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Cinema Chat: 'French Exit,' Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts, 'Godzilla Vs. Kong,' And More

Michigan Theater
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It's no April Fool!  WEMU's David Fair and Michigan Theater Foundation Russ Collins are together again for this week's "Cinema Chat!"  They'll be talking about all of the latest films that you can check out at the theaters downtown or at home online this weekend.


Film quiz fun starts at 7PM.  $5 per team, and members play for free (Member code is the same for April).  Don't miss a special Animation edition April 9, and our Academy Awards edition April 23!


“My plan was to die before the money ran out,” says 60-year-old penniless Manhattan socialite Frances Price (Michelle Pfeiffer), but things didn’t go as planned.  Her husband Franklin has been dead for 12 years, and with his vast inheritance gone, she cashes in the last of her possessions and resolves to live out her twilight days anonymously in a borrowed apartment in Paris, accompanied by her directionless son Malcolm (Lucas Hedges) and a cat named Small Frank—who may or may not embody the spirit of Frances’s dead husband. 

Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts -- PLAYING AT THE STATE APRIL 2-4

Each year, we're thrilled to present the Academy Award-nominated shorts programming featuring the year's most spectacular short films.  From 96 total qualifying films, these five received nominations in the Animated Short Film category at the 93rd Academy Awards.

  • "Burrow" – Madeline Sharafian and Michael Capbarat (USA, 6 min.)
  • "Genius Loci" – Adrien Mérigeau and Amaury Ovise (France, 16 min.)
  • "Opera" – Erick Oh (USA, 9 min.)
  • "If Anything Happens, I Love You" – Will McCormack and Michael Govier (USA, 12 min.)
  • "Yes-People" – Gísli Darri Halldórsson and Arnar Gunnarsson (Iceland, 8 min.)


  • "Kapaemahu" (USA, 8 min.)
  • "The Snail and the Whale" (UK/Germany, 26 min.)
  • "To Gerard" (USA, 7 min.)


"Six Minutes to Midnight" -- PLAYING AT THE STATE APRIL 2-4

In the summer of 1939, influential families in Nazi Germany have sent their daughters to a finishing school in an English seaside town to learn the language and be ambassadors for a future looking National Socialist Party.  A British school-teacher (Eddie Izzard) there sees what is coming and is trying to raise the alarm.  But the authorities believe he is the problem.  Director: Andy Goddard; Writer: Andy Goddard, Eddie IzzardCelyn Jones.  STARRING:Judi DenchJames D'ArcyJim Broadbent, Eddie Izzard.

"The Courier" -- PLAYS AT THE STATE APRIL 2-4

This is a true-life spy thriller, the story of an unassuming British businessman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history.  At the behest of the UK's MI-6 and a CIA operative (Rachel Brosnahan), he forms a covert, dangerous partnership with Soviet officer Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) in an effort to provide crucial intelligence needed to prevent a nuclear confrontation and defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.

"The Father"-- PLAYS APRIL 3 & 4 AT THE STATE

The film earned six nominations at the 93rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Hopkins), and Best Supporting Actress (Colman).

Anthony (Academy Award Winner Anthony Hopkins) is 80, mischievous, living defiantly alone and rejecting the carers that his daughter, Anne (Academy Award and Golden Globe Winner Olivia Colman), encouragingly introduces.  Yet help is also becoming a necessity for Anne; she can't make daily visits anymore, and Anthony's grip on reality is unraveling.  As we experience the ebb and flow of his memory, how much of his own identity and past can Anthony cling to?  How does Anne cope as she grieves the loss of her father, while he still lives and breathes before her?  This filim warmly embraces real life, through loving reflection upon the vibrant human condition; a heart-breaking and uncompromisingly poignant movie that nestles in the truth of our own lives.

"Nomadland" -- PLAYING AT THE STATE APRIL 3 & 4

Winner Best Motion Picture – Drama at the 2021 Golden Globes!  Oscar frontrunner!!

For those curious about how Nomadland director Chloé Zhao got her start, we check out her feature debut "Songs My Brothers Taught Me," now streaming in our Virtual Movie Palace.

Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern (Frances McDormand) packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad.  The third feature film from director Chloé Zhao, this film features real nomads Linda May, Swankie, and Bob Wells as Fern’s mentors and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West.


Winner 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").


Free Short Film Featuring Washtenaw County's Favorite Pets

If you've not yet watched our special “Ann Arbor Creature Feature,” you can now watch this adorable and silly collection of animal antics for FREE in our Virtual Movie Palace!  Assembled and edited by Nick Alderink, our film programmer.

Women's Voices Film Series

This March, we’re excited to share four films centered on the stories of women and the vital role female voices have and continue to play in empowering art, workers’ rights, political activism, and workforce gender equity.  Part of a new Diversity Film Series in partnership with Toyota Motor North America Research and Development.

2021 Korean Cinema NOW Film Series - A FREE Film Series Online

In partnership with the UM Nam Center for Korean Studies, this semester’s Korean Cinema NOW will be presented virtually!  Five weekends, five films available FREE to stream!

Over 30 films now playing virtually at michtheater.org.


"Godzilla vs. Kong"

Legends collide in this film as these mythic adversaries meet in a spectacular battle for the ages, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.  Kong and his protectors undertake a perilous journey to find his true home, and with them is Jia, a young orphaned girl with whom he has formed a unique and powerful bond.  But they unexpectedly find themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla, cutting a swath of destruction across the globe.  The epic clash between the two titans--instigated by unseen forces--is only the beginning of the mystery that lies deep within the core of the Earth.

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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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