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'Hellion', 'Third Person', 'The German Doctor' And 'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes'

Jul 10, 2014

There are a number of good films opening in the area this weekend, and plenty of Hollywood news to discuss. It's all here in this week's installment of Cinema Chat. 

Michigan Theater
Credit Michigan Theater

Opening at the Multiplex

In “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” a growing nation of genetically evolved apes is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth's dominant species. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” opens Friday.

Opening Downtown

A hit at Cinetopia 2014, Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”) stars in “Hellion,” about a family under siege. Hard-drinking Texas single dad Hollis (Paul) struggles to raise his two boys, including rebellious teenager Jacob (first-time actor Josh Wiggins in a stunning breakthrough performance). Seething with anger, Jacob finds release in the high-risk, white-knuckle world of motocross—but his increasingly reckless behavior threatens to spin out of control. Academy Award nominee Juliette Lewis co-stars in this thrilling saga of fathers and sons that builds towards a heart-stopping climax. Chuck Wilson of the Village Voice says, “’Hellion’ offers Paul his most adult screen role so far, and he's very fine, but the movie belongs to Wiggins, a newcomer whose innate gifts are a perfect echo of Paul's.” “Hellion” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

“Third Person” tells three stories of love, passion, trust and betrayal, in a multi-strand story line reminiscent of Paul Haggis’s earlier Oscar-winning film “Crash.” The three couples, whose tales play out in New York, Paris and Rome, appear to have nothing related but share deep commonalities: lovers and estranged spouses, children lost and found. Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle says, “’Third Person’ is Paul Haggis' best movie, and the one he has been building toward for years.” Starring Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, Adrien Brody, Olivia Wilde, James Franco, and Kim Basinger,“Third Person” opens Friday at the State Theater.

No twentieth-century figure has had a more profound effect on the worlds of literature, film, politics, historical debate, and the culture wars than Gore Vidal. Anchored by intimate one-on-one interviews with the man himself, “Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia” is a fascinating and wholly entertaining portrait of the last lion of the age of American liberalism. Commentary by those who knew him best—including filmmaker/nephew Burr Steers and the late Christopher Hitchens—blends with footage from Vidal’s legendary on-air career to remind us why he will forever stand as one of the most brilliant and fearless critics of our time. “Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia” plays Monday, July 14 & Tuesday, July 15 at the Michigan Theater.

In “The German Doctor,” the titular doctor meets an Argentinean family and follows them on a long desert road to a small town where the family will be starting a new life. Eva, Enzo and their three children welcome the doctor into their home and entrust their young daughter, Lilith, to his care, not knowing that they are harboring one of the most dangerous criminals in the world. “The German Doctor” plays Wednesday & Thursday, July 16 & 17 at the Michigan Theater.

Special Screenings Downtown

“A Day at the Races” is the Marx Brothers at their commercial and popular peak, working with a top Hollywood director and a big budget, paying for such extras as a blue-tinted ballet sequence, love songs from crooner Allan Jones, and lush decorative sets. But the brothers are also at the top of their game in terms of their own comic material and timing as Groucho, Chico, and Harpo help out at a sanatorium, where their longtime foil in the movies, Margaret Dumont, is the leading patient.  “A Day at the Races” plays Sunday, July 13 at 1:30 & Tuesday, July 15 at 7 PM.

In the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of “Henry IV Part II,” King Henry’s health is failing as a second rebellion threatens to surface. Intent on securing his legacy, he is uncertain that Prince Hal is a worthy heir, believing him to be more concerned with earthly pleasures than with the responsibility of rule. Meanwhile, Falstaff is sent to the countryside to recruit fresh troops – and among the unwitting locals, opportunities for embezzlement and profiteering prove impossible for Falstaff to resist. As the King’s health continues to worsen, Hal must choose between duty and loyalty to an old friend in Shakespeare’s heartbreaking conclusion to this pair of plays. “Henry IV Part II” plays Sunday, July 13 at 7 PM.