The month of May I can live with. It isn’t a summer month, and the kiddies are weeks ahead of escaping school. But if the Powers That Be in Hollywood really want to kick off the “summer” movie season in May, as they have in recent years … then okay. The line is drawn.
But what now? Did not this season’s first “summer action blockbuster” movie come in April, with the shockingly surprising success of Furious 7? (R.I.P. Paul Walker.) Well, yes and no. Avengers: Age of Ultron is still set to debut on May 1 – how long ago did the Marvel folks stake out that date? And there’s not a superhero-watcher out there losing sleep over being upstaged by a few furiously fast cars.
And should I, as the curator of a prestigious film program at a midsized art museum, give up the ghost every time May 1 rolls around, and the popcorn-flick onslaught begins? Nah, we just schedule more movies at the Flint Institute of Arts. Just different kinds.
You may already have seen the month’s first selection in the FIA’s Friends of Modern Art series. Still Alice, slated to play May 1-3 (take that, Tony Stark!), provided Julianne Moore with the role that won her the most recent Academy Award for best actress. She plays a college professor with early onset Alzheimer’s. Hers is work not to be missed. Still Alice runs 101 minutes and is rated PG-13.
It is followed May 8-10 by Leviathan, among the recent Oscar nominees for best foreign language film. In this Russian epic (141 minutes, rated R), a townsman is forced to fight a corrupt mayor after his property is threatened.
The series takes a romantic turn on May 15-17 with 5 to 7, so titled because of the premise that two people embroiled in an affair can only meet between those daytime hours. Anton Yelchin, Frank Langella, and Glenn Close star in a story (95 minutes, rated R) of an aspiring novelist who has a tryst with a diplomat’s wife.
Tangerines, a seriocomic drama from Estonia (87 minutes, not rated), follows on May 22-24. Then comes a reminder of colder times and places. Red Army, a documentary at the FIA on May 29-31, chronicles the rise and fall of the “unbeatable” Soviet national hockey team of the 1970s and ’80s. Much of the 76-minute story (rated PG) is told through the POV of then-Soviet team captain (and future Detroit Red Wings alumnus), Slava Fetisov. It’s a fascinating film, whether your interest is in sports or politics.
All FOMA series screenings are at 7:30pm Fridays and Saturdays and 2pm on Sundays. Regular series tickets, available at the door, are $6 general admission, $5 for FIA members, and $4 for FOMA members.
In addition to the FOMA films, the museum is teaming with the Flint Jewish Federation to present the 11th annual Karen Schneider Jewish Film Festival of Flint. The May 3-7 fest is bookended by documentaries about great American entertainers: The Outrageous Sophie Tucker (May 3) and When Comedy Went to School (May 7), about how the Borscht Belt produced some of the nation’s funniest fellows. For what comes between in the JFF (all screenings 7pm), visit flintarts.org. ♦