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Cinema Chat: The Michigan Theater Book, A Miles Davis Movie, Blue is the Warmest Color and More

Nov 14, 2013

Click below to listen to "Cinema Chat" with WEMU's David Fair and Michigan Theater Executive Director Russ Collins.

The Michigan Theater Book -- goes on sale Tuesday, November 19 at Michigan Theater

The Michigan Theater has been featured in commercials, billboards, films, and even a music LP from the 1960s, but has never had its own book – until now. Dr. Henry Aldridge, an Eastern Michigan University film professor emeritus and theater scholar, has written a new full-color, photo-illustrated book that explores the first 80 years of the theater’s life and how it ties into the histories of Ann Arbor and film. He also includes key local figures from along the way: manager Gerry Hoag, organist Paul Tompkins, Ann Arbor mayor Lou Belcher, philanthropist Margaret Towsley and her daughter Judy Rumelhart, and the theater’s staff and volunteers.  Aldridge has a deep connection to the Michigan Theater. In 1979, he and a group of other concerned citizens helped rescue the theater and its rare Barton organ from the wrecking ball. He continues to lead the theater’s organ program, give visitor tours, and teach a film appreciation course. Despite his extensive knowledge of the theater, Aldridge still spent three years immersed in the University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library archives, Michigan Theater Foundation meeting minutes, Ann Arbor News articles, and interviews with past and present staff members. “Unlike most histories of individual theaters,” Aldridge says, “this book is thoroughly researched, carefully documented, lavishly illustrated, but written in a style that general readers will find interesting and colorful.”  A paperback edition of the book will be available for purchase starting the week of November 19 at the Michigan Theater, Nicola’s Books, Literati Bookstore, Bookbound Bookstore, Crazy Wisdom Bookstore & Tearoom, and Kaleidoscope Books & Collectibles. The Michigan Theater will also carry a limited edition hardcover and provide a discounted price to Michigan Theater members for both versions.

BOOK SALE KICK OFF - Tuesday, November 19 at 6 PM, Michigan Theater in the historic Grand Foyer, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor, MI, 48104

6 – 6:20 PM: Join us in the historic main theater, for a look behind the scenes at what it took to make the book, with a discussion and reading by Dr. Henry Aldridge.

6:20 – 7:15 PM: Meet-and-greet and book signing for the community in the Grand Foyer.  Books will be available for purchase at that time.  $29.95 for members;  $34.95 for the general public.

To celebrate the release of the book, the Michigan Theater staff invites you to a launch party on

Monday, November 25, at 7 PM at the Ann Arbor District Library’s downtown branch. Dr. Aldridge will discuss his research, answer audience questions about the theater, and sign copies of the book. The event is free and open to the public and books will be available for purchase.

Ewan McGregor, Zoe Saldana join Miles Davis biopic 'Kill The Trumpet Player'

Ewan McGregor and Zoe Saldana have joined the upcoming movie about musician Miles Davis. The pair will star in Kill The Trumpet Player, the directional debut of actor Don Cheadle who will also be starring in the film as Davis. The movie centres around the singer in the days he comes out of his "silent" period and conspires with a journalist, played by McGregor, as he tries to steal his music back. Musician Herbie Hancock has also contributed to the project.  Cheadle has said that he dislikes the term "biopic", adding: "Let's kill that term, Ok? I hope with this film we can kill the biopic. "This film won't try to give a broad overview of Davis's life and give short shrift to this man's story. For us as creative people, the time of his life that was most interesting was the five years when he wasn't playing, when he was silent.


You’re Invited To A Special Preview Screening! See the first hour of Downton Abbey Season 4 before it premieres on Detroit Public Telly in January. Sunday, December 15  |  7 PM (Doors Open at 6:30 PM) Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty Street, Ann Arbor. Downton Abbey Costume Attire Encouraged!  Screening starts promptly at 7 PM and lasts approximately 50 minutes.

Opening Downtown

“Blue is the Warmest Color” won the Palme D’Or, the top prize, at the Cannes Film Festival. It is an acclaimed and controversial film, which makes it a must-see for Art House audiences! The film centers on a 15-year-old girl named Adèle who is climbing to adulthood and dreams of experiencing her first love. A handsome male classmate falls for her hard, but an unsettling erotic dream upsets the romance before it begins: Adèle imagines that the mysterious, blue-haired girl she encountered in the street slips into her bed and possesses her with an overwhelming pleasure. That blue-haired girl is a confident older art student named Emma, who will soon enter Adèle's life for real, making way for an intense and complicated love story that spans a decade and is touchingly universal in its depiction. Tom Long of the Detroit News says, “An astounding, complex film about the ecstasy, the danger and the beauty of love;” Peter Howell of the Toronto Star calls it “One of the year's best films.” “Blue is the Warmest Color” opens Friday at the Michigan. Because of the explicit nature of the film, no one under 16 will be admitted without a parent.

Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (whose first feature “I Am Not A Hipster” was a hit at Cinetopia in 2012), “Short Term 12” is told through the eyes of Grace (Brie Larson), a 20-something supervisor at a foster care facility for at-risk teenagers. Passionate and tough, Grace is a formidable caretaker of the kids in her charge, and in love with her long-term boyfriend and co-worker, Mason (John Gallagher Jr.) But Grace’s own difficult past, and the surprising future that suddenly presents itself, throw her into unforeseen confusion, made all the sharper with the arrival of a new intake at the facility, Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever), a gifted but troubled teenage girl with whom Grace has a charged connection. Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post says, "’Short Term 12’ is that rare movie gutsy enough to tell the truth about love: that it's not a poetic longing or a magical-thinking happy ending, but a skill. And, the film suggests, we all have the capacity to learn it.” “Short Term 12” plays November 16th & 19th-21st at the Michigan Theater.

The Big Game on the Big Screen

The Vada Murray Fund for Cancer Research presents UM-Northwestern football on the big screen on Saturday November 16!  Doors open at 2:30 PM, one hour before kick-off. Watch the epic battle live as the Vada Murray Fund for Cancer Research hosts its second annual Tailgate Party to raise funds for cancer research. For more information, visit www.vadamurray.com.

Special Screenings Downtown

In “República di Mininus” (“Children’s Republic”), a small African country is occupied by children only. The film combines elements of comedy, biting political satire, fantasy, and allegory. And although the children create a successful republic, this allegory presents a peculiar predicament: in this land, the children cannot grow up. “República di Mininus” plays tonight at 7:30 PM as part of the Lusophone Film Festival.

The UM Center for Chinese Studies presents “Stratum 1: The Visitors” on Monday, November 18th at 7 PM. The award-winning experimental documentary explores childhood memory and urban renewal in Beijing.  The evening will begin with a reception at 6 PM to meet with Yi Sicheng, the coordinator of the Yunnan Multi-Culture Visual Festival (Yunfest), and independent film directors Cong Feng and Mao Chenyu. Admission is free.

“One word: plastics.” The Monday Funnies Film Series continues with “The Graduate.” Shy Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) returns home from college with an uncertain future. Then the wife of his father's business partner, the sexy Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) seduces him, and the affair only deepens his confusion. That is, until he meets the girl of his dreams (Katharine Ross). But there's one problem: she's Mrs. Robinson's daughter! Nominated for seven Academy Awards and winner for Best Director, this ground breaking and "wildly hilarious" (The Boston Globe) social satire launched the career of Dustin Hoffman and cemented the reputation of acclaimed director Mike Nichols. Pulsating with the rebellious spirit of the '60s and a haunting score sung by Simon and Garfunkel, it is truly a "landmark film" (Leonard Maltin). “The Graduate” plays Monday, November 18 at 7PM at the Michigan Theater.

MUSCLE SHOALS - PLAYING NOVEMBER 13, 14 & 18 at the Michigan

"...tribute to the Alabama studio, musicians, and engineers who laid down some of the greatest pop tracks of the late '60s and early '70s." —Village Voice

With Greg Allman, Bono, Clarence Carter, Mick Jagger, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge, and more. Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama is the unlikely breeding ground for some of America’s most creative and defiant music.


"Chandor’s attention to detail, and the expressiveness and utter believability with which Redford goes about the anything-but-mundane business of surviving, make All Is Lost a technically dazzling, emotionally absorbing, often unexpectedly beautiful experience." —Washington Post

Oscar-winner Robert Redford stars in this open-water thriller about one man’s battle for survival. Written and directed by Oscar nominee J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) with a musical...  See website for showtimes and more


"Intense, unflinching, bold in its simplicity and radical in its use of image, sound and staging, in many ways it is the defining epic so many have longed for to examine — if not cauterize — America’s primal wound." —Washington Post Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Alfre Woodard, Brad Pitt, Paul Dano, Paul Giametti, Benedict Cumberbatch, and more. 12 Years a Slave is based on an incredible true story.

Opening at the Multiplex

After nearly 15 years apart, Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut, Harold Perrineau, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Monica Calhoun, Melissa De Sousa and Regina Hall reprise their career-launching roles in "The Best Man Holiday," the long-awaited next chapter to the film that ushered in a new era of comedy. When the college friends finally reunite over the Christmas holidays, they will discover just how easy it is for long-forgotten rivalries and romances to be ignited. "The Best Man Holiday” opens Friday.