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Cinema Chat: Local Premiere Of 'In The Heights' Kicks Off Today At The Michigan Theater

Michigan Theater
The Michigan Theater

Plenty of movies are on the way this weekend, including the highly-anticipated musical from "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda! WEMU's David Fair touched base with Michigan Theater Foundation executive director Russ Collins about when and where that is playing and about the other film options available to you. 


This year, the festival will host both in-person and virtual events, thanks to a robust lineup of new projects. Here are some of the best bets.

Consider it a celebration with something of an asterisk: in-person film festivals are back! But so are virtual components, making some of the year’s biggest cinematic events both safe and accessible for an even wider audience to enjoy them. After a cancelled 2020 edition and a delayed 2021 event, the Tribeca Festival is bellying up for a hybrid event with a major in-person edge, with lots to watch.


  • Opening the Festival: Director Jon M. Chu’s long-awaited “In the Heights,” adapted from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning Broadway musical. It opened the 20th of Tribeca Film Fest.
  • Centerpiece Selection: World Premiere of Steven Soderbergh’s “No Sudden Move”
  • “Untitled: Dave Chappelle Documentary”The world premiere of this untitled Dave Chappelle-produced documentary was directed by Oscar- and Emmy-winning “American Factory” filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, will close the festival June 19. It was fueled by the murder of George Floyd, and unable to perform around the country, the movie follows Chappelle as he provides the community he calls home with two things desperately needed – economic and comic relief. His live comedy shows in a neighbor's cornfield, grew into an unforgettable summer with his neighbors, friends and fellow comedians.

Other Highlights:

  • “12 Mighty Orphans” Texas filmmaker Ty Roberts directs this Depression-era true story starring Luke Wilson stars as World War I vet who wa, an innovative high school football coach who transformed a dozen scrawny Losers into the winning Mighty Mites. Robert Duvall, who was the coach in the basketball drama “Hoosiers,” costars with Martin Sheen and Wayne Knight.
  • “Bernstein’s Wall” With his compositions performed around the world and Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” due in theaters at the end of the year director Douglas Tirola’s “Bernstein’s Wall” is an absorbing account of the Bernstein’s historic rise. Tirola resurrects Bernstein’s talent by letting the man speak for himself, and make a compelling case for the timeless nature of his talent.
  • “No Sudden Move” (filmed in Detroit) Director-cinematographer-editor Soderbergh originally called this fifties crime thriller “Kill Switch.” Various actors moved in and out of the ensemble when filming was delayed by the pandemic. Star Don Cheadle stuck with the movie about a group of criminals who assemble in turbulent Detroit for a job and then try to extricate themselves from. Also starring Jon Hamm, Benicio del Toro, Ray Liotta, Brendan Fraser, Kieran Culkin, Noah Jupe, Bill Duke, and Matt Damon.
  • “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain”(also coming soon to the Michigan Theater) Bourdain used the endless rabbit hole of food — and the people who make it — as a Trojan horse for exploring the world inside out, asking profound questions about community and cultural relationships through the intimidate filter of his inimitable personality. Directed by Oscar-winner Morgan Neville, who has some experience in this area (his recent subjects include Orson Welles and Fred Rogers).

 Reunion Screenings

  • The cast of “The Godfather” coming together on stage at Radio City Music Hall.
  • Quentin Tarantino joining his “Reservoir Dogs”ensemble cast at the Beacon Theater.
  • To celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Fargo,” Joel Coen will participate in a conversation with Frances McDormand and Steve Buscemi and possibly get some teases at Coen and McDormand’s next project. the “Tragedy of Macbeth.”
  • Wes Anderson, ahead of a new release The French Dispatch,” premiering at Cannes in July, will celebrate the 20th anniversary of “The Royal Tenenbaums” by reuniting with stars Alec Baldwin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston, and Danny Glover.
  • Throw in a conversation between Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro before a screening of “Raging Bull” and you have the cast-miss reunions at Tribeca 2021.



This is an upcoming American musical drama film directed by Jon M. Chu from a screenplay by Quiara Alegría Hudes. It is based on the stage musical of Lin-Manuel Miranda. The film stars Anthony RamosCorey HawkinsLeslie GraceMelissa BarreraOlga MeredizDaphne Rubin-VegaGregory Diaz IV, and Jimmy Smits.

Lights up on Washington Heights... The scent of a cafecito caliente hangs in the air just outside of the 181st Street subway stop, where a kaleidoscope of dreams rallies this vibrant and tight-knit community. At the intersection of it all is the likeable, magnetic bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who saves every penny from his daily grind as he hopes, imagines and sings about a better life.


"The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It"

Directed by Michael Chaves("The Curse of La Llorona," 2019) with a screenplay by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick from a story by Johnson-McGoldrick andJames Wan (who directed the two previous The Conjuring films). The film serves as a sequel to "The Conjuring" (2013) and "The Conjuring 2" (2016), and as the eighth installment in the Conjuring Universe. Originally slated for a September 2020 release, the film was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The film is a chilling story of murder and unknown evil that shocked even experienced real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. It is based on the actual murder trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson that took place in 1981 in Connecticut. One of the most sensational cases from the files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, it starts with a fight for the soul of a young boy, then takes them beyond anything they’d ever seen before, to mark the first time in U.S. history that a murder suspect would claim demonic possession as a defense. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson return as the paranormal investigating team of Lorraine and Ed Warren. The film also stars Ruairi O’Connor (Starz’ “The Spanish Princess”), Sarah Catherine Hook (Hulu’s “Monsterland”) and Julian Hilliard (the series “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” and “The Haunting of Hill House”).

"A Quiet Place Part II"

A 2020 American horror film and the sequel to the 2018 film, both of which follow a family that is forced to navigate and survive in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by blind monsters with an acute sense of hearing. The sequel was written and directed by John Krasinskiunder the studio Paramount Pictures. Emily BluntMillicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe reprise their roles from the first film, and Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou joined the cast. Krasinski also returns from the first film in a small role, seen in flashback sequences set before the first film.

"The Dry"

An Australian mystery drama thriller directed byRobert Connolly, from a screenplay by Connolly and Harry Cripps, and starring Eric BanaGenevieve O'ReillyKeir O'Donnell, and John Polson is based on the 2016 book of the same name byJane Harper. Aaron Falk returns to his drought-stricken hometown to attend a tragic funeral. But his return opens a decades-old wound - the unsolved death of a teenage girl.

"Dream Horse" 

Experience the inspiring true story of Dream Alliance, an unlikely racehorse bred by small town bartender Jan Vokes (Toni Collette). With very little money and no experience, Jan convinces her neighbors to chip in their meager earnings to help raise Dream and compete with the racing elites. Their investment pays off as Dream rises through the ranks and becomes a beacon of hope in their struggling community.

"The Truffle Hunters"

Deep in the forests of Piedmont, Italy, a handful of men, seventy or eighty years young, hunt for the rare and expensive white Alba truffle—which to date has resisted all of modern science's efforts at cultivation. They're guided by a secret culture and training passed down through generations, as well as by the noses of their cherished and expertly-trained dogs. They live a simpler, slower way of life, in harmony with their loyal animals and their picture-perfect land, seemingly straight out of a fairy tale. They're untethered to cell phone screens or the Internet, opting instead to make their food and drink by hand and prioritizing in-person connections and community.

The demand for white truffles increases year after year, even as the supply decreases. As a result of climate change, deforestation, and the lack of young people taking up the mantle, the truffle hunters' secrets are more coveted than ever. However, as it soon becomes clear, these aging men may just hold something much more valuable than even this prized delicacy: the secret to a rich and meaningful life.


LGBTQ Voices Series

This June, we’re excited to share a hybrid virtual and in-theater series of four films focused on the voices of the LGBTQ+ community. Keep an eye to our weekly emails for details on upcoming post-film discussions! 

Science on Screen Series

Creative pairings of current, classic, cult, and documentary films with expert-led post film discussions. This is an initiative of the COOLIDGE CORNER THEATRE, with major support from the ALFRED P. SLOAN FOUNDATION
Ann Arbor Jewish Film Festival

The event presents a summer of films, now through August 24. This is the largest virtual Jewish Film Festival in Michigan and the more-than-20 films are available on the Michigan Theater’s online platform at www.michtheater.org (as are all the virtual programs).

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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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