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Cinema Chat: 'Damsel,' 'Mountain,' 'Ant-Man And The Wasp,' And More

Michigan Theater
Wikipedia Media Commons

Celebrate America's independence with a good movie!  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan and State Theater digital media specialist Nick Alderink about the latest movie news and all of the new films hitting the big screen this Fourth of July weekend!



Opens Friday, July 6 at the State!  Samuel Alabaster (Robert Pattinson), an affluent pioneer, ventures across the American Frontier to marry the love of his life, Penelope (Mia Wasikowska).  As Samuel traverses the Wild West with a drunkard named Parson Henry (David Zellner) and a miniature horse called Butterscotch, their once-simple journey grows treacherous, blurring the lines between hero, villain and damsel.  A loving reinvention of the western genre from the Zellner brothers ("Kumiko," "The Treasure Hunter"), this film showcases their trademark unpredictability, off-kilter sense of humor, and unique brand of humanism.


Opens Friday, July 6 at the Michigan!  A unique cinematic and musical collaboration between the Australian Chamber Orchestra & BAFTA-nominated director Jennifer Peedom, this is a dazzling exploration of our obsession with mountains.  Only three centuries ago, climbing a mountain would have been considered close to lunacy.  The idea scarcely existed that wild landscapes might hold any sort of attraction.  Peaks were places of peril, not beauty.  Why, then, are we now drawn to mountains in our millions?  The film shows us the spellbinding force of high places – and their ongoing power to shape our lives and our dreams.

"Woman Walks Ahead"

Opens Friday, July 6 at the State!  Catherine Weldon (Jessica Chastain), a portrait painter from 1890s Brooklyn, travels to Dakota to paint a portrait of Sitting Bull (Michael Greyeyes) and becomes embroiled in the Lakota peoples’ struggle over the rights to their land.  Also stars Sam Rockwell.

"Sorry to Bother You"

Opens at the State on July 12!  In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, black telemarketer Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) discovers a magical key to professional success, which propels him into a macabre universe of “powercalling” that leads to material glory.  But the upswing in Cassius’ career raises serious red flags with his girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson), a performance artist and minimum-wage striver who’s secretly part of a Banksy-style activist collective.  As his friends and co-workers organize in protest of corporate oppression, Cassius falls under the spell of his company’s cocaine-snorting CEO Steve Lift (Armie Hammer), who offers him a salary beyond his wildest dreams.  Also stars Terry Crews, Steven Yeun, Omari Hardwick, Jermaine Fowler, Danny Glover, Patton Oswalt, and David Cross.


"Pulp Fiction"

The lives of two mob hitmen, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.  Playing Saturday, July 7 at the State at 11:59 PM.


Part of the SavCo Hospitality Summer Classic Film Series, while investigating a gold magnate's smuggling, James Bond uncovers a plot to contaminate the Fort Knox gold reserve.  Plays Sunday, July 8 at 1:30 PM at the Michigan.

"On Her Majesty's Secret Service"

Playing Tuesday, July 10 at 7 PM at the Michigan.  James Bond woos a mob boss's daughter and goes undercover to uncover the true reason for Blofeld's allergy research in the Swiss Alps that involves beautiful women from around the world.


"Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville ("20 Feet from Stardom"), this film takes an intimate look at America's favorite neighbor: Mister Fred Rogers.  A portrait of a man whom we all think we know, this emotional and moving film takes us beyond the zip-up cardigans and the land of make-believe, and into the heart of a creative genius who inspired generations of children with compassion and limitless imagination.

"Hearts Beat Loud"

In the hip Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook, single dad and record store owner Frank (Nick Offerman) is preparing to send his hard-working daughter Sam (Kiersey Clemons) off to college, while being forced to close his vintage shop.  Hoping to stay connected through their shared musical passions, Frank urges Sam to turn their weekly “jam sesh” into a father-daughter live act.  After their first song becomes an Internet breakout, the two embark on a journey of love, growing up and musical discovery.

"The Catcher Was a Spy"

In the midst of World War II, major league catcher Moe Berg (Paul Rudd) is drafted to join a new team: the Office of Security Services (the precursor to the CIA).  No ordinary ballplayer, the erudite, Jewish Ivy League graduate speaks nine languages and is a regular guest on a popular TV quiz show.  Despite his celebrity, Berg is an enigma - a closeted gay man with a knack for keeping secrets.  The novice spy is quickly trained and sent into the field to stop German scientist Werner Heisenberg before he can build an atomic bomb for the Nazis.  Directed By: Ben Lewin.  Written By: Robert Rodat.  Also starring: Mark StrongSienna MillerJeff DanielsGuy Pearce, and Paul Giamatti.

"First Reformed"

This film stars Ethan Hawke as the priest of a small congregation in upstate New York who grapples with mounting despair brought on by tragedy, worldly concerns and a tormented past.  Written and directed by Paul Schrader (Writer of "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull"), the film also stars Amanda Seyfried and Cedric the Entertainer.


An intimate portrait of an unlikely rock star:Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  With unprecedented access, the filmmakers explore how her early legal battles changed the world for women.

"Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat"

Exploring the pre-fame years of the celebrated American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and how New York City, its people, and its tectonically shifting arts culture of the late 1970s and '80s shaped his vision.


A modern horror thriller that stars Toni Collette as Ellen, a mother who begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about her ancestry when the matriarch of her family passes away.  The more her family discovers, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited.

"American Animals"

The unbelievable but true story of four young men who brazenly attempt to execute one of the most audacious antiquarian book heists in US history – stealing rare books from Kentucky’s Transylvania University’s most valuable books, including "Birds of America" by John James Audubon — a set of life-sized engravings by the wildlife pioneer (valued at around $12 million) and an original edition of Charles Darwin’s "Origin of Species."  Determined to live lives that are out of the ordinary, these four privileged young men formulate a daring plan for the perfect robbery (by watching "Oceans 11" and "Reservoir Dogs") only to discover that the plan has taken on a life of its own. 

"The Seagull"

This film stars Saoirse RonanCorey Stoll, and Annette Bening in the adaptation of Anton’s Chekhov’s classic play directed by Tony-winner Michael Mayer (“Spring Awakening”) and written by Tony-winner Stephen Karam (“The Humans”).  One summer at a lakeside Russian estate, friends and family gather for a weekend in the countryside.  While everyone is caught up in passionately loving someone who loves somebody else, a tragicomedy unfolds about art, fame, human folly, and the eternal desire to live a purposeful life.


"Ant-Man and the Wasp"

As Scott Lang balances being both a Super Hero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past (IMDB).

"The First Purge"

After the rise of a third political party, the New Founding Fathers of America, an experiment is conducted, no laws for 12 hours on Staten Island. No one must stay during the experiment yet there is $5,000 for anyone who does (IMDB).  Now in theaters.


During the month of July, the Main Auditorium will be closed at the Michigan Theater as we begin replacing the seats on the main floor with more comfortable, but still historically appropriate seating with added legroom, as well as continue the restoration of the Barton Organ!  You can still sponsor a seat and have a brass plaque on a new Michigan Theater seat inscribed with your name or the name of a loved one.  

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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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