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Cinema Chat: Jonathan Demme Remembered, 'My Life As A Zucchini,' 'The Circle,' And More

Michigan Theater
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In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair speaks to Michigan Theater executive director Russ Collins about the new movies hitting the area this weekend.  Additionally, they pay tribute to the late, great film director,  Jonathan Demme.

Continuing Downtown

"A Quiet Passion"

Cynthia Nixondelivers a triumphant performance as Emily Dickinson, personifying the wit, intellectual independence and pathos of the poet whose genius only came to be recognized after her death. Acclaimed British director Terence Daviesexquisitely evokes Dickinson's deep attachment to her close knit family along with the manners, mores and spiritual convictions of her time that she struggled with and transcended in her poetry.

"Get Out"

A young African-American man visits his white girlfriend’s family estate and becomes ensnared in a more sinister real reason for the invitation.  At first, Chris reads the family's overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined.  Written and directed by Jordan Peele (of “Key and Peele” fame), “Get Out” has received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike.  


Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is an out-of-work party girl who, after getting kicked out of her apartment by her boyfriend, is forced to move back to her hometown.  When news reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, South Korea, Gloria gradually comes to the realization that she is somehow connected to this far-off phenomenon.  As events begin to spin out of control, Gloria must determine why her seemingly insignificant existence has such a colossal effect on the fate of the world.

Special Screenings Downtown

"My Life as a Zucchini"

After his mother's sudden death, Zucchini is befriended by a police officer, Raymond, who accompanies him to his new foster home, filled with other orphans his age.  At first, he struggles to find his place in this at times strange and hostile environment.  But with Raymond's help and his newfound friends, Zucchini eventually learns to trust and love, as he searches for a new family of his own.  Brought to life through striking character designs and expressive stop-motion animation, the story soars with laughter, sorrow, and joy, and stands as a testament to the resilience of the human heart.  “My Life as a Zucchini” plays Monday and Tuesday.  Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Feature Length Animated Film. 

"Land of Mine"

Inspired by real events, this film exposes the untold story of one tragic moment in post-war history.  As World War Two comes to an end, a group of German POWs, boys rather than men, are captured by the Danish army and forced to engage in a deadly task – to defuse and clear land mines from the Danish coastline. With little or no training, the boys soon discover that the war is far from over.  “Land of Mine” plays Wednesday and Thursday.


Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is proud to present a simultaneous coast-to-coast screening and live streamed introduction from director Michael Mann of the new 4K remaster of “Heat.”  This film looms over the crime film landscape, a towering masterpiece that has defined the genre for the past twenty years.  Bringing together thespian powerhouses Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, “Heat” spins a tale of crime, loss, love and LA, as only Michael Mann can tell it.  Neil McCauley (De Niro) is leaving behind his long life of crime with one last score.  Vincent Hanna (Pacino) is the cop who has spent his career hunting down McCauley, and he doesn’t plan to let his nemesis retire easily.  “Heat” plays Tuesday, May 2 at 8:30 PM.

CINEMA REVOLUTION: Independent Films That Defined A Genre

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. 

5/1 - 7:00 – Harlan County, USA (1976 Barbara Kopple’s documentary)

"Harlan County, USA"

This film chronicles the bitter and violent struggle waged by coal miners during a strike in 1973 in Eastern Kentucky against the Eastover Mining Company.  The story focuses on the miners and their families' fight for decent living standards in an area where many still live in shacks with no indoor plumbing and work at jobs with little security and dangerous conditions.  The film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1977.  Directed by Barbara Kopple, “Harlan County USA” plays Monday, May 1 at 7 PM.


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)

Opening at the Multiplex

"The Circle"

Based on the novel written by Dave Eggers, this is a gripping modern thriller set in the not-too-distant future.  A woman lands a dream job at a powerful tech company called The Circle, only to uncover a nefarious agenda that will affect the lives of her friends, family and that of humanity.  Starring Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, and John Boyega, “The Circle” opens Friday.

"How to Be a Latin Lover"

In the riches to rags comedy, an aging gigolo (Eugenio Derbez) is kicked to the curb by his 80-year-old millionaire wife, forcing him to move in with his estranged sister (Salma Hayek) and her young son.  Anxious to return to the lap of luxury, he attempts to reignite his powers as a Latin Lover and win over the wealthy widowed grandmother (Raquel Welch) of his nephew's school crush.  Also starring Rob Lowe, Kristen Bell, Rob Corddry, and Michael Cera, “How to Be A Latin Lover” 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
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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