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Cinema Chat: Virtual Movie Trivia, 'The Fight,' 'CREEM,' And More

Michigan Theater
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After a few weeks off, the Michigan Theater's Russ Collins is back for more film talk!  For this week's "Cinema Chat," he rejoins WEMU's David Fair to talk about the new films you can check out at home online, courtesy of the Michigan Theater's Virtual Movie Palace.


WEMU listeners and State and Michigan members are loving Movie Trivia!  Win and get your name on the Marquee!  Our popular bi-weekly Movie Trivia returns TONIGHT, THURSDAY at 7:00 PM.  Join film programmer Nick Alderink and fellow movie fans for a fun-filled evening of wit, skill, and laughs.  This event is FREE to play, but registration is required!  Go to michtheater.org to register and participate! 


We’ll talk about opening films and do a free popcorn trivia question giveaway!


Every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday between 5-7 PM (order by 3pm day of). 

Due to weekend street closures, Friday pick-up has been moved to E. Washington, and Saturday is walk-up only on E. Liberty.  An expanded selection of Michigan and State merch now available!


"The Fight"

Only days after the 2017 inauguration of Donald Trump, furious Americans gathered at airports across the country in protest of the Muslim ban.  But it was the efforts of the American Civil Liberties Union, waging the fight in federal court, that turned the tide, staying the executive order on grounds of unconstitutionality.  The ACLU has never granted access to its offices, even as its battles—on the fronts of abortion rights, immigration rights, LGBT rights and voting rights—have become more timely and momentous than ever.  The film features Brigitte Amiri, Ann Arbor native and Deputy Director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project.  Later this month, Brigitte will do a Q & A about the film.

With this film, access has finally been granted to the filmmaking team ofEli B. Despres,Josh Kriegman, and Elyse Steinberg, makers of 2016’s award-winning "Weiner."  Rousing, inspiring and slyly humorous, their latest documentary follows four seismically important cases and a handful of magnetic attorneys.  These lawyers may not know how to charge a cell phone or operate a stand-up desk but have persuaded Supreme Court Justices, beating back serious encroachments upon our freedoms.  An antidote to endless news cycles filled with tweet tantrums, the film inspires with the story of front-line warriors in the battle for the American soul.

Ripping back the curtain on legendary rock rag CREEM Magazine’s wild and disruptive newsroom; a dysfunctional band of unruly outsiders who weren’t all that different from the artists they covered.
Capturing the messy upheaval of the ’70s just as rock was re-inventing itself, the film explores CREEM Magazine’s humble beginnings in post-riot Detroit, follows its upward trajectory from underground paper to national powerhouse, then bears witness to its imminent demise following the tragic and untimely deaths of its visionary publisher, Barry Kramer, and its most famous alum and genius clown prince, Lester Bangs, a year later.  Fifty years after publishing its first issue, “America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine” remains a seditious spirit in music and culture.
Founded in 1969, CREEM Magazine rose from the ashes of the Detroit riots and ushered in a new era of raucous participatory rock journalism. For nearly 20 years, the magazine served as the infamous, irreverent, wild-child alternative to publications like Rolling Stone, and the go-to source for authentic, fan-focused music journalism from legendary writers like Lester Bangs, Dave Marsh, and Patti Smith, that made CREEM ‘America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine.
From the coining of phrases like ‘punk rock,’ to the early championing of bands like The Clash, Blondie, Elvis Costello, and Alice Cooper, the legacy of CREEM is one that runs deep with music fans and musicians alike.  Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, CREEM and its iconic R. Crumb-drawn Boy Howdy! logo continue to serve as a renegade, uncompromising emblem of the rock ‘n’ roll spirit.
"Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind"
Produced, written, and directed by Martha Kehoe andJoan Tosoni, Insight Productions’ feature documentary is an exploration of the career, music and influence of legendary Canadian musical icon, Gordon Lightfoot.  With unprecedented access to the artist, the film takes audiences from high school auditoriums in straight-laced, small town Ontario in the 50s to the coffee houses of Yorkville and Greenwich Village in the 60s, through Lightfoot’s turbulent, substance- fueled arena shows of the 70s, and finally to the artist in present day.
The documentary features interviews from many notable voices in the music industry including Lightfoot peers Ian and Sylvia Tyson, Randy Bachman, and Steve Earle; famous fans Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee from Rush, Alec Baldwin, Anne Murray, and Sarah McLachlan; as well as behind-the-scenes stories from members of his longtime band.
Following Lightfoot’s evolution from Christian choirboy to troubled troubadour to international star and beloved Canadian icon, this film is an intimate and emotional examination of the artist’s profound relationship to his music and his Canadian roots.
"A Thousand Cuts"
Nowhere is the worldwide erosion of democracy, fueled by social media disinformation campaigns, more starkly evident than in the authoritarian regime of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.  Journalist Maria Ressa places the tools of the free press—and her freedom—on the line in defense of truth and democracy. Produced, written, and directed by Ramona S. Diaz ("Imelda," "Motherland").
"You Never Had It - An Evening With Charles Bukowski"
A night of drinking and talking about sex, literature, childhood and humanity with the irreverent writer poet Charles Bukowski in his California house in 1981.  A story of tapes lost, found and brought back to life.
"The Cuban"
A musical journey of love, friendship and the power of the imagination.  When a naïve pre-med student gets her first job in a nursing home, an unexpected friendship with Luis, an elderly Cuban musician (Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr.) reignites her love of music and changes her life forever.


"Rebuilding Paradise"

Tonight at 7:00 PM, join director Ron Howard and the renowned film critic Janet Maslin to hear about his timely new documentary.

On the morning of Nov. 8, 2018, a spark from a transmission line in Northern California, coupled with climate-impacted conditions, quickly grew into a devastating firestorm that engulfed the picturesque city of Paradise, California.  By the time the camp fire was extinguished, it had killed 85 people, displaced 50,000 residents and destroyed 95% of local structures.  It was the deadliest U.S. fire in 100 years — and the worst ever in California’s history.


"Suzi Q"

Before Suzi Quatro burst on the music world in 1973, there were almost no women in rock, and absolutely none who played bass and sang lead vocals and led the band and rocked out and reached millions of people around the world, re-writing the rule book for the expected image of women in rock & roll.  Singer, songwriter, bass player, bandleader, actress, radio-presenter, poet – there is only one Suzi Q, the pint-sized, leather-clad rocker who has sold more than 50 million records and, in 2019, released a new album, celebrating 53 years as a working musician.

"A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps"

Documentary that celebrates the past and future of the Peace Corps, which was created from an impromptu speech from President John F. Kennedy more than 55 years ago from the steps of the Michigan Union at the University of Michigan.  Directed by Alana DeJoseph and narrated by Annette Bening, the documentary features indelible interviews of current and returned Peace Corps Volunteers, current and former staff, scholars and journalists, community members, and leaders around the world (including Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf).  Remarkable archival materials and stunning footage from around the globe by cinematographer Vanessa Carr bring to life an agency that represents to the world the American idea. By expertly weaving together personal volunteer experiences with the political machinations of the time, screenwriter Shana Kelly provides viewers with a visceral experience of Kennedy’s words “what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

"John Lewis: Good Trouble"

Using interviews and rare archival footage, this film chroniclesLewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health-care reform and immigration. 

“Ella Fitzgerald: Just One Of Those Things”

Tracing the story of Ella Fitzgerald’s life, this documentary film explores how her music became a soundtrack for a tumultuous century.

Quarantine Cat Film Festival

This compilation reel from over 1,200 submissions brings together the cutest, funniest, bravest and most loving of these videos, exclusively filmed during the pandemic.  The purpose of this festival is to raise money for independent movie theaters, with the help of everyone’s cats.

"The Tobacconist"

Part of Cinetopia-AAJFF's A Summer of Film series.  A tender, heartbreaking story about one young man and his friendship with Sigmund Freud during the Nazi occupation of Vienna.  Stars Bruno Ganz as Freud.

"Waiting for the Barbarians"

From Director Ciro Guerra ("Embraacing the Serpent," "Birds of Passage") and starring Mark RylanceJohnny Depp, and Robert Pattinson.  The Magistrate (Mark Rylance) of an isolated frontier settlement on the border of an unnamed empire looks forward to an easy retirement until the arrival of Colonel Joll (Johnny Depp), whose task it is to report on the activities of the "barbarians" and on the security situation on the border.

“Pioneers of Queer Cinema”

Celebrate Pride Month with this newly restored trio of classics from the early days of queer cinema, each far ahead of its time.  Rent each film separately, or purchase a pass for all three for $15.00!


For more information on 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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