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Cinema Chat: The 52nd Ann Arbor Film Festival, Grand Budapest Hotel, Noah and More

  The 52nd Ann Arbor Film Festival is underway and will run through Sunday. In this week's edition of Cinema Chat, most of the discussion centers on all you can see and experience at this years festival. 


The 52nd Ann Arbor Film Festival continues!

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America.  Internationally recognized as a premiere forum for independent filmmakers and artists, each year’s festival engages audiences with remarkable cinematic experiences.

The 52nd Festival will feature more than 200 films, videos and live performances with over 30 world, North American and U.S. premieres.  The 52nd Ann Arbor Film Festival takes place at the Michigan Theater, State Theater and UMMA Helmut Stern Auditorium now through March 30. 

Opening at the Multiplex

"Noah" stars Russell Crowe as the biblical hero who sees visions of an apocalyptic deluge and takes measures to protect his family from the coming flood by building an ark. 

Todd McCarthy of the Hollywood Reporter says “”Noah’ will rile some for the complete omission of the name ‘God’ from the dialogue, others for its numerous dramatic fabrications and still more for its heavy-handed ecological doomsday messages…

But whether you buy these elements or not, this is still an arresting piece of filmmaking that has a shot at capturing a large international audience both for its fantasy-style spectacle and its fresh look at an elemental Bible story most often presented as a kiddie yarn.”  Directed by Darren Aronofosky, “Noah” opens Friday.

In "Sabotage," Arnold Schwarzenegger leads an elite DEA task force that takes on the world's deadliest drug cartels.

When the team successfully executes a high-stakes raid on a cartel safe house, they think their work is done - until, one by one, the team members mysteriously start to be eliminated. As the body count rises, everyone is a suspect.  “Sabotage” opens Friday. 

Opening Downtown

“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” the new film from director Wes Anderson, recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars; and Zero Moustava, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting; a raging battle for an enormous family fortune; a desperate chase on motorcycles, trains, sleds, and skis; and the sweetest confection of a love affair — all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone says, “It's a filigreed toy box of a movie, so delicious-looking you may want to lick the screen. It is also, in the Anderson manner, shot through with humor, heartbreak and a bruised romantic's view of the past.”

Starring a cast of thousands, including some of Anderson’s frequent collaborators (Adrien Brody, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, and Owen Wilson, to name a few), “The Grand Budapest Hotel” opens Thursday at the State Theater.

“Particle Fever” follows six brilliant scientists during the launch of the Large Hadron Collider, marking the start-up of the biggest and most expensive experiment in the history of the planet, pushing the edge of human innovation. 

Housed in a 17-mile long tunnel on the French-Swiss border, the LHC offers scientists a peek at the high energy physics in the moment after the Big Bang and, potentially, clues to the origin of all matter. 

“Particle Fever” opens Monday.  Join us on Monday March 31 at 7 PM for a Science on Screen presentation of the film, featuring a lecture by Dr. David E. Kaplan, physics and astronomy professor at Johns Hopkins University and the film’s producer.

“Omar,” a tense, gripping thriller, tells the story of a Palestinian baker who routinely climbs over the separation wall to meet up with his girl. 

By night, he's either a freedom fighter or a terrorist - you decide - ready to risk his life to strike at the Israeli military.  Arrested after the killing of an Israeli soldier and tricked into an admission of guilt by association, he agrees to work as an informant.

So begins a dangerous game - is he playing his Israeli handler or will he really betray his cause? And who can he trust on either side?  “Omar” opens Monday.

Special Screenings Downtown

The Hitchcock series continues this week with “Notorious” starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman.

A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them?  “Notorious” plays Tuesday, April 1 at 7 PM.

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