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Posted on Thu, May 31, 2012 : 5:35 a.m.

Cinetopia arrives; new takes on 'Snow White' and 'Frankenstein'; 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.

Cinetopia International Film Festival opens TODAY

The Cinetopia International Film Festival promises to be a special weekend of movies. Check out the Cinetopia website for all the details——or stop by the Michigan Theater and get your Festival Guide. The community’s support of this festival is important to its future growth.

Here is the Who, What, When, Where, How and Why of Cinetopia 2012:

Who: The Michigan Theater created the Cinetopia International Film Festival for audiences in Southeast Michigan. Many films will feature special introductions, Q & As and appearances by members of the cast and crew.

What: Film Festival of story-based, feature length movies—the best films on the international film festival circuit—18 English and foreign language story-based films, 9 documentary films and 8 classic films.

When: Thursday, May 31 to Sunday, June 3, 2012. 41 films will screen; check festival guide or for full schedule.

Where: Michigan Theater (1928 restored historic theater), State Theatre (1942 historic theater designed by C. Howard Crane - same architect as Detroit's Fox Theatre), Angell Hall Auditorium A (architect Albert Kahn; on University of Michigan campus).

How To Get Tickets: Tickets will be sold at the door before each screening at all venues. BEST VALUE: Get a 10-admission discount film voucher book. Voucher books and tickets can be purchased in advance at

Why: Ann Arbor and Southeastern Michigan deserves a fine story-based, feature length film festival that highlights the best films playing at the world's greatest film festivals—festivals such as Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto.

Cinetopia’s opening night film, "Hello I Must Be Going," was also the opening night film at Sundance this year. Director Todd Louiso will attend the screening scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday, May 31 and conduct a post screening Q & A with Michigan Theater Director Russ Collins. The film is a romantic comedy with an “Indie” sensibility that stars Blythe Danner, John Rubinstein and Melanie Lynskey.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday are jam packed with the best of the festival circuit and some classics! Check out Geoffrey Rush ("King's Speech") staring in Australian musical "Bran Nue Dae;" "Louder Than Love: The Grande Ballroom Story" by Detroit producer/director Tony D’Annunzio; "5 Broken Cameras," the Best Documentary Directing winner at Sundance, a Palestine/Israeli film about the dividing wall between Jewish and Palestinian residents; “Missed Connections," the next great yet-to-be-discovered romantic comedy; “Your Sister’s Sister,” another romantic comedy starring Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mark Duplass, Mike Birbiglia; "Putin's Kiss," a documentary about corruption in Russia; and so much more, in all 27 films from the current International Film Festival circuit.

Beyond the film festival circuit, Cinetopia will feature special programs that will explore 60 years of 3-D films and 3-D film technology (“Hugo,” “Cane Toads: The Conquest,” “Creature From The Black Lagoon”, and the highest grossing 3D film of all-time, “The Stewardesses”); celebrate the work of U-M screenwriting grad David Newman (“Bonnie & Clyde,” “What’s Up Doc” and “Superman”); and the silent film comedy of Harold Lloyd (“The Freshman,” “Safety Last,” and a selection of Lloyd’s best short films all presented with live organ accompaniment), with a special appearance from Lloyd’s Granddaughter, Suzanne Lloyd.

Opening at the cineplex

In "For Greater Glory," an impassioned group of men and women each make the decision to risk it all for family, faith and the very future of their country. General Gorostieta (Andy Garcia), the retired military man who at first thinks he has nothing personal at stake, and his wife (Eva Longoria) watch Mexico fall into a violent civil war. Yet the man who hesitates in joining the cause will soon become the resistance's most inspiring and self-sacrificing leader. "For Greater Glory” opens Friday.

In "Snow White and the Huntsman," Kristen Stewart ("Twilight") plays the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen (Charlize Theron), who is out to destroy her. But what the wicked ruler never imagined is that the young woman threatening her reign has been training in the art of war with a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth, "Thor") who was dispatched to kill her. Sam Claflin ("Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides") joins the cast as the prince long enchanted by Snow White's beauty and power. "Snow White and the Huntsman” opens Friday.

Special screenings downtown

Live via video, the National Theatre of Great Britain presents “Frankenstein,” adapted for the stage by Nick Dear and realized by Oscar-winner Danny Boyle (“127 Hours,” “Slumdog Millionaire”). National Theatre Live: “Frankenstein” plays Wednesday, June 6th at 7 p.m. with Jonny Lee Miller as The Creature and Benedict Cumberbatch as Victor Frankenstein and Thursday, June 7 at 7 p.m. with Cumberbatch as The Creature and Miller as Victor Frankenstein. Tickets are available at and at the Michigan League Box Office.

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, Jun 1, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

Cinetopia Night One was great!

Steve Beisheim

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 2:15 p.m.

Cinetopia is such a hidden gem (hopefully not for long)... Events like this make Ann Arbor such an amazing city to live in...


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

I have never gone to Cinetopia and I'm determined to go this year, I'm still trying to decide which movie I want to see. I love great indie films.