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Cinema Chat

Cinema Chat: Cinetopia Announcements, Ann Arbor Jewish Film Festival, 'Life Of The Party,' And More

Michigan Theater
Wikipedia Media Commons

After a week off, Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins is back behind the mic with a lot of big announcements.  He joins WEMU's David Fair to talk about the latest movie news and this weekend's upcoming films in this week's "Cinema Chat."

CINETOPIA – May 31-June 10

"Eighth Grade"--opening night and our special guest is Bo Burnham.

"A Boy.  A Girl.  A Dream"--playing at the Michigan and CCS with special guests Q, Omari, Meagan, and Jay from the movie.

  • This year, we have the most directors and talent coming with their films than any other year.
  • Tickets are on sale to the general public starting tomorrow 5/11.  Members can buy single tickets now.
  • Passes are still on sale.
  • If you find yourself wanting to see at least 8 movies, an all-movie pass will pay for itself.
  • The biggest perk of getting a pass is you will be in a priority line, which does not guarantee admission, but it gives you the freedom to pick and choose where and when you want to see a movie.  If you arrive in line early enough, you will most likely get admitted.  We’re also giving pass holders priority in smaller venue screens, like the Annex and State Theater 3.


The Ann Arbor Jewish Film Festival returns to the Michigan Theater for its 17th year with 13 screenings running May 10 – 16, featuring documentary subjects, fiction and non-fiction narratives, and a collection of short films.  “The Ann Arbor Jewish Film Festival has a long and distinguished history.  From its inception in 2001, the festival sought to bring the global Jewish experience to the greater community through the medium of film.”">"Scandal in Ivansk" - May 10 @ 5:00 pm

Documentary by David Blumenfeld - family history in one small corner of Poland unleash a national scandal.">"Maktub" - May 10 @ 8:00 pm

Dramedy/action in Hebrew.  Two mob enforcers end up the sole survivors of a terrorist attack.  Inspired by their fate, they turn away from crime and go on a quest to answer people’s prayers placed at Jeruselem’s Western Wall.      

"Heading Home" - May 13 @ 4:00 pm

Documentary, English, The journey of Israel’s underdog national baseball team, which finally ranks among the world’s to play in the World Baseball Classic.">"Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels" - May 13 @ 7:45 pm

Documentary, English, At a time when most countries shut their doors to Jewish refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe, Cuba was one of the only options for escape. Marion Finkels Kreith, then fourteen, was among those who made it to Havana and found work to support their families in a newly transported trade: diamond polishing.  Journey back to 1940’s Havana, a tumultuous, heart breaking, and interesting time.

"Shelter" - May 14 @ 2:00 pm

Thriller, English/Hebrew/Arabic w/ subtitles, 93 minutes).  An Israeli Mossad agent is sent to Germany to protect a Lebanese informant.  Nothing is safe, no one is secure, and everyone is searching for shelter.

"Death in the Terminal" - May 14 @ 4:00 pm

Documentary, Hebrew  w/ subtitles.  Six of those present for the Beer Sheva Bus Terminal terror attack in 2015 tell six different stories of a single tragedy.

"GI Jews: Jewish Americans in World War II" - May 14 @ 7:00 pm

Documentary, English. 550,000 Jewish American men and women served in WWII.  Veterans, both famous (from Mel Brooks to Henry Kissinger) and unknown, bring their war experiences to life: how they fought for their nation, their people, struggled with anti-Semitism within their ranks, and emerged transformed.

"History of Love" - May 15 @ 2:00 pm

Drama/romance, English.  Based on Nicole Karuss’ best-selling novel.

"Keep the Change" - May 15 @ 5:00 pm

Romantic comedy, English.  When 30-something David, in denial about his own autism, is sentenced to time in an autism support group, he meets the irritatingly cheerful Sarah.  Their burgeoning romance takes them on a journey of self-discovery.">"Vitch" - May 16 @ 2:00 pm

Documentary, English.  A daughter tells the story of the controversial choices that her father, a Jewish artist from Poland, made in order to survive the Holocaust.

Short Films - May 16 @ 5:00 pm">"Doing Jewish: A Story from Ghana"- May 16 @ 8:00 pm

Documentary, English.  A tiny community in rural Ghana recently discovered that the religion they have been practicing for centuries is Judaism.



At the Michigan: The highly anticipated new documentary from CNN Films is an intimate portrait of an unlikely rock star: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  With unprecedented access, the filmmakers explore how her early legal battles changed the world for women.

"Racer and the Jailbird"

At the State: this film is set against an electrifying backdrop of high-speed racing and high-stakes heists, and it’s love at first sight when gangster Gino (‘Gigi’) meets Benedicte (‘Bibi’), a wealthy and fearless racing driver.  Fierce and loyal, Gigi and Bibi fight for their love against fate, reason and their own weaknesses.  But how far can endurance be stretched?  How far can they go to try and save what may already be lost?  Two excellent performances by Matthias Schoenaerts (Gigi) and Adèle Exarchopoulos (Bibi).

"Pope Francis: A Man of His Word"

This film opens early at the Michigan next Thursday, May 17 – From Director Wim Wenders, Pope Francis is seen up-close as he travels the world speaking to those in need and delivering a message of hope.


"Lives Well Lived"

Playing Thursday, May 17 at 7:00pm, this is a feature documentary film from Director Sky Bergman celebrating the wit and wisdom of adults 75 to 100 years-old living life to the fullest.  Encompassing over 3000 years of experience, forty people share their secrets and insights to living a meaningful life.  This fundraising event for Big Hearts for Seniors also includes a Q & A after the film with Bergman moderated by the UM School of Public Health’s Vic Strecher.



From the writer/director team of Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman (Juno, Young Adult), and starring Charlize Theron.  Theron plays Marlo, a mother of three who is gifted a night nanny by her brother.  Though hesitant to the extravagance at first, Marlo comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising and sometimes challenging young nanny named Tully.  Also starring Mackenzie DavisMark Duplass, and Ron Livingston.

"You Were Never Really Here"

From Writer/Director Lynne Ramsay ("We Need to Talk about Kevin") stars Joaquin Phoenix as a traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, who tracks down missing girls for a living.  But when a job spins out of control, Joe’s nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening. 

"Isle of Dogs"

From Wes Anderson, this film follows a group of canine pets who have been exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island.  When a 12-year-old boy sets off alone in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots, the group of dogs travel the island with him in the search,featuring the voices Bryan CranstonEdward NortonBill MurrayScarlett Johansson, and Jeff Goldblum.

"The Death of Stalin"

The latest comedic satire from Armando Iannucci continues for another week, which depicts the chaos that fell on the Soviet regime after the death of their powerful leader.


At the Michigan Theater: This is a documentary that looks at the life, work and religious heritage of violinist Itzhak Perlman.  From Schubert to Strauss, Bach to Brahms, Mozart to...Billy Joel, Perlman's violin playing transcends mere performance to evoke the celebrations and struggles of real life.  As charming and entrancing as the famous violinist himself, "Itzhak" is a portrait of musical virtuosity seamlessly enclosed in warmth, humor, and above all, love.

"Back to Burgundy"

This film follows three siblings that reunite at their home in picturesque Burgundy to save the family vineyard in this tender tale of a new generation finding its own unique blend, from acclaimed director Cédric Klapisch ("L’Auberge Espagnole").

"Final Portrait"

From Writer/Director Stanley Tucci, this film stars Armie Hammer and Geoffrey Rush.  The story of the touching and offbeat friendship between American writer and art-lover James Lord (Hammer) and Alberto Giacometti (Rush), as seen through Lord's eyes and revealing unique insight into the beauty, frustration, profundity and sometimes the chaos of the artistic process.

"Lean on Pete"

From Director Andrew Haigh ("Weekend," "45 Years"), this film stars Charlie Plummer as a teen living with his single father, who finds work caring for an aging racehorse named Lean On Pete.  When he learns Pete is bound for slaughter, the two embark on an odyssey across the new American frontier in search of a place to call home.  Also starring Steve BuscemiChloë Sevigny, and Steve Zahn.


"Breaking In"

Gabrielle Union stars as a woman who will stop at nothing to rescue her two children being held hostage in a house designed with impenetrable security.  No trap, no trick, and especially no man inside can match a mother with a mission when she is determined on Breaking In.

"Life of the Party"

Melissa McCarthy plays a longtime and dedicated housewife who is suddenly dumped by her husband turns regret into reset by going back to college.  Unfortunately, she winds up at the same school as her less-than-thrilled daughter.  Plunging headlong into the campus experience, the outspoken new student soon begins a journey of self-discovery while fully embracing all of the fun, freedom, and frat boys that she can handle.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at

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