Cinema Chat: 'A Quiet Passion,' 'The Circle,' And More

Apr 20, 2017

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

In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan Theater executive director Russ Collins about the movies available to you over the weekend. Additionally, they look back at Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns's return to Ann Arbor. 


Ken Burns at the Michigan Theater – AMAZING 

One of America’s most acclaimed filmmakers was at the Michigan Theater last night.  After screening excerpts of THE VIETNAM WAR – seen publicly for the first time at this special screening – Burns discuss the documentary with a very engaged audience.  The program will be repeated as part of Cinetopia on Friday, June 9.  Tickets available (for just $100 at Cinetopiafestival.org!  THE VIETNAM WAR will be presented in its entirety on PBS stations, on our area on Detroit Public Television, channel 56, starting September 17.  Also in town, PBS and 60 MINUTES reporter Charlie Rose for a special piece that will appear on 60 MINUTES about Ken Burns and his hometown of Ann Arbor later this year.

CINETOPIA MEMBER PASSES ON SALE TOMORROW!

Member festival and movie passes for Cinetopia 2017 are on sale!  Passes are $125 and $90 and available to members of The Michigan Theater, the Arab American National Museum, Cinema Detroit, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit Institute of Arts, or The Henry Ford.  To purchase, visit our purchase link here.  If you are not a member of the Michigan Theater but would like to become one, visit michtheater.org/membership to sign up and review the benefits each level has to offer.

Opening Downtown

"Colossal"

Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is an out-of-work party girl who, after getting kicked out of her apartment by her boyfriend, is forced to move back to her hometown.  When news reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, South Korea, Gloria gradually comes to the realization that she is somehow connected to this far-off phenomenon.  As events begin to spin out of control, Gloria must determine why her seemingly insignificant existence has such a colossal effect on the fate of the world.  “Colossal” opens Friday, April 21, with special advance screenings on Thursday, April 20.

"A Quiet Passion"

Cynthia Nixon delivers a triumphant performance as Emily Dickinson, personifying the wit, intellectual independence, and pathos of the poet whose genius only came to be recognized after her death.  Acclaimed British director Terence Davies exquisitely evokes Dickinson's deep attachment to her close knit family along with the manners, mores and spiritual convictions of her time that she struggled with and transcended in her poetry.  A.O. Scott of the New York Times writes “though ‘A Quiet Passion’ is small — modest in scope, inward rather than expansive, precise in word and gesture — it contains multitudes. It opens a window into an era whose political and moral legacies are still with us, and illuminates, with a practiced portraitist’s sureness of touch, the mind of someone who lived completely in her time, knowing all the while that she would eventually escape it.”  “A Quiet Passion” opens Friday.

"Get Out"

A young African-American man visits his white girlfriend’s family estate and becomes ensnared in a more sinister real reason for the invitation.  Now that Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy (Catherine Keener) and Dean (Bradley Whitford).  At first, Chris reads the family's overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined.  Written and directed by Jordan Peele (of “Key and Peele” fame), “Get Out” was released in theaters in late February and has received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike.  “Get Out” opens Friday at the Michigan.

Special Screenings Downtown

CINEMA REVOLUTION: Independent Films The Defined A Genre

This spring, Cinetopia Film Festival and Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater will celebrate the glory days of Art House cinemas with a new film series: Cinema Revolution: Independent Films That Defined a Genre.  The eleven film series captures the spirit of cinematic revolution—a revolution that disrupted the Hollywood Studio system, created contemporary foreign film culture and brought to light visionary American directors and new generations of cinematic voices. 

4/24 - 7:00 – A Woman Under The Influence (1974 - John Cassavetes, American’s seminal Independent)

"A Woman Under the Influence"

Mabel (Gena Rowlands), desperate and lonely, is married to a Los Angeles municipal construction worker, Nick (Peter Falk).  Increasingly unstable, especially in the company of others, she craves happiness, but her extremely volatile behavior convinces Nick that she poses a danger to their family and decides to commit her to an institution for six months.  Alone with a trio of kids to raise on his own, he awaits her return, which holds more than a few surprises.  Directed By John Cassavetes, “A Woman Under the Influence” plays Monday, April 24 at 7 PM.  Presented as part of the Cinema Revolution film series.

5/1 - 7:00 – Harlan County, USA (1976 Barbara Kopple’s documentary your parents wouldn’t see – but should have!)

INDIEWOOD – ART HOUSE MOVIES FIND A GROOVE - 1980-1993

5/8 - 7:00 – The Brother from Another Planet (1984 – John Sayles; connection to the Archive – Art House shining moment)

5/15 - 7:00 – A Room with a View (1985 – James Ivory – Ideal Art House shining moment)

5/22 - 7:00 – My Own Private Idaho   (1991 - Gus Van Sant – youth oriented Art House shining moment)

5/29 - 7:00 – The Player (1993 - Robert Altman; Archive connection– Hollywood’s shallow side and Art House shining moment)

"The Circle"

Based on the novel written by Dave Eggers, this is a gripping modern thriller set in the not-too-distant future.  A woman lands a dream job at a powerful tech company called The Circle, only to uncover a nefarious agenda that will affect the lives of her friends, family and that of humanity.  Starring Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, and John Boyega, “The Circle” plays Wednesday, April 26 at 7 PM.  All proceeds of this pre-release screening support 826michigan’s free writing and tutoring programs. 

Opening at the Multiplex

"The Lost City of Z"

Based on author David Grann's nonfiction bestseller, this film tells the incredible true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), who journeys into the Amazon at the dawn of the 20th century and discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization that may have once inhabited the region.  “The Lost City of Z” opens Friday.

"Free Fire"

This is an electrifying action comedy about an arms deal that goes spectacularly and explosively wrong.  Set in a colorful yet gritty 1970s Boston, the film opens with Justine (Brie Larson), a mysterious American businesswoman, and her wise-cracking associate Ord (Armie Hammer) arranging a black-market weapons deal in a deserted warehouse.  What starts as a polite if uneasy exchange soon goes south when tensions escalate and shots are fired.  “Free Fire” opens Friday.

"The Promise"

When Michael (Oscar Isaac), a brilliant medical student, meets Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), their shared Armenian heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between Michael and Ana's boyfriend Chris (Christian Bale), a famous American photojournalist.  As the Ottoman Empire crumbles into war-torn chaos, their conflicting passions must be deferred while they join forces to get their people to safety and survive themselves.  “The Promise” opens Friday.

"Unforgettable"

Tessa (Katherine Heigl) is barely coping with the end of her marriage when her ex-husband becomes engaged to Julia (Rosario Dawson)--not only bringing Julia into the home they once shared but also into the life of their daughter.  Tessa's jealousy soon takes a pathological turn until she will stop at nothing to turn Julia's dream into her ultimate nightmare.  “Unforgettable” opens Friday.

Non-commercial, fact based reporting is made possible by your financial support.  Make your donation to WEMU today to keep your community NPR station thriving.

— 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