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City Guide

December Films

Everyone's a Critic: The Observer's culture blog

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Note: Most educational documentaries are listed with the daily Events.

Ann Arbor 20 + IMAX. 973-8424. Tickets in advance at 4100 Carpenter.

Dec. 10 & 13: "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (Stanley Kramer, 1967). A couple's attitudes are challenged when their daughter introduces them to her African American fiancé. Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn. $8.25-$10.50, 2 & 7 p.m.

Ann Arbor District Library. FREE. 327-8301. AADL Pittsfield Branch, 2359 Oak Valley Dr. between Scio Church Rd. and Ann Arbor-Saline Rd., various times.

Dec. 1: "Death is NOT the Answer" (Keith Famie, 2016). Documentary exploring the causes of depression and suicidal tendencies. Q & A with the director after the film. 6-8:30 p.m.

Dec. 5: "Armor of Light" (Abigail Disney, 2015). Documentary about an evangelical Christian minister struggling to reconcile his pro-life and pro-gun beliefs. 7-8:30 p.m.

Ann Arbor Senior Center. $2 (members, free). 794-6250. 1320 Baldwin. 12:30-3 p.m.

Every Mon. except Dec. 25: "Movie Matinee," a DVD screening with films TBA.

Jewel Heart Buddhist Center. FREE. 994-3387. Jewel Heart (1129 Oak Valley Dr. between Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. & Ellsworth), 7 p.m.

Dec. 29: "Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance" (Godfrey Reggio, 1982). Experimental documentary using time-lapse photography and a celebrated soundtrack by Philip Glass to create a "visual tone poem" exploring the relationship between nature and humanity. "It's meant to offer an experience, rather than an idea," says Reggio. Discussion follows.

Michigan Theater Foundation. Unless there is a live show in the main theater, 2 or 3 different films are shown, usually twice, almost every night. For complete, updated schedules, see or call 668-TIME. Tickets (unless otherwise noted): $10 (children under 12, students with ID, seniors age 55 & older, & U.S. veterans, $8; MTF members, $7.50; weekdays before 6 p.m., $7). Michigan Theater (unless otherwise noted), times TBA unless otherwise noted.

Dec. 1: "The Room" (Tommy Wiseau, 2003). Critically reviled ("the Citizen Kane of bad movies"), this dark comedy about a banker who learns a horrible truth about his fiancée has become a cult favorite. No metal spoons or footballs. 10 p.m.

Dec. 3: "Disney Frozen Sing-Along" (Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee, 2013). Screening of a sing-along version (with on-screen lyrics) of this animated Disney adventure fantasy loosely adapted from Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen. Audience members, who are encouraged to dress as their favorite Frozen character or in a costume inspired by the movie, also receive a free bag of interactive props. $16 (members; $11). 3 p.m.

Dec. 3: "Miracle on 34th Street" (George Seaton, 1947). Heartwarming comedy about an amiable old man working as a department store Santa who ends up in court on trial for insanity when he tells a skeptical young girl that he's the real thing. Edmund Gwenn, Natalie Wood, Maureen O'Hara. 6 p.m.

Dec. 8: "Novitiate" (Margaret Betts, 2017). Drama set in the late 50s & early 60s about a young novice nun caught between different factions that arise with the introduction of Vatican II.

Dec. 8: "Warren Miller's Line of Descent" (2017). Recognized as the world's premier ski filmmaker, Miller began making family-oriented ski adventure films in 1950. Though no longer directed by Miller, the films are still a major draw on the West Coast, where they pack houses for weeklong runs, and at the Michigan Theater, whose annual showing usually draws 800 to 1,000 viewers. 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 10: "Home Alone" (Chris Columbus, 1990). When a vacationing family leaves the youngest son behind by mistake, his glee at ruling the house turns into a hilarious attempt to foil two housebreakers. Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern. 1:30 p.m.

Dec. 15: "Wonder Wheel" (Woody Allen, 2017). Drama exploring the intertwining lives of 4 people in a Coney Island amusement park in the 1950s-a carousel operator, his estranged daughter, his emotionally volatile wife, and a lifeguard who dreams of becoming a playwright.

Dec. 17: "It's a Wonderful Life" (Frank Capra, 1946). Sentimental classic about a man who gets a second chance at life on Christmas Eve. James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore. 1:30 p.m.

Dec. 18: "Victoria." Tentative.

Dec. 19: "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" (Jake Kasdan, 2017). Premiere of this action-adventure comedy about 4 teens who discover an old videogame console and get drawn into the game's jungle setting, becoming the adult avatars they chose. Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart. Tickets $50 in advance at Proceeds benefit Arbor Hospice and the Anchors Programs for Children. Preceded at 5:30 p.m. by a VIP reception ($250). Followed at 9:30 p.m. by an afterglow with hot chocolate and fire pits at Knight's Steakhouse (across the street from the theater). 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 22: "Darkest Hour" (Joe Wright, 2017). Biopic of Winston Churchill during the early dark days of WWII. Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas.

Dec. 25: "Hook" (Steven Spielberg, 1991). Fantasy adventure film starring Robin Williams as a grown-up Peter Pan recalled to Never-Never Land. Sponsored by Temple Beth Emeth. $10 (kids age 12 & under, $7) at the door. 10:30 a.m. (doors open at 10 a.m.).

State Theater. For complete, updated schedule, see,, or call 761-8667. Tickets (unless otherwise noted): $10 (children under 12, students with ID, seniors age 65 & older, & U.S. veterans, $8; MTF members, $7.50; films before 6 p.m. & midnight movies, $8).

Dec. 8: "The Disaster Artist" (James Franco, 2017). Biopic about writer/director Tommy Wiseau, the man behind The Room, the film often called "the Citizen Kane of bad movies." James Franco, Seth Rogan, Alison Brie.

Dec. 8: "The Square" (Ruben Ístlund, 2017). Satirical drama about a curator at a contemporary art museum who experiences an existential crisis.

Dec. 8: "Human Flow" (Ai Weiwei, 2017). Documentary chronicling a year of the global refugee crisis through a series of personal, deeply-felt stories.

Dec. 8-13: "Destined" (Quasim Basir, 2016). Drama about the parallel lives of 2 men-one an architect, the other a drug dealer-and how the smallest incident can be life changing.

Dec. 8-13: films from 1942, the year the State originally opened, including (specific dates TBA) "The Fleet's In," "Saboteur," "Yankee Doodle Dandy," and "Woman of the Year."

Dec. 8-13: Midnight Series, including (specific dates TBA) "The Big Lebowski," "Harold and Maude," "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," and "Jurassic Park."

Dec. 15: "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" (Rian Johnson, 2017). The latest installment in George Lucas's iconic space opera.

Dec. 22: "The Shape of Water" (Guillermo del Toro, 2017). Otherworldly Cold War-era drama about a lonely mute woman who develops a connection with a creature that is the subject of secret government experiments.

U-M African Diasporic Film Festival. Free. 764-5513. 100 U-M Hatcher Grad Library Gallery (enter from the Diag), 4 p.m.

Dec. 5: "The Boers at the End of the World" (Richard Finn Gregory, 2015). Documentary about an Argentinean family that travels back to South Africa for the first time to explore their ancestry and meet their distant relatives. Afrikaans, Spanish, & English; subtitles.

U-M English Department Fantasy and Science Fiction/Theory Reading Group. FREE. Pizza. 764-2253. 1180 U-M Duderstadt Center, 2281 Bonisteel at Murfin, North Campus. 7 p.m.

Dec. 12: "Colossal" (Nacho Vigalondo, 2016). Action-comedy about an out-of-work party girl who comes to the realization that her actions are controlling a giant creature that is destroying Seoul. Anne Hathaway. Followed by discussion.

U-M Islamic Studies. FREE. 764-0351. 555 Weiser Hall, 500 Church.

Dec. 6: "The Short Films of Larissa Sansour." Collection of 3 short films by this experimental Palestinian filmmaker who uses sci-fi tropes to examine Palestinian identity and Middle Eastern politics. Program: In the Future They Ate From the Finest Porcelain (2015), A Space Exodus (2008), and Nation Estate (2012). 7-8:30 p.m.

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