Cinema Chat: 'August: Osage County,' 'Inside Llewyn Davis' and more at the movies

Jan 9, 2014

In this week's edition of Cinema Chat, Michigan Theater Program Director, Amanda Bynum sits down to talk with 89.1 WEMU's David Fair about the latest upcoming movies downtown and around town.

The conversation first covers some news out of Hollywood and Ann Arbor. Cinema Chat is a regular feature heard each Thursday during Morning Edition on 89.1 WEMU.

BAFTA nominations announced on Wednesday

The Michigan Theater at Night
Credit Michtheater.org

Every year there’s a debate about whether the Baftas ‘influence’ the Oscars, but that may be the wrong way to look at it. The point is that of all the major awards, the Baftas most closely resemble the Oscars, in that their voters are also drawn from a wide cross-section of the film industry – unlike awards by critics’ groups, specific guilds (actors, directors, producers) or the non-American film journalists in Hollywood who determine the outcome of the Golden Globes.  In terms of nominations, the big Bafta winners were Gravity, with 11, 12 Years A Slave and American Hustle with 10, and Captain Phillips with nine. Along with The Wolf of Wall Street, Philomena received four, including best British film and a best actress nomination for Dench.  The most significant anomaly was the Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra, which picked up five Bafta nominations, including a supporting actor nomination for Matt Damon. Because no Hollywood studio was prepared to bankroll it, the film was not released in American cinemas, but was broadcast on cable TV. Still, Bafta’s acknowledgement was pleasing for those of us who regard as it as one of the year’s best films, regardless of where it’s viewed.

BEST FILM 
12 YEARS A SLAVE
AMERICAN HUSTLE
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
GRAVITY
PHILOMENA

DIRECTOR 
Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave 
David O Russell for American Hustle 
Paul Greengrass for Captain Phillips 
Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity 
Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street

LEADING ACTOR 
Bruce Dern for Nebraska 
Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave 
Christian Bale for American Hustle 
Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street 
Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips

LEADING ACTRESS 
Amy Adams for American Hustle 
Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine 
Emma Thompson for Saving Mr Banks 
Judi Dench for Philomena 
Sandra Bullock for Gravity

SUPPORTING ACTOR 
Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips 
Bradley Cooper for American Hustle 
Daniel Brühl for Rush 
Matt Damon for Behind the Candelabra 
Michael Fassbender for 12 Years a Slave

SUPPORTING ACTRESS 
Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle 
Julia Roberts for August: Osage County 
Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave 
Oprah Winfrey for The Butler 
Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY 
American Hustle 
Blue Jasmine 
Gravity 
Inside Llewyn Davis
Nebraska

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY 
12 Years a Slave 
Behind the Candelabra
Billy Ray for Captain Phillips 
Philomena 
The Wolf of Wall Street

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE 
The Act of Killing
Blue is the Warmest Colour 
The Great Beauty

DOCUMENTARY 
The Act of Killing 
The Armstrong Lie 
Blackfish 
Tim’s Vermeer 
We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks

Opening Downtown

“August: Osage County” tells the dark, hilarious and deeply touching story of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose lives have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them. Based on Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, which was the winner of five Tony Awards in 2008 including Best Play, “August: Osage County” features an all-star cast, including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Abigail Breslin, Sam Shepard, and Chris Cooper. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly says, “When a movie is based on a celebrated play, the first question to ask is, Does it play? In the case of ‘August: Osage County...’ the answer is yes.” “August: Osage County” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

“Inside Llewyn Davis,” written and directed by brothers Joel and Ethan Coen, follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles - some of them of his own making. Rene Rodriguez of the Miami Herald says “’Inside Llewyn Davis’ is one of the Coens' smallest movies… but like Llewyn's music, it comes from the heart and is deeply felt. It is also one of their best.” Starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, and Justin Timberlake, “Inside Llewyn Davis” opens Friday at the State Theatre.

Opening at the Cineplex

“Lone Survivor,” starring Mark Wahlberg, tells the story of four Navy SEALs on an ill-fated covert mission who are ambushed by enemy forces in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. Based on The New York Times bestseller, this story of heroism, courage and survival directed by Peter Berg (“Friday Night Lights”) also stars Emile Hirsch and Eric Bana. “Lone Survivor” opens Friday.

In “The Legend of Hercules,” Kellan Lutz stars as the mythical Greek hero: the son of Zeus, a half-god, half-man blessed with extraordinary strength. Betrayed by his stepfather and sold into slavery because of a forbidden love, Hercules must use his formidable powers to fight his way back to his rightful kingdom. “The Legend Of Hercules” opens Friday.

Special Screenings Downtown

In “Cold Eyes,” the newest member of a Korean Special Police Forces unit tries to track down the cold-hearted leader of a criminal organization. “Cold Eyes” plays Saturday, January 11 at 2 PM at the Michigan Theater. Free admission! Part of the Korean Cinema Now Series presented by the UM Nam Center for Korean Studies.

Edward Norton stars in “Fight Club” as a depressed man who has become a small cog in the world of big business. He’s become so desperate to relate to others that he's taken to visiting support groups for patients with terminal diseases so that he'll have people to talk to… until he meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). “Fight Club” plays Saturday, January 11 at 11:59 PM at the State Theatre.

“The Land Before Time” from Don Bluth (“An American Tail”) tells the story of an orphaned brontosaurus named Littlefoot as he sets off in search of the legendary Great Valley, a land of lush vegetation where dinosaurs can thrive and live in peace. Along the way he meets four other young dinosaurs, each one a different species, and they learn to work together in order to survive. “The Land Before Time” plays Sunday, January 12 at 1:30 PM. Part of the Toyota Family-Friendly Film Series. FREE for kids 12 and under!

Adult Swim invites you to an exclusive screening of “Rick and Morty,” a show about a sociopathic scientist who drags his unintelligent grandson on insanely dangerous adventures across the universe. Created and executive produced by Dan Harmon (“Community”) and Justin Roiland (“House of Cosbys”). “Rick and Morty” plays Monday, January 13 at 7 PM. Free admission! Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Center for the Education of Women kicks off CEW's 50th Anniversary with a celebration of films by and about women -- who make up less than 10% of Hollywood filmmakers! This selection of serious, funny, poetic and provocative short films will be emceed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Cynthia Wade; her recent film "Mondays at Racine" is the evening's anchor movie. It's all free--popcorn too!--and open to the public. “CEW Celebrates: Women and Film” plays Tuesday, January 14 at 7 PM.

“Kinsey” kicks off the second Science on Screen series on Wednesday, January 15 at 7 PM. Following the film screening, Sandra Cole, Ph.D., UM Medical School sexologist and professor (ret.), will give a brief presentation on a wide variety of topics relating to the Kinsey Institute and the ongoing cultural concerns of sexual health.