Cinema Chat: 'Patti Cake$,' 'Ingrid Goes West,' 'Birth Of The Dragon,' And More

Aug 24, 2017

Michigan Theater Marquee
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In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's Patrick Campion talks to Michigan Theater executive director Russ Collins about the latest movie news and about all of the films you catch on the silver screen this weekend!

Will Ferrell to Star in ‘The 100 Year-Old Man’

The project is based on bestselling author Jonas Jonasson’s “The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.”  “The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide since it was published in 2012.  The 2013 Swedish version of the movie, which received an Academy Award nomination for best makeup and hairstyling, is the third-highest grosser of Swedish movie of all time.  Ferrell will play a man named Allan who escapes from a nursing home on his 100th birthday.  His time on the run reveals that he took part in several defining events of the 20th century.  In the Swedish movie, his character had encounters with President Harry S. Truman and atomic bomb developer Robert Oppenheimer.

Cannes Palme d’Or Winner ‘The Square’ Is Sweden’s Pick for Foreign-Language Oscar

Ruben Ostlund’s Palme d’Or-winning “The Square” will represent Sweden in the foreign-language Oscar race at the 90th Academy Awards in 2018.  A satirical drama weaving dark comedy, “The Square” takes place in the contemporary art world.  Written by Ostlund, the film stars Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, and Dominic West.  “The Square” world premiered in competition at Cannes, where it won the Palme d’Or.  It will next play at Toronto, in the Special Presentations section.  Commenting on the selection of “The Square,” Ostlund, who spoke about his despair over missing out on an Oscar nomination for his 2015 “Force Majeure.”  The foreign-language Oscar committee will unveil its nine short-listed films in December and will announce the final five movies set to compete in January.  The 90th Academy Awards will be held on March 4, 2018.

How ‘Patti Cake$’ Transformed an Actress Who Can’t Rap Into a Hip Hop Star

One of the most unexpected breakouts at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was Danielle MacDonald for playing Patricia Dombroski — aka Patti Cake$ — a 23-year-old, heavy-set Jersey girl with dreams of rap stardom. MacDonald carries the film not only with her acting, but her hip hop performances.  There was just one problem that the Australian actress faced: She had never rapped before in her life.  “We decided to cast an actress over a musician just because there are so many heavy scenes, there’s comedic scenes, there’s dramatic scenes, she had to do some much – she had to carry the film, she’s in every single scene,” said director Geremy Jasper

Jasper, who was a musician before he was a filmmaker, wrote each of rap songs in a different hip-hop style.  Jasper felt that most experienced rappers have their own particular styles and it would be tough to coach a specific character with them.

While Jasper had been developing the project for two years, time was not a luxury once the cameras started rolling on the low-budget, 30-day production.  “I think films that have the luxury of time and money, you can spend a day, or half a day, on a super-emotional scene and someone can really dig in and create a mood and go there,” said Jasper.  What happened on the run-and-gun “Patti Cake$” was they would arrive at a location and quickly shoot all the scenes – most of which varied greatly in tone and style – that took place there. It was something Jasper could never imagine a first-time actress doing.  “She was able to be limber enough to [go] deep emotionally when it was time to and then be funny and then rap,” Jasper said.

Opening Downtown


Critics Consensus: Patti Cake$ hits a number of predictable beats, but adds enough fresh elements -- not least Danielle MacDonald's potentially star making turn -- to make its underdog story work. Critics AND audiences give this film two THUMBS UP!   

This tells the story of Patricia Dombrowski (Danielle MacDonald), a.k.a. “Killa P” and “Patti Cake$,” who dreams of escaping dirty New Jersey on the coattails of her rhymes.  Stuck working in a hole-in-the-wall bar, under the weight of her beloved Nana’s medical bills and her alcoholic mother’s struggles, Patti finds solace and purpose in her music.  Unable to find a producer with “fire beats,” Patti and her best friend Jheri (Siddarth Dhananjay) join forces with goth-metal musician (Mamoudou Athie) in the hopes of achieving hip-hop superstardom. “Patti Cake$” opens Wednesday.  Written and directed by Geremy Jasper.

"Ingrid Goes West"

Critics Consensus: Led by strong performances from Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen, Ingrid Goes West delivers smart, topical humor underlined by timely social observations.  Near 90% positive reviews.

Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) is an unhinged social media stalker with a history of confusing "likes" for meaningful relationships. Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) is an Instagram-famous "influencer" whose perfectly curated, boho-chic lifestyle becomes Ingrid's latest obsession.  When Ingrid moves to LA and manages to insinuate herself into the social media star's life, their relationship quickly goes from #BFF to #WTF.  Built around a brilliantly disarming performance from Aubrey Plaza, the film is a savagely hilarious dark comedy that satirizes the modern world of social media and proves that being #perfect isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, “Ingrid Goes West” opens Friday.

Continuing Downtown


Baltimore girls school’s program of rhythmic performance bond college bound inner city kids.


Pre-cell phone family dramedy starring Jenny Slate, Abby Quinn, John Turturro, and Edie Falco.

"An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power"

Al Gore’s global warming mission continues.

"The Big Sick"

Summer comedy hit starring Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, and Ray Romano.

Special Screenings Downtown

Lynch After Dark

Celebrating the return of Twin Peaks, we’ll take a look at career of David Lynch, featuring selections which find focus in science fiction, mystery, love, and the outright weird. Beginning August 3rd with Eraserhead, this After Dark Series will also continue every Thursday in August at 9:30 PM with Dune, Blue Velvet, Wild At Heart, and Lost Highway.

"Wild at Heart"– 8/24

After serving prison time for a self-defense killing, Sailor Ripley (Nicolas Cage) reunites with girlfriend Lula Fortune (Laura Dern).  Lula’s mother, Marietta (Diane Ladd), desperate to keep them apart, hires a hit man to kill Sailor.  But he finds a whole new set of troubles when he and Bobby Peru (Willem Dafoe), an old buddy who’s also out to get Sailor, try to rob a store.  When Sailor lands in jail yet again, the young lovers appear further than ever from the shared life they covet.  “Wild at Heart” plays Thursday, August 24 at 9:30 PM.

"Lost Highway"– 8/31

Writer/director David Lynch fashions two separate but intersecting stories, one about a jazz musician (Bill Pullman), tortured by the notion that his wife is having an affair, who suddenly finds himself accused of her murder. The other is a young mechanic (Balthazar Getty) drawn into a web of deceit by a temptress who is cheating on her gangster boyfriend. These two tales are linked by the fact that the women in both are played by the same actress (Patricia Arquette).  “Lost Highway” plays Thursday, August 31 at 9:30 PM.

End of Summer Classics

"The Little Mermaid--Sing Along!"

Disney's “The Little Mermaid” is a precocious teenager named Ariel, the daughter of Triton, king of the Sea.  Against her dad's wishes, Ariel journeys beyond her own world to the surface, where she falls in love with Prince Eric, a handsome human.  Foolishly, the little mermaid enters into an agreement with evil sea witch Ursula in order to become human herself.  The obligatory Disney comic relief is handled by such freshly minted characters as Sebastian the Crab, who, courtesy of voiceover artist Samuel E. Wright, sings the film's Oscar-winning "Under the Sea."  These screenings feature on-screen lyrics, interactive props, a costume parade, and more!  Sing-along “The Little Mermaid” plays Sunday, August 27 at 1:30 PM and Tuesday, August 29 at 7 PM.  Special ticket prices apply.


Hosted live by Bruce Campbell, "Last Fan Standing" is an interactive trivia quest built from four primary pillars of content: fantasy, horror, sci-fi and superheroes.  Not your average quiz show or trivia contest, "Last Fan Standing" tests your knowledge about the things that really matter.  Through provided "audience response devices" (clickers if you insist on getting technical), each audience member participates in a series of multiple choice questions, where the players with the fastest-correct answers advance to the Podium Rounds.  The Podium Rounds bring the top four (4) players from the audience to a winner-take-all trivia battle.  After each round, the player with the lowest score is eliminated, until there is only one...Last Fan Standing!

All tickets include a signed hardcover copy of “Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor,” Campbell’s latest memoir.  Campbell will sign books at the conclusion of the event.

Opening at the Multiplex

"Birth of the Dragon"– No reviews

Set against the backdrop of 1960s San Francisco, “Birth of the Dragon” is a modern take on the classic movies that Bruce Lee was known for.  It takes its inspiration from the epic and still controversial showdown between an up-and-coming Bruce Lee and kung fu master Wong Jack Man - a battle that gave birth to a legend.  “Birth of the Dragon” opens Friday.


You've seen it all before, though it's pleasant enough to watch again. -- Ken Jaworowski, NY Times

For the cinematic dregs of late August, the earnest and quirky Leap! is charmingly en pointe. -- Brian Truitt, USA Today

11-year-old orphan Félicie has one dream: to go to Paris and become a dancer.  Her best friend Victor has a dream of his own: to become a famous inventor.  In a leap of faith, Victor and Félicie leave their orphanage in pursuit of their passions.  But - there's a catch: Félicie must pretend to be the child of a wealthy family in order to gain admittance to the prestigious and competitive Opera Ballet School in Paris.  Featuring the voices of Elle Fanning, Nat Wolff, and Kate McKinnon, “Leap!” opens Friday.

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— Patrick Campion is the WEMU Program Director.  You can contact Patrick at 734.487.3363, on twitter @WEMUPC, or email him at