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Cinema Chat: State Theatre Lineup, 'Lady Bird,' 'Justice League,' And More

Michigan Theater
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In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair speaks to Michigan Theater executive director Russ Collins about the movie business and all of the new flicks you can check out this weekend.  Plus, get the latest update on the State Theatre's upcoming grand reopening!

Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’Breaks Box Office Record in Mexico

Disney-Pixar’s animated family comedy “Coco” has set a box office record in Mexico, becoming the top film as measured in local currency.  “Coco,” which premiered at the Morelia Film Festival, debuted October 27 — two days before the start of the three-day Day of the Dead holiday and has held the top spot at the box office for its first three consecutive weeks.  “Coco” opens November 22 in the U.S., followed by China on November 23, and Russia on November 24.  The film is currently rated at 96% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

LA’s Cinefamily Art House Closes For Good, Tarnished by Sexual Harassment Allegations and Debt

The decade-old non-profit cinematheque will not return to Hollywood's Fairfax Avenue.

The LA Art House theater, Cinefamily, is making its temporary closure permanent.  Following the August resignations of executive director Hadrian Belove and board member Shadie Elnashai amid sexual harassment allegations, the nonprofit West Hollywood theater will not reopen, concluding a 10-year run.

State Theatre moving toward opening Friday, December 8 – Preliminary opening program set

Pre-opening events for donors planned for December 6 and 7.  Members only opening December 8.

Films playing opening week include:

  • "The Square" – Cannes Palm D’Or (Golden Palm) winning Swedish film by writer-director Ruben Östlund("Forced Majeure") delivers an unforgettably film that is sensual with thought-provoking dividends.  Stars Elizabeth Moss and Claes Bang.  Loved equally by critic and audiences!

  • "Destined" – Divergent destiny of talent young man are played out in a film set in Detroit, shot in Detroit and directed by Qasim Basir, an Ann Arbor native and graduate of Huron High.

  • "Human Flow" – An epic documentary directed by the internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei, gives a powerful visual expression to this massive refugee migration in many parts of our globe.

Opening Downtown

"Lady Bird"

From writer/director Greta Gerwig, stars Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan ("Brooklyn") as Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, a strong-willed teenager living in the Sacramento in the early 2000s, struggling to make her way through high school while navigating a contentious relationship with her equally headstrong mother (played by Laurie Metcalf), who keeps the family afloat after her husband loses his job.  The film also stars Academy Award nominee Lucas Hedges ("Manchester by the Sea") and Tracy Letts.  "Lady Bird" opens Friday, November 14.

"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

This is the latest dark comedic drama from Director Martin McDonagh ("In Bruges," "Seven Psychopaths") starring Academy Award winner Frances McDormand as a grieving mother who challenges local authorities to solve the case of her murdered daughter by painting three billboards leading into the town directly calling out the Chief of Police (played by Woody Harrelson).  The film also starsSam Rockwell as the violent second-in-command officer who aggravates the already tense situation, and Peter Dinklage as a hopeful love interest.  "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" opens next Tuesday, November 21.

Continuing Downtown


This is the latest from acclaimed director Todd Haynes (most recently known for his 2015 drama "Carol"), about two children, Ben and Rose, whose stories are set 50 years apart and interlaced together as they venture away from home to find parents they have never known.  Rose lives in 1927 New Jersey and sets off to find her actress mother Lillian Mayhew (played by Julianne Moore), while Ben lives in 1977 Minnesota where he runs away to find the father he’s never known.  

"Loving Vincent"

This is the world’s first fully oil painted feature film which explores the troubled life of artist Vincent van Gogh through his artwork and the events that led up to his mysterious death.  The film was written and directed by Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman and features Saoirse Ronan and Chris O'Dowd.

"The Florida Project"

This is the follow up from director Sean Bakerto his acclaimed 2015 indie feature "Tangerine."  It tells the story of a mother and daughter living in a budget hotel on the on the outskirts of Disney World and introduces breakout stars Brooklynn Prince and Bria Vinaite as a mother and daughter who live week-to-week while trying to maintain a normal lifestyle.  The film also features veteran actor Willem Dafoe, whose role is being described by critics as a “career best.”

Special Screenings Downtown

"Don’t Look Back"

TONIGHT!!!  More films from 1967 continue as we screen the documentary from director D.A.Pennebaker  that follows folk messiah Bob Dylan  on his tour of the United Kingdom in 1965, pulling back the curtain of his often private personal life through hotel conversations, fan interactions, and downtime on the grueling tour.  In 2014, the film was voted into the Top 10 best documentaries of all time in a Sight & Sound poll.  "Don’t Look Back" will play tonight (Thursday, November 16) at 9:30 PM.

"Monterey Pop"

And we’ll keep the music alive as we screen another documentary from D.A. Pennebaker, covering the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, featuring legendary performances from The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who, Otis Redding, The Mamas & The Papas, and more!  Two years before Woodstock, Monterey Pop exploded into popular culture and embodied the counterculture of the time.  "Monterey Pop" will play Monday, November 20 at 7:00 PM.

24th Annual Polish Film Festival

The 24th Polish Film Festival returns to the Michigan Theater to feature more contemporary Polish documentaries, animated shorts, feature films, and children’s films offering diverse perspectives on a range of Polish and global issues.  This year, the festival will include seven titles, including "Afterimage," a favorite from the 2017 Cinetopia Film Festival.  The Polish Film Festival will run Friday, November 17 through Sunday, November 19.

Opening at the Multiplex

"Justice League"

The highly anticipated latest of the DC extended universe returns Gal Gadot to her acclaimed role as Wonder Woman and Ben Affleck to Batman.  “Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.  Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat.” (Rotten Tomatoes).  "Justice League" opens in theaters Friday, November 17.


This film stars Jacob Tremblay, the breakout of 2015's "Room."  “Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman.  Born with facial differences that, up until now, have prevented him from going to a mainstream school, Auggie becomes the most unlikely of heroes when he enters the local fifth grade.” (Rotten Tomatoes). The film also stars Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts.  "Wonder" opens in theaters Friday, November 17.


This film stars Jason Mitchell, Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, and Mary J. Blige.  “Set in the rural American South during World War II, Dee Rees' Mudbound is an epic story of two families pitted against one another by a ruthless social hierarchy, yet bound together by the shared farmland of the Mississippi Delta.” (Rotten Tomatoes).  "Mudbound" opens in theaters Friday, November 17. 

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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

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