cinema chat: 'Dark Horse,' 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,' 'Sleepwalk with Me' and more hit local screens
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. Offer your opinion on a recent movie you've seen, or on anything the column 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.
“Dark Horse,” from writer and director Todd Solondz (“Welcome to the Dollhouse,” “Happiness,” “Life During Wartime”), examines the irretrievability of youth and the mercilessness of time passing. In his mid-30s, Abe (Jordan Gelber) clings to the trappings of his adolescence. Still living with his parents Jackie (Christopher Walken) and Phyllis (Mia Farrow), Abe works for his increasingly disappointed dad and spends evenings ruthlessly trouncing his mom at backgammon. When Abe meets Miranda (Selma Blair), whose personal and professional disasters have sent her scrambling back to the safety of her parents’ suburban home, he sees what he thinks is a chance at true love. As the couple haltingly prepares to start a new life together, the film swerves into Abe’s subconscious, where his crippling self-doubt begins to undermine his nearly realized dream of a fuller life. John Anderson of Newsday says, “Even though Todd Solondz' latest journey into suburban dysfunction may seem dark (and is), it's also about joy, and how easily it's wasted.” “Dark Horse” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.
Opening at the Multiplex
“Premium Rush” finds Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) dodging speeding cars, crazed cabbies, open doors, and eight million cranky pedestrians, but he’s the best of New York's agile and aggressive bicycle messengers. It takes a special breed to ride the super lightweight, single-gear bikes with no brakes: riders who are equal part skilled cyclists and suicidal nutcases who risk becoming a smear on the pavement every time they head into traffic. But a guy who's used to putting his life on the line is about to get more than even he bargained for. When Wilee picks up his last envelope of the day on a premium rush run, he discovers this package is different. This time, someone is actually trying to kill him. “Premium Rush” opens Friday.
“The Apparition” follows a young couple (Ashley Greene and Sebastian Stan) as they discover they are being haunted by a presence that was accidentally conjured during a university parapsychology experiment. The horrifying apparition feeds on their fear and torments them no matter where they try to run. Their last hope is an expert in the supernatural (Tom Felton), but even with his help they may already be too late to save themselves from this terrifying force. “The Apparition” opens Friday.
Inspired by true-life tales of author Matt Bondurant's family in his novel "The Wettest County in the World," "Lawless" is the true story of the infamous Bondurant Brothers, bootlegging siblings who made a run for the American Dream in Prohibition-era Virginia. The loyalty of three brothers is put to the test against the backdrop of the nation's most notorious crime wave. David Rooney of the Hollywood Reporter says the film is “ fueled by a brooding sense of dread, visceral bursts of violence, potent atmosphere and some juicy character portraits from a robust cast.” “Lawless” opens Wednesday, August 29.
Special Screenings Downtown
In “Iron Sky,” a secret Nazi space program evaded destruction by fleeing to the Dark Side of the Moon. During 70 years of utter secrecy, the Nazis construct a gigantic space fortress with a massive armada of flying saucers. When American astronaut James Washington (Christopher Kirby) puts down his Lunar Lander a bit too close to the secret Nazi base, the Moon FÃ¼hrer (Udo Kier) decides the glorious moment of retaking the Earth has arrived sooner than expected. “Iron Sky” plays tonight at 7 p.m. at the Michigan Theater.
The Midnight movie at the State is “Cry-Baby,” John Waters’ spin on the birth of rock and roll in suburbia starring Johnny Depp. Janet Maslin of the New York Times says, “Mr. Depp, who smolders naturally when he isn't trying so hard, acts this role about as well as Elvis would have; under the circumstances, that's fine.” “Cry-Baby” plays Saturday at 11:59 p.m. at the State Theatre.
In the 1953 musical extravaganza “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell smolder as two glamorous showgirls who have everything a girl could want - except engagement rings! William Brogdon of Variety says, “A strong play to the sophisticated dialog and situations is given by Howard Hawks' direction and he maintains the racy air that brings the musical off excellently at a pace that helps cloak the fact that it's rather lightweight, but sexy, stuff.” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” is presented from a new 35mm print and plays Sunday, August 26 at 1:30 p.m. and Tuesday, August 28 at 7 p.m.
“Sleepwalk With Me,” winner of a 2012 Audience Award at Sundance, stars comedian Mike Birbiglia (who wrote, directed and stars in this sincere and hilarious film, based on his off-Broadway show and bestselling book). It’s also the first movie co-written by Ira Glass and co-produced by “This American Life.” “Sleepwalk With Me” opens at the Michigan on September 21.
See you at the movies!