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Cinema Chat: 'Argylle' opens at the multiplex, and 'Origin' and 'The Promised Land' debut in Ann Arbor

Michigan Theater
The Michigan Theater
Michigan Theater Balcony


Mandy Patinkin: Live-On-Stage — TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6 AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Before he was a movie star, ("The Princess Bride," "Yentl," "Ragtime"), Emmy-winning TV star ("Homeland," "Chicago Hope"), and TikTok phenom, Mandy Patinkin was a Tony-winning Broadway legend ("Evita," "Sunday in the Park With George," "The Secret Garden"). He will be live-on-stage at the Michigan Theater in concert for his musical show BEING ALIVE. “Mandy Patinkin is in the business of showstopping,” raves The New Yorker, and that’s exactly what he does in this powerful, passionate evening of song. BEING ALIVE is a collection of many of Mandy’s favorite Broadway and classic American tunes. From Irving Berlin to Stephen Sondheim, from Cole Porter to Harry Chapin, Mandy Patinkin takes you on a dazzling musical journey you’ll never forget.

"Artie Shaw: Time is All You've Got" — PLAYS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9 AT 7 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Unseen for decades, Brigitte Berman’s Oscar-winning documentary about the mercurial bandleader returns to the screen in a pristine new restoration. An entertaining documentary that is much more than a jazz film - it’s the insightful story of a brilliant and complex individual.

The Academy Award-winning film portrays the life of the restless and gifted clarinetist/ bandleader. He broke the color barrier by hiring legendary Billie Holiday, Hot Lips Page and Roy Eldridge for his bands. Featuring a post-film Q&A with director Brigitte Berman.

Gershwin Centennial - 100th Anniversary "Rhapsody in Blue" Concert — SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 11 AT THE MICHIGAN

The University of Michigan will present the original 1924 jazz band version of Rhapsody in Blue at the Michigan Theater, with a U-M jazz ensemble, featuring George Gershwin’s piano as solo instrument. Commissioned by bandleader Paul Whiteman, the work premiered in a concert titled "An Experiment in Modern Music" on February 12, 1924, in Aeolian Hall, New York City. Whiteman's band performed the rhapsody with Gershwin playing the piano. This all-Gershwin program will also feature classic and recently discovered works this seminal American composer.

The celebration will also include these Gershwin scored films:



Bryce Dallas Howard ("Jurassic World" franchise) is Elly Conway, the reclusive author of a series of best-selling espionage novels, whose idea of bliss is a night at home with her computer and her cat, Alfie. But when the plots of Elly's fictional books--which center on secret agent Argylle and his mission to unravel a global spy syndicate--begin to mirror the covert actions of a real-life spy organization, quiet evenings at home become a thing of the past. Accompanied by Aidan (Oscar® winner Sam Rockwell), a cat-allergic spy, Elly (carrying Alfie in her backpack) races across the world to stay one step ahead of the killers as the line between Elly's fictional world and her real one begins to blur.


A 2023 American biographical drama film written and directed by Ava DuVernay. It is based on the book "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents" by Isabel Wilkerson, which describes racism in the United States as an aspect of a caste system. The film stars Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor as Wilkerson, alongside Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Audra McDonald, Niecy Nash-Betts, Nick Offerman, and Blair Underwood.

The film was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 80th Venice International Film Festival. It received positive reviews from critics.

Grappling with tremendous personal tragedy, writer Isabel Wilkerson sets herself on a path of global investigation and discovery as she writes "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents."

Wilkerson is consulted for her opinion after the shooting of Trayvon Martin. She explores the idea of how race may not be the only determining factor in bigotry, since, e.g., in India, everyone may be of the same "race", but bigotry still occurs by caste. Similarly, although Jews of European descent may have been considered "White" in some parts of the world, in Nazi Germany they were defined as an inferior race to be exterminated. Wilkerson visits Germany and debates friends about how slavery compared with the Holocaust, "subjugation" versus "extermination".

Wilkerson chats at a cocktail party with two White women who are friendly, but do not fully understand her ideas and how different types of bigotry interrelate. Later, she works with one of the women on her book.

Intertwined with her ideas and discoveries, Wilkerson suffers the loss of her husband Brett, a White man; her elderly mother Ruby; and her cousin Marion. She often imagines herself speaking to those who have passed away, such as Al Bright, a Black boy who was on a winning Little League team, but when the team was invited to a swimming-pool party, he was not allowed to enter the water.

Wilkerson looks in German archives and discovers that the Nazis used some of America's racist laws to develop some of their own racist laws. The history of a couple in Nazi Germany is related, a Gentile Nazi-party member man who has a romance with a Jewish woman. They try to escape Germany, but she is caught and sent to a camp.

Also told is the story of married Black researchers Allison and Elizabeth Davis, who work with a White couple, Burleigh and Mary Gardner, in an undercover project to find about segregation in America, resulting in the 1941 book Deep South. A lynching of a Black man is shown, with a White audience watching, some of them treating it as a show.

Wilkerson eventually decides to write a book about caste, a concept which solves some of the intellectual problems which mere consideration of race does not. She visits India and the home, now a historical site, of Dr. Ambedkar, who championed Dalit ("untouchable") rights. Eventually she speaks about her new book Caste on stage, and how it makes it easier to understand and fight bigotry.


in 18th century Denmark, Captain Ludvig Kahlen (Mads Mikkelsen) -- a proud, ambitious, but impoverished war hero -- sets out to tame a vast, uninhabitable land on which seemingly nothing can grow. He seeks to start farming crops, build a colony in the name of the King, and gain a noble title for himself. This beautiful but forbidding area also happens to be under the rule of the merciless Frederik De Schinkel, a preening nobleman who realizes the threat Kahlen represents to his power. Struggling against the elements and local brigands, Kahlen is joined by a couple who have fled the clutches of the rapacious De Schinkel. As this group of misfits begins to build a small community in this inhospitable place, De Schinkel swears vengeance, and the confrontation between him and Kahlen promises to be as violent and intense as these two men. From director Nikolaj Arcel. Presented in Danish with English subtitles.



Part of the U-M Center for Japanese Film Studies 2024 Series

Postwar Japan is at its lowest point when a new crisis emerges in the form of a giant monster, baptized in the horrific power of the atomic bomb. From director Takashi Yamazaki. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

Curator's Note: Set in the ruins of 1946 Tokyo, the newest Godzilla is immensely satisfying. After the disappointing American Godzillas and Anno's quirky post-3.11 version, this film presents us with old-school Godzilla carnage and pleasures. The politics are as garbled as ever, the story is peppered with charming cringe moments, and the special effects are the best ever.

"The Hunger Games" — PLAYS TONIGHT AT 7:30 PM AT THE STATE

Part of the Late Night Classics series

Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games: a televised competition in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death. From director and starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth.


Part of the Late Night Classics series

42 9th graders are sent to a deserted island. They are given a map, food, and various weapons. An explosive collar is fitted around their neck. If they break a rule, the collar explodes. Their mission: kill each other and be the last one standing. The last survivor is allowed to leave the island. If there is more than one survivor, the collars explode and kill them all. From director Kinji Fukasaku. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles.


Part of the Korean CinemaNow Film Series

When a new landlord comes around, Mr. and Mrs. Choi find their dry cleaning business, Happy Cleaners in Flushing, Queens, in jeopardy of closing after 17 years. While they make every effort to save the business, their daughter Hyunny and son Kevin are also at their own tough crossroads of life under the pressure of their parents' high hopes. Struggling through economic turmoil, cultural clashes, and generational divide, the Choi family realizes that the only way to be stronger is to embrace each other. Directed by Julian Kim and Peter S. Lee. In English and Korean with English subtitles.

"There Goes the Neighborhood: The Closing of Jones School" — PLAYS SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 4 AT 2:15 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Before it was dubbed “Commie High”, the building at 401 N. Division St. was home to Jones School, an elementary school that was an anchor in Ann Arbor’s historically Black neighborhood now known as Kerrytown. A new documentary created by Donald Harrison’s 7 Cylinders Studio and the Ann Arbor District Library will examine the school’s impact on Ann Arbor upon desegregation and its closing by the school board in 1965.


Q&A with director Mstyslav Chernov and producers Raney Aronson-Rath and Michelle Mizner.

2024 Oscar Nominee, “Best Documentary Feature Film”

An Associated Press team of Ukrainian journalists trapped in the besieged city of Mariupol struggle to continue their work documenting atrocities of the Russian invasion in March 2022. As the only international reporters who remain in the city, they capture what later become defining images of the war. This award-winning documentary shows vivid, harrowing accounts of civilians caught in the siege and a window into what it's like to report from a conflict zone and the impact of such journalism around the globe. Presented in English and Ukranian with English subtitles.

"The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" — PLAYS MONDAY, FEBRUARY 5 AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Part of the Romance Francaise series

Geneviève (Catherine Deneuve), a beautiful young Frenchwoman who works at a small-town boutique selling umbrellas, falls for dashing mechanic Guy (Nino Castelnuovo). Their brief romance is interrupted when Guy is drafted to serve in the Algerian War. Though pregnant by Guy, Geneviève marries an older businessman, Roland (Marc Michel), and begins to move on with her life. Throughout the musical film, all the characters' dialogue is conveyed through song. From writer/director Jacques Demy. Presented in French with English Subtitles.


Part of the Music by Quincy Jones series

African-American Philadelphia police detective Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) is arrested on suspicion of murder by Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger), the racist police chief of tiny Sparta, Mississippi. After Tibbs proves not only his own innocence but that of another man, he joins forces with Gillespie to track down the real killer. Their investigation takes them through every social level of the town, with Tibbs making enemies as well as unlikely friends as he hunts for the truth. From director Norman Jewison.


"The Zone of Interest"

Oscar nominated for Best Picture

A 2023 historical drama film written and directed by Jonathan Glazer, loosely based on the 2014 novel by Martin Amis. It stars Christian Friedel as the German Nazi commandant Rudolf Höss, who strives to build a dream life with his wife, Hedwig (Sandra Hüller), in a new home next to the German Auschwitz concentration camp.

The film premiered at the 76th Cannes Film Festival on 19 May 2023 to acclaim, winning the Grand Prix Prize. It was named Best Film by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and selected as one of the top-five international films of 2023 by the National Board of Review.

The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay for Glazer and Best International Feature Film. A new film from writer/director Jonathan Glazer (‘Under the Skin’)

"Mean Girls"

A 2024 American musical teen comedy film directed by Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr. in their feature film directorial debut, from a screenplay by Tina Fey. It is based on the Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was based on Mark Waters's 2004 comedy film, both written by Fey and based on Rosalind Wiseman's 2002 book "Queen Bees and Wannabes." It features an ensemble cast that includes Angourie Rice, Reneé Rapp, Auliʻi Cravalho, and Christopher Briney, while Fey and Tim Meadows reprise their roles from the original film.

New student Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) is welcomed into the top of the social food chain by the elite group of popular girls called "The Plastics," ruled by the conniving queen bee Regina George (Reneé Rapp) and her minions Gretchen (Bebe Wood) and Karen (Avantika). However, when Cady makes the major misstep of falling for Regina's ex-boyfriend Aaron Samuels (Christopher Briney), she finds herself prey in Regina's crosshairs. As Cady sets to take down the group's apex predator with the help of her outcast friends Janis (Auli'i Cravalho) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey), she must learn how to stay true to herself while navigating the most cutthroat jungle of all: high school. From directors Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr.

"American Fiction"

Oscar nominated for Best Actor, Jeffrey Wright

A 2023 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Cord Jefferson, in his feature directorial debut. Based on the 2001 novel "Erasure" by Percival Everett, the film follows a frustrated novelist-professor who jokingly writes an outlandishly stereotypical "Black" book out of spite, only for the book to be published and receive widespread fame and acclaim. It stars Jeffrey Wright, Tracee Ellis Ross, Issa Rae, Sterling K. Brown, John Ortiz, Erika Alexander, Leslie Uggams, Adam Brody, and Keith David.

Director Cord Jefferson's hilarious directorial debut, which confronts our culture's obsession with reducing people to outrageous stereotypes. Jeffrey Wright stars as Monk, a frustrated novelist who is fed up with the establishment profiting from "Black" entertainment that relies on tired and offensive tropes. To prove his point, Monk uses a pen name to write an outlandish "Black" book of his own, a book that propels him to the heart of hypocrisy and the madness he claims to disdain.

"Poor Things" 

Oscar nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and 9 other categories

From director Yorgos Lanthimos ("The Favourite," 2018) and starring Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo and Willem Dafoe. Brought back to life by an unorthodox scientist, a young woman runs off with a lawyer on a whirlwind adventure across the continents. Free from the prejudices of her times, she grows steadfast in her purpose to stand for equality and liberation.

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