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Cinema Chat: 'Killers of the Flower Moon' to open tonight with special presentation from a Washtenaw County member of the Osage Nation

Scene from the film "Killers of the Flower Moon".
The Michigan Theater
Scene from the film "Killers of the Flower Moon".




A 2023 American epic crime drama film directed and produced by Martin Scorsese, who co-wrote the screenplay with Eric Roth, based on the 2017 book of the same name by David Grann. Its plot centers on a series of Oklahoma murders in the Osage Nation during the 1920s, committed after oil was discovered on tribal land. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, and Lily Gladstone, with Jesse Plemons, Tantoo Cardinal, John Lithgow, and Brendan Fraser in supporting roles. It marks the sixth feature film collaboration between Scorsese and DiCaprio and the tenth between Scorsese and De Niro.

Development on the film began in March 2016 when Imperative Entertainment won the film adaptation rights to the book. Scorsese and DiCaprio were attached to the film in 2017, with production initially expected to begin in early 2018. Following several pushbacks and delays in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, production was scheduled to commence in February 2021. Principal photography ultimately took place in Osage County and Washington County between the spring and fall of 2021. The film had a $200 million budget reportedly the largest amount ever spent on a film shot in Oklahoma.

The film premiered at the 76th Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2023 to widespread critical acclaim for its screenplay, score, cinematography, production design, and performances of DiCaprio, De Niro, and Gladstone.


Tom Eaton at the WEMU studio.
Mat Hopson
89.1 WEMU
Tom Eaton at the WEMU studio.

"I am an enrolled member of the Osage Nation and my roots in the tribe can be traced back to Chief Pawhuska (aka Whitehair) who was one of the leaders who negotiated the treaty with the US and from whom the town of Pawhuska, OK (where our tribal HQ is located) is named after. We recently returned back to our tribal lands so we can reinforce our culture with our children and grandchildren. We also spent time with Chief Standing Bear while we were there. He shared stories with us about the movie production and his experience at the Cannes Film Festival."

"My great great grandmother, my great grandmother, and grandfather lived in Pawhuska during the Reign of Terror that is documented in the Killers of the Flower Moon book and upcoming movie. They were directly influenced by the events to the extent that they fled our reservation for Kansas which was a common story at that time."

"At my prior employer, Salesforce, I was the EVP for our Indigenous equality resource group (WINDforce) and in that capacity I led several sessions about the Reign of Terror and specifically used Killers to facilitate those. I also conducted a session with our current Chief last year and this was one of the topics we covered."


In 1915, as WWI raged on, the Ottoman Empire singled out its entire Armenian population for destruction. Only 14 years old at the time, Aurora Mardiganian's story was tragically relatable. Forced onto a death march towards the Syrian desert, she lost her entire family before being kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery. Four years later, through luck and extraordinary courage, she escaped to New York, where her story became a media sensation. Starring as herself in the silent epic "Auction of Souls," an early Hollywood blockbuster, Aurora became the face of one of the largest and most successful charity campaigns in American history, as one of the first women activists fighting against the injustices of war. The film revives a forgotten story of survival, hope and the endurance of the human spirit. Armenian with English subtitles.


A truly modern romantic comedy, a multi-generational love story set against the iconic backdrop of New York: A composer suffering from creative block finds inspiration after a chance encounter with an unusual woman, a couple of bright teenagers fight to prove to their parents that young love can last forever, and for a successful therapist who seemingly has it all, love arrives in the most unexpected of ways. From writer/director Rebecca Miller.


A 2023 French courtroom drama thriller directed by Justine Triet from a screenplay co-written by Triet and Arthur Harari. It stars Sandra Hüller as a writer trying to prove her innocence in her husband's death.

It had its world premiere at the 76th Cannes Film Festival on 21 May 2023, where it won the Palme d'Or. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, with Triet's direction and Hüller's performance garnering universal critical acclaim. It has sold over 1 million admissions in France.

Sandra, a German writer, is arrested for murder in France following her husband's death in the snow under mysterious circumstances. Having the couple's 11-year-old, blind son as the only witness of her husband's death, Sandra tries to prove her innocence during the trial.


"Friday the 13th" — PLAYS TONIGHT AT 7:30 PM AT THE STATE

Part of the Late Nights at the State series

Starring Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram, Mark Nelson,Jeannine Taylor, Robbi Morgan, and Kevin Bacon. Its plot follows a group of teenage camp counselors who are murdered one by one by an unknown killer while they are attempting to re-open an abandoned summer camp with a tragic past.

Prompted by the success of John Carpenter's "Halloween" (1978), director Sean S. Cunningham shot the film in the summer of 1979, on an estimated budget of $550,000, it was a major box office success, grossing $59.8 million worldwide. Being the first independent film of its kind to secure distribution in the U.S. by a major studio, its box office success led to a long series of sequels, a crossover with the A Nightmare on Elm Street film series, and a 2009 series reboot.


Part of the Late Nights at the State series

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, presenting "The Version You've Never Seen" featuring 11 minutes of scenes and images deleted before the film's 1973 release.

One of the most profitable horror movies ever made, this tale of an exorcism is based loosely on actual events. When young Regan (Linda Blair) starts acting odd -- levitating, speaking in tongues -- her worried mother (Ellen Burstyn) seeks medical help, only to hit a dead end. A local priest (Jason Miller), however, thinks the girl may be seized by the devil. The priest makes a request to perform an exorcism, and the church sends in an expert (Max Von Sydow) to help with the difficult job. From director William Friedkin.


A Michigan Theater tradition! With live accompaniment from Stephen Warner on the historic Barton Organ!

In this highly influential silent horror film from director F. W. Murnau, the mysterious Count Orlok (Max Schreck) summons Thomas Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) to his remote Transylvanian castle in the mountains. The eerie Orlok seeks to buy a house near Hutter and his wife, Ellen (Greta Schroeder). After Orlok reveals his vampire nature, Hutter struggles to escape the castle, knowing that Ellen is in grave danger. Meanwhile Orlok's servant, Knock (Alexander Granach), prepares for his master to arrive at his new home.


Part of the Films We Love series

Newly restored in 4K, celebrating its 30th anniversary! In Steven Spielberg's massive blockbuster, paleontologists Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) are among a select group chosen to tour an island theme park populated by dinosaurs created from prehistoric DNA. While the park's mastermind, billionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), assures everyone that the facility is safe, they find out otherwise when various ferocious predators break free and go on the hunt.

"Cairo Conspiracy" — PLAYS TUESDAY, OCTOBER 24 AT 7:30 PM AT THE STATE

Part of Halaloween: The Muslim Horror Film Festival

Adam, the son of a fisherman, is offered the privilege to study at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the center of power of Sunni Islam. Adam becomes a pawn in the conflict between Egypt's religious and political elites.


In this cult classic, sweethearts Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon), stuck with a flat tire during a storm, discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), a transvestite scientist. As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters, including a rocking biker (Meat Loaf) and a creepy butler (Richard O'Brien). Through elaborate dances and rock songs, Frank-N-Furter unveils his latest creation: a muscular man named "Rocky."


"Taylor Swift's The Eras Tour"

The cultural phenomenon continues on the big screen! Immerse yourself in this once-in-a-lifetime concert film experience with a breathtaking, cinematic view of the history-making tour. Taylor Swift Eras attire and friendship bracelets are strongly encouraged! From director Sam Wrench.

The film is three hours, with a set list of 44 songs divided into 10 distinct acts that conceptually portray Swift's ten studio albums. The tour was a commercial success and received critical acclaim. It became a cultural and economic phenomenon, bolstered by a globally unprecedented ticket demand and fan frenzy.

Swift commissioned a recording of the Eras Tour to be theatrically released as a feature film. Sam Wrench, who previously helmed Billie Eilish's "Billie Eilish: Live at the O2" (2023) and Lizzo's "Lizzo: Live in Concert" (2022), was hired as director, and the film was recorded at the first three of six Los Angeles shows of the tour from August 3 to 5, 2023, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

"Joan Baez: I Am a Noise" 

Neither a conventional biopic nor a traditional concert film, this film is a raw and intimate portrait of the legendary folk singer and activist that shifts back and forth through time as it follows Joan on her final tour and delves into her extraordinary archive, including newly discovered home movies, diaries, artwork, therapy tapes, and audio recordings. Baez is remarkably revealing about her life on and off stage -- from her lifelong emotional struggles to her civil rights work with MLK and a heartbreaking romance with a young Bob Dylan. A searingly honest look at a living legend, this film is a compelling and deeply personal exploration of an iconic artist who has never told the full truth of her life, as she experienced it, until now.

"Cat Person" 

A 2023 black comedy psychological thriller film directed by Susanna Fogel from a screenplay by Michelle Ashford, based on the 2017 short story of the same name by Kristen Roupenian. The film stars Emilia Jones, Nicholas Braun, Geraldine Viswanathan, Hope Davis, Fred Melamed, and Isabella Rossellini.

It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2023.

20-year-old sophomore college student Margot has a brief relationship with Robert, an older man who frequently visits the movie theater where she works. It is a bad date film riffing on toxic masculinity and the complicated dating realities of the 21st century.

"Stop Making Sense"

A 1984 American concert film featuring a live performance by the American rock band Talking Heads. Directed by Jonathan Demme, it was shot over three nights at Hollywood's Pantages Theater in December 1983, when the group was touring to promote their new album Speaking in Tongues. The concert serves as a band retrospective, featuring many of their popular songs from their first single "Psycho Killer" (1977) through to their most recent hit "Burning Down the House" (1983). The group also performs songs from frontman David Byrne's solo career, and from Tom Tom Club, the side project of two other band members.

The band raised the budget of $1.2 million themselves. The four core members of Talking Heads—lead singer and guitarist David Byrne, drummer Chris Frantz, guitarist and keyboardist Jerry Harrison, and bassist Tina Weymouth—are joined on stage by an extensive supporting band, including backing singers Lynn Mabry and Ednah Holt, guitarist Alex Weir, keyboardist Bernie Worrell, and percussionist Steve Scales.

This film is considered by many critics to be one of the greatest concert films of all time, and a cult classic. The film is a pioneering example of the use of early digital audio techniques. In 2021, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

"Dumb Money"

A 2023 American biographical comedy-narrative film directed by Craig Gillespie and written by Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo. It is based on the 2021 book "The Antisocial Network" by Ben Mezrich and chronicles the GameStop short squeeze of January 2021. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Paul Dano, Pete Davidson, Vincent D'Onofrio, America Ferrera, Nick Offerman, Anthony Ramos, Sebastian Stan, Shailene Woodley, and Seth Rogen.

The ultimate David vs. Goliath tale, based on the insane true story of everyday people who flipped the script on Wall Street and got rich by turning GameStop (yes, the mall videogame store) into the world's hottest company. In the middle of everything is regular guy Keith Gill (Paul Dano), who starts it all by sinking his life savings into the stock and posting about it. When his social posts start blowing up, so does his life and the lives of everyone following him. As a stock tip becomes a movement, everyone gets rich -- until the billionaires fight back, and both sides find their worlds turned upside down.


This film premiered at South by Southwest on March 11, 2023.

The film, a refreshingly unique teen comedy, focuses on two girls, PJ (Rachel Sennott) and Josie (Ayo Edebiri), who start a fight club as a way to lose their virginities to cheerleaders. Their bizarre plan works. The fight club gains traction and soon the most popular girls in school are beating each other up in the name of self-defense. But PJ and Josie find themselves in over their heads and in need of a way out before their plan is exposed.

From director Emma Seligman ("Shiva Baby," a 2020 American comedy film written and directed by Emma Seligman, Seligman’s feature directorial debut. The film starred Rachel Sennott as Danielle, a directionless young bisexual Jewish woman who attends a shiva with her parents).

"The Exorcist: Believer" 

Since the death of his pregnant wife in a Haitian earthquake 12 years ago, Victor Fielding (Tony winner and Oscar® nominee Leslie Odom, Jr.; "One Night in Miami," "Hamilton") has raised their daughter, Angela (Lidya Jewett, "Good Girls") on his own. But when Angela and her friend Katherine (newcomer Olivia Marcum), disappear in the woods, only to return three days later with no memory of what happened to them, it unleashes a chain of events that will force Victor to confront the nadir of evil and, in his terror and desperation, seek out the only person alive who has witnessed anything like it before: Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn).

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