Note: Most educational documentaries are listed with the daily Events.
Dec. 13: “Indie Game: The Movie” (James Swirsky & Lisanne Pajot, 2012). Award-winning documentary about the struggles of 4 independent game developers.
Dec. 18: “Becoming Santa” (Jeff Myers, 2011). Hilarious award-winning documentary about an ordinary middle-aged man’s quest to become the perfect Santa Claus.
Dec. 2: “It Happened on Fifth Avenue” (Roy Del Ruth, 1947). Comedy about a mysterious hobo who takes over a vacated mansion in New York and entertains and unexpectedly enriches the lives of his guests. Don DeFore Ann Harding, Charlie Ruggles, Victor Moore. 2 p.m.
Dec. 5: “Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives” (Jeffrey M. Smith, 2012). Documentary expose of the dangers of genetically modified foods.
Dec. 12: “Imagine: John Lennon” (Andrew Solt, 1988). Documentary biography drawing on nearly 240 hours of archival footage.
Dec. 19: “The Greenest Building” (Jane Turville, 2011). Documentary exploring whether demolition of energy-inefficient buildings to replace them with green structures in the name of sustainability makes the best sense.
Dec. 15: “Spiritual Cinema.” Screening of a feature film or several shorts TBA with spiritual themes. Followed by discussion.
Dec. 21: “Of Gods and Men” (Xavier Beauvois, 2010). Trappist monks in Algeria must decide whether to leave or stay when they’re threatened by terrorists. French & Arabic, subtitles. Followed by discussion.
Opens Nov. 30: “Anna Karenina” (Joe Wright, 2012). Sweeping adaptation of Tolstoy’s epic novel. Keira Knightly, Jude Law.
Dec. 1: “Meet Me in St. Louis” (Vincente Minnelli, 1944). Charming musical about a family’s experience at the 1903 World’s Fair. Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, Mary Astor. Free. 1:30 p.m.
Dec. 1: “Flow State” (Warren Miller, 2012). Recognized as the world’s premier ski filmmaker, Miller has been making family-oriented ski adventure films for 60 years. He’s a major star on the West Coast, where his films draw packed houses for weeklong runs, and the annual Michigan Theater showing usually draws 800 to 1,000 viewers. Tickets $15 (kids age 12 & under, $12) in advance at all Ticketmaster outlets and at the door. To charge by phone, call (800) 745-3000. 6 p.m.
Dec. 2: “How to Survive a Plague” (David France, 2012). Documentary about 2 AIDS activism organization.
Dec. 5: “Men in White” (Ryszard Boleslawski, 1934). A dedicated young physician drifts into an affair with his equally dedicated nurse when his high-society fiancée balks at the fact that he considers caring for his patients more important than attending a cocktail party. Clark Gable, Myrna Loy. Preceded by a Three Stooges short. Presented by the U-M Victor Vaughan Society. $7. 7 p.m.
Dec. 5 & 6: “Liberal Arts” (Josh Radnor, 2012). A 30-something returns to his alma mater for a professor’s retirement party and falls for an undergrad.
Dec. 6: “United in Anger: A History of ACT UP” (Jim Hubbard, 2012). Documentary about the AIDS activist movement, with rare archival footage and oral histories of members. The director introduces the film and does a Q&A after the screening. 5:10 p.m.
Dec. 9:“Elf” (Jon Favreau, 2003). Goofy comedy starring Will Ferrell as a man raised as an elf at the North Pole who goes to NYC to reunite with his biological father. James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen. Free. 1:30 p.m.
Dec. 9: “Barrymore” (Eric Canuel, 2011). Film of a live performance of a 2011 production of William Luce’s 1996 2-man play that depicts John Barrymore reminiscing about his life and career as he prepares, a few months before his death, for a 1942 revival of his 1920 Broadway triumph as Richard III. Stars Christopher Plummer. Also, Backstage with Barrymore, Canuel’s 45-minute documentary on the making of the film that features interviews with Helen Mirren, Julie Andrews, and Zoe Caldwell. $22 (MTF members, $18; students, $12) in advance at ticketweb.com and at the door. 5 p.m.
Dec. 9 & 10: “Middle of Nowhere” (Ava DuVernay, 2012). When her husband is sentenced to 8 years in prison, Ruby drops out of med school to focus on his wellbeing.
Dec. 11 & 13: “The Flat” (Arnon Goldfinger, 2011). Documentary about a shocking discovery the director makes while cleaning out the flat that belonged to his grandparents, both immigrants from Nazi Germany. Hebrew, German, and English; subtitles.
Dec. 13: “Shut Up and Play the Hits” (Will Lovelace & Dylan Southern, 2012). Film that documents the influential band LCD Soundsystem’s final concert on Apr. 2, 2011 at Madison Square Garden. Proceeds benefit 826michigan’s writing programs for kids. Tickets $10 (students & seniors, $8) in advance at shutupandplay.brownpapertickets.com. 7 p.m.
Opens Dec. 14: “Hitchcock” (Sacha Gervasi, 2012). Biopic that stars Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock. Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson.
Opens Dec. 14: “A Royal Affair” (Nikolaj Arcel, 2012). Historical drama, set in the 18th century, about the romance between the Queen of Denmark and the royal physician.
Dec. 16: “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. Free. 1:30 p.m.
Dec. 23: “It’s a Wonderful Life” (Frank Capra, 1946). Sentimental classic about a man who gets a second chance at his own life on Christmas Eve. James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore. Free. 1:30 p.m.
Dec. 25: “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” (Steven Spielberg, 1982). Fantasy adventure about a young boy who befriends a creature from outer space. Sponsored by Temple Beth Emeth. Reese’s Pieces and Moon Pies available. $5 in advance, $7 at the door (3 for $20; 4 for $25). 10:30 a.m.
Dec. 12: “Food Stamped” (Shira & Yoav Potash, 2010). Humorous documentary that follows the directors as they attempt to eat a healthy diet on a food-stamp budget. Also, a rap about local food by a performer TBA and refreshments.
Dec. 1: “The Valiant Ones” (King Hu, 1975). Meditative action movie, which uses intricate fight scenes to reveal character, about a 16th-century husband-and-wife sword fighting team hired to protect China from Japanese marauders.
Dec. 1: “Spirited Away” (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001). Dazzling Oscar-winning animated fantasy about a young girl who discovers a secret world of strange spirits and sorcery. When her parents are transformed, she must find the courage to free herself and return her family to the outside world. Highest grossing film in Japanese history.
Dec. 11: “Last Year at Marienbad” (Alain Resnais, 1961). Mesmerizing, voluptuous puzzle of a film, a poetic parable about a man who confronts a bewildered woman and insists that they had an affair in the past. French, subtitles. Pizza. Age 21 & older admitted.
Dec. 14 & 15: “Lightworks Festival.” Screenings of animated, digital, and 16mm movies made by film students. Note: The Saturday show is usually “packed,” says an organizer; get there early.
Dec. 4: “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” (Alison Klayman, 2012). Documentary about China’s most famous international artist who has been beaten and bullied by Chinese authorities for his critiques of the Chinese government.
Dec. 7: “Cultures of Resistance” (Iara Lee, 2011). Documentary about people in various cultures who have committed their lives to promoting change. With footage of Brazilian capoeira masters, Niger militants, Iranian graffiti artists, Rwanda women’s movement leaders, and more.
Dec. 12: “Izo” (Takashi Miiki, 2004). Bloody action movie about an executed samurai assassin whose spirit takes an existential journey through space and time seeking vengeance. The soundtrack features acid-folk singer-guitarist Kazuki Tomokawa.