Spring is almost upon us, which brings flowers, warmer weather, and superheroes on the big screen! In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair and Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins discuss the latest movie news and all of the new flicks coming to your local movie house this weekend.
Superheroes at the State (Sneak Peeks Thursday, March 7 and opens for full run, Friday, March 8): 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. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, and Jude Law. Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, a tandem filmmaking team best known for their collaborations on "Half Nelson," "Sugar," and "Mississippi Grind."
The initial screenwriter, Nicole Perlman, wrote about creating Marvel Studios' first female superhero. “We've been talking a lot about archetypes and what we want this movie to be about and just how to write a strong female superhero without making it Superman with boobs ... we'll catch ourselves and say, 'Wait a minute, what are we saying [here] about women in power?' Then we have to say, 'Why are we getting so hung up on that? We should just tell the best story and build the best character.' And then we have this constant back-and-forth about how to tell a story that is compelling, entertaining, moving, kick-ass, and fun, and also be aware of what those larger implications might be.” From the studio that created Black Panther.
At the Michigan (Opens Friday, Mar. 8): Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, this film takes us straight to the heart of NASA's most celebrated mission—the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names. The film was one of the opening-night documentaries at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, offering a fully captivating look at the mission whose 50th anniversary will arrive in July of this year.
At the Michigan (Opens Friday, Mar. 8): This film follows Laura (played by Penelope Cruz) on her travels from Argentina to her small home town outside of Madrid, Spain for her sister's wedding, bringing her two children along for the occasion. Amid the joyful reunion and festivities, the eldest daughter is abducted. In the tense days that follow, various family and community tensions surface and deeply hidden secrets are revealed. Also stars Javier Bardem. Writer-director Asghar Farhadi ("A Separation")
SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN
This event plays Sunday, March 10 at 4 PM at the Michigan Theater. Each year, CatVideoFest curates a compilation reel of the latest, best cat videos culled from countless hours-of unique submissions and sourced animations, music videos, and, of course, classic internet powerhouses. CatVideoFest is a joyous communal experience, only available in theaters, and raises money for cats in need through partnerships with local cat charities, animal welfare organizations, and shelters to best serve cats in the area. What better way for us humans to come together than by watching cats? Assembled by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN.
This film plays Tuesday, March 12 at 7 PM at the State Theatre as a part of our Celebrating Women Filmmaker series! As America's stock of athletic young men is depleted during World War II, a professional all-female baseball league springs up in the Midwest, funded by publicity-hungry candy maker Walter Harvey (played by Garry Marshall). Competitive sisters Dottie Hinson (played by Geena Davis) and Kit Keller (played by Lori Petty) spar with each other, scout Ernie Capadino (played by Jon Lovitz) and grumpy has-been coach Jimmy Dugan (played by Tom Hanks) on their way to fame. Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell co-star as two of the sisters' teammates. This film was directed by Penny Marshall, who in 1992, became the first woman to direct two movies that grossed over $100 million in the United States with "A League of Their Own" and "Big."
This film plays Wednesday, March 13 at 7 PM at the Michigan Theater as a part of the Icons of Anime Film Series. It is the year 2029. Technology has advanced so far that cyborgs are commonplace. In addition, human brains can connect to the internet directly. Major Motoko Kasunagi is an officer in Section 9, an elite, secretive police division that deals with special operations, including counterterrorism and cyber-crime. She is currently on the trail of the Puppet Master, a cyber criminal who hacks into the brains of cyborgs in order to obtain information and to commit other crimes.
At the State: This suspense thriller from Academy Award®-winning director Neil Jordan ("The Crying Game") follows Frances (played by Chloë Grace Moretz), who finds a handbag on the New York subway and doesn’t think twice about returning it to its rightful owner. That owner is Greta (played by Isabelle Huppert), an eccentric French piano teacher with a love for classical music and an aching loneliness. Having recently lost her mother, Frances quickly grows closer to widowed Greta. The two become fast friends, but Greta’s maternal charms begin to dissolve and grow increasingly disturbing as Frances discovers that nothing in Greta’s life is what it seems.
At the Michigan: Oscar@ nominated for Best Foreign Language film, Winner of the Grand Jury Prize Cannes Film Festival! Nadine Labaki‘s film follows the journey of Zain, a gutsy, streetwise 12-year-old boy, as he flees his negligent parents and survives the dangers of the city streets by his wits. Along the way, he takes care of Ethiopian refugee and her baby son, ends up being jailed for a crime, and, ultimately, seeks justice in a courtroom against his parents for the “crime” of giving him life.
Moving from the Michigan to the State: Nominated for 2 Oscars® including Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography! Inspired by real events and spanning three eras of German history, this film tells the story of a young art student, Kurt (played by Tom Schilling) who falls in love with fellow student, Ellie (played by Paula Beer). Ellie’s father, Professor Seeband (played by Sebastian Koch), a famous doctor, is dismayed at his daughter’s choice of boyfriend, and vows to destroy the relationship. What neither of them knows is that their lives are already connected through a terrible crime Seeband committed decades ago.
Oscar® nominated for Best Foreign Language Film! Understated yet ultimately deeply affecting, this film adds another powerful chapter to director Hirokazu Koreeda's richly humanistic filmography. After one of their shoplifting sessions, Osamu and his son come across a little girl in the freezing cold. At first reluctant to shelter the girl, Osamu's wife agrees to take care of her after learning of the hardships she faces. Although the family is poor, barely making enough money to survive through petty crime, they seem to live happily together until an unforeseen incident reveals hidden secrets, testing the bonds that unite them.
Oscar Winner Best Actress — Olivia Colman! This film takes place in the early 18th century, while England is at war with the French. A frail Queen Anne (Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne's ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant Abigail Masham (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing, and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots.
Oscar Winner Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor — Mahershala Ali, and Best Original Screenplay! In this film, Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on "The Green Book" to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Confronted with racism, danger-as well as unexpected humanity and humor-they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime.
Oscar Winner for Best Documentary! From award-winning documentary filmmaker E. Chai Vasarhelyi and world-renowned photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin comes this National Geographic Documentary Film, a stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of the free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world's most famous rock... the 3,000ft El Capitan in Yosemite National Park... without a rope.
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