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Cinema Chat: 'Lizzie,' 'Mid90s,' 'Halloween,' And More

State Theatre
Brandon C

There's plenty going on in the movie world, especially if you're looking for a good, pre-Halloween scare!  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks with Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins about the latest movie news and all of the flicks opening in theaters this weekend.

Halloween Is Almost Here!!! – This week, We are Kicking Off with These Films


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 CURRYSUSAN 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"

Saturday, October 20 at 11:59 PM at the State — $8 Midnights!  Sunday, October 21 at 1:30, 1:35 & 1:45 PM at the State — FREE for kids 12 & under!  Part of the Toyota Family-Friendly Film Series presented by the Benard L. Maas Foundation.  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 MIDLERSARAH JESSICA PARKERKATHY NAJIMY). 

"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).

MARK YOUR CALENDAR for the Rest of the Halloween Film Fun!

"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.


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.



At the State: Academy Award (R) nominee Chloë Sevigny ("Boys Don't Cry," "Big Love") stars as Lizzie Borden, the notorious woman at the heart of one of the most enduring mysteries in American history.  After a lifetime of loneliness, Lizzie finds a kindred spirit in housemaid Bridget Sullivan (played by Kristen Stewart) and their secret intimacy sparks an unthinkable act.  Director Craig William Macneillexplores the days leading up to the savage crimes in a dark tale of repression, exploitation, and thwarted dreams. 

"Free Solo"

At the State: From award-winning documentary filmmaker E. Chai Vasarhelyiand world-renowned photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin comes this National Geographic Documentary Film, a stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of the free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world's most famous rock... the 3,000ft El Capitan in Yosemite National Park... without a rope.  Celebrated as one of the greatest athletic feats of any kind, Honnold's climb set the ultimate standard: perfection or death.  Succeeding in this challenge, Honnold enters his story in the annals of human achievement.  


At the State: Written and directed by Jonah Hill, this film follows Stevie, a thirteen-year-old in 90s-era L.A., who spends his summer navigating between his troubled home life and a group of new friends that he meets at a Motor Avenue skate shop. 


"Mrs. Fang"

This film plays Sunday, October 21 at 4:00 PM at the State as a part of the “Electric Shadows” film series, presented by the Confucius Institute at U-M.  Free and open to the public!  The camera apathetically zooms in Mrs. Fang’s ghostly face, her mouth held open in a rigid grimace.  Having suffered from Alzheimer’s for eight years, Fang Xiuying is now bedridden and surrounded by her relatives and neighbors, as they accompany her through her last days.  The film depicts a shockingly raw and merciless portrait of Mrs. Fang’s final days.  Unarguably, the best work of director Wang Bing, it was honored with the Golden Leopard at the 2017 Locarno Festival.

"Ashes and Diamonds"

This film plays Wednesday, October 24 at 7:00 PM at the Michigan as a part of the Polish History in Film Masterpieces Film Series presented by the Polish Cultural Fund.  Free and open to the public!  It’s May 1945, and Nazi Germany has just surrendered.  The war is over, but not in Poland.  As the German soldiers vacate, the remaining Russian forces and Polish resistance fighters must work out the hierarchies of power in “liberated” Communist Poland.  A Polish assassin (Zbigniew Cybulski) is given orders to kill a Russian soldier (Waclaw Zastrzezynsky) whom he, days before, was fighting alongside, and this moral conflict makes him question the goals for which he has been fighting.  Directed by Andrzej Wajda.


Sundance award-winning film will be playing October 25 at 7:45 PM and 9:45 PM 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.


"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.

"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.


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. 

"A Star is Born"

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.

"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. 



Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode.  It's been 40 years since Laurie Strode survived a vicious attack from crazed killer Michael Myers on Halloween night.  Locked up in an institution, Myers manages to escape when his bus transfer goes horribly wrong.  Laurie now faces a terrifying showdown when the masked madman returns to Haddonfield, Ill. -- but this time, she's ready for him.­ 

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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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