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Cinema Chat: 'Venus In Fur', 'I Origins', 'Before You Know It', 'The Hundred-Foot Journey' And More

Aug 7, 2014

A look back at the Traverse City Film Festival, Hollywood news, movie openings, special screenings and more. Cinema Chat!

Credit Michigan Theater

  Opening Downtown

“Venus in Fur” is based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway play by David Ives, which itself was based on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch‘s groundbreaking novella. It is directed by the acclaimed, but controversial filmmaker Roman Polanski (“Chinatown,” “Rosemary’s Baby”).

Alone in a Paris theater after a long day of auditioning actresses for his new play, writer-director Thomas (Mathieu Amalric) is desperate to find a woman with the right chemistry a key role. Then actress Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner) bursts into the director’s life.

Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger says, “Polanski's direction of his performers is assured. His camerawork is precise. And the power games - moving, shifting, constantly surprising and inescapably, queasily conflating art and artist - hold us in their thrall.” “Venus in Fur” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

“I Origins,” the second feature film from writer and director Mike Cahill, tells the story of Dr. Ian Gray (Michael Pitt), a molecular biologist studying the evolution of the eye. He finds his work permeating his life after a brief encounter with an exotic young woman (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey) who slips away from him.  

As his research continues years later with his lab partner Karen (Brit Marling), they make a stunning scientific discovery that has far reaching implications and complicates both his scientific and spiritual beliefs. Traveling half way around the world, he risks everything he has ever known to validate his theory. “I Origins” opens Friday at the State Theatre.

The subjects of “Before You Know It” are no ordinary senior citizens. They are go-go booted bar-hoppers, love-struck activists, troublemaking baton twirlers, late night Internet cruisers, seasoned renegades and bold adventurers.

They are also among the estimated 2.4 million lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans over the age of 55 in the United States. “Before You Know It” is about generational trailblazers who have surmounted prejudice and defied expectation to form communities of strength, renewal and camaraderie.

Tom Keogh of the Seattle Times calls the film “A bittersweet documentary that follows three gay men in different parts of the country who feel time and change breathing down their necks.” “Before You Know It” plays August 13th and 14th at the Michigan Theater.

Special Screenings Downtown

The classic Japanese monster movie “Godzilla” is director Ishiro Honda‘s original black-and-white allegory for the devastation wrought on Japan by the atomic bomb. This wonderful 60th anniversary restoration removes the Raymond Burr scenes added for the 1956 American release and is presented with subtitles. The original Japanese “Godzilla” plays Sunday, August 10 at 1:30PM & Tuesday, August 12 at 7PM.

In “Alphaville, A Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution,” Jean-Luc Godard fuses a hardboiled detective story with science fiction. Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine), a hero Godard borrowed from a series of French adventure films, comes to Alphaville, the capital of a totalitarian state, in order to destroy its leader, an almost-human computer called Alpha 60.

“Alphaville, A Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution” plays Thursday, August 14th at the Michigan Theater as part of Summer Classics After Dark. And don’t forget to check out David Bowie in “The Man Who Fell To Earth” tonight at the Michigan Theater at 10PM!

Opening at the Multiplex

In "The Hundred-Foot Journey," Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is a culinary ingénue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. Displaced from their native India, the Kadam family, led by Papa (Om Puri), settles in the quaint village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the south of France.

Filled with charm, it is both picturesque and elegant - the ideal place to settle down and open an Indian restaurant, the Maison Mumbai. That is, until the chilly chef proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur, a Michelin starred, classical French restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), gets wind of it. "The Hundred-Foot Journey” opens Friday.

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice -- Almost embarrassingly enjoyable, despite the fact that - or maybe because - it's ridiculous in a shiny, Hollywood way.

Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter -- Colorful locales and exotic spices can't hide its essential blandness.

Justin Chang, Variety -- It contrasts the heat and intensity of Indian cooking with the elegance and refinement of French haute cuisine, then balances the two with a feel-good lesson in ethnic harmony.

In this new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” remake, darkness has settled over New York City as the evil mastermind Shredder and his Foot Clan have an iron grip on everything from the police to the politicians.

The Turtles, four outcast turtle brothers named after Renaissance-era painters, must work with fearless reporter April O'Neil (Megan Fox) and her wise-cracking cameraman Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett) to save the city. Sounds silly? Of course it is! Based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Characters Created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman, it opens Friday.

Justin Chang, Variety -- Neither a particularly good movie nor the pop-cultural travesty that some were dreading.

In the newest chapter of the “Step Up” series of dance films the all-stars from previous installments come together in Las Vegas -- enough said! “Step Up: All In” opens Friday.

Geoffrey Macnab, Independent -- In what is a very uneven film, the director Trish Sie delivers exhilarating musical set-pieces alongside often crass and clumsy characterisation.

Irish Independent -- Dazzling choreography and colourful 3D visuals attempt to make up for a patchy script and some incredibly wooden acting from the cast of real-life professional dancers in this fifth instalment of the series.

“Into The Storm” finds the town of Silverton is ravaged by an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes. The entire town is at the mercy of the erratic and deadly cyclones, even as storm trackers predict the worst is yet to come. Most people seek shelter, while others run towards the vortex, testing how far a storm chaser will go for that once-in-a-lifetime shot. Told through the eyes and lenses of professional storm chasers, thrill-seeking amateurs, and courageous townspeople, "Into the Storm" opens Friday.