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Cinema Chat: A big night for 'Bix,' 'Firestarter,' 'Downton Abbey: A New Era,' and more

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BIX: AIN’T NONE OF THEM PLAY LIKE HIM YET

A great event last Monday!

Felt just a bit like the pandemic was over – 500 attended a great event!

Blue Llama proprietor, entrepreneur trumpet player Don Hicks.

Filmmaker Brigitte Berman (won an Oscar for her Artie Shaw documentary.

Kevin – film lover, fan and so many other great community folks.

Thanks to WEMU!!!

ADVANCE TICKETS NOW ON SALE

"Top Gun: Maverick" — OPENS FRIDAY, MAY 27 AT THE STATE

After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose.” Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it.

"Jurassic World: Dominion" — OPENS FRIDAY, JUNE 10 AT THE STATE WITH ADVANCE SCREENINGS THURSDAY, JUNE 9

This summer, experience the epic conclusion to the Jurassic era as two generations unite for the first time. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are joined by Oscar®-winner Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill in a bold, timely and breathtaking new adventure that spans the globe. From "Jurassic World" architect and director Colin Trevorrow, the film takes place four years after Isla Nublar has been destroyed. Dinosaurs now live--and hunt--alongside humans all over the world. This fragile balance will reshape the future and determine, once and for all, whether human beings are to remain the apex predators on a planet they now share with history's most fearsome creatures.

OPENING THIS WEEK

"Firestarter" — OPENS FRIDAY, MAY 13 AT THE MULTIPLEX

For more than a decade, parents Andy (Zac Efron) and Vicky (Sydney Lemmon) have been on the run, desperate to hide their daughter Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) from a shadowy federal agency that wants to harness her unprecedented gift for creating fire into a weapon of mass destruction.

Andy has taught Charlie how to defuse her power, which is triggered by anger or pain. But as Charlie turns 11, the fire becomes harder and harder to control. After an incident reveals the family’s location, a mysterious operative (Michael Greyeyes) is deployed to hunt down the family and seize Charlie once and for all. Charlie has other plans.

The original Firestarter movie, based on Stephen King’s novel, was released in 1984 and starred David Keith and Drew Barrymore. King disavowed the movie because of changes made to the storyline by the director. The producer of the 2022 reboot reveals that King himself has given this movie his blessing.

"Downton Abbey: A New Era" — OPENS WEDNESDAY, MAY 18 AT THE MICHIGAN

This charming film reunites the original principal cast. Downton creator and Academy-Award® winner Julian Fellowes will once again write the film’s screenplay. BAFTA and Emmy-nominated director Simon Curtis ("My Week with Marilyn") will join the filmmaking team to direct the sequel. In the film, The Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) mysteriously inherits a Villa in the South of France, providing a convenient escape for the Crawley family as the Downton Abbey estate is used for a film shoot.

"The Sanctity of Space" — OPENS FRIDAY, MAY 13 AT THE MICHIGAN

Climbers/filmmakers Renan Ozturk and Freddie Wilkinson retrace the steps of pioneering mountaineer and aerial photographer Bradford Washburn. Inspired by Washburn's iconic images of Alaska, Ozturk and Wilkinson attempt the unprecedented traverse of the Mooses Tooth massif.

"Happening" — OPENS FRIDAY, MAY 13 AT THE STATE

France, 1963. Anne is a bright young student with a promising future ahead of her. But when she falls pregnant, she sees the opportunity to finish her studies and escape the constraints of her social background by disappearing. With her final exams fast approaching and her belly growing, Anne resolves to act, even if she has to confront shame and pain, even if she must risk prison to do so...

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

"ABBA: The Movie" — PLAYS TONIGHT AT 7 PM AND SATURDAY, MAY 14 AT 3 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Returning to theaters for an exclusive fan event! Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the band and 45th Anniversary of the film’s original release with the return of a completely remastered ABBA: The Movie back in cinemas—with 10 minutes of bonus content and full-length performances of some of ABBA's greatest hits including "Dancing Queen," "Tiger," "Name Of The Game," and "Eagle.”

While the Swedish pop group ABBA tours Australia, hapless radio DJ Ashley Wallace attempts to land an interview with the massively successful act. Featuring numerous performances by the Scandinavian quartet, including the hits "Waterloo" and "Dancing Queen," the film finds Ashley contending with ABBA's dedicated bodyguard before finally meeting the band's manager, Stig Anderson, who introduces him to the performers.

"Show People" — PLAYS TUESDAY, MAY 17 AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Live accompaniment on Barton Organ by Andrew Rogers; A tribute to EMU Prof. Dr. Henry Aldridge.

Starry-eyed country girl Peggy Pepper (Marion Davies) dreams of being a movie star. So that she can begin her career, she persuades her father (Dell Henderson) to take her to Hollywood. After a rough start, Pepper catches a break when she meets small-time studio liaison Billy Boone (William Haines), who lands her a job acting in a cheap slapstick comedy. Pepper quickly makes a name for herself and is signed for more high-profile projects, much to the dismay of Boone, who is falling for her.

SPECIAL PRE-LATE NIGHT SCREENING - Part of our Science on Screen series by Ann Arbor SPARK. (FRIDAY, MAY 13 AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN)

Plus, join us “INSIDE the GAME” for this special Tron/Tron Legacy Double Feature with a between-the-films interactive Q&A with gaming gurus from Ann Arbor local studios. Featuring:

  • Natalie Fang, CEO of Nochi Studios, a female-founded studio creating a romance anime games
  • Corbin John Reeves, Game Designer with Azure Ravens, a small indie studio telling stories through game
  • Austin Yarger, teaches and develops at the U of M and President of Arbor Interactive

Double Feature includes:

  • "Tron" — PLAYS FRIDAY, MAY 13 AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN When talented computer engineer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) finds out that Ed Dillinger (David Warner), an executive at his company, has been stealing his work, he tries to hack into the system. However, Flynn is transported into the digital world, where he has to face off against Dillinger's computerized likeness, Sark, and the imposing Master Control Program. Aided by Tron (Bruce Boxleitner) and Yori (Cindy Morgan), Flynn becomes a freedom fighter for the oppressed programs of the grid.
  • "Tron: Legacy" — PLAYS FRIDAY, MAY 13 AT 10 PM AT THE MICHIGAN Sam (Garrett Hedlund), the son of famous video-game developer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), has been haunted for a long time by his father's mysterious disappearance. A strange signal draws Sam to Flynn's Arcade, and he is pulled into the same cyberworld in which his father, its creator, has been trapped for 20 years. With fearless warrior Quorra (Olivia Wilde), Kevin and Sam seek to escape from a universe that, while magnificent, is far more advanced and dangerous than Kevin had ever imagined.

Coming soon as part of the Late Night at the Michigan Series

"The Wrong Man" — PLAYS SATURDAY, MAY 14 AT 8 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

From director Alfred Hitchcock, musician Manny Balestrero (Henry Fonda) needs money to pay for his wife Rose's (Vera Miles) dental procedure, but when he tries to borrow money from their insurance policy, someone at the office mistakes him for a man who had robbed them twice at gunpoint. After Manny is arrested, his defense attorney, Frank O'Connor (Anthony Quayle), works to demonstrate that Manny has an alibi for the crimes. The stress of the case, however, threatens to destroy Manny's family before his name can be cleared.

Coming soon as part of the Noir Night Series

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

"Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" 

A 2022 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Doctor Strange. It is the sequel to "Doctor Strange" (2016) and the 28th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange and Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Rachel McAdams. In the film, Strange and his allies travel into the multiverse to face a mysterious new adversary. Directed my Michigan native Sam Raimi.

"The Duke"

In 1961, Kempton Bunton, a 60-year old taxi driver, stole Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London. It was the first (and remains the only) theft in the Gallery's history. Kempton sent ransom notes saying that he would return the painting on condition that the government invested more in care for the elderly -- he had long campaigned for pensioners to receive free television. What happened next became the stuff of legend. Only 50 years later did the full story emerge -- Kempton had spun a web of lies. The only truth was that he was a good man, determined to change the world and save his marriage -- how and why he used the Duke to achieve that is a wonderfully uplifting tale. Starring Jim Broadbent and Dame Helen Mirren.

"Petite Maman" 

Céline Sciamma ("Portrait of a Lady on Fire") continues to prove herself as one of the most accomplished and unpredictable contemporary French filmmakers. Following the death of her beloved grandmother, 8-year-old Nelly accompanies her parents to her mother's childhood home to begin the difficult process of cleaning out its contents. As Nelly explores the house and nearby woods, she is immediately drawn to a neighbor her own age building a treehouse. What follows is a tender tale of childhood grief, memory and connection.

"The Northman"

This a 2022 epic historical action-drama film directed by Robert Eggers ("The Witch") and co-written by Eggers and Sjón. Based on the legend of Amleth – a figure in a medieval Scandinavian legend, the direct inspiration of the character of Prince Hamlet, the hero of William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet. The film stars Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Björk, and Willem Dafoe. Filming took place from August to December 2020 in locations throughout Ireland. The film has received critical acclaim, with particular praise aimed at its direction, production values, and the performances of the cast.

"The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent" 

A 2022 American action comedy film directed by Tom Gormican from a screenplay co-written with Kevin Etten. The film stars Nicolas Cage as a fictionalized version of himself, along with a supporting cast that includes Pedro Pascal, Neil Patrick Harris, and Tiffany Haddish.

Its world premiere was at South by Southwest on March 12, 2022. The film received positive reviews from critics, with praise for the performances and chemistry of Cage and Pascal.

In the film, Cage begrudgingly accepts a $1 million offer to attend the birthday of a billionaire super fan. When things take a wild turn, Cage is forced to become a version of some of his most iconic and beloved characters in order to extricate his wife and daughter from the fan whom the CIA has informed him is a notorious arms dealer.

"Everything Everywhere All At Once"

Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert ("Swiss Army Man"), collectively known as Daniels, the film is a hilarious and big-hearted sci-fi action adventure about an exhausted Chinese American woman (Michelle Yeoh) who can't seem to finish her taxes.

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Nearly three-quarters of David Fair’s 20+ years in radio has been at WEMU. Since 1994, he has been on the air at 5am each weekday on 89.1 FM as the local host of NPR’s Morning Edition. Over the years, Fair has had the opportunity to interview nationally and internationally known politicians, activists and celebrities. But he feels the most important features and interviews have been with those who live and work here at home. He believes his professional passions and desires fit perfectly into WEMU’s commitment to serving a local audience.
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