Cinema Chat: ‘Bowen’s Heart,’ ‘The Harder They Fall,’ ‘Dune,’ and more

WEMU’s Michael Jewett steps in for David Fair once again to chat about the world of cinema with Russ Collins, president and CEO of the Michigan Theater Foundation. Plus, they celebrate this weekend’s University of Michigan football game honoring Michael’s great grandfather, George Jewett!

NOT A FILM EVENT, BUT A SPECIAL EVENT WITH A SPECIAL CONNECTION TO MICHAEL JEWETT

The George Jewett Trophy will be bestowed for the first-time this Saturday to the winner of the Michigan-Northwestern football game. It will continue to be awarded in perpetuity each time Michigan and Northwestern play each other. The trophy honors George Jewett, Michael Jewett’s great-grandfather, who was the first African-American player at both schools. This marked the first major college rivalry football game trophy named for an African-American player.

George Henry Jewett II (April 1870 – August 12, 1908) was an American athlete who became the first African-American football player at both the University of Michigan and Northwestern University, and in the Big Ten Conference. He played for the Michigan Wolverines as a fullback, halfback, and field goal kicker in 1890 and 1892 and was considered one of Michigan’s greatest players in the pre-Fielding H. Yost era.

George Jewett grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, attended Ann Arbor High School where he was the class valedictorian in 1889. In high school, he was the captain of the debate, football and baseball teams. He was also the fastest sprinter in the Midwest, having won the Amateur Athletic Union 100-yard dash competition, and was fluent in German, Italian and French.

Jewett attended the University of Michigan from 1890 to 1893. In 1892, Jewett was the starting halfback on a Michigan team that beat Amos Alonzo Stagg’s dominant University of Chicago team, and John Heisman (of Heisman Trophy fame) described George Jewett as a “superior athlete.”

George Jewett studied medicine at Michigan, but reportedly left abruptly after a run-in with the dean of medicine. He transferred to Northwestern University in 1893 where he received his medical degree and became the first African-American football player at Northwestern. He practiced medicine in the Chicago area and returned to Ann Arbor around 1900. George Jewett’s son, Richard, was the father of Coleman Jewett, well known Ann Arbor athlete, educator and craftsman, and grandfather of Michael Jewett, the host of 89.1 Jazz heard on weekday afternoons on WEMU radio.

OPENING DOWNTOWN

“Dune” — OPENS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22 AT THE MICHIGAN WITH ADVANCED SCREENING ON OCTOBER 21!

From director Denis Villeneuve, a mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, this film tells the story of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.

“The Electric Life of Louis Wain” — OPENS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22 AT THE STATE

A 2021 biographical drama film directed by Will Sharpe, from a story by Simon Stephenson, and screenplay by Stephenson and Sharpe. It stars Benedict CumberbatchClaire FoyAndrea Riseborough, and Toby Jones. The film premiered at the 48th Telluride Film Festival on September 2, 2021.

The extraordinary true story of eccentric British artist Louis Wain (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose playful, sometimes even psychedelic pictures helped to transform the public’s perception of cats forever. Moving from the late 1800s through to the 1930s, we follow the incredible adventures of this inspiring, unsung hero, as he seeks to unlock the “electrical” mysteries of the world and, in so doing, to better understand his own life and the profound love he shared with his wife Emily Richardson (Claire Foy).

“Becoming Cousteau” — OPENS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22 AT THE STATE

Adventurer, filmmaker, inventor, author, unlikely celebrity and conservationist: For over four decades, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his explorations under the ocean became synonymous with a love of science and the natural world. As he learned to protect the environment, he brought the whole world with him, sounding alarms more than 50 years ago about the warming seas and our planet’s vulnerability. In this film, from National Geographic Documentary Films, two-time Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus takes an inside look at Cousteau and his life, his iconic films and inventions, and the experiences that made him the 20th century’s most unique and renowned environmental voice — and the man who inspired generations to protect the Earth.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

“Bowen’s Heart” — PLAYS TONIGHT AT 7:30 PM

Join Matt and Bowen Hammitt and Save A Heart for this special screening including a live acoustic performance! This feature length documentary film follows eight-year-old Bowen through his third major open heart surgery (performed at Mott’s Children Hospital in Ann Arbor), his parents caught in the tension between hoping the surgery will make his life better and knowing it could make things much worse. Bowen’s Heart offers a deeply vulnerable view of how chronic illness impacts an entire family.

Congenital heart disease (CHD), is the No. 1 birth defect in the country. The CHD Center at University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is one of the largest and most experienced pediatric heart programs in the U.S.  The funds will advance research, inspire clinical innovation, and provide much-needed assistance to patients and families facing challenging congenital heart disease. 

“The Harder They Fall” — PLAYS TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26 AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

A 2021 American Western film directed by Jeymes Samuel, who co-wrote the screenplay with Boaz Yakin. The film stars Jonathan MajorsIdris Elba, Zazie BeetzRegina KingDelroy LindoLakeith StanfieldRJ CylerDanielle DeadwylerEdi Gathegi, and Deon Cole. The film had its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival on October 6, 2021. It is scheduled to be released in a limited release on October 22, 2021.

LATE NIGHTS – FRIDAYS AT 10 PM

“Eraserhead” — PLAYS THIS FRIDAY AT THE MICHIGAN

Henry (Jack Nance) resides alone in a bleak apartment surrounded by industrial gloom. When he discovers that an earlier fling with Mary X (Charlotte Stewart) left her pregnant, he marries the expectant mother and has her move in with him. Things take a decidedly strange turn when the couple’s baby turns out to be a bizarre lizard-like creature that won’t stop wailing. Other characters, including a disfigured lady who lives inside a radiator, inhabit the building and add to Henry’s troubles.

HALLOWEEN MOVIES AT THE MICHIGAN

“Frankenstein” — PLAYS SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24 AT 3 PM AND SUNDAY OCTOBER 31 AT 5 PM

This iconic horror film follows the obsessed scientist Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) as he attempts to create life by assembling a creature from body parts of the deceased. Aided by his loyal misshapen assistant, Fritz (Dwight Frye), Frankenstein succeeds in animating his monster (Boris Karloff), but, confused and traumatized, it escapes into the countryside and begins to wreak havoc. Frankenstein searches for the elusive being, and eventually must confront his tormented creation.

“Dracula” — PLAYS SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24 AT 5 PM AND SUNDAY, OCTOBER 31 AT 3 PM

The dashing, mysterious Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi), after hypnotizing a British soldier, Renfield (Dwight Frye), into his mindless slave, travels to London and takes up residence in an old castle. Soon Dracula begins to wreak havoc, sucking the blood of young women and turning them into vampires. When he sets his sights on Mina (Helen Chandler), the daughter of a prominent doctor, vampire-hunter Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan) is enlisted to put a stop to the count’s never-ending bloodlust.

“Nosferatu” — PLAYS THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28 AT 7:30 PM

With live organ accompaniment from Head Organist Andrew Rogers!

In this highly influential silent horror film, the mysterious Count Orlok (Max Schreck) summons Thomas Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) to his remote Transylvanian castle in the mountains. The eerie Orlok seeks to buy a house near Hutter and his wife, Ellen (Greta Schroeder). After Orlok reveals his vampire nature, Hutter struggles to escape the castle, knowing that Ellen is in grave danger. Meanwhile Orlok’s servant, Knock (Alexander Granach), prepares for his master to arrive at his new home.

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” — PLAYS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29 AT 10 PM

Featuring a live shadow-cast on Friday, October 29 by The Leather Medusas. In this cult classic, sweethearts Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon), stuck with a flat tire during a storm, discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), a transvestite scientist. As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters, including a rocking biker (Meat Loaf) and a creepy butler (Richard O’Brien). Through elaborate dances and rock songs, Frank-N-Furter unveils his latest creation: a muscular man named “Rocky.”

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

“No Time to Die”

A 2021 British-American spy film and the 25th in the James Bond series stars Daniel Craig in his fifth and final outing as the fictional British MI6 agent. It is directed by Cary Fukunaga from a screenplay by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and others, including Fukunaga. Léa SeydouxBen WhishawNaomie HarrisJeffrey WrightChristoph WaltzRory Kinnear, and Ralph Fiennes reprise their roles from previous films, with Rami Malek, plays a classic Bond adversary. The film’s release was delayed by over one year by the COVID-19 pandemic. The film received strong positive reviews from critics, who hailed it as a fitting and compelling sendoff to the Craig-era of Bond films.

“The Rescue”

This is a 2021 documentary film directed and produced by the folks who made the gripping documentary “Free Solo.” The film chronicles the enthralling, against-all-odds story that transfixed the world in 2018: the daring rescue of twelve boys and their coach from deep inside a flooded cave in Northern Thailand. Using a wealth of never-before-seen material and exclusive interviews, directors E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin keep viewers on the edge of their seats as they bring alive one of the most perilous and extraordinary rescues in modern times, shining a light on the high-risk world of cave diving, the astounding courage and compassion of the rescuers, and the shared humanity of the international community that united to save the boys. The film had its world premiere at the 48th Telluride Film Festival on September 2, 2021. It was also screened at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2021, where it won the People’s Choice Award for Documentaries.

“Bergman Island”

This is a 2021 internationally co-produced drama film, written and directed by Mia Hansen-Løve. It stars Vicky KriepsTim Roth, Mia Wasikowska, and Anders Danielsen Lie. It had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on 11 July 2021.  The film follows a couple of American filmmakers, Chris (Vicky Krieps) and Tony (Tim Roth), who retreat to the mythical Fårö island for the summer. In this wild, breathtaking landscape where Bergman lived and shot his most celebrated pieces, they hope to find inspiration for their upcoming films. As days spent separately pass by, the fascination for the island operates on Chris and souvenirs of her first love resurface. Lines between reality and fiction progressively blur as the story climaxes.

“The Velvet Underground” 

This film explores the multiple threads that converged to bring together one of the most influential bands in rock and roll. Filmed with the cooperation of surviving band members, this multifaceted portrait folds in an array of participants in the creative scene’s cultures and subcultures. Tracing influences and affinities both personal and artistic, Todd Haynes unearths rich detail about Andy Warhol, The Factory, Nico, and others, adding vivid context and texture that never diminish the ultimate enigma of the band’s power. 

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”

Based on the Marvel Comics featuring the character Shang-Chi, it is the 25th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi alongside AwkwafinaMeng’er ZhangFala ChenBenedict WongMichelle YeohBen Kingsley, and Tony Leung. In the film, Shang-Chi is forced to confront his past after he is drawn into his father’s Ten Rings organization.

This is the first Marvel Studios film with an Asian director (Destin Daniel Cretton) and a predominantly Asian cast. The film received positive reviews from critics, praising the film’s fight choreography, its exploration and representation of Asian culture, and the performances (particularly that of Simu Liu and Tony Leung). 

COMING SOON DOWNTOWN

“The French Dispatch” — WES ANDERSON’S NEW FILM OPENS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5

A 2021 American comedy-drama anthology film written, directed, and produced by Wes Anderson from a story he conceived with Roman CoppolaHugo Guinness, and Jason Schwartzman. The film stars an ensemble cast featuring Benicio del Toro, Adrien BrodyTilda SwintonLéa SeydouxFrances McDormandTimothée ChalametLyna KhoudriJeffrey WrightMathieu AmalricStephen ParkBill Murray, and Owen Wilson. Its plot follows three different storylines, as the French foreign bureau of a fictional Kansas newspaper creates its final issue. Filming took place between November 2018 and March 2019, with cinematographer Robert Yeoman, in the city of Angoulême, France. Following a delay, the film had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on July 12, 2021.

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—Michael Jewett is the WEMU weekday jazz host.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at [email protected]

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Author: Arkansas Times Staff