoll, and Annette Bening in the adaptation of Anton’s Chekhov’s classic play directed by Tony-winner Michael Mayer (“Spring Awakening”) and written by Tony-winner Stephen Karam (“The Humans”).  One summer at a lakeside Russian estate, friends and family gather for a weekend in the countryside.  While everyone is caught up in passionately loving someone who loves somebody else, a tragicomedy unfolds about art, fame, human folly, and the eternal desire to live a purposeful life.


An intimate portrait of an unlikely rock star:Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  With unprecedented access, the filmmakers explore how her early legal battles changed the world for women.


"Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom"

In the next installment of the "Jurassic Park" franchise, this film takes place three years after the destruction of the Jurassic World theme park.  Now, Owen Grady (played by Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (played by Bryce Dallas Howard) return to the island of Isla Nublar to save the remaining dinosaurs from a volcano that's about to erupt.  They soon encounter terrifying new breeds of gigantic dinosaurs, while uncovering a conspiracy that threatens the entire planet.

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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

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