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Cinema Chat: Michael Zadoorian Event, 'Flower,' 'Ready Player One,' And More

Michigan Theater
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In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins about the latest A number of special events available to you and about films hitting the big screen this weekend in our area! 


On Friday, April 6 at 6:30 and 8:00 PM the Michigan Theater, Nicola’s Books and the Alzheimer’s Association will celebrate author MichaelZadoorian’s story,THE LEISURE SEEKER with this Michigan-based author.  The film based on his novel opens in Ann Arbor as a feature length film starring Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren.  THE LEISURE SEEKER is based on Michael Zadoorian’s acclaimed bestselling book.  Additionally, Michael Zadoorian will be bringing copies of his new book, BEAUTIFUL MUSIC, which will only be available that night at the Michigan Theater – the book’s national release date is May 1.

The film LEISURE SEEKER stars Academy Award-winners Helen Mirren as Ella Shepard and two-time Golden Globe-winner Donald Sutherland as John Shepard.  Married for more than fifty years, Ella decides she and John will go on one last unforgettable journey.  So, before John’s Alzheimer’s progresses to the point where he forgets how to drive their 1978 antique RV which they call “The Leisure Seeker.”  Ella packs the RV and sets them on a path travelling from Boston to “The Ernest Hemingway Home” in Key West, Florida.  On this odyssey, Ella and John recapture their passion for life and their love for each other on a road trip that provides revelation and surprise right up to the very end.

Story author Mike Zadoorian will be at the Michigan Theater to introduce the film.  He will stay after the film to answer audience questions and sign copies of his book THE LEISURE SEEKERS, as well as pre-release copies of his new book BEAUTIFUL MUSIC.

The Michigan Theater, Nicola’s/Schuler Books and the Great Lakes Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association have combined to create a wonderful event!  A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Great Lakes Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.


Cinetopia Film Festival, May 31-June 10.  Passes now on sale at “cinetopiafestival.org

We will host film director Alan Rudolph and the stars of his new film, getting its Midwest premiere, “Ray Meets Helen.”  Ray and Helen, played by Keith Carradine and Sondra Locke, are each stalled in mid-life, beset by profound material challenges, haunted by their failed or missed opportunities in their younger lives. Each undergoes a reversal of fortune, but life strips away their temporary good fortune and each unexpectedly falls for each other’s true selves as they are gradually revealed.  The film also stars Samantha Mathis, Keith David, andJennifer Tilly.

Alan Rudolph’s other credits include “Choose Me,” “Breakfast of Champions,” “Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle,” “Equinox,” “Trouble in Mind,” and “The Moderns,” which also starred Carradine.  Mr. Rudolph – a protégé of director Robert Altman, who like Altman, donated his personal and professional archive to the U of M – along with his wife, Joyce Rudolph, a well-known Hollywood photographer, will be the subject of a U-M Symposium during Cinetopia.

We also just landed a NEW documentary on Michigan native and original cast member on Saturday Night Live Gilda Radner called “Love Gilda.”  It will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in mid-April.

And the recent and spectacular documentary on the University of Michigan football stadium called THE BIG HOUSE.  Like Wes Anderson’s new film ISLE OF DOGS, THE BIG HOUSE premiered at the Berlin Film Festival.

It’s shaping up to be THE BEST Cinetopia yet!!



Opening at the State Theatre, this film stars Zoey Deutch as the rebellious, quick-witted Erica, a 17-year-old firecracker living with her single mom and her mom’s new boyfriend, Bob, in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley.  When Bob’s mentally unbalanced son, Luke, arrives from rehab to live with the family, Erica finds her domestic and personal life overwhelmed.  With Luke and her sidekicks Kala and Claudine in tow, Erica acts out by exposing a high school teacher’s dark secret.  Also starring Adam Scott and Kathryn Hahn.

"Leaning in the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy"

Opening at the Michigan, this film is a vibrant journey through the diverse layers of sculptor Andy Goldsworthy's world.  From urban Edinburgh and London to the South of France and New England, each environment he encounters becomes a fresh kaleidoscopic canvas for his art.  A lushly-visualized travelogue, Goldsworthy's work and Thomas Riedelsheimer's exquisite cinematography redefine landscape and inextricably tie human life to the natural world.

"Isle of Dogs"

And new from Wes Anderson, this film will open at the State Theatre next week Thursday, April 5!  When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island, 12-year-old Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies across the river in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots.  There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture.


"Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ"

On Easter Sunday, the Michigan will present a very special screening of the 1925 film at 4:00 PM with Live Accompaniment from our own Andrew Rogers on the historic Barton Organ.  In this silent classic, one of the most expensive ever-produced, Judah Ben-Hur (in this version played by Ramon Novarro) discovers that he has been betrayed by his childhood friend Messala leading to separation from his family.  Eventually, Ben-Hur has the chance to compete against Messala in the famous chariot race which holds up in astonishing audiences to this day.

"Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby"

Tonight, this film will conclude our “Ferrell Child: The Films of Will Ferrell” at 9:30 PM.  Co-starring John C. Reilly, Jane Lynch, Amy Adams, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Sacha Baron Cohen, Ferrellplays number one NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby who stays atop the leaderboard until a French Formula One driver threatens his place.

"The Bacchus Lady"

Presented by the Nam Center for Korean Studies at the University of Michigan, this film will continue the Korean Cinema Now film seriesthis Saturday, March 31 at 1:00 PM.  This drama looks into the issue of elderly prostitution in South Korea.  And as always, this screening is free and open to the public!


Next Monday, April 2, the “Enter the Samurai” Film Seriescontinues with Kurosawa’s 1980 period war drama at 7:00 PM.  Set in 16th century Japan, a petty thief with an utter resemblance to a samurai warlord is hired as the lord's double.  But, when the warlord later dies, the thief is forced to take up arms in his place.

"Monty Python and the Holy Grail"

Next week Thursday, April 5, this film will premiere the “And Now For Something Completely Different” film series at 9:30 PM, in celebration of the films of Monty Python.  In their first feature length film, King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table embark on a surreal, low-budget search for the Holy Grail, encountering many, very silly obstacles.

"Castle in the Sky"

And at the State Theatre, the “Ghibli for Kids” series continues this Saturday, March 24 at 1:30 PM, and because it’s also part of the Toyota Family-Friendly Film Series Presented by the Benard L. Maas Foundation, kids 12 & under get in free!  In this English dubbed version of Miyazaki’s adventure/fantasy, a young boy and a girl with a magic crystal must race against pirates and foreign agents in a search for a legendary floating castle.


"The Death of Stalin"

At the Michigan Theater: This film is the latest political satire from Writer/Director Armando Iannucci, best known for his previous comedy "In the Loop" and creator of the Emmy Award winning "Veep."  This time, Iannuci finds humor in the Soviet dictator's last days as well as the chaos of the regime after his death.

"A Fantastic Woman"

Moving from the State Theater, the Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film, this film will also continue for another week!  From Chile, the film stars Daniela Vega as Marina, a transgender woman who works as a waitress and moonlights as a nightclub singer, who faces scorn and discrimination after the sudden death of her older boyfriend.

"A Wrinkle in Time"

At the State Theatre: This film will also remain, starring Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, and the young standout Storm Reid.  Three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find their missing scientist father.

And now the highest grossing superhero movie of all time, "Black Panther" is also held over with Best Picture winner "The Shape of Water!"


"Ready Player One"

From Director Steven Spielberg, this film takes place in the year 2045 where people can escape their harsh reality in the OASIS, an immersive virtual world where you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone-the only limits are your own imagination.  OASIS creator James Halliday left his immense fortune and control of the Oasis to the winner of a contest designed to find a worthy heir.  When unlikely hero Wade Watts conquers the first challenge of the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friends-known as the High Five-are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS and their world.

"Tyler Perry's Acrimony"

A new thriller from the Writer/Director Tyler Perry, a faithful wife (played by Taraji P. Henson) is tired of standing by her devious husband (played by Lyriq Bent) and becomes enraged when it’s clear she has been betrayed.

"God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness"

And in this film, after a deadly fire rips through St. James Church, Hadleigh University leaders use the tragedy to push the congregation off campus, forcing the church to defend its rights and bringing together estranged brothers for a reunion that opens old wounds and forces them to address the issues that pulled them apart.

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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

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