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Cinema Chat: Cinetopia, 'Krisha,' 'The Martian,' 'The Jungle Book,' And More

Michigan Theater
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The 2016 Cinetopia Film Festival is just around the corner.  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan Theater program director Ruth Lednicer discuss the movie business and all the movies coming to theaters this weekend.

Cinetopia International Film Festival

Cinetopia is now just seven weeks away!  We have most the films booked, including an award-winning documentary we found at Sundance this year, "Sonita," the story of a teenage Afghan refugee living in Iran who aspires to be a rap star.  It is an engrossing film -it won both the Grand Jury and Audience Award at Sundance - but also calls into question the role a filmmaker plays when getting personally involved in a subject's story.  Our full line up will be announced on May 5.  Passes go on sale next week!

Opening Downtown


When Krisha shows up at her sister’s Texas home on Thanksgiving morning, her close and extended family greet her with a mixture of warmth and wariness.  Almost immediately, a palpable unease permeates the air, one which only grows in force as Krisha gets to work cooking the turkey and trying to make up for lost time by catching up with her various relatives, chief among them her nephew, Trey.  As Krisha’s attempts at reconciliation become increasingly rebuffed, tension and suspicion reach their peak, with long-buried secrets and deep-seated resentments coming to the fore as everyone becomes immersed in an emotionally charged familial reckoning.  A potent combination of innovative cinematic storytelling and timeless themes of love, family, and forgiveness, “Krisha” took the independent film community by storm upon its premiere at South By Southwest in 2015, where it won both the Grand Jury and Audience Awards.  “Krisha” opens Friday at the State. 

Special Screenings Downtown

"The Martian"

The Science on Screen series is back with “The Martian!”  During a manned mission to Mars, astronaut Mark Watney (Academy Award nominee Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew.  But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet.  With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.  The screening features a post-show discussion with Doctor Nilton Renno, professor in the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering at the U-M College of Engineering and a co-investigator for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Mission and Phoenix Mission.  Perhaps he can answer the question- can potatoes really grow on Mars!  “The Martian” plays Wednesday, April 20 at 7 PM at the Michigan.


When a machine that allows therapists to enter their patients’ dreams is stolen, all hell breaks loose, and only a young female therapist can stop it: Paprika.  Celebrated manga artist SatoshiKon offered this award-winning selection as one of his last directorial feature film offerings before his untimely death in 2010. “Paprika” plays Wednesday, April 20 at 7 PM at the State as part of the CineMangaFilm Series.

"Sherlock Holmes"

Coming up on Sunday, April 24, the Michigan Theater presents the silent film "Sherlock Holmes" - this 1916 film was thought to be lost forever until a print was found in France in 2014.  Newly restored, audiences once again have the opportunity to see William Gillette portray the famous sleuth (a role he played onstage in England and America hundreds of times).  The film will be accompanied by the Michigan Theater's Barton organ, played by Doctor Steven Ball.  This is an amazing chance to experience silent film as it was first presented - in a grand movie palace with live organ accompaniment.

Opening at the Multiplex

"The Jungle Book"

Based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, it's an epic, live-action adventure about Mowgli, a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves.  But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of IdrisElba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat.  “The Jungle Book” opens Friday.

"Barbershop: The Next Cut"

It's been more than 10 years since our last appointment at Calvin's Barbershop.  Calvin and his longtime crew are still there, but the shop has undergone some major changes.  Despite the good times and camaraderie within the shop, the surrounding community has taken a turn for the worse, forcing Calvin and our crew to come together to not only save the shop, but their neighborhood.  “Barbershop: The Next Cut” opens Friday.   


In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative’s memories, secrets, and skills are implanted into an unpredictable and dangerous death-row inmate in hopes that he will complete the operative’s mission.  Starring Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, and Tommy Lee Jones, “Criminal” opens Friday.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu

Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
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