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Cinema Chat: 'Elvis,' 'The Phantom of the Open,' 'Who Killed Vincent Chin?' and more

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The Michigan Theater
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The Michigan Theater

OPENING DOWNTOWN

"The Black Phone" — OPENS FRIDAY, JUNE 24 AT THE MULTIPLEX

This is a 2021 American supernatural horror film directed by Scott Derrickson, written by Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill, and produced by Jason Blum. It is an adaptation of the 2004 short story of the same name by Joe Hill. It stars Mason Thames, Madeleine McGraw, Jeremy Davies, James Ransone, and Ethan Hawke. Derrickson came on board to direct due to his departure from "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" because of creative differences.

Finney, a shy but clever 13-year-old boy, is abducted by a sadistic killer and trapped in a soundproof basement where screaming is of little use. When a disconnected phone on the wall begins to ring, Finney discovers that he can hear the voices of the killer's previous victims. And they are dead set on making sure that what happened to them doesn't happen to Finney.

"Elvis" — OPENS FRIDAY, JUNE 24 AT THE MICHIGAN WITH AN ADVANCE SCREENING ON THURSDAY, JUNE 23

The film explores the life and music of Elvis Presley (Austin Butler), seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). The story delves into the complex dynamic between Presley and Parker spanning over 20 years, from Presley's rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America. Central to that journey is one of the most significant and influential people in Elvis's life, Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge). Directed by Baz Luhrmann.

"The Phantom of the Open" — OPENS FRIDAY, JUNE 24 AT THE MICHIGAN

It tells the heartwarming true story of Maurice Flitcroft (Mark Rylance), a dreamer and unrelenting optimist. This humble crane operator from Barrow-in-Furness managed to gain entry to The British Open Golf Championship qualifying in 1976, despite never playing a round of golf before. He shot the worst round in Open history and drew the ire of the golfing elite, but became a folk hero in the process and, more importantly, showed his family the importance of pursuing your dreams.

"Fiddler's Journey to the Big Screen" — OPENS FRIDAY, JUNE 24 AT THE STATE

The fall of 2021 marked the 50th anniversary of "Fiddler on the Roof," the film Pauline Kael (The New Yorker) called "the most powerful movie musical ever made." Narrated by Jeff Goldblum, this film captures the humor and drama of director Norman Jewison's quest to recreate the lost world of Jewish life in Tsarist Russia and re-envision the beloved stage hit as a wide-screen epic. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Daniel Raim puts us in the director's chair and in Jewison's heart and mind, drawing on behind-the-scenes footage and never-before-seen stills as well as original interviews with Jewison, Topol (Tevye), composer John Williams, production designer Robert F. Boyle, film critic Kenneth Turan, lyricist Sheldon Harnick, and actresses Rosalind Harris, Michele Marsh, and Neva Small (Tevye's daughters). The film explores how the experience of making Fiddler deepened Jewison as an artist and revived his soul.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

Summer Classics

Sundays at 1:30 PM and Tuesdays at 7:30 PM at the Michigan.

Summer of Ghibli

A Japanese animation film studio best known for its directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata and producer Toshio Suzuki. Fridays at 9:30 PM and Saturdays at 1:30 PM at the Michigan.

"Who Killed Vincent Chin?" — PLAYS TONIGHT AT 7 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Includes a panel discussion with - Manan Desai (Moderator), Ayesha Ghazi, Chien An Yuan, and Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

This Academy-Award nominated film is a powerful statement about racism in working-class America. It relates the stark facts of Vincent Chin's brutal murder. A 27-year-old Chinese-American, Chin was celebrating his last days of bachelorhood in a Detroit bar. An argument broke out between him and Ron Ebens, a Chrysler Motors foreman. Ebens shouted ethnic insults, the fight moved outside, and before onlookers, Ebens bludgeoned Chin to death with a baseball bat. In the ensuing trial, Ebens was let off with a suspended sentence and a small fine. Outrage filled the Asian-American community to the point where they organized an unprecedented civil rights protest. His bereaved mother, brought up to be self-effacing, successfully led a nationwide crusade for a retrial.

This tragic story is interwoven with the whole fabric of timely social concerns. It addresses issues such as the failure of our judicial system to value every citizen's rights equally, the collapse of the automobile industry under pressure from Japanese imports, and the souring of the American dream for the blue-collar worker. Widely acclaimed by the press, this is a memorable film for all audiences.

"Welcome to Commie High" — PLAYS FRIDAY, JUNE 24 AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

This special screening is presented as part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of the school's founding in 1972, sponsored by the Community High School 50th Anniversary Committee. For more information about the 50th Anniversary All-Class Reunion from June 24th to June 26th, 2022, please visit this link.

This film explores an experiment in public education—Community High School. The film follows its humanistic, anti-establishment origins in the early 70s through its survival into the 90s, when enrollment demands for this alternative, small school led to a wild craze of lines, camp outs and convoluted lottery systems. Today, Community High stands as one of the last public schools from America’s “free school” movement.

"Ukraine, The Birth of a Nation" — PARTS 3 & 4 PLAYS SUNDAY, JUNE 26 AT 2 PM AT THE STATE

Presented in partnership with the Polish Cultural Fund - Ann Arbor.

A brilliant historical documentary in four parts. Made by film producer Jerzy Hoffman it is a captivating narrative of a thousand years of Ukrainian history. Mr. Hoffman’s love for Ukraine is obvious, but it does not compromise his level-headed depiction of even the most controversial aspects of Ukraine’s history.

Each screening will include an introduction by Richard Walawender, Honorary Consul of Poland in Detroit, and a post-film conversation with Svitlana Rogovyk, Lecturer in the University of Michigan Dept. of Slavic Languages & Literature, and Iryna Sikorska, 2022 Weiser Professional Development Fellow and Associate Professor of Sociology, Donetsk State University of Management in Mariupol.

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

"Brian and Charles"

This charming film follows Brian, a lonely inventor in rural Wales, who spends his days building quirky, unconventional contraptions that seldom work. Undeterred by his lack of success, Brian attempts his biggest project yet. Three days, a washing machine, and various spare parts later, he's invented Charles, an artificially intelligent robot who learns English from a dictionary and has an obsession with cabbages. What follows is a humorous and entirely heartwarming story about friendship, family, finding love, and letting go. A Sundance hit!

"Cha Cha Real Smooth" 

A 2022 American comedy-drama film written, directed, produced, and co-edited by Cooper Raiff. It premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and won the Audience Award for Best Dramatic Film.

Fresh out of college and without a clear life path going forward, 22-year-old Andrew is stuck back at home with his family in New Jersey. But if there's one thing that belongs on his nonexistent résumé, it's how to get a party started, which lands him the perfect job of motivational dancing at the bar and bat mitzvahs for his younger brother's classmates. When Andrew befriends a local mom, Domino, and her daughter, Lola, he finally discovers a future he wants -- even if it might not be his own. Cooper Raiff writes, directs and stars alongside Dakota Johnson, Brad Garrett, Leslie Mann, and newcomers Vanessa Burghardt and Evan Assante in this tale of unconventional love that brims with emotional honesty.

"Lightyear" 

By Pixar Animation Studios, it is a spin-off of the "Toy Story" film series, serving as an origin story for the fictional test pilot/astronaut character who the Buzz Lightyear toy/action figure. The film was co-written and directed by Angus MacLane and stars Chris Evans as the voice of the title character, with Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, James Brolin, Taika Waititi, Dale Soules, Uzo Aduba, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Efren Ramirez, and Isiah Whitlock Jr. in supporting roles.

The film tells the story of young astronaut Buzz Lightyear, who, after being marooned on a hostile planet with his commander and crew, tries to find a way back home through space and time, while also confronting a threat to the universe's safety. After finishing work on "Finding Dory" (2016), MacLane, a science fiction fan, pitched the idea of making a film about Buzz Lightyear at Pixar. To evoke the sci-fi films that the director grew up watching, the animators wanted to give the film a "cinematic" and "chunky" look. Michael Giacchino composed the film's score.

"Jurassic World: Dominion" 

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.

"Benediction" 

Written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Terence Davies, Benediction explores the turbulent life of WWI poet Siegfried Sassoon (Jack Lowden). The writer and soldier was a complex man who survived the horrors of fighting in the First World War and was decorated for his bravery but who became a vocal critic of the government's continuation of the war when he returned from service. His poetry was inspired by his experiences on the Western Front, and he became one of the leading war poets of the era. Adored by members of the aristocracy as well as stars of London's literary and stage world, he embarked on affairs with several men as he attempted to come to terms with his homosexuality. At the same time, broken by the horror of war, he made his life's journey a quest for salvation, trying to find it within the conformity of marriage and religion.

"Top Gun: Maverick" 

A 2022 American action-drama film and the sequel to Top Gun (1986). It was directed by Joseph Kosinski. The film stars Tom Cruise as Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, a test pilot, alongside Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Ed Harris, Monica Barbaro, and Val Kilmer. Set 36 years since the events of its predecessor, the film follows Maverick, who actively attempted to dodge the advancement in rank that would ground him. However, his career ends up taking him back to the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program (also known as "Top Gun"), where he has to confront his past as he is charged with training a new squadron of fighter pilots.

Development for a Top Gun sequel was announced in 2010, when Paramount Pictures offered the original film's director Tony Scott and its producer Jerry Bruckheimer, for the same, with Cruise and Kilmer being planned to return. With the first draft, being completed by mid-2012, Scott died by suicide, leading to the film's pre-production being put on hold. In June 2017, Kosinski was hired and wrote a new draft from Craig and Marks' script. Principal photography began from May 2018 to April 2019 in California, Washington, D.C. and Maryland.

"Downton Abbey: A New Era"

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.

"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.

ADVANCE TICKETS ON SALE

2022 Cat Video Festival — OPENS FRIDAY, JULY 1 AT 7:15 PM, SATURDAY, JULY 2 AT 4:30 PM, AND SUNDAY, JULY 3 AT 4:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

A portion of ticket sales will benefit The Humane Society of Huron Valley.

The all-new edition of Cat Video Fest is coming your way, and we’re not “kitten” around! Join your fellow cat fans for some major feline fun as we dive into this purr-fectly hilarious collection of kooky kitty videos on the big screen, and help us raise money for local cats in need! Cat Video Fest 2022 is only available in theaters, so get off the couch and come on down to the Michigan Theater Cat Video Fest is a fun, frisky and furry celebration of online cat videos. The festival is a live event gathering fellow feline fanatics together to watch a curated collection of crazy cat clips in a social environment. This all-new, all-cat-tastic video showcase is a true kitty rumpus featuring a fresh selection of hilarious, odd and downright adorable cat clips curated by Will Braden, creator of the beloved Henri, le Chat Noir videos. This brand-new show for 2022 features approximately 100 videos featuring more cats than you can shake a feather cat toy at! This show is produced specifically for the festival and is not available online, so make kitty tracks to the Michigan and catch Cat Video Fest while you can!

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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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