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Cinema Chat: The 62nd Ann Arbor Film Festival continues, Cinetopia is coming back and 'Godzilla x Kong' invades the State Theatre!

The 62nd Ann Arbor Film Festival promoted at the State Theatre.
The Michigan Theater
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The 62nd Ann Arbor Film Festival promoted at the State Theatre.

IT'S FILM FESTIVAL SEASON IN ANN ARBOR!!!

Ann Arbor Film Festival – March 26th – 31st and online through April 7th

Cinetopia Film Festival – June 13th – 23rd – Early Bird passes on sale Friday, April 12th for members; Monday, April 15th to the public

OPENING THIS WEEK

"Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire" — OPENS FRIDAY, MARCH 29 AT THE STATE AND THE MULTIPLEX

This latest entry in the Monsterverse franchise follows up the explosive showdown of "Godzilla vs. Kong" with an all-new cinematic adventure, pitting the almighty Kong and the fearsome Godzilla against a colossal undiscovered threat hidden within our world, challenging their very existence – and our own. The epic new film will delve further into the histories of these Titans, their origins, and the mysteries of Skull Island and beyond, while uncovering the mythic battle that helped forge these extraordinary beings and tied them to humankind forever.

Director Adam Wingard ("You’re Next," "The Guest") returns with cast members Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry and Kayle Hottle, along with newcomers Dan Stevens ("The Guest," "The Boy and The Heron") and Alex Ferns ("The Batman," "Andor").

COMING SOON

"The First Omen" — OPENS FRIDAY, APRIL 5 AT THE MICHIGAN AND THE MULTIPLEX

Presented at the Michigan in 35mm film!!!

Written/directed by Arkasha Stevenson and starring Nell Tiger Free ("Game of Thrones"), Ralph Ineson ("The Witch") and Bill Nighy ("Living").

A prequel to Richard Donner’s 1976 horror classic "The Omen" starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remick.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

"Drive" — PLAYS TONIGHT AT 7:30 PM AT THE STATE

Part of the Late Night Classics series

Driver (Ryan Gosling) is a skilled Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver for criminals. Though he projects an icy exterior, lately he's been warming up to a pretty neighbor named Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her young son, Benicio. When Irene's husband (Oscar Isaac) gets out of jail, he enlists Driver's help in a million-dollar heist. The job goes horribly wrong, and Driver must risk his life to protect Irene and Benicio from the vengeful masterminds behind the robbery. From director Nicolas Winding Refn and also starring Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, and Ron Perlman.

"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2" — PLAYS FRIDAY, MARCH 29 AT 9:30 PM AND THURSDAY, APRIL 4 AT 7:30 PM AT THE STATE

Part of the Late Night Classics series

Realizing the stakes are no longer just for survival, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) teams up with her closest friends, including Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Finnick for the ultimate mission. Together, they leave District 13 to liberate the citizens of war-torn Panem and assassinate President Snow, who's obsessed with destroying Katniss. What lies ahead are mortal traps, dangerous enemies and moral choices that will ultimately determine the future of millions. From director Francis Lawrence.

"All About Eve" — PLAYS MONDAY, APRIL 1 AT 6:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Part of the We Can Do It! - Pioneering Women of Hollywood's Golden Age film series

Backstage story revolving around aspiring actress Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter). Tattered and forlorn, Eve shows up in the dressing room of Broadway mega-star Margo Channing (Bette Davis), telling a melancholy life story to Margo and her friends. Margo takes Eve under her wing, and it appears that Eve is a conniver that uses Margo. From writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz and featuring Marilyn Monroe in an early role.

"Kasane" — PLAYS THURSDAY, APRIL 4 AT 7:15 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Part of the U-M Center for Japanese Film Studies 2024 Series

An ugly but talented actress gains the power to copy the bodies of beautiful actresses temporarily. But how long can she maintain the facade? A live action adaptation of the acclaimed Japanese suspense manga of the same name from director Yûichi Satô.

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

"Oppenheimer" 

Presented in 35mm film!

See this Academy Award Winning Best Picture the way the filmmakers wanted you to see it – from a film print! ONLY AT THE MICHIGAN THEATER SCREENING ROOM.

Written and directed by Christopher Nolan ("Tenet", "Dunkirk"), this is an epic film about the enigmatic man who risked destroying the world in order to save it. Starring Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, and Robert Downey, Jr.

"Problemista"

A 2023 American surrealist comedy written, directed, and co-produced by Julio Torres. It stars Torres, Tilda Swinton, RZA, Greta Lee, Catalina Saavedra, James Scully, and Isabella Rossellini. The film follows a struggling aspiring toy designer from El Salvador who starts working for an erratic art-world outcast in New York City, hoping to stay in the country and realize his dream before his work visa expires.

"One Life"

Based on the book "If It's Not Impossible...: The Life of Sir Nicholas Winton" by Barbara Winton, this film tells the incredible, emotional true story of Nicholas "Nicky" Winton (Johnny Flynn), a young London broker who visits Prague in December 1938. In a race against time, Winton convinces Trevor Chadwick (Alex Sharp) and Doreen Warriner (Romola Garai) of the British Committee for Refugees in Czechoslovakia to rescue hundreds of predominantly Jewish children before Nazi occupation closes the borders. Fifty years later, Nicky (Anthony Hopkins) is haunted by the fate of the children he wasn't able to bring to safety in England. It's not until the BBC show "That's Life!" re-introduces him to some of those he helped rescue that he finally begins to come to terms with the guilt and grief he carried -- all the while skyrocketing from anonymity to a national hero. From director James Hawes.

"Love Lies Bleeding"

From director Rose Glass comes an electric new love story; reclusive gym manager Lou falls hard for Jackie, an ambitious bodybuilder headed through town to Vegas in pursuit of her dream. But their love ignites violence, pulling them deep into the web of Lou's criminal family. Starring Kristen Stewart, Katy M. O'Brian, and Ed Harris.

"Perfect Days"

A 2023 drama film directed by Wim Wenders, from a script written by Wenders and Takuma Takasaki. A co-production between Japan and Germany, the film combines four short stories and stars Kōji Yakusho in the role of a toilet cleaner. The film competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, where it premiered on 25 May and won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and the Best Actor Award for Kōji Yakusho. It was nominated for the Best International Feature Film at the 96th Academy Awards, becoming the first film not directed by a Japanese filmmaker to be nominated as the Japanese entry.

Hirayama seems utterly content with his simple life as a cleaner of toilets in Tokyo. Outside of his very structured everyday routine he enjoys his passion for music and for books. And he loves trees and takes photos of them. A series of unexpected encounters gradually reveal more of his past. A deeply moving and poetic reflection on finding beauty in the everyday world around us.

"Dune: Part Two"

A 2024 American epic science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve, who co-wrote the screenplay with Jon Spaihts. The sequel to "Dune" (2021), it is the second of a two-part adaptation of the 1965 novel "Dune" by Frank Herbert and follows Paul Atreides as he unites with the Fremen people of the desert planet Arrakis to wage war against House Harkonnen. Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Charlotte Rampling, and Javier Bardem reprise their roles from the first film, with Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Christopher Walken and Léa Seydoux joining the ensemble cast.

The film will explore the mythic journey of Paul Atreides as he unites with Chani and the Fremen while on a warpath of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, he endeavors to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.

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Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
Nick Alderink is the cinema program director of Marquee Arts, the nonprofit that oversees the Michigan Theater and State Theatre in Ann Arbor.
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