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Cinema Chat: Academy Awards Preview, 'Lion,' 'I Am Not Your Negro,' 'Get Out,' And More

Feb 23, 2017

The Michigan Theater
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

The 2017 Academy Awards are just a few days away.  Who will be the big winners, and what will be the big surprises?  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan Theater spokesperson Amanda Bynum about the movie business and the films coming to your local movie theaters this weekend.


It’s Academy Award time, and you have until Sunday evening to catch up on all the Oscar-worthy films you may have missed.  Great films like “Fences,” “La La Land,” and “Hidden Figures” are playing at area multiplexes through the weekend, and you can catch the Oscar shorts at the Michigan Theater.

Opening Downtown

"Lion"

Nominated for six Academy Awards. including Best Picture, five-year-old Saroo gets lost on a train which takes him thousands of kilometers across India, away from home and family.  Saroo must learn to survive alone in Kolkata, before ultimately being adopted by an Australian couple.  Twenty-five years later, armed with only a handful of memories, his unwavering determination, and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, he sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home.  “Lion” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.  

"I Am Not Your Negro"

This is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter.  In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, "Remember This House."  The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.  At the time of Baldwin's death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of his manuscript.  Now, in his incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished.  The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin's original words and flood of rich archival material.  It is a film that questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond.  And, ultimately, by confronting the deeper connections between the lives and assassination of these three leaders, Baldwin and Peck have produced a work that challenges the very definition of what America stands for.  “I Am Not Your Negro” opens Friday.

Special Screenings Downtown

The Fly Fishing Film Tour

The original and preeminent exhibition of fly fishing cinema, The Fly Fishing Film Tour is a one of a kind experience.  Each year, fishermen of all ages (and genders) gather to soak in films from around the world, spin a few yarns amongst friends and dream about casts still unmade.  The Fly Fishing Film Tour plays Friday, February 24 at 7 PM at the Michigan.

"A Fugitive from the Past"

This is a decade-spanning, epic thriller of a heist gone wrong.  The film follows a lone surviving thief as he evades the law, going into desperate hiding with a prostitute.  This cover allows retribution for them both into society, but at disastrous costs as the detectives pursue the crime and its story unravels with time. "A Fugitive From The Past" plays Monday, February 27 at 7 PM.  Part of the Kuro: The Dark Edge of Filmmaking film series.

Opening at the Multiplex

"Get Out"

A young African-American man visits his white girlfriend’s family estate and becomes ensnared in a more sinister real reason for the invitation.  Now that Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy (Catherine Keener) and Dean (Bradley Whitford).  At first, Chris reads the family's overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined.  Written and directed by Jordan Peele (of “Key and Peele” fame), “Get Out” opens Friday.

"Collide"

After a heist goes terribly wrong, Casey (Nicholas Hoult) finds himself on the run from a ruthless gang headed by mob boss Hagen (Anthony Hopkins).  Now Casey has precious cargo that belongs to Hagen, who will stop at nothing to retrieve it.  Left with no choice, Casey calls his former employer and drug smuggler Geran (Ben Kingsley) to protect his long-time girlfriend Juliette (Felicity Jones) before Hagen gets his hands on her.  Casey sets out on an adrenaline-fueled car chase on the German highways to save the love of his life before it's too late.  "Collide" opens Friday.

"Rock Dog"

For the Tibetan Mastiffs living on Snow Mountain, a dog's life has a simple riff: guard a peaceful village of wool-making sheep from a thuggish wolf and his rabid pack.  To avoid distractions, Mastiff leader Khampa forbids all music from the mountain.  But when Khampa's son Bodi discovers a radio dropped by a passing airplane, it takes just a few guitar licks for his fate to be sealed: Bodi wants to be a rock 'n' roll star.  Featuring the voices of Luke Wilson, J.K. Simmons, and Lewis Black, “Rock Dog” opens Friday.

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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