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Cinema Chat: 'Land Ho!', 'The One I love', 'The November Man' And More

Aug 28, 2014

There are plenty of film previews for you in this week's edition of Cinema Chat. But, the conversation begins with a discussion of the ongoing Venice Film Festival. 

Michigan Theater Marquee
Credit Michigan Theater / michtheater.org

Opening Downtown

Land Ho!

In “Land Ho!” a pair of former brothers-in-law embark on a road trip through Iceland, hoping to reclaim their youth. The star of the film, Paul Eenhoorn (“This is Martin Bonner”), is a friend from the 2013 Cinetopia Film Festival.

He appeared with this funny and picaresque adventure at the Traverse City Film Festival, where we renewed our acquaintance. Traveling from trendy Reykjavík to the rugged Icelandic outback, “Land Ho!” is a throwback to classic bawdy road comedies as well as a candid exploration of aging, loneliness, and friendship.

Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times says, “don't be misled by its simple premise. ‘Land Ho!’ is full of surprises, rich in the way it noses around the rocky terrain of aging in an indifferent world through the engaging performances of its two stars.” “Land Ho!” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

The One I Love

I enjoyed the romantic and mysterious “The One I Love” at the Sundance Film Festival. This fun and surprising debut feature film from acclaimed author Charlie McDowell is an original tale that demonstrates keen observations about relationships using a distinct and comedic voice.

On the brink of separation, Ethan (Mark Duplass, another friend of the Michigan Theater) and Sophie (Elisabeth Moss, Peggy of “Man Men”) escape to a beautiful vacation house for a weekend getaway in an attempt to save their marriage.

What begins as a romantic and fun retreat soon becomes surreal, when an unexpected discovery forces the two to examine themselves, their relationship, and their future.

Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune says, “Moss and Duplass are just about perfect in it, never begging for audience sympathy, merely working inside their characters for audience empathy.”

“The One I Love” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

Opening at the Multiplex

As Above/So Below

“As Above/So Below” wends through miles of twisting catacombs that lie beneath the streets of Paris, the eternal home to countless souls. When a team of explorers ventures into the uncharted maze of bones, they uncover the secret of what this city of the dead was meant to contain.

It’s a journey into madness and terror that reaches deep into the human psyche to reveal the personal demons that come back to haunt us all. “As Above/So Below” opens Friday.

The November Man

In “The November Man,” Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) is a lethal and highly trained ex-CIA agent who has been enjoying a quiet life in Switzerland. When Devereaux is lured out of retirement for one last mission, he must protect a valuable witness, Alice Fournier (Olga Kurylenko).

This assignment makes him a target of his former friend and CIA protégé David Mason (Luke Bracey). With growing suspicions of a mole in the agency, there is no one Devereaux can trust, no rules, and no holds barred.

The film features a screenplay by Michael Finch and Karl Gajdusek based on Bill Granger's novel "There are No Spies" from the bestselling November Man book series. 

Opening Friday, overall the reviews are less-than-stellar.

Andrew Barker’s review in Variety is typical: “Runs through spy movie clichés with such dogged obligation that it often plays like a YouTube compilation of scenes from older, better thrillers, generating little overall tension and only occasionally approaching basic coherence.”

Special Screenings Downtown

Casablanca

School is starting, so it’s time for “Casablanca” at the Michigan Theater. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Berman star in this ultimate Hollywood classic. “Casablanca” plays Monday, September 1 at 7 PM. This screening is FREE for all students with a valid student ID.

Life of Brian

In “Life of Brian,” on a midnight clear 2,000 years ago, three wise men enter a manger where a babe is wrapped in swaddling clothes.

It is an infant called… Brian… and the three wise men are in the wrong manger. For the rest of his life, Brian finds himself regarded as something of a messiah — yet he’s always in the shadow of this other guy from Galilee.

The whole Monty Python gang (Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, and Terry Gilliam) are on hand in multiple roles, playing such sacred characters as Stan Called Loretta, Deadly Dirk, Casts the First Stone, and Intensely Dull Youth. “Life of Brian” plays Sunday, August 31 at 1:30 PM and Tuesday, September 2 at 7 PM at the Michigan Theater.

The Meaning of Life

Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life” is without a doubt the most tasteless of the Monty Python feature films; it also happens to be one of the funniest.

Stop questioning your own existence and let six of the funniest men EVER guide you through life’s most complex issues: birth, fate, dreams, war, sex, speech, illness, death.

The final theatrical film from the legendary comedy troupe, “The Meaning of Life” plays Thursday, September 4 at 10 PM at the Michigan Theater.