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Eight movies to see at the Michigan and State Theatre in August

Rose Byrne and Ethan Hawke in "Juliet, Naked," which opens Friday, Aug. 31 at the State. (Credit: Michigan Theater)
Rose Byrne and Ethan Hawke in "Juliet, Naked," which opens Friday, Aug. 31 at the State. (Credit: Michigan Theater)

ANN ARBOR – The summer movie season is quickly coming to a close. Thankfully, the big blockbusters have ended on a high note, with the quite good "Mission Impossible: Fallout" closing out July. August can sometimes be considered a leftover month, as it's a time to release the non-tentpole summer movies but also too early for the Oscar movie season, which kicks off (generally) in late September. If you're a true film lover, however, you know that great movies are released no matter what time of year it is. You just have to seek them out. Happily, we have two wonderful independent theaters within walking distance of one another, and a list of upcoming movies that focus on a wide array of topics, from Elvis to jigsaw puzzles. 

We hope to see you at the movies. 

"The King"

When: Opens Friday, Aug. 3 

Where: Michigan Theater

Forty years after the death of Elvis Presley, two-time Sundance Grand Jury winner Eugene Jarecki‘s new film takes the King’s 1963 Rolls-Royce on a musical road trip across America. From Memphis to New York, Las Vegas, and beyond, the journey traces the rise and fall of Elvis as a metaphor for the country he left behind. In this groundbreaking film, Jarecki paints a visionary portrait of the state of the American dream and a penetrating look at how the hell we got here. A diverse cast of Americans, both famous and non, join the journey.

"BlacKkKlansman"

When: Opens Thursday, Aug. 9 

Where: State Theatre

From visionary filmmaker Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of an American hero. It’s the early 1970s, and Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is the first black detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. The young detective soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), into the undercover investigation of a lifetime. Together, they team up to take down the extremist hate group as the organization aims to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream.

"Generation Wealth"

When: Opens Friday, Aug. 10

Where: Michigan Theater

For the past 25 years acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield has traveled the world, documenting with ethnographic precision and an artist’s sensitivity a vast range of cultural movements and moments. Yet, after so much seeking and searching, she realized that much of her work pointed at one uniting phenomenon: wealth culture. With her new film, she puts the pieces of her life’s work together for in an incendiary investigation into the pathologies that have created the richest society the world has ever seen. Spanning consumerism, beauty, gender, body commodification, aging and more, Greenfield has created a comprehensive cautionary tale about a culture heading straight for the cliff’s edge.

"Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf"

When: Opens Friday, Aug. 17

Where: Michigan Theater

The documentary immerses viewers in landscape designer Piet Oudolf‘s work and takes us inside his creative process, from his beautifully abstract sketches, to theories on beauty, to the ecological implications of his ideas. Intimate discussions take place through all four seasons in Piet’s own gardens at Hummelo, and on visits to his signature public works in New York, Chicago, and the Netherlands, as well as to the far-flung locations that inspire his genius, including desert wildflowers in West Texas and post-industrial forests in Pennsylvania.

"The Cakemaker"

When: Opens Friday, Aug. 17

Where: Michigan Theater

Thomas, a young German baker, is having an affair with Oren, an Israeli married man who has frequent business visits in Berlin. When Oren dies in a car crash in Israel, Thomas travels to Jerusalem seeking answers regarding his death. Under a fabricated identity, Thomas infiltrates into the life of Anat, his lover’s newly widowed wife, who owns a small café in downtown Jerusalem. Thomas starts to work for her and create German cakes and cookies that bring life into her café.

"Puzzle"

When: Opens Friday, Aug. 24

Where: Michigan Theater

A woman who has a talent for assembling jigsaw puzzles sneaks away from her suburban town and goes to New York City, where she partners with a man for a puzzle tournament in Atlantic City. As she experiences independence for the first time, she begins to view her value and the pieces of her own life in a whole new light.

"The Bookshop"

When: Opens Friday, Aug. 31

Where: Michigan Theater

England, 1959. Free-spirited widow Florence Green (Emily Mortimer) risks everything to open a bookshop in a conservative East Anglian coastal town. While bringing about a surprising cultural awakening through works by Ray Bradbury and Vladimir Nabokov, she earns the polite but ruthless opposition of a local grand dame (Patricia Clarkson) and the support and affection of a reclusive book loving widower (Bill Nighy). As Florence’s obstacles amass and bear suspicious signs of a local power struggle, she is forced to ask: is there a place for a bookshop in a town that may not want one?

"Juliet, Naked"

When: Opens Friday, Aug. 31

Where: State Theatre

Based on the novel by Nick Hornby, "Juliet, Naked" is a comic account of life’s second chances. Annie (Rose Byrne) is stuck in a long-term relationship with Duncan (Chris O’Dowd) -- an obsessive fan of obscure rocker Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke). When the acoustic demo of Tucker’s hit record from 25 years ago surfaces, its release leads to a life-changing encounter with the elusive rocker himself.

For the full schedule of films playing throughout the month at the Michigan and the State, visit michtheater.org/schedule.

Check out more Ann Arbor events on the A4 Community Calendar 

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