89.1 WEMU

Cinema Chat: 'Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood,' 'The Farewell,' The Grateful Dead, And More

Jul 25, 2019

The Michigan Theater
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

We're witnessing the dog days of summer and the triumphant return of Quentin Tarantino!  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair sits down with Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins to discuss the latest movie news and all of the new films coming to the big screen this weekend.


OPENING DOWNTOWN

"Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood"

At the Michigan (Opens Thursday, July 25 - Only 35mm Engagement in Michigan!): Quentin Tarantino’s film visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore.  The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.  Also stars Bruce DernLuke Perry, Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino, and many more!

*The film opens at the multiplex this week as well.*

"The Farewell"

At the State (Opens Thursday, August 1): Cinetopia 2019 Audience Award winner for Best U.S. Narrative!  In this film, Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi (played by Awkwafina) reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai, has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself.  To assure her happiness, they gather under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, uniting family members scattered among new homes abroad.  As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations and proprieties, she finds there’s a lot to celebrate: a chance to rediscover the country she left as a child, her grandmother’s wondrous spirit, and the ties that keep on binding even when so much goes unspoken.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

"A Hard Day's Night"

This film plays Sunday, July 28 at 1:30 PM and Wednesday, July 31 at 7:00 PM at Michigan Theater as a part of The SavCo Hospitality Summer Classic Film Series, presented by the University of Michigan Credit Union with media support from MLive.  All summer long, we will be celebrating generations of filmmakers and their nostalgic treasures!  It's The Beatles in their feature film debut, one of the greatest rock-and-roll comedy adventures ever.  The film has a fully restored negative and digitally restored soundtrack.  The film takes on the just-left-of-reality style of mock-documentary, following "a day in the life" of John, Paul, George, and Ringo as fame takes them by storm.

"5B"

This film plays Thursday, August 1 at 7:00 PM at the State Theatre.  It is the inspirational story of everyday heroes, nurses and caregivers who took extraordinary action to comfort, protect, and care for the patients of the first AIDS ward unit in the United States.  It is stirringly told through first-person testimony of these nurses and caregivers who built Ward 5B in 1983 at San Francisco General Hospital, their patients, loved ones, and staff who volunteered to create care practices based in humanity and holistic well-being during a time of great uncertainty.  The result is an uplifting yet candid and bittersweet monument to a pivotal moment in American history and a celebration of quiet heroes, nurses, and caregivers worthy of renewed recognition.  Community partners are Ann Arbor Pride, Jim Toy Community Center, and Unified HIV Health and Beyond.

"Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies"

This film plays Thursday, August 1 at 7:00 PM at the Michigan Theater.  Join Dead Heads in your neighborhood and around the world to celebrate the 9th Annual Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies.  This can’t-miss event -the first to go global -features the previously unreleased complete June 17, 1991 concert from Giants Stadium.  Widely considered one of the greatest shows of the band’s final decade of performing, 6/17/91 also sounds unlike any Dead show you’ve ever heard as it was one of only two recorded on 48-track.  Mixed by Jeffrey Norman in glorious surround sound with video from the multi-camera live edit, this will be the first time the Bruce Hornsby and Vince Welnick line-up has ever appeared on the big screen.

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

"Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am"

At the Michigan: Cinetopia 2019 Audience Award winner!  This film offers an artful and intimate meditation on the life and works of the acclaimed novelist.  From her childhood in the steel town of Lorain, Ohio to ‘70s-era book tours with Muhammad Ali, from the front lines with Angela Davis to her own riverfront writing room,  Toni Morrison leads an assembly of her peers, critics and colleagues on an exploration of race, America, history, and the human condition as seen through the prism of her own literature.

"Yesterday"

Jack Malik (played by Himesh Patel, BBC's "Eastenders") is a struggling singer-songwriter in a tiny English seaside town whose dreams of fame are rapidly fading, despite the fierce devotion and support of his childhood best friend, Ellie (Lily James, "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again").  Then, after a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed... and he finds himself with a very complicated problem, indeed.  Also stars Ed Sheeran and Kate McKinnon.  

"Pavarotti"

The Cinetopia Secretopia hit returns!  From the filmmaking team behind the highly-acclaimed documentary "The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years," this is a riveting film that lifts the curtain on the icon who brought opera to the people.  Academy Award® winner Ron Howard puts audiences front row center for an exploration of The Voice…The Man…The Legend.  Luciano Pavarotti gave his life to the music and a voice to the world.  This cinematic event features history-making performances and intimate interviews, including never-before-seen footage and cutting-edge Dolby Atmos technology

"Echo in the Canyon"

At the State: This film celebrates the explosion of popular music that came out of LA’s Laurel Canyon in the mid-60s as folk went electric and The ByrdsThe Beach BoysBuffalo Springfield, and The Mamas and the Papas gave birth to the California Sound.  It was a moment (1965 to 1967) when bands came to LA to emulate The Beatles, and Laurel Canyon emerged as a hotbed of creativity and collaboration for a new generation of musicians who would soon put an indelible stamp on the history of American popular music.  Featuring Jakob Dylan, the film explores the beginnings of the Laurel Canyon music scene.  Dylan uncovers never-before-heard personal details behind the bands and their songs and how that music continues to inspire today. 

"Wild Rose"

An official selection of Cinetopia 2019!  In this film, Jessie Buckley delivers an unforgettable, star-making performance as Rose-Lynn Harlan, a rebellious country singer who dreams of trading the working-class streets of Glasgow for the Grand Ole Opry of Nashville.  Fresh out of prison, Rose-Lynn juggles her menial job, two children, and committed mother, expertly portrayed by Oscar-nominee Julie Walters, as she pursues her bold ambition of a one-way ticket to musical stardom.  With the support of her boss (played by Sophie Okonedo), Rose-Lynn embarks on a life-changing journey that challenges her sense of self and helps her discover her true voice. 

"Midsommar"

From the visionary mind of Ari Aster("Hereditary") comes a dread-soaked cinematic fairytale where a world of darkness unfolds in broad daylight.  Dani and Christian are a young American couple with a relationship on the brink of falling apart.  But after a family tragedy keeps them together, a grieving Dani invites herself to join Christian and his friends on a trip to a once-in-a-lifetime midsummer festival in a remote Swedish village.  What begins as a carefree summer holiday in a land of eternal sunlight takes a sinister turn when the insular villagers invite their guests to partake in festivities that render the pastoral paradise increasingly unnerving and viscerally disturbing. 

"Spider-Man: Far from Home"

Peter Parker returns in the next chapter of the Spider-Man: Homecoming series!  Our friendly neighborhood Super Hero decides to join his best friends Ned, MJ, and the rest of the gang on a European vacation.  However, Peter's plan to leave super heroics behind for a few weeks are quickly scrapped when he begrudgingly agrees to help Nick Fury uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks, creating havoc across the continent!

"Late Night"

In this film, a legendary late-night talk show host’s (played by Emma Thompson) world is turned upside down when she hires her first and only female staff writer (played by Mindy Kaling).  Originally intended to smooth over diversity concerns, her decision brings about unexpectedly hilarious consequences as the two women who are separated by culture and generation become united by their love of a biting punchline.  

"The Last Black Man in San Francisco"

This film is a poignant and sweeping story of hometowns and how they’re made—and kept alive—by the people who love them.  Jimmie Fails dreams of reclaiming the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco.  Joined on his quest by his best friend Mont, Jimmie searches for belonging in a rapidly changing city that seems to have left them behind.  As he struggles to reconnect with his family and reconstruct the community he longs for, his hopes blind him to the reality of his situation.

Non-commercial, fact based reporting is made possible by your financial support.  Make your donation to WEMU today to keep your community NPR station thriving.

Like 89.1 WEMU on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

— 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