Barbie and Oppenheimer, aka Barbenheimer, are dominating screens well into August, but there are still a few indie gems premiering this month, Studio Ghibli movies and fun classic programming to see before summer’s end.
Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman direct and star in a feature-length version of their short film, “Theater Camp.” The film takes place at a scrappy upstate theater camp in upstate New York that’s a haven for budding young theater performers. When the camp’s founder, Joan (Amy Sedaris), falls into a coma, her very non-theater, crypto-bro son must take over. There’s another catch. The camp is facing existential financial problems, and kids and teachers must come up with a solution before the big opening night.
A mockumentary-style comedy/satire in the vein of 1996’s “Waiting for Guffman,” it’s a Sundance favorite that appeals to anyone who’s been a theater kid, though not exclusively.
Now playing at the State Theatre.
It’s back! What do Barbie and Oppenheimer lack? Seventy-five minutes of 204 Cat videos!
Oscilloscope Pictures presents “Cat Video Fest 2023.” Proceeds from every ticket sale go to local animal shelters and/or animal welfare organizations. At the Michigan Theater, 10% of the ticket sales will benefit the Humane Society of Huron Valley. These videos should be enjoyed by anyone and everyone.
Playing August 13 and 19 at the Michigan Theater.
Fresh from the Tribeca and Sundance film festivals this year, “Shortcomings” is a comedy about three Bay Area Urbanites — Ben Tanaka, Miko Hayashi, and Alice Kim. Ben is a struggling filmmaker, Miko works for a local Asian-American film festival, and Alice is a queer grad student with serial dating habits.
Based on a popular graphic novel by Adrian Tomine, this rom com follows its characters from Berkeley to New York City. Sheri Cola and Ally Maki are audience favorites in this charmer from first-time director Randall Park.
Now playing at the State Theatre.
Get ready for the new animated “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie with the OG from 1990. It was a shock to find that a friend of mine, Mike Turney, who is himself a filmmaker, played the lead in this one as a kid. He’s shy when asked about it, but in spite of the film’s age, it’s still a fun romp. Elias Koteas and Corey Feldman co-star with Turney and the Turtles.
Playing at the State Theatre on August 11.
Groundbreaking animation director Ralph Bakshi was the first to attempt a film of Tolkein’s famous novel way back in 1978. Filmed with live actors and rotoscoped in black and white, each animation cell was drawn over a film frame of an actor.
This was the first entirely rotoscoped animated feature and the first film Tim Burton worked on (he was an in-betweener) as an animator. With the voices of John Hurt and Anthony Daniels.
Playing at the State Theatre on August 25.
Director Emma Seligman’s Shiva Baby Summer Return Tour promotes her new film “Bottoms” with one-night-only screenings of her debut film “Shiva Baby,” including a pre-recorded exclusive Q&A with the director before the screening.
Playing at the Michigan Theater on August 29.
As for animated films, check out “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” at State Theater August 12 and 17 and “Kiki’s Delivery Service” August 19 and 24 – both playing as part of Studio Ghibli’s Summer of Ghibli. In Japanese with English Subtitles.