cinema chat: New movies from Wes Anderson and Lawrence Kasdan; Pixar's 'Brave'; and more
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Editor's note: Comment on today's "Cinema Chat" for a chance to win free movie tickets to the Michigan Theater. Some time between now and 9 a.m. Monday, leave a comment on this column, written by the Michigan Theater's Russ Collins. Offer your opinion on a recent movie you've seen, or on anything Russ mentions. A winner will be randomly selected, and we’ll notify that person via the email address they signed up with. They will get two passes to a movie of their choice, courtesy of The Michigan Theater. Full rules here.
“Darling Companion,” written and directed by University of Michigan grad Lawrence Kasdan (“The Big Chill,” “The Accidental Tourist,” “Body Heat”), stars Diane Keaton as Beth, who develops a deep bond with a rescue dog while dealing with an empty nest and self-absorbed husband Joseph, played by Kevin Kline. When Joseph loses the dog after a wedding, Beth joins forces with wedding guests in a search that takes some unexpected turns. Steven Rea of the Philadelphia Inquirer said, “It's fun to watch Keaton and Kline together, bickering and (of course) bonding all over again.” “Darling Companion” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.
“First Position” follows the young dancers at the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the world’s most prestigious ballet competitions, where lifelong dreams are at stake. With hundreds competing for a handful of elite scholarships and contracts, practice and discipline are paramount, and nothing short of perfection is expected. Bess Kargman’s award-winning documentary follows six young dancers navigating the drama of dance and adolescence. Tom Long of the Detroit News says, “A number of the performances are plain stunning.” “First Position” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.
Opening at the multiplex
In "Brave," a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald) confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts. Merida, a skilled archer, is the impetuous daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane). Merida's actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Wise Woman (voice of Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. Peter Debruge of Variety says, “(Pixar) has fashioned a resonant tribute to mother-daughter relationships that packs a level of poignancy on par with such beloved male-bonding classics as ‘Finding Nemo.’” “Brave” opens Friday.
In “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” filmmakers Tim Burton (“Beetlejuice”) and Timur Bekmambetov (“Nightwatch”) reinvent the time-honored genre and present the terrifying creatures of the night as they were meant to be experienced—as fierce, visceral, intense and blood thirsty. Plus, it features a very fictional Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States! “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” opens Friday.
“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” stars Golden Globe Award winner Steve Carell and Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley in a comedy about a 70-mile-wide asteroid en route to Earth; because the last best attempt to destroy the astroid has failed, insurance salesman Dodge (Carell), whose marriage has failed, realizes he must seek out his high-school sweetheart before the end of days. “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” opens Friday.
Special screenings downtown
“Love Free or Die,” the special jury prize documentary winner at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, is about a man whose two defining passions are in direct conflict: his love for God and for his partner Mark. Gene Robinson is the first openly gay person to become a bishop in the historic traditions of Christendom. The film follows Robinson’s personal story as American churches debate whether or not lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are equal to heterosexuals in the eyes of God, while our nation debates whether LGBT people are equal to heterosexuals in the eyes of the law. “Love Free or Die” plays tonight at 7 p.m. at the Michigan Theater.
Summer Classics continue with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant in “Bringing Up Baby”. Hepburn plays a zany heiress with a pet leopard who meets an absent-minded paleontologist (Grant) and unwittingly makes a fiasco of both their lives. “Bringing Up Baby” plays Sunday, June 24 at 1:30 p.m. and Tuesday, June 26 at 7 p.m.
See you at the movies!