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Cinema Chat: 'Personal Shopper,' 'Inside Men,' 'Putney Swope,' 'Going In Style,' And More

Michigan Theater

In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan Theater executive director Russ Collins about the movie business and all of the flicks heading to your local movie house this weekend.

Ken Burns at the Michigan Theater!   

Credit wikimedia / https://commons.wikimedia.org/
Ken Burns, documentary film producer


Ken Burns, Ann Arbor native and one of America’s most acclaimed filmmakers, will present a showcase of his latest work on Wednesday, April 19 at 7:30 PM at the Michigan Theater.  After screening excerpts – many of which are being seen publicly for the first time at this special screening – Burns will discuss with the audience his upcoming projects and, more generally, his work as a filmmaker and historian.  Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, April 7th. All tickets $10! 

Opening Downtown

"Personal Shopper"

Olivier Assayas, the internationally-acclaimed director of “Clouds of Sils Maria” and “Summer Hours,” returns with “Personal Shopper,” an ethereal and mysterious ghost story starring Kristen Stewart as a high-fashion personal shopper to the stars who is also a spiritual medium.  Grieving the recent death of her twin brother, she haunts his Paris home, determined to make contact with him.  “Personal Shopper” opens Friday.   

Special Screenings Downtown

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!

"Inside Men"

Based on Yoon Tae-ho's webtoon, this is the most popular R-rated film ever produced in South Korea.  Featuring internationally acclaimed actor Lee Byung-hun, this political thriller brings to light the corruption within Korean politics, business conglomerates, and the media.  “Inside Men” plays Saturday, April 8 at 1 PM.  Part of the Korean Cinema Now film series presented by the UM Nam Center for Korean Studies.  Admission is free!

CAMPUS CINEMA GLORY DAZE: This spring, Cinetopia Film Festival and Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater will celebrate the glory days of Art House cinemas with a new film series: Cinema Revolution: Independent Films That Defined a Genre. The eleven film series captures the spirit of cinematic revolution—a revolution that disrupted the Hollywood Studio system, created contemporary foreign film culture and brought to light visionary American directors and new generations of cinematic voices.  

4/10-7:00 - "Putney Swope"

"Putney Swope" is a satirical look at the advertising world, race in Hollywood, and the white power structure.  When its chairman dies, an advertising firm’s executive board must elect someone to fill the position.  Each member, unable to vote for himself, casts a secret ballot for Putney Swope (Arnold Johnson), the firm’s only black executive, assuming he wouldn’t receive any votes from the other members.  But once in power, Swope makes radical changes to the firm — like keeping only one white employee and refusing to advertise harmful products — all under the firm’s new moniker, “Truth and Soul, Inc.”  Directed by Robert Downey, Sr.

4/17 - 4:30 – Citizen Kane (1941 – Art cinema icon of Hollywood days)

4/17 - 7:00 – Day For Night (1973 – Nouvelle Vauge’s influences & influence)

4/24 - 7:00 – A Woman Under The Influence(1974 - John Cassavetes, American’s seminal Independent)

5/1 - 7:00 – Harlan County, USA (1976 Barbara Kopple’s documentary your parents wouldn’t see – but should have!)


5/8 - 7:00 – The Brother from Another Planet (1984 – John Sayles; connection to the Archive – Art House shining moment)

5/15 - 7:00 – A Room with a View (1985 – James Ivory – Ideal Art House shining moment)

5/22 - 7:00 – My Own Private Idaho   (1991 - Gus Van Sant – youth oriented Art House shining moment)

5/29 - 7:00 – The Player (1993 - Robert Altman; Archive connection– Hollywood’s shallow side and Art House shining moment)

The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour

This festival brings mountain films to thousands of people who cannot make the annual trek to the Canadian Rockies.  Ignite your passion for the outdoors, adventure, action, and travel!  The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour will exhilarate you with amazing big-screen stories and inspire your next adventure.  Presented by UM Adventure Leadership, the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour plays Tuesday, April 11 at 7 PM.  

Continuing Downtown


The documentary explores the lives of hundreds of thousands of Turkish cats, who roam the metropolis of Istanbul freely.  For thousands of years they’ve wandered in and out of people’s lives, becoming an essential part of the communities that make the city so rich.  Claiming no owners, the cats of Istanbul live between two worlds, neither wild nor tame — and they bring joy and purpose to those people they choose to adopt.  In Istanbul, cats are the mirrors to the people, allowing them to reflect on their lives in ways nothing else could.  “Kedi” continues at the Michigan.

"I Am Not Your Negro"

This is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter.  In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House.  The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.  At the time of Baldwin's death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of his manuscript.  Now, in his incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin's original words and flood of rich archival material.  “I Am Not Your Negro” continues at the Michigan.


Premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival!  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.  Sixteen years ago, Terry Zwigoff’s “Ghost World,” based on the graphic novel by Daniel Clowes, centered on a pair of more-blasé-than-thou teenage girls … “Wilson,” directed by Craig Johnson (“The Skeleton Twins”), is also based on a graphic novel by Clowes.

"Raw" – A 2016 French-Belgian horror film that premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival

After an initiation ritual, a vegetarian college student becomes a cannibal.  After lifelong vegetarianism, Justine (Garance Marillier) undergoes a veterinary school hazing ritual involving the consumption of rabbit kidneys at the urging of her upperclassman sister, Alexia (Ella Rumpf), she realizes a previously unknown desire for raw human flesh.  After accidentally displaying this hunger to Alexia, her sister reveals it to be a shared familial trait.  The overwhelming nature of this craving is simultaneous to Justine's navigating veterinary school as a socially immature wunderkind, unprepared for the adult experimentations of college.  Sibling rivalry becomes conflated with the morality and consequences of satisfying their appetites.

Opening at the Multiplex

"Going in Style"

Starring Oscar winnersMorgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin as lifelong buddies Willie, Joe and Al, who decide to buck retirement and step off the straight-and-narrow for the first time in their lives when their pension fund becomes a corporate casualty.  Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, the three risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money.  Directed by Zach Braff, “Going in Style” opens Friday.

"Smurfs: The Lost Village"

A mysterious map sets Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy, and Hefty on an exciting and thrilling race through the Forbidden Forest filled with magical creatures to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does.  Embarking on a rollercoaster journey full of action and danger, the Smurfs are on a course that leads to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history!  “Smurfs: The Lost Village” opens Friday.

"The Case for Christ"

Hard-driving journalist Lee utilizes his journalistic and legal training to debunk the claims of Christianity in order to save his crumbling marriage.  Chasing down the biggest story of his career, Lee comes face-to-face with unexpected results that could change everything he knows to be true.  “The Case for Christ” 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
Russ Collins is the executive director of Marquee Arts, the nonprofit that oversees the Michigan Theater and State Theater in Ann Arbor.
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