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Cinema Chat: 'Next Goal Wins,' 'Trolls Band Together,' and 'The Hunger Games' opening in Ann Arbor

Michigan Theater
Joshua Walker
Michigan and State Theaters



A biographical sports comedy-drama film directed by Taika Waititi, who co-wrote the screenplay with Iain Morris. It is based on the 2014 documentary of the same name by Mike Brett and Steve Jamison about Dutch-American coach Thomas Rongen's efforts to lead the American Samoa national football team, considered one of the weakest football teams in the world, to qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The film stars Michael Fassbender as Rongen, alongside Oscar Kightley, Kaimana, David Fane, Rachel House, Beulah Koale, Will Arnett, and Elisabeth Moss. The film premiered at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival.

Written/directed by Academy Award Winner Taika Waititi ('Jojo Rabbit'), the film follows the American Samoa soccer team, infamous for their brutal 31-0 FIFA loss in 2001. With the World Cup Qualifiers approaching, the team hires down-on-his-luck, maverick coach Thomas Rongen (Michael Fassbender) hoping he will turn the world's worst soccer team around in this heartfelt underdog comedy.


After two films of true friendship and relentless flirting, Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) are now officially, finally, a couple! As they grow closer, Poppy discovers that Branch has a secret past. He was once part of her favorite boyband phenomenon.

"The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes" — OPENS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17 AT THE MULTIPLEX

It follows a young Coriolanus (Tom Blyth) who is the last hope for the once-proud Snow family. With his livelihood threatened, Snow is reluctantly assigned to mentor underdog Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler). After Lucy Gray's charm captivates the audience, Snow and Lucy Gray turn the odds in their favor. Battling his instincts for both good and evil, Snow sets out on a race against time to survive and reveal if he will ultimately become a songbird or a snake.



Part of the Late Nights at the State series

A Japanese animated science fiction film set in the distant future, where a man known as JP takes on great risks for the chance of winning the titular underground race. The film was in production for seven years and used over 100,000 hand-drawn frames. It premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival.


Featuring a post-film Q&A with writer/director JohnPaul Morris

Helmed by Traverse City-based director JohnPaul Morris, this film is an action-comedy about best friends Ray (Tanner Presswood) and Paul (Simon Elias) who lose their best friend’s wedding ring just days before the ceremony. Their treacherous road trip to retrieve the ring accelerates into a loud exploration of life, love, and how to not die.

The movie was filmed primarily in the greater Traverse City area, Grand Rapids, and parts of the Upper Peninsula. It premiered to four sold-out shows at the Traverse City Film Festival in 2022, and then continued the momentum, winning the Eau Claire International, then the top audience choice award at Hell's Half Mile, best screenplay at the Grand Rapids Film Festival, and acceptance into prestigious festivals like the Austin Film Festival.


Part of the Late Nights at the State series

Deckard (Harrison Ford) is forced by the police Boss (M. Emmet Walsh) to continue his old job as Replicant Hunter. His assignment: eliminate four escaped Replicants from the colonies who have returned to Earth. Before starting the job, Deckard goes to the Tyrell Corporation and he meets Rachel (Sean Young), a Replicant girl he falls in love with. From director Ridley Scott.

"Planes, Trains & Automobiles" — PLAYS MONDAY, NOVEMBER 20 AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Part of the Films We Love series

Easily excitable Neal Page (Steve Martin) is somewhat of a control freak. Trying to get home to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with his wife (Laila Robins) and kids, his flight is rerouted to a distant city in Kansas because of a freak snowstorm, and his sanity begins to fray. Worse yet, he is forced to bunk up with talkative Del Griffith (John Candy), whom he finds extremely annoying. Together they must overcome the insanity of holiday travel to reach their intended destination. From writer/director John Hughes.


Narrated by and featuringJonny Moseley, this film dives deep into the stuff of which snowy dreams are made. From the evolution of mountain culture and the birth of ski towns to icons and innovators like the original hotdoggers, the film is a celebration of the past seven decades that defined winter sports. The film also weaves in new footage shot on location at Palisades Tahoe, California, and Park City, Utah. This film isn’t a greatest hits collection, it’s a film experience reimagining the moments that got us to where we are today, the compelling people, and the outlandish locations in the history of skiing and snowboarding. It’s a nod to the legacy of Warren Miller and a glimpse into where the sport will go next.



Academy Award winning filmmaker Emerald Fennell (Best Original Screenplay for “Promising Young Woman”) brings us a beautifully wicked tale of privilege and desire. Struggling to find his place at Oxford University, student Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan) finds himself drawn into the world of the charming and aristocratic Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi), who invites him to Saltburn, his eccentric family's sprawling estate, for a summer never to be forgotten.


An epic historical drama film directed and produced by Ridley Scott and written by David Scarpa. Based on the true story of Napoleon Bonaparte, primarily depicting the French leader's rise to power as well as his relationship with Empress Joséphine, the film stars Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon and Vanessa Kirby as Joséphine.

It details the checkered rise and fall of the iconic French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, played by Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix. Against a stunning backdrop of large-scale filmmaking orchestrated by legendary director Ridley Scott, the film captures Bonaparte's relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his one true love, Josephine, showcasing his visionary military and political tactics against some of the most dynamic practical battle sequences ever filmed.

Holiday Classics Film Series

Free and open to the public at the Michigan Theater! Click here for the full lineup!


"The Holdovers" 

From acclaimed director Alexander Payne, this film follows a curmudgeonly instructor (Paul Giamatti) at a New England prep school who is forced to remain on campus during Christmas break to babysit the handful of students with nowhere to go. Eventually he forms an unlikely bond with one of them — a damaged, brainy troublemaker (newcomer Dominic Sessa) — and with the school’s head cook, who has just lost a son in Vietnam (Da’Vine Joy Randolph).

"The Marvels" 

Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) has reclaimed her identity from the tyrannical Kree and taken revenge on the Supreme Intelligence. But unintended consequences see Carol shouldering the burden of a destabilized universe. When her duties send her to an anomalous wormhole linked to a Kree revolutionary, her powers become entangled with that of Jersey City super-fan, Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani), and Carol's estranged niece, now S.A.B.E.R. astronaut Captain Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris). Together, this unlikely trio must team-up and learn to work in concert to save the universe as "The Marvels." From director Nia DaCosta and also starring Samuel L. Jackson.


A 2023 American biographical drama film written, directed, and produced by Sofia Coppola, based on the 1985 memoir "Elvis and Me" by Priscilla Presley (who serves as an executive producer) and Sandra Harmon. It follows the life of Presley (played by Cailee Spaeny) and her relationship with Elvis Presley (Jacob Elordi). Priscilla premiered at the 80th Venice International Film Festival.

In this ravishingly detailed portrait of love, fantasy, and fame, writer/director Sofia Coppola tells the unseen side of a great American myth in Priscilla Beaulieu and Elvis Presley's long courtship. When teenage Priscilla Beaulieu meets Elvis Presley at a party, the man who is already a meteoric rock-and-roll superstar becomes someone entirely unexpected in private moments: a thrilling crush, an ally in loneliness, a gentle best friend. Through Priscilla’s eyes, writer/director Sofia Coppola tells the unseen side of a great American myth in Elvis and Priscilla's long courtship and turbulent marriage, from a German army base to his dream-world estate at Graceland, in this deeply felt and ravishingly detailed portrait of love, fantasy, and fame.

"Anatomy of a Fall" 

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.

"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.

"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".

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Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
Russ Collins is the executive director of Marquee Arts, the nonprofit that oversees the Michigan Theater and State Theater in Ann Arbor.
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