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Cinema Chat: 'A Star is Born,' 'The Old Man And The Gun,' 'Colette,' 'The Hate U Give,' And More

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The leaves are changing colors, and the movie theaters are offering more to see.  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair and Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins talk about the movie business and all of the latest films hitting the big screen this weekend.


"A Star is Born"

Opening tonight at the State: In this film, this new take on the tragic love story, Bradley Cooperplays seasoned musician Jackson Maine, who discovers--and falls in love with--struggling artist Ally (Lady Gaga).  She has just about given up on her dream to make it big as a singer... until Jack coaxes her into the spotlight.  But even as Ally's career takes off, the personal side of their relationship is breaking down, as Jack fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons.

"The Old Man and the Gun"

Opening next Thursday at the Michigan: Based on the true story of Forrest Tucker (played by Robert Redford), this film follows his audacious escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 to an unprecedented string of heists that confounded authorities and enchanted the public.  Wrapped up in the pursuit are detective John Hunt (played by Casey Affleck), who becomes captivated with Forrest's commitment to his craft, and a woman (played by Sissy Spacek), who loves him in spite of his chosen profession.

"First Man"

Also opening next Thursday at the Michigan: On the heels of their six-time Academy Award ®-winning smash, "La La Land," Oscar ®-winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for the riveting story of NASA's mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969.  A visceral, first-person account, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the movie will explore the sacrifices and the cost on Armstrong and on the nation of one of the most dangerous missions in history.

There will be a special “Science on Screen®” presentation on Tuesday, October 16 at 7 PM with Mark Moldwin, Executive Director of NASA’s Michigan Space Grant Consortium!  An initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre, with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and additional support from Arbor Research Collaborative for Health.


At the State: This film follows Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (played by Keira Knightley) is transplanted from her childhood home in rural France to the intellectual and artistic splendor of Paris after marrying a successful Parisian writer known commonly as "Willy" (played by Dominic West).  Soon after, Willy convinces Colette to ghostwrite a semi-autobiographical novel for him, sparking a bestseller and a cultural sensation.  After its success, Colette's fight over creative ownership and gender roles drives her to overcome societal constraints, revolutionizing literature, fashion and sexual expression. 


"The Big House"

2018 Cinetopia Film Festival Official Selection!  This film will be playing starting Friday, October 5 until Thursday, October 11 with a special homecoming screening on Saturday, October 6 at 7:00 PM with filmmakers in attendance and alternate ending!  This direct cinema documentary eschews gridiron grandeur to look closely at all the labor—from the cooks to the cops to the cleaners—that goes into hosting 100,000 people in the stadium affectionately called “The Big House.”  Shot against the backdrop of the 2016 election and the rise of Donald Trump, it presents a microcosm of America by showing everything but the game.


"Football's Valhalla: The Bob Ufer Story"

World Premiere (in honor of Homecoming at the U-M): This film plays Friday, October 5 at 7:00 PM.  37 years after his passing, this documentary gives Bob Ufer’s life story the detailed telling it has long deserved.  For many Michigan Football fans, nothing can describe the force of nature that was Bob Ufer.  Considered the original “Voice” of Michigan Football, Bob Ufer is a University of Michigan icon.  Far from being an impartial reporter, Ufer released endless kilocycles of unbridled maize and blue favoritism.  For nearly four decades, Bob Ufer was beloved by a wide range of listeners for his enthusiastic, articulate and engaging style.

"The Birds"

This film will be playing for one night only on Saturday, October 6 at 6:00 PM!  In this classic thriller by Alfred Hitchcock, Melanie Daniels meets Mitch Brenner in a San Francisco pet store and decides to follow him home.  She brings with her the gift of two love birds, and they strike up a romance.  One day, birds start attacking children at Mitch's sisters party, and a huge assault starts on the town by attacking birds.

"Dragonfly Eyes"

This film will be playing Sunday, October 7 at 6:15 PM as a part of the contemporary Chinese film series “Electric Shadows.”  Director Xu Bing, one of the most famous fine artists in China, collected his imagery from online sites that stream surveillance cameras.  He stitched them together with a fictional narrative about an ill-fated romance embedded in a chaotic and spectacular modern China.  Xu’s ambitious film explores the anxious borderlands between the real and the fictive, between direct experience and mediated life.  This is a free screening, but registration is required.  For more information, click here.


On Monday, October 8 at 7:00 PM, this film will follow up in the Fatally Yours film noir series.  In this classic, a detective investigates the murder of a Madison Avenue executive.  As he grows obsessed with the case, he finds himself falling in love with the dead woman.


This film will be playing for one night only Tuesday, October 9th at 7:00 PM to celebrate John Lennon’s 78th birthday!  The life of British singer-songwriter and former Beatle John Lennon is the focus of this intimate 1988 documentary, pieced together from archival footage of the Beatles and 240 hours of home movies shot by Lennon and his widow, Yoko Ono.  Featuring interviews with David Bowie, producer George Martin, and son Julian Lennon, it recounts the ups and downs of the performer’s life and career, concentrating most on his post-Beatles period, and reveals the private man behind the public persona.

"The Promised Land"

This film plays Wednesday, October 10 at 7:00 PM as a part of the Polish History in Film Masterpieces Film Series presented by the Polish Cultural Fund.  Free and open to the public!  When an ambitious Polish aristocrat decides to open his own textile factory, he recruits two enterprising friends, Jewish businessman and German industrial heir, to begin the new venture.  Unfortunately, the Polish aristocrat’s affair with the wife of a business rival threatens to derail the trio’s attempts at establishing their own company.  Directed by Andrzej Wajda.


"Love, Gilda"

At the Michigan: 2018 Cinetopia Film Festival Official Selection!  In this film, comedienne Gilda Radner looks back and reflects on her life and career, in her own words.  Weaving together her recently discovered audiotapes, interviews with her friends (Chevy ChaseLorne MichaelsLaraine NewmanPaul Shaffer and Martin Short), rare home movies and diaries read by modern-day comedians inspired by Gilda (Bill HaderMelissa McCarthyAmy PoehlerMaya Rudolph and Cecily Strong).

"Pick of the Litter"

This film follows a litter of puppies from the moment they're born and begin their quest to become guide dogs for the blind.  Cameras follow these pups through an intense two-year odyssey as they train to become dogs whose ultimate responsibility is to protect their blind partners from harm.  Along the way, these remarkable animals rely on a community of dedicated individuals who train them to do amazing, life-changing things in the service of their human.

"The Wife"

This film follows Joan and Joe Castleman (played by Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce), who are complements after nearly forty years of marriage.  Where Joe is casual, Joan is elegant.  Where Joe is vain, Joan is self-effacing.  And where Joe enjoys his very public role as the great American novelist, Joan pours her considerable intellect, grace, charm and diplomacy into the private role of a great man's wife.  As Joe is about to be awarded the Nobel Prize for his acclaimed and prolific body of work, Joan starts to think about the shared compromises, secrets, and betrayals. 


This film is inspired by the life of Blaze Foley, the unsung songwriting legend of the Texas outlaw music movement that spawned the likes of Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson.  The film weaves together three different periods of time, braiding re-imagined versions of Blaze's past, present and future.  The different strands explore his love affair with Sybil Rosen; his last, dark night on earth; and the impact of his songs and his death had on his fans, friends, and foes.  The braided storyline terminates in a bittersweet ending that acknowledges Blaze's profound highs and lows, as well as the impressions he made on the people who shared his journey. 


At the State: Set in the Pacific Northwest of 1983 AD, this film follows outsiders Red Miller and Mandy Bloom, who lead a loving and peaceful existence.  When their pine-scented haven is savagely destroyed by a cult led by the sadistic Jeremiah Sand, Red is catapulted into a phantasmagoric journey filled with bloody vengeance and laced with fire.  Stars Nicolas CageAndrea RiseboroughLinus Roache.

"Fahrenheit 11/9"

Filmmaker Michael Moore predicted that Donald Trump would become the 45th President of the United States.  Traveling across the country, Moore interviews American citizens to get a sense of the social, economic, and political impact of Trump's victory.  Moore also takes an in-depth look at the media, the Electoral College, the government agenda and his hometown of Flint, Michigan.

"Crazy Rich Asians"

This film is based on a global bestseller and follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu accompanying her longtime boyfriend, Nick, to his best friend's wedding in Singapore.  She's also surprised to learn that Nick's family is extremely wealthy and he's considered one of the country's most eligible bachelors.  Thrust into the spotlight, Rachel must now contend with jealous socialites, quirky relatives and something far, far worse - Nick's disapproving mother. 


"The Hate U Give"

Starr Carter is constantly switching between two worlds: the poor, mostly black, neighborhood where she lives and the rich, mostly white, prep school she attends.  The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer.  Now, facing pressures from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what's right.  This film is based on the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller by Angie Thomas and stars Amandla Stenberg, Russell Hornsby, Regina Hall, Common, Anthony Mackie, and Issa Rae.  Opens Friday, October 5!

And "A Star is Born" opens nationwide!

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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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