Cinema Chat: 'Maudie,' 'The Little Hours,' 'Dunkirk,' And More

Jul 20, 2017

Michigan Theater Balcony
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan Theater marketing manager Sarah Erlewine about the movie business and all the of films you can check out during this Ann Arbor Art Fair weekend.


Opening Downtown

"Maudie"

Based on a true story, this is an unlikely romance in which the reclusive Everett (Ethan Hawke) hires a fragile, yet determined woman named Maudie (Sally Hawkins) to be his housekeeper.  Maudie, bright-eyed but hunched with crippled hands, yearns to be independent, to live away from her protective family, and she also yearns, passionately, to create art.  Unexpectedly, Everett finds himself falling in love.  Maudie charts Everett's efforts to protect himself from being hurt, Maudie's deep and abiding love for this difficult man and her surprising rise to fame as a folk painter.  “Maudie” opens Friday.

"The Little Hours"

Medieval nuns Alessandra, Fernanda, and Ginevra (Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, and Kate Micucci) lead a simple life in their convent.  Their days are spent chafing at monastic routine, spying on one another, and berating the estate’s day laborer.  After a particularly vicious insult session drives the peasant away, Father Tommasso (John C. Reilly) brings on newly hired hand Massetto (Dave Franco), a virile young servant forced into hiding by his angry lord.  Introduced to the sisters as a deaf-mute to discourage temptation, Massetto struggles to maintain his cover.   Sheila O’Malley of RogerEbert.com writes, “what could have been—in less confident hands—a one-joke sketch becomes, instead, a consistently wacko screwball.  (Director Jeff) Baena knows that the main thing—Nuns Gone Wild—is funny.  The three extremely funny actresses go to town with all of the possibilities.”  “The Little Hours” opens Friday.

Special Screenings Downtown

"A Clockwork Orange"

In future Britain, Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell), a charismatic and psychopath delinquent who likes to practice crimes and ultra-violence with his gang, is jailed and volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society’s crime problem – but not all goes according to plan.  In a 1971 review, Vincent Canby of the New York Times wrote, “ (‘A Clockwork Orange’) is brilliant, a tour de force of extraordinary images, music, words and feelings.”  “A Clockwork Orange” plays Thursday, July 20 at 9:30 PM as part of the Summer Classics: Kubrick After Dark series.

"The Man Who Knew Too Much"

Dr. Ben McKenna (James Stewart) is on vacation with his wife (Doris Day) and son in Morocco when a chance encounter with a stranger sets their trip, and their lives, on a drastically different course.  The stranger, killed in front of the family in the marketplace, reveals an assassination plot to the Americans.  The couple’s son is abducted in order to ensure the plot is kept secret, and, suddenly, the mother and father, with no help from the police, must figure out a way to get their child back.  “The Man Who Knew Too Much” plays Sunday, July 23 at 1:30 PM. 

"The Wrong Man"

Musician Manny Balestrero (Henry Fonda) needs money to pay for his wife Rose’s (Vera Miles) dental procedure.  When he tries to borrow money from their insurance policy, someone at the office mistakes him for a man who had robbed them twice at gunpoint.  After Manny is arrested, his defense attorney, Frank O’Connor (Anthony Quayle), works to demonstrate that Manny has an alibi for the crimes.  The stress of the case, however, threatens to destroy Manny’s family before his name can be cleared.  “The Wrong Man” plays Tuesday, July 25 at 7 PM.  Both “The Man Who Knew Too Much” and “The Wrong Man” play as part of the Michigan Theater’s Summer Classics: Hitchcock Goes Hollywood series.

"The Shining"

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer’s block.  He settles in along with his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and his son Danny (Danny Lloyd), who is plagued by psychic premonitions.  As Jack’s writing goes nowhere and Danny’s visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel’s dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac hell-bent on terrorizing his family.  “The Shining” plays Thursday, July 20 at 9:30 PM as part of the Summer Classics: Kubrick After Dark series.

Opening at the Multiplex

"Dunkirk"

This film opens as hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are surrounded by enemy forces.  Trapped on the beach with their backs to the sea, they face an impossible situation as the enemy closes in.  The story unfolds on land, sea and air.  RAF Spitfires engage the enemy in the skies above the Channel, trying to protect the defenseless men below.  Meanwhile, hundreds of small boats manned by both military and civilians are mounting a desperate rescue effort, risking their lives in a race against time to save even a fraction of their army.  Peter Travers of Rolling Stone writes, “The Oscar race for Best Picture is officially on.  From first frame to last, (director) Christopher Nolan's ‘Dunkirk’ is a monumental achievement, a World War II epic of staggering visual spectacle that hits you like a shot in the heart.”  “Dunkirk” opens Friday.

"Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets"

Based on the ground-breaking comic book and directed by Luc Besson (“The Professional,” “The Fifth Element”), this film takes place in the 28th century, when a team of special operatives charged with maintaining order throughout the human territories must identify a dark force which threatens the peaceful existence of the City of a Thousand Planets.  “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” opens Friday.

"Girls Trip"

When four lifelong friends (Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Tiffany Haddish) travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there's enough dancing, drinking, brawling, and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.  “Girls Trip” 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