Cinema Chat: 'After The Storm,' 'Colossal,' 'Citizen Kane,' 'The Fate Of The Furious,' And More

Apr 13, 2017

Michigan Theater Balcony
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan Theater executive director Russ Collins about some new and returning films available to you over the holiday weekend.


Opening Downtown

"After the Storm"

Dwelling on his past glory as a prize-winning author, Ryota wastes the money he makes as a private detective on gambling and can barely pay child support.  After the death of his father, his aging mother and beautiful ex-wife seem to be moving on with their lives.  Renewing contact with his initially distrusting family, Ryota struggles to take back control of his existence and to find a lasting place in the life of his young son - until a stormy summer night offers them a chance to truly bond again.  Ty Burr of the Boston Globe writes “(director Hirokazu Kore-eda) keeps his characters and audience bobbing together over waters that grow deeper and deeper, until it's impossible to distinguish the everyday from the profound.”  “After the Storm” opens Friday.

"Colossal"

Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is an out-of-work party girl who, after getting kicked out of her apartment by her boyfriend, is forced to move back to her hometown.  When news reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, South Korea, Gloria gradually comes to the realization that she is somehow connected to this far-off phenomenon.  As events begin to spin out of control, Gloria must determine why her seemingly insignificant existence has such a colossal effect on the fate of the world.  Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly writes “as much as ‘Colossal’ owes to Asian cinema’s classic kaiju-monster battles, it’s also a shrewd funhouse-mirror subversion of all that… (director Nacho) Vigalondo is less interested in the literal havoc his scaly behemoths wreak on thousands of unsuspecting Koreans than the emotional wreckage of his messed-up humans back in New York.”  “Colossal” opens Friday, April 21, with special advance screenings on Thursday, April 20.

Special Screenings Downtown

“Dong-ju: Portrait of a Poet” 

This film describes the life of poet Yun Dong-ju during the Japanese colonial occupation, focusing on his struggles to devote life to writing, his friendship and rivalry with his politically active cousin Song Mong-Gyu and their involvement in the Korean Independence Movement.  “Dong-ju: Portrait of a Poet” plays Saturday, April 15 at 1 PM.  Part of the Korean Cinema Now film series presented by the UM Nam Center for Korean Studies.  Admission is free!

CINEMA REVOLUTION: Independent Films The Defined A Genre

This spring, Cinetopia Film Festival and Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater will celebrate the glory days of Art House cinemas with a new film series: Cinema Revolution: Independent Films That Defined a Genre.  The eleven film series captures the spirit of cinematic revolution—a revolution that disrupted the Hollywood Studio system, created contemporary foreign film culture and brought to light visionary American directors and new generations of cinematic voices. 

Done -THE MID-CENTURY ART HOUSE - 1960-1969 – Breathless, Fellini’s Satyricon, Putney Swope

Starting - CAMPUS CINEMA GLORY DAZE – 1970-1979

4/17 - 4:30 – Citizen Kane (1941 – Art cinema icon of Hollywood days)

4/17 - 7:00 – Day For Night (1973 – Nouvelle Vauge’s influences & influence)

"Citizen Kane"

This is widely considered to be the greatest film of all time, topping the American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Movies listOrson Welles’ first feature film follows the death of a publishing tycoon and the scramble to understand the meaning of his mysterious final word.   “Citizen Kane” plays Monday, April 17 at 4 PM.  Presented as part of the Cinema Revolution film series.

"Day for Night"

Francois Truffaut pulls back the curtain on filmmaking with this chronicle of the melodrama both on and off screen during the production of a film.  Truffaut bends the fourth wall with his appearance as the film-within-the-film’s director.  “Day for Night” plays Monday at 7 PM.  Presented as part of the Cinema Revolution film series.

4/24 - 7:00 – A Woman Under The Influence (1974 - John Cassavetes, American’s seminal Independent)

5/1 - 7:00 – Harlan County, USA (1976 Barbara Kopple’s documentary your parents wouldn’t see – but should have!)

INDIEWOOD – ART HOUSE MOVIES FIND A GROOVE - 1980-1993

5/8 - 7:00 – The Brother from Another Planet (1984 – John Sayles; connection to the Archive – Art House shining moment)

5/15 - 7:00 – A Room with a View (1985 – James Ivory – Ideal Art House shining moment)

5/22 - 7:00 – My Own Private Idaho   (1991 - Gus Van Sant – youth oriented Art House shining moment)

5/29 - 7:00 – The Player (1993 - Robert Altman; Archive connection– Hollywood’s shallow side and Art House shining moment)

The Screen Arts and Cultures Honors Showcase

Every year, the UM Department of Screen Arts and Cultures selects a group of SAC majors who have met the requirements and developed a project proposal that qualified them as SAC Honors Concentrators.  This year’s Honors Showcase features screenings of “Origins,” directed by Claire Higgins, and “Low Expectations,” directed by Abby Buchmeyer.  The Screen Arts and Cultures Honors Showcase takes place Tuesday, April 18 at 6:30 PM.  Free and open to the public!

Continuing Downtown

"Kedi"

The documentary explores the lives of hundreds of thousands of Turkish cats, who roam the metropolis of Istanbul freely. For thousands of years they’ve wandered in and out of people’s lives, becoming an essential part of the communities that make the city so rich.  Claiming no owners, the cats of Istanbul live between two worlds, neither wild nor tame — and they bring joy and purpose to those people they choose to adopt.  In Istanbul, cats are the mirrors to the people, allowing them to reflect on their lives in ways nothing else could.  “Kedi” continues at the Michigan.

"Wilson"

Premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival!  Woody Harrelson stars as Wilson, a lonely, neurotic, and hilariously honest misanthropic dog lover who reunites with his estranged wife (Laura Dern) and gets a shot at happiness when he learns he has a teenage daughter he’s never met.  In his uniquely outrageous and slightly twisted way, Wilson sets out to connect with her in what could be his last chance at having a family. Directed by Craig Johnson (“The Skeleton Twins”), is also based on a graphic novel by Daniel Clowes as was “Ghost World.”

"Personal Shopper"

Olivier Assayas, the internationally-acclaimed director of “Clouds of Sils Maria” and “Summer Hours,” returns with “Personal Shopper,” an ethereal and mysterious ghost story starring Kristen Stewart as a high-fashion personal shopper to the stars who is also a spiritual medium.  Grieving the recent death of her twin brother, she haunts his Paris home, determined to make contact with him.  A.O. Scott of the New York Times writes “(Kristen Stewart) possesses an uncanny ability to turn her natural charisma into diffidence. You can’t take your eyes off her, even as she seems to be making every effort to deflect your attention, to obscure her radiance, to disappear onscreen… ‘Personal Shopper’ is sleek and spooky, seductive and suspenseful.”  “Personal Shopper” opens Friday.

Opening at the Multiplex

"The Fate of the Furious"

This is the newest chapter in the “Fast and the Furious” franchise.  Now that Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are on their honeymoon—and the rest of the crew has been exonerated—the globetrotting team has found a semblance of a normal life.  But when a mysterious woman (Charlize Theron) seduces Dom into the world of crime, he can’t seem to escape and a betrayal of those closest to him, they will face trials that will test them as never before.  Also starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, “The Fate of the Furious” opens Friday.

"Spark: A Space Tail"

This is the story of a boy who embarks on an epic adventure and, in the process, discovers his rightful place in the universe.  Thirteen years ago, the power-mad General Zhong seized control of Planet Bana, tearing it to pieces in the process.  Enter Spark and his friends, Chunk and Vix, who learn of Zhong's plan to take over the universe.  If Zhong is able to harness the power of an ancient beast known as the Kraken, he'll have history's deadliest weapon at his fingertips.  And it's up to Spark and his friends to stop him.  Featuring the voices of Patrick Stewart, Hilary Swank, Susan Sarandon, and Jessica Biel, “Spark: A Space Tail” 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