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September 09, 1993 - Image 69

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-09-09

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The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition-Arts-Thursday, September 9, 1993 - Page 3


The Michigan Theater ran Spike Lee's biographical epic "Malcolm X," in all its wide-screen splendor, to crowds of Ann Arbor moviegoers. The Academy's failure to nominate it for Best Picture is a sin not soon forgiven.
*Ann Arbor flourishes as every movie-lover's paradise

by Megan Abbott
To a movie-lover, films are like cor-
ralling heaven. If so, AnnArbor'sbound-
aries are surrounded by pearly gates, as
whether four tastes lean towards
ineplex action flicks or artsy foreign
films or somewhere in between, the
renowned Ann Arbor movie scene has
something for you.
With three local movie theaters and
two within a few miles of town, com-
mercial movie-going thrives in Ann
Arbor. In addition, you can take in the
local film cooperative showings atUni-
versity lecture halls and auditoriums, as
well as other campus locations, for truly
bargain rates.
The illustrious Michigan Theater
should be your first stop. Located at 603
E. Liberty, this restored movie palace
boasts an old-fashioned organ, ornate
interiors andadazzling schedule of for-
eign films, independents, animation fes-
tivals, re-vamped classics and the most-
acclaimed of current releases.
Last year, the Michigan gave us
"ReservoirDogs,""MalcolmX," "Sick
and Twisted Animation Festival," "Sat-
urday Night Fever," "The Thief of
Bagdal," "G-as Food Lodging," "Simple
Men" and many others.
And almost asimportantasits sched-
ule, the Michigan has the kind of wide
screenunavailablein currentmallmovie
palaces. In fact, rumor has it that many
film/video majors were initially con-
verted at the Michigan - and even
more wish to be buried there.
With its plush seats and a gaping
balcony which juts firmly out into the
heart of the theater, the Michigan offers
themovie-going experience in its purest
form, with none of the plastic trappings
of the modem cineplex. The price, too,
contributes to the overall pleasure of
catching a movie at the Michigan. Stu-
dents get in for a mere $4 -just make
sure you bring your student ID.
Every year the Michigan Theater
hosts the illustrious Ann Arbor Film
Festival, the model on which Cannes
and Sundance based their little outings.
Offering not one, but a string of alterna-
tive, independent short films for the
price of admission each night, the festi-
val lasts just under a week. Price of
admission also gives you the opportu-
nity to vote for your favorite film in the
festival contest. Everymoviefan should
get a thrill out of seeing the budding or
off-the-beaten-path talents displayed in
these cutting-edge works.
If your tastes run towards the more
traditional, theAnnArbor 1 &2may suit
your movie needs. Found just a few
short blocks from campus (at 210 S.
Fifth Avenue), the 1 & 2 is still largely a
bona fide first-run arthouse, showing
films like "Bad Lieutenant," "bodies,
rest and motion," "Wide Sargasso Sea"
and "The Lover." Bravely screening the
NC-17 works that many of the cow-
ardly chain movie theaters avoid, this
small but worthy theater is an Ann Ar-
bor staple.
Butthe1 &2alsohasbegun to show
more than a few conventional releases.
"Groundhog Day" and "Lost in Yon-
kers" played there, and, two summers
* back, "A League of Their Own" had a

is a concern for you, the 1 & 2 gives free
refills on soda and you can get your
popcorn refilled for just a quarter.
But if you're planning to view
Hollywood's standard fare at the 1 & 2,
takeachance and try one of their "artsy"
independentorforeign films. You might
surprise yourselfand like it. Then again,
you might be bored to tears, butithas to
beat studying for Calc 116.
Of course, the most bang for your
buck comes from the State Theater. For
a mere $2.50 you can savor the second-
run flick of your choice, often movies
only a few weeks old.
The acoustics are a little bizarre, as
are the dimensions of the theater, but the
State is committed to drawing students
with prices you just don't see anywhere
else in Ann Arbor. Located above Ur-
ban Outfitters (233 S. State), but with-
out the uber-trendy grunge ambiance,
the State is the perfect entertainment
option for the cost-conscious movie-
With its plush seats
and a gaping balcony
which juts firmly out
into the heart of the
theater, the Michigan
offers the movie-going
experience in its purest
form, with none of the
plastic trappings of the
modern cineplex.
But, perhaps, your idea of afilm is
something foreign or campy or classic
or just plain alternative. Then the Uni-
versity film cooperatives should fulfill
your every cinematic desire and more.
M-Flicks, Hill Street Cinema, Ann Ar-
bor Film Co-Op and Cinema Guild all
offer screenings in places like MLB,
Angell Hall auditoriums, Hillel, the
Natural Science auditorium and else-
Running about $3 for a single film
and $4 fora double feature, these show-
ings vary from Alred Hitchcock clas-
sics, to soft porn, to Woody Allen
retrospectives, to Italian neo-realist fes-
Beware, however, the curse of the
badprintor the tinyscreen. If you arenot
wary, you may even end up seeing'Taxi
Driver" on aVCR with poor tracking in
some tiny room in the Frieze Building.
These co-ops, however, generally run
quality screenings and, with their bud-
gets shrinking every year, they desper-
ately need your movie dollars to keep
On the other extreme, you have the
scourge of '80s and '90s moviegoing:
thecineplex. BothMoviesatBriarwood

and Showcase (which, incidentally,
runs what seems like 75 of the most
current movies at any given time) offer
multiple first-run choices for a swelling
$6 a crack. Showcase has no student
discount; Briarwood offers one, save
Saturday nights.
Most people compare the ambiance
of Showcase to that of a Central Ameri-
can airport terminal, but if, for you, a
movie experience is not complete with-
out a $5 tub of dayglo-yellow popcorn
and a screen roughly the size of one of
the TVs in Markley's lounges, then
Showcase should prove more than sat-
Briarwood, on the other hand, has
the benefit of being wedged firmly in
the otherscourgeof Reagan-Bush years,
indeed the inevitable result of those
years, the mall.
Less austere and business-like than
Showcase, Briarwood does manage to
have a strange charm. With its moody,
surly employees and winding corridors
that lead you to think you'll never find
your theater (you'll find yourself re-
peating lines from that scene in "Spinal
Tap" when thebandcan'tfindthestage),
Briarwood has a weird, Barton Fink
feeling that makes it stand out among
And if transportation is your prob-
lem, Ann Arbor Transit Authority
(AATA) buses will take you to both
locations, but be sure and check their
time schedules, especially for return
trips (the last bus to campus from
Briarwood usually leaves around 9).
It's a long walk home.
If video is more your idea of enter-
tainment, Ann Arbor has its share of
rental stores as well. Video Watch, on
North Campus or on 4080 Packard,
among other locations, has an extensive
collection of new releases, foreign films
and classics. They also have a lot of
coupon two-for-one deals, so keep your
eyes open.
In town, Campus Video, conve-
niently located downstairs from the 611
Church Street computing center, has a
small, but respectable selection for the
going rate of $3 apop. Right in the heart
of the Union, by Kinko's, there's Study
Break Video. Its selection is pretty weak,
but you can usually find the college
student standbys, like "Say Anything"
or "The Big Chill" or a few Monty
And there's always Blockbuster,
found on 2248 Main and 2601 Ply-
mouth (again in the North Campus area,
for those stranded out there). Always a
good bet for new releases or standard
Hollywood movies, Blockbuster may
be a harshly-lit maze and may induce a
zombie-like state in you and your fellow
renters, but it'll do the job. Like 7-11s,

Blockbusters are the same all over, you
know what you're getting, so you can't
be disappointed.
But the best option for video rental in
Ann Arbor is without a doubt Liberty
Street Video (120E. Liberty). Liberty is
a small store, but its stock is large and
varied beyond measure. It's a little hike
from campus, but the selection is worth
Brimming over with cult classics
(like "Psych Out" or "Valley of the
Dolls"), foreign films (everything from
the artsy Truffaut and Godard films to
Almodovar's sexy "Tie Me Up! Tie Me
Down!" or "Women on the Verge of a
Nervous Breakdown"), well-known

("On the Waterfront") to lesser-known
(Stanley Kubrick's searing early work,
"The Killing")classics, Hollywood dra-
mas and comedies and suspense, hor-
ror B-movies, documentaries - ev-
erything the average movie fan could
want or need.
Thankfully, you don't need mem-
bership to rent at Liberty Street Video;
you just need a driver's license. And
don't miss the Mondays and Wednes-
days two-for-one bargain. The employ-
ees are without fail nice and helpful
and eager to recommend movies. Make
this your rental place of choice and you
won't be sorry.
If you don't have a VCR, fear not.

Most of these video stores will rent you
a VCR for the night (or, in the case of
Blockbuster, twonights) forunder $10.
They're easy to hook up and, as long as
you can carry it, you'll be watching
those "Faces of Death" documentaries
in no time.
So whether you're in a Lynchian
mood and want to take in the Ann Arbor
Film Co-op's double feature of "Blue
Velvet" and "The Elephant Man," or
that new Swedish doom-and-gloom
movie at the Michigan catches your
eye, make the Ann Arbor film scene a
part of your college experience. Reign
in a little bit of that cinematic heaven
for yourself.

Bridget Fonda experiences the endless delights of a Tim Roth kiss in the underrated "bodies, rest and motion."

West Side
Book Shop
Used & rare books
bought & sold
Literary first editions,
travel, Americana, art &
illustrated books
Large selection of quality
used paperbacks
Qualified Appraisals
113 W. Liberty 995-1891
Smbr Antiquarian
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