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Cinema Chat: 'He Named Me Malala', 'Pan', 'The Walk' And More

Great new movies are opening downtown this week and there are some great special screenings available, we well. Get the details in this week's edition of 'Cinema Chat' with David Fair and Michigan Theater Executive Director and CEO Russ Collins.  

Opening Downtown

He Named Me Malala

“He Named Me Malala” is an intimate portrait of MalalaYousafzai, who was wounded when Taliban gunmen opened fire on her and her friends' school bus in Pakistan. The then 15-year-old teenager, who had been targeted for speaking out on behalf of girls' education, was shot in the head, sparking international media outrage. Malala has since emerged as a leading campaigner for the rights of children worldwide and, in 2014, became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  “He Named Me Malala” opens Friday at the Michigan.

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon

“Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon” tells the story of the groundbreaking humor magazine’s rise and fall through fresh, candid interviews with its key staff, and illustrated with hundreds of outrageous images from the mag itself. The film gives fans of the Lampoon an inside look at what made the magazine tick, who were its key players, and why it was so outrageously successful: a magazine that dared to think what no one was thinking, but wished they had.  “Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead” opens Friday at the State.

Special Screenings Downtown

Njinga: Queen of Angola

Set in 17th-Century Angola, “Njinga: Queen of Angola” follows the story of Njinga, leading her kingdom in a 40-year struggle for freedom and independence. Presented as part of U-M’s Lusophone Film Festival,  “Njinga: Queen of Angola” plays Thursday October 8 at the State.

Territory: 313 vs 734

In “Territory: 313 vs 734,”  a twisted crew from the 313 (Detroit) invades the 734 (Ypsilanti), and two rivals try to work together. But once pride and egos get in the way, tensions flair, and the State of Michigan is up for grabs. “Territory: 313 vs 734” premieres at the Michigan on Thursday October 8.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

In Wes Craven’s classic slasher “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” several teenagers fall prey to Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a disfigured midnight mangler who preys on the teenagers in their dreams — which, in turn, kills them in reality. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” plays Saturday at the State.

A.I. Artificial Intelligence

“A.I. Artificial Intelligence” originated as a long-gestating project of director Stanley Kubrick that passed to his friend Steven Spielberg after Kubrick's death.  When David (Haley Joel Osment) discovers that he is not the biological son of his parents, but instead a cutting-edge robotic child, he sets out to learn what he can of his true nature.  The Spielberg: Man and Monsters film series continues with “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” on Monday at the Michigan.

Lost and Love

“Lost and Love” is an uplifting portrait of two lost souls who forge an unlikely friendship and, in the face of a hopelessness and despair, inspire courage and perseverance in one another.  Presented by U-M’s Confucius Institute, “Lost and Love” plays Tuesday at the State.

Female Trouble

The Yours Truly, John Waters film series continues with “Female Trouble.” The incomparable Divine plays two roles: one in drag, one in male mufti.  Less offensive but no less perverse than “Pink Flamingos,” “Female Trouble” is a matter of taste – or rather, lack of same.  “Female Trouble” plays Wednesday at the State.

15 to Life: Kenneth's Story

The documentary “15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story” presents Kenneth Young, who was tried as an adult at 14 years of age and received four consecutive life sentences without possibility of parole for accompanying his mother’s 24-year old drug dealer, who planned and committed four armed robberies.  Presented by The Dispute Resolution Center, “15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story” plays Wednesday at the Michigan.

The Ann Arbor Korean Independent Film Festival

The University of Michigan’s Nam Center for Korean Studies presents the Ann Arbor Korean Independent Film Festival, a critical selection of independent films screened in an intense four day long period, which starts Thursday October 15. Screenings include “Moebius,” a revenge tale wrapped in a family drama; “Bad Guy,” focusing on a thug desperately trying to connect to the woman he loves; and “Rough Cut,” with an actor and gangster taking part in the most realistic fight scene ever.  

Opening at the Multiplex


In “Pan,” Peter (Levi Miller) is whisked away from the bleak London orphanage where he has lived his whole life and spirited off to a fantastical world of pirates, warriors and fairies called Neverland.  As he tries to uncover his rightful place in this magical land, Peter must defeat the ruthless pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman) to save Neverland and discover his true destiny – to become the hero who will forever be known as Peter Pan.  “Pan” opens Friday.

The Walk

“The Walk” is the true story of a young dreamer, Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and a band of unlikely recruits who together achieve the impossible: an illegal wire walk in the immense void between the World Trade Center towers. With little more than nerve and blind ambition, Petit and his ragtag crew overcome countless close calls and overwhelming odds to beat the system and execute their mad plan.  “The Walk” opens Friday.