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Cinema Chat: Saving Mr. Banks, American Hustle, It’s A Wonderful Life, and more!

Dec 19, 2013

 In this week's installment of Cinema Chat,WEMU's Bob Eccles and Michigan Theater Director Russ Collins look into what's playing downtown and around town.


Cinema Chat is a regular feature heard each Thursday during Morning Edition on 89.1 WEMU.

Credit Michtheater.org

A Very Special “…Wonderful Life” Screening With Live-On-Stage Cast Interview

“It’s A Wonderful Life” is an inverted version of “A Christmas Carol” — the great Jimmy Stewart starred as George Bailey, a good man who deferred his own dreams for the benefit of his small town. The film also featured Lionel Barrymore as the misanthropic banker, Donna Reed as George Bailey’s devoted wife, and Virginia Patton, better known locally as Ginny Moss, as George’s beautiful sister-in-law. Ginny was a contract player in Hollywood’s heyday and appeared in over a dozen studio pictures.  Before this special screening, Virginia Patton Moss will be interviewed live-on-stage by Michigan Theater director Russ Collins.  She will share her memories of Frank Capra and the making of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” which plays Sunday, December 22 at 1:30 PM and is FREE. Presented as part of the Michigan Theater’s Holiday Classics Film Series.

Opening Downtown

“Saving Mr. Banks,” starring an all-star cast headlined by Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers and  Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, is inspired by the untold story of how Disney’s classic “Mary Poppins” made it to the screen—and the testy relationship Disney had with the cantankerous British novelist.  Alonso Duralde of The Wrap says,  “What could have merely been a studio’s love letter to itself winds up being a meditation on the power that art has for artists as a way to exorcise the past.” “Saving Mr. Banks” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

“American Hustle” tells the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his equally cunning partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) is forced to work for wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of powerbrokers and mafia that’s as dangerous as it is enchanting. Jeremy Renner stars as Carmine Polito, the passionate, volatile, New Jersey political operator caught between the con-artists and Feds. Irving’s unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down. Richard Corliss of TIME Magazine says, “Reveling in its ’70s milieu and in the eternal abrasion of sexy women and covetous men, ‘American Hustle’ is an urban eruption of flat-out fun – the sharpest, most exhilarating comedy in years.” “American Hustle” opens today at the State Theatre.

Special Screenings Downtown

In “Miracle,” Kurt Russell stars in the true story of Herb Brooks, the player-turned-coach who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to victory over the seemingly invincible Russian squad.  Temple Beth Emeth presents “Miracle” on Wednesday December 25 at 10:30 AM.

Opening at the Multiplex

“The Wolf of Wall Street,” based on the true story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), follows his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government. Directed by Martin Scorsese, early word is that this film is destined to be one of the most talked about films of the year. “The Wolf of Wall Street” opens December 25.

Director Spike Jonze takes the helm for “Her,” a comedy about a withdrawn writer (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with his computer’s highly advanced operating system. Scott Foundas of Variety calls the film “Jonze’s singular, wryly funny, subtly profound consideration of our relationship to technology – and to each other. “Her” opened on Wednesday.

With the 70′s behind him, San Diego’s top rated newsman Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) returns to the news desk in “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.” Also back for more are Ron’s co-anchor and wife, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), weather man Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), man on the street Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and sports guy Champ Kind (David Koechner). ”Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” opens today.

In “Walking With Dinosaurs 3D,” see and feel what it was like when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, in a story where an underdog dino triumphs to become a hero for the ages. “Walking With Dinosaurs 3D” opens Friday.

In “47 Ronin” Keanu Reeves leads the cast as Kai, an outcast who joins Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada), the leader of 47 outcast samurai. Together they seek vengeance upon the treacherous overlord who killed their master. To restore honor to their homeland, the warriors embark upon a quest that challenges them with a series of trials that would destroy ordinary men. “47 Ronin” opens December 25.

Ben Stiller directs and stars in “The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty,” James Thurber’s classic story of a day-dreamer who escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. When his job is threatened, Walter takes action in the real world, embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined.  “The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty” opens December 25.

In “Grudge Match,” two retired boxers (Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro) settle a long-standing beef by heading back into the ring. “Grudge Match” opens December 25.

See you at the movies!