Acclaimed 'The Artist' at the Michigan, 'Dragon Tattoo,' 'Tintin' 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.
“The Artist” is a perfect film to see at the Michigan Theater! It is a heartfelt and entertaining valentine to classic American cinema. Mixing comedy, romance and melodrama, the film is itself an example of the form it celebrates.
Set during the twilight of Hollywood’s silent era and filmed on location at numerous classic Hollywood locations (Mary Pickford's Hancock Park mansion, the Orpheum Theater in downtown L.A., the Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. backlots), the film tells the story of a charismatic movie star (Jean Dujardin) unhappily confronting the new world of talking pictures. “The Artist” has already garnered accolades on critics’ lists, was recently nominated for six Golden Globes, and is expected to receive numerous Academy Award nominations. Peter Debruge of Variety says leading man and Oscar favorite Dujardin “turns his impeccable imitation skills on a host of early film stars, combining Rudolph Valentino's smoldering appeal and slicked-back hair with Errol Flynn's panache and pencil moustache, while preserving an essential sincerity in the process.” "The Artist" opens Dec. 23 at the Michigan Theater.
Opening at the cineplex
Sure to be another Oscar favorite, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is the first film in Columbia Pictures' three-picture adaptation of Stieg Larsson's literary blockbuster The Millennium Trilogy (which was adapted previously in Sweden in 2009). Directed by David Fincher and starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, the film is based on the first novel in the trilogy, which altogether have sold 50 million copies in 46 countries and become a worldwide phenomenon. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times says, “This is never the kind of movie where they're going to fall in love. That she even smiles is a breakthrough.” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” opened Tuesday.
“The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn,” directed by Steven Spielberg, is a 3D motion-capture film that brings the classic comic books, created by Belgian artist Herge, to the big screen. Starring Jamie Bell as Tintin, the intrepid young reporter whose relentless pursuit of a good story thrusts him into a world of high adventure, and Daniel Craig as the nefarious Red Rackham. Lou Lumenick of the New York Post says, “One of the year's most pleasurable, family-friendly experiences, a grand thrill ride of a treasure hunt.” “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” opened Wednesday.
In “We Bought A Zoo,” acclaimed filmmaker Cameron Crowe ("Almost Famous") directs an amazing and true story about a single dad who decides his family needs a fresh start, so he and his two children move to the most unlikely of places: a zoo. With the help of an eclectic staff, and with many misadventures along the way, the family works to return the dilapidated zoo to its former wonder and glory. “We Bought A Zoo” opens Friday, Dec. 23.
“The Darkest Hour” is the story of five young people who find themselves stranded in Moscow, fighting to survive in the wake of a devastating alien attack. The 3D thriller from producer by Timur Bekmambetov highlights the classic beauty of Moscow alongside special effects heavy film. “The Darkest Hour” opens Sunday, Dec. 25.
From Director Steven Spielberg, “War Horse” is set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War, and deals with the remarkable friendship between a horse and a young man called Albert. When they are forcefully parted, the film follows the extraordinary journey of the horse as he moves through the war, changing and inspiring the lives of all those he meets—British cavalry, German soldiers, and a French farmer and his granddaughter—before the story reaches its emotional climax in the heart of No Man's Land. Richard Corliss of Time Magazine says, “Boldly emotional, nakedly heartfelt, ‘War Horse’ will leave only the stoniest hearts untouched.” “War Horse” opens Sunday, Dec. 25.
Special holiday films downtown
Temple Beth Emeth returns to the Michigan Theater Dec. 25 at 10:30 a.m. for a special double feature. Screening will be two animated films: 1998’s “The Prince of Egypt” and 2000’s “Joseph: King of Dreams.” The first film begins at 10:30 am, and pauses for a lunch intermission where lunch will be available for purchase. Tickets are $7.50 per person in advance & $8 at the door.
1951’s “A Christmas Carol” features Alastair Sim's tour-de-force performance as the ultimate miser, Ebenezer Scrooge. Sim’s masterful performance has almost single-handedly made this beloved version of Charles Dickens' story into one of the best-loved Christmas films of all time. Some of Britain's best filmmakers united behind Sim, who was joined by a delightful cast of accomplished and acclaimed English actors, creating what many today believe to be the best and most faithful production of Dickens' immortal tale. “A Christmas Carol’ plays Sunday, Dec. 25 at 4 p.m. at the Michigan Theater.
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.