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Cinema Chat: Giving Tuesday Appreciation, Curbside Concessions, 'Driveways,' And More

Michigan Theater
The Michigan Theater

In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins about all of the new flicks and special events the Michigan Theater is providing for your online viewing pleasure this weekend.  Plus, they talk about how WEMU and the Michigan Theater fared during this week's National Day of Giving.


To the all the fine folks who stepped forward to support WEMU and the State and Michigan Theaters on Tuesday’s Day of Giving--thank you!  Nothing equals the power of all of us coming together – in good times and in uncertain times, like now.  The Day of Giving is powerful reminder of our ability to bring hope and healing to our community – even during these unsettling days.  So, THANK YOU.  Thank you for weathering this storm with us.  Thank you for your donations and support.  Thank you for your words of encouragement and inspiration.


Order online and get your favorite Michigan Theater concessions safely via curbside pick-up under the marquee! Orders must be submitted before 3:00 PM the day of pick-up.  Go to “michtheater.org


"Driveways"-- OPENS FRIDAY

In honor of the late actor Brian Dennehy, his last film.  Kathy (Golden Globe Nominee Hong Chau), a single mother, travels with her shy eight-year-old son Cody (newcomer Lucas Jaye), to Kathy’s late sister’s house which they plan to clean and sell.  As Kathy realizes how little she knew about her sister, Cody develops an unlikely friendship with Del (Golden Globe, Tony winner and longtime acting legend Brian Dennehy), the Korean War vet and widower who lives next door.  Over the course of a summer and with Del’s encouragement, Cody develops the courage to come out of his shell and, along with his mother, finds a new place to call home.

Nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards, this is a beautifully observed, bittersweet drama about our lifelong search for a sense of community.  With a genuine script and impeccable acting from Chau and Dennehy, this little gem doesn’t coax tears, but earns them.

Brian Dennehy died April 15.  He was an American actor of stage, television, and film. Dennehy won two Tony Awards, an Olivier Award, and a Golden Globe, and received six Primetime Emmy Award nominations.  He had roles in over 180 films and in many television and stage productions.  His film roles included "Gorky Park," "Silverado," "Cocoon," "F/X," "Presumed Innocent," "Romeo + Juliet," and "Knight of Cups."  Dennehy won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film for his role as Willy Loman in the television film "Death of a Salesman."
"Spaceship Earth" -- OPENS FRIDAY

This is the true, stranger-than-fiction, adventure of eight visionaries who in 1991 spent two years quarantined inside of a self-engineered replica of Earth’s ecosystem called BIOSPHERE 2.  The experiment was a worldwide phenomenon, chronicling daily existence in the face of life threatening ecological disaster and a growing criticism that it was nothing more than a cult.  The bizarre story is both a cautionary tale and a hopeful lesson of how a small group of dreamers can potentially reimagine a new world. 

"Deerskin" -- OPENS FRIDAY

In this black comedy of middle-aged masculinity gone awry, Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin ("The Artist") is a recent divorcee who becomes obsessed with a vintage fringed deerskin jacket that begins to exert an uncanny hold on him.  Set in a sleepy French alpine village, he falls into the guise of an independent filmmaker and befriends a trusting bartender and aspiring editor (Adèle Haenel, "Portrait of a Lady on Fire") who becomes his collaborator on a movie that will document a surprising new goal he sets himself.


"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" -- TONIGHT AT 7:00 PM

This silent-era classic  is presented with live organ accompaniment by Andrew Rogers!  Considered the quintessential work of German Expressionist cinema, it tells the story of an insane hypnotist.


Deb Polich is president and CEO of The Arts Alliance, co-host on WEMU’s “creative:impact” that airs every Tuesday and is married to Russ Collins.  Russ and Deb will discuss two classic movies with WEMU listeners and Michigan Theater fans.  The classic 1940s noir thrillers, “Gaslight” and “Double Indemnity.”  “Gaslight" is directed byGeorge Cukorand stars Ingrid Bergman,Charles Boyer, and Joseph Cotten.  “Double Indemnity” is directed by Billy Wilder and stars Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, and Edward G. Robinson.  This Zoom, film-discussion group is free, but you must watch the movies and register in advance at michtheater.org.

"Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang"-- FRIDAY, MAY 8 AT 9:15 PM

Join a live stream of this film on 36cinema.com with live commentary provided by RZA – acclaimed rapper, producer, director and co-founder of 36 Chambers – and Dan Halsted – head programmer at the Hollywood Theatre.

"When it Breaks"-- SUNDAY, MAY 10 AT 3:00 PM

Join us for a LIVE Q&A with filmmaker Todd Tue and ask him questions about his documentary about a special education teacher who steps away from the classroom to pursue music.  Go to michtheater.org to register for the Q&A.


"Capital in the Twenty-First Century"

Adapting one of the most groundbreaking and powerful books of our time, this is an eye-opening journey through wealth and power, that breaks the popular assumption that the accumulation of capital runs hand in hand with social progress, shining a new light on the world around us and its growing inequalities.

"Our Mothers"

Guatemala, 2018.  The whole country is immersed in the trial of the military officers who started the civil war.  Spanish with English subtitles.


Following the crossing of the inner German border by the families Strelzyk and Wetzel from the GDR to West Germany in the summer of 1979.  Desperate to leave the GDR, they flee in a homemade hot-air balloon. German and English with English subtitles.

"Menopause the Musical"

An exclusive opportunity to stream this popular musical from the comfort and safety of your home!  This hilarious musical parody set to classic tunes from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s will have you cheering and dancing in the aisles!  See what millions of women worldwide have been laughing about for over 18 years!

"What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael"

In a field that has historically embraced few women film critics, Kael was controversial, witty, and fiercely discerning.  Her decades-long berth at The New Yorker energized her fans (“Paulettes”) and infuriated her detractors on a weekly basis.  Her turbo-charged prose famously championed the New Hollywood Cinema of the late 1960s and ‘70s (BONNIE AND CLYDE, NASHVILLE, CARRIE, TAXI DRIVER) and the work of major European directors (François TruffautBernardo Bertolucci), while mercilessly panning some of the biggest studio hits (THE SOUND OF MUSIC, MIDNIGHT COWBOY, DIRTY HARRY). 

"The Booksellers"

Antiquarian booksellers are part scholar, part detective and part businessperson, and their personalities and knowledge are as broad as the material they handle.  They also play an underappreciated yet essential role in preserving history.  This documentary takes viewers inside their small but fascinating world, populated by an assortment of obsessives, intellects, eccentrics and dreamers.


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.

"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.


Arab Film Series Online: Arab World Shorts Program -- SUNDAY, MAY 10 AT 2 PM

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.  For more information visit nationaltheatre.org.uk/nt-at-home.  This week, it's "Antony and Cleopatra" (May 7-14)

Penny Stamps Lecture Series

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.  This week's speaker is David Turnley on Friday, May 8 at 8 PM.

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.  This week's presentation is on Saturday, May 9 at 1 PM.

Theatreworks Anywhere

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 virtual screenings and content available, visit michtheater.org/screenings.  Stay safe.  Stay strong.

Non-commercial, fact based reporting is made possible by your financial support.  Make your donation to WEMU todayto keep your community NPR station thriving.

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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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