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Cinema Chat: David and Russ together again, 'Parallel Mothers,' 'The Velvet Queen,' and more

Michigan Theater
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It's a reunion worthy of the silver screen! WEMU's David Fair and Michigan Theater Foundation executive director Russ Collins meet once again to talk about the new and classic films coming to your local movie house this weekend.

REMINDER: LIVE ON STAGE: ANAIS MITCHELL & BONEY LIGHT HORSEMAN AT THE MICHIGAN THEATER

TICKETS NOW ON SALE THROUGH TICKETMASTER! Anaïs Mitchell is on tour is and coming to Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater on February 7, 2022. She'll be performing with a band (including JT Bates on drums and Michael Lewis on bass) and will play brand new music alongside older favorites including selections from "Hadestown." Bonny Light Horseman, Anais’s band with Josh Kaufman and Eric Johnson, will open! Tickets available now at TicketMaster.

RUSS’S MEMORABLE FILMS OF 2021 (in no particular order)

  • "Summer of Soul"
  • "In the Heights"
  • "West Side Story"
  • "Hamilton" (should have been on the BIG screen)
  • "tick, tick...BOOM!"
  • "King Richard"
  • "The Tragedy of Macbeth"
  • "The Power of the Dog"
  • "The Electrical Life of Luis Wain"
  • "Nightmare Alley"
  • "The French Dispatch"
  • "Belfast"
  • "The Truffle Hunters"

FILMS FROM 2021 RUSS LOOKS FORWARD TO SEEING

  • "Drive My Car"
  • "Passing"
  • "Parallel Mothers" (Pedro Almodóvar)
  • "Encanto"
  • Oscar Shorts
  • Oscar nominated International and documentary films
  • More…

CURRENT BETTING ODDS TO WIN BEST PICTURE OSCAR

  • "The Power of the Dog" +170
  • "West Side Story" +200
  • "Belfast' +225
  • "Licorice Pizza" +1,400
  • "King Richard" +1,600
  • "Dune" +1,600
  • "Nightmare Alley" +2,000
  • "Don't Look Up" +2,500
  • "CODA" +2,500
  • "House of Gucci" +3,500
  • "The Tragedy of Macbeth" +3,500
  • "tick, tick...Boom!" +3,500

OPENING DOWNTOWN

"Parallel Mothers" -- OPENS FRIDAY, JANUARY 28 AT THE STATE

A 2021 Spanish drama film written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar. The film stars Penélope Cruz.

It had its premiere as the opening film of the 78th Venice International Film Festival on 1 September 2021 where Penélope Cruz was awarded the Volpi Cup for Best Actress.. It was the closing film of the 2021 New York Film Festival. Two women, Janis and Ana, coincide in a hospital room where they are going to give birth. Both are single and became pregnant by accident. Janis, middle-aged, doesn't regret it and she is exultant. The other, Ana, an adolescent, is scared, repentant and traumatized. Janis tries to encourage her while they move like sleepwalkers along the hospital corridors. The few words they exchange in these hours will create a very close link between the two, which by chance develops and complicates, and changes their lives in a decisive way.

"Flee" -- OPENS FRIDAY, JANUARY 28 AT THE STATE

An animated documentary film directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen. It follows the story of a man named Amin Nawabi, who shares his hidden past for the first time, of fleeing his country. The film had its world premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival on January 28, 2021 It received unanimous acclaim from film festivals and critics, with critical praise for animation, story, thematic content, and subject matter; winning numerous awards. It was selected as the Danish entry for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film and was shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature. Flee tells the story of Amin Nawabi as he grapples with a painful secret he has kept hidden for 20 years, one that threatens to derail the life he has built for himself and his soon to be husband. Recounted mostly through animation to director Jonas Poher Rasmussen, he tells for the first time the story of his extraordinary journey as a child refugee from Afghanistan.

"The Velvet Queen" -- OPENS FRIDAY, JANUARY 28 AT THE MICHIGAN

In the heart of the Tibetan highlands, multi-award-winning nature photographer Vincent Munier guides writer Sylvain Tesson on his quest to document the infamously elusive snow leopard. Munier introduces Tesson to the subtle art of waiting from a blind spot, tracking animals, and finding the patience to catch sight of the beasts. Through their journey in the Tibetan peaks, inhabited by invisible presences, the two men ponder humankind's place amongst the magnificent creatures and glorious landscapes they encounter along the way.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

Coming on Valentine's Day
 
Free for Michigan Theater members, but all are invited for this romantic evening. Have your sweetheart choose:

Late Nights at the Michigan

Korean Cinema NOW 

Sidney Poitier Memorial Retrospective Series (at the Michigan)

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

"Drive My Car" 

Winner of three prizes at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, including Best Screenplay. Chosen as the Japanese entry for the Best International Feature Film Oscar. Wone the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film.

Two years after his wife's unexpected death, Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima), a renowned stage actor and director, receives an offer to direct a production of Uncle Vanya at a theater festival in Hiroshima. There, he meets Misaki Watari (Toko Miura), a taciturn young woman assigned by the festival to chauffeur him in his beloved red Saab 900. As the production's premiere approaches, tensions mount amongst the cast and crew, not least between Yusuke and Koji Takatsuki, a handsome TV star who shares an unwelcome connection to Yusuke's late wife. Forced to confront painful truths raised from his past, Yusuke begins -- with the help of his driver -- to face the haunting mysteries his wife left behind. Adapted from Haruki Murakami's short story, Ryusuke Hamaguchi's film is a haunting road movie traveling a path of love, loss, acceptance, and peace. Winner of three prizes at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, including Best Screenplay.

"Scream"

An American slasher film directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett and written by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick. It is the fifth installment in the "Scream film" series. Though billed as a relaunch of the film series, the film is a direct sequel to "Scream 4" (2011), and the first in the series not to be directed by Wes Craven, who died in 2015. The film is dedicated to Craven at the beginning of the closing credits. The film stars Melissa BarreraMason GoodingJenna Ortega, and Jack Quaid, alongside Marley SheltonCourteney CoxDavid Arquette, and Neve Campbell, who reprise their roles from previous installments. Twenty-five years after a streak of brutal murders shocked the quiet town of Woodsboro, Calif., a new killer dons the Ghostface mask and begins targeting a group of teenagers to resurrect secrets from the town's deadly past.

"Licorice Pizza"

This film is a 2021 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson ("Phantom Thread," "There Will Be Blood," "Boogie Nights"). The film stars Alana HaimCooper HoffmanSean PennTom WaitsBradley CooperMaya Rudolph, and Benny Safdie. The film received acclaim from critics and received three awards from the National Board of Review, including Best Film. It was also named one of the best films of 2021 by the American Film Institute and received four nominations at the 79th Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, along with eight nominations at the 27th Critics' Choice Awards, including Best Picture. The story of Alana Kane (Alana Haim) and Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) growing up, running around and going through the treacherous navigation of first love in the San Fernando Valley, 1973. 

"Spider-Man: No Way Home"

This is a 2021 American superhero film, the sequel to "Spider-Man: Homecoming" (2017) and "Spider-Man: Far From Home" (2019). It is the 27th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film is directed by Jon Watts, written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, and stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man alongside ZendayaBenedict CumberbatchJacob BatalonJon Favreau, and Marisa Tomei. In this film, Parker asks Dr. Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) to make his identity as Spider-Man a secret again with magic, but Strange's spell goes awry, breaking open the multiverse and allowing supervillains from alternate realities to enter the MCU. This marks the first time in the cinematic history of Spider-Man, our friendly neighborhood hero's identity is revealed, bringing his Super Hero responsibilities into conflict with his normal life and putting those he cares about most at risk. Now, Peter will have to overcome his greatest challenge yet, which will not only forever alter his own future, but the future of the Multiverse.

"House of Gucci"

This is a 2021 American biographical crime drama film directed by Ridley Scott, based on the 2001 book "The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed" by Sara Gay Forden. The film stars Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani, the wife of Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), as their romance transforms into a fight for control of the fashion brand Gucci; Jared LetoJeremy IronsSalma Hayek, and Al Pacino also star.

Ridley Scott had wanted to do a film about the Gucci dynasty since acquiring the rights to Forden's book in the early 2000s. The project languished for several years and went through a handful of directors and rumored actors before Scott and Gaga were confirmed as attached in November 2019. Much of the rest of the cast joined the following summer, and filming began in Italy in February 2021, lasting through May.

The film is inspired by the shocking true story of the family behind the Italian fashion empire. When Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), an outsider from humble beginnings, marries into the Gucci family, her unbridled ambition begins to unravel the family legacy and triggers a reckless spiral of betrayal, decadence, revenge, and ultimately... murder.

"The French Dispatch"

A 2021 American comedy-drama anthology film written, directed, and produced by Wes Anderson from a story he conceived with Roman CoppolaHugo Guinness, and Jason Schwartzman. The film stars an ensemble cast featuring Benicio del Toro, Adrien BrodyTilda SwintonLéa SeydouxFrances McDormandTimothée ChalametLyna KhoudriJeffrey WrightMathieu AmalricStephen ParkBill Murray, and Owen Wilson. Its plot follows three different storylines, as the French foreign bureau of a fictional Kansas newspaper creates its final issue. Filming took place between November 2018 and March 2019, with cinematographer Robert Yeoman, in the city of Angoulême, France. Following a delay, the film had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on July 12, 2021.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu

Nearly three-quarters of David Fair’s 20+ years in radio has been at WEMU. Since 1994, he has been on the air at 5am each weekday on 89.1 FM as the local host of NPR’s Morning Edition. Over the years, Fair has had the opportunity to interview nationally and internationally known politicians, activists and celebrities. But he feels the most important features and interviews have been with those who live and work here at home. He believes his professional passions and desires fit perfectly into WEMU’s commitment to serving a local audience.
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