89.1 WEMU

Cinema Chat: 'Climax,' 'Ruben Brandt, Collector,' 'Wonder Park,' And More

Mar 14, 2019

Michigan Theater Lobby
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

WEMU's Spring Pledge Drive is well underway, but there's still plenty of time to catch a good flick.  In this fundraising edition of "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair and Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins talk about the latest movie news and all of the new films worth checking out this weekend.

*Audio not available due to active pitching for pledge drive*

CAPTAIN MARVEL HAS ONE OF MARVEL’S MOST SUCCESSFUL OPENING WEEKEND!

"Captain Marvel" brought in $153 million domestically and $455 million globally this weekend, making it one of the biggest blockbusters ever led by a woman!  The Brie Larson-led movie’s opening weekend was the seventh best of any in the 21-film Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, behind the $174.1 million brought in by “Iron Man 3” and just ahead of “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2,” which made $146.5 million during its first weekend.  (Topping that list: “Avengers: Infinity War,” which took in $257.7 million when it debuted.)

OPENING DOWNTOWN

"Climax"

At the State (Sneak Peek Thursday, Mar. 14 and opens for a full run Friday, Mar. 15): From director Gaspar Noé ("Irreversible;" "Enter the Void;" "Love") comes a hypnotic, hallucinatory, and ultimately hair-raising depiction of a party that descends into delirium over the course of one wintry night.  In this film, a troupe of young dancers gathers in a remote and empty school building to rehearse.  The troupe begins an all-night celebration that turns nightmarish as the dancers discover they’ve been pounding cups of sangria laced with potent LSD.  Tracking their journey from jubilation to chaos and full-fledged anarchy, Noé observes crushes, rivalries, and violence amid a collective psychedelic meltdown.

"Ruben Brandt, Collector"

At the State (Opens Friday, Mar. 15): This film follows Ruben Brandt, a famous psychotherapist, who is forced to steal 13 paintings from the world’s renowned museums and private collections to prevent his suffering from terrible nightmares he has as a result of subliminal messaging he received as a child.  Accompanied by his four patients, he and his band of thieves strike regularly and with great success: the Louvre, Tate, Uffizi, Hermitage, the Museum of Modern Art.  “The Collector” quickly becomes the most wanted criminal in the world.  Gangsters and headhunters chase him around the world while the reward for his capture keeps rising, approaching a hundred million dollars.  A cartel of insurance companies entrusts Mike Kowalski, a private detective and leading expert on art theft, to solve the “Collector Case.”

"The Wedding Guest"

At the Michigan (Opens Friday, Mar. 15): This propulsive, globetrotting thriller from acclaimed director Michael Winterbottom ("A Summer in Genoa;" "A Mighty Heart;" "Everyday") is a breathless tour through the shadowy underworlds and hidden realms of Pakistan and India.  Jay (played by Dev Patel) is a man with a secret who travels from Britain to Pakistan to attend a wedding – armed with duct tape, a shotgun, and a plan to kidnap the bride-to-be.  Despite his cool efficiency, the plot quickly spirals out of control, sending Jay and his hostage on the run across the border and through the railway stations, back alleys, and black markets of New Delhi – as all the while attractions simmer, loyalties shift, and explosive secrets are revealed.  Pulsating with the sights and sounds of the Indian subcontinent, the film conjures a colorful world where danger lurks at every turn and nothing is as it seems.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

"Shrek 2"

This film plays Friday, March 15 at 10 PM at the State Theatre as a part of Late Nights at the State.  After returning from their honeymoon and showing home movies to their friends, Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) and Fiona (voiced by Cameron Diaz) learn that her parents have heard that she has married her true love and wish to invite him to their kingdom, called Far Far Away.  The catch is: Fiona’s parents are unaware of the curse that struck their daughter and have assumed she married Prince Charming, not a 700-pound ogre with horrible hygiene and a talking donkey pal (voiced by Eddie Murphy).

"After My Death"

This film plays Saturday, March 16 at 1 PM at the Michigan Theater as a part of the Korean Cinema NOW Film Series presented by the Nam Center for Korean Studies.  Free and open to the public!  A female high school student (played by Jeon So-Nee) goes missing.  Her body or any evidence of her disappearance cannot be found, but the girl is suspected of having jumped off a bridge to her death.  One of her classmates, Young-Hee (played by Jeon Yeo-Bin) learns she was the last person to see her alive.  The missing girl’s mother (played by Seo Young-Hwa) quickly throws accusations at Young-Hee.  Soon, Young-Hee’s classmates, faculty and detectives question her innocence.

"The Departed"

This film plays Saturday, March 16 at 10 PM at the State Theatre as a part of Late Nights at the State.  South Boston cop Billy Costigan (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) goes undercover to infiltrate the organization of gangland chief Frank Costello (played by Jack Nicholson).  As Billy gains the mobster’s trust, a career criminal named Colin Sullivan (played by Matt Damon) infiltrates the police department and reports on its activities to his syndicate bosses.  When both organizations learn they have a mole in their midst, Billy and Colin must figure out each other’s identities to save their own lives.

"Fruitless Tree"

This film plays Tuesday, March 19 at 6 PM at the Michigan Theater as a part of the CEW+, DAAS & ASC 2018-19 African Women Film Series.  As a married but childless woman, director Aïcha El Hadj Macky finds herself in a situation that is totally “out of the ordinary” in her country, Niger, where women are expected to have children.  But just like everywhere else in the world today, Niger also experiences problems with infertility.  Based on her personal story, Aïcha explores the private suffering of women in her situation with great sensitivity.  Speaking openly as a childless woman among mothers, she breaks a taboo in Nigerien society.

"The Hurt Locker"

This film plays Tuesday, March 19 at 7 PM at the State Theatre as the finale of our Celebrating Women Filmmaker series.  Following the death of their well-respected Staff Sergeant in Iraq, Sergeant JT Stanborn (played by Anthony Mackie) and Specialist Owen Eldridge (played by Brian Geraghty) find their Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit saddled with a very different team leader.  Staff Sergeant William James (played by Jeremy Renner) is an inveterate risk-taker who seems to thrive on war, but there's no denying his gift for defusing bombs.  This film was directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who in 2010, became the first woman to win Best Director in Oscar history.

"Genesis 2.0"

This film plays Wednesday, March 20 at 7 PM at the Michigan Theater as a part of the Science on Screen Film Series, an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre, with major support from the Sloan Foundation and the Arbor Research Collaborative of Health.  Winner of the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematography at Sundance 2018!  This film is a documentary film made by Oscar-Nominated Swiss director and producer Christian Frei.  On the remote New Siberian Islands in the Arctic Ocean, hunters search for tusks of extinct mammoths.  When they discover a surprisingly well-preserved mammoth carcass, its resurrection becomes the first manifestation of the next great technological revolution: genetics, and it may turn the world upside down.  Featuring a live discussion after the film with David Burke, Ph.D., Interim Chair and Professor, Department of Human Genetics at Michigan Medical School.

"Kiki's Delivery Service"

This film plays Wednesday, March 20 at 7 PM at the Michigan Theater as a part of the Icons of Anime Film Series sponsored by U-M Center for Japanese Studies.  Directed by Hayao Miyazaki.  In this anime feature, 13-year-old Kiki moves to a seaside town with her talking cat, Jiji, to spend a year alone, in accordance with her village’s tradition for witches in training.  After learning to control her broomstick, Kiki sets up a flying courier service and soon becomes a fixture in the community.  But when the insecure young witch begins questioning herself and loses her magic abilities, she must overcome her self-doubt to get her powers back.

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

"Apollo 11"

At the Michigan: 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.

"Capernaum"

At the Michigan: 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. 

"Everybody Knows"

At the Michigan: 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

"Captain Marvel"

At the State: 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. JacksonBen MendelsohnDjimon HounsouLee PaceLashana LynchGemma ChanAnnette BeningClark Gregg, and Jude Law.  

"Never Look Away"

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. 

"Green Book"

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. 

OPENING AT THE MULITPLEX

"Wonder Park"

This film tells the story of a wildly creative girl named June, who, one day, discovers an old rollercoaster car and climbs inside.  She suddenly finds herself in Wonderland, an amusement park she had created in her mind and put aside.  All of her rides and characters are brought to life but are falling into disarray without her.  June will have to put the wonder back in Wonderland before it is lost forever.  This animation features voices from Jennifer Garner, Kenan Thompson, Mila Kunis, Ken Jeong, and more!

"Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase"

After the death of his wife, Carson Drew decides to leave Chicago behind and make a fresh start with his daughter in River Heights.  But for 16-year-old Nancy Drew, life in a small town is mighty dull and she longs for the chance to make a difference.  Nancy gets that opportunity when she is asked to help solve the ghostly activity at the Twin Elms mansion.  Recruiting her best friends George and Bess, along with local "mean girl" Helen, Nancy Drew is on the case!

"Captive State"

Set in a Chicago neighborhood nearly a decade after an occupation by an extra-terrestrial force, this film explores the lives on both sides of the conflict - the collaborators and dissidents.  Stars John Goodman, Ashton Sanders ("Moonlight;" "The Retrieval;" "Straight Outta Compton"), and Jonathan Majors ("The Last Black Man in San Francisco;" "White Boy Rick").

"Five Feet Apart"

This film follows seventeen-year-old Stella (played by Haley Lu Richardson), who spends most of her time in the hospital as a cystic fibrosis patient. Her life is full of routines, boundaries and self-control -- all of which get put to the test when she meets Will (played by Cole Sprouse), a charming teen who has the same illness.  As their connection intensifies, so does the temptation to throw the rules out the window and embrace that attraction.

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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