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Cinema Chat: Cinetopia, Inside Out, Dope, I'll See You In My Dreams And More

Jun 18, 2015

Russ Collins, Executive Director and CEO of the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor
Credit David Fair / 89.1 WEMU

A wrap-up of the Cinetopia International Film Festival and a preview of area mvoie options. Catch this week's edition of 'Cinema Chat'  with Russ Collins and 89.1 WEMU's David Fair!

It’s a Wrap: Cinetopia 2016 Was A Hit!

Cinetopia Festival 2015 was a huge hit! Attendance again grew by 50% with overall attendance reaching a bit over 20,000 admissions. Best of all, the “buzz” from audiences about the festival was outstanding -- from the opening night on the lawn of the DIA to the wonderful locally made short films that were part of the Detroit Voices program, from the special Arab Film Festival presented within Cinetopia by Dearborn’s Arab American National Museum, to the 40th anniversary screening of “Jaws” outdoors on Maynard Street. It was a memorable and fun festival; over 70 films representing the best films from the world’s best film festivals concluded with Noah Baumbach new film, “Mistress America,” thoroughly enjoyed by sizable closing night crowd on Sunday evening at the Michigan Theater.

In Detroit, besides traditional venue partners like the Detroit Institute of Arts and Cinema Detroit, new partners like the elegant Redford Theatre, the Senate Theater and the Maple Theatre in Bloomfield Hills were added. The Orson Welles Symposium, organized by the U of M’s Department of Screen Arts and Cultures, and the Welles exhibit at the UM Graduate Library, were outstanding and well attended. If you missed Cinetopia, you still have an opportunity to see the Orson Welles exhibit, because it continues at the Hatcher Graduate Library through July 12.

What is best about a film festival is the opportunity to see and talk to filmmakers.  It was truly wonderful to have dozens and dozens of filmmakers at Cinetopia 2015. Established professionals like Tab Hunter, Bobcat Goldthwait, Barry Crimmins, and up and coming filmmakers like Charles Poekel, Brendan Toller, Anthony Lucero, Malik Vitthal, and so many more promising film directors, actors and producers participated in post-screening discussions and Q and A session. Plus, festival goers got to see many of the filmmakers on the street and in local eateries.

Make sure you mark your calendar for Cinetopia 2016.  The festival will again take place in Detroit and Ann Arbor June 3-12, 2016.

Opening at the Multiplex

Inside Out

In Pixar Disney’s newest animated film, “Inside Out,” shows that growing up can be a bumpy road, and it's no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. 

As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Peter Debruge of Variety says, “Pixar's 15th feature proves to be the greatest idea the toon studio has ever had ... promises to forever change the way people think about the way people think, delivering creative fireworks grounded by a wonderfully relatable family story.” “Inside Out” opens Friday.

100% Positive reviews - Inventive, gorgeously animated, and powerfully moving, Inside Out is another outstanding addition to the Pixar library of modern animated classics.

Pixar stands alone, and "Inside Out" shows you why. -- Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Opening Downtown


“Dope” is a critical hit, an audience favorite and, in my opinion, one of the best films to come out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival. High school senior Malcolm (Shameik Moore) is carefully surviving life in a tough neighborhood in Los Angeles while juggling college applications, academic interviews, and preparing for the SATs. A chance invitation to an underground party leads him into an adventure that could allow him to go from being a geek, to being dope, to ultimately being himself. “Dope” opens Friday at the State Theatre.

I'll See You In My Dreams

In “I’ll See You In My Dreams” a widow and former songstress, played by Blythe Danner, discovers that life can begin anew at any age. With the support of three loyal girlfriends, Blythe Danner’s character decides to embrace the world, embarking on an unlikely friendship with her pool maintenance man, (Sam Elliott), and reconnecting with her daughter. Also stars Rhea Perlman, Jane Squibb, Malin Akerman and more.

Produced by Sundance veteran, Michigan native and Plymouth resident Rebecca Green, it too was a Sundance hit meeting with strong critical support; the Washington Post says, “The drama serves as a pleasant reminder that no matter how old we get, we never really become experts at life.  And who would want to? The fumbling is often the most interesting part.” “I’ll See You In My Dreams” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

94% POSITIVE REVIEWS - I'll See You in My Dreams would be worth watching even if Blythe Danner's central performance was all it had going for it, but this thoughtful drama satisfies on multiple levels.

Saint Laurent

“Saint Laurent” is a French biography drama co-written and directed by Bertrand Bonello, and starring Gaspard Ulliel as Yves Saint Laurent, and centers on Saint Laurent’s life from 1967 to 1976, during which time the famed fashion designer was at the peak of his career.  It received ten César Award nominations, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor.  “Saint Laurent” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

A.O. Scott, New York Times -- Shepherding you past security with a flash of a V.I.P. all-access pass, it confers instant insider status made even more alluring by the element of time travel.

Ella Taylor, NPR - Never less than a sensual delight. The editing craftily mimics Laurent's style, impeccably cut and full of stealth moves and weird angles that take you by surprise.

Special Screenings Downtown

The Godfather

Popularly viewed as one of the best American films ever made, the multi-generational crime saga “The Godfather” kicks off our Summer Classics film series with Marlon Brando and Al Pacino just in time for Father’s Day! “The Godfather” plays Sunday, June 21st at 1:30PM and Tuesday. June 23rd at 7:00 PM.

The Breakfast Club

“The Breakfast Club,” John Hughes quintessential 1980s high school drama featuring the hottest young stars of the decade, is this week’s Midnight movie at the State Theatre and plays Saturday at 11:59 PM.

Let's Have Some Church Detroit Style

Local filmmakers Andrew Sacks and Patrick Murphy won the Audience Choice Award at the 2015 Freep Film Festival with their documentary about a community choir, The Hallelujah Singers, in “Let’s Have Some Church Detroit Style.” Set in Detroit, the film explores the challenges and triumphs of the choir and its charismatic director, Dr. E. LaQuint Weaver. Shot over four years, the ninety minute film is filled with music from rehearsals, performances, and even living rooms. “Let’s Have Some Church Detroit Style” plays Saturday, June 20th at 7:00 PM.