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Cinema Chat: 'Bix: Ain't None of Them Play Like Him Yet,' 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,' and more

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"Prince: Sign O' the Times"

The movie of Prince’s “Sign o' the Times” film premiered in Detroit on October 29, 1987. Despite critical praise for Prince as a live performer, the film did not perform very well commercially and quickly slipped out of theaters. Nonetheless, when released on VHS the following year, it became extremely popular and received positive reviews, particularly in the United Kingdom. Q magazine gave it four stars, whilst SKY Magazine suggested that it "was the greatest concert movie ever made". The film holds an 86% score on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 14 critical reviews, with an average rating of 6/10.

"Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" 

A 2022 fantasy film directed by David Yates from a screenplay byJ.K. Rowlingand Steve Kloves. It is the sequel to "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" (2018), the third instalment in the Fantastic Beasts film series, and the eleventh overall in the Wizarding World franchise. Its ensemble cast includes Eddie Redmayne,Jude Law, Ezra Miller,Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Callum Turner, Jessica Williams, Katherine Waterston, and Mads Mikkelsen. Set several years after the events of its predecessor, the film sees Albus Dumbledore tasking Newt Scamander and his allies with a mission that takes them into the heart of dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald's army. Principal photography commenced in September 2020, following the pandemic setbacks and the replacement of Johnny Depp with Mads Mikkelsen.

"Marvelous and the Black Hole" 

A teenage delinquent (Miya Cech) befriends a surly magician (Rhea Perlman) who helps her navigate her inner demons and dysfunctional family with sleight of hand magic. A coming-of-age comedy that touches on unlikely friendships, grief, and finding hope in the darkest moments.


"Bix: Ain't None of Them Play Like Him Yet" — PLAYS MONDAY, MAY 9 AT 7 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Filmmaker Brigitte Berman will be in attendance for a post-film Q&A! Ticket includes a pre-film reception starting at 5:45 PM featuring food & drinks from The Blue LLama Jazz Club and live music from jazz band Justin’s Hot Five, led by local jazz trumpeter, Justin Walter!

"Bix" Beiderbecke (1903-1931) was jazz's man who got away - the James Dean, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain of his day. Oscar® winnerBrigitte Berman's acclaimed documentary paints a vivid portrait of a vanished era and brings to life the only trumpeter Louis Armstrongregarded as an equal (the quotation in the film's title was once spoken by Armstrong). Restored in 4K in 2020 by filmmaker Brigitte Berman.


This charming film reunites the original principal cast. Downton creator and Academy-Award® winner Julian Felloweswill once again write the film’s screenplay. BAFTA and Emmy-nominated director Simon Curtis ("My Week with Marilyn") will join the filmmaking team to direct the sequel. In the film, The Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) mysteriously inherits a Villa in the South of France, providing a convenient escape for the Crawley family as the Downton Abbey estate is used for a film shoot.


Live accompaniment on Barton Organ by Andrew Rogers; A tribute to EMU Prof. Dr. Henry Aldridge.

Starry-eyed country girl Peggy Pepper (Marion Davies) dreams of being a movie star. So that she can begin her career, she persuades her father (Dell Henderson) to take her to Hollywood. After a rough start, Pepper catches a break when she meets small-time studio liaison Billy Boone (William Haines), who lands her a job acting in a cheap slapstick comedy. Pepper quickly makes a name for herself and is signed for more high-profile projects, much to the dismay of Boone, who is falling for her.

"Top Gun: Maverick" — OPENS FRIDAY, MAY 27 AT THE STATE

After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose.” Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it.


"Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" — OPENS TODAY AT THE STATE AND AT THE MULTIPLEX

A 2022 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Doctor Strange. It is the sequel to "Doctor Strange" (2016) and the 28th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange and Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Rachel McAdams. In the film, Strange and his allies travel into the multiverse to face a mysterious new adversary. Directed my Michigan native Sam Raimi.


In 1961, Kempton Bunton, a 60-year old taxi driver, stole Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London. It was the first (and remains the only) theft in the Gallery's history. Kempton sent ransom notes saying that he would return the painting on condition that the government invested more in care for the elderly -- he had long campaigned for pensioners to receive free television. What happened next became the stuff of legend. Only 50 years later did the full story emerge -- Kempton had spun a web of lies. The only truth was that he was a good man, determined to change the world and save his marriage -- how and why he used the Duke to achieve that is a wonderfully uplifting tale. Starring Jim Broadbent and Dame Helen Mirren.


Céline Sciamma ("Portrait of a Lady on Fire") continues to prove herself as one of the most accomplished and unpredictable contemporary French filmmakers. Following the death of her beloved grandmother, 8-year-old Nelly accompanies her parents to her mother's childhood home to begin the difficult process of cleaning out its contents. As Nelly explores the house and nearby woods, she is immediately drawn to a neighbor her own age building a treehouse. What follows is a tender tale of childhood grief, memory and connection.



Part of the Ann Arbor Film FestivalPresents Series

Seven inhabitants of a de facto state on the Black Sea unfurl a web of stories about loss and displacement through the re-imaginings of dreams and memories of the 1992-93 war in Abkhazia. In the film, director Kamila Kuc employs emotive soundscape and imagery to produce a sensory reflection on artistic practice as a powerful binding force and an act of resistance to dominant power structures.

"Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith" — PLAYS FRIDAY, MAY 6 AT 10 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

It has been three years since the Clone Wars began. Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) rescue Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) from General Grievous, the commander of the droid armies, but Grievous escapes. Suspicions are raised within the Jedi Council concerning Chancellor Palpatine, with whom Anakin has formed a bond. Asked to spy on the chancellor, and full of bitterness toward the Jedi Council, Anakin embraces the Dark Side.

Coming soon as part of the Late Night at the Michigan Series


In one of the most celebrated 1940s film noirs, Manhattan detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) investigates the murder of Madison Avenue executive Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney) in her fashionable apartment. On the trail of her murderer, McPherson quizzes Laura's arrogant best friend, gossip columnist Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) and her comparatively mild fiancé, Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price). As the detective grows obsessed with the case, he finds himself falling in love with the dead woman. Producer/Director: Otto Preminger.

Coming soon as part of the Noir Night Series


"The Rose Maker"

Eve is one of France's greatest artisanal horticulturalists, but her rose business is business facing imminent bankruptcy or liquidation. When her secretary hires three inexperienced ex-convicts, they must team up to rescue the business in this verdant comedy.

"The Northman"

This a 2022 epic historical action-drama film directed by Robert Eggers ("The Witch") and co-written by Eggers andSjón. Based on the legend of Amleth – a figure in a medieval Scandinavian legend, the direct inspiration of the character of Prince Hamlet, the hero of William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet. The film stars Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Björk, and Willem Dafoe. Filming took place from August to December 2020 in locations throughout Ireland. The film has received critical acclaim, with particular praise aimed at its direction, production values, and the performances of the cast.

"The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent" 

A 2022 American action comedy film directed by Tom Gormican from a screenplay co-written with Kevin Etten. The film stars Nicolas Cage as a fictionalized version of himself, along with a supporting cast that includes Pedro Pascal, Neil Patrick Harris, and Tiffany Haddish.

Its world premiere was at South by Southwest on March 12, 2022. The film received positive reviews from critics, with praise for the performances and chemistry of Cage and Pascal.

In the film, Cage begrudgingly accepts a $1 million offer to attend the birthday of a billionaire super fan. When things take a wild turn, Cage is forced to become a version of some of his most iconic and beloved characters in order to extricate his wife and daughter from the fan whom the CIA has informed him is a notorious arms dealer.

"Everything Everywhere All At Once"

Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert ("Swiss Army Man"), collectively known as Daniels, the film is a hilarious and big-hearted sci-fi action adventure about an exhausted Chinese American woman (Michelle Yeoh) who can't seem to finish her taxes.

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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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