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Cinema Chat
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Cinema Chat: Halloween flicks at the Michigan, 'The French Dispatch,' 'Last Night in Soho,' and more

Michigan Theater
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This weekend, the movie theaters will provide thrills and chills. WEMU's Michael Jewett joins Michigan Theater Foundation executive director Russ Collins to discuss all of the new films and special screenings at your local theaters for this Halloween weekend.

CONGRATULATIONS MICHAEL JEWETT AND FAMILY

The George Jewett Trophy was bestowed for the first-time this Saturday to the Michigan football game, a new trophy given to the winner of the Michigan-Northwestern football game. It will continue to be awarded in perpetuity each time Michigan and Northwestern play to honors George Jewett, Michael Jewett’s great-grandfather. This is the first major college rivalry football game trophy named for an African American player.

OPENING DOWNTOWN

"The French Dispatch" -- OPENS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29 AT THE MICHIGAN WITH AN ADVANCE SCREENING TONIGHT

A 2021 American comedy-drama anthology film written, directed, and produced by Wes Anderson from a story he conceived with Roman CoppolaHugo Guinness, and Jason Schwartzman. The film stars an ensemble cast featuring Benicio del Toro, Adrien BrodyTilda SwintonLéa SeydouxFrances McDormandTimothée ChalametLyna KhoudriJeffrey WrightMathieu AmalricStephen ParkBill Murray, and Owen Wilson. Its plot follows three different storylines, as the French foreign bureau of a fictional Kansas newspaper creates its final issue. Filming took place between November 2018 and March 2019, with cinematographer Robert Yeoman, in the city of Angoulême, France. Following a delay, the film had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on July 12, 2021.

"The Harder They Fall" -- OPENS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29 AT THE MICHIGAN

A 2021 American Western film directed by Jeymes Samuel, who co-wrote the screenplay with Boaz Yakin. The film stars Jonathan MajorsIdris Elba, Zazie BeetzRegina KingDelroy LindoLakeith StanfieldRJ CylerDanielle DeadwylerEdi Gathegi, and Deon Cole. The film had its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival on October 6, 2021. 

When outlaw Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) discovers that his enemy Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) is being released from prison he rounds up his gang to track Rufus down and seek revenge. Those riding with him in this assured, righteously new school Western include his former love Stagecoach Mary (Zazie Beetz), his right and left hand men--hot-tempered Bill Pickett (Edi Gathegi) and fast drawing Jim Beckwourth (R.J. Cyler)--and a surprising adversary-turned-ally. Rufus Buck has his own fearsome crew, including "Treacherous" Trudy Smith (Regina King) and Cherokee Bill (LaKeith Stanfield), and they are not a group that knows how to lose.

"Last Night in Soho" -- OPENS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29 AT THE STATE WITH AN ADVANCED SCREENING TONIGHT

This is a 2021 British psychological horror film directed by Edgar Wright ("Shaun of the Dead," "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," "Baby Driver," "The Sparks Brothers") with a screenplay by Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns. The film stars Thomasin McKenzie ("Leave No Trace," "Jojo Rabbit," "True History of the Kelly Gang"), Anya Taylor-Joy ("The Witch," "Split,"  "Thoroughbreds," "Peaky Blinders," "Emma," "The Queen's Gambit"), Matt Smith, and Terence Stamp. The film marks the final film appearances of Diana Rigg and Margaret Nolan, who died in September and October 2020, respectively. The film is dedicated to the memory of Nolan. The film had its world premiere at the 78th Venice International Film Festival on 4 September 2021.

In acclaimed director Edgar Wright's psychological thriller, Eloise, an aspiring fashion designer, is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters a dazzling wannabe singer, Sandie. But the glamour is not all it appears to be and the dreams of the past start to crack and splinter into something far darker.

"Possession" (Special Restored 4K Digital Re-release) -- OPENS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5 AT THE STATE WITH AN ADVANCED SCREENING THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4

This is a 1981 psychological horror drama film directed by Andrzej Żuławski, written by Żuławski and Frederic Tuten, and starring Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neill. The plot obliquely follows the relationship between an international spy and his wife, who begins exhibiting increasingly disturbing behavior after asking for a divorce. It premiered at the 34th Cannes Film Festival, where Adjani won the Best Actress award for her performance. The screenplay was written during the painful divorce of Żuławski with actress Malgorzata Braunek. While not commercially successful, the film acquired a cinephile cult status and is now positively appraised.

After Anna (Isabelle Adjani) reveals to her husband, Mark (Sam Neill), that she is having an affair, she leaves him and their son. Mark is devastated, and seeks out Heinrich (Heinz Bennent), the man who cuckolded him, only to receive a beating. After a series of violent confrontations between Mark and Anna, Mark hires a private investigator to follow her. Anna descends into madness, and it's soon clear that she is hiding a much bigger secret -- one that is both inexplicable and shocking.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

HALLOWEEN MOVIES AT THE MICHIGAN

"Frankenstein" -- PLAYS SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24 AT 3 PM AND SUNDAY OCTOBER 31 AT 5 PM

This iconic horror film follows the obsessed scientist Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) as he attempts to create life by assembling a creature from body parts of the deceased. Aided by his loyal misshapen assistant, Fritz (Dwight Frye), Frankenstein succeeds in animating his monster (Boris Karloff), but, confused and traumatized, it escapes into the countryside and begins to wreak havoc. Frankenstein searches for the elusive being, and eventually must confront his tormented creation.

"Dracula" -- PLAYS SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24 AT 5 PM AND SUNDAY, OCTOBER 31 AT 3 PM

The dashing, mysterious Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi), after hypnotizing a British soldier, Renfield (Dwight Frye), into his mindless slave, travels to London and takes up residence in an old castle. Soon Dracula begins to wreak havoc, sucking the blood of young women and turning them into vampires. When he sets his sights on Mina (Helen Chandler), the daughter of a prominent doctor, vampire-hunter Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan) is enlisted to put a stop to the count's never-ending bloodlust.

"Nosferatu" -- PLAYS THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28 AT 7:30 PM

With live organ accompaniment from Head Organist Andrew Rogers!

In this highly influential silent horror film, the mysterious Count Orlok (Max Schreck) summons Thomas Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) to his remote Transylvanian castle in the mountains. The eerie Orlok seeks to buy a house near Hutter and his wife, Ellen (Greta Schroeder). After Orlok reveals his vampire nature, Hutter struggles to escape the castle, knowing that Ellen is in grave danger. Meanwhile Orlok's servant, Knock (Alexander Granach), prepares for his master to arrive at his new home.

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show" -- PLAYS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29 AT 10 PM

Featuring a live shadow-cast on Friday, October 29 by The Leather Medusas. In this cult classic, sweethearts Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon), stuck with a flat tire during a storm, discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), a transvestite scientist. As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters, including a rocking biker (Meat Loaf) and a creepy butler (Richard O'Brien). Through elaborate dances and rock songs, Frank-N-Furter unveils his latest creation: a muscular man named “Rocky.”

LATE NIGHTS - FRIDAYS AT 10 PM

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

"Dune"

From director Denis Villeneuve, a mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, this film tells the story of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.

"The Electric Life of Louis Wain"

A 2021 biographical drama film directed by Will Sharpe, from a story by Simon Stephenson, and screenplay by Stephenson and Sharpe. It stars Benedict CumberbatchClaire FoyAndrea Riseborough, and Toby Jones. The film premiered at the 48th Telluride Film Festival on September 2, 2021.

The extraordinary true story of eccentric British artist Louis Wain (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose playful, sometimes even psychedelic pictures helped to transform the public's perception of cats forever. Moving from the late 1800s through to the 1930s, we follow the incredible adventures of this inspiring, unsung hero, as he seeks to unlock the "electrical" mysteries of the world and, in so doing, to better understand his own life and the profound love he shared with his wife Emily Richardson (Claire Foy).

"Becoming Cousteau"

Adventurer, filmmaker, inventor, author, unlikely celebrity and conservationist: For over four decades, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his explorations under the ocean became synonymous with a love of science and the natural world. As he learned to protect the environment, he brought the whole world with him, sounding alarms more than 50 years ago about the warming seas and our planet's vulnerability. In this film, from National Geographic Documentary Films, two-time Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus takes an inside look at Cousteau and his life, his iconic films and inventions, and the experiences that made him the 20th century's most unique and renowned environmental voice -- and the man who inspired generations to protect the Earth.

"No Time to Die"

A 2021 British-American spy film and the 25th in the James Bond series stars Daniel Craig in his fifth and final outing as the fictional British MI6 agent. It is directed by Cary Fukunaga from a screenplay by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and others, including Fukunaga. Léa SeydouxBen WhishawNaomie HarrisJeffrey WrightChristoph WaltzRory Kinnear, and Ralph Fiennes reprise their roles from previous films, with Rami Malek, plays a classic Bond adversary. The film’s release was delayed by over one year by the COVID-19 pandemic. The film received strong positive reviews from critics, who hailed it as a fitting and compelling sendoff to the Craig-era of Bond films.

"Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings"

Based on the Marvel Comics featuring the character Shang-Chi, it is the 25th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi alongside AwkwafinaMeng'er ZhangFala ChenBenedict WongMichelle YeohBen Kingsley, and Tony Leung. In the film, Shang-Chi is forced to confront his past after he is drawn into his father's Ten Rings organization.

This is the first Marvel Studios film with an Asian director (Destin Daniel Cretton) and a predominantly Asian cast. The film received positive reviews from critics, praising the film's fight choreography, its exploration and representation of Asian culture, and the performances (particularly that of Simu Liu and Tony Leung). 

COMING SOON DOWNTOWN

"Spencer" -- OPENS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5 AT THE STATE WITH AN ADVANCED SCREENING THURSDAY NOVEMBER 4

The marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the Queen's Sandringham Estate. There's eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game. But this year, things will be profoundly different. This film is an imagining of what might have happened during those few fateful days.

"Eternals" -- OPENS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5 AT THE STATE WITH AN ADVANCED SCREENING THURSDAY NOVEMBER 4

Marvel Studios' latest film features an exciting new team of Super Heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. Following the events of "Avengers: Endgame," an unexpected tragedy forces them out of the shadows to reunite against mankind's most ancient enemy, the Deviants.

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—Michael Jewett is the WEMU weekday jazz host.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

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