89.1 WEMU

Cinema Chat: Cinetopia, 'The Meddler,' 'The Man Who Knew Infinity,' 'Neighbors 2,' And More

May 19, 2016

Michigan Theater Upstairs Lobby
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Film festival season is kicking off all over the world!  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan Theater executive director Russ Collins about all the movies coming to the big screen this weekend and a special announcement about the Cinetopia film festival.


Cannes 2016 Wraps Up This Weekend

At Cannes, Kristen Stewart is the actress of the moment at this year’s festival with very different, but equally impressive roles in both Woody Allen’s “Café Society” and Olivier Assayas’ “Personal Shopper,” the story of a young American woman in Paris who works as a personal shopper for a wealthy celebrity while trying to make spiritual contact with her recently deceased twin brother, it’s an atmospheric, unexpectedly involving film -- part spooky ghost story, part thriller, part coming-of-age drama -- with everything joined and enlarged by Stewart’s bravura performance.  It is her second film with top French director Assayas; the first, “Clouds of Sils Maria,” won Stewart a César, the French Oscar, for supporting actress.

Cinetopia International Film Festival June 3-12

Cinetopia Film Festival, once again named as the best Detroit area film festival by the Metro Times.  A full list of the films and the final schedule of screenings is now posted on the website.

Opening Night, June 3, in Detroit

Suited:  Bindle & Keep is a bespoke tailor shop in Brooklyn, NY that caters to a transgender population. This heartfelt documentary from executive producer LENA DUNHAM.  Rae Tutera, the person who envisioned Biddle & Keep (and a trans woman) will be on hand to speak at opening night screening.

Sembene! Senegalese novelist and director Ousmane Sembene, known as “the father of African film,” promoted a new vision of not only Africa, but of the inner lives of his people, and his films injected that vision into the world and returned African stories to Africans.  Director/producer JASON SILVERMAN will take part in a Q&A following the opening night June 3 screening of the film.

Captain FantasticDeep in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, non-conformist Ben (VIGGO MORTENSEN) and his wife guide their six children toward exceptional adulthoods through rigorous outdoor activities and highly intellectual homeschooling.  When tragedy strikes, Ben and his brood are forced to leave their utopia and venture into a world that is simultaneously unfamiliar, terrifying, and exciting.

The Alchemist CookbookYoung outcast Sean is filled with disdain for authority, has fled the daily grind and is holed up in the wilderness. When he turns from chemistry to black magic to crack nature’s secrets, things go awry and he awakens something far more sinister and dangerous.  Grand Rapids based director Joel Potrykus (Buzzard, Cinetopia 2014) marries the heady nature of isolation with the hard and fast realities that come along with being a hermit on the fringe.  Director/screenwriter JOEL POTRYKUS will join us following the opening night June 3 screening.

The Lure: This musical horror film is the first musical to come from Poland is brimming with Euro-Pop sensibilities, a dash of neon Cold War disco vibes, and maybe just enough energy akin to Rainer Werner Fassbinder to get the blood pumping.  The film tells the story of two mermaid sisters, Silver and Gold, whose shared dream to swim to America comes into conflict after they join the Figs and Dates band and become nightlife sensations. Unfortunately, it won’t be long before they find out that fame is not for everyone.

And of course, the free outdoor screening of Only Yesterday on the North Lawn of the DIA.  This animated (anime) film is the story of a young woman Taeko (voiced by DAISY RIDLEY) as she travels to the countryside to visit family from her longtime home of Tokyo.  Now in her late twenties, she looks back to what helped her choose her path in life and where she found her frustrations (boys! math!) along the way. When she connects with young farmer Toshio (voiced by DEV PATEL) at the station, her journey looks to understand if she has in fact become what she thought she would be from her childhood.  Originally released in 1991 by the award-winning Studio Ghibli overseas, the film is being seen for the first time in the states and delivers beautiful images of time across decades prior--from its setting in the early eighties to days of youth in the sixties--to truly timeless results for the viewer.

For a full list of all our talent who are coming (including Leonard Maltin – which we haven’t announced yet so could be good to include) are here.

The renowned film critic, historian, and creator of the Walt Disney Treasure series joins us onstage to talk about the iconic works of Walt Disney and his talented company of illustrators, artists, and animators following these screenings: 

Classic Disney Shorts - Saturday, June 11, 2:00 PM - Redford Theater; 

Tyrus, Sunday, June 12, 1:00 PM - Michigan Theater; Bambi - Sunday, June 12, 4:00 PM

Some of the other 55 films being screened at the festival include:

•                    Tyrus: The Tyrus Wong Story, a documentary that takes the viewer into the world of a 105 years-young Chinese immigrant artist who not only overcame prejudice, but persevered to inspire Walt Disney and helped bring us the delicate, majestic beauty of Bambi. Director Pamela Tom carefully weaves interviews with best-selling author Lisa See, Hollywood film historian Joe Musso, art curator Sonia Mak, studio animation notable Don Hahn.  The Ann Arbor screening of this film will be followed by a rare theatrical screening of the original 1942 “Bambi.”  

•                    Operator, Ann Arbor natives Sharon Greene and Logan Kibens wrote and directed this comedic look at a married couple, Joe and Emily (Martin Starr of Silicon Valley and Mae Whitman).

•                    American Premiere of Iggy Pop Basel Concert film.  There’s a reason why many consider Iggy Pop the godfather of punk — every single punk band of the past and present has either knowingly or unknowingly borrowed a thing or two from Pop and his band, the Stooges. This fantastic performance features all of Iggy Pop’s top hits, including “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, “The Passenger”, “Lust for Life” and many more.

Cinetopia passes and tickets are on sale now!  All tickets can be purchased at cinetopiafestival.org.

Opening Downtown

"The Meddler"

With a new iPhone, an apartment near the Grove, and a comfortable bank account left to her by her beloved late husband, Marnie (Susan Sarandon) has happily relocated to Los Angeles to be near her daughter Lori (Rose Byrne), a successful (but still single) screenwriter.  But when Marnie’s texts, unexpected visits, and conversations dominated by unsolicited advice force Lori to draw strict personal boundaries, Marnie finds ways to channel her eternal optimism and forceful generosity to change the lives of others - as well as her own - and find a new purpose in life.  “The Meddler” opens at the Michigan.

Continuing Downtown

"The Man Who Knew Infinity"

This film charts the incredible life of Srinivasa Ramanujan (“Slumdog Millionaire’s” Dev Patel), whose genius for mathematics takes him from the slums of India to Cambridge University in the early 20th-century.  Spurred on by his mentor G. H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons), Ramanujan overcomes racism and the rigidity of academia to revolutionize the field with his startlingly original theorems, which he attributes to divine inspiration.  “The Man Who Knew Infinity” opens at the Michigan.

"Miles Ahead"

Don Cheadle gives a virtuoso performance as Miles Davis at the State Theatre.

"A Hologram for the King"

Cultures collide when an American businessman (Tom Hanks) is sent to Saudi Arabia to close what he hopes will be the deal of a lifetime.

"Sing Street"

From director/writer John Carney (“Once”), takes us back to 1980s Dublin seen through the eyes of a 14-year-old boy named Conor who to win the heart of the mysterious, über-cool and beautiful Raphina. He invites her to star in his (yet to be formed) band's music videos. So, with a few lads a band is formed and they pour their heart into writing lyrics and shooting videos.  At the State.

"Embrace of the Serpent"

This film centers on an Amazonian shaman and the last survivor of his people, and the two scientists who, over the course of 40 years, build a friendship with him.  Nominated for this year’s Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, at the State Theatre.

Opening at the Multiplex

"The Nice Guys"

This film takes place in 1970s Los Angeles, when down-on-his-luck private eye Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and hired enforcer Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) must work together to solve the case of a missing girl and the seemingly unrelated death of a porn star. During their investigation, they uncover a shocking conspiracy that reaches up to the highest circles of power.  “The Nice Guys” opens Friday.

"The Angry Birds Movie"

In the 3D animated comedy, we'll finally find out why the birds are so angry. The movie takes us to an island populated almost entirely by happy, flightless birds -- but Red (Jason Sudeikis), a bird with a temper problem, speedy Chuck (Josh Gad), and the volatile Bomb (Danny McBride) have always been outsiders.  When the island is visited by mysterious green piggies, it's up to these unlikely outcasts to figure out what the pigs are up to.  “The Angry Birds Movie” opens Friday.

"Neighbors 2:  Sorority Rising"

Now that Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) have a second baby on the way, they are ready to make the final move into adulthood: the suburbs.  But just as they thought they’d reclaimed the neighborhood and were safe to sell, they learn that the new occupants next door are an out-of-control sorority.  “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” 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