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Cinema Chat: 'Marie Curie,' 'The B Side,' 'It,' And More

Michigan Theater
Wikipedia Media Commons

School is back in session, but the movies still keep on coming!  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan Theater executive director Russ Collins about the movie business and all of the flicks you can check out in theaters this weekend.

Opening Downtown

"Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge"

This film begins in 1905, shortly after scientist Marie Curie (Karolina Gruszka) became the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Physics, along with her husband Pierre (Charles Berling).  But only a short time later, just in her mid-thirties and as a young mother of two children, she loses Pierre in an accident.  In a world dominated by men, she makes her way steadfastly, continues her research alone, and is the first woman to receive a chair at the Sorbonne in Paris.  When she falls in love with a married scientist after years of mourning and engages in an affair with him, she becomes embroiled in a press scandal.  Ken Jaworoski of the New York Times writes “(director Marie Noelle) highlights Curie’s success as a result of hard work and personal struggle rather than simple, and stereotypical, ‘eureka!’ moments.  There’s a lot of labor and conflict shown here, and rarely have they looked so good.”  “Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge” opens Friday.

Continuing Downtown 

"Patti Cake$" 

Critics Consensus: "Patti Cake$" hits a number of predictable beats, but adds enough fresh elements -- not least Danielle MacDonald's potentially star making turn -- to make its underdog story work.  “Patti Cake$” tells the story of Patricia Dombrowski (Danielle MacDonald), a.k.a. “Killa P” and “Patti Cake$,” who dreams of escaping dirty New Jersey on the coattails of her rhymes.  Written and directed by Geremy Jasper.

"The Trip to Spain"

After jaunts through northern England and Italy, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon embark on another deliciously deadpan culinary road trip.  This time around, the guys head to Spain to sample the best of the country's gastronomic offerings in between rounds of their hilariously off-the-cuff banter.  Over plates of pintxos and paella, the pair exchange barbs and their patented celebrity impressions, as well as more serious reflections on what it means to settle into middle age.

"I Do...Until I Don't"

A trio of couples at various points in their relationships become the subjects of a film about marriage being an antiquated idea that needs a reboot.  As the manipulative filmmaker (Dolly Wells) attempts to show how marriage is outmoded, the couples she interviews discover the “do’s” and “don’t’s” in their own relationships.  “I Do...Until I Don't” is Lake Bell's directorial follow-up to her acclaimed 2013 film “In A World.”

"Ingrid Goes West"

Delivers smart, topical humor underlined by timely social observations.  Winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

"The Big Sick"

Summer comedy hit starring Kumail NanjianiZoe KazanHolly Hunter, andRay Romano.

Limited Engagements

"The B Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography"

This film explores the life and work of portrait photographer Elsa Dorfman, who found her medium in 1980: the larger-than-life Polaroid Land 20x24 camera.  For the next thirty-five years, she captured the "surfaces" of those who visited her Cambridge, Massachusetts studio: families, Beat poets, rock stars, and Harvard notables.  As pictures begin to fade and her retirement looms, Dorfman gives director Errol Morris an inside tour of her backyard archive.  “The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography” plays Wednesday, September 13.

"The Fencer"

Fleeing from the Russian secret police because of his controversial past, a young Estonian fencer named Endel is forced to return to his homeland, where he begins to train a group of young children in the art of fencing.  But his past catches up with him and Endel has to choose between letting his students down or putting his life in danger.  The movie is partially based on the real life story of Estonian fencer Endel Nelis (1925-1993).  “The Fencer” plays September 14-16.

Special Screenings Downtown


The recently discovered complete 35mm print of this film comes to the Michigan Theater for one day only!  A newcomer to a fancy ballet academy gradually comes to realize that the school is a front for something far more sinister and supernatural amidst a series of grisly murders.  “Suspiria” plays Thursday, September 7 at 8 PM.

"The Dark Crystal"

In Jim Henson's film, Jen, raised by the noble race called the Mystics, has been told that he is the last survivor of his own race, the Gelflings. He sets out to try to find a shard of the dark crystal, a powerful gem that once provided balance to the universe. Jen believes that he can repair the dark crystal and bring peace back to the world, if he can only find the remaining shard.  “The Dark Crystal” plays Saturday, September 9 at 11:30 AM as part of the Toyota Family-Friendly Film Series.  Free admission for kids 12 and under!

"May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers"

Filmed with extraordinary access over the course of more than two years, this film charts the band’s decade-and-a-half rise while chronicling their present-day collaboration with famed producer Rick Rubin. With the recording process as a backdrop, the film intimately depicts a lifelong bond and unique creative partnership, as the band — fronted by brothers Scott and Seth Avett — weathers marriage, divorce, parenthood, illness, and the challenges of the music business.  “May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers” plays Tuesday September 12 at 7 PM.

"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"

In celebration of the life and career of director Tobe Hooper, the Michigan Theater will screen the original 1974 horror classic, which terrified and disgusted audiences at the time and inspired the “slasher” genre for decades.  Two siblings visit their grandfather’s grave in Texas along with three of their friends and are attacked by a family of cannibalistic psychopaths.  “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” plays Thursday, September 14 at 9:30 PM.

Opening at the Multiplex


This film is based on the hugely popular Stephen King novel of the same name, which has been terrifying readers for decades.  When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, a group of young kids are faced with their biggest fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.  “It” opens Friday.

"Home Again"

This film stars Reese Witherspoon as Alice who, recently separated from her husband (Michael Sheen), decides to start over by moving back to her hometown of Los Angeles with her two young daughters.  During a night out, Alice meets three aspiring filmmakers who happen to be in need of a place to live.  Alice agrees to let the guys stay in her guest house temporarily, but the arrangement ends up unfolding in unexpected ways.  “Home Again” opens Friday. 


A group of five people find themselves trapped in an elevator in the World Trade Center's North Tower on 9/11.  They work together, never giving up hope, to try to escape before the unthinkable happens.  Starring Whoopi Goldberg and Charlie Sheen, “9/11” opens Friday. 

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu

Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
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