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Cinema Chat: Halloween 2013 Edition

Oct 31, 2013

Michigan Theater Executive Director Russ Collins paid his weekly visit with David Fair for this week's installment of Cinema Chat:

Credit The Michigan Theater

Opening Downtown

“12 Years a Slave” may be the most acclaimed film of the year. Bob Mondello, of NPR said, “It is [the film’s star] Ejiofor – bewildered, sorely tested, morally towering – whose staggered dignity anchors the film.” The film is based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender) as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) forever alters his life. Manohla Dargis of the New York Times raves, “The genius of “12 Years a Slave” is its insistence on banal evil, and on terror, that seeped into souls, bound bodies and reaped an enduring, terrible price.” Cast also features Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson, and Alfre Woodard; opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

“A.C.O.D.” follows Carter (Adam Scott), a seemingly well-adjusted Adult Child of Divorce. Having survived the madness of his parents’ (Richard Jenkins and Catherine O’Hara) divorce, Carter now has a successful career and supportive girlfriend (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). But when his younger brother (Clark Duke) gets engaged, Carter is forced to reunite his bitterly divorced parents and their new spouses (Amy Poehler and Ken Howard) for the wedding, causing the chaos of his childhood to return. “A.C.O.D.” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

The BIG hit at this year’s Cinetopia Film Festival, “Hannah Arendt” looks at the influential German-Jewish philosopher and political theorist. Arendt’s reporting on the 1961 trial of ex-Nazi Adolf Eichmann in The New Yorker—controversial both for her portrayal of Eichmann and the Jewish councils—introduced her now-famous concept of the “Banality of Evil.” Sheri Linden of the Los Angeles Times says, “Barbara Sukowa’s performance in the title role is the kind that reverberates long after the screen goes black.” “Hannah Arendt” plays Saturday and Sunday, November 2 and 3 at the Michigan Theater.

In “The Citizen,” Ibrahim Jarrah wins the U.S Green Card Lottery for a chance to become an American citizen. He lands in New York City the day before 9/11 and the events of the September terrorist attacks forever shape the struggles he faces on his journey to capture the American dream. “The Citizen” plays one night only on Wednesday, November 6 at the Michigan Theater.

Special Screenings Downtown

A young pig fights convention to become a sheep dog — or, rather, sheep pig — in “Babe.” This charming Australian family film, which became an unexpected international success due to superior special effects and an intelligent script, plays Sunday, November 3 at 1:30 PM as part of the Family-Friendly Film Series at the Michigan Theater. FREE for kids 12 and under!

The Monday Funnies film series continues with “The Blues Brothers.” It’s 106 miles to Chicago, they have a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark… and they’re wearing sunglasses. “The Blues Brothers” plays Monday, November 4 at 7PM at the Michigan Theater.

“Virgin Margarida” (“Virgem Margarida”), a dramatic and inspiring elegy to the insurgent spirit of women across nations, histories and cultures, plays November 7 at 7:30 PM as part of the Lusophone Film Festival presented by the UM Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Free admission.

A Sneak Peek at an Oscar Contender!

Local audiences will get the chance to watch two-time Academy Award-winner Alexander Payne’s new film, “Nebraska,” before it’s released to the rest of the country. The screening will be introduced via a live HD feed by Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers, and, after the film, Travers will interview stars Bruce Dern and Will Forte. “Nebraska” plays one night only on Tuesday, November 5, at 8:00 PM at the Michigan Theater.

Opening at the Multiplex

Based on the Science Fiction classic by Orson Scott Card, “Ender’s Game” finds the Earth ravaged by a hostile Alien force. If not for the legendary heroics of International Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley), all would have been lost. “Ender’s Game” opens Friday.

“Free Birds,” directed by Jimmy Hayward (“Horton Hears a Who!”), follows two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks who must put aside their differences and team up to travel back in time to change the course of history – and get turkey off the holiday menu for good. “Free Birds” opens Friday.

“Last Vegas” finds three sixty-something friends taking a break from their day-to-day lives to throw a bachelor party in Las Vegas for their last remaining single pal. “Last Vegas,” starring Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline, opens Friday.