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Cinema Chat: Cinetopia Lineup, 'Family,' 'Avengers: Endgame,' And More

Michigan Theater
Wikipedia Media Commons

Everything from Cinetopia to Marvel is delivering the goods to your local movie house.  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Russ Collins, executive director of the Michigan Theater and State Theatre, about the latest movie news and all of the flicks worth checking out this weekend.


The Cinetopia Film Festival is an annual, curated festival in metro Detroit, featuring more than 50 of the best feature-length dramas, comedies, and documentaries from the world’s best film festivals (Sundance, Cannes, Venice, Toronto, Berlin, SXSW, Tribeca, and more).  This year, there will be about 120 total screenings of the 50 films selected for the festival AND Cinetopia also includes the Ann Arbor Jewish Film Festival. Cinetopia takes place over the span of 10 days with venues in Detroit, Dearborn, Bloomfield Hills, Royal Oak and Ann Arbor.  Created in 2012 for the people of Southeast Michigan, Cinetopia brings many cinema artists to participate in special pre- and post-film events, including presentations, discussion panels, and Q&A sessions with directors, writers, and actors.  The 2019 Cinetopia Film Festival comes with major support by Michigan Medicine and the Knight Foundation.  For more information, visit cinetopiafestival.org.

·       Framing John Delorean – Starring Alec Baldwin in a documentary

·      The Farewell– Starring Awkwafina – Russ’s favorite film from Sundance

·       Mavericks & Makers Symposium– Nancy Savoca, Household Saints, + 2 other films, UM Symposium

·       Ancient Law – Silent Film with live music by Donald Sossin and Alicia Svigals

·       Bite Me – Subversive Romantic Comedy about a real vampire and an IRS agent!?!

·       Styx – ER doc, a German woman, on a solo sailing voyage comes upon a sinking board of refugees

·       https://vimeo.com/319095910">Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool – documentary by Stanley Nelson

·       One Child Nation– doc on the long-term and family impact of China’s one child policy

·       Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am – doc by Timothy Greenfield sanders about the acclaimed novelist

·       https://vimeo.com/289897587">Making Mongomery Clift– documentary on tragically self-destructive actor.

·       Closing Night Film, Malcolm Gladwell’s - AUTONOMY


"Avengers: Endgame"

At the State (Sneak Preview on Thursday, Apr. 25 & opens for full run Friday, Apr. 26): In this film, adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark sends a message to Pepper Potts as his oxygen supply starts to dwindle.  Meanwhile, the remaining Avengers -- Thor, Black Widow, Captain America, and Bruce Banner -- must figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies for an epic showdown with Thanos -- the evil demigod who decimated the planet and the universe. 


At the State (Opens Friday, Apr. 26): In this film, Taylor Schilling delivers a delightful and layered comedic performance.  Laura Steinel's debut feature has heart, reminding us that family can be found in all different forms.  Kate Stone (played by Schilling) is career-focused and enjoys her life that way.  Her brash attitude keeps relationships at arm's length, making her an outcast in her own right.  When her estranged brother calls asking her to babysit her tween niece Maddie, Kate reluctantly agrees to help. But babysitting overnight unexpectedly turns into a week, and Kate's life spins into chaos.  As Maddie reveals stories of being bullied and of wanting to run away and be a Juggalo, the two form a unique bond.  


At the Michigan (Opens Friday, Apr. 26): In this film, internationally acclaimed and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Mike Leigh portrays one of the bloodiest episodes in British history, the infamous Peterloo Massacre of 1819, where government-backed cavalry charged into a peaceful crowd of 80,000 that gathered in Manchester, England to demand democratic reform.  

"The Chaperone"

At the Michigan (Opens Friday, Apr. 26): This film follows Louise Brooks, the 1920s silver screen sensation who never met a rule she didn't break, epitomized the restless, reckless spirit of the Jazz Age.  But, just a few years earlier, she was a 15 year-old student in Wichita, Kansas for whom fame and fortune were only dreams.  When the opportunity arises for her to go to New York to study with a leading dance troupe, her mother (played by Victoria Hill) insists there be a chaperone.  Norma Carlisle (played by Elizabeth McGovern), a local society matron who never broke a rule in her life, impulsively volunteers to accompany Louise (played by Haley Lu Richardson) to New York for the summer. 


"Bride + 1"

This film plays Saturday, April 27, at 3:00 PM at the Michigan Theater.  Filmed in A2 and LA, Ann Arbor gets a special sneak preview before a limited engagement in New York, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles!  Local filmmaker Christina Morales Hemenway stars in this hilarious romantic comedy with a fabulous cast you’ll recognize from "Will & Grace," "Independence Day," and Academy Award for Best Motion Picture "Green Book."  The film follows Clarissa; a 39-year-old Latina who has never been married but wants kids, sends out a “save the date” notice for her wedding to all her loved ones even though she has no groom– yet.  She figures if she builds it, he will come!

"The World’s End"

This film plays Saturday, April 27 at 10:00 PM at the State Theatre as a part of Late-Nights at the State and as the finale of the Cornetto Trilogy.  Gary King (played by Simon Pegg) is an immature 40 year-old who’s dying to take another stab at an epic pub-crawl that he last attempted 20 years earlier.  He drags his reluctant buddies back to their hometown and sets out for a night of heavy drinking.  As they make their way toward their ultimate destination — the fabled World’s End pub — Gary and his friends attempt to reconcile the past and present.  However, the real struggle is for the future when their journey turns into a battle for mankind.

"NT Live: Allelujah!"

This event plays Sunday, April 28 at 7:00 PM at the Michigan Theater, presented in partnership with UMS. The Beth, an old-fashioned, cradle-to-grave hospital serving a small town in Yorkshire, is threatened with closure as part of a National Health System efficiency drive.  As Dr. Valentine and Sister Gilchrist attend to the patients and campaign to save it, a documentary crew, eager to expose the truth of its situation, follows the daily struggle to find beds on the Dusty Springfield Geriatric Ward.  Meanwhile, the old people’s choir, in readiness for next week’s concert, is in full swing.  As the fight for survival continues, unexpected secrets come to light about the staff at the hospital. Alan Bennett’s hilarious new play is a love letter to regional communities and a thought-provoking but stinging comedy on the reality of funding cuts and care for the aged.  This production marks the 10th collaboration between Alan Bennett and Nicholas Hytner.  A Bridge Theatre production.

"Who Will Write Our History"

This film plays Monday, April 29 at 7:30 PM at the Michigan Theater, presented by the Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor.  This is a special community commemorating Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) that is free and open to the public!  The film, based on Samuel Kassow’s book, is about historian Emanuel Ringelblum, who gathered a secret band of journalists, scholars, and artists imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto to collect and record the story of the war from the Jewish point of view.  Known by the code name Oyneg Shabes, their goal was to defy their murderous enemy with the ultimate weapon – the truth.  They risked everything so that their archive would survive, even if they did not.  The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Professor Jeff Veidlinger, Genvieve Zubrzycki, and Sarah Raful Whinston.

"Andy Irons: Kissed by God"

This film plays Tuesday, April 30 at 7:00 PM at the Michigan Theater as a part of the Science on Screen Program, an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre presented with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Arbor Research Collaborative for Health.  Three-time world champion surfer Andy Irons quietly battled bipolar disorder and opioid addiction throughout his life – demons that millions of others combat daily.  His previously untold story tears down myths associated with the diseases.  The film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Melvin McInnis, MD, Director for the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program, and Charles Graham Jr., PhD, LMSW, MA, Therapist and Psychologist, U-M Addiction Center, Department of Psychiatry.

"La Dolce Vita"

This film plays Wednesday, May 1 at 7:00 PM at the State Theatre as a part of Wine Down Wednesdays.  You’ve made it halfway through the week, so you deserve half-off a glass of wine at the State, paired perfectly with a film celebrating our love of wine.  In Federico Fellini’s lauded Italian film, restless reporter Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni) drifts through life in Rome.  While Marcello contends with the overdose taken by his girlfriend, Emma (played by Yvonne Furneaux), he also pursues heiress Maddalena (played by Anouk Aimée) and movie star Sylvia (played by Anita Ekberg), embracing a carefree approach to living.  Despite his hedonistic attitude, Marcello does have moments of quiet reflection, resulting in an intriguing cinematic character study.


"Amazing Grace"

At the Michigan: Shot in 1972 over a 48-hour period in Watts’ New Temple Missionary Baptist Church, this stirring documentary captured the live recording of the most successful gospel album in history by Aretha Franklin.  This album marked Franklin's thrilling return to her gospel roots after she'd earned 11 consecutive No. 1 pop and R&B singles, won five Grammys and released more than 20 albums.  


Adapted from Anna Segher's 1942 novel, this film transposes the original story to the present, blurring periods to create a timeless exploration of the plight of displaced people.  As fascism spreads, German refugee Georg (played by Franz Rogowski) flees to Marseille and assumes the identity of the dead writer whose transit papers he is carrying.  Living among refugees from around the world, Georg falls for Marie (played by Paula Beer), a mysterious woman searching for her husband--the man whose identity he has stolen. 

"High Life"

At the State: A staggering and primal film about love and intimacy, suffused with anguished memories of a lost Earth, this is a haunting, thrilling achievement from visionary director Claire Denis.  Monte (played by Robert Pattinson) and his baby daughter are the last survivors of a damned and dangerous mission to the outer reaches of the solar system.  The crew death-row inmates led by a doctor (played by Juliette Binoche) with sinister motives has vanished.  As the mystery of what happened onboard the ship is unraveled, father and daughter must rely on each other to survive as they hurtle toward the oblivion of a black hole. 


This is a new nightmare from the mind of Oscar® winner Jordan Peele, writer/director of "Get Out."  Accompanied by her husband and children, Adelaide Wilson (played by Lupita Nyong'o) returns to the beach home where she grew up.  Haunted by a traumatic experience from the past, Adelaide grows concerned that something bad is going to happen to her family.  Her worst fears soon become a reality when four masked strangers descend upon the house, forcing the Wilsons into a fight for survival. Also stars Winston DukeElisabeth Moss, and Tim Heidecker

"Captain Marvel"

The story follows Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.  Set in the 1990s, this is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Brie Larson ("The Spectacular Now," "Trainwreck," "Room" – Academy Award for Best Actress) stars as Danvers, alongside Samuel L. JacksonBen MendelsohnDjimon HounsouLee PaceLashana LynchGemma ChanAnnette BeningClark Gregg, and Jude Law.  


"Avengers: Endgame" opens in theaters nationwide this Friday, April 26!

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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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