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Charlie Chaplin's Novel, Death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Monuments Men and More!

Feb 6, 2014

This week's edition of Cinema Chat, Michigan Theater Director, Russ Collins sits down to talk with WEMU's Program Director, Patrick Campion to talk about about the latest upcoming movies downtown and around town.


Cinema Chat is a regular feature heard each Thursday during Morning Edition on 89.1 WEMU.

Returning Downtown

Credit Michtheater.org
   “Philomena,” the multiple Oscar nominated film, is based on the 2009 investigative book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith. Judi Dench plays the title character, an Irish mother to a boy conceived out of wedlock when she was a teenager and given away for adoption in the United States. Now a senior citizen with a late husband and grown children, Philomena meets Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), a BBC reporter with whom she decides to work to find her long-lost son. Dave Calhoun of Time Out says “’Philomena’ [is] a terrifically moving film that has a fitting earthbound feel to it as well as a barely suppressed anger at crimes inflicted on the powerless.” “Philomena” returns to the State Theatre on Friday.

    Opening Downtown 

Peter Brook is one of the world’s most respected and revolutionary directors of contemporary theatre. To help his actors achieve extraordinary performances, he has a special exercise, called “the Tightrope,” which evolved over decades of experimentation and practice into a process of transformation that makes theatre real and new for actors and audiences alike. In this quietly eloquent and unique film, director Simon Brook, Peter’s son, reveals how the Tightrope works its dramatic alchemy. “The Tightrope” plays February 12, 13, & 15 at the Michigan Theater; presented in association with the UMS presentation of the Peter Brook production of “The Suit,” at the Power Center on February 19-22.  

 Hitchcock Screenings Downtown

The Michigan Theater’s Hitchcock series continues with three classics this week. On Sunday at 4:00 PM, “The 39 Steps” follows a London man who tries to help a counterespionage agent. But when the agent is killed and he stands accused, he must go on the run to both save himself and stop a spy ring trying to steal top-secret information.  

 Two versions of “The Man Who Knew Too Much” play on Tuesday. At 5:00 PM you can see the original 1934 film (starring Peter Lorre, Leslie Banks, and Edna Best). At 7:00 PM you can see the 1956 remake (starring Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day.) “The Man Who Knew Too Much” follows a family vacationing in Morocco who accidentally stumbles onto an assassination plot and the conspirators are determined to prevent them from interfering. 

  Special Screenings Downtown

National Theatre Live will broadcast the Donmar Warehouse’s production of “Coriolanus,” Shakespeare’s searing tragedy of political manipulation and revenge. When an old adversary threatens Rome, the city calls once more on her hero and defender: Coriolanus (Tom Hiddleston). But he has enemies at home, too. Famine threatens the city, the citizens’ hunger swells to an appetite for change, and upon returning from the field, Coriolanus must confront the march of realpolitik and the voice of an angry people. “National Theatre Live: Coriolanus” plays Sunday, February 9, at 7:00 PM. Presented in partnership with UMS.The Science on Screen series continues with “Sunshine,” a psychological sci-fi thriller directed by Oscar-winner Danny Boyle. As the sun begins to dim along with humankind’s hope for the future, it’s up to a desperate crew of eight astronauts (including Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, and Chris Evans) to reach the dying star and reignite the fire that will bring life back to planet Earth. Following the film screening, Justin Kasper, Ph.D., associate professor at the UM Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, will present on extreme environments – REALLY extreme – from the surface of the sun to the outer edges of the solar system, and the impact of space weather on society. This Science on Screen presentation of “Sunshine” plays Wednesday, February 12, at 7:00 PM. 

Opening at the Multiplex “The Monuments Men” is based on the true story of an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by President Roosevelt with rescuing European artistic masterpieces from the crumbling Nazi occupiers and returning them to their rightful owners. This seemingly impossible mission, rescuing art masterpieces trapped behind enemy lines that the German army was ordered to destroy, is especially dramatic because the “soldiers” charged with this dangerous rescue mission are seven museum directors, curators, and art historians, who are more comfortable and familiar with a fragile Michelangelo painting than they are with the business end of an M-1 rifle! These arts professionals/soldiers were known as the Monuments Men and they found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1000 years of culture. From director George Clooney, the film stars Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and Cate Blanchett. “The Monuments Men” opens Friday.  

 “The LEGO Movie,” a 3D adventure based on the children’s building block toys, follows Emmet (Chris Pratt) an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO mini-figure who is mistakenly identified as an extraordinary person who is destined to save the world. He is drafted into an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant — a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared. “The LEGO Movie” opens Friday.  

 This week’s teenaged vampire movie is “Vampire Academy.” Rose Hathaway (Zoe Deutch) is a Dhampir, a half human, half vampire, guardian of the Moroi, peaceful, mortal vampires living discreetly within our world. Her legacy is to protect the Moroi from bloodthirsty, immortal Vampires, the Strigoi. “Vampire Academy” opens Friday.

See you at the movies!