In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins about the latest movie news and all of the new films coming to your local movie house this weekend.
‘Star Wars’ News: Filmmaker Victoria Mahoney Will Be First African-American Woman to Direct for Franchise
While the ever-expanding movie franchise has been taken to task plenty of times for its repeated hiring of exactly one type of filmmaker — white males, including recent turns from Ron Howard and Rian Johnson — “The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams is bringing someone brand new into the fold: filmmaker Victoria Mahoney.
The filmmaker and producer (and, fun fact, bit actor in “Legally Blonde”) will serve as the second unit director on Abrams’ upcoming untitled “Episode IX,” marking the first time an African-American woman has served in any directing capacity on a “Star Wars” film. Mahoney will step into a role that requires a close attention to detail, mostly dedicated to shooting essential pieces like establishing shots, stunts, inserts, and cutaways.
Mahoney is herself already an established filmmaker who has spent the past few years working inside the television space, including stints on DuVernay’s “Queen Sugar,” plus “Gypsy,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and more. But she’s no stranger to filmmaking, and Mahoney’s debut feature — “Yelling at the Sky,” which was loosely based on her own life — premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2011.
“Star Wars: Episode IX” is currently slated to open on December 20, 2019.
From Executive Producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, this film tars Josh Hartnett and Shinobu Terajima as a single 55-year-old woman in Tokyo who is given a blonde wig and a new identity by her young, unconventional English teacher. The experiment awakens hidden desires, but when her instructor suddenly quits and disappears, she enlists the help of her sister and the pair fly halfway across the world to the outskirts of Southern California to find him.
From Israel, this is a drama about a troubled family who must face the facts when something goes terribly wrong at their son's desolate military post. The film was the Israeli submission for consideration in this year’s Academy Award, and RogerEbert.com said it is “A formally gorgeous piece of work, the kind of film that exudes confidence in structure and tone, and it contains some of the most striking, memorable imagery of the year.”
SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN
“And Now For Something Completely Different,” our series celebrating the films of Monty Python, continues tonight at 9:30 PM. Included in the film are a series of live performed sketches and songs parodies which include “The Last Supper,” “Silly Olympics,” “Bishop on the Landing,” “The Lumberjack Song” and “Four Yorkshiremen.” "The Meaning of Life" will conclude the series next week Thursday, April 26 at the same time.
This film will conclude the Korean Cinema Now film series this Saturday, April 21, at 1:00 PM, a historical drama taking place during the Japanese colonial era, when roughly 400 Korean people were forced onto Battleship Island (“Hashima Island”) to mine for coal. As always, this screening is free and open to the public!
This will continue the Science on Screen series next Wednesday, April 25 at 7:30 PM and feature a live Q&A afterward with an expert in the subject of animal testing. This film stars James Franco as a scientist in San Francisco experimenting with a drug that he hopes will cure his father’s Alzheimer’s disease. After his work is deemed a failure, he becomes the guardian of Caesar, an infant chimp who was exposed in-utero to the drug. But when Caesar displays unusual intelligence and his abilities grow, he comes to represent a threat to man’s dominion over Earth.
At the Michigan: This film features a very funny British cast that includes Timothy Spall ("Mr. Turner"), Joanna Lumley ("Absolutely Fabulous"), Imelda Stauton ("Harry Potter"), and Celia Imrie ("Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"). On the eve of retirement, a middle class, judgmental snob discovers her husband has been having an affair with her best friend and is forced into exile with her bohemian sister who lives on an impoverished inner-city council estate.
The film stars Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren as a couple who take one last road trip from Boston to the Florida Keys before his Alzheimer's and her cancer can catch up with them. Based on the novel of the same name by local author Michael Zadoorian.
The latest political comedic satire from Armando Iannucci, which depicts the chaos that fell on the Soviet regime after the death of their leader.
At the State Theatre: Wes Anderson’s latest stop-motion animated film continues! When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island, 12-year-old Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies across the river in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. With a voice cast featuring Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, and Jeff Goldblum.
The film also continues for another week, Marvel’s latest and most successful comic book adaptation to date.
OPENING AT THE MULTIPLEX
Everyone's favorite law enforcement team is back by popular demand with the long anticipated follow-up to the cult comedy classic "Super Troopers." In the sequel, when an international border dispute arises between the U.S. and Canada, the Super Troopers- Mac, Thorny, Foster, Rabbit and Farva-are called in to set up a new Highway Patrol station in the disputed area.
Amy Schumer stars as a woman who struggles with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy on a daily basis. But after she suffers a fall in her exercise class, she wakes believing she is suddenly the most beautiful and capable woman on the planet. With this newfound confidence, she is empowered to live her life fearlessly and flawlessly, but what will happen when she realizes her appearance never changed?
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