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Cinema Chat: Gershwin hits the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor plus new movies opening downtown

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Michigan Theater Popcorn

MUSICAL EVENTS COMING TO THE MICHIGAN THEATER

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:

OPENING THIS WEEK

"Lisa Frankenstein" — OPENS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9 AT THE MULTPLEX

A coming of RAGE love story from acclaimed writer Diablo Cody ("Juno" & "Jennifer's Body") about a misunderstood teenager and her high school crush, who happens to be a handsome corpse. After a set of playfully horrific circumstances bring him back to life, the two embark on a murderous journey to find love, happiness... and a few missing body parts along the way.

"The Teachers' Lounge" — OPENS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9 AT THE STATE

Premiered at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival, released to critical acclaim in the USA, the National Board of Review named this film one of the top five international films of 2023. It was nominated for Best International Feature Film at the 96th Academy Awards.

Carla Nowak, a dedicated sports and math teacher, starts her first job at a high school. She stands out among the new staff because of her idealism. When a series of thefts occur at the school and one of her students is suspected, she decides to get to the bottom of the matter on her own. Carla tries to mediate between outraged parents, opinionated colleagues and aggressive students, but is relentlessly confronted with the structures of the school system. The more desperately she tries to do everything right, the more the young teacher threatens to break.

"The Taste of Things" — OPENS WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14 AT THE MICHIGAN

Set in France in 1889, the film follows the life of Dodin Bouffant (Benoît Magimel) as a chef living with his personal cook and lover Eugénie (Juliette Binoche). They share a long history of gastronomy and love, but Eugénie refuses to marry Dodin, so the food lover decides to do something he has never done before: cook for her. From director Tran Anh Hung. Presented in French with English subtitles. Surprisingly to many, it beat out "Anatomy of a Fall" (nominated be Best Picture) as France’s entry.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

"Kuroneko" — PLAYS TONIGHT AT 7:15 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

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

In this ghost story based on a folk tale of feudal Japan, a group of samurai mercenaries led by Raiko Minamoto (Kei Satô) storm the home of Yone (Nobuko Otowa) and her daughter, Shigei (Kiwako Taichi), pillaging their food before raping and murdering the pair and finally burning the house down. When the samurai are set upon by vengeful vampire-like ghosts, it falls to the warrior Gintoki (Kichiemon Nakamura) to slay the malicious spirits, but his connection to the victims leads to conflict. . Presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

Curator's note: This eerie mood-piece adapts a medieval folk tale, one of many that feature cats. Shindo draws on some of the stagecraft of kabuki and Noh theater, rendering his story in beautiful black-and-white photography.

"Battle Royale" — PLAYS TONIGHT AT 7:30 PM AT THE STATE

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.

"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.

"Get Out" — PLAYS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9 AT 9:30 PM AND THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15 AT 7:30 PM AT THE STATE

Part of the Late Night Classics series

Now that Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family's overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries leads him to a truth that he never could have imagined. From director Jordan Peele and starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, and Bradley Whitford.

"Riceboy Sleeps" — PLAYS SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10 AT 1 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Part of the Korean CinemaNow Film Series

Set in the 90s, a Korean single mother raises her young son in the suburbs of Canada determined to provide a better life for him than the one she left behind. From writer/director Anthony Shim. Presented in English and Korean with English subtitles.

"Life to the Limit" — PLAYS MONDAY, FEBRUARY 12 AT 5:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Followed by a Q&A with director Pavlo Peleshok

From the Revolution of Dignity to full-scale war, successful Ukrainian film producers took up arms to defend the country and cameras to record the gruesome reality. From the fragments of memories and their own film archive, veterans Pavlo Peleshok and Yurko Ivanyshyn assembled a mosaic of the causes and consequences of today's Russian-Ukrainian war, starting from the end of 2013. They went to the front as volunteers, visited the hotspots of Donbas, and through it all, continued to create content in order to show the world the truth about the terrible war that became possible in the 21st century.

This film contains graphic images and disturbing content from the war in Ukraine. Presented in Ukrainian with English subtitles.

"The Young Girls of Rochefort" — PLAYS MONDAY, FEBRUARY 12 AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Part of the Romance Francaise series

Two sisters leave their small seaside town of Rochefort in search of romance. Hired as carnival singers, one falls for an American musician, while the other must search for her ideal partner. From writer/director Jacques Demy and starring Catherine Deneuve, George Chakiris, Françoise Dorléac and Gene Kelly.

"Cactus Flower" — PLAYS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13 AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Part of the Music by Quincy Jones series

Distraught when her middle-aged lover breaks a date with her, 21-year-old Toni Simmons (Goldie Hawn) attempts suicide. Impressed by her action, her lover, dentist Julian Winston (Walter Matthau) reconsiders marrying Toni, but he worries about her insistence on honesty. Having fabricated a wife and three children, Julian readily accepts when his devoted nurse, Stephanie (Ingrid Bergman), who has secretly loved Julian for years, offers to act as his wife and demand a divorce. From director Gene Saks.

"Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani" — PLAYS WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14 AT 7 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Spend Valentine's Day with a FREE screening of the global romantic comedy sensation.

Opposites attract when news anchor Rani meets gym-bo Rocky. But they find that working through their differences won't be as difficult as winning over each other's families. Directed by Karan Johar, who has made some of the most crowd-pleasing Hindi films of the last two decades, the film features stars from multiple generations of Bollywood cinema. Don't miss this the chance to see these lavish dance numbers on the big screen. Presented in Hindi with English subtitles.

"An American in Paris" — PLAYS WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14 AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

This event is FREE for Michigan Theater members. This annual Valentine's Day event features a pre-screening reception at 6:45 pm. Enjoy the most romantic day of the year at the historic Michigan Theater. Not a member yet? New members will be welcomed!

Jerry Mulligan (Gene Kelly) is an American ex-GI who stays in post-war Paris to become a painter and falls for the gamine charms of Lise Bouvier (Leslie Caron). Jerry’s paintings come to the attention of Milo Roberts (Nina Foch), a rich American heiress, who is interested in more than just art. Also starring Oscar Levant. Director: Vincente Minnelli.

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

"Origin"

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.

"The Promised Land"

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.

"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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