Friday, March 4, 2011

Daytripping: MJR's spring film festival is in bloom

It used to be that families looking for an evening out could do a dinner and a movie. Now it's one or the other. 
This is probably why MJR Digital Cinema's Spring Children's Film Festival is such a breath of fresh air; it affords families the option to do both.

The festival begins March 12 and runs through April 3. Every weekend, a different movie will be shown.

"This is totally free to children 12 and under and parents are just $1," according to the Oak Park-based MJR. "(But) advance tickets are not available, and tickets are distributed on a first-come, first served basis until theater capacity."

Check out what's playing?
March 12-13
“Gulliver's Travels”
Rated: PG

 This is a modern, 3D family comedy inspired by the classic tale. It stars Jack Black ("Kung Fu Panda" and "School of Rock") as Lemuel Gulliver, a lowly mailroom clerk at a New York newspaper, who bluffs his way into an assignment, writing about the secrets of the Bermuda Triangle, only to find himself transported to an undiscovered land, Lilliput. In this fantastical new world, Gulliver is, at last, a bigger-than-life figure in size and ego. Even more so, after he starts telling tall tales, taking credit for his world's greatest inventions, and putting himself at the center of its most historic events. Gulliver's position is enhanced even further when he leads his new friends in a daring battle against their longtime enemies. But when Gulliver loses it all and puts the Lilliputians in peril, he must find a way to undo the damage. Ultimately, Gulliver becomes a true giant among men only when he learns that it's how big you are on the inside that counts. Directed by Rob Letterman (20th Century Fox) it also stars Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet and Billy Connolly.

March 19-20
“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”
Rated: PG

Audiences sail to C.S. Lewis' beloved world - via the fantastic Narnian ship, the Dawn Treader. The newest installment of "The Chronicles of Narnia" motion picture franchise, features Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, along with their cousin Eustace, their royal friend King Caspian, and a warrior mouse named Reepicheep, in a pickle. Swallowed into a painting and on to the Dawn Treader, their mission - on which rests the fate of Narnia itself - is to take the courageous voyagers to mysterious islands and a river that turns to gold, to fateful confrontations with magical creatures and sinister enemies, and to a reunion with their friend and protector, the "Great Lion" Aslan. Directed by Michael Apted (20th Century Fox) it also stars Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes and Ben Barnes.

March 26-27
“Yogi Bear”
Rated: PG

Jellystone Park is celebrating its 100 anniversary, however it may be for the last time, because attendance is down and Mayor Brown wants to close the park and sell the land. If the park is closed, Yogi Bear and Boo Boo will lose their home. They join forces with Ranger Smith to save Jellystone from closing forever. Yogi must really prove in this endeavor that he is "smarter than the average bear". Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake lend their voices to the characters of Yogi and Boo Boo, while Tom Cavanagh voices Ranger Smith. It is directed by Eric Brevig (Warner Bros. Pictures).

April 2-3
Rated: PG

Brought to the big screen by the studio that brought you "Shrek", "Madagascar" and "Kung Fu Panda" is "Megamind," the most brilliant supervillain the world has ever known, but also the least successful. Throughout his not-so-super-hero career he has tried to conquer Metro City in every imaginable way. Each attempt, a mega failure thanks to the caped superhero known as "Metro Man", an invincible hero until the day Megamind actually kills him in the throes of one of his botched evil plans. Suddenly, he realizes that achieving his life's ambition is the worst thing that ever happened to him. Megamind decides that the only way out of his rut is to create a new hero opponent called "Titan", who vows to be even bigger and better than Metro Man. Pretty quickly Titan discovers that it's much more fun to a villain than a good guy. Except Titan doesn't just want to rule the world, he wants to destroy it.  Now, Megamind must decide: can he defeat his own diabolical creation? Can the world's smartest man make the smart decision for once? Can the evil genius become the unlikely hero of his own story? The voice of Will Ferrell stars along with Brad Pitt, Tina Fey and Jonah Hill. It is directed by Tom McGrath (Dreamworks Animation).
For locations and show times visit www.mjrtheatres.com

Also opening in theatres this weekend is "Rango," a spaghetti-Western animated feature the whole family will enjoy, starring the voice of Johnny Depp; and "The Adjustment Bureau," a thriller starring Matt Damon. 

That's not all that's going on in metropolitan Detroit. Check out these events going on today and throughout the coming weeks:

"Go For Baroque"
The Macomb Symphony Orchestra hosts its spring concert at 3 p.m. March 13, at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, Garfield and Hall roads, Clinton Township. "Go For Baroque" includes works by Handel, Bach and Vivaldi and features guest soprano Karin White. For tickets, $18 adults, $15 students, seniors and children, call (586) 286-2222 or visit www.macombsymphony.org.

Charity dance
Back To the 1970's dance, 7:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. March 5, at Fraser Lions Hall, 34540 Utica Road, to benefit Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team in Training. Admission $25 includes food, open bar, entertainment.

'Seussical Jr.'
Southeast Michigan Youth Theatre presents "Seussical Jr.," 7 p.m. March 5 and March 11-12, and 2 p.m. March 6 and 13, at the AUD Regional Youth Complex, 68931 Main St., Richmond. Tickets, $6 adults, $5 students; call (586) 430-1039. Cast includes area students in kindergarten through 10th grade.

Vision Hope sponsors annual bowl-a-thon to benefit Champions for Life Kids' Camp, March 6 at Lakeshore Lanes, 31025 Jefferson, St. Clair Shores. Registration 6 p.m., bowling 7 p.m. Tickets $20 include three games bowling, shoes, pizza, soft drinks and dessert, prizes. Call (586) 791-3590 or www.visionhope.org.

Craft show
Fraser Band Boosters Spring Craft Show, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. March 12 at Fraser High School, 34270 Garfield Road; admission $2. For details, (586) 218-7975 or SpringCraftShow_FHS@yahoo.com.

'Formal Sock Hop'

Warren Civic Theatre presents "The Beauty and the Beast Ball, a Formal Sock Hop," 6:30-9 p.m. March 5 at Warren Community Center, 5460 Arden. The $5-per-person admission includes dancing, beverages and prizes for best costume and best socks, with pizza, snacks and raffle tickets at additional cost. Proceeds benefit the Warren Civic Theatre Youth and Teen spring musical "Disney's Beauty and the Beast Jr.," on stage March 18-20. Information: (586) 268-8400 or www.WarrenCivic.org.

MS Winter Gala
MS Winter Gala, 6:30 p.m. March 5, Zuccaro's Banquet Hall, 46601 Gratiot, Chesterfield Township. Tickets, $40 per person, include dinner, dancing, music, raffle, cash bar; tickets available through Macerie's Soup and Scoop, 47109 Hayes at 21 Mile Road, or by calling (586) 566-7484.

Bowling fundraiser
Bowling benefit for Lisa Redford, an AFSCME member from Macomb Community College who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, 2-5 p.m. March 6, at Imperial Lanes, 44650 Garfield south of Hall Road, Clinton Township. Admission $25 at the door. Includes bowling and food.

'Evening at the Movies'
Resolution Center annual "Evening at the Movies" benefit, 5:30 p.m. March 22 at MJR Marketplace Sterling Heights Cinema 20, 35400 Van Dyke at 15 Mile Road. Includes awards presentation, food and spirits and choice of movie until 10 p.m. For tickets, $40, www.theresolutioncenter.com or (586) 469-4714.

Cooking workshop
Darla P. Jaros, author of "The Kitchen Assistant: Time and Money-Saving Tips in the Kitchen," presents cooking workshop, 6-8 p.m. March 7 at Memphis Public Library, 34830 Potter St.

Players at University Liggett School present musical "Hairspray," 2 and 7:30 p.m. March 5, at the main auditorium on the Cook road Campus, Grosse Pointe Woods. For tickets, $8 reserved, $5 general admission, www.seatyourself.biz/uls.

Magic show
"An Evening of Magic & Illusion to Fight Lupus," doors 7 p.m., show 7:30, March 11, Chippewa Valley High School, 18300 19 Mile Road, Clinton Township. Show features Sterling Heights magician Dale Kirsch. Tickets, $5 students/senior citizens, $10 general, available at lupusmagic.com, at the door or CVS Pharmacy at Canal and Schoenherr roads. Proceeds benefit Lupus Foundation of America.

Senior Players
Heart of the Hills Senior Players auditions for musical "Brigadoon," 10 a.m.-2 p.m. March 7 and 6-8 p.m. March 8, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 45160 Van Dyke at Hall Road, Utica. Show dates May 18-21. Call (248) 608-9008 or go to www.hohplayers.org.

Accordian concert
Michigan Accordion Society presents Peter Soave in Concert, 4 p.m. March 6, at American Polish Century Club, 38204 Maple Lane, Sterling Heights. Adult tickets $20, children $10 at door or in advance by calling (248) 689-3296.

Ridgedale auditions
Ridgedale Players auditions for "Expecting Isabel" production, 7 p.m. March 6 at the theater, 205 W. Long Lake Road, Troy. Audition registration begins 6:30 p.m. Visit www.ridgedaleplayers.com or e-mail MarieDLee@hotmail.com. Show dates May 6-8, 13-15, 20-22.

Celtic Cross
"Music of the Isles Played in the Celtic Tradition," free concert by Celtic Cross band, 2:30 p.m. March 11 at Village of East Harbor activities room, 33875 Kiley Drive, Chesterfield Township. Reservations required by March 8; call (586) 716-7183.

Andiamo Theatre
"The Godfadda Workout" through March 20 at Andiamo Novi Theatre, 42705 Grand River Ave. Dinner and show packages available for both. For reservations, (248) 348-4448.

Rackham Symphony
Rackham Symphony Choir performance of "A Gershwin Rhapsody," 7:30 p.m. March 12 at Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway, Detroit; pre-concert talk at 6:30 p.m. Tickets $18-$65; www.MichiganOpera.org or (313) 404-0222.

Go Comedy!
Boy band Mellenium through March at Go Comedy! Improve Theater, 261 Nine Mile Road, Ferndale. For showtimes and ticket information, (248) 327-0575 or www.gocomedy.net. Also, new improved "Sunday Source" 7 p.m. Sundays.

OPC programs
Older Persons Commission benefit sale of jewelry, accessories, gadgets, gifts, 9 a.m.-noon March 5, in OPC lobby, 650 Letica, Rochester; (248) 656-1403. Also, "Gangster and Hot Babes Millionaire Party," 6-10 p.m. April 8, at same location. Tickets $25 in advance only; (248) 608-0251.

Dance lessons
Line dance classes offered by Royal Oak Parks & Recreation Department, 7-8 p.m. Mondays through March 14 and April 11-June 6, at Addams Elementary School, 222 W. Webster between Woodward and Crooks. $40 per person resident for each series, $45 non-resident. Call (586) 777-7242.

Ford House
Bird walks, offered by Ford House and Wild Birds Unlimited in Grosse Pointe, 8 a.m. March 12, and 7:30 a.m. April 16, at the historic home, 1100 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe Shores. Fee $7 per person; participants should bring binoculars, wear layered clothing and waterproof footwear. Reservations required, (313) 884-4222 or www.fordhouse.org.

Holocaust Center
'A Day in the Warsaw Ghetto: A Birthday Trip to Hell" exhibit, through March 12, Holocaust Memorial Center, 28123 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills. Hours 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday; (248) 553-2400 or www.holocaustcenter.org. New traveling exhibit "Barsamian: 20 Years-Searing for the Answer," March 27-July 10, explores questions about Armenian genocide through art. Grand opening 7 p.m. March 27 with Ara Sanjian, director of Armenian Research Center at University of Michigan-Dearborn. Docent orientation and training sessions for adults interested in volunteering at the center, 9:30 a.m. March 13, at the museum, 28123 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills. Call (248) 855-2152 or (248) 553-2400 ext. 12.

DIA exhibits
The Detroit Institute of Arts on Woodward Avenue, exhibit "Fakes, Forgeries and Mysteries," through April 10, a behind-the-scenes look at how art experts and scientists determine if a work of art of art is genuine, fake or if the evidence is inconclusive. Tickets are $12, $6 for ages 6-17, and free for DIA members. Tickets include general museum admission.

Wild Winter Weekends
The Detroit Zoo, 10 Mile Road and Woodward, presents series of family friendly Wild Winter Weekends, through March, on the second Saturday and Sunday of the month:
Wild Winter Safari Social, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. March 12 and 13, featuring animal arts and crafts, animal enrichment activities, zookeeper talks, face painting and a winter safari scavenger hunt, with ice cream and hot cocoa available for purchase at a discount.
Zoo admission $12 for ages 15 to 61, $10 ages 62 and older, and $8 for children ages 2 to 14 (children under 2 are free). For more information, visit www.detroitzoo.org or call (248) 541-5717.  

The main thing history can teach us is that human actions have consequences and that certain choices, once made, cannot be undone. They foreclose the possibility of making other choices and thus they determine future events -- Gerda Lerner, Australian-born American historian.

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