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Cinema Chat: Live Shows Coming Back To The Michigan, 'Pig' Opens At The State, And More

State Theatre
Wikipedia Media Commons

After a week apart, our favorite movie-loving duo is back together. WEMU's David Fair once again gets in touch with Michigan Theater Foundation executive director, Russ Collins, to chat about all of the new and classic films you can check out downtown this weekend. Plus, some live events are coming to the Michigan Theater, as well! 


NT Live: "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" -- TODAY AT THE MICHIGAN

One-Night Event! Captured live from the National Theatre in London, this critically acclaimed production directed by Marianne Elliot ("Angels in America," 'War Horse") has astonished audiences around the world and has received seven Olivier and five Tony Awards®. Christopher, fifteen years old, stands beside Mrs. Shears’ dead dog. It has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight, and Christopher is under suspicion. He records each fact in the book he is writing to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington. He has an extraordinary brain, exceptional at math, while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life.


One-Night Event! Tracie Bennett, Janie Dee and Imelda Staunton play the magnificent Follies in this dazzling production. Featuring a cast of 37 and an orchestra of 21, Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical was directed by Dominic Cooke ("The Courier") and filmed live on the London stage at the National Theatre in 2017. New York, 1971. There’s a party on the stage of the Weismann Theatre. Tomorrow the iconic building will be demolished. Thirty years after their final performance, the Follies girls gather to have a few drinks, sing a few songs and lie about themselves. Winner of Academy, Tony, Grammy and Olivier awards, Sondheim’s previous work includes A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd and Sunday in the Park with George.


Elvis Costello & the Imposters Announce ‘Hello Again’ Fall Tour. Tour includes stops at New Orleans’ JazzFest and Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater.


Elvis Costello will be hitting the road again with his Imposters band this fall, marking his first tour since the Covid-19 pandemic. Costello released his latest album Hey Clockface last year, and later released a Francophone remix EP, "La Face de Pendule à Coucou," featuring Iggy Pop on two tracks. In January, Costello and his wife, the jazz pianist Diana Krall, lent their support to a campaign to save the iconic New York jazz venue Birdland. Elvis Costello and the Impostors will play the iconic local venue the Michigan Theater at 8:00 PM, Tuesday, November 2.




Living alone in the Oregon wilderness, an acclaimed, but burned-out chief has left his old life behind to become a truffle hunter. After his prized truffle hunting pig turns up missing, he returns to Portland to find the person who stole his beloved pig.


Nic Cage’s Oscar Worthy and Wonderfully Restrained Performance in ‘Pig’


After turns that were "abstract and operatic and breaking form" Cage says, "I wanted to get back to expression in film performance."


Quiet is not the word that comes to mind when you think of Nicolas Cage. Neither is Oscar. But love him or leave him, Cage was nominated for an Oscar for playing twins in “Adaptation” (directed by Spike Jonze from Charlie Kaufman’s script) and won for his sullen alcoholic in Mike Figgis’ “Leaving Las Vegas.” He has given many more bravura performances over his career, among them Norman Jewison’s romantic Cher vehicle “Moonstruck,” the Coens’ classic comedy “Raising Arizona” opposite Holly Hunter, Martin Scorsese and Paul Schrader’s “Bringing Out the Dead,” and John Woo thriller “Face/Off,” which Cage would love to reprise in a sequel.


He also carried his share of noisy Hollywood actioners, from “Con Air,” “Gone in 60 Seconds,” and “The Rock” to “Snake Eyes” and “National Treasure.” Cage steps up with a strong script and director, so it’s welcome news that the 57-year-old veteran — who has struggled with spending beyond his means, forcing him to work for lucre in B movies like “Ghost Rider,” “The Lord of War,” and “The Wicker Man” — recently decided to change direction.


The result is the recently released “Pig,”which was completed just before the pandemic and marks his best performance in years. Its 82 Metascore is Cage’s best since Panos Cosmatos’ “Mandy,” William Friedkin’s “Joe,” and my personal favorite, Werner Herzog’s “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.”


“He’s a wonderful actor. There’s something great about him,” Herzog once told IndieWire. Agreed. In “Pig,” a bearded Cage combines an intimidating physical presence with a slow-burn performance as Rob, an introverted, once-renowned chef slowly coming back to life as he leaves rural isolation to track down his beloved stolen truffle pig in Portland, Oregon.


"The Green Knight"-- OPENS JULY 30 AT THE MICHIGAN


An epic fantasy adventure based on the timeless Arthurian legend, this film tells the story of Sir Gawain (Dev Patel), King Arthur's reckless and headstrong nephew, who embarks on a daring quest to confront the eponymous Green Knight, a gigantic emerald-skinned stranger and tester of men. Gawain contends with ghosts, giants, thieves, and schemers in what becomes a deeper journey to define his character and prove his worth in the eyes of his family and kingdom by facing the ultimate challenger. From visionary filmmaker David Lowery comes a fresh and bold spin on a classic tale from the knights of the round table.


"Stillwater" (Featured at Cannes) -- OPENS JULY 30 AT THE STATE


Unemployed roughneck Bill Baker (Academy Award® winner Matt Damon) travels from Oklahoma to Marseille to visit his estranged daughter Allison (Academy Award® nominee Abigail Breslin). Imprisoned for a murder she claims she did not commit. Allison seizes on a new tip that could exonerate her and presses Bill to engage her legal team. But Bill, eager to prove his worth and regain his daughters trust, takes matters into his own hands. He is quickly stymied by language barriers, cultural differences, and a complicated legal system until he meets French actress Virginie (Camille Cottin), mother to eight-year-old Maya (Lilou Siauvaud). Together, these unlikely allies embark on a journey of discovery, truth, love, and liberation.




A globally acclaimed opera singer and a stand-up comedian have their first child, and their lives are completely changed. Musical score by the Sparks Brothers.




The much-anticipated musical film based on the life of American singer Aretha Franklin. Directed by Liesl Tommy (in her feature film directorial debut), from a screenplay written by Tracey Scott Wilson. The film stars Jennifer Hudson as Franklin. Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Skye Dakota Turner, Tate Donovan, and Mary J. Blige.


Direct from Sundance: "CODA" -- OPENS AUGUST 20 AT THE MICHIGAN


This film had its world premiere on January 28, 2021 at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, and the screening at the Michigan Theater will be one of only a handful of theatrical screenings to be allowed. An American dramatic film featuring a hearing teenage girl who is a Child Of Deaf Adults (CODA for short). Written and directed by Sian Heder, the film stars Emilia Jones as the hearing girl, with Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur as her culturally deaf parents and Daniel Durant as her deaf brother. Eugenio Derbezand Ferdia Walsh-Peelo also star in the film.
The film, which is an English-language remake of the 2014 French-language film "La Famille Bélier" was filmed on location in Gloucester, Massachusetts, in the United States.





 CINEMA CLASSICS – Sundays & Tuesdays

**Starting August 20: HITCHCOCK SERIES!**



"The Truffle Hunters"

Deep in the forests of Piedmont, Italy, a handful of men, seventy or eighty years young, hunt for the rare and expensive white Alba truffle—which to date has resisted all of modern science's efforts at cultivation. They're guided by a secret culture and training passed down through generations, as well as by the noses of their cherished and expertly-trained dogs. They live a simpler, slower way of life, in harmony with their loyal animals and their picture-perfect land, seemingly straight out of a fairy tale. They're untethered to cell phone screens or the Internet, opting instead to make their food and drink by hand and prioritizing in-person connections and community.

The demand for white truffles increases year after year, even as the supply decreases. As a result of climate change, deforestation, and the lack of young people taking up the mantle, the truffle hunters' secrets are more coveted than ever. However, as it soon becomes clear, these aging men may just hold something much more valuable than even this prized delicacy: the secret to a rich and meaningful life.

"Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain"

It's not where you go. It's what you leave behind.... Chef, writer, adventurer, provocateur: Anthony Bourdain lived his life unabashedly. This film is an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at how an anonymous chef became a world-renowned cultural icon. From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville ("20 Feet From Stardom," "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"), this unflinching look at Bourdain reverberates with his presence, in his own voice and in the way he indelibly impacted the world around him.

"Black Widow"

In Marvel Studios' action-packed spy thriller, Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.

It is an American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, it is the 24th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was directed by Cate Shortland (Australian writer and director best known for "Somersault," "Lore," and "Berlin Syndrome") from a screenplay by Eric Pearson. Stars Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow alongside Florence PughDavid HarbourO-T FagbenleWilliam HurtRay Winstone, and Rachel Weisz. Set after "Captain America: Civil War" (2016), the film sees Romanoff on the run and forced to confront her past.

Scarlett Johansson has been cast in the role for several MCU films beginning with "Iron Man 2" (2010). Work began in late 2017, and director Cate Shortland was hired in 2018. Filming took place from May to October 2019 in Norway, Budapest, Morocco, Pinewood Studios in England, and in Atlanta and Macon, Georgia. It is the first film in Phase Four of the MCU and was delayed three times from an original May 2020 release date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Summer of Soul (Or When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)" -- MOVES TO THE MICHIGAN TONIGHT

In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a powerful and transporting documentary—part music film, part historical record created around an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture, and fashion. Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just 100 miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The footage was never seen and largely forgotten—until now. The film shines a light on the importance of history to our spiritual well-being and stands as a testament to the healing power of music during times of unrest, both past and present. The feature includes never-before-seen concert performances by Stevie WonderNina SimoneSly & the Family StoneGladys Knight & the PipsThe Staples SingersMahalia JacksonB.B. KingThe 5th Dimension, and more.

"In the Heights" -- MOVES TO THE STATE

This is an upcoming American musical drama film directed by Jon M. Chu from a screenplay by Quiara Alegría Hudes. It is based on the stage musical of Lin-Manuel Miranda. The film stars Anthony RamosCorey HawkinsLeslie GraceMelissa BarreraOlga MeredizDaphne Rubin-VegaGregory Diaz IV, and Jimmy Smits.

Lights up on Washington Heights... The scent of a cafecito caliente hangs in the air just outside of the 181st Street subway stop, where a kaleidoscope of dreams rallies this vibrant and tight-knit community. At the intersection of it all is the likeable, magnetic bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who saves every penny from his daily grind as he hopes, imagines and sings about a better life.

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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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