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Cinema Chat: 'Nightmare Alley,' 'Spider-Man: No Way Home,' and more

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That feeling of holiday cheer continues all over town, and watching a good movie goes well with that. WEMU's own Michael Jewett continues sitting in for David Fair for our weekly segment about the world of cinema, along with Michigan Theater Foundation executive director Russ Collins.

REMINDER: LIVE ON STAGE: ANAIS MITCHELL & BONEY LIGHT HORSEMAN AT THE MICHIGAN THEATER

TICKETS NOW ON SALE THROUGH TICKETMASTER! Anaïs Mitchell is on tour is and coming to Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater on February 7, 2022. She'll be performing with a band (including JT Bates on drums and Michael Lewis on bass) and will play brand new music alongside older favorites including selections from "Hadestown." Bonny Light Horseman, Anais’s band with Josh Kaufman and Eric Johnson, will open! Tickets available now at TicketMaster.

OPENING DOWNTOWN

"Nightmare Alley" -- OPENS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18 AT THE STATE WITH ADVANCED SCREENING TONIGHT

A 2021 American neo-noir psychological thriller directed by Guillermo del Toro from a screenplay by del Toro and Kim Morgan, based on the 1946 novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham. The film features an ensemble cast including Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman, Mary Steenburgen, and David Strathairn. It is the second feature film adaptation of Gresham's novel, following the 1947 version. The film focuses on Stan Carlisle (Cooper), an ambitious carny, who hooks up with a corrupt psychiatrist, Dr. Lilith Ritter (Blanchett), who proves to be as dangerous as he is.

Cooper plays the charismatic but down-on-his-luck carny, Stanton Carlisle, who endears himself to clairvoyant Zeena (Toni Collette) and her has-been mentalist husband Pete (David Strathairn). At a traveling carnival, he crafts a golden ticket to success, using this newly acquired knowledge to grift the wealthy elite of 1940s New York society. With the virtuous Molly (Rooney Mara) loyally by his side, Stanton plots to con a dangerous tycoon (Richard Jenkins) with the aid of a mysterious psychiatrist (Cate Blanchett) who might be his most formidable opponent yet. 

"Spider-Man: No Way Home" -- OPENS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18 AT THE MICHIGAN WITH ADVANCED SCREENING TONIGHT

This is a 2021 American superhero film, the sequel to "Spider-Man: Homecoming" (2017) and "Spider-Man: Far From Home" (2019). It is the 27th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film is directed by Jon Watts, written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, and stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man alongside Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau, and Marisa Tomei. In this film, Parker asks Dr. Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) to make his identity as Spider-Man a secret again with magic, but Strange's spell goes awry, breaking open the multiverse and allowing supervillains from alternate realities to enter the MCU. This marks the first time in the cinematic history of Spider-Man, our friendly neighborhood hero's identity is revealed, bringing his Super Hero responsibilities into conflict with his normal life and putting those he cares about most at risk. Now, Peter will have to overcome his greatest challenge yet, which will not only forever alter his own future, but the future of the Multiverse.

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

"West Side Story"

Love at first sight strikes when young Tony spots Maria at a high school dance in 1957 New York City. Their burgeoning romance helps to fuel the fire between the warring Jets and Sharks -- two rival gangs vying for control of the streets. Director: Steven Spielberg. Writer: Tony Kushner.

"Being the Ricardos"

Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) are threatened by shocking personal accusations, a political smear and cultural taboos in Academy Award (R)-winning writer and director Aaron Sorkin's behind-the-scenes drama. A revealing glimpse of the couple's complex romantic and professional relationship, the film takes audiences into the writers' room, onto the soundstage and behind closed doors with Ball and Arnaz during one critical production week of their groundbreaking sitcom, "I Love Lucy."

Producer: Desi Arnaz Jr.Lucie ArnazTodd BlackJenna BlockJason BlumenthalSteve Tisch

"Don't Look Up" 

Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence), an astronomy grad student, and her professor Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) make an astounding discovery of a comet orbiting within the solar system. The problem: it's on a direct collision course with Earth. The other problem? No one really seems to care. Turns out warning mankind about a planet-killer the size of Mount Everest is an inconvenient fact to navigate. With the help of Dr. Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan), Kate and Randall embark on a media tour that takes them from the office of an indifferent President Orlean (Meryl Streep) and her sycophantic son and Chief of Staff, Jason (Jonah Hill), to the airwaves of The Daily Rip, an upbeat morning show hosted by Brie (Cate Blanchett) and Jack (Tyler Perry). With only six months until the comet makes impact, managing the 24-hour news cycle and gaining the attention of the social media obsessed public before it's too late proves shockingly comical -- what will it take to get the world to just look up?!

"House of Gucci"

This is a 2021 American biographical crime drama film directed by Ridley Scott, based on the 2001 book "The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed" by Sara Gay Forden. The film stars Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani, the wife of Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), as their romance transforms into a fight for control of the fashion brand Gucci; Jared LetoJeremy IronsSalma Hayek, and Al Pacino also star.

Ridley Scott had wanted to do a film about the Gucci dynasty since acquiring the rights to Forden's book in the early 2000s. The project languished for several years and went through a handful of directors and rumored actors before Scott and Gaga were confirmed as attached in November 2019. Much of the rest of the cast joined the following summer, and filming began in Italy in February 2021, lasting through May.

The film is inspired by the shocking true story of the family behind the Italian fashion empire. When Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), an outsider from humble beginnings, marries into the Gucci family, her unbridled ambition begins to unravel the family legacy and triggers a reckless spiral of betrayal, decadence, revenge, and ultimately... murder.

"The French Dispatch"

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.

IT'S THE HOLIDAY SEASON!

FREE Holiday Classics Series!

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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

Michael Jewett is the long-time host of 89.1 Jazz every weekday afternoon. Besides his on-air work; Michael is WEMU’s Operations Manager. Mr. Jewett started working for WEMU in 1983. He’s been on the air longer than any other current WEMU music host.
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