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Cinema Chat: 'The End of the Tour', 'The Stanford Prisoner Experiment', 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E'

Aug 13, 2015

The lobby of the historic Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor
Credit Michigan Theater / michtheater.org

There are several exciting new movie options to choose from this weekend, and a few classics make their return to downtown Ann Arbor as well. Find out all about it as WEMU's David Fair talks with Michigan Theater Program Director Ruth Lednicer in this week's edition of 'Cinema Chat.' 


Opening Downtown

The End of the Tour

“The End of the Tour” tells the story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter (and novelist) David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel), which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace's groundbreaking epic novel, Infinite Jest. As the days go on, a tenuous yet intense relationship seems to develop between journalist and subject as the two men share laughs and also reveal hidden frailties - but it's never clear how truthful they are being with each other.

The interview was never published, and five days of audio tapes were packed away in Lipsky's closet. The film is based on Lipsky's critically acclaimed memoir about this unforgettable encounter.  Chris Lee of Entertainment Weekly says “(director James) Ponsoldt’s film gets at something deep and true about the journalist/subject dynamic and the phony intimacy and tiny betrayals implicit in it.”  “The End of the Tour” opens Friday at the State Theatre.

The Stanford Prison Experiment

What happens when a college psych study goes shockingly wrong? “The Stanford Prison Experiment” is a tense, psychological thriller based on the notorious true story. Billy Crudup stars as Stanford University professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo, who, in 1971, cast 24 student volunteers as prisoners and guards in a simulated jail to examine the source of abusive behavior in the prison system. The results astonished the world, as participants went from middle class undergrads to drunk-with-power sadists and submissive victims in just a few days. “The Stanford Prison Experiment” plays Friday, Wednesday, and Thursday at the Michigan Theater.

A Lego Brickumentary

“A LEGO Brickumentary” playfully delves into the extraordinary impact of the LEGO brick, its massive global fan base, and the innovative uses for it that has sprung up around the world.  Since the birth of their trademark toy in 1958, The LEGO Group has produced more than 400 billion bricks. But more and more, LEGO bricks aren't just for kids: they’re being used educationally, therapeutically, and have provided a universal system for human creativity and our innate desire "to build." “A LEGO Brickumentary” plays Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday at the Michigan Theater. 

Special Screenings Downtown

Duck Soup

The Summer Classic Film Series continues with “Duck Soup!”  Arguably the Marx Brothers' funniest film, this comedy masterpiece contains several famous scenes, including the hilarious mirror sequence. A wealthy widow offers financial aid to the bankrupt country of Freedonia on condition that Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) be made leader. But his chaotic, inept regime bumbles into war with neighboring Sylvania.  “Duck Soup” plays Sunday August 16 at 1:30 PM and Tuesday August 18at 7 PM at the Michigan Theater.

Titanic

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in the roles that would make them global stars, “Titanic” tells the story of the epic romance between two star-crossed lovers against the backdrop of the legendary and ill-fated maiden voyage of the “ship of dreams.”  “Titanic” plays Saturday August 15 at 11 PM at the State Theatre. 

Hard To Be A God

In “Hard To Be A God,” the planet Arkanar is in the midst of its own Middle Ages.  The film focuses on Don Rumata, one of a group of earth scientists who have been sent to Arkanar with the proviso that they must not interfere in the planet's political or historical development. Treated by the planet's natives as a kind of divinity, Don Rumata is both godlike and impotent in the face of its chaos and brutality.  When legendary Russian auteur Aleksei German died in 2013, he left behind this extraordinary final film, a phantasmagoric adaptation of the revered sci-fi novel. He brought the film close enough to completion for his wife and son to apply the finishing touches immediately after his passing.  “Hard To Be A God” plays Wednesday August 19 at 6:30 PM at the Michigan Theater.

Opening at the Multiplex

The Man From U.N.C.L.E

Set against the backdrop of the early 1960s, "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." centers on a CIA agent and KGB agent who are forced to put aside longstanding hostilities and team up on a joint mission to stop a mysterious international criminal organization, which is bent on destabilizing the fragile balance of power through the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology. “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” opens Friday.

Straight Outta Compton

In “Straight Outta Compton,” in the mid-1980s, the streets of Compton, California, were some of the most dangerous in the country. When five young men translated their experiences growing up into brutally honest music that rebelled against abusive authority, they gave an explosive voice to a silenced generation. Following the meteoric rise and fall of N.W.A., “Straight Outta Compton” tells the astonishing story of how these youngsters revolutionized music and pop culture forever the moment they told the world the truth about life in the hood and ignited a cultural war.  “Straight Outta Compton” opens Friday.