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Posted on Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 5:31 a.m.

Cinetopia Film Festival details released; Tom Cruise in 'Oblivion'; and more

By Russ Collins

Cinema comes alive in Ann Arbor

Movie lovers, be sure you mark June 6-9 on your calendar, because the Cinetopia Film Festival will be back in Ann Arbor when our town is at its most lovely.

If you can’t make it to the Cannes Film Festival or Toronto International Film Festival, or if the Sundance Film Festival in Utah in January seems too cold and far away, know Cinetopia will bring you the best films from the world’s best film festivals to Tree Town!

This year the Cinetopia Film Festival will take place at the historic Michigan and State theaters in downtown Ann Arbor and Angell Hall on the U of M campus, as well as at the beautiful Detroit Institute of Arts auditorium in Detroit. The Detroit Film Theater of the DIA and its director, Elliot Wilhelm, are programming and presentation partners for this year's festival.

Among the featured films will be: my favorite comedy from last year’s Sundance Film Festival, “Wrong”; “Broken,” the acclaimed British drama that premiered at Cannes; “I Am Divine,” the hilarious documentary on filmmaker John Waters’ muse that premiered at the South by Southwest Fest; and “5-25-77,” a coming-of-age Star Wars-era comedy that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“Our Nixon,” which won the Ann Arbor Film Festival’s top prize, will play in Detroit at the DIA, and opening night of Cinetopia will feature the theatrical premiere of the Ron Asheton Tribute Concert, filmed at the Michigan Theater in April 2011, featuring Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins and film director Jim Jarmusch.

In all, more than 40 great films will be presented in the festive context with live music, street buzz, special film introductions and filmmaker and festival curator talk backs at every screening. Tickets go on sale to the public April 29. Visit for the latest program and ticketing information.

Opening downtown

“No” takes place in 1988 as Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet, due to international pressure, is forced to call a plebiscite on his presidency. The country will vote YES or NO to Pinochet extending his rule for another eight years. Opposition leaders for the NO persuade a brash young advertising executive, Rene Saavedra (Gael Garcia Bernal), to spearhead their campaign. Against all odds, with scant resources and under scrutiny by the despot’s minions, Saavedra and his team devise an audacious plan to win the election and set Chile free. Peter Howell of the Toronto Star says, “A mesmerizing, realistic and often hilarious look at the politics of power and the power of ideas ...” “No” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

Opening at the multiplex

In “Oblivion,” starring Tom Cruise, the year is 2077 and Earth has evolved beyond recognition. Jack Harper (Cruise) serves as a security repairmen stationed on an evacuated Earth. Part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying alien threat who still scavenges what's left of our planet, Jack's mission is almost complete. In a matter of two weeks, he will join the remaining survivors on a lunar colony far from the war-torn world he has long called home. Jack's soaring existence is brought crashing down after he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Drawn to Jack through a connection that transcends logic, her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he thought he knew. “Oblivion” opens Friday.

Special screenings downtown

The University of Michigan School of Art & Design presents new media, animated and video projects created by undergraduate seniors for their year-long capstone course, Integrative Projects, at 5 p.m. tonight at the Michigan Theater. Admission is free!

“Beavis and Butthead Do America” follows the sex-, TV-, and heavy-metal-obsessed dimwits as they travel America looking for their missing TV. “Beavis and Butthead Do America” plays April 20 at 11:59 p.m. at the State Theatre.

Jodie Foster stars in the 1976 Disney classic “Freaky Friday.” When Annabel’s mom tries to get to the bottom of what’s going on with her teenaged daughter, a simple wish on Friday the 13th comes true, and soon parent and kid start to see the world in a whole new way. “Freaky Friday” plays Sunday, April 21 at 1:30 p.m. and is FREE for kids 12 and under!

“National Theater Live: People” reunites Award-winning writer Alan Bennett with director Nicholas Hytner and Olivier Award-winning actress Frances de la Tour. Impoverished aristocrat Dorothy Stacpoole needs to decide what to do with her decaying, stately home: auction it off, turn it over to the National Trust and open it to visitors, or sell it to a dubious commercial entity that may use it as a location for porn films. What’s a woman to do? “National Theater Live: People” plays Tuesday, April 23 at 7 p.m. at the Michigan Theater.

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.


Bob Needham

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

Great news that Cinetopia is returning, and the lineup of movies already sounds amazing. The chance to see the Ron Asheton Tribute Concert movie, on a big screen, in the same theater, will be a terrific way to relive that night. Thanks to all involved in making this event happen in our community.