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Cinema Chat: State Theatre Anniversary, 'The Father,' 'Raya And The Last Dragon,' And More

State Theatre
Wikipedia Media Commons

The weather is starting to look good, and the movie world is, too.  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair connects with Michigan Theater Foundation executive director, Russ Collins, to discuss the latest movie news and the new flicks now available at your favorite downtown Ann Arbor theater.


BAD NEWS: Goodrich Quality 16 theater is closed

According to their website: “Due to projection and plumbing repairs, Quality will be closed March 9th until April 30th.”

GREAT NEWS: American Rescue Plan Will Help Concert Venues and Movie Theaters (and much, much more)

Yesterday, March 10, the House passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP), following its passage in the Senate. President Biden is expected to sign the American Rescue Plan on Friday.  This new relief funding bill clarifies how the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant be implemented and managed by the Small Business Administration.  The Shuttered Venue Operator Grant was substantially funded by the COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in December.  The new bill passed yesterday also helps by allowing concert venues, movie theaters and other cultural institutions closed by COVID-19 to apply for funds currently available through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  If an organization secures PPP funds, they may still apply for the more targeted and generous Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG), but if the organization receives PPP funds those funds must be deducted from their SVOG grant if received.  This means, an arts and cultural organization may apply for the more immediately available PPP funds, but they may not “double dip” if SVOG funds are granted.  This is good for concert venues and organizations and for taxpayers!

The American Rescue Plan also added $1.25 billion to the $15 billion allocated in December for Shuttered Venue Operator Grants (SVOG). These additional funds are a sign of strong support for the SVOG program.  It also indicates the Small Business Administration may be allowed to add needed funds after the SVOG program is operational.  The ARP also included funding for the SBA to assist in getting this historic grant program operational.  This is great and much needed news for performing arts venues, concert organizations and movie theaters!!


The most popular and acclaimed film of 1942 – the year the State Theatre opened – celebrates 79 years.


Casablanca is a 1942 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz, and starring Humphrey BogartIngrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid.  Filmed and set during World War II, it focuses on an American expatriate (Bogart) who must choose between his love for a woman (Bergman) and helping her and her husband (Henreid), a Czech resistance leader, escape from the Vichy-controlled city of Casablanca to continue his fight against the Germans.  The screenplay is based on "Everybody Comes to Rick's," an unproduced stage play by Murray Burnett andJoan Alison.  The supporting cast features Claude RainsConrad VeidtSydney GreenstreetPeter Lorre, and Dooley Wilson.

About the State Theatre

The State Theatre is an operational former movie palace in Ann Arbor, Michigan, designed by C. Howard Crane in the Art Deco style.  The State was built by W.S. Butterfield Theaters and opened on March 18, 1942.  The non-profit Michigan Theater Foundation has operated the theater since 1999.  The theater's central location and distinctive green, yellow and red marquee have made it an icon of Ann Arbor's downtown. The State was designed by the internationally famous theater architect C. Howard Crane as a cinema-style theater.  It opened to great fanfare on March 18, 1942, showing "The Fleet's In." Although it opened after the USA entered the Second World War, this was allowed because construction had started before the United States entered the war, and that no materials were taken from the war effort.


"The Father"-- PLAYS MARCH 12-14 AT THE STATE

Anthony (Academy Award Winner Anthony Hopkins) is 80, mischievous, living defiantly alone and rejecting the carers that his daughter, Anne (Academy Award and Golden Globe Winner Olivia Colman), encouragingly introduces.  Yet help is also becoming a necessity for Anne; she can't make daily visits anymore, and Anthony's grip on reality is unraveling.  As we experience the ebb and flow of his memory, how much of his own identity and past can Anthony cling to?  How does Anne cope as she grieves the loss of her father, while he still lives and breathes before her?  This filim warmly embraces real life, through loving reflection upon the vibrant human condition; a heart-breaking and uncompromisingly poignant movie that nestles in the truth of our own lives.

"Borat Subsequent Moviefilm" -- PLAYS MARCH 12-14 AT THE STATE

Released from prison for bringing shame to his country, Kazakh funnyman Borat risks life and limb when he returns to America with his 15-year-old daughter.  Starring Sacha Baron CohenMaria Bakalova.

"The Courier" -- PLAYS AT THE STATE MARCH 12-14

This is a true-life spy thriller, the story of an unassuming British businessman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history.  At the behest of the UK's MI-6 and a CIA operative (Rachel Brosnahan), he forms a covert, dangerous partnership with Soviet officer Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) in an effort to provide crucial intelligence needed to prevent a nuclear confrontation and defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.



Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern (Frances McDormand) packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad.  The third feature film from director Chloé Zhao, this film features real nomads Linda May, Swankie, and Bob Wells as Fern’s mentors and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West.


If you liked the indie hit “The Farewell” (starring Awkwafina), you will like this film.  A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, the film follows a Korean-American family that moves to a tiny Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream.  The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother.  Amidst the instability and challenges of this new life in the rugged Ozarks, Minari shows the undeniable resilience of family and what really builds a home and family.  Starring Steven Yeun ("Burning") and Yeri Han ("Champion").


"Raya and the Last Dragon"

Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity.  Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned and it's up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the last dragon in order to finally stop the Druun for good. However, along her journey, she'll learn that it'll take more than dragon magic to save the world--it's going to take trust as well.

Director: Don HallCarlos López Estrada.   Writer: Qui NguyenAdele Lim.  Walt Disney Animation Studios.


Alfred "Boogie" Chin, a basketball phenom living in Queens, N.Y., dreams of one day playing in the NBA.  While his parents pressure him to focus on earning a scholarship to an elite college, Boogie must find a way to navigate a new girlfriend, high school, on-court rivals, and the burden of expectation.

Writer and director: Eddie Huang

"Chaos Walking"

In the not-too-distant future, Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) discovers a mysterious woman (Daisy Ridley) who crash-landed on his planet.  It's a dystopian world where all the females have disappeared, and all the men are afflicted by a force that puts their thoughts on display.  Vowing to protect her, the duo must navigate dangerous terrain as Todd discovers his inner power and unlocks the planet's dark secrets.  Also starring Mads Mikkelsen and Nick Jonas.

Director: Doug Liman.   Writer: Patrick NessChristopher Ford.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu

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