'Elysium,' 'Lovelace,' a silent Garbo classic, and more at the movies
Opening at the multiplex
In “Elysium,” it’s the year 2154, and two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. The people of Earth are desperate to escape the planet's crime and poverty, and they critically need the state-of-the-art medical care available on Elysium—but some in Elysium will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve their citizens' luxurious lifestyle. The only man with the chance to bring equality to these worlds is Max (Matt Damon), an ordinary guy. With his life hanging in the balance, he reluctantly takes on a dangerous mission—one that pits him against Elysium's Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster)—but if he succeeds, he could save not only his own life, but millions of people on Earth as well. Anthony Lane of the New Yorker says, “It hits you as fact; the director's fiercest gift is not to invent the future, as a plausible dream, but to report on it as if it already existed.” “Elysium” opens today.
“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” continues the saga of Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon, as he tries to fulfill his destiny. He teams with his demigod friends to retrieve the Golden Fleece, which has the power to save their home and training ground, Camp Half-Blood. Tom Russo of the Boston Globe says, “The mythology-rooted ‘Percy Jackson & the Olympians' franchise is fairly engaging stuff, unabashed ‘Harry Potter’ knockoff or no.” “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” opened yesterday.
“Unfinished Song” is a funny and inspiring story about Arthur (Terence Stamp), a curmudgeonly old soul, who is perfectly content sticking with his dull daily routine until his beloved wife (Vanessa Redgrave) introduces him to a local seniors singing group. The group is led by the youthful and charming Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton) and her unexpected friendship with Arthur reignites his passion for new adventures and shows us all life should be celebrated at any age. Rick Groen of the Globe and Mail says, “Vanessa Redgrave and Terence Stamp and those voices - their solos contain this picture like carved book-ends, vintage and lovely and still so profoundly of use.” “Unfinished Song” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.
“Lovelace” begins in 1972—before the internet, before the porn explosion—and follows how “Deep Throat” became a phenomenon: the first scripted pornographic theatrical feature film, featuring a story, some jokes, and an unknown and unlikely star. Linda Lovelace became an international sensation, less centerfold fantasy than a charming girl-next-door. Fully inhabiting her new identity, Linda became an enthusiastic spokesperson for sexual freedom and uninhibited hedonism. Six years later she presented another, utterly contradictory, far darker narrative to the world. Todd McCarthy of the Hollywood Reporter says, “Smartly done account of the trials and tribulations of the first porn star.” “Lovelace” opens Friday at the State Theatre.
Special screenings downtown
“The Kiss,” Greta Garbo’s final silent film of her career and the final silent film MGM made, is a stunner. Garbo stars as Irene, a young woman whose unhappy marriage to an older man leads her into the arms Andre (Conrad Nagel). Unable to continue this illicit affair, they stop seeing each other, driving Irene into the arms of Pierre (Lew Ayres), the son of her husband's business associate. As Pierre leaves for college, he begs her for one last kiss, a kiss that will change her life. Presented with live organ accompaniment by Andrew Rogers on the Barton Theatre Pipe Organ! “The Kiss” plays Sunday, August 11 at 1:30 p.m. and Tuesday, August 13 at 7 p.m.
“Willow” comes from legendary filmmakers George Lucas and Ron Howard. It is a timeless fantasy about the young Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) who must team up with a rogue swordsman (Val Kilmer) and overcome the forces of darkness in the ultimate battle of good versus evil! “Willow” plays as part of Summer Classics After Dark on Thursday, Aug. 15 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.