'The World's End,' 'The Spectacular Now,' '8 1/2' and more at the movies
In "The World's End," 20 years after attempting an epic pub crawl, five childhood friends reunite when one of them becomes hell bent on trying the drinking marathon again. They are convinced to stage an encore by Gary (Simon Pegg), a 40-year-old man trapped at the cigarette end of his teens, who drags his reluctant pals to their hometown and once again attempts to reach the fabled pub - "The World's End." As they attempt to reconcile the past and present, they realize the real struggle is for the future, not just theirs but humankind's. David Edelstein of New York Magazine says, “This is by light-years the most entertaining movie of the year. How many apocalyptic sci-fi action extravaganzas leave you feeling as if the world is just beginning?” "The World's End” opens Friday.
In “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” Clary Fray learns that she descends from a line of warriors who protect our world from demons. She joins forces with others like her and heads into a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld. “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” opened Wednesday.
In “You’re Next,” a gang of masked, ax-wielding murderers descend upon the Davison family reunion, leaving the hapless victims trapped Â until an unlikely guest of the family proves to be the most talented killer of all. “You’re Next” opens Friday.
“Blackfish” uses shocking, never before seen footage and riveting interviews with trainers and experts to manifest the orca’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity over the last four decades, and the growing disillusionment of workers who were misled and endangered by the highly profitable sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals. Alan Scherstuhl of The Village Voice says, “The movie is revealing, wrenching, and important, a reminder that what feels wrong in our gut - the effort to turn free-roaming and unknowable beasts into caged vaudevillians - is always worth investigating.” “Blackfish” opens Friday at the State Theatre.
In “I’m So Excited!” a technical failure has endangered the lives of the people on board an airplane. The pilots and their colleagues in the Control Center are striving to find a solution while the flight attendants and the chief steward try to forget their own personal problems and devote themselves to the task of making the flight as enjoyable as possible for the passengers while they wait for a solution. Life in the clouds is as complicated as it is at ground level, and for the same reasons, which could be summarized in two words: sex and death. Alonso Duralde of The Wrap says, “After a run of brilliant films that have deftly plumbed the dark side of the human soul, this new comedy makes it clear that (director Pedro) AlmodÃ³var remains one of the wildest, raunchiest and most hilarious directors of our generation.” “I’m So Excited!” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.
A hit at Sundance and Southeast Michigan’s own Cinetopia Film Festival, “The Spectacular Now” is the story of high school senior Sutter (Miles Teller), an effortless charmer and self-proclaimed “life of the party” - and of how he unexpectedly falls in love with “nice girl” Aimee (Shailene Woodley). While Aimee dreams of the future, Sutter lives in the now. And yet somehow, they’re drawn together. What starts as an unlikely romance becomes a sharp-eyed, straight-up snapshot of the heady confusion and haunting passion of youth - one that doesn’t look for tidy truths. Ty Burr of the Boston Globe says, “A clear-eyed, disarmingly tender teenage romance that bears comparison with the best of its genre, both old (‘Say Anything’) and new (‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’).” “The Spectacular Now” opened Wednesday, August 28th at the State Theatre.
Special Screenings Downtown
Federico Fellini’s “8 1/2” is one of the most surreal films about an auteur’s creative process ever made. Fresh off the success of “La Dolce Vita,” Fellini turned the lens on his own process, desires, family, and fears to create a stunning time capsule of a director at the zenith of his creative prowess, but seemingly at the end of his rope. Beautifully shot in black & white, the film’s daydream sequences, especially the opening scene, are worth the price of admission alone. “8 1/2” plays Sunday, August 25 at 1:30 p.m. and Tuesday, August 27 at 7 p.m.
The Michigan Theater is proud to present R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet” as a special sing-a-long! This action-packed, fully interactive show features a “Dance Party Warm-Up,” sing-a-long subtitles, and an encore song at the end of the show to leave the audience dancing. A must see! “Trapped in the Closet” plays Thursday, August 29 at 10 p.m.
See you at the movies!
Russ Collins is executive director of the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor. Tune in to the audio version of “Cinema Chat” on WEMU radio (89.1-FM) each Thursday at 7:40 a.m. and 5:40 p.m., or listen to it online at WEMU's web site.