89.1 WEMU

Cinema Chat: 'Manchester By The Sea,' 'The Eagle Huntress,' 'Office Christmas Party,' And More

Dec 8, 2016

Michigan Theater Lobby
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

WEMU's top movie experts are back!  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan Theater executive director Russ Collins about the movie business and all the films heading to the big screen this weekend.

Opening Downtown

"Manchester by the Sea"

In the latest film from award-winning writer and director Kenneth Lonergan, (director: You Can Count On Me, Margaret, screenwriter: Gangs of New York, Analyze This), the life of a solitary Boston janitor is transformed when he returns to his hometown to take care of his teenage nephew. After the death of his older brother Joe (Kyle Chandler), Lee (Casey Affleck) is shocked to learn that Joe has made him sole guardian of his nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges).  Taking leave of his job, Lee reluctantly returns to Manchester-by-the-Sea to care for Patrick, a spirited 16-year-old and is forced to deal with a past that separated him from his wife Randi (Michelle Williams) and the community where he was born and raised.  Bonded by the man who held their family together, Lee and Patrick struggle to adjust to a world without him.   “Manchester by the Sea” opens Friday at the Michigan.

Continuing Downtown

"The Eagle Huntress"

This film follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter and rises to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries.  Set against the breath-taking expanse of the Mongolian steppe, the film features some of the most awe-inspiring cinematography ever captured in a documentary, giving this intimate tale of a young girl's quest the dramatic force of an epic narrative film.  “The Eagle Huntress” continues at the Michigan.


This film celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving (portrayed by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), who married and then spent the next nine years fighting for the right to live as a family in their hometown. Their civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry - and their love story has become an inspiration to couples ever since.  “Loving” continues at the Michigan.


A timeless story of human connection and self-discovery, this film chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.  The story of his struggle to find himself is told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love while grappling with his own sexuality.  “Moonlight” continues at the Michigan.

Special Screenings Downtown


This film opens with a gadget salesman looking for a special gift for his son.  He finds one at a store in Chinatown–a cute creature named Gizmo (a “mogwai”) who comes with the warning to never expose him to bright light, water, or to feed him after midnight.  But of course, all of this happens, and the result is a gang of gremlins that decide to tear up the town on Christmas Eve.  “Gremlins” plays Thursday, December 8 at 9:30 PM as part of the Kids in America: ‘80s Teen Classics film series.


A 9-year-old girl discovers a wounded reindeer in the forest and, believing it to be one of Santa's magical sleigh team, secretly nurses it back to health.  The girl takes it upon herself to contact Santa and return the reindeer to him.  Starring Sam Elliott and Cloris Leachman, “Prancer” plays Sunday, December 11 at 1:30 PM as part of the Holiday Classics Film Series.  Admission is free!

Opening at the Multiplex

"Nocturnal Animals"

This film explores the thin lines between love and cruelty, and revenge and redemption.  Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal star as a divorced couple discovering dark truths about each other and themselves in this haunting romantic thriller of shocking intimacy and gripping tension.  Written and directed by Tom Ford, “Nocturnal Animals” opens Friday. 

"Office Christmas Party"

When the CEO (Jennifer Aniston) tries to close her hard-partying brother's branch, he (T.J. Miller) and his Chief Technical Officer (Jason Bateman) must rally their co-workers and host an epic office Christmas party in an effort to impress a potential client and close a sale that will save their jobs.  “Office Christmas Party” opens Friday.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu