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Posted on Thu, Apr 5, 2012 : 5:52 a.m.

'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,' great new Grande Ballroom doc, 'American Pie' reunion, and more

By Russ Collins

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.

Opening downtown

“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” is the hottest specialty film of the spring. When Britain’s leading fisheries expert (Ewan McGregor) is approached by a consultant (Emily Blunt) to help realize a sheikh’s (Amr Waked) vision of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the desert, he immediately thinks the project is both absurd and unachievable. But when the prime minister’s overzealous press secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas) latches on to it as a “good will” story, this unlikely team will put it all on the line and embark on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible, possible. Ann Arbor’s own Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly says, “It takes us back to the sort of achingly civilized love story in which the only thing that really stands in the way of two people falling for each other is their own decorum.” “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” opens Friday at the Michigan.

“Thin Ice” stars Greg Kinnear as Mickey Prohaska, a small-time insurance agent looking for a way to jump-start his business, reunite with his estranged wife (Lea Thompson) and escape the frigid Wisconsin weather. To start his new career in Florida all he needs is a sucker. He hits pay dirt with a lonely retired farmer (Alan Arkin). But Mickey’s attempt to con the old man spins out of control when a nosy, unstable locksmith (Billy Crudup) with a volatile temper dramatically ups the stakes, trapping him in a madcap spiral of danger, deceit and double-crossing. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times says, “There's nothing like the macabre to bring intrigue to an ordinary life, and nothing like the logistics of body disposal to challenge an insurance salesman.” “Thin Ice” opens Friday at the State Theatre.

“The Salt of Life” is a follow-up to the 2010 Italian sleeper hit “Mid-August Lunch”, by writer-director-actor Gianni Di Gregorio. Gianni plays a middle-aged retiree who has become invisible to all distaff Romans, regardless of age or relation. Watching his “codger” friends snare beautiful younger women on the sun-kissed cobblestones of Trastevere, Gianni tries his polite, utterly gracious best to generate some kind of extracurricular love life-with both hilarious and poignant results. Stephen Holden of the New York Times says, “The movie's sensuous appreciation of ripeness and abundance extends to food, clothing and foliage; the lushness of a city in bloom virtually bursts from the screen.” “The Salt of Life” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

Opening at the multiplex

In "American Reunion," all the "American Pie" characters we met a little more than a decade ago are returning to their high-school reunion. In one long-overdue weekend, they will discover what has changed, who hasn't and that time and distance can't break the bonds of friendship. "American Reunion” opens Friday.

Special screenings downtown

Martin Bandyke's Moving Pictures Film Series continues with “Louder Than Love.” During the late 1960s, the Grande Ballroom stood as the epicenter of the Detroit rock music scene that spawned bands such as Iggy & The Stooges, Alice Cooper, The Frost, SRC and more. The Grande experience also inspired British acts such as Led Zeppelin, Cream, Rod Stewart and Pink Floyd, many of whom dreaded having to follow a blistering opening set by the MC5, who served as the Grande’s house band. Conceived by a young Michigan radio talk-show host named Russ Gibb, the Grande entered rock legend as the stage where The Who first performed “Tommy” in America. The film documents the creative and revolutionary frenzy of Detroit in the 1960s with rare archival footage and interviews by surviving musicians, and explores the now abandoned theater haunted by this legacy. Filmmaker Tony D’Annunzio will attend the screening and host an audience Q&A after the film. “Louder Than Love” plays Monday, April 9 at 7 p.m. at the Michigan Theater.

The University Musical Society and the Michigan Theater present the National Theatre of Great Britain to Ann Arbor! One of the great, generous-hearted and ingenious comedies of the English language, Goldsmith's “She Stoops to Conquer” offers a celebration of chaos, courtship and the dysfunctional family—playing on screen Wednesday, April 11 at 7 p.m. at the Michigan Theater. Tickets are available at and at the Michigan League Box Office.

The UM School of Art & Design presents new media, animated and video projects created by undergraduate seniors for their year-long capstone course, Integrative Projects. The UM School of Art & Design plays Thursday, April 12 at 5 p.m. and admission is free.

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.


Erich Jensen

Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

Ewan McGregor is an underrated, underacclaimed versatie and talented actor!

Sam McDermott

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

Any chance of "Damsels in Distress" appearing downtown soon?


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 4:01 p.m.

Looking forward to the new American Pie flick - I grew up with that franchise.


Thu, Apr 5, 2012 : 2:46 p.m.

"The Salt of Life" looks like one to enjoy. Thinking about love and romance from different age demographics provokes a change in perspective.