2018 Cinetopia Film Festival movie reviews {Ann Arbor + Dearborn}

Ray Meets Helen Q&A with director Alan Rudolph and stars, including Sondra Locke

Year 5 of Cinetopia is in the books! At least for me - Cinetopia technically goes until this Sunday, June 10th, but since I'm leaving Saturday night for NY (and then Sunday morning for Israel), I will not be able to see any more movies this week.

I saw 12 movies this year, but technically 11.5: I saw the first 45 minutes of White Rabbit, but wasn't a fan, so I left and went to see Never Goin' Back instead.

Thursday, May 31st: Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor
  • Eighth Grade. This was on my top 10 list so I was excited to see it, and they did a Q&A with the director, Bo Burnham, as well. It reminded me of Ingrid Goes West in some parts, because the protagonist (an 8th grade girl) is obsessed with social media, and was very good. 4 stars out of 5.
    • Scheduled to be released on July 13th.

Friday, June 1st: Ann Arbor
  • Nico, 1988. This was my first introduction to the State Theatre's renovations, which are great - gone are the days of uncomfortable seats! I wasn't initially planning on seeing this one but some friends were going, and I ended up liking it. Nico was a real person who played with the Velvet Underground once or twice, and I usually like movies based on real people. 3.5 stars.
  • White Rabbit. I can only count this one as a half movie - it was about 70 minutes long, and I left 45 minutes in. I wasn't a fan of the protagonist, who was a compulsive liar and did some odd jobs through Task Rabbit. 2 stars.
    • Also playing: Saturday, June 9th, 2:30pm, College for Creative Studies.
  • Never Goin' Back. This focused on two girls, ages 16 and 17, who lived with roommates (one of their brothers, and one other person) and worked as waitresses. They're also lovers, though we don't learn that until later. Basically everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and it's highly entertaining. 3.5 stars.
Michael Greyeyes (Woman Walks Ahead), directors Qasim Basir (A Boy. A Girl. A Dream.)
and Michael Curtis Johnson (Savage Youth)

Saturday, June 2nd: Ann Arbor
  • The Guilty. I think this was my favorite one of the fest, which was a surprise, since it's a foreign film (Danish, with English subtitles). It reminded me a bit of The Call, with Halle Berry, since he works in a call center too and the entire movie takes place there. I highly recommend this one and it's playing again in Detroit this Friday night. 4.5 stars.
    • Also playing: Friday, June 8th, 7:30pm at Cinema Detroit; Sunday, June 10th, 3:45pm at the State Theatre. 
  • American Animals. This trailer looked fantastic, so even though it was a mainstream movie, and is coming out in a few weeks, I wanted to see it. Aunt Lydia from The Handmaid's Tale (Ann Dowd) has a small part in it, and it focuses on a real-life heist story and even has the actual criminals in the film, which was interesting. 3.5 stars.
    • I believe this will be out June 22 or June 29 in mainstream theaters in Detroit.
Q&A with Michael Greyeyes after Woman Walks Ahead
  • Woman Walks Ahead. I really enjoyed this one, which isn't surprising because I'm a Jessica Chastain fan. Michael Greyeyes, who plays Sitting Bull in the film, did a Q&A after the movie, and that was interesting, as well. The movie takes place in 1890 and Chastain's character, an artist, travels to Fort Yates, ND, in order to try and paint Sitting Bull's portrait. 4 stars.
    • This will be in theaters on June 29th.
  • Relaxer. I knew this one was going to be weird because Joel Potrykus is the director, but I underestimated exactly how weird it was going to be, ha. I saw Buzzard by him at my first Cinetopia, and although I didn't like that one either, it still sticks in my mind 4 years later. However, my boyfriend really liked this one, so if you like unique movies, check it out. 2.5 stars.
    • Also playing: Friday, June 8th, 9:30pm at CCS.

Sunday, June 3rd: Ann Arbor
  • Supa Modo. I knew going in to this movie that it would be sad, but it ended up being more bittersweet. It takes place in Africa and focuses on a little girl who has cancer; her sister convinces her that she has superpowers, and then convinces the whole town to play along, too. 4 stars.
    • Also playing: Sunday, June 10th, 12:30pm at CCS.
  • Hearts Beat Loud. This is definitely a mainstream movie but was one of my favorites at the festival. Nick Offerman plays a dad who wants to start a band with his daughter, who is leaving for college at the end of the summer. Toni Collette, Blythe Danner, and Ted Danson all have supporting roles, too. Great music and a fun movie, though I wasn't a fan of the ending; it was too abrupt. 4 stars.
    • Also playing: Sunday, June 10th, 4:30pm at Cinema Detroit.
    • Should be in mainstream theaters soon.
  • Ray Meets Helen. This was the last movie I saw in Ann Arbor, and they did a Q&A with the director (Alan Rudolph) as well as some of the stars after, including Sondra Locke, who used to date Clint Eastwood. The movie had a few funny scenes in it but overall was a bit unbalanced—it felt very long, and most of the scenes that were supposed to be funny fell flat. 2 stars
New seats at the State Theatre - much improved!

Wednesday, June 6th: Arab American National Museum, Dearborn
  • Beauty and the Dogs. This was a hit at the Cannes Film Festival, and I can see why: the film is done very well even though it's covering a sensitive subject (a girl is raped by two police officers) and is actually a true story, too. It's definitely an emotionally draining movie, but worth seeing. 4 stars.
    • Also playing TONIGHT (Thursday, June 7th) at 9:30pm at the State Theatre.

Have you ever been to a film festival? If so, how was your experience?

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