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Cinema Chat: 'Best Of Enemies', 'Mistress America', 'A Walk In The Woods' And More

Michigan Theater Lobby
Michigan Theater
Michigan Theater Lobby

Some terrific art films are opening in town this weekend, some classics return to the big screen and Robert Redford debuts his new movie at the multiplex. Find out about all of that and more in this weeks "Cinema Chat' with David Fair and Russ Collins. 

Opening Downtown

Best of Enemies

“Best of Enemies” explores the dawn of pundit politics.  In the summer of 1968, dead last in the ratings, ABC hired two towering public intellectuals to debate each other during the Democratic and Republican national conventions. William F. Buckley, Jr. was a leading light of the new conservative movement. A Democrat and cousin to Jackie Onassis, Gore Vidal was a leftist novelist and polemicist. Armed with deep-seated distrust and enmity, Vidal and Buckley pummeled out policy and personal insult, cementing their opposing political positions.

Their explosive exchanges devolved into vitriolic name-calling. It was unlike anything TV had ever broadcast; viewers were riveted,  ABC News' ratings skyrocketed, and a new era in public discourse was born. Steven Rea of the Philadelphia Enquirer writes “’Best of Enemies’ offers a bracing view of a pivotal time in our recent history, as Vietnam and race riots scarred a nation's soul.” “Best of Enemies” opens Friday at the Michigan.

Mistress America

In “Mistress America,” Tracy (Lola Kirke) is a lonely college freshman in New York, having neither the exciting university experience nor the glamorous metropolitan lifestyle she envisioned. But when she is taken in by her soon-to-be stepsister, Brooke (Greta Gerwig) - a resident of Times Square and adventurous gal about town - she is rescued from her disappointment and seduced by Brooke's alluringly mad schemes.  Directed by Noah Baumbach, “Mistress America” opens Friday at the State.

Special Screenings Downtown

Breakfast at Tiffany's

In “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” a lonely, struggling writer (George Peppard) becomes enchanted with his neighbor: an independent young woman (Audrey Hepburn) who strives to be a high-climbing socialite with a penchant for high-fashion and wild parties. But soon he uncovers the vulnerability she has at heart.  “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” plays Sunday September 6 at 1:30 PM and Tuesday September 8 at 7 PM as part of the Summer Classic Film Series.


“Casablanca,” the ultimate film classic starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, plays the Michigan Theater for its annual beginning of the semester screening on Monday, September 7 at 7 PM. This screening is FREE for all students with a valid student ID.

Spice World

In “Spice World,” world-famous pop group The Spice Girls zip around London in their luxurious double decker tour bus having various adventures and performing for their fans.  “Spice World” plays Saturday at 11:59 PM at the State.

Cartel Land

“Cartel Land” is a riveting, on-the-ground documentary look at the journeys of two modern-day vigilante groups and their shared enemy: murderous Mexican drug cartels. The film is a chilling, visceral meditation on the breakdown of order and the blurry line between good and evil.  “Cartel Land” plays Tuesday and Wednesday at the Michigan Theater.

The Piano

In “The Piano,” Ada (Holly Hunter), a mute who has willed herself not to speak, and her strong-willed young daughter Flora (Anna Paquin) find themselves in the New Zealand wilderness, with Ada the imported bride of dullard land-grabber Stewart (Sam Neill). Ada immediately takes a dislike to Stewart when he refuses to carry her beloved piano home with them. But Stewart makes a deal with his overseer Baines (Harvey Keitel) to take the piano off his hands. Baines agrees to return the piano in exchange for a series of piano lessons with Ada that become increasingly sexually charged. “The Piano” plays Thursday September 10 at 7 PM at the State Theatre as part of Directed by Women, a global initiative designed to focus attention on women film directors and their work.

Opening at the Multiplex

A Walk in the Woods

In “A Walk in the Woods,” celebrated travel writer Bill Bryson (Robert Redford), instead of retiring, challenges himself to hike the Appalachian Trail - 2,200 miles of America's most unspoiled and rugged countryside. The peace and tranquility he hopes to find, though, is anything but, once he agrees to being accompanied by the only person he can find willing to join him on the trek: his long lost and former friend Katz (Nick Nolte), a down-on-his-luck serial philanderer who sees the trip as a way to sneak into one last adventure before it’s too late. The trouble is, the two have a completely different definition of the word "adventure.” “A Walk in the Woods” opened Wednesday.

 The Transporter Refueled

In “The Transporter Refueled,” Frank, a former special-ops mercenary, is now living a less perilous life - or so he thinks - transporting classified packages for questionable people. When Frank's father pays him a visit in the south of France, their father-son bonding weekend takes a turn for the worse when Frank is engaged by a cunning femme-fatale, Anna, to orchestrate a bank heist. Frank must use his covert expertise and knowledge of fast cars, fast driving and fast women to outrun a sinister Russian kingpin.  “The Transporter Refueled” opens Friday.

Contact David: dfair@emich.edu