A new 'Three Stooges,' acclaimed 'Norwegian Wood,' and more at the movies this week
Win free movie tickets
Editor's note: Comment on today's "Cinema Chat" for a chance to win free movie tickets to the Michigan Theater. Some time between now and 9 a.m. Monday, leave a comment on this column, written by the Michigan Theater's Russ Collins. Offer your opinion on a recent movie you've seen, or on anything Russ mentions. A winner will be randomly selected, and we’ll notify that person via the email address they signed up with. They will get two passes to a movie of their choice, courtesy of The Michigan Theater. Full rules here.
In “Norwegian Wood,” Toru Watanabe's (played by Japanese rising star Kenichi Matsuyama) personal life is in tumult. At heart, he is deeply devoted to his first love, Naoko (Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi from “Babel”), a beautiful and introspective young woman. But their dour and complex bond begins to dissolve when Midori (Japanese-Korean model-actress Kiko Mizuhara), a girl who is everything that Naoko is not, marches into his life and Watanabe must choose between his secure, but tragedy tinged past and an exciting, but unstable future. Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly says, “This lush, eventually torpid adaptation of Haruki Murakami's 1987 cult-favorite novel considers youthful love, loss, and eros...” “Norwegian Wood” opens Monday, April 16 at the Michigan Theater.
“The Raid: Redemption” was a favorite of Michigan Theater staff at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. It is an extreme martial arts film that follows Rama (Iko Uwais), a rookie member of an elite police team, who is instructed to hang back during a covert mission involving the extraction of a brutal crime lord from a rundown 15-story apartment block. When their cover is blown, crime boss Tama (Ray Sahetaphy) offers lifelong sanctuary to every killer, gangster, and thief in the building in exchange for the police team’s heads. Now Rama must stand in for the team's fallen leader (Joe Taslim) and use every iota of his fighting strength—winding through every floor and every room to complete the mission and escape with his life. Tom Long of the Detroit News says, “’The Raid: Redemption’ is sheer action ecstasy” and I agree! “The Raid: Redemption” opens Friday at the State Theatre.
Opening at the multiplex
In “The Cabin in the Woods,” five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen. If you think you know this story, think again. From fan favorites Joss Whedon (TV’s “Firefly” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and Drew Goddard comes a horror film that turns the genre inside out. Peter Debruge of Variety says, “Not since ‘Scream’ has a horror movie subverted the expectations that accompany the genre to such wicked effect as ‘The Cabin in the Woods.’” “The Cabin in the Woods” opens Friday.
“Lockout,” starring Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace, follows a falsely convicted ex-government agent (Pearce) whose one chance at obtaining freedom lies in the dangerous mission of rescuing the president's daughter (Grace) from rioting convicts at an outer space maximum-security prison. Directed by Stephen St. Leger and James Mather from their script co-written with Luc Besson (“Leon,” “The Fifth Element”), who is also a producer. “Lockout” opens Friday.
Special screenings downtown
The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour returns to Ann Arbor bringing films from the 34th annual Banff Mountain Film Festival. From an exploration of remote landscapes and mountain cultures to adrenaline-fueled action sports, this festival is sure to captivate and amaze the explorer within you. The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour plays April 15 at 7 p.m. at the Michigan Theater.
Martin Bandyke’s Moving Picture Series continues with “Blank City.” It weaves together an oral history of the “No Wave Cinema” and the “Cinema of Transgression” movements through compelling interviews with the cinema luminaries who began it all. Featured players include acclaimed directors Jim Jarmusch and John Waters, actor-writer-director Steve Buscemi, Blondie‘s Debbie Harry, hip-hop legend Fab 5 Freddy, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, photographer Richard Kern as well as Amos Poe, James Nares, Eric Mitchell, Susan Seidelman, Beth B, Scott B, Charlie Ahearn and Nick Zedd. “Blank City” plays Monday, April 16 at 7 p.m.
Every year, the University of Michigan Screen Arts & Cultures selects a group of SAC majors who have met the requirements and developed a project proposal that qualified them as SAC Honors Concentrators. This year, five SAC seniors were selected to make an Honors Thesis film and screen their project at the Michigan Theater. On April 18 at 6 p.m., Christiana Botic, Emily Bozek, Ashley Harrison, Perry Janes, and Barbara Twist will debut their films. Come see the films by an extraordinary group of young filmmakers who have worked all year for this day! This screening is free and open to the public.
See you at the movies!
Russ Collins is executive director of the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor. Tune in to the audio version of “Cinema Chat” on WEMU radio (89.1-FM) each Thursday at 7:40 a.m. and 5:40 p.m., or listen to it online at WEMU's web site.