89.1 WEMU

Cinema Chat: 'Bathtubs Over Broadway,' 'The World Before Your Feet,' 'Glass,' And More

Jan 17, 2019

The Michigan Theater
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

As the Oscars get closer and closer, more great movies are hitting the big screen!  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair and Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins talk about the latest movie news and all of the new flicks you can check out this weekend.

DRUMBEAT TO OSCARS -- Academy Awards bestowed Sunday, February 24

The State and Michigan Theatres will play more Oscar nominated films than any other theater!!  It’s quality movie season & the State and Michigan your quality movie places! 


"Bathtubs Over Broadway"

At the Michigan (opens Friday, January 18): In this film, a late night comedy writer stumbles upon a hilarious, hidden world of entertainment and finds an unexpected connection to his fellow man.  When he started as a comedy writer for the "Late Show with David Letterman," Steve Young had few interests outside of his day job.  But while gathering material for a segment on the show, Steve stumbled onto a few vintage record albums that would change his life forever.  Bizarre cast recordings - marked "internal use only" - revealed full-throated Broadway-style musical shows about some of the most recognizable corporations in America: General Electric, McDonald's, Ford, DuPont, Xerox. 

"The World Before Your Feet"

At the State (opens Friday, January 18): Executive produced by Oscar® nominee Jesse Eisenberg, this film is a tribute to an endlessly fascinating city and the freedom to be found, wherever you live, in simply taking a walk.  There are 8,000 miles of roads and paths in New York City, and, for the past six years, Matt Green has been walking them all – every street, park, cemetery, beach, and bridge.  It's a five-borough journey that stretches from the barbershops of the Bronx to the forests of Staten Island, from the Statue of Liberty to Times Square, with Matt amassing a surprisingly detailed knowledge of New York's history and people along the way. 


A2 Tech Film Showcase

The second annual A2 Tech Film Showcase is back Friday, January 18 from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM at the Michigan Theater.  This is a diverse short film showcase that highlights the consequences of technology with introductions and panel discussions with filmmakers.


This film plays Saturday, January 19 at 1:00 PM at the Michigan Theater as a part of the Korean Cinema NOW Film Series presented by the Nam Center for Korean Studies.  Free and open to the public!  Perhaps the most impressive Korean debut at Busan this year, the thoughtful and entertaining film is a convincing showcase for star Esom and and an even more impressive calling card for director Jeon Go-woon, who becomes the first woman in the Gwanghwamun Cinema group to helm a feature, and her debut may well be the collective’s best yet.  Miso is a 31-year-old housekeeper who lives strategically on a small budget but leaves enough aside for her daily vices, which includes a pack of cigarettes and a glass of whiskey.  When New Year’s Day in 2014 brings about a 2,000 won ($2) across-the-board price hike on cigarettes, rather than cut back on the habit, she gives up having a roof over her head and begins to surf through the couches of her old college friends.

"Disney's Frozen Sing-Along"

This film plays Sunday, January 20 at 3:00 PM at the Michigan Theater with on-screen lyrics, goody bags filled with interactive props, and more!  When their kingdom becomes trapped in perpetual winter, fearless Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) joins forces with mountaineer Kristoff (voiced by Jonathan Groff) and his reindeer sidekick to find Anna's sister, Snow Queen Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel), and break her icy spell.  Although their epic journey leads them to encounters with mystical trolls, a comedic snowman (voiced by Josh Gad), harsh conditions, and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff bravely push onward in a race to save their kingdom from winter's cold grip.


This film plays Monday, January 21 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) at 7:00 PM at the Michigan Theater. Free and open to the public!  The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (played by David Oyelowo) led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition.  From Director Ava DuVernay and also starring Carmen Ejogo, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Wilkinson, Common, Tim Roth, and more!

"The Man Who Fell to Earth"

This film plays Tuesday, January 22 at 7:00 PM at the State Theatre as a part of the Nicolas Roeg Retrospective, which celebrates the life of the British Filmmaker, who passed away November 23, 2018.  Thomas Jerome Newton (played by David Bowie) is an alien who has come to Earth in search of water to save his home planet.  Aided by lawyer Oliver Farnsworth (played by Buck Henry), Thomas uses his knowledge of advanced technology to create profitable inventions.  While developing a method to transport water, Thomas meets Mary-Lou (played by Candy Clark), a quiet hotel clerk, and begins to fall in love with her.  Just as he is ready to leave Earth, Thomas is intercepted by the U.S. government, and his entire plan is threatened.

"Spirited Away"

This film plays Wednesday, January 23 at 7:00 PM at the Michigan Theater as a part of the Icons of Anime film series, which celebrates Japanese animation by screening quintessential examples of the style through multiple decades and genres from cyberpunk to fantasy.  In this animated feature by noted Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, 10-year-old Chihiro and her parents stumble upon a seemingly abandoned amusement park.  After her mother and father are turned into giant pigs, Chihiro meets the mysterious Haku, who explains that the park is a resort for supernatural beings who need a break from their time spent in the earthly realm, and that she must work there to free herself and her parents.



"On the Basis of Sex"

At the Michigan: This film tells an inspiring and spirited true story that follows young lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg (played by Felicity Jones) as she teams with her husband Marty (played by Armie Hammer) to bring a groundbreaking case before the U.S. Court of Appeals and overturn a century of gender discrimination.  Also stars Justin Theroux, Kathy Bates, and Sam Waterston.

"If Beale Street Could Talk"

At the State: Golden Globe® winner for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Regina King)!  Directed by Barry Jenkins ("Moonlight").  Set in early-1970s Harlem, this film is a timeless and moving love story of both a couple’s unbreakable bond and the Black family’s empowering embrace, as told through the eyes of 19-year-old Tish Rivers (played by screen newcomer KiKi Layne).  A daughter and wife-to-be, Tish vividly recalls the passion, respect, and trust that have connected her and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt, who goes by the nickname Fonny (played by Stephan James).

"Mary Queen of Scots"

This film explores the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan).  Queen of France at 16 and widowed at 18, Mary defies pressure to remarry. Instead, she returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne. But Scotland and England fall under the rule of the compelling Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie).  Each young Queen beholds her "sister" in fear and fascination.  Rivals in power and in love, and female regents in a masculine world, the two must decide how to play the game of marriage versus independence.  


Golden Globe® winner for Best Picture and Best Director, as well as Winner of The Golden Lion at The Venice International Film Festival!   The most personal project to date from Academy Award-winning director and writer Alfonso Cuarón ("Gravity," "Children of Men," "Y Tu Mama Tambien"), this film follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a young domestic worker for a family in the middle-class neighborhood of Roma in Mexico City.  Delivering an artful love letter to the women who raised him, Cuarón draws on his own childhood to create a vivid and emotional portrait of domestic strife and social hierarchy amidst political turmoil of the 1970s.


Golden Globe® winner for Best Actor!  This film explores the epic story about how a bureaucratic Washington insider quietly became the most powerful man in the world as Vice-President to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today.  Christian Bale as Dick Cheney, Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney, Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush, Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld, Tyler Perry as Colin Powell, Justin Kirk as Scooter Libby, Bill Camp as Gerald Ford. 

"The Favourite"

Nominated for 4 Golden Globes® including Best Picture and Best Actress!  This film akes place in the early 18th century, while England is at war with the French.   A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne's ill health and mercurial temper.  When a new servant Abigail Masham (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.  Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots.  As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen's companion.  Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics, or rabbit stand in her way.

"At Eternity's Gate"

Golden Globe® nominated for Best Actor!  Academy Award® Nominee Julian Schnabel's film is a journey inside the world and mind of a person who, despite skepticism, ridicule and illness, created some of the world's most beloved and stunning works of art.  This biographical drama film about the final years of painter Vincent van Gogh’s life, starring Willem Dafoe, who won Best Actor at The Venice Film Festival for his portrayal, is based on letters, common agreement about events in his life that present as facts, hearsay, and moments that are just plain invented.  Also starring Oscar IsaacMads Mikkelsen, and Rupert Friend.

"Green Book"

Nominated for 5 Golden Globes® and winner of Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Mahershala Ali), and Best Screenplay!  In this film, Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on "The Green Book" to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans.  Confronted with racism, danger-as well as unexpected humanity and humor-they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime. 

"Free Solo"

From award-winning documentary filmmaker E. Chai Vasarhelyi and 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.



M. Night Shyamalan brings together the narratives of two of his standout originals—2000’s "Unbreakable" from Touchstone and 2016’s "Split" from Universal—in one explosive, all-new comic-book thriller, opening in theaters nationwide Friday, January 18.  From "Unbreakable," Bruce Willis returns as David Dunn as does Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price, known also by his pseudonym Mr. Glass.  Joining from "Split" are James McAvoy, reprising his role as Kevin Wendell Crumb and the multiple identities who reside within, and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, the only captive to survive an encounter with The Beast.  Following the conclusion of "Split," this film finds Dunn pursuing Crumb’s superhuman figure of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Price emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men.


"Stan & Ollie"

At the Michigan (opens Friday, January 25): This film pays tribute to a pair of beloved entertainers with an affectionate look behind the scenes -- and a moving look at the burdens and blessings of a creative bond.  Laurel & Hardy, one of the world's great comedy teams, set out on a variety hall tour of Britain in 1953.  Diminished by age and with their golden era as the kings of Hollywood comedy now behind them, they they re-connect with their adoring fans aware of their approaching their swan song and trying to rediscover just how much they mean to each other.  Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel, John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy.


At the State (opens Friday, January 25): Oscar® nominated for Best Foreign Language Film!  Understated yet ultimately deeply affecting, this film adds another powerful chapter to director Hirokazu Koreeda's richly humanistic filmography.  After one of their shoplifting sessions, Osamu and his son come across a little girl in the freezing cold.  At first reluctant to shelter the girl, Osamu's wife agrees to take care of her after learning of the hardships she faces.  Although the family is poor, barely making enough money to survive through petty crime, they seem to live happily together until an unforeseen incident reveals hidden secrets, testing the bonds that unite them.

"Cold War"

At the Michigan (opens Friday, February 8): Oscar® nominated for Best Foreign Language Film!  With brilliantly stark visual aesthetic to match its lean narrative, this film doesn't waste a moment of its brief running time -- and doesn't skimp on its bittersweet emotional impact.  This is a passionate love story between a man and a woman who meet in the ruins of post-war Poland.  With vastly different backgrounds and temperaments, they are fatefully mismatched and yet condemned to each other.  Set against the background of the Cold War in 1950s Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris, it's the tale of a couple separated by politics, character flaws and unfortunate twists of fate - an impossible love story in impossible times.  Written and directed by Pawel Pawlikowski ("Ida," "My Summer of Love").

2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films

At the Michigan (opens Friday, February 8): Includes Live-Action, Animated, and Documentary Nominees

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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