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Cinema Chat: 'The Old Man And The Gun,' 'First Man,' 'Bad Times At The El Royale,' And More

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In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair sits down with Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins to talk about all of the new flicks coming to your local movie house this weekend.  Plus, the Michigan and State Theaters will have some spooky, special screenings for the days leading up to Halloween!

PLANNING AHEAD: Halloween Is Almost Here!!! – MARK YOUR CALENDAR for Halloween Film Fun

"Nosferatu"– Friday, October 19 at 7pm at the Michigan.

This very special presentation of the1922 film classic will featuring LIVE musical accompaniment by Little Bang Theory (who will play an original score they wrote).  An Ann Arbor tradition continues with the first vampire movie! A real estate agent (Gustav von Wangenheim) begins conducting business with the eerie Count Orlok (the beyond-creepy Max Schreck), who goes on a rampage when he becomes obsessed with the man’s beautiful wife.  Roger Ebert said it best about this Michigan Theater Halloween tradition: “[Nosferatu] doesn’t scare us, but it haunts us. It shows not that vampires can jump out of the shadows, but that evil can grow there, nourished on death.”

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show"– Saturday, October 20 at 10:00 PM at the Michigan!

Celebrate Halloween in full campy glory with the perennial classic!  TIM CURRY, SUSAN SARANDON, and BARRY BOSTWICKlead a cast of then-unknowns in a campy, musical send-up of 1950s sci-fi films.  Sing along, shout along, and dance along–featuring a live shadowcast, The Leather Medusas!

"Hocus Pocus"– Sunday, October 21 at 1:30 PM at the State — FREE for kids 12 & under!

After moving to Salem, Massachusetts, teenager Max Dennison (OMRI KATZ) explores an abandoned house with his sister Dani (THORA BIRCH) and their new friend, Allison (VINESSA SHAW).  After dismissing a story Allison tells as superstitious, Max accidentally frees a coven of evil witches (BETTE MIDLER, SARAH JESSICA PARKER, KATHY NAJIMY).  Toyota Family-Friendly Film Series presented by the Benard L. Maas Foundation.

"Young Frankenstein" – Friday, October 23 at the Michigan!

Respected medical lecturer Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) learns that he has inherited his infamous grandfather’s estate in Transylvania.  Arriving at the castle, Dr. Frankenstein soon begins to recreate his grandfather’s experiments with the help of servants Igor (Marty Feldman), Inga (Teri Garr) and the fearsome Frau Blücher (Cloris Leachman).  After he creates his own monster (Peter Boyle), new complications ensue with the arrival of the doctor’s fiancée, Elizabeth (Madeline Kahn).

"The Exorcist"– Friday, October 26 at 9:30pm at the State

Extended Directors Cut!  One of the most profitable horror movies ever made, this tale of an exorcism is based loosely on actual events.  When young Regan (LINDA BLAIR) starts acting odd — levitating, speaking in tongues — her worried mother (ELLEN BURSTYN) seeks medical help, only to hit a dead end.  A local priest (JASON MILLER), however, thinks the girl may be seized by the devil.

"The Babadook" – Saturday, October 27 at 11:59pm at the State

A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.

"Frankenweenie" – Sunday, October 28 at 1:30 PM at the State

In Tim Burton’s longer, animated version of his 1984 short, Young Victor Frankenstein (CHARLIE TAHAN) is a science nerd and outsider at school, but he does have one good friend: his dog, Sparky.  But then, tragedy strikes, and Sparky shuffles off this mortal coil. Victor is heartbroken, but his science teacher (MARTIN LANDAU) gives him an idea! — FREE for kids 12 & under!  Part of the Toyota Family-Friendly Film Series presented by the Benard L. Maas Foundation.


"The Old Man and the Gun"

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"

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. 



Sundance award-winning film will be playing October 16, 18 and 25 at the Michigan!  This documentary is a startlingly personal profile of the critically acclaimed artist M.I.A., chronicling her remarkable journey from refugee immigrant to pop star.  She began as Matangi.  Daughter of the founder of Sri Lanka’s armed Tamil resistance, she hid from the government in the face of a vicious and bloody civil war.  When her family fled to the UK, she became Maya, a precocious and creative immigrant teenager in London.  Finally, the world met her as M.I.A. when she emerged on the global stage, having created a mashup, cut-and-paste identity that pulled from every corner of her journey along the way; a sonic sketchbook that blended Tamil politics, art school punk, hip-hop beats and the unwavering, ultra-confident voice of a burgeoning multicultural youth.


"The Evil Dead" – Friday, October 12 at 9:30pm at the State

Five Michigan State University students, Ash Williams, his girlfriend, Linda, Ash’s sister, Cheryl, their friend Scott, and his girlfriend Shelly, venture into rural Tennessee to vacation in an isolated cabin… and soon run into trouble.

"Cabin in the Woods" – Saturday, October 13 at 11:59pm at the State

When five college friends (KRISTEN CONNOLLY, CHRIS HEMSWORTH, ANNA HUTCHISON, FRAN KRANZ, JESSE WILLIAMS) arrive at a remote forest cabin for a little vacation, little do they expect the horrors that await them.  One by one, the youths fall victim to backwoods zombies, but there is another factor at play.  Two scientists (Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford) are manipulating the ghoulish goings-ons.

"Gun Crazy"

On Monday, October 15 at 7:00 PM, this will be closing out the Film Noir series, Fatally Yours.  In this classic, a well meaning crack shot husband is pressured by his beautiful marksman wife to go on an interstate robbery spree, where he finds out just how depraved and deadly she really is.

"The Pianist"

This film plays Wednesday, October 17 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!  In this adaptation of the autobiography “The Pianist: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man’s Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945,” Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish Jewish radio station pianist, sees Warsaw change gradually as World War II begins.  Szpilman is forced into the Warsaw Ghetto, but is later separated from his family during Operation Reinhard.  From this time until the concentration camp prisoners are released, Szpilman hides in various locations among the ruins of Warsaw.  Directed by Roman Polanski.


"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).

"The Wife"

Moving from the Michigan to the State: 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. 

"A Star is Born"

At the State: In this film, 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.


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. 


"Bad Times at the El Royale"

Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, and Cynthia Erivo lead an all-star cast in this film, which opens Friday, October 12.  The El Royale is a run-down hotel that sits on the border between California and Nevada.  It soon becomes a seedy battleground when seven strangers -- a cleric, a soul singer, a traveling salesman, two sisters, the manager, and the mysterious Billy Lee -- converge on a fateful night for one last shot at redemption before everything goes wrong.­ 

And "First Man" opens in theaters nationwide on Friday!

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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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