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Cinema Chat: State Theatre To Reopen, 'The Disaster Artist,' 'Just Getting Started,' And More

State Theatre
Russ Collins

In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan Theater executive director Russ Collins about the latest movie news and all of the new flicks coming to the theaters this weekend.  Plus, they give all the details on the State Theatre's grand re-opening taking place this Friday!

Opening Downtown

It’s finally here (if all the building inspections are passed).  New movies are opening at the renovated State Theatre!  This Friday, December 8, "The Disaster Artist," "The Square," "Human Flow," and "Destined" will open.  Find showtimes in our brand new, state-of-the-art cinema with new seats, ample leg room, and Dolby Digital Surround Sound.  Showtimes on Friday, December 8 will be available to members only, but starting the following day, the general public can come bask in the beauty of our reborn local icon.

"The Disaster Artist"

This film stars James Franco as the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau in the story of the making of the 2003 cult melodrama "The Room," now considered “the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made.”  Franco, who also directed the film, has been described by Scott Tobias of NPR to follow “the model of Tim Burton’s biopic Ed Wood, approaching Wiseau with a delicate balance of affectionate mockery and a heartfelt appreciation for his creative passion.” The film co-stars his brother Dave Franco, who plays Greg Sestero, the actor who played “Mark” in "The Room" and also wrote his account of the production for which the film is based.  "The Room" has become an annual tradition at the Michigan, and previously at the State, and brought in over 1,000 excited attendees last Friday to laugh, cheer, and throw spoons at the misguided masterpiece.


This film returns from the 2017 CinetopiaFilm Festival as local filmmaker QasimBasirgears up to premiere his new film at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.  Destined, set and filmed in Detroit, is an ambitious drama that explores the ideas of destiny and how even the smallest incident can manifest into a life-changing event.

"Human Flow"

This film comes from Chinese contemporary artist, activist, and filmmaker AiWeiwei, who captures in this gripping documentary the plight of more than 65 million people around the world who have been forced from their home to escape famine, climate change, and war.  His stories span across the globe from Afghanistan, France, Greece, Germany, and Iraq.

"The Square" 

This is a Swedish comedy/drama from filmmaker RubenOstlund, best known for his 2014 release "Force Majeure," which takes place at a contemporary art museum that falls under disaster when a public relations team is sent in to build some buzz over the latest installation.

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi"

Opening next Thursday, December 14, this film opens to excitement across the globe.  The latest installment of this massive science fiction/fantasy franchise begins immediately where its predecessor, "The Force Awakens," left off.  Directed by RianJohnson, our new hero Rey (played by Daisy Ridley) develops her Jedi abilities under the guidance of Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill), who grows unsettled by the strength of her powers.  The film also stars JohnBoyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, and Carrie Fisher in her last on-screen role.


Opening at the Michigan Theater.  Spanning over a decade from the early 1950s to mid-1960s, this film tells the story of a group of nuns who find their way of life changing in the dawn of the Vatican II era of the church, threatening the course of their lives.

Continuing Downtown

"Lady Bird,""Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," and "Loving Vincent" all continue to draw tremendous crowds at the Michigan Theater!

Special Screenings Downtown

Included in the State’s opening week, show times will include select titles from 1942, the year the State Theatre first opened:

"The Fleet’s In"

The first film to play at the State Theatre, plays Friday December 8 at 7:00 PM.  It stars William Holden as a shy sailor who is kissed by a Hollywood starlet as part of a publicity stunt and finds a sudden burst of fame.  Using it to his advantage, he attempts to attract an icy nightclub singer, played by DorothyLamour.


One of the lesser known titles in the work of Alfred Hitchcock, this film plays Saturday, December 9 at 7:00 PM and Thursday, December 14 at 4:00 PM.  It starsRobert Cummings as a man who is accused of setting a deadly fire at an airplane plant in an act of sabotage.

"Yankee Doodle Dandy"

Plays Sunday, December 10 at 7:00 PM and Wednesday, December 13 at at 4:00 PM, the film stars James Cagney as a Broadway legend who reflects on his life after being brought to the White House to receive a Congressional Gold Medal from President Franklin Roosevelt.

"Woman of the Year"

Playing Monday, December 11 at 7:00 PM and Tuesday, December 12 at 4:00 PM, this film stars Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy as politically opposed journalists who find a way to fall in love.  However, when she wins the Woman of the Year award, gender roles are swapped and their relationship is tested as a result.

To continue a State Theatre staple, “Late Night” screenings make a return which include $8 ticket prices!

"Harold and Maude"

This film has a place in State Theatre history as the longest running Midnight film ever played and plays Friday, December 8 at 10:00 PM.  The film, which was nominated for a Golden Globe, is a love story between a death-obsessed 20-year-old named Harold and a life-affirming 79-year-old named Maude. The film also features an iconic soundtrack from soothing folk hero Cat Stevens.

"The Big Lebowski"

Voted the best Midnight film via a social media poll, it plays Friday, December 8 at 10:10 PM.  This dark, neo-noir comedy from theCoen Brothers follows “The Dude", (played by Jeff Bridges) and his bowling buddies (played by John Goodman and Steve Buscemi) through a case of mistaken identity and the pursuit of restitution for a ruined rug.

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show"

This film, which arrives to The State after a recent sell out at the Michigan Theater, plays Saturday, December 9 at 10:00 and 10:10 PM.  This perennial late-night favorite stars Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, and Barry Bostwick in a campy, musical send-up of 1950s sci-fi films.

Plus, the Holiday Classic Film Series continues Sunday, December 10 at the Michigan Theater

"Home Alone"

As always, this series is FREE for all to attend.  In this family holiday favorite, MacaulayCulkin plays Kevin McCallister, a bratty 8-year-old who is accidently left behind when his family leaves for vacation.  While he at first embraces his time alone, his freedom comes under attack when two burglars (played by JoePesci and Daniel Stern) plan to rob the house.  As a last line of defense, he thwarts the burglar’s attempts with homemade traps and gadgets which result in slapstick, clean comedic violence.

Opening at the Multiplex

"Just Getting Started"

Starring Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones, and Rene Russo.  Opens Friday, December 8. “Morgan Freeman stars as Duke Diver, the freewheeling manager of the luxury Palm Springs resort, the Villa Capri. Diver may have a mysterious past, but he's a pro at making sure that life for the high-spirited residents is one big, non-stop party. But the status quo is challenged when ex-military charmer Leo (Tommy Lee Jones) checks in, triggering a competition between Duke and Leo for the top spot of Alpha male, as well as for the affections of the newly-arrived Suzie (Rene Russo)”

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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
Russ Collins is the executive director of Marquee Arts, the nonprofit that oversees the Michigan Theater and State Theater in Ann Arbor.
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