Cinema Chat: New COVID Safety Guidelines Begin Friday At Downtown Ann Arbor Movie Houses

Aug 26, 2021

The Michigan Theater
Credit The Michigan Theater / Facebook

August is winding down, but the movies will always be here for you. WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan Theater Foundation executive director Russ Collins about the week's movie news, new and returning films on the big screen, and what you'll need to do to stay safe while enjoying the movie of your choice. 


COVID-19 PROTOCOLS FOR MICHIGAN THEATER AND STATE THEATRE

Starting tomorrow, Friday, August 27, the Michigan and State theaters will require all attendees over the age of 12 to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before films or live events. Masks are also required at this time. Attendees under the age of 12 will need to have their temperature checked and wear a mask at all times at the event. This is a temporary safety policy, which we expect to stay in place until the current flare up of COVID-19 infections abates.

OPENING DOWNTOWN

"Together" -- OPENS FRIDAY, AUGUST 27 AT THE STATE

Academy Award directorial nominee Stephen Daldry’s ("Billy Elliot," "The Hours," 'The Reader") new comedy, starring James McAvoy and Sharon Horgan, is the story of a family, like so many, who found a way to survive - together.

It is a British comedy-drama from a screenplay written by Dennis Kelly. It is a hilarious and heartbreaking story which intimately shows two partners forced to re-evaluate themselves and their relationship through the reality of lockdown.

The film was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two on 17 June 2021. Upon release, it received generally positive reviews from critics, with some calling it a "claustrophobic", "brilliant", and "honest" film set during the pandemic. However, a mixed response was given on its use of monologues and fourth wall breaks. In her review, Lucy Mangan from The Guardian gave the film four stars out of five and wrote that it "captures perfectly the emotional dilapidations of a dying relationship".

"Free Guy" -- OPENS FRIDAY, AUGUST 27 AT THE STATE

A bank teller discovers he is actually a background player in an open-world video game and decides to become the hero of his own story... one he rewrites himself. Now in a world where there are no limits, he is determined to be the guy who saves his world his way... before it is too late. Directed by Shawn Levy from a screenplay by Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn, and a story by Lieberman. The film stars Ryan Reynolds (who also produced) as a bank teller who saves his friends from deletion by the game's creator (Taika Waititi). Jodie ComerJoe KeeryLil Rel Howery, and Utkarsh Ambudkar also star.

"David Byrne's American Utopia" -- OPENS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 AT THE STATE

Directed by Oscar-winner Spike Lee, this film is a groundbreaking cinematic event that inspires audiences to connect with each other and with the global community. This filmed version of the electrifying Broadway musical sensation brings Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe-winning musician David Byrne (Talking Heads) together with 11 musical artists from around the world to perform songs from across Byrne’s career. Hailed by critics as “pure bliss,” the performance is a joyful celebration of music and dance, a call to action to engage in our democracy, and an invitation to reimagine our own utopias. Featuring never-before-seen footage and a special introduction by David Byrne.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

"Stephen Sondheim's Follies" -- PLAYING SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 AT 3 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

One-Night Event! Tracie Bennett, Janie Dee, and Imelda Staunton play the magnificent Follies in a dazzling National Theater of Great Britain production. Featuring a cast of 37 and an orchestra of 21, Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical was directed by Dominic Cooke ("The Courier") and filmed live on the London stage at the National Theatre in 2017.  New York, 1971. There’s a party on the stage of the Weismann Theatre. Tomorrow, the iconic building will be demolished. Thirty years after their final performance, the Follies girls gather to have a few drinks, sing a few songs and lie about themselves. Winner of Academy, Tony, Grammy and Olivier awards, Sondheim’s previous work includes "A Little Night Music," "Sweeney Todd," and "Sunday in the Park with George." 

ALFRED HITCHCOCK SERIES - Fridays

SPIKE LEE RETROSPECTIVE - Saturdays

  • "Clockers" -- Playing this Saturday @ the Michigan

 STUDIO GHIBLI JAPANESE ANIME - Saturdays 

​ESSENTIAL AVA DUVERNAY - Tuesdays

 

 LATE NIGHTS - Fridays at 9:30 PM 

 

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

"CODA"

This film had its world premiere on January 28, 2021 at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, and the screening at the Michigan Theater will be one of only a handful of theatrical screenings to be allowed. An American dramatic film featuring a hearing teenage girl who is a Child Of Deaf Adults (CODA for short). Written and directed by Sian Heder, the film stars Emilia Jones as the hearing girl, with Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur as her culturally deaf parents and Daniel Durant as her deaf brother. Eugenio Derbez and Ferdia Walsh-Peelo also star in the film. The film, which is an English-language remake of the 2014 French-language film "La Famille Bélier" was filmed on location in Gloucester, Massachusetts, in the United States.

"Respect"

The much-anticipated musical film based on the life of American singer Aretha Franklin. Directed by Liesl Tommy (in her feature film directorial debut), from a screenplay written by Tracey Scott Wilson. The film stars Jennifer Hudson as Franklin. Forest WhitakerMarlon WayansAudra McDonaldMarc MaronTituss BurgessSaycon SengblohHailey KilgoreSkye Dakota TurnerTate Donovan, and Mary J. Blige.

"Nine Days"

A supernatural drama film written and directed by Edson Oda. It stars Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Benedict Wong, Tony Hale, Bill Skarsgård, David Rysdahl, and Arianna Ortiz. Spike Jonze serves as an executive producer. In the film, a man (Winston Duke) interviews five unborn souls to determine which one can be given life on Earth. The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.

"Annette"

Alex Christophe Dupont (born 22 November 1960), best known as Leos Carax (French: [leɔs kaʁaks]), is a French film director, critic, and writer. Carax is noted for his poetic style and his tortured depictions of love. His first major work was "Boy Meets Girl" (1984), and his notable works include "Les Amants du Pont-Neuf" (1991), "Holy Motors" (2012) and "Annette" (2021). His professional name is an anagram of his real name, 'Alex', and 'Oscar'. 

This is a 2021 musical film directed by Leos Carax (in his English-language debut), and with a screenplay by Ron Mael & Russell Mael of Sparks and Carax, from an original story, music, and songs by the band. The plot follows a stand-up comedian (Adam Driver) and his opera singer wife (Marion Cotillard) and how their lives are changed when they have their first child; Simon Helberg and Devyn McDowell also star. A globally acclaimed opera singer and a stand-up comedian have their first child, and their lives are completely changed. Musical score by the Sparks Brothers.

"The Green Knight"

An epic fantasy adventure based on the timeless Arthurian legend, this film tells the story of Sir Gawain (Dev Patel), King Arthur's reckless and headstrong nephew, who embarks on a daring quest to confront the eponymous Green Knight, a gigantic emerald-skinned stranger and tester of men. Gawain contends with ghosts, giants, thieves, and schemers in what becomes a deeper journey to define his character and prove his worth in the eyes of his family and kingdom by facing the ultimate challenger. From visionary filmmaker David Lowery comes a fresh and bold spin on a classic tale from the knights of the round table.

"Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain"

It's not where you go. It's what you leave behind.... Chef, writer, adventurer, provocateur: Anthony Bourdain lived his life unabashedly. This film is an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at how an anonymous chef became a world-renowned cultural icon. From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville ("20 Feet From Stardom," "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"), this unflinching look at Bourdain reverberates with his presence, in his own voice and in the way he indelibly impacted the world around him.

COMING SOON DOWNTOWN

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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