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Posted on Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 5:50 a.m.

George Clooney's latest, 'Twilight Saga' and more at the movies this week

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

“Martha Marcy May Marlene” is a powerful psychological thriller starring Elizabeth Olsen as Martha, a young woman rapidly unraveling amidst her attempt to reclaim a normal life after fleeing from a cult and its charismatic leader (John Hawkes). Seeking help from her estranged older sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and brother-in-law (Hugh Dancy), Martha is unable and unwilling to reveal the truth about her disappearance. When her memories trigger a chilling paranoia that her former cult could still be pursuing her, the line between Martha's reality and delusion begins to blur. The film premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, with director Sean Durkin winning the festival's U.S. Directing Award for Best Drama. Andrew O’Hehir of says the film “…is an utterly gripping ride that will keep you guessing until the last second about what is real and what imagined, and whether Martha has entirely snapped the tether of sanity.” “Martha Marcy May Marlene” opens Friday at the State Theatre.

Inspired by the New York Times bestseller by Muriel Barbery, “The Hedgehog” is the timely story of Paloma (Garance Le Guillermic). Using her father's old camcorder to chronicle the hypocrisy she sees in adults, 12-year-old Paloma begins to learn about life from the grumpy building concierge, Renée Michel (Josiane Balasko), and there are allies to be found beneath the prickliest of exteriors. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times says, “This is a movie with such a light, stylish touch, it makes no claims to profundity and is a sweetly hopeful experience.” “The Hedgehog” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.
Opening downtown just in time for Thanksgiving

“The Descendants” tells the sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic journey of Matt King (George Clooney), an indifferent husband and father of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident. The event leads to reconciliation with his young daughters while he wrestles with a decision to sell the family's land handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries. Peter Debruge of Variety says,” ‘The Descendants’ tackles some of the prickliest issues a contemporary family can face with such sensitivity that it's hardly noticeable you're being enlightened while entertained.” Directed by Alexander Payne (“Sideways”), “The Descendants” opens Wednesday, Nov. 23 at the Michigan Theater.

“Like Crazy” is a love story in both a physical and emotional sense, one that can be deeply personal and heartbreaking for an audience to experience. Director Drake Doremus illustrates how your first real love is as thrilling and blissful as it is devastating. When a British college student (Felicity Jones) falls for her American classmate (Anton Yelchin), they embark on a passionate and life-changing journey only to be separated when she violates the terms of her visa. “Like Crazy” opens Wednesday, Nov. 23 at the State Theatre.

Opening at the cineplex

The penultimate film in “The Twilight Saga," "Breaking Dawn - Part 1” finds Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson), plus those they love, dealing with the chain of consequences brought on by a marriage, honeymoon, and the tumultuous birth of a child...which brings an unforeseen and shocking development for Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1” opens Friday.

In “Happy Feet Two,” Mumble's son, Erik, is struggling to realize his talents in the Emperor Penguin world. Meanwhile, Mumble and his family and friends discover a new threat their home—one that will take everyone working together to save them. “Happy Feet Two” opens Friday.

Special screenings
Joe and Nick from the Found Footage Festival return to the Michigan Theater and will go toe-to-toe with Davy and Peter Rothbart from Found Magazine in this battle royale of found stuff. Found vs. Found plays Friday, November 18 at 9:30 p.m.

The American International Film Festival celebrates independent film from around the world Sunday, Nov. 20 at noon at the Michigan. For more information, visit

The Michigan Theater’s Stanley Kubrick series continues with “The Shining.” From a script Kubrick adapted from the Stephen King novel, the film features Jack Nicholson in a signature role. “The Shining” plays Nov. 21 at 7 p.m.

In “Road House” Patrick Swayze stars as Dalton, an expert barroom bouncer who can break up fights without getting himself killed in the process. Dalton is hired to keep the peace at the Double Deuce, a rough-and-tumble honky tonk in Jasper, Missouri, where beer-soaked free-for-alls are a nightly event. “Roadhouse” plays Saturday, Nov. 19 at 11:59 p.m. at the State Theatre.

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

Fri, Nov 18, 2011 : 7:04 p.m.

Thanks for bringing another Sundance film, Martha Marcy May Marlene, to the Michigan Theater!

David Briegel

Fri, Nov 18, 2011 : 2:26 p.m.

Looks like another great week for cinema at the glorious Michigan Theater. The best popcorn in town!!

Paul the Malcontent

Fri, Nov 18, 2011 : 4:32 a.m.

I've heard a lot of positive buzz for "The Descendants." Hope to get to the theater next week to see it.