Every Thursday is movie day on WEMU's Morning Edition. David Fair is typically joined by Michigan Theater Executive Director Russ Collins for the weekly feature, Cinema Chat. Russ is away this week, so instead, David spoke with Michigan Theater Program Director Amanda Bynum!
David and Amanda cover a lot of ground, including a movie shooting on the Eastern Michigan University Campus, the political ramifications of screening movies in the White House, and of course, discussion of the movies available to you over the coming weekend. You can listen to the entire conversation below.
“Dallas Buyers Club” stars Matthew McConaughey as real-life Texas cowboy Ron Woodroof, whose free-wheeling life was overturned in 1985 when he was diagnosed as HIV-positive and given 30 days to live. These were the early days of the AIDS epidemic, and the U.S. was divided over how to combat the virus. Ostracized by his friends and bereft of government-approved effective medicines, Ron decided to take matters in his own hands, tracking down alternative treatments from all over the world by means both legal and illegal. Bypassing the establishment, Woodroof joined forces with an unlikely band of renegades and outcasts and established a hugely successful “buyers’ club.” Richard Roeper of Richard Roeper.com says, “Once we get past McConaughey's stunning transformation, we're transfixed by a performance that reminds us of why this guy became a movie star in the first place.” “Dallas Buyers Club” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.
“Wadjda,” the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, is the story of a young girl living in a suburb of Riyadh determined to raise enough money to buy a bike in a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl's virtue. Even more impressive, “Wadjda” is the first feature film made by a female Saudi filmmaker. In a country where cinemas are banned and women cannot drive or vote, writer- director Haifaa Al Mansour has broken many barriers with her new film. “Wadjda” plays November 24th-26th at the Michigan Theater.
Based on the 2009 investigative book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith, “Philomena” focuses on the efforts of Philomena Lee (Judi Dench), the mother to a boy conceived out of wedlock—something her Irish-Catholic community didn’t have the highest opinion of—and given away for adoption in the United States. After starting a family years later in England and, for the most part, moving on with her life, Lee meets Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), a BBC reporter with whom she decides to discover her long-lost son. Dave Calhoun of Time Out says “(‘Philomena’ is terrifically moving film that has a fitting earthbound feel to it as well as a barely suppressed anger at crimes inflicted on the powerless.” “Philomena” opens Wednesday, November 27th at the Michigan Theater.
Opening at the Multiplex
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” begins as Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) returns home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). Winning means that they must leave their family and friends, embarking on a "Victor's Tour" of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow (Donald Sutherland) prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games - a competition that could change Panem forever. Stephanie Zacharek of the Village Voice says, “Jennifer Lawrence, of course, is the real draw. Female role models come and go, and Lawrence's Katniss is one of the better ones.” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” opens Friday.
Special Screenings Downtown
The Monday Funnies Film Series continues with “This Is Spinal Tap!” Rob Reiner's directorial debut invented the "rockumentary" and has now outlasted most of the bands it mocked. Following the ill-fated American comeback tour of an aging heavy metal group, this film has joined the ranks of the greatest comedies ever made. “This Is Spinal Tap” plays Monday, November 25 at 7PM at the Michigan Theater.
The State Theatre’s Midnight this week is “2001: A Space Odyssey.” A mind-bending sci-fi symphony, the landmark 1968 epic pushed the limits of narrative and special effects toward a meditation on technology, evolution, and humanity. “2001: A Space Odyssey” plays Saturday, November 23 at 11:59PM at the State Theatre.