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Cinema Chat: Top Films Of 2017, 'I, Tonya,' 'Insidious: The Last Key,' And More

Michigan Theater
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It's a New Year, which means a lot of new movies are on the horizon!  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 and returning films coming to the big screen this weekend.

New York Film Critics Circle Awards

Best Film:Lady Bird, director. Greta Gerwig

Best Director: Sean Baker, The Florida Project

Best First Film: Get Out, director Jordan Peele

Best Actor: Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name

Best Actress: Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Best Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project

Best Supporting Actress: Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip

Best Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread

Best Cinematography: Mudbound, Rachel Morrison

Best Foreign Language Film: BPM (Beats per Minute), director. Robin Campillo

Best Documentary: Faces Places, directors. Agnes Varda, JR

Best Animated Film: Coco, directors. Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina

National Board Of Review Winners:

"The Post" Comes Up Strong With Best Pic, Best Actress Meryl Streep, Best Actor Tom Hanks

Steven Spielberg’s "The Post," the story about how the Washington Post fell behind in its coverage of the Pentagon Papers, only to make leaps ahead, was named best picture of 2017 by the National Board of Review.  The pic’s Tom Hanks landed best actor and Meryl Streep best actress from the critics group today.

Greta Gerwig won best director for "Lady Bird."



"Baby Driver"

"Call Me By Your Name"

"The Disaster Artist"



"The Florida Project"

"Get Out"

"Lady Bird"

"Logan Lucky"

"Phantom Thread"


"Beatriz at Dinner"

"Brigsby Bear"

"A Ghost Story"

"Lady Macbeth"

"Loving Vincent"


"Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer"

"Patti Cake$"

"Wind River"


Celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Michigan Theater and the fabulous Barton Organ tomorrow, January 5 at 7:00 PM, with a silent film presentation of "Show People" with live organ accompaniment from our own Andrew Rogers!  The night will be fun for all ages and also feature movie ticket prices of only 50 cents!  From Director King Vidor, the film stars Marion Davies and features cameo appearances by Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, John Gilbert, William S. Hart, and many more.


"I, Tonya"

This film arrives at the State Theatre for a full run with early show times tonight!  Based on the true story of competitive figure skater Tonya Harding, played by Margot Robbie, the film follows the rise of her career in the U.S. Figure skating world, only to see to her future thrown into doubt after her ex-husband, played by Sebastian Stan, intervenes with a rival, Nancy Kerrigan.  But from these events comes one of the most unbelievable moments in Olympic history.

"The Post"

The latest from director Steven Spielberg, stars Tom Hanksand Meryl Streep as Ben Bradlee and Kay Graham, the editor and publisher team of the Washington Post, who uncovered government secrets and printed the Pentagon Papers in 1971.  The film opens early next Thursday, January 11.  A clear Oscar contender!!


"Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story"

This film will play at the Michigan Theater Saturday, January 6 through Thursday, January 11.  Austrian actress Hedy Lamarrwas a film star from the 1930s to 1950s, starring in films such as "Ecstasy," "Algiers," and "Samson and Delilah" among others, but this documentary takes you behind the glamour and sex appeal to tell the story of a woman who fled an oppressive marriage and went on to also become a talented inventor.  During World War II, she created a radio system that is now considered to be the basis of Bluetooth technology.


"Lady Bird"

This film continues to play at the State Theatre as it approaches its 7th week of showtimes with larger and larger crowds coming out to see the independent hit.  Last weekend, it even saw higher grosses than Star Wars!  The film tells the story of an artistically-inclined seventeen year-old, played by Saoirse Ronan, who comes of age in Sacramento, California in the early 2000s while butting heads with her equally strong-willed mother.

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi"

This film has finished 2017 as the highest grossing film of the year nationwide and also continues to play at the State Theatre.  The highly anticipated and lauded new installment of the franchise returns Mark Hamillto the role of Luke Skywalker and features the last film performance of Carrie Fisher as General Leia, alongside the talented up-and-comer Daisy Ridleywho plays Rey, the new trilogy's main protagonist.

"The Disaster Artist"

Also playing at the State: the film directed by and starring James Franco as Tommy Wiseau, the writer/director/producer of "The Room," considered to be “the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made.”  The film was adapted from the best-selling memoir of the same name by Tommy Wiseau’s co-star and friend Greg Sestero.

"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

This film is also held over for another week at the State with limited showtimes.  After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, a grieving mother paints three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at the town's revered chief of police.


This week at the Michigan, from award-winning filmmaker Brett Morgan, draws from over 100 hours of never-before-seen footage of Jane Goodall in her pioneering research of chimpanzees, which has been tucked away in the National Geographic archives for over 50 years.  The footage is now set to a new orchestral score from legendary composer Philip Glass.

"The Shape of Water"

From visionary director Guillermo del Toro, stars Sally Hawkinsas a mute custodian working in an isolated government laboratory where she develops a friendly relationship with a scaled creature living in a water tank. On Rotten Tomatoes, the critical consensus reads: “'The Shape of Water' finds Guillermo del Toro at his visually distinctive best—and matched by an emotionally absorbing story brought to life by a stellar Sally Hawkins performance.”

"Darkest Hour"

Also continuing to play at the Michigan, starring Gary Oldman who transforms into the role of Winston Churchill.  Set at the dawn of World War II, the fate of Western Europe rests in the hands of the newly appointed Prime Minister who is challenged with the decision to either explore a peace treaty with Nazi Germany or launch his people into a violent conflict.


"Insidious: The Last Key"

Adam Robitel helms the fourth entry of the Insidious series, with Chapter 3 director Leigh Whannellproviding the script, centering around parapsychologist Elise Rainier (Detroit native and UM Grad, Lin Shaye) and her continued voyage into the ‘further.’”

"Molly's Game"

Based on the true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons.  Her players included Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans and finally, unbeknownst to her, the Russian mob. Her only ally was her criminal defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey, who learned that there was much more to Molly than the tabloids led us to believe.  Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin.


Set in 1892 to tells the story of “legendary Army Captain (Christian Bale), who after stern resistance, reluctantly agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief and his family back to tribal lands.”

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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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