Acclaimed 'Way, Way Back'; 'Turbo,' 'Red 2' and more at the movies
The best-reviewed film on the specialty circuit, “The Way, Way Back” is the funny and poignant coming-of-age story of 14-year-old Duncan's (Liam James) summer vacation with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette); her overbearing boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell); and his daughter, Steph (Zoe Levin). Having a rough time fitting in, the introverted Duncan finds an unexpected friend in gregarious Owen (Sam Rockwell), manager of the Water Wizz water park. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone says, “’The Way Way Back’ gets it wittily, thrillingly right. It turns the familiar into something bracingly fresh and funny. It makes you laugh, then breaks your heart.” “The Way, Way Back” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater, as well as Quality 16 and Ann Arbor 20.
“Only God Forgives” follows Julian (Ryan Gosling), a respected figure in the criminal underworld of Bangkok, who runs a Thai boxing club and smuggling ring with his brother Billy. Billy is suddenly murdered and their crime lord matriarch, Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas), arrives from London to bring back the body. When Crystal forces Julian to settle the score with his brother's killers, Julian finds himself in the ultimate showdown. Jon Frosch of The Atlantic says, “The film succeeds to some extent as a pure stylistic exercise, with a few fine Lynchian moments blurring reality with erotic and violent fantasies.” “Only God Forgives” opens Friday at the State Theatre.
In “Girl Most Likely,” Kristen Wiig stars as Imogene, once a promising young New York playwright whose promise has fizzled, thanks to a crisis of confidence. Heavily in denial about being dumped by her society boyfriend, Imogene uses her skill for drama to stage an elaborate fake suicide as an appeal for his sympathy. But her attempt backfires when she's put into the custody of Zelda, her estranged gambling addict mother (Annette Bening). Imogene must now deal with her family, including her unique brother (Christopher Fitzgerald), Zelda's new boyfriend The Bousche (Matt Dillon), plus a cute young lodger (former Ann Arborite and pop music star Darren Criss),who together help Imogene sort out her place in the world. “Girl Most Likely” opens Friday at the State Theatre.
Opening at the multiplex
In “R.I.P.D.,” veteran sheriff Roy (Jeff Bridges) has spent his career with the legendary police force known as R.I.P.D., tracking monstrous spirits who are cleverly disguised as ordinary people. Now the wise-cracking Roy is assigned former rising-star detective Nick (Ryan Reynolds) as his junior officer. When they uncover a plot that could end life as we know it, two of R.I.P.D.'s finest must miraculously restore the cosmic balance...or watch the tunnel to the afterlife begin sending angry souls the very wrong way. “R.I.P.D.” opens Friday.
In “Red 2,” retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives (Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren) for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device. To succeed, they'll need to survive an army of relentless assassins, ruthless terrorists and power-crazed government officials, all eager to get their hands on the next-generation weapon. Outgunned and outmanned, they have only their cunning wits, their old-school skills, and each other to rely on as they try to save the world-and stay alive in the process. Also starring Mary-Louise Parker and Anthony Hopkins, “Red 2” opens Friday.
"The Conjuring" tells the true story of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), world renowned paranormal investigators, who were called to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most horrifying case of their lives. "The Conjuring" opens Friday.
Special screenings downtown
"Girl Rising” tells the stories of nine extraordinary girls, written by nine celebrated writers and narrated by nine renowned actresses. “Girl Rising” showcases the strength of the human spirit and the power of education to change the world. “Girl Rising” plays on Wednesday, July 24 at 7 p.m. at the Michigan Theater.
Academy Award winner and sci-fi camp classic “Planet of the Apes” plays as part of the Summer Classic Film Series on Sunday, July 21 at 1:30 p.m. and Tuesday, July 23 at 7 p.m. at the Michigan Theater.
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.