89.1 WEMU

Cinema Chat: Cinetopia Recap, 'Maggie's Plan,' 'Genius,' 'High Society,' 'Finding Dory,' And More

Jun 16, 2016

The Michigan Theater
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

The Cinetopia Film Festival has wrapped and was a massive success!  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan Theater program director Ruth Lednicer about Cinetopia and all the movies coming to the big screen this weekend.


Cinetopia Festival 2016 Was a Success!!

Ultimately over 22,000 people will have experienced Michigan’s fastest growing International Film Festival – Cinetopia!  There were 120 screening of 55 films, which played in more than a dozen different venues throughout the Detroit Metropolitan area!  Detroit’s cultural center is the karmic home of the festival because of Detroit’s long relationship with filmmaking.  Little known fact: Detroit was second only to Hollywood in the shooting and processing of film during Hollywood’s heyday.  Detroit was also home to the grandest collection of movie palaces during its explosive growth in the early part of the 20th century.  

Ann Arbor is the heart and soul of Cinetopia Festival because the staff of the Michigan Theater originated to concept and organizes the annual execution of the festival.  Last weekend, there was a palpable buzz in Downtown Ann Arbor as restaurants and theaters were filled with the enthusiastic film fans and cinephiles.

The Henry Ford Museum was added to the regional partners which include: the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the historic Redford Theatre, Cinema Detroit, the College of Creative Studies, the Arab American National Museum, the Maple Theatre, and, of course, Ann Arbor’s own Michigan and State Theatres.  Filmmakers came from all over the globe to join with local filmmakers to enliven many of the over 120 very special film screenings. 

Continuing Downtown

"Love & Friendship"

Based on the Jane Austen novella “Lady Susan,” it tells the story of beautiful young widow Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale), who visits the estate of her in-laws to wait out the rumors about her dalliances circulating through polite society.  Whilst ensconced there, she decides to secure a husband for herself and a future for her eligible but reluctant daughter. In doing so she attracts the simultaneous attentions of three men, complicating matters severely.  “Love and Friendship” plays at the Michigan.  99% Positive Reviews.

"The Lobster"

In the absurdist comedy, every adult must be part of a couple.  Recently dumped by his wife, David (Colin Farrell) is assigned to a countryside “hotel” where he must find a suitable mate or be turned into the animal of his choice (part of the absurdist nature of this movie). David attends group meetings and mixers designed to foster compatible pairings.  David’s search ultimately leads him to escape from the “hotel” to join a group of militant outcasts who live in the woods. “The Lobster” won the Jury Prize at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, as well as the controversial Direct from Sundance screening at the Michigan in February. “The Lobster” is at the State.  90% Positive Reviews.  

Opening Downtown

"Maggie's Plan"

A vibrant, young, working-class woman looking to start a family on her own (Greta Gerwig) becomes involved in a complicated love triangle with a professor (Ethan Hawke) and his theorist wife (Julianne Moore).  Adam Graham of the Detroit News says, "'Maggie's Plan' is Gerwig's show, and once again she proves to be one of the screen's most engaging presences.”  Also starring Maya Rudolph and Bill Hader, “Maggie’s Plan” opens Friday at the State Theatre. 

"Genius"

From Academy Award-nominated screenwriter John Logan and acclaimed Tony Award-winning director Michael Grandage in his feature film debut comes a stirring drama about the complex friendship and transformative professional relationship between the world-renowned book editor Maxwell Perkins and the larger-than-life literary giant Thomas Wolfe.  Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post says, "'Genius' may be a bit stodgy and safe, but it tells a story of beauty - as it plays out in an improbably fruitful friendship, and as it's discovered within vast expanses of raw language by a craftsman who was arguably an artist in his own right.”  The film stars Colin Firth as Perkins, Jude Law as Wolfe, Nicole Kidman as Aline Bernstein, a costume designer sharing a tumultuous relationship with Wolfe, Laura Linney as Louise Perkins, Max's wife and a talented playwright, Guy Pearce as F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Dominic West as Ernest Hemingway.  "Genius” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

Opening at the Multiplex

"Finding Dory"

This sequel reunites the friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the true meaning of family along the way.  The all-new big-screen adventure dives into theaters, taking moviegoers back to the extraordinary underwater world from the original film.  Owen Gleiberman of Variety says, “Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane, the co-directors of 'Finding Dory,' have made a beautiful, rambunctious, and fully felt sequel - a movie totally worth its salt water.”  “Finding Dory” opens Friday.

"Central Intelligence"

This film follows a one-time bullied geek, Bob, who grew up to be a lethal CIA agent, coming home for his high school reunion.  Claiming to be on a top-secret case, he enlists the help of former "big man on campus," Calvin, now an accountant who misses his glory days.  But before the staid numbers-cruncher realizes what he's getting into, it's too late to get out, as his increasingly unpredictable new friend drags him through a world of shoot-outs, double-crosses and espionage that could get them both killed in more ways than Calvin can count.  “Central Intelligence” starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, opens Friday.

Special Screenings Downtown

"High Society"

This is a 1956 glossy Technicolor-and-VistaVision musical remake of Philip Barry’s “The Philadelphia Story” (1940), decked out with million-watt star power and a Cole Porter score. Set amongst the rich and famous in Newport, RI, the story revolves around the wedding plans of socialite Tracy Lord (Grace Kelly).  Tracy is all set to marry stuffy George Kittridge (John Lund), while magazine writer Mike Connor (Frank Sinatra) and photographer Liz Imbrie (Celeste Holm) intend to cover the ceremony.  Meanwhile, Tracy’s ex-husband C.K. Dexter-Haven (Bing Crosby) also comes calling, ostensibly to the attend the annual Newport Jazz Festival, but actually for the purpose of winning Tracy back.  “High Society” kicks off the Michigan Theater’s Summer Classic Film Series on June 19th at 1:30PM and June 21st at 7:00PM. The series continues with:

June 26 & 28:  A Hard Day's Night

July 3 & 5:  Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

July 4:  The Dirty Dozen (Free for Veterans and Active Military Personal)

July 10 & 12:  A Streetcar Named Desire

July 17 & 19:  Monty Python & The Holy Grail

July 24 & 26:  Funny Face

July 31 & August 2:  The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

August 7 & 9: Horse Feathers

August  14 & 16:  Fargo

August 21 & 23:  Sound of Music Sing-A-Long

August 28 & 30:  Metropolis w/ Live Organ

Monday, September 5:  Casablanca (Free for Students)

Like 89.1 WEMU on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

— 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