Cinema Chat: Bond opens big, 'The Rescue,' 'The Velvet Underground,' and more

Oct 14, 2021

Inside the State Theatre.
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

It's another great movie week with a slight change in the voices that you hear every Thursday. WEMU's Michael Jewett will be filling in for David Fair for the foreseeable future, but he'll still bring you the latest movie news and previews with Michigan Theater Foundation executive director Russ Collins.


"NO TIME TO DIE" ADDS HEFT TO STRONG OCTOBER

The latest Bond gross is another sign of improvement.

With $56 million, “No Time to Die” is the fifth-largest opening weekend this year. That’s logical for a film with an audience that skews much older. Massive press interest aside, current Bond films have far less pop culture appeal than they did in the 20th century. One statistic to explain what 007 is up against: 36 percent of its domestic audience was over 45, and 57 percent was over 35. For “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” last weekend, more than two-thirds of its audience was under 35.

In a release announcing its Bond results, United Artists indicated that 25 percent of its audience returned to theaters for the first time since before the pandemic. That’s a big boost, but a larger pool of prime Bond fans are still hesitant. Add that to the normal franchise film-to-film drop: The opening weekend for “No Time to Die” represented a 20 percent fall from “Spectre,” which represented a 20 percent drop from “Skyfall.” "No Time to Die" has taken in $313 million so far. With most of the world open, it looks that this will fall short of the $881 million “Spectre” total.

That is not a mark against “No Time.” “Spectre” sales were stronger, but with film business being subdued overall by the pandemic “No Time” will likely end up with a better relative share of the current movie market.

AND RUSS, THOUGHT IT VERY FUN, AND MUCH MORE HUMAN THAN THE BONDS BEFORE DANIEL CRAIG.

“No Time To Die” is a 2021 British-American spy film and the 25th in the James Bond series. Stars Daniel Craig in his fifth and final outing as the fictional British MI6 agent. It is directed by Cary Fukunaga from a screenplay by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and others, including Fukunaga. Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, Rory Kinnear, and Ralph Fiennes reprise their roles from previous films. Rami Malek plays a classic Bond adversary. The film received strong positive reviews from critics, who hailed it as a fitting and compelling sendoff to the Craig-era of Bond films.

TOO BAD IF YOU MISSED THESE FILMS LAST WEEKEND:

 

"Soul" (The animated hit Pixar film). Co-writer and co-director Kemp Powers was in-person to introduce the film and did a post-film discussion with Jim Burnstein, University of Michigan Professor of Film, Television, and Media, and Director of the Screenwriting Program. Kemp was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at U-M in 2003 and took the screenwriting class with Jim Burnstein.

 

"One Night in Miami..." – Screenwriter Kemp Powers returned for back-to-back days of post-film discussion with Lynette Clemetson, The Charles R. Eisendrath Director of Wallace House, Knight-Wallace Fellowships for Journalists and the Livingston Awards!

 

OPENING DOWNTOWN

"The Rescue" -- OPENS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15 AT THE STATE

This is a 2021 documentary film directed and produced by the folks who made the gripping documentary "Free Solo." The film chronicles the enthralling, against-all-odds story that transfixed the world in 2018: the daring rescue of twelve boys and their coach from deep inside a flooded cave in Northern Thailand. Using a wealth of never-before-seen material and exclusive interviews, directors E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin keep viewers on the edge of their seats as they bring alive one of the most perilous and extraordinary rescues in modern times, shining a light on the high-risk world of cave diving, the astounding courage and compassion of the rescuers, and the shared humanity of the international community that united to save the boys. The film had its world premiere at the 48th Telluride Film Festival on September 2, 2021. It was also screened at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2021, where it won the People's Choice Award for Documentaries.

"Bergman Island" -- OPENS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15 AT THE MICHIGAN

This is a 2021 internationally co-produced drama film, written and directed by Mia Hansen-Løve. It stars Vicky Krieps, Tim Roth, Mia Wasikowska, and Anders Danielsen Lie. It had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on 11 July 2021.  The film follows a couple of American filmmakers, Chris (Vicky Krieps) and Tony (Tim Roth), who retreat to the mythical Fårö island for the summer. In this wild, breathtaking landscape where Bergman lived and shot his most celebrated pieces, they hope to find inspiration for their upcoming films. As days spent separately pass by, the fascination for the island operates on Chris and souvenirs of her first love resurface. Lines between reality and fiction progressively blur as the story climaxes.

"The Velvet Underground" -- OPENS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15 AT THE MICHIGAN

This film explores the multiple threads that converged to bring together one of the most influential bands in rock and roll. Filmed with the cooperation of surviving band members, this multifaceted portrait folds in an array of participants in the creative scene’s cultures and subcultures. Tracing influences and affinities both personal and artistic, Todd Haynes unearths rich detail about Andy Warhol, The Factory, Nico, and others, adding vivid context and texture that never diminish the ultimate enigma of the band’s power.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

"Ray" -- PLAYS TUESDAY, OCTOBER 19 AT THE MICHIGAN

Ray is a 2004 American biographical musical drama film focusing on 30 years in the life of rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles,  directed by Taylor Hackford. It stars Jamie Foxx in the title role, along with Kerry WashingtonClifton PowellHarry LennixTerrence Howard, and Regina King in supporting roles.

It received positive reviews from critics, with particular praise for Foxx's performance, which won the Academy Award for Best Actor.

"The Harder They Fall" -- PLAYS TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26 AT THE MICHIGAN (OPENS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22 FOR A WEEK-LONG RUN)

A 2021 American Western film directed by Jeymes Samuel, who co-wrote the screenplay with Boaz Yakin. The film stars Jonathan MajorsIdris Elba, Zazie BeetzRegina KingDelroy LindoLakeith StanfieldRJ CylerDanielle DeadwylerEdi Gathegi, and Deon Cole. The film had its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival on October 6, 2021. It is scheduled to be released in a limited release on October 22, 2021.

ALFRED HITCHCOCK SERIES - Fridays

"Psycho" -- PLAYS THIS FRIDAY 7:30 PM @ THE MICHIGAN 

 

This is a 1960 American psychological horror thriller film produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film stars Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, and Martin Balsam. The plot centers on an encounter between on-the-run embezzler Marion Crane (Leigh) and shy motel proprietor Norman Bates (Perkins) and its aftermath, in which a private investigator (Balsam), Marion's lover Sam Loomis (Gavin), and her sister Lila (Miles) investigate the cause of her disappearance. This film was seen as a departure from Hitchcock's previous film "North by Northwest," as it was filmed on a lower budget in black-and-white by the crew of his television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Psycho was nominated for four Academy Awards and Psycho is now considered one of Hitchcock's best films,[10] and is arguably his most famous work.

 

 LATE NIGHTS - Fridays at 10 PM

"Alien" – PLAYS THIS FRIDAY @ the Michigan

 

This is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott and written by Dan O'Bannon. It follows the crew of the commercial space tug Nostromo, who encounter the eponymous Alien, an aggressive and deadly extraterrestrial set loose on the ship. The film stars Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, and Yaphet Kotto. The Alien and its accompanying artifacts were designed by the Swiss artist H. R. Giger, while concept artists Ron Cobb and Chris Foss designed the more human settings. Won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry and was ranked by the American Film Institute as the seventh-best film in the science-fiction genre.

 

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

"Lamb"

A 2021 Iceland supernatural horror film starring Noomi Rapace ("The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"), and marks Valdimar Jóhannsson's feature-length directorial debut. A childless couple in rural Iceland make an alarming discovery one day in their sheep barn. They soon face the consequences of defying the will of nature, in this dark and atmospheric folktale. 

"Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings"

Based on the Marvel Comics featuring the character Shang-Chi, it is the 25th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi alongside AwkwafinaMeng'er ZhangFala ChenBenedict WongMichelle YeohBen Kingsley, and Tony Leung. In the film, Shang-Chi is forced to confront his past after he is drawn into his father's Ten Rings organization.

This is the first Marvel Studios film with an Asian director (Destin Daniel Cretton) and a predominantly Asian cast. The film received positive reviews from critics, praising the film's fight choreography, its exploration and representation of Asian culture, and the performances (particularly that of Simu Liu and Tony Leung). 

COMING SOON DOWNTOWN

"Dune" - OPENS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22 AT THE MICHIGAN WITH ADVANCED SCREENING ON OCTOBER 21!

From director Denis Villeneuve, a mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, this film tells the story of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.

"The French Dispatch" -- WES ANDERSON'S NEW FILM OPENS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5

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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—Michael Jewett is the WEMU weekday jazz host.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org