Cinema Chat: Sundance Film Festival, I Frankenstein, The Invisible Woman

Jan 23, 2014

The Sundance Film Festival is winding down. On this week's installment of  Cinema Chat, David Fair catches up with Michigan Theater Program Director Amanda Bynum to find out what's happening in Park City, Utah. Amanda and Michigan Theater Director Russ Collins have been scouring the festival to identify movies they can bring back to Ann Arbor and the Cinetopia Film Festival.

Have they? Give it a listen to find out!

Opening at the Multiplex

"I, Frankenstein" is set in a dystopic present where vigilant gargoyles and ferocious demons rage in a battle for ultimate power.  Victor Frankenstein's creation Adam (Aaron Eckhart) finds himself caught in the middle as both sides race to discover the secret to his immortality. Written and directed by Stuart Beattie and based on the graphic novel "I, Frankenstein" by Kevin Grevioux, the film also stars Bill Nighy, Jai Courtney and Aden Young as Victor Frankenstein. "I, Frankenstein" opens Friday.

The Michigan Theater at Night
Credit Michtheater.org

Opening Downtown

"The Invisible Woman" follows Nelly (Felicity Jones), a happily-married mother and schoolteacher, who is haunted by her past. Her memories, provoked by remorse and guilt, take us back in time to follow the story of her relationship with Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes, who also directs), with whom she discovered an exciting but fragile complicity. Dickens—famous, controlling and emotionally isolated within his success—falls for Nelly, who comes from a family of actors. The theatre is a vital arena for Dickens, a brilliant amateur actor—a man more emotionally coherent on the page or on stage than in life. As Nelly becomes the focus of Dickens’ passion and his muse, for both of them secrecy is the price, and for Nelly, a life of “invisibility.” Steven Rea of the Philadelphia Inquirer says "shot with a stillness that serves to reinforce the restlessness in its characters' souls, ‘The Invisible Woman’ offers a fascinating view of a young woman whose eagerness and energy are slowly compromised."  Also starring Kristin Scott Thomas, “The Invisible Woman" opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

Sundance Comes to Ann Arbor

For the fifth year in a row, the Sundance Institute has chosen the Michigan Theater as an official venue of the Sundance Film Festival USA program. This special event will happen at only ten theaters across the country.  This year’s film is "Infinitely Polar Bear," which follows Cameron, a bipolar father who has had a nervous breakdown that leaves him unemployable, and Maggie, a hardworking mother who can’t quite make ends meet. Despite Cameron’s aristocratic pedigree and the couple’s top-notch education, they’re broke. When Maggie decides to accept a scholarship to pursue her MBA in New York, she must leave her daughters, Faith and Amelia, in Boston with their now-somewhat-convalesced father. So begins an untamed, unpredictable, 18-month experiment as eccentric, exuberant Cameron takes over primary parenting of his precocious, sensitive little girls.  Variety said the film is an "assured crowdpleaser that looks like an early candidate for Sundance-breakout status." Sundance USA: "Infinitely Polar Bear" plays Thursday, January 30th at 7:30PM at the Michigan Theater.

Special Screenings Downtown

This Saturday at the State check out a double feature of "Alien" and "Aliens" at 11PM. Tickets only $10!

The Sundance Shorts Program is a roller coaster mix of drama and comedy of eight short films from the 2013 edition of the Festival. Vibrant storytelling highlights the group, including fiction, documentary and animation, with five award-winners. With no rules, the short film serves as a proving ground for young filmmakers to make their mark and for established filmmakers to take risks in story and style. The Sundance Shorts Program plays Tuesday, January 28 and Wednesday, January 29 at 7PM.

Brothers and Ann Arbor natives Chris and Mike Farah shot “Answer This!” in Ann Arbor in 2009 and the film had its world premiere in 2010; the film follows Paul, a brilliant trivia whiz who is great at answering life’s little questions, but horrible at answering the big ones – like what’s he going to do after grad school? Now he and his friends will finally get a shot at beer, women and nerdy redemption when they enter the biggest challenge of their lives: a citywide pub trivia tournament.  "Answer This!" plays Sunday, January 26 at 7 PM, with proceeds to benefit Food Gatherers and the Michigan Theater.  This special screening will also include a Q&A about the Farahs’ new Discovery Channel TV project, currently filming in Detroit.

“All About My Wife” is a romantic comedy about a man who asks a womanizer to seduce his wife in order to catalyze his much-needed divorce.  “All About My Wife” plays as part of the Korean Cinema Now Film Series, presented by the UM Nam Center for Korean Studies, on Saturday, January 25 at 2 PM.  Admission is free!