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Cinema Chat: Cinetopia Update, 'A New Color,' 'Hounds Of Love,' 'Snatched,' And More

Michigan Theater
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In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan Theater executive director Russ Collins about all the movies returning and making their debut this weekend.  Plus, they give the latest news on the upcoming Cinetopia Film Festival!

Cinetopia Tickets On Sale Now!

Tickets for theCinetopia Film Festival are on sale now!  Cinetopia runs June 1-11 in Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Detroit, and will feature over 60 fantastic films direct from the world’s best film festivals, including Sundance, Toronto, Venice, Tribeca, and Cannes.  Review the schedule and get your tickets now!


The festival brings some of the most exciting films from this past year to the most treasured screens in Southeast Michigan. Every year’s films tell a story, and the 2017 program is a rich tapestry of vibrant storytellers, change-makers, and the best kind of troublemakers.  Each of these varied films—from cinema verité documentaries to experimental narratives to heart-warming indie soon-to be-favorites—shines a light in its own way on a small part of society.  Together, they work to illuminate the lives of people striving to understand their identity, their place in the world, and the history that got them there.  You will come out of this festival with many new perspectives.

Cinetopia’s festival venue partners include: The Arab American National Museum and The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn; The College for Creative Studies, The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Cinema Detroit, and The Detroit Institute of Arts in Detroit; the Maple Theater in Bloomfield; and the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor. 

Big Hearts for Seniors Benefit Screening - Thursday, May 25 at 7:00 PM

“A New Color: The Art of Being Edythe Boone”

This is a documentary that follows Boone, a Bay Area social justice muralist, as she creates change through art – the theme of this evening benefiting the five Michigan Medicine programs of Big Hearts for Seniors (Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels, Housing Bureau for Seniors, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Silver Club Memory Programs, and Turner Senior Wellness Program).  Boone and the documentary’s producer, Mo Morris, will join the audience for a Q & A via Skype, hosted by event Honorary Chairs Deb Polich, Executive Director of Artrain and the Arts Alliance and Russ Collins, Executive Director of the Michigan Theater.  The event will be emceed by Rob Reinhart, host of Acoustic Café and Rob Reinhart’s Essential Music.  Musical guests Chenille Sisters return to entertain their fans.

Opening Downtown

“Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer"

Norman Oppenheimer (Richard Gere) lives a lonely life in the margins of New York City power and money, a would-be operator dreaming up financial schemes that never come to fruition.  Norman strives to be everyone’s friend, but his incessant networking leads him nowhere. Norman sets his sights on Micha Eshel (Lior Ashkenazi), a charismatic Israeli politician alone in New York at a low point in his career. Sensing Eshel’s vulnerability, Norman reaches out with a gift, a gesture that deeply touches Eshel.  When Eshel becomes Prime Minister three years later, he remembers.  With his very real connection to the leader of a major nation, Norman is awash in the respect he has always craved, but his kaleidoscopic plans soon go awry, creating the potential for an international catastrophe he must struggle to prevent.  “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer” opens Friday. 

"Hounds of Love"

Set in suburban Perth during the mid-1980s, people are unaware that women are disappearing at the hands of serial killer couple John and Evelyn White.  After an innocent lapse in judgment, Vicki Maloney is randomly abducted by the disturbed couple.  With her murder imminent, Vicki realizes she must find a way to drive a wedge between Evelyn and John if she is to survive.  Rob Hunter of Film School Rejects writes“(the film) walks a fine line between entertaining thriller and psychological drama, but it succeeds at merging the two into a darkly memorable feature.”  “Hounds of Love” opens Friday.


Filmed over six years, this is a complex and volatile character study that collides with a high stakes election year and its controversial aftermath.  Cornered in a tiny building for half a decade, Julian Assange is undeterred even as the legal jeopardy he faces threatens to undermine the organization he leads and fracture the movement he inspired.  Capturing this story with unprecedented access, director Laura Poitras finds herself caught between the motives and contradictions of Assange and his inner circle.  In a new world order where a single keystroke can alter history, “Risk” is a portrait of power, betrayal, truth, and sacrifice.  “Risk” plays Sunday-Tuesday.

Continuing Downtown

"Their Finest"

The year is 1940, London.  With the nation bowed down by war, the British ministry turns to propaganda films to boost morale at home.  Realizing their films could use "a woman's touch," the ministry hires Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) as a scriptwriter in charge of writing the female dialogue.  Although her artist husband looks down on her job, Catrin's natural flair quickly gets her noticed by cynical, witty lead scriptwriter Buckley (Sam Claflin).  Catrin and Buckley set out to make an epic feature film based on the Dunkirk rescue starring the gloriously vain, former matinee idol Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy).  As bombs are dropping all around them, Catrin, Buckley, and their colorful cast and crew work furiously to make a film that will warm the hearts of the nation.  “Their Finest” opens Friday.

Special Screenings Downtown

The Jewish Film Festival

The Jewish Film Festival is an annual event celebrating film and the impact and influence which Jewish culture has played on society, current movies and filmmakers of today.  It also provides a forum for discussion about films from around the world that illuminate Jewish issues and principles.  The Jewish Film Festival continues through Thursday, May 11 at the Michigan Theater, with screenings of “Germans and Jews,” the shorts program, and “The Women’s Balcony.”

CINEMA REVOLUTION: Independent Films The 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. 

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

When Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham-Carter) and chaperone Charlotte Bartlett (Maggie Smith) find themselves in Florence with rooms without views, fellow guests Mr. Emerson (Denholm Elliot) and son George (Julian Sands) step in to remedy the situation.  DirectorJames Ivory, producer Ismail Merchant, and screenwriter Ruth PrawerJhabvala’s longtime collaboration as Merchant Ivory Productions came to represent a certain kind of British period piece that dominated Art House screens in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Based on the 1908 novel by E.M. Forster, “A Room with A View” plays Monday, May 15 at 7 PM.  Presented as part of the Cinema Revolution film series.

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

"King Arthur: Legend of the Sword"

Starring Charlie Hunnam in the title role, this is an iconoclastic take on the classic Excalibur myth, tracing Arthur's journey from the streets to the throne.  When the child Arthur's father is murdered, Vortigern (Jude Law), Arthur's uncle, seizes the crown.  Robbed of his birthright and with no idea who he truly is, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city.  But once he pulls the sword from the stone, his life is turned upside down, and he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy...whether he likes it or not. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Guy Ritchie, "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” opens Friday.


After her boyfriend dumps her on the eve of their exotic vacation, impetuous dreamer Emily (Amy Schumer) persuades her ultra-cautious mother, Linda (Goldie Hawn) to travel with her to paradise.  Polar opposites, Emily and Linda realize that working through their differences as mother and daughter - in unpredictable, hilarious fashion - is the only way to escape the wildly outrageous jungle adventure they have fallen into.  “Snatched” 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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