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Cinema Chat: Ken Burns Event Preview, 'Raw,' 'Wilson,' 'Ghost In The Shell,' And More

Michigan Theater
Wikipedia Media Commons

In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan Theater marketing director Sarah Erlewine about the movie business and some of the films hitting the big screen in this area over the weekend.

Opening Downtown


Everyone in Justine's family is a vet...and a vegetarian.  At sixteen, she's a brilliant student starting out at veterinary school where she experiences a decadent, merciless, and dangerously seductive world.  Desperate to fit in, she strays from her family principles and eats raw meat for the first time.  Justine will soon face the terrible and unexpected consequences as her true self begins to emerge.  “Raw” opens Friday.


After a stellar screening “Direct from Sundance” in February, “Wilson” returns to the Michigan Theater!  Woody Harrelson stars as Wilson, a lonely, neurotic, and hilariously honest misanthropic dog lover, who reunites with his estranged wife (Laura Dern) and gets a shot at happiness when he learns he has a teenage daughter he’s never met.  In his uniquely outrageous and slightly twisted way, Wilson sets out to connect with her in what could be his last chance at having a family.  “Wilson” opens Friday.   

Special Screenings Downtown


A car salesman is driving home for his daughter’s birthday, when the newly built Hado Tunnel suddenly collapses, and he remains trapped in the rubble.  Luckily, his cellphone still works, and he’s able to call for help, but things don’t go as expected when it becomes clear that the rescue operation will be more complicated than planned and that his safety is not necessarily the only concern of the people above ground.  “Tunnel” plays Saturday, April 1 at 1 PM.  Part of the Korean Cinema Now film series presented by the UM Nam Center for Korean Studies.  Admission is free!

"Donnie Darko"

The 2001 cult sci-fi hit is back and looking better than ever, thanks to a beautiful 4K restoration to celebrate its 15th anniversary. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a troubled teenager who, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident, is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes.  Also starring Patrick Swayze, Mary McDonnell, Drew Barrymore, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, “Donnie Darko” plays Saturday, April 1 at 9:30 PM.

“Fellini's Satyricon”

A 1969 Italian fantasy drama film written and directed by Federico Fellini and loosely based on Petronius’s work Satyricon, written during the reign of the emperor Nero.  The film is divided into nine episodes, following the scholar Encolpius and his friend Ascyltus as they try to win the heart of the young boy Gitón, whom they both love, within the film’s depiction of a surreal and dreamlike Roman landscape and culture.  In a review written in 1970, shortly after the film’s release, Roger Ebert wrote “Federico Fellini describes his ‘Satyricon’ as a science-fiction film, but one in which we journey to the past rather than to the future. Directors are notoriously unreliable as sources of opinions about their own movies, but in this case I think Fellini is dead right.  (The film) is a masterpiece.  Some will say it is a bloody, depraved, disgusting film; indeed, people by the dozens were escaping from the sneak preview I attended.  But ‘Fellini Satyricon’ is a masterpiece all the same, and films that dare everything cannot please everybody.”  “Fellini's Satyricon” plays Monday, April 3 at 7 PM as part of the Cinema Revolution film series.


The Michigan Theater joins a group of independent movie theaters, including Alamo Drafthouse,IFC Center, and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, in screening the now-timely film “1984” on April 4 (a date chosen because of its significance to the story).  John Hurt stars as Winston Smith in this adaptation of George Orwell’s classic 1949 novel, about a member of the Outer Party whose job is to rewrite and distort history.  As a way to rebel and escape Big Brother’s tyranny, he begins a diary, which is an act punishable by death.  “1984” plays Tuesday, April 4 at 9 PM.  Please note that this screening will take place offsite, in the Askwith Auditorium at Lorch Hall on the University of Michigan campus, located at 611 Tappan Street in Ann Arbor.  Students get in free!

M-agination Film Festival

M-agination Films is 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.  The M-agination Film Festival takes place Thursday, April 6 at 8 PM at the Michigan.  Admission is free!

Opening at the Multiplex

"Ghost in the Shell"

Major (Scarlett Johansson) is the first of her kind: a human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world's most dangerous criminals.  When terrorism reaches a new level that includes the ability to hack into people's minds and control them, Major is uniquely qualified to stop it.  As she prepares to face a new enemy, Major discovers that she has been lied to: her life was not saved, it was stolen.  She will stop at nothing to recover her past, find out who did this to her, and stop them before they do it to others.  Based on the internationally acclaimed Japanese Manga, "The Ghost in the Shell"  opens Friday.

"The Boss Baby"

This is a hilariously universal story about how a new baby's arrival impacts a family, told from the point of view of a delightfully unreliable narrator, a wildly imaginative 7 year-old named Tim.  With a sly, heart-filled message about the importance of family, “The Boss Baby” is an authentic and broadly appealing original comedy for all ages.  Featuring the voices of Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Lisa Kudrow, andJimmy Kimmel, “The Boss Baby” opens Friday.

Non-commercial, fact based reporting is made possible by your financial support.  Make your donation to WEMU todayto keep your community NPR station thriving.

— 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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