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Cinema Chat: 'Dream Scenario' and 'Renaissance: A Film by Beyonce' open downtown, plus 'Godzilla Minus One' invades the multiplex!

The Michigan Theater lobby at Christmastime.
The Michigan Theater
The Michigan Theater lobby at Christmastime.


"Renaissance: A Film by Beyonce" — OPENS TONIGHT AT THE STATE

A 2023 American documentary concert film written, directed, and produced by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. The film chronicles the development and execution of the Renaissance World Tour, Beyoncé's record-breaking 2023 stadium tour in support of her seventh studio album "Renaissance" (2022).

According to its official summary, the film highlights the creation of the album and tour production, as well as Beyoncé's "creative mind and purpose to create her legacy and master her craft." Her husband, Jay-Z, and three children, Blue Ivy, Rumi and Sir Carter, are featured in the film. Diana Ross, Megan Thee Stallion, and Kendrick Lamar also make appearances. The film was met with positive reviews, with praise for the concert footage, Beyoncé's stage presence, production and the behind-the-scenes elements.

The film accentuates the journey of RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR, from its inception to the opening in Stockholm, Sweden, to the finale in Kansas City, Missouri. It is about Beyoncé's intention, hard work, involvement in every aspect of the production, her creative mind and purpose to create her legacy, and master her craft. Received with extraordinary acclaim, Beyoncé's RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR created a sanctuary for freedom, and shared joy, for more than 2.7 million fans.


A 2023 American black comedy fantasy film written and directed by Kristoffer Borgli. The film stars Nicolas Cage, Julianne Nicholson, Michael Cera, Tim Meadows, Dylan Gelula, and Dylan Baker. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2023, and received positive reviews from critics.

Hapless family man and biology professor Paul Matthews (Nicolas Cage) finds his life turned upside down when millions of strangers suddenly start seeing him in their dreams. But when his nighttime appearances take a nightmarish turn, Paul is forced to navigate his newfound stardom, in this wickedly entertaining comedy from writer-director Kristoffer Borgli ("Sick of Myself") and producer Ari Aster.


Postwar Japan is at its lowest point when a new crisis emerges in the form of a giant monster, baptized in the horrific power of the atomic bomb.


A gritty revenge tale directed by the master of action film John Woo, about a tormented father who was shot multiple times and witnesses his young son die when caught in a gang’s crossfire on Christmas Eve. While recovering from a wound that costs him his voice, he makes vengeance his life’s mission and embarks on a punishing training regimen in order to avenge his son’s death.


In this modern-day retelling of Job, Kevin Garner (Kristoffer Polaha) embarks on a journey across worlds and dimensions to reunite with Molly (Elizabeth Tabish), his true love. The narrative unfolds as a dystopian drama and sci-fi thriller, where a mysterious adversary, The Benefactor (Neal McDonough), disrupts Kevin's reality. Faced with infinite worlds and impossible choices, Kevin must navigate through an alternate reality, resisting The Benefactor's tempting offer of wealth and power. As survival hangs in the balance, Kevin fights to return to the familiar world he cherishes and the woman he loves.


"Blade Runner: The Final Cut" — PLAYS TONIGHT AT 7:30 PM AT THE STATE

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.


Part of the Late Nights at the State series

A 2006 American romantic comedy film written, produced and directed by Nancy Meyers. It was filmed in both California and England and stars Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz as Iris and Amanda, two lovelorn women from opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, who arrange a home exchange to escape heartbreak during the Christmas and holiday season. Jude Law and Jack Black were cast as the film's leading men Graham and Miles, with Eli Wallach, Shannyn Sossamon, Edward Burns, and Rufus Sewell playing key supporting roles.

Two women, one (Cameron Diaz) from America and one (Kate Winslet) from Britain, swap homes at Christmastime after bad breakups with their boyfriends. Each woman finds romance with a local man (Jude Law, Jack Black) but realizes that the imminent return home may end the relationship.

"Monty Python & The Holy Grail (48th 1/2 Anniversary)" — PLAYS SUNDAY, DECEMBER 3 AT 1:30 PM AND WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6 AT 7:30 PM AT THE STATE

A standard screening on Sunday and on Wednesday it will be presented as a “Quote Along” showing.

A comedic send-up of the grim circumstances of the Middle Ages as told through the story of King Arthur and framed by a modern-day murder investigation. When the mythical king of the Britons leads his knights on a quest for the Holy Grail, they face a wide array of horrors, including a persistent Black Knight, a three-headed giant, a cadre of shrubbery-challenged knights, the perilous Castle Anthrax, a killer rabbit, a house of virgins, and a handful of rude Frenchmen.


Part of the Holiday Classics Film Series

Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis ("Forrest Gump"; "Cast Away") reunite for an inspiring adventure based on the beloved children's book by Grand Rapids native Chris Van Allsburg. When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.

Holiday Classics Coming Soon

"Miracle on 34th Street" — PLAYS MONDAY, DECEMBER 4 AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

Part of the Films We Love series

This film won three Oscars: best original story for Valentine Davies; best screenplay for George Seaton (both U-M grads); and best supporting actor for Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle. Though not an award winner for this effort, child actor Natalie Wood won the hearts of viewers as Susan Walker, the little girl whose doubt in the existence of Santa Claus is transformed by her association with Gwenn’s Kriss Kringle. A book published and released with the movie was also created by U-M alumnus connections, so Russ proclaims this Christmas Classic is a bona fide U-M production!



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.


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.

"Next Goal Wins"

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.

"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).


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.



A 2023 American biographical drama film that centers on the relationship between American composer Leonard Bernstein and his wife Felicia Montealegre. It was directed by Bradley Cooper, from a screenplay he wrote with Josh Singer. It was produced by Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Cooper, among others. The film stars Cooper as Bernstein alongside Carey Mulligan as Montealegre; Matt Bomer, Maya Hawke, and Sarah Silverman appear in supporting roles. Maestro premiered at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on September 2, 2023, where it was nominated for the Golden Lion.


We will be presenting screenings of both the subtitled and dubbed versions of the film.

A 2023 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Produced by Studio Ghibli, loosely based on the 1937 novel of the same name by Genzaburō Yoshino, but the film has an original story that is not connected to the novel. Described as a "big fantastical film", it follows a boy named Mahito Maki (Soma Santoki) during the Pacific War who discovers an abandoned tower in his new town after his mother's death and enters a fantastical world with a talking grey heron.

Miyazaki announced his retirement in September 2013 but later reversed this decision. Production spanned approximately seven years, facing delays as it navigated challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and Miyazaki's slowed animation pace. According to producer Toshio Suzuki, this is the most expensive film ever produced in Japan. The screenplay draws heavily from Miyazaki's childhood and explores themes of coming of age and coping with a world marked by conflict and loss. Joe Hisaishi composed the film's score, while Kenshi Yonezu wrote and sang the film's theme song, "Spinning Globe".

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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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