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Cinema Chat: 'The Leisure Seeker,' 'Isle Of Dogs,' 'A Quiet Place,' And More

Apr 5, 2018

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

A lot of big news is coming out of the movie world, especially in downtown Ann Arbor.  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins about the movie business and all of the films you can check out in theaters this weekend.


MARK YOUR CALENDAR--Cinetopia 2018 is Shaping Up To Be The Best Festival Year!

Cinetopia Film Festival, May 31-June 10.  Passes now on sale at “cinetopiafestival.org

The Cinetopia Film Festival will most probably open the festival with a special Michigan premiere screening of "Love Gilda."  This 90-minute documentary film opens a window into the world of celebrated, Emmy and Grammy award-winning comedian Gilda Radner, who became a cultural icon the moment audiences first laughed with her on the debut episode of Saturday Night Live.

A trailblazer for women comedians, her impact on the entertainment industry has endured for four decades.

"Love Gilda" is directed and produced by Lisa D'Apolito with the support of the Gilda Radner estate.  The film is a true autobiography of a pioneering woman, told in her own voice and through her own words.  It weaves together audiotapes, rare home movies, diary entries, and interviews with her friends and those inspired by her, including Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and Cecily Strong, original Saturday Night Live cast and crew members Chevy Chase, Laraine Newman, and Paul Shaffer, as well as SNL creator-producer Lorne Michaels, series writer Alan Zweibel, Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz, Second City CEO Andrew Alexander, and long-time friend and actor Martin Short.

Cinetopia will host film director Alan Rudolph and the stars Keith Carradine and Sondra Locke of his new film, "Ray Meets Helen," as it makes its Midwest premiere during Cinetopia.  Alan Rudolph's credits include "Choose Me," "Breakfast of Champions," "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle," "Equinox," "Trouble in Mind," and "The Moderns," which also starred Carradine.  Mr. Rudolph, a protege of director Robert Altman, who, like Altman, donated his personal and professional archive to the U of M--along with his wife Joyce Rudolph, a well-known Hollywood photographer, will be the subject of a U-M symposium during Cinetopia.

And the recent and spectacular documentary on the University of Michigan football stadium called THE BIG HOUSE.  Like Wes Anderson’s new film ISLE OF DOGS, THE BIG HOUSE premiered at the Berlin Film Festival.

OPENING DOWNTOWN

"The Leisure Seeker"

TOMORROW-FRIDAY!!!  On Friday, April 6 at 6:30 and 8:00 PM the Michigan Theater, Nicola’s Books and the Alzheimer’s Association will celebrate author Michael Zadoorian’s story with this Michigan-based author.  The film based on his novel opens in Ann Arbor as a feature length film starring Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren.  THE LEISURE SEEKER is based on Michael Zadoorian’s acclaimed bestselling book.  Additionally, Michael Zadoorian will be bringing copies of his new book, BEAUTIFUL MUSIC, which will only be available that night at the Michigan Theater – the book’s national release date is May 1.

The film stars Academy Award-winners Helen Mirren as Ella Shepard and two-time Golden Globe-winner Donald Sutherland as John Shepard.  Married for more than fifty years, Ella decides she and John will go on one last unforgettable journey.  So, before John’s Alzheimer’s progresses to the point where he forgets how to drive their 1978 antique RV which they call “The Leisure Seeker.”  Ella packs the RV and sets them on a path traveling from Boston to “The Ernest Hemingway Home” in Key West, Florida.  On this odyssey, Ella and John recapture their passion for life and their love for each other on a road trip that provides revelation and surprise right up to the very end.

Story author Mike Zadoorian will be at the Michigan Theater to introduce the film.  He will stay after the film to answer audience questions and sign copies of his book THE LEISURE SEEKERS, as well as pre-release copies of his new book BEAUTIFUL MUSIC.

The Michigan Theater, Nicola’s/Schuler Books and the Great Lakes Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association have combined to create a wonderful event!  A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Great Lakes Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

"Isle of Dogs"

And new from Wes Anderson, this film will open at the State Theatre today!  When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island, 12-year-old Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies across the river in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots.  With a voice cast featuring Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johannson, and Jeff Goldblum, A.A. Dowd of the A.V. Club said it is "a movie whose every image is a miniature triumph of imagination and execution."

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

"Flower"

This film stars Zoey Deutch as the rebellious, quick-witted Erica, a 17-year-old firecracker living with her single mom and her mom’s new boyfriend, Bob, in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley.  With her sidekicks in tow, she acts out by exposing a high school teacher’s dark secret.  The film also stars Adam Scott and Kathryn Hahn.

"Black Panther" 

Now the highest-grossing superhero film of all time, it continues for another week from Director Ryan Coogler.

"The Shape of Water"

And this year's Best Picture winner from Director Guillermo del Toro is also held over for another week.

"Leaning in the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy"

At the Michigan Theater, this is a documentary that looks inside the world of British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, who uses his natural surroundings to create works of art in San Francisco, St. Louis, New England, Brazil, Scotland, and France.

"The Death of Stalin"

The latest political satire from Armando Iannucci, starring Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambor, Michael Palin, and more, also continues, which depicts the chaos that fell the Soviet regime after the death of their leader.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

"Monty Python and the Holy Grail"

Tonight, a new film series will premiere at the Michigan: “And Now For Something Completely Different," celebrating the films of the British comedy troupe Monty Python.  This film plays tonight at 9:30 PM, which follows King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, who embark on a surreal, low-budget search for the Holy Grail, encountering many, very silly obstacles.  "Life of Brian" will continue the series next week at the same time.

"Jane"

Presented by the Nam Center for Korean Studies at the University of Michigan, this film will continue the Korean Cinema Now film series this Saturday, April 7 at 1:00 PM.  A film about a runaway who is left alone after her boyfriend disappears and gets to know a transgender woman named Jane and her group of misfits who are as comforting and loving as a real family.  And, as always, this screening is free and open to the public!

"Ran"

Next Monday, April 9, the "Enter the Samurai" film series continues with this Kurosawa film at 7:00 PM.  This adaptation of Shakespeare's "King Lear" is considered by some to be his "last great masterpiece."  In medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons.  However, he vastly underestimates how the newfound power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.  Next week, the series will conclude with "The 47 Ronin, Parts 1 & 2."

"The Virgin Suicides"

This film will continue the Science on Screen series next Wednesday, April 11 at 7:30 PM.  This 1999 drama was the directorial debut of Sofia Coppola (who also wrote the film) and takes place in a Detroit suburb in the mid-1970s where a group of male friends become obsessed with five mysterious sisters who are sheltered by their strict, religious parents.  After the film, National Youth Speaker Jim Tuman will deliver a 15-20 minute speech about the teen suicide epidemic and then host an audience Q&A session.

OPENING AT THE MULTIPLEX

"A Quiet Place"

From Director John Krasinski ("The Office"), this film stars Krasinski and Emily Blunt as a family who must navigate their lives in silence after mysterious creatures that hunt by sound threaten their survival.

"Blockers"

A new comedy starring John Cena, Leslie Mann, and Ike Barinholtz, three parents try to stop their daughters from having sex on prom night.

"Chappaquiddick"

This film depicts Ted Kennedy's involvement in the fatal 1969 car accident that claimed the life of a young campaign strategist.  The film stars Jason Clarke as Kennedy, with Kate Mara playing the role of the ill-fated Mary Jo Kopechne.

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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