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Cinema Chat: 'Battle Of The Sexes,' 'Viceroy's House,' 'American Made,' And More

Sep 28, 2017

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

In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan Theater executive director Russ Collins about the latest movie news and all of the new flicks hitting the big screen this weekend.


Opening Downtown

"Battle of the Sexes"

In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women's movement, the 1973 tennis match between women's World #1 Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-men's-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) was billed as the “Battle of the Sexes” and became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world.  As the rivalry between King and Riggs kicked into high gear, off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles.  Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis court, sparking discussions in bedrooms and boardrooms that continue to reverberate today.  “Battle of the Sexes” opens Friday, September 29, with special advance screenings beginning Thursday, September 28.

"Viceroy’s House"

Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) is dispatched, along with his wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson), to New Delhi to oversee the country’s transition from British rule to independence.  Taking his place in the resplendent mansion known as the Viceroy’s House, Mountbatten arrives hopeful for a peaceful transference of power.  But ending centuries of colonial rule in a country divided by deep religious and cultural differences proves no easy undertaking, setting off a seismic struggle that threatens to tear India apart.  “Viceroy’s House” opens Friday.

"Victoria and Abdul" (One Week From Today!)

Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) arrives from India to participate in Queen Victoria’s (Judi Dench) golden jubilee.  The young clerk is surprised to find favor with the queen herself.  As Victoria questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance that her household and inner circle try to destroy.  As their friendship deepens, the queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes, joyfully reclaiming her humanity.  “Victoria and Abdul” opens Friday, October 6, with special advance screenings beginning Thursday, October 5.

Limited Engagements

"Letters from Baghdad"

This film tells the extraordinary and dramatic story of Gertrude Bell, the most powerful woman in the British Empire in her day.  She shaped the modern Middle East after World War I in ways that still reverberate today.  More influential than her friend and colleague Lawrence of Arabia, Bell helped draw the borders of Iraq and established the Iraq Museum.  Why has she been written out of history?  “Letters from Baghdad” plays September 28.

"Baby Driver" (In 35mm) 

A talented, young getaway driver (Ansel Elgort) relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game.  But after being coerced into working for a crime boss (Kevin Spacey), he must face the music when a doomed heist threatens his life, love, and freedom.  “Baby Driver” plays throughout the week of September 29.  Presented in 35mm, one of only six 35mm prints released by the film production company.

"Columbus" (Film Festival and Cinetopia Hit!) 

When a renowned architecture scholar falls suddenly ill during a speaking tour, his son Jin (John Cho) finds himself stranded in Columbus, Indiana – a small Midwestern city celebrated for its many significant modernist buildings. Jin strikes up a friendship with Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), a young architecture enthusiast.  As their intimacy develops, Jin and Casey explore both the town and their conflicted emotions.  “Columbus” plays throughout the week of September 29.

"Dawson City: Frozen Time"

This film pieces together the bizarre true history of a long-lost collection of 533 nitrate film prints dating from the early 1900s.  Discovered buried under a hockey rink in a former Klondike Gold Rush town, their story reveals the links between the movie business and Manifest Destiny in North America.  “Dawson City: Frozen Time” plays throughout the week of September 29.

"Tales of an Immoral Couple"

This film centers on Lucio and Martina, two former lovers who unexpectedly run into each other.  Despite still sharing an undiminished love for one another they both pretend to be in happy marriages – even if it’s all lies.  “Tales of an Immoral Couple” plays October 3 and 4.

Special Screenings Downtown

The Manhattan Short Film Festival (TONIGHT ONLY!!!!!!!)

The Manhattan Short Film Festival returns to Ann Arbor!  It’s an extraordinary global event when over 100,000 people in over 300 cities across six continents gather in cinemas, galleries, universities, museums, and cafes for one purpose: to view and vote on the finalists’ films in the annual festival.  The Manhattan Short Film Festival plays Thursday, September 28 at 7:30 PM.

"Hocus Pocus"

Max (Omri Katz) explores an abandoned house with his sister Dani (Thora Birch) and their 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.  “Hocus Pocus” plays Sunday, October 1 at 3 PM.  Free admission for kids 12 and under!

"Dracula"

All of your favorite villains from the 1930s and 1940s come to the Michigan Theater in the Classic Monsters film series!  The dashing, mysterious Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi) travels to London and takes up residence in an old castle.  Soon, Dracula begins to wreak havoc, sucking the blood of young women and turning them into vampires.  When he sets his sights on Mina (Helen Chandler), the daughter of a prominent doctor, vampire-hunter Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan) is enlisted to put a stop to the count’s never-ending bloodlust.  “Dracula” plays Monday, October 2 at 7 PM.

"Firestarter"

Inspired by the hit TV series “Stranger Things,” the Michigan Theater’s “Stranger and Stranger” film series kicks off with the horror/sci-fi classic “Firestarter!”  As youths, Andy McGee (David Keith) and his future wife, Vicky (Heather Locklear), participated in secret experiments, allowing themselves to be subjected to mysterious medical tests.  Years later, the couple’s daughter, Charlie (a young Drew Barrymore), begins to exhibit the ability of setting fires solely with her mind.  This volatile talent makes the youngster extremely dangerous, and soon she becomes a target for the enigmatic agency known as “The Shop.”  “Firestarter” plays Thursday, October 5 at 9:30 PM.

"Down The Fence"

This film profiles horse trainers on their journey to compete for one of the most challenging equestrian championships in the world and chronicles how cowboy culture has evolved and is thriving.  “Down the Fence” plays Wednesday, October 4 at 7 PM.  Presented by Tugg.

Opening at the Multiplex

"American Made" 

Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), a TWA pilot, is recruited by the CIA to provide reconnaissance on the burgeoning communist threat in Central America and soon finds himself in charge of one of the biggest covert CIA operations in the history of the United States.  “American Made” opens Friday.

"Flatliners"

Five medical students, hoping to gain insight into the mystery of what lies beyond the confines of life, embark on a daring and dangerous experiment.  By stopping their hearts for short periods of time, each triggers a near-death experience.  “Flatliners” opens Friday.

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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