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Cinema Chat: 'Sorry To Bother You,' 'Whitney,' 'Skyscraper,' And More

Jul 12, 2018

Michigan Theater View from the Stage
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

After a few weeks apart, everyone's favorite movie team is back on the air!  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins about the latest Hollywood news and all of the new flicks coming to the big screen this weekend!


Neill Blomkamp Directing ROBOCOP RETURNS!

District 9 director Neill Blomkamp and MGM are developing a new RoboCop flick called "RoboCop Returns."  The studio hopes to revive a franchise with a script that Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner, the original writers of "RoboCop", wrote years ago as a planned sequel to Paul Verhoeven’s hit, which was set in Detroit.  “The original definitely had a massive effect on me as a kid,” Blomkamp said. “I loved it then and it remains a classic … with real meaning under the surface.  Hopefully, that is something we can get closer to in making a sequel…”

LeBron James in Talks to Star in Comedy

LeBron James, scribe Steve Mallory, and James’ SpringHill Entertainment have sold an untitled comedy pitch to Paramount Players, with the NBA icon in early talks to star.  This would mark James’ second big-screen role; he previously played himself in the Judd Apatow comedy “Trainwreck.”  Mallory is best known for his screenplays, working with Melissa McCarthy on the Universal comedy “The Boss” and her upcoming New Line comedy “Super Intelligence.”

OPENING DOWNTOWN

"Sorry to Bother You"

At the State: The film takes place in a dystopian, not-too-distant future Oakland, California, where black telemarketer Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) discovers a magical key to professional success.  This key propels him into a macabre universe of “powercalling” that leads to material glory.  

Critics Consensus: Fearlessly ambitious, scathingly funny, and thoroughly original, "Sorry to Bother You" loudly heralds the arrival of a fresh filmmaking talent in writer-director Boots Riley.

Cast also stars Terry CrewsSteven YeunOmari HardwickJermaine FowlerDanny GloverPatton Oswalt, and David Cross.

"Boundaries"

At the State: This film stars Vera Farmiga as Laura, a single mother, who has a constant need to put others and stray animal before her own needs. When her estranged, criminally-minded father Jack (played by Christopher Plummer) is kicked out of his retirement home, Laura agrees to drive him down the coast to live with her sister JoJo (played by Kristen Schaal) in LA.  Along for the ride is her bright but troubled son Henry.  Without telling Laura, Jack convinces Henry to help him sell off his supply of marijuana at every stop of their journey, resulting in unexpected reunions with old friends and family. Cast also includes: Bobby Cannavale, Christopher Lloyd, and Peter Fonda.

"Whitney"

At the Michigan: The documentary is an intimate portrait of Whitney Houston and her family that probes beyond familiar tabloid headlines and sheds new light on the spellbinding trajectory of Houston’s life.  Using never-before-seen archival footage, exclusive demo recordings, rare performances, audio archives and original interviews with the people who knew her best, Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald unravels the mystery behind “The Voice,” who thrilled millions even as she struggled to make peace with her own troubled past.

Critics Consensus: "Whitney" shifts from soaring highs to heartbreaking lows with palpable emotion and grace befitting its singular subject.

LIMITED ENGAGEMENTS DOWNTOWN

"Yellow Submarine"

This film returns theaters completely restored to mark its 50th anniversary.  The music-loving inhabitants of Pepperland are under siege by the Blue Meanies, a nasty group of music-hating creatures.  The Lord Mayor of Pepperland dispatches sailor Old Fred to Liverpool, England, where he is to recruit the help of the Beatles.  The sympathetic Beatles ride a yellow submarine to the occupied Pepperland, where the Blue Meanies have no chance against the Fab Four's groovy tunes.  The film plays at the Michigan, Friday, July 13th to Sunday, July 15th.

"The Gospel According to André"

This is a cinematic monument to one of the most unique figures of 20th Century American culture.  André Leon Talley has been a fixture in the world of fashion for so long that it's difficult to imagine a time when he wasn't defining the boundaries of great style.  This intimate portrait takes viewers on an emotional journey from André's roots growing up in the segregated Jim Crow South to become one of the most influential fashion curators of our times.  The documentary plays at the Michigan, Monday, July 15th to Thursday, July 19th.

"Filmworker"

This is the story of Leon Vitali, who surrendered his promising acting career to become Stanley Kubrick's devoted right-hand man.  Leon played a crucial role behind-the-scenes helping Kubrick make and maintain his legendary body of work.  The complex relationship between Leon and Kubrick was founded on devotion, sacrifice, and the grueling, joyful reality of the creative process.

Critics Consensus: "Filmworker" offers long-overdue recognition to one of Stanley Kubrick's key collaborators while opening an often troubling window into the director's demanding work. 

The film plays at the Michigan, Wednesday, July 18th and Thursday, July 19th.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

"Live and Let Die"

SavCo Hospitality Summer Classic Film Series returns with more selections than ever celebrating generations of filmmakers and their nostalgic treasures.  The Michigan Theater will have screenings every Sunday at 1:30 PM and Tuesday at 7:00 PM.  Kicking off the summer is a James Bond retrospective Double-O Summer, which will continue throughout the month of July.  This film will play Sunday, July 15 at 1:30 PM, in which James Bond is sent to stop a diabolically brilliant heroin magnate armed with a complex organization and a reliable psychic tarot card reader. 

"Moonraker"

On Tuesday, July 17 at 7:00 PM, this film will play, where James Bond investigates the mid-air theft of a space shuttle and discovers a plot to commit global genocide.

"Harold and Maude"

Midnights are also back at the State Theatre with $8 screenings every Saturday night in July!  On Saturday, July 14 at 11:59 PM, this cult classic will be playing.  Harold, the 20-year-old son of a wealthy, neglectful woman, tries to gain attention for himself with various hilariously staged "suicides."  Obsessed with death, Harold meets a like-minded 79-year-old woman named Maude.  Harold and Maude become inseparable friends, both helping each other out of various personal travails.

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

"Damsel"

Samuel Alabaster (Robert Pattinson), an affluent pioneer, ventures across the American Frontier to marry the love of his life, Penelope (Mia Wasikowska).  As Samuel traverses the Wild West with a drunkard named Parson Henry (David Zellner) and a miniature horse called Butterscotch, their once-simple journey grows treacherous, blurring the lines between hero, villain and damsel. 

Critics Consensus: The beautifully filmed "Damsel" injects the western genre with a welcome dose of humor and some unexpected twists, although its stately pace may frustrate impatient viewers.

"Woman Walks Ahead"

Cinetopia Film Festival Audience Award winner for U.S. Narrative, this film tells the story of Catherine Weldon (played by Jessica Chastain), a widowed painter from New York, who, in the 1890's, travels to North Dakota to paint a portrait of ChiefSitting Bull (played by Michael Greyeyes).  She embarks on a dangerous journey to meet the Chief but must also face off with an Army officer intent on war with the Native Americans.

"Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

This film takes an intimate look at America's favorite neighbor: Mister Fred Rogers.  A portrait of a man whom we all think we know, this emotional and moving film takes us beyond the zip-up cardigans and the land of make-believe, and into the heart of a creative genius who inspired generations of children with compassion and limitless imagination.

"Hearts Beat Loud"

This film stars Nick Offerman as a single dad and record store owner who is preparing to send his hard-working daughter off to college, while being forced to close his vintage shop.  Hoping to stay connected through their shared musical passions, the two turn their weekly "jam sesh" into a father-daughter live act.  After their first song becomes an Internet breakout, the two embark on a journey of love, growing up and musical discovery.

"Mountain"

At the Michigan: this film is a unique cinematic and musical collaboration between the Australian Chamber Orchestra and BAFTA-nominated director Jennifer Peedom.  This documentary is an epic odyssey through the Earth’s most awesome landscapes, showing the spellbinding force of high places and their ongoing power to shape our lives and our dreams.

"RBG"

An intimate portrait of an unlikely rock star: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  With unprecedented access, the filmmakers explore how her early legal battles changed the world for women.

OPENING AT THE MULTIPLEX

"Skyscraper"

Global icon Dwayne Johnson leads the cast as former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Sawyer, who now assesses security for skyscrapers.  On assignment in China, he finds the tallest, safest building in the world suddenly ablaze, and he's been framed for it.  A wanted man on the run, Will must find those responsible, clear his name and somehow rescue his family who is trapped inside the building...above the fire line.  This film opens Friday, July 13th.

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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