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Cinema Chat: 'Me And Earl And The Dying Girl', 'Jupiter Ascending', 'Seventh Son' And More

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A few special  event are on tap this weekend at the Michigan Theater! In this week's 'Cinema Chat' David fair and Michigan Theater Director Russ Collins tell you all about it and preview other movies available to you through the weekend. 

Sundance comes back to Ann Arbor!

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

“Me And Earl And The Dying Girl” was awarded both the Grand Jury Prize AND the Audience Award for US Dramatic film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival – and tonight only, it’s coming to Ann Arbor! When the film premiered last week at Sundance, the audience gave it a five minute standing ovation; rare occurrence at an elite festival like Sundance. Based on the popular novel by Jesse Andrews (who also wrote the screenplay), the film - starring Nick Offerman, Olivia Cooke, Molly Shannon, Connie Britton, Thomas Mann, and RJ Cyler - tells the story of a teenage filmmaker who befriends a classmate with leukemia. “Me And Earl And The Dying Girl” will play, exclusively, one night only, in a special "Direct From Sundance" screening TONIGHT at 7:30 PM!

The Michigan Theater is honored to continue its relationship with the Sundance Film Festival by hosting a special screening ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL. Guests who will join us are Rebecca Green, from Sundance and Peter McPartlin, from Indian Paintbrush, the producer of the film.

Peter McPartlin – the producer of ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL

A Long Island, New York native, Peter McPartlin is the COO of Indian Paintbrush, a movie production company who has produced the Wes Anderson films: “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “The Darjeeling Limited,”  as well as films such as ”Labor Day,” Stoker, “Breathe In,” “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” and the Duplass Brother’s “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” and, of course “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” the most acclaimed film of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Peter is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he played La Crosse and graduated with a Political Science degree. He has a Law Degree from New York University and has been the Chief Operating Officer, Indian Paintbrush Productions LLC. since 2010.

Rebecca Green – representing the Sundance Film Festival/Sundance Institute

A Michigan native, was Manager of the Sundance Institute Creative Producing Lab. Her recently completed movie productions, both screened at Sundance, include: I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS, sold for distribution to Bleecker Street, staring Blythe Danner and  IT FOLLOWS, a horror film by filmmaker David Robert Mitchell, shot in Detroit, and opening in theaters on February 27.

Sundance: Why 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' Didn't Sell to the Highest Bidder: 

Industry folks have dub it similar to “The Fault in Our Stars” but with better reviews.  The Hollywood Reporter critic John DeFore called it "film-geek friendly but thoroughly accessible and very funny," adding that it "has the makings of a mainstream hit." 

Review from VARIETY: Anyone who buys a ticket to a film called “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” goes in fully expecting to cry. It’s sort of a given. The surprise, then, is the laughter: the near-constant stream of wise, insightful jokes that make it so easy to cozy up to characters …

Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, who worked as a personal assistant to Martin Scorsese, shot second unit on such films as “Babel” and “Argo,” and oversaw 20 episodes of “Glee” and “American Horror Story” for producer Ryan Murphy.

The lead is played by Thomas Mann (who you might recognize from “Project X”) with all the awkwardness we all feel in high school. Greg’s coping mechanism is to make superficial friendships with all the different social cliques in school. He’s good at telling people what they want to hear, but not so great at real human interaction, as evidenced by the fact he refers to his best friend, Earl (RJ Cyler), as his “co-worker.” The duo spend hours together every day studying and making short-film parodies of classic movies, most of which even dedicated film majors don’t discover until college. (With titles like “A Sockwork Orange” and “Pooping Tom,” they’re all terrible, but that’s sort of the joke, one that astoundingly never gets old.)

IndieWire Sundance Review: Wonderfully Funny, Bittersweet & Inventive, ‘Me And Earl And The Dying Girl’ Is A Knock-Out!

One of the many aces up the movie’s sleeve is the music and featured score cuts by ambient godfather Brian Eno. Director AlfonzoGomez-Rejon liberally taps left-of-center, gauze-pop classics from Here Come the Warm Jets, Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), Another Green World, and Before and After Science (aka four of the greatest weirdo pop records ever), so that certainly doesn’t hurt. Moreover, Eno himself composed some connective tissue score elements inspired from the musical hues of those seminal records. His slowly building, heart-swelling "The Big Ship" was always just sitting there just waiting to be used for the perfect, rain-the-house-down-in-tears emotional climax. And guess what? It's used here, it’s flawless, and we can now take the song (and most of the others) off the cinematic shelf for good. They’re off limits.

Brimming with wit, crushing last-act melancholia, laughs, and poignant heart, “Me And Earl And The Dying Girl” is a spectacular delivery of tears, love and laughter, and a beautifully charming, captivating knock-out …

Opening at the Multiplex

Jupiter Ascending

In “Jupiter Ascending” Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown Jupiter dreams of the stars, but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people's houses and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along. “Jupiter Ascending” opens Friday.

Seventh Son

In “Seventh Son,” the sole remaining warrior of a mystical order travels to find a prophesized hero born with incredible powers.  Torn from his quiet life as a farmhand, the unlikely young hero embarks on a daring adventure with his battle-hardened mentor to vanquish a dark queen and the army of assassins she has dispatched against their kingdom. Starring Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, “Seventh Son” opens Friday.

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water

In “The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water,” life is dandy in Bikini Bottom for SpongeBob Squarepants and his friends. However, when the top-secret recipe for Krabby Patties is stolen, SpongeBob finds that he must join forces with perpetual adversary Plankton and come ashore to battle a fiendish pirate named Burger Beard, who has his own plans for the delicious delicacies. Starring Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Clancy Brown and Antonia Banderas, “The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water” opens Friday.

Opening Downtown

Sundance Animated Shorts

See all the nominees for Best Animated, Live Action, and Documentary Shorts before the 87th Academy Awards ceremony on February 22!  Oscar-nominated shorts play at the State Theatre starting February 6. Check the Michigan Theater web site ( for times and complete details.

Two Days, One Night

In “Two Days, One Night” Sandra (Oscar winner Marion Cotillard) has just returned to work after recovering from a serious bout with depression. Realizing that the company can operate with one fewer employee, management tells Sandra she is to be let go. After learning that her co-workers will vote to decide her fate on Monday morning, Sandra races against time over the course of the weekend to convince each of her fellow employees to sacrifice their much-needed bonuses so she can keep her job. With “Two Days, One Night” opens Friday, February 6th at the Michigan Theater.

Special Screenings Downtown

Charlie Chaplin Short Films with live organ accompaniment. 

Charlie Chaplin Short Films with live organ accompaniment play on Sunday, February 8 at 1:30 PM. The screening features the “The Immigrant,” “Floorwalker,” “The Rink” and “The Masquerader,” all shot during Chaplin’s time at Mutual Films and at the height of his star power. Free for kids 12 and under!

Purple Rain

The Oscar- and Grammy-winning “Purple Rain” stars Prince as a young singer, born and raised in Minneapolis, who reaches the pinnacle of stardom while having miserable relationship with his father. Gorgeously photographed by Donald Thorin, the film is a virtual catalogue of Prince’s hits, including “I Would Die 4 U,” “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy.” “Purple Rain” plays Saturday, February 7 at 11:59 PM at the State Theatre.

Glen Campbell: I'll be Me

In 2011, music legend Glen Campbell set out on an unprecedented tour across America. He thought it would last 5 weeks. Instead it went for 151 spectacular sold out shows over a triumphant year and a half. What made this tour extraordinary was that Glen had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me” documents this extraordinary journey as he and his family attempt to navigate the wildly unpredictable nature of Glen’s progressing disease using love, laughter and music as their medicine of choice. “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me” plays Sunday, February 8 at 7 PM. Free admission, but tickets are required via registration at

The Postman Always Rings Twice

The Michigan Theater’s Noir series continues with “The Postman Always Rings Twice.” When a married woman and a drifter fall in love, they plot to murder her husband... but once the deed is done, they must live with the consequences of their actions. “The Postman Always Rings Twice” plays Monday, February 9 at 7 PM.

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