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Cinema Chat: Cinetopia Expansion, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Captain America and More

The Michigan Theater

Cinetopia International Film Festival scheduled for June 4-8 in Detroit, Ann Arbor - More days, venues, screenings, and programs on tap for 2014

From Detroit, Mich. Press conference 4/2/14  - After a successful expanded run in Detroit this past June, the Michigan Theater and Detroit Film Theatre announced today that the Cinetopia International Film Festival will be even bigger in 2014. The festival will grow to five days (June 4-8), add more Detroit venues, create new special programs, and bring in additional filmmakers for pre- and post-film events. The festival is expected to draw more than 20,000 attendees this year.

Cinetopia 2014 will feature more than 100 screenings of 45+ films, split evenly between venues in Detroit and Ann Arbor. Besides the Detroit Film Theatre, additional Detroit venues include the College for Creative Studies, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Cinema Detroit, and Michigan Science Center. In addition to the Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor venues include the State Theater, the University of Michigan Modern Languages Building, and a rooftop theater.

The newly launched Detroit Voices filmmaking competition, a partnership with Allied Media Project, will seek short films from metro Detroit filmmakers that reflect unique perspectives from the nation's most unique city. The top winner will receive a $5,000 prize and have his/her film screened at Cinetopia.
The first-ever Cinema Circus program will bring a series of free outdoor movie screenings, music, and entertainment to public spaces around Detroit during the weeks leading up to Cinetopia. Venues include Eastern Market, the Ford Resource and Engagement Center, and New Center Park, among others.

The University of Michigan's John Sayles Symposium on June 4-5 will honor maverick director John Sayles, who will be in attendance with several of his collaborators. Cinetopia will screen Sayles films and host post-film discussions in conjunction with the symposium.
The Cinetopia Film Festival is able to increase its scope thanks to a $50,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Knight Arts Challenge, which funds innovative projects that engage and enrich Detroit. The support of presenting sponsors AT&T Michigan, Toyota, and MASCO Corporation Foundation is also critical to this expansion.

Cinetopia tickets will go on sale on Friday, May 9. Individual tickets are $12 for the general public and $9 for DIA, DFT, Wright Museum, and Michigan Theater members. Ticket booklets and festival passes will also be available.

An additional press event in May will announce the full line-up of Cinetopia films.

About Cinetopia International Film Festival: Created for the people of southeastern Michigan, the Cinetopia International Film Festival features the best feature-length dramas, comedies, and documentaries from the world's best film festivals, including Sundance, Cannes, Venice, and Toronto. Visit cinetopiafestival.org for more information.

About Knight Foundation: Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.


Nearly 30 years after Orson Welles’s death, his youngest daughter is keeping his reputation as a maverick alive by selling off at auction more than 70 items of his personal possessions, including a personal movie camera, scripts and photos from the set of Citizen Kane. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Beatrice Welles said that she had decided not to turn them over to a museum because she felt that doing so would have been “about the last thing he would’ve wanted.” Textbooks that include discussions of Welles’s work may be required reading at many university film schools in the U.S., but Beatrice Welles told the online trade publication, “He just did not believe in schooling. He did not believe in academic things. … Museums kind of have that connotation, and I thought, ‘No, this is not right for him.’” Perhaps the most interesting items in the collection are two scripts for Welles’s movie The Magnificent Ambersons, each with a different ending, neither of which ended up in the finished film. The sale, due to take place on April 26, is being handled by Heritage Auctions.

Have you seen “The Grand Budapest Hotel?”  Over 90% of critics rave about this Wes Anderson comedy, including Ann Arbor’s own Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly, who said “I've had my Wes Anderson breakthrough - or maybe it's that he's had his. ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ is a marvelous contraption, a wheels-within-wheels thriller that's pure oxygenated movie play.”   There were lines down the street in front of the State Theatre last week for this funny, stylish and fun film. Don’t miss it!
Opening Downtown

In “The Face of Love,” it’s been five years since the death of her beloved husband Garrett (Ed Harris) when Nikki (Annette Bening) meets a man who seems his exact duplicate. Not only does this stranger possess the same deeply lined face and startling blue eyes, he also shares Garrett’s kindness, humor, and passion for art. And yet he is a stranger. Romance blossoms between Nikki and this alluring doppelgänger, but she can’t bring herself to tell him the truth about what drew her to him. So she hides her photos and prevents him from meeting friends and family. In this taut and intriguing film it isn’t a question of whether the truth will come out, but when. “The Face of Love” plays April 9, 11–14, and 17 at the Michigan Theater.

Opening at the Multiplex

Captain America: The Winter Soldier” finds Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. after cataclysmic events in New York.  But when a fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” opens Friday.
92% positive reviews -- Suspenseful and politically astute, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a superior entry in the Avengers canon and is sure to thrill Marvel diehards.
David Denby, New Yorker -- The new franchise effort from Marvel charges through hyperkinetic chases and combat, though with slightly less finesse than its predecessor, "Captain America: The First Avenger."
Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter -- Takes the bold (for Marvel) step of reducing CGI spectacle to a relative minimum in favor of reviving the pleasures of hard-driving old-school action, surprising character development and intriguing suspense.
Scott Foundas, Variety -- Chockfull of the breathless cliffhangers dictated by the genre, but equally rich in the quiet, tender character moments that made the first film unique among recent Marvel fare ...

Hitchcock Films Downtown

The Michigan Theater’s Alfred Hitchcock series continues with one of his early films, “The Farmer’s Wife.” It follows a rough-hewn widowed farmer (Samuel Sweetland) in search of a new bride. Playing Sunday, April 6 at 1:30 PM it will be presented from a newly restored print with live organ accompaniment!

"Rope,” Alfred Hitchcock's first color film, was adapted from Patrick Hamilton's stage play “Rope's End” by no less than Hume Cronyn in 1948. Loosely inspired by the Leopold-Loeb case, the plot concerns two implicitly homosexual college chums, played by Farley Granger and John Dall. Their heads filled with Nietzschean philosophy by their kindly professor James Stewart, Granger and Dall kill a third friend just for the thrill of it. The boys hide the body in an antique chest in the middle of their posh apartment, then perversely arrange to hold a dinner party around the chest, inviting the victim's family, friends and fiancée (Joan Chandler), as well as their intellectual role-model Stewart. As the guests wander obliviously around the sealed chest, the killers make snippy, veiled comments about their deed--never going so far as to reveal the existence of the body nor their involvement in the murder. As all the guests file out, however, professor Stewart begins to suspect that something is amiss. In Rope, Hitchcock attempted the daunting technical challenge of filming the entire picture in one long, seemingly uninterrupted take. Actually, there are several edits in the movie: since a reel of film was divided into two ten-minute minireels back in 1948, the internal reel-breaks are "fudged" by having a dark object briefly obscure the camera lens, sustaining the illusion that no editing has taken place. “Rope” plays Tuesday, April 8 at 7 PM

Continuing Downtown

“Particle Fever” is a fascinating documentary that follows six brilliant scientists during the launch of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Housed in a 17-mile long tunnel on the French-Swiss border, the LHC offers scientists a peek at mysteries of the universe. “Particle Fever” continues at the Michigan Theater
93% positive reviews - The concepts behind its heady subject matter may fly over the heads of most viewers, but Particle Fever presents it in such a way that even the least science-inclined viewers will find themselves enraptured.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” - see above
David Denby, New Yorker -- The opéra-bouffe plot serves as a strand of bright golden wire on which Anderson hangs innumerable encounters, scampering chases, and an archly decorative style of commentary.
Ian Buckwalter, NPR-- Grand Budapest is a culmination of the tinkly music-box aesthetic of Anderson's work to date, turned up to 11.
Claudia Puig, USA Today -- It's a mature, intricately layered visual delight.
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times -- Anderson works so assiduously to create obsessively detailed on-screen worlds that the effect has sometimes been hermetic, even stifling. "The Grand Budapest," however, is anything but.
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone -- 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.

Special Screenings Downtown

The Terror LIVE” follows the events when an anonymous call comes into a radio station threatening to blow up a bridge. When the call turns out to be real, a terrorist’s threats end up being broadcast live throughout the country.   “The Terror LIVE” plays Saturday, April 5 at 2 PM at the Michigan Theater. Free admission!  Part of the Korean Cinema Now Series presented by the UM Nam Center for Korean Studies.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour will exhilarate you with amazing big-screen stories. Journey to exotic locations, paddle the wildest waters, and climb the highest peaks. Get your tickets today and be taken away to the most captivating places on earth. From an exploration of remote landscapes and mountain cultures to adrenaline-fueled action sports, films in this year’s world tour are sure to captivate and amaze the explorer within you. Be moved. Be inspired. The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour plays Sunday, April 6 at 7 PM at the Michigan Theater.

In “Follow Me Down: Portraits of Louisiana Prison Musicians” Georgetown ethnomusicologist Ben Harbert weaves together interviews and performances of inmate musicians to create an extraordinary concert film. Presented in conjunction with the Prison Creative Arts Project ‘s annual exhibition of art by Michigan prisoners. “Follow Me Down: Portraits of Louisiana Prison Musicians” plays Monday, April 7 at 6 PM at the Michigan Theater.

M-agination Film Festival is presented by M-agination Films, a student-run film production group at the University of Michigan. In production, students are responsible for writing, directing, camera work, editing, and everything in between. See their work on Wednesday, April 9 at 7 PM. Presented by M-agination Films. Free admission!

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