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Cinema Chat: State And Michigan Theaters Reopening, 'Minari,' 'A Hero For A Night,' And More

Michigan Theater
The Michigan Theater

It's that exciting, cinematic part of your Thursday, but it's just a little different.  For this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's Michael Jewett fills in to talk about the latest movie news and offerings with the Michigan Theater Foundation's executive director, Russ Collins.


Safety Odds Better At State & Michigan Theaters Than Family & Friends @Home or Grocery Shopping


The Michigan and State theater’s management is confident that safety protocols implemented when the theaters were briefly reopened in October makes customers as safe as possible when they are in these lovely historic theaters.



Order in advance and pick up at the Michigan Theater between 5-7 PM.  Walk-ups also welcome.



Nominated for Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language at the 2021 Golden Globes!

If you liked the indie hit “The Farewell” (starring Awkwafina), you will like this film.  A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, the film follows a Korean-American family that moves to a tiny Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream.  The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother.  Amidst the instability and challenges of this new life in the rugged Ozarks, Minari shows the undeniable resilience of family and what really builds a home and family.  Starring Steven Yeun ("Burning") and Yeri Han ("Champion").


An intimate, insightful, and moving Spanish film that tells the story of a young Jewish woman from Mexico City who finds herself torn between her family and her forbidden love.  Ripe with all the drama and interpersonal conflicts of a Jane Austen novel, watching her negotiate the labyrinth of familial pressure, religious precedent, and her own burgeoning sentiment is both painful and beautiful – there are no easy choices to be made and the viewer travels back and forth with her as she struggles with her heart to take the best path. 

"Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words"-- OPENS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12

The film tells the improbable story of how Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who couldn’t get a job despite tying first in her graduating law class and making Law Review at Harvard and Columbia Law Schools, became an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.  It also reveals both the public and private sides of a resilient, resourceful woman who has survived the hostility of the profoundly male universe of government and law to become a revered Justice and advocate for gender equality and women’s rights. 

How did Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s work as a litigator for the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project; as a professor; and as an appellate judge make a difference?  Most importantly how did her trailblazing work in the 1970’s arguing landmark gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court become a turning point for her and the everyday lives of men and women?  And how does Justice Ginsburg’s pioneering work on behalf of gender equality continue to resonate through her opinions and work during her 27 years on the Supreme Court? 

With these questions at the heart of RUTH, the film dramatizes a confluence of factors – personal, psychological, social and political that impacted the course of her work and life.  The film is designed as an immersive experience through the direct words of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a professor, advocate, Judge and Justice; the use of evocative animation and intimate illustrations to visualize complex constitutional cases; by the insights of colleagues who have directly worked with or have been impacted by her forty years as a legal icon; and by using a rich original score by a Grammy-winning composer. 

"Our Right to Gaze: Black Film Identities" -- OPENS SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14

In this collection of six shorts, filmmakers gaze at themselves and their world, attempting to make sense of what they see reflected back.  From gripping drama to heart-warming comedy, this series features timely stories from Black artists that take us outside of the ordinary.

  1. "Love in Submission" by Antu Yacob & Lande Yoosuf;
  2. "A Hollywood Party" by Toryn Seabrooks;
  3. "Pandemic Chronicles" by Ya’ke Smith;
  4. "Auntie Zariyah" by Zora Bikangaga;
  5. "The Black Banshee" by Kyla Sylvers;
  6. "Nowhere" by Lin Que Ayoung.

This series is the collaboratively created by Full Spectrum Features, Northwest Film Forum, Luminal Theater, and Circle Collective, as a means of putting tools of filmmaking directly into the hands of Black filmmakers, creating pathways towards independent distribution, and co-creating mentorship opportunities to help build the careers of emerging filmmakers.


"A Hero for a Night" -- SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14 AT 3:00 PM

The silent-era romantic comedy that opened the Michigan Theater in January 1928, will be presented this year as our special Valentine’s Day presentation, Sunday, February 14 at 3:00 PM.  A limited number of seats will be put on sale for Michigan Theater members next week.  Any remaining tickets will be put on sale to the general public on Monday, February 8.

Hiram Hastings (Glenn Tryon), who drives a taxi at an eastern United States summer resort, wants to become an aviator.  He takes a correspondence course in aviation and builds his own aircraft, hoping to enter a race from New York to Europe.  Samuel Sloan (Burr McIntosh), a wealthy soap manufacturer, arrives with his daughter Mary (Patsy Ruth Miller), a trained nurse (Ruth Dwyer), and his confidential secretary (Lloyd Whitlock), the last two secretly plotting to get Sloan's holdings.  Hiram, infatuated with Mary, crashes a banquet in honor of a visiting French aviator and takes it upon himself to be the speaker of the evening. Although he is ejected, Hiriam perseveres.  Mary learns of the plot against her father and with the aid of Hiram and his aircraft sets out for New York, but Hiram pilots them across the ocean into Russia and there makes a forced landing.  The success of the flight, however, saves the Sloan fortune.

The film will be presented with musical accompaniment on the Michigan Theater’s recently restored theater organ played by our primary organist Andi Rogers, who will create and play an original musical score.  A short newsreel from the period about first solo transatlantic flight by the Spirit of St. Louis, flown by Charles Lindbergh, will be part of the program.  Before the programs starts the pre-show program will be short interviews with people who have met and fallen in love with and because of the Michigan Theater.  The emcee for this festive Valentine’s Day and Michigan Theater anniversary event will be Michigan Theater Foundation Executive Director, Russ Collins.


Direct from Sundance: "A Glitch in the Matrix"

We have a virtual take on our popular Direct from Sundance event with the opening of a documentary which asks, “What if this is all just a simulation?”


Let’s talk Oscars. Early in January, we launched a virtual series showcasing a new international feature every week that’s been officially selected to represent its home nation at the 2021 Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film.

"Blizzard of Souls"- Latvia’s Official Submission

After losing his mother and his home, Arturs finds some consolation in joining the army.  However, war is nothing like he imagined. this is the highest grossing Latvian film in decades and the first narrative feature from documentary director Dzintars Dreibergs.  Based on the novel by Aleksandrs Grīns describing his experience as a rifleman in World War I, and later in the Latvian War of Independence, it’s a film that tells the expected “war is hell” narrative but expands beyond that to explore a story of growth, both in its protagonist and in the greater Latvian people. 

"Another Round" - Denmark’s Official Submission

Four friends, all high school teachers, test a theory that they will improve their lives by maintaining a constant level of alcohol in their blood.

"Collective"- Romania’s Official Submission

This film is a gripping, real-time docu-thriller that follows a heroic team of journalists as they expose shocking corruption in the Romanian national health-care system.

"My Little Sister"- Switzerland’s Official Submission

Lisa has bid goodbye to her ambitions as a playwright and the Berlin arts scene and now lives in Switzerland with her husband, who runs an international school.  When her twin brother falls ill, she returns to Berlin.

"You Will Die at Twenty" - Sudan’s Official Submission

Shortly after Muzamil was born, the village’s holy man predicts that he will die at age 20.  Muzamil’s father can’t stand the curse and leaves home.  Sakina raises her son as a single mother, overly protective.  One day, Muzamil turns 19.

"True Mothers" - Japan’s Official Submission

A woman with an adopted child is contacted unexpectedly by the child’s birth mother.

"Two of Us (Deux)" - France’s Official Submission

Starring legendary German actress Barbara Sukowa and Martine Chevallieras two retired women who have been secretly in love for decades.

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—Michael Jewett is the WEMU weekday jazz host.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

Michael Jewett is the long-time host of 89.1 Jazz every weekday afternoon. Besides his on-air work; Michael is WEMU’s Operations Manager. Mr. Jewett started working for WEMU in 1983. He’s been on the air longer than any other current WEMU music host.
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