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Cinema Chat: Top films of the Toronto International Film Fest, 'Blonde,' 'Moonage Daydream,' and more

State Theatre
Jeffrey Smith
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Inside the State Theatre

A FEW OF THE BREAKTHROUGH FILMS AT THE TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

For cinephiles targeted by fall's more serious entertainments:

OPENING THIS WEEK

"Moonage Daydream" — OPENS TODAY AT THE STATE

A 2022 documentary about English singer-songwriter David Bowie. The film uses previously unreleased footage from Bowie's personal archives, including live concert footage. It is the first film to be officially authorized by Bowie's estate and takes its title from the 1971 Bowie song of the same name. It had its world premiere at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, where it received positive reviews.

The film illuminates the life and genius of David Bowie, one of the most prolific and influential artists of our time. Told through sublime, kaleidoscopic, never-before-seen footage, performances and music, Brett Morgen's ("The Kid Stays in the Picture," "Cobain: Montage of Heck") feature-length experiential cinematic odyssey explores David Bowie's creative, musical and spiritual journey. The film is guided by David Bowie's own narration and is the first officially sanctioned film on the artist. A cinematic odyssey exploring Bowie's creative, spiritual and musical journey. The film includes 40 exclusively remastered Bowie songs and is the first film ever sanctioned by the Bowie Estate, with local access to the artists' archives.

"Blonde" — OPENS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 AT THE MICHIGAN

A 2022 American historical psychological drama adapted from the 2000 novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates, it is a fictionalized take on the life and career of American actress Marilyn Monroe played by Ana de Armas. The cast also includes Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Xavier Samuel, and Julianne Nicholson. It had its world premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival. From her volatile childhood as Norma Jean, through her rise to stardom and romantic entanglements, the film blurs the lines of fact and fiction to explore the widening split between her public and private selves.

"Don't Worry Darling" — OPENS TODAY AT THE STATE

A 2022 American psychological thriller, directed by Olivia Wilde ("Booksmart") from a screenplay by Katie Silberman, based on a story by Carey Van Dyke, Shane Van Dyke, and Silberman. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Wilde, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Nick Kroll, and Chris Pine.

Alice (Florence Pugh) and Jack (Harry Styles) are lucky to be living in the idealized community of Victory, the experimental company town housing the men who work for the top-secret Victory Project and their families. The 1950's societal optimism espoused by their CEO, Frank--equal parts corporate visionary and motivational life coach--anchors every aspect of daily life in the tight-knit desert utopia. While the husbands spend every day inside the Victory Project Headquarters, working on the "development of progressive materials," their wives--including Frank's elegant partner, Shelley--get to spend their time enjoying the beauty, luxury and debauchery of their community. Life is perfect, with every resident's needs met by the company. All they ask in return is discretion and unquestioning commitment to the Victory cause. But when cracks in her idyllic life begin to appear, exposing flashes of something much more sinister lurking beneath the attractive façade, Alice can't help questioning exactly what they're doing.

"Catherine Called Birdy" — OPENS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 AT THE STATE

A 2022 medieval comedy film written and directed by Lena Dunham, based on the 1994 novel of the same name by Karen Cushman. It stars Bella Ramsey as the title character, alongside Andrew Scott, Billie Piper, Joe Alwyn, Dean-Charles Chapman, Ralph Ineson, and Russell Brand. It had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The year 1290ish? In the Medieval English village of Stonebridge, Lady Catherine (known as Birdy) is the youngest child of Lord Rollo and the Lady Aislinn. Her playground is Stonebridge Manor, a house that, like the family, has seen better days. Financially destitute and utterly greedy, Rollo sees his daughter as his path out of financial ruin by marrying her off to a wealthy man for money and land. But Birdy, like all the great teen heroines, is spirited, clever, and adventurous and ready to put off any suitor that comes calling in increasingly ingenious ways. Her imagination, defiance, and deep belief in her own right to independence put her on a collision course with her parents. When the vilest suitor of all arrives, they are presented with the ultimate test of love for their daughter.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

"Hocus Pocus" — PLAYS SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23 AT 5 PM AT THE MICHIGAN (WITH COSTUME CONTEST!!!)

After moving to Salem, Mass., teenager Max Dennison (Omri Katz) explores an abandoned house with his sister Dani (Thora Birch) and their new friend, Allison (Vinessa Shaw). After dismissing a story Allison tells as superstitious, Max accidentally frees a coven of evil witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy) who used to live in the house. Now, with the help of a magical cat, the kids must steal the witches' book of spells to stop them from becoming immortal.

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show" — PLAYS THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27 AT THE MICHIGAN

In this cult classic, sweethearts Brad and Janet are stuck with a flat tire during a storm and discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. As their innocence is lost, they meet a houseful of wild characters. Presented with a live stage “shadow cast” by The Leather Medusas. Costumes are encouraged!

"Nosferatu" — PLAYS SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30 AT THE MICHIGAN

In this classic silent horror film, the mysterious Count Orlok summons Thomas Hutter to his remote Transylvanian castle. After Orlok reveals his vampire nature, Hutter struggles to escape the castle, knowing that his wife Ellen is in grave danger. Silent film with live organ accompaniment.

NT Live: "Frankenstein" — PLAYS MONDAY, OCTOBER 31 AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Directed by Academy Award®-winner Danny Boyle, this production of "Frankenstein" sees Benedict Cumberbatch as Victor Frankenstein and his creation and Jonny Lee Miller also as Victor Frankenstein and his creation.

Cinema Made in Italy (Thursdays in September at the Michigan)

Honoring Italian Cinema - Film & Food Festival (Thursdays at the State)

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

"See How They Run" 

A 2022 mystery comedy film directed by Tom George and written by Mark Chappell, the film stars Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, Ruth Wilson, Reece Shearsmith, Harris Dickinson, and David Oyelowo. In the West End of 1950s London, plans for a movie version of a smash-hit play come to an abrupt halt after a pivotal member of the crew is murdered. When world-weary Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) and eager rookie Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan) take on the case, the two find themselves thrown into a puzzling whodunit within the glamorously sordid theater underground, investigating the mysterious homicide at their own peril.

"The Woman King" 

This is the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. Inspired by true events, the film follows the emotionally epic journey of General Nanisca (Oscar®-winner Viola Davis) as she trains the next generation of recruits and readies them for battle against an enemy determined to destroy their way of life. Some things are worth fighting for.... From director Gina Prince-Bythewood ("Love & Basketball") and also starring John Boyega ("Star Wars") and Lashana Lynch ("No Time to Die").

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