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Cinema Chat: 'The Dog Doc,' 'Beanpole,' 'Earth,' And More

Michigan Theater
Wikipedia Media Commons

There's no better cure for cabin fever than a good movie!  In this week's "Cinema Chat," Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins joins WEMU's David Fair to discuss the latest films the Michigan Theater is offering online.  Plus, a few special screenings and events are in the forecast, as well!


Last week's silent film presentation of "The Ten Commandments" with organ accompaniment provided live in a virtual setting was very popular!  Our in-house organist Andrew Rodgers did a fantastic job of playing two-and-a-half hours of musical accompaniment!  We are working on doing more silent films in the coming weeks.


"The Dog Doc" -- OPENS FRIDAY

Called a maverick, a miracle-worker, and a quack, Dr. Marty Goldstein is a pioneer of integrative veterinary medicine. By holistically treating animals after other vets have given up, Goldstein provides a last hope for pet owners with nothing left to lose.  A portion of this film will benefit the Michigan Theater and Humane Society of Huron Valley.

"Beanpole" -- OPENS FRIDAY

In post-WWII Leningrad, two women, Iya and Masha (astonishing newcomers Viktoria Miroshnichenkoand Vasilisa Perelygina), intensely bonded after fighting side by side as anti-aircraft gunners, attempt to readjust to a haunted world.

"Earth" -- PLAYS APRIL 17-23

Several billion tons of earth are moved annually by humans – with shovels, excavators or dynamite.  Nikolaus Geyrhalter observes people, in mines, quarries, and at large construction sites, engaged in a constant struggle to take possession of the planet.



Join us onTwitch.tv for a LIVE VIRTUAL WATCH PARTY of this 1981 American supernatural horror staff favorite, streaming free on Netflix.  Tune in as we watch the film on our own and hit play together to experience the film in real-time as a community.  Our staff will be providing movie trivia and background, as well as lend their own comments and opinions, and take comments and questions from you!


"Best of CatVideoFest: Creature Comforts Edition"

Long time CatVideoFest curator extraordinaire Will Braden has crafted a 40-min “treat” of a reel that includes the very best videos from CVF’s illustrious history.

"The Etruscan Smile"

Winner of the Audience Award and Best U.S. Nonfiction Film at the Traverse City Film Festival!  Based on the bestselling novel by José Luis Sampedro, the film stars Brian Cox (HBO’s "Succession" and recent Broadway leading man in "The Great Society") as Rory MacNeil, a rugged old Scotsman who reluctantly leaves his beloved isolated Hebridean island and travels to San Francisco to seek medical treatment.  Moving in with his estranged son, Rory’s life will be transformed, just when he expects it least, through a newly found love for his baby grandson. 

"Extra Ordinary"

Rose, a sweet, lonely driving instructor in rural Ireland, is gifted with supernatural abilities.  Rose has a love/hate relationship with her "talents" and tries to ignore the constant spirit related requests from locals – to exorcise possessed rubbish bins or haunted gravel.  But Christian Winter, a washed up, one-hit-wonder rock star, has made a pact with the devil for a return to greatness!  He puts a spell on a local teenager- making her levitate.  Her terrified father, Martin Martin, asks Rose to help save his daughter.  Rose has to overcome the fear of her supernatural gift & work with Martin to save the girl, get the guy and be home in time for a light snack…maybe a yogurt or something. 

"Phoenix, Oregon"

Defying midlife haze, two friends, a graphic novelist and a chef, seize an unlikely opportunity to reinvent their lives, quitting their jobs to restore an old bowling alley and serve the “world’s greatest pizza.”  This film takes a comedic look at the existential crisis many face when trying to find meaning and relevancy at midlife. 

"Slay the Dragon"

A secretive, high-tech gerrymandering initiative launched 10 years ago threatens to undermine our democracy.  The film follows everyday people as they fight to make their votes matter.

"And Then We Danced" 

A passionate tale of love and liberation set amidst the ultraconservative confines of modern Georgian society, this film follows Merab, a devoted dancer who has been training for years with his partner Mary for a spot in the National Georgian Ensemble.  The arrival of another male dancer, Irakli--gifted with perfect form and equipped with a rebellious streak--throws Merab off balance, sparking both an intense rivalry and romantic desire that may cause him to risk his future in dance as well as his relationships with Mary and his family.  

"The Whistlers"

In this film, not everything is as it seems for Cristi, a police inspector in Bucharest who plays both sides of the law.  Embarking with the beautiful Gilda on a high-stakes heist, both will have to navigate the twists and turns of corruption, treachery and deception.  A trip to the Canary Islands to learn a secret whistling language might just be what they need to pull it off.  


A few years from now… Bacurau, a small village in the Brazilian sertão, mourns the loss of its matriarch, Carmelita, who lived to be 94.  Days later, its inhabitants (among themSônia Braga) notice that their village has literally vanished from online maps and a UFO-shaped drone is seen flying overhead.  There are forces that want to expel them from their homes, and soon, in a genre-bending twist, a band of armed mercenaries, led by Udo Kier, arrive in town picking off the inhabitants one by one.  A fierce confrontation takes place when the townspeople turn the tables on the villainous outsiders, banding together by any means necessary to protect and maintain their remote community.  The mercenaries just may have met their match in the fed-up, resourceful denizens of little Bacurau.  

"Saint Frances"

Flailing 34-year-old Bridget (played by Kelly O’Sullivan) finally catches a break when she meets a nice guy and lands a much-needed job nannying six-year-old Frances (played by a scene-stealing Ramona Edith-Williams).  But an unwanted pregnancy introduces an unexpected complication.  To make matters worse, she clashes with the obstinate Frances and struggles to navigate a growing tension between Frances’ moms.

"Fantastic Fungi"

When so many are struggling for connection, inspiration and hope, this film brings us together as interconnected creators of our world.  The film, directed by Louie Schwartzberg, is a consciousness-shifting film that takes us on an immersive journey through time and scale into the magical earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet.  Through the eyes of renowned scientists and mycologists like Paul Stamets, best-selling authors Michael PollanEugenia BoneAndrew Weil, and others, we become aware of the beauty, intelligence and solutions the fungi kingdom offers us in response to some of our most pressing medical, therapeutic, and environmental challenges.  


National Theatre at Home

Join us every Thursday for much-loved National Theatre Live productions, free to stream on YouTube for seven days! Enjoy world-class theatre online while they are unfortunately closed. This week, Polly Findlay's acclaimed production of "Treasure Island," featuring Arthur Darvill ("Doctor Who"), starts today, Thursday 16 April.  For more information, visit nationaltheatre.org.uk/nt-at-home.

Penny Stamps Lecture Series

With the health and well-being of our community in mind, all live Penny Stamps Speaker Series events have been canceled for the remainder of the semester.  The series continues online with video presentations as allowed by special arrangement with the speakers: check out the latest presentations below.  In a new partnership designed to keep the community curious, engaged, and connected, the entire Penny Stamps Speaker Series video archive is also available to stream online through Detroit Public Television.  DPTV will also livestream select Penny Stamps Speaker Series events Fridays at 8 PM.  For more information, visit stamps.umich.edu/stamps.

Met Opera Streams

During this extraordinary and difficult time, the Met hopes to brighten the lives of our audience members even while our stage is dark.  Each day, a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series is being made available for free streaming on the Met website, with each performance available for a period of 23 hours, from 7:30 PM until 6:30 PM the following day.  The schedule will include outstanding complete performances from the past 14 years of cinema transmissions, starring all of opera’s greatest singers.  Here is this week’s schedule from Friday, April 10 to Thursday, April 16 respectively: Wagner's "Parsifal," Gounod's "Roméo et Juliette," Donizetti's "Don Pasquale," Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte," Dvořák’s "Rusalka," Mussorgsky’s "Boris Godunov," Puccini’s "La Rondine," and Rossini’s "Le Comte Ory."  For more information, visit metopera.org/user-information/nightly-met-opera-streams.

TheatreWorks Anywhere -- NEW ADDITION!

TheaterWorks Anywhere aims to give young people a fun and active way to use their imaginations while learning the process of creating theater and adapting a book or story for the stage.  We’ll show you video clips from TheaterWorksUSA productions, take you behind the scenes with our artists, and provide theater activities and crafts for you to make and share with us!  For this content, visit the TheaterWorks Anywhere site at twusa.org/shows-artists/on-tour/anywhere.

For more information on our virtual screenings and content available, visit michtheater.org/screenings.  Stay safe.  Stay strong.

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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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