89.1 WEMU

Cinema Chat: 'Wildlife,' 'Green Book,' 'Widows,' And More

Nov 15, 2018

Michigan Theater Upstairs Lobby
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

The weather's been cold lately, but the movie business stays hot!  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan Theater digital media specialist Nick Alderink about the latest movie news and all of the new films hitting theaters on this pre-Thanksgiving weekend.



At the Michigan: In this film, Carey Mulligan delivers one of her finest performances to date as Jeanette, a complex woman whose self-determination and self-involvement disrupts the values and expectations of a 1960s nuclear family.  Fourteen-year-old Joe (played by newcomer Ed Oxenbould) is the only child of Jeanette and Jerry (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) in a small town in 1960s Montana.  Nearby, an uncontrolled forest fire rages close to the Canadian border, and Jerry decides to join the cause of fighting the fire, leaving his wife and son to fend for themselves.  Suddenly forced into the role of an adult, Joe witnesses his mother's struggle as she tries to keep her head above water.  This film is also adapted from Richard Ford's novel of the same name. 

"Green Book"

At the Michigan: 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. 

"Boy Erased"

At the State: This film tells the story of Jared (played by Lucas Hedges), the son of a Baptist pastor in a small American town, who is outed to his parents (played by Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe) at age 19.  Jared is faced with an ultimatum: attend a conversion therapy program - or be permanently exiled and shunned by his family, friends, and faith.  This is the true story of one young man's struggle to find himself while being forced to question every aspect of his identity. 


Join us Wednesday, November 21 and Thursday, November 22 (Thanksgiving) at the Michigan Theater, as we give thanks to one of the most treasured actors of our time: Tom Hanks!  In our film series "T. Hanksgiving," we will play four of Hanks’s most comedic and memorable performances, which will include the following:

"The 'Burbs"– Wednesday, November 21 at 6:00 PM

Settling in for some time off in his suburban home, Ray Peterson’s (Tom Hanks) vacation becomes a horror when the Klopeks, a suspiciously odd family, move in down the block.  Enlisting the aid of his paranoid buddy, Art (Rick Ducommun), and his militia-man neighbor, Rumsfield (Bruce Dern), Ray sends his son and wife (Carrie Fisher) away on a trip while he investigates the Klopeks.  When a neighbor disappears, Ray and his cohorts risk their lives to save their cul-de-sac from the clutches of evil.

"Big" – Wednesday, November 21 at 8:30 PM

After a wish turns 12-year-old Josh Baskin into a 30-year-old man (Tom Hanks), he heads to New York City and gets a low-level job at MacMillen Toy Company.  A chance encounter with the owner (Robert Loggia) of the company leads to a promotion testing new toys.  Soon, a fellow employee, Susan Lawrence (Elizabeth Perkins), takes a romantic interest in Josh.  However, the pressure of living as an adult begins to overwhelm him, and he longs to return to his simple, former life as a boy.

"Splash" – Thursday, November 22 at 6:00 PM

A young boy (Tom Hanks) saved from drowning by a beautiful mermaid, falls in love with her 20 years later when she returns to seek him out.  Before he can choose between life on dry land or a deep sea paradise with his dream woman (Daryl Hannah), the lovers are rudely interrupted by the intervention of a scheming scientist.

"Sleepless in Seattle"– Thursday, November 22 at 8:30 PM

After the death of his wife, Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) moves to Seattle with his son, Jonah (Ross Malinger).  When Jonah calls in to a talk-radio program to find a new wife for his father, Sam grudgingly gets on the line to discuss his feelings.  Annie Reed (Meg Ryan), a reporter in Baltimore, hears Sam speak and falls for him, even though she is engaged.  Unsure where it will lead, she writes Sam a letter asking him to meet her at the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day.



This film plays Friday, November 16 at 9:15 PM at the Michigan Theater.  A Mexico City suburb, circa mid-1980s: A motley pair of underachievers (played by Gael Garcia Bernal and Leonardo Ortizgris) pull themselves away from video games long enough to hatch a scheme – a Christmas Eve museum heist to remove priceless ancient Mexican artifacts that are so unmistakable, they prove impossible to fence.  Inspired by the true story of the largest heist in Mexico’s history and shot in the never-before-filmed National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.  

"Space Jam"

This film plays Saturday, November 17 at 11:59 PM at the State as a part of Late Nights at the State.  An evil alien theme park owner needs a new attraction at Moron Mountain.  When him and his gang head to Earth to kidnap Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes, Bugs challenges them to a basketball game to determine their fate.  The aliens agree, but they steal the powers of NBA basketball players, so Bugs gets some help from superstar Michael Jordan.  Tickets are only $8!

"Human Flow"

This film plays Sunday, November 18 at 4:00 PM at the State as a part of the “Electric Shadows” film series presented by the Confucius Institute at U-M.  Free and open to the public!  More than 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change and war, the greatest displacement since World War II.  Filmmaker Ai WeiWei examines the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact.  Over the course of one year in 23 countries, Weiwei follows a chain of urgent human stories that stretch across the globe, including Afghanistan, France, Greece, Germany and Iraq.

"Autumn Sonata"

This film plays Tuesday, November 20 at 7:00 PM at the State as a part of the Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema: A Centennial Retrospective.  After a seven-year absence, Charlotte Andergast (played by Ingrid Bergman) travels to Sweden to reunite with her daughter Eva (played by Liv Ullmann).  The pair have a troubled relationship: Charlotte sacrificed the responsibilities of motherhood for a career as a classical pianist.  Over an emotional night, the pair reopen the wounds of the past. Charlotte gets another shock when she finds out that her mentally impaired daughter, Helena (Lena Nyman), is out of the asylum and living with Eva.


"Beautiful Boy"

At the Michigan: Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, this film chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years.  Teenager Nicolas Sheff seems to have it all -- good grades, editor of the school newspaper, actor, artist and athlete.  When Nic's addiction to meth threatens to destroy him, his desperate father does whatever he can to save his son and his family.  Starring Steve CarellTimothée ChalametMaura Tierney, and Amy Ryan.

"Tea with the Dames"

In this film, viewers are invited to see happens when four legends of British stage and screen get together.  Dame Maggie SmithDame Judi DenchDame Eileen Atkins, and Dame Joan Plowright are among the most celebrated actresses of our time, with scores of iconic performances, decades of wisdom, and innumerable Oscars, Tonys, Emmys, and BAFTAs between them.  They are also longtime friends who hereby invite you to join them for a weekend in the country as they catch up with one another and reminisce.

"Can You Ever Forgive Me?"

At the State:  Based on a true story, this film stars Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel, the best-selling celebrity biographer who made her living in the 1970's and 80's profiling the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estée Lauder, and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen.  When Lee found herself unable to get published because she had fallen out of step with the marketplace, she turned her art form to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack (played by Richard E. Grant). 

"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.

"A Star is Born"

Bradley Cooper plays seasoned musician Jackson Maine, who discovers--and falls in love with--struggling artist Ally (Lady Gaga).  She has just about given up on her dream to make it big as a singer... until Jack coaxes her into the spotlight.  But even as Ally's career takes off, the personal side of their relationship is breaking down, as Jack fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons.



From Academy Award®-winning director Steve McQueen ("12 Years a Slave") and co-writer and bestselling author Gillian Flynn ("Gone Girl") comes a blistering, modern-day thriller set against the backdrop of crime, passion and corruption.  This is the story of four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands' criminal activities.  Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, tensions build when Veronica (Oscar® winner Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez), and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) take their fate into their own hands and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.  Also stars Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya, Lukas Haas, and Brian Tyree Henry.  Opens in theatres this Friday, November 16 nationwide! 

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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