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Cinema Chat: Sherlock Holmes, Gone Girl And More

Oct 2, 2014

Nearly 100-year-old "Sherlock Holmes" Film Found in France!

Sherlock Holmes has appeared on stage and on screen numerous times played by dozens of actors, and now, thanks to a recent discovery, fans of the world’s greatest detective will be able to view a lost but key piece of his on-screen history.

The French film archive Cinémathèque Française announced on Wednesday that a silent film version of Sherlock Holmes produced in 1916 was discovered in their collection a few weeks ago. Produced by Essanay Studios, the film, simply titled Sherlock Holmes, stars William Gillette as the titular detective, a role for which he was known around the world. Gillette is also credited with some of Holmes’ trademark characteristics, including his deerstalker hat, magnifying glass, and pipe.

A nitrate dupe negative of the film was stored away in the archive’s vault, but is now undergoing a restoration process thanks to the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in conjunction with Cinémathèque Française.

The film, directed by Arthur Bethelet, is not only the last surviving appearance of Gillette as Holmes, but it is also his only portrayal ever committed to film.For those who want to witness a piece of Holmes and cinematic history, the film will make its European debut at the Cinémathèque Française’s festival of film restoration, Toute la Mémoire du Monde, in January 2015. The film will then premiere in America at the San Francisco Silent Film festival in May 2015.



Paramount Pictures will open Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” at IMAX and other large-format theaters on Nov. 5, two days before its nationwide release in the U.S. The advance showings of the sci-fi tentpole, starring Matthew McConaughey, will play in more than 225 locations across the U.S. and Canada. “To see Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ on the big screen is an unforgettable movie going experience,” said Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore. Nolan shot the movie with a combination of 35mm anamorphic film and 65mm Imax. Cast includes Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow and Michael Caine. Story centers on a team of explorers traveling beyond this galaxy to discover whether mankind has a future among the stars.


In a deal likely to spark anger among theater owners, the Weinstein Company has agreed to release its upcoming sequel to Ang Lee’s martial arts classic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, on Netflix and in a number of IMAX theaters simultaneously. It will mark the first time that a new movie will be released on Netflix and in theaters at the same time. According to the New York Times, the movie will become the first of several films that have received financial backing by Netflix that will receive IMAX and Netflix releases. (Other theaters will not be screening it.) In an interview with the newspaper, Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix, said that he hoped that these films will eventually shut down the traditional windowing system that theater owners have tried to keep open, which bars new films from being released theatrically and on home video simultaneously. "What I am hoping is that it will be a proof point that the sky doesn’t fall," Sarandos said. "These are two different experiences, like going to a football game and watching a football game on TV."

Opening at the Multiplex

“Gone Girl,” directed by David Fincher and based upon the novel by Gillian Flynn,  unearths the secrets at the heart of a modern marriage. On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports that his beautiful wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick's portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife? Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger says, “Believe me, you should see the movie, and then you can talk about it all night. And you probably will.” “Gone Girl” opens Friday.

In “Annabelle” John has found the perfect gift for his expectant wife, Mia - a beautiful, rare vintage doll named Annabelle. But Mia's delight with Annabelle doesn't last long. On one horrific night, their home is invaded by members of a satanic cult, who violently attack the couple. Spilled blood and terror are not all they leave behind. “Annabelle” opens Friday.

In “Left Behind” the most important event in the history of mankind is happening: in the blink of an eye, the biblical Rapture strikes the world. Millions of people disappear without a trace. All that remains are their clothes and belongings, and in an instant, terror and chaos spread around the world. Starring Nicolas Cage, Chad Michael Murray and Lea Thompson, “Left Behind” opens Friday.

Opening Downtown

“Last Days in Vietnam” takes place during the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon and as the panicked South Vietnamese people desperately attempted to escape. On the ground, American soldiers and diplomats confronted a moral quandary: whether to obey White House orders to evacuate only U.S. citizens or risk being charged with treason and save the lives of as many South Vietnamese citizens as they could. With time running out and the city under fire, an unlikely group of heroes emerged as Americans and South Vietnamese took matters into their own hands. David Denby of the New Yorker calls the film a “masterpiece,” saying “As a portrait of America in a moment both of idealism and betrayal, the movie is heartbreaking as well as inspiring.”  “Last Days in Vietnam” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

A hit at Cinetopia 2014, “The Skeleton Twins” follows estranged twins Maggie (Kristen Wiig) and Milo (Bill Hader) as they feel they’re at the end of their ropes. But when an unexpected reunion forces them to confront why their lives went so wrong, the twins reconnect, and realize the key to fixing their lives may just lie in repairing their relationship. I love this film! Besides being big fans of Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, the film was the most enjoyable film I saw at Sundance this year. Playing at the Michigan Theater.Stephen Holden, New York Times -- If countless movies about brothers and sisters reveal common family traits, "The Skeleton Twins" is subtler than most in evoking a mutual sympathy that might be called a cellular understanding.Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal -- It plays to the antic gifts of its stars, two Saturday Night Live luminaries reunited in the roles of troubled twins reunited by near-tragedy, yet it also turns them loose to explore deeper regions of hurt and love.Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post -- The actors have an obvious rapport. It's deep enough to evoke the ties, entanglements and bloodletting of a real kinship. But Wiig and Hader's instincts as entertainers are keen enough to know when to stop cutting.David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter -- Warm, funny, heartfelt and even uplifting, the film is led by revelatory performances from Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, both of them exploring rewarding new dramatic range without neglecting their mad comedic skills.

Special Screenings Downtown

The Manhattan Short Film Festival returns to Ann Arbor! It’s an extraordinary global event when over 100,000 people in over 300 cities across six continents gather in cinemas, galleries, universities, museums and cafes for one purpose: to view and vote on the Finalists’ Films in the annual festival. Upon entry at all participating venues, festival attendees are handed a voting card and an official program and asked to vote for the ONE Film they feel should win. Votes are tallied by each host venue then emailed to the NYC headquarters. The Manhattan Short Film Festival plays tonight, October 2 at 7:30 PM at the Michigan Theater.

Now in its fifth year, the Three Corpse Circus International Horror Film features over 40 diverse films from 13 countries and will be a cinematic potpourri of horror! The Sunday show kicks off with the walk of the dead, led by A2 Zombie Walk and the Southern Michigan Zombie Squad; Sunday’s shows also feature special guest puppet performances by Dreamland Theater and a costume photo booth in the Michigan Theater grand foyer. Prices are $10 per block, $7 for midnight screenings; festival passes also available. The Three Corpse Circus International Horror Film Festival plays Friday October 3 through Sunday October 5 at the Michigan and State Theaters.

“The Illumination” follows the education of a young man from his entry into college to his final achievement of a doctorate. Paralleling his outer education, his inner education about life, family, sexuality and spiritual values is revealed. “The Illumination” plays Monday, October 6 at 7:00 PM at the Michigan Theater as part of the Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinemaseries.

The Electric Shadows: Premiere Contemporary Chinese Film Series presented by the UM Confucius Institute concludes with “Journey to the West.” Based on one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature of the same name, Stephen Chow‘s “Journey To The West” is a contemporary remake of the misadventures of a Buddhist monk who tries to protect a village from three demons, develops feelings for the demon hunter who helps him repeatedly, and his transformative encounter with the Monkey King. “Journey To The West” plays Wednesday, October 8 at 7 PM at the Michigan Theater. FREE admission.

See you at the movies!