89.1 WEMU

Cinema Chat: Oscar Broadcast News, 'Late Night,' 'Men In Black: International,' And More

Jun 13, 2019

Michigan Theater Lobby
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

WEMU's Summer Pledge Drive is now behind us, so let's unwind with a good summer movie!  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 flicks worth checking out this weekend.


ACADEMY RETURNS TO LATE FEBRUARY OSCAR DATES

Hollywood is heaving a sigh of relief as upcoming Oscar dates return to their usual late February position.  When the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences announced changes to next year's Oscars broadcast, including the controversial creation of a "popular film" category, it prompted a host of questions about what this means for the world's biggest awards show.  While the 2019-2020 Oscar calendar is pushed up and crowded ahead of the earliest ever February 9 Oscar date — and many awards players are not happy about it — the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC are returning to old patterns in 2021 and 2022.

The upcoming Oscar show dates are as follows:

  • 92nd Oscars – Sunday, February 9, 2020
  • 93rd Oscars – Sunday, February 28, 2021
  • 94th Oscars – Sunday, February 27, 2022

Because of the timing of the 2022 Olympics, the Super Bowl, and national holidays will keep the 2021 and 2022 dates on the last Sunday in February.  We shall see where the Academy and ABC will land in future years.

OPENING DOWNTOWN

"Late Night"

At the Michigan (Sneak peek Thursday, June 13 and opens for full run Friday, June 14): 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 Dead Don't Die"

Ann Arbor native Iggy Pop stars in Director Jim Jarmusch’s latest cinema masterpiece.

At the State (Sneak peek Thursday, June 13 and opens for full run Friday, June 14): This film follows the small town of Centerville, where something is not quite right.  The moon hangs large and low in the sky, the hours of daylight are becoming unpredictable, and animals are beginning to exhibit unusual behaviors.  News reports are scary, and scientists are concerned.  But no one foresees the strangest and most dangerous repercussion that will soon start plaguing Centerville: the dead rise from their graves and feast on the living, and the citizens must battle for their survival.  Stars Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, Rosie Perez, Iggy Pop, Sara Driver, RZA, Selena Gomez, and Carol Kane.  Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch.  

"Framing John DeLorean"

At the Michigan (Opens Friday, June 14): The Cinetopia 2019 hit returns for a full run!  This film recounts the extraordinary life and legend of the controversial automaker, tracing his meteoric rise through the ranks of General Motors, his obsessive quest to build a sports car that would conquer the world, and his shocking fall from grace on charges of cocaine trafficking.  Interweaving a treasure trove of archival footage with dramatic vignettes starring Alec Baldwin, the film is a gripping look at a man who gambled everything in his pursuit of the American Dream. 

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

"Jaws"

This film plays Sunday, June 16 at 1:30 PM and Wednesday, June 19 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.  In June, July, and August, we will be celebrating generations of filmmakers and their nostalgic treasures!  When a young woman is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping near the New England tourist town of Amity Island, police chief Martin Brody (played by Roy Scheider) wants to close the beaches, but mayor Larry Vaughn (played by Murray Hamilton) overrules him, fearing that the loss of tourist revenue will cripple the town.  Ichthyologist Matt Hooper (played by Richard Dreyfuss) and grizzled ship captain Quint (played by Robert Shaw) offer to help Brody capture the killer beast, and the trio engage in an epic battle of man vs. nature.

"Ponyo"

This film plays Sunday, June 16 at 3:00 PM at the Michigan Theater as a part of the Ann Arbor Japan Week presented by the UM Center for Japanese Studies.  Free and open to the public!  During a forbidden excursion to see the surface world, a goldfish princess encounters a human boy named Sosuke, who gives her the name Ponyo.  Ponyo longs to become human, and as her friendship with Sosuke grows, she becomes more humanlike.  Ponyo’s father brings her back to their ocean kingdom, but so strong is Ponyo’s wish to live on the surface that she breaks free, and in the process, spills a collection of magical elixirs that endanger Sosuke’s village.

"Jurassic Park"

This film plays Thursday, June 13 on Maynard Street as a part of Cinetopia Film Festival’s free summer outdoor screenings.  Bring your chairs and blankets for pre-show circus performers, which start at 8:00 PM, and the movie will begin at dusk.  In Steven Spielberg’s massive blockbuster, paleontologists Alan Grant (played by Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (played by Laura Dern) and mathematician Ian Malcolm (played by Jeff Goldblum) are among a select group chosen to tour an island theme park populated by dinosaurs created from prehistoric DNA.  While the park’s mastermind, billionaire John Hammond (played by Richard Attenborough), assures everyone that the facility is safe, they find out otherwise when various ferocious predators break free and go on the hunt.

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

"All is True"

At the Michigan: In this film, the year is 1613, Shakespeare is acknowledged as the greatest writer of the age.  But disaster strikes when his renowned Globe Theatre burns to the ground, and devastated, Shakespeare returns to Stratford, where he must face a troubled past and a neglected family.  Haunted by the death of his only son Hamnet, he struggles to mend the broken relationships with his wife and daughters.  In so doing, he is ruthlessly forced to examine his own failings as husband and father.  His very personal search for the truth uncovers secrets and lies within a family at war.  Directed by and stars Kenneth Branagh.

"The Biggest Little Farm"

This year's Direct From Sundance selection!  This film chronicles the eight-year quest of John and Molly Chester as they trade city living for 200 acres of barren farmland and a dream to harvest in harmony with nature.  Through dogged perseverance and embracing the opportunity provided by nature's conflicts, the Chester’s unlock and uncover a biodiverse design for living that exists far beyond their farm, its seasons, and our wildest imagination.

"The Souvenir"

At the State: This film follows a shy but ambitious film student (played by Honor Swinton Byrne) begins to find her voice as an artist while navigating a turbulent courtship with a charismatic but untrustworthy man (played by Tom Burke).  She defies her protective mother (played by Tilda Swinton) and concerned friends as she slips deeper and deeper into an intense, emotionally fraught relationship that comes dangerously close to destroying her dreams.  From acclaimed writer-director Joanna Hogg comes an enigmatic and personal portrait of the artist as a young woman, combining passionate emotions and exquisite aesthetics into a lush, dreamlike story of young adulthood and first love.

"Rocketman"

This is an epic musical fantasy about the incredible human story of Elton John's breakthrough years.  The film follows the fantastical journey of transformation from shy piano prodigy Reginald Dwight into international superstar Elton John.  This inspirational story -- set to Elton John's most beloved songs and performed by star Taron Egerton -- tells the universally relatable story of how a small-town boy became one of the most iconic figures in pop culture.  The film also stars Jamie Bellas Elton's longtime lyricist and writing partner Bernie Taupin, Richard Madden as Elton's first manager, John Reid, and Bryce Dallas Howard as Elton's mother Sheila Farebrother. 

"Booksmart"

Told from a wildly original, fresh and modern perspective, this film is an unfiltered comedy about high school best friends and the bonds we create that last a lifetime.  Capturing the spirit of our times, the film is a coming of age story for a new generation.  The story follows Dever and Feldstein's characters, two academic superstars and best friends who, on the eve of their high school graduation, suddenly realize that they should have worked less and played more.  Determined never to fall short of their peers, the girls set out on a mission to cram four years of fun into one night. From Director Olivia Wilde and starring Kaitlyn DeverBeanie FeldsteinJessica WilliamsLisa KudrowWill Forte, and Jason Sudeikis

OPENING AT THE MULTIPLEX

"Men in Black: International"

The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.  Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson star as Agent H and Agent M, who employ high-tech weaponry to battle mischievous aliens on Earth.  However, the pair also discover a major threat within their own ranks.

"Shaft"

This film is the next chapter in the film franchise featuring the coolest private eye on any New York City block.  JJ, aka John Shaft Jr. (played by Jessie T. Usher), may be a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT, but to uncover the truth behind his best friend's untimely death, he needs an education only his dad can provide.  Absent throughout JJ's youth, the legendary locked-and-loaded John Shaft (played by Samuel L. Jackson) agrees to help his progeny navigate Harlem's heroin-infested underbelly.  And while JJ's own FBI analyst's badge may clash with his dad's trademark leather coat, there's no denying family.  Besides, Shaft's got an agenda of his own and a score to settle that's professional and personal.

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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