Tonight the Michigan Theater will open the exciting latest release from Writer/Director Guillermo del Toro: The Shape of Water, starring Sally Hawkins as a mute custodian working in an isolated government laboratory in 1962 where she develops a friendly relationship with a scaled creature living in a water tank. As their bond grows, so does her animosity toward the government agents who experiment on the creature and control its fate. Now nominated for 7 Golden Globes, including Best Picture – Drama, critics and audiences alike have been delighted by the film and film critic Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote it is “Magical, thrilling and romantic to the core, a sensual and fantastical fairy tale with moral overtones…” The film also features is Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer along with Oscar nominees Michael Shannon and Richard Jenkins.
Also opening at the Michigan is Darkest Hour starring a physical transformed Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, now nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama. Set at the dawn of World War II, the fate of Western Europe rests in the hands of the newly appointed Prime Minister who is challenged with the decision to either explore a peace treaty with Nazi Germany or launch his people into a violent conflict. Adam Graham of the Detroit News has said “’Darkest Hour’ is a one man show for Oldman. And what a show it is.”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi continues to play at the State Theatre! With a 93% approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes but only a 55% from fans, this Star Wars film is its most divisive yet and is being called a “game changer” for the massively popular sci-fi franchise. But this has not stopped fans from coming out in droves to see the new film downtown, having sold out almost every show time at the State Theatre last weekend to excited and satisfied movie goers.
Also playing at the State Theatre: The Disaster Artist directed by and starring James Franco as Tommy Wiseau, the writer/director/producer of The Room, considered to be “the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made.” Now nominated for Best Picture and Best Actor Golden Globes, many expect the film to pick up similar Oscar Nominations in 2018. And be sure to stick around after the credits for a bonus scene featuring a bizarre cameo from the real Tommy Wiseau alongside James Franco who pulls off an uncanny impression of the enigmatic director.
Lady Bird is also held over at the State Theatre and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri moves from the Michigan after playing to consistent crowds for over four weeks.
SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN
On Monday, December 25 at 10:30 AM, Christmas Day, Temple Beth Emeth will present Hook, the 1991 American fantasy/adventure film starring Robin Williams as an adult Peter Pan who has lost the memories of his previous life, but returns to Neverland in search of his children who have been taken captive by Captain Hook.
On the horizon, we have a tremendous lineup of films coming later this month and throughout January. Opening Friday, December 29 at the Michigan: Jane, a documentary from Brett Morgan that collects never-before-seen footage of Jane Goodall in her pioneering research of chimpanzees.
Opening on Friday, January 5 at the State: I, Tonya starring Margot Robbie as the competitive ice skater who rose among the ranks at the U.S Figure Skating Championships starting in the mid-1980s, only to find disgrace when her husband (played by Sebastian Stan) attempts to sabotage her rival.
Opening Saturday, January 6 at the Michigan: Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, a documentary on the life of the Austrian actress who fled an oppressive marriage to create a name for herself as one of Hollywood’s top leading ladies in the 1940s. Behind the scenes, she was also a talented inventor who created a radio system that is now considered the basis of Bluetooth technology.
Opening Friday, January 19 at the State: Call Me By Your Name, now nominated for 3 Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture – Drama, starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet, In Northern Italy in 1983, seventeen year-old Elio begins a relationship with his father’s research assistant, Oliver, while bonding over their Jewish heritage and the beguiling Italian landscape. Having been screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, our programming team at the Michigan confirms the critical consensus that it is one of the year’s best films.
Also opening Friday, January 19: The Post, the latest from Director Steven Spielberg starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in the story of Kay Graham and Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post in their efforts to expose the massive cover-up of government secrets that became known as the Pentagon Papers.
And opening Friday, January 26: Phantom Thread, the reunion of Daniel Day-Lewis and Director Paul Thomas Anderson since 2007’s Best Picture nominee There Will Be Blood. The film is said to be Daniel Day-Lewis’ last on-screen role, set in the glamour of 1950’s post-war London where renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutantes and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock.
OPENING AT THE MULTIPLEX
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the follow-up to the 1995 fantasy/comedy starring Robin Williams, opened last Wednesday and stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan as four highschoolers who “discover an old video game console and are drawn into the game’s jungle setting, literally becoming the adult avatars they chose.” (Rotten Tomatoes)
Downsizing, the latest from Director Alexander Payne opens Friday, December 22, and includes an all-star cast featuring Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Jason Sudeikis, Neil Patrick Harris, and Laura Dern. “When scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall as a solution to over-population, Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in order to get small and move to a new downsized community–a choice that triggers life-changing adventures.” (Rotten Tomatoes)
And Pitch Perfect 3 opens this Friday as well, “the next chapter in the beloved series that has taken in more than $400 million at the global box office. After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there aren’t job prospects for making music with your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for an overseas USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time.” (Rotten Tomatoes)
That’s all for this week! See you at the movies.
From Russell B. Collins
Director, State & Michigan Theaters – Ann Arbor
Founder/Director, Art House Convergence – Utah
Artistic Dir./Founder, Cinetopia Festival Detroit/A2
Strengthening communities with persistent creativity