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At the Michigan: 2018 Cinetopia Film Festival Official Selection! In Love, Gilda, comedienne Gilda Radner looks back and reflects on her life and career, in her own words. Weaving together her recently discovered audiotapes, interviews with her friends (Chevy Chase, Lorne Michaels, Laraine Newman, Paul Shaffer and Martin Short), rare home movies and diaries read by modern-day comedians inspired by Gilda (Bill Hader, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Cecily Strong). Critics Consensus: Love, Gilda is a touching reminder of an iridescent star who shined brightly but for far too short a time. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll leave the theater wanting to dive down the YouTube rabbit hole of Gilda Radner.

At the Michigan: In Life Itself a young New York couple goes from college romance to marriage and the birth of their first child, the unexpected twists of their journey create reverberations that echo over continents and through lifetimes. Director and writer Dan Fogelman (“This Is Us“) examines the perils and rewards of everyday life in a multigenerational saga featuring an international ensemble including Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Olivia Cooke, Sergio Peris- Mencheta, Laia Costa, Alex Monner and Mandy Patinkin. Set in New York City and Carmona, Spain, Life Itself celebrates the human condition and all of its complications with humor, poignancy and love. Critics Consensus: Life Itself is dexterously structured and has an appealing, glossy sheen, with attractive visuals especially among the olive groves in Spain.

At the State: Set in the Pacific Northwest of 1983 AD, Mandy follows outsiders Red Miller and Mandy Bloom, who lead a loving and peaceful existence. When their pine-scented haven is savagely destroyed by a cult led by the sadistic Jeremiah Sand, Red is catapulted into a phantasmagoric journey filled with bloody vengeance and laced with fire. Stars Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache. Critics Consensus: Mandy’s gonzo violence is fueled by a gripping performance by Nicolas Cage — and anchored with palpable emotion conveyed between his volcanic outbursts.

At the State: In Fahrenheit 11/9 filmmaker Michael Moore predicted that Donald Trump would become the 45th president of the United States. Traveling across the country, Moore interviews American citizens to get a sense of the social, economic and political impact of Trump’s victory. Moore also takes an in-depth look at the media, the Electoral College, the government agenda and his hometown of Flint, Mich. Critics Consensus: Fahrenheit 11/9 is ultimately Moore’s best film in years because its message is really simple and nonpartisan: get mad about something and do something about it.


September’s $8 Midnight at the State theme is “Back to School!” and this Saturday Pitch Perfect will be playing. Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school’s all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition.

Special Guest Eddie Muller, president and founder of the Film Noir Foundation and host of TCM’s Noir Alley, will kick off the film noir series Fatally Yours Friday, September 21 at 7:00 PM. Join Eddie for a special series introduction and a post-film discussion of the opening film The Lady from Shanghai. A seaman becomes involved in a complex murder plot when he is hired to work on a yacht. He soon finds himself implicated in the murder, despite his innocence. The film is best remembered for it’s climax “hall of mirrors” scene with a shoot out amidst shards of shattering glass. Directed by and starring Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth.

On Monday, September 23 at 7:00 PM, Double Indemnity will follow up in the Fatally Yours film noir series. In this classic, insurance salesman Walter Neff (played by Fred MacMurry) gets roped into a murderous scheme when he falls for the sensual Phyllis Dietrichson (played by Barbara Stanwyck), who is intent on killing her husband (played by Tom Powers) and living off the fraudulent accidental death claim. Prompted by the late Mr. Dietrichson’s daughter, Lola (played by Jean Heather), insurance investigator Barton Keyes (played by Edward G. Robinson) looks into the case, and gradually begins to uncover the sinister truth.


Bad Reputation, a journey through Joan Jett’s life and career, from her early years as founder of “The Runaways” and first collaborations with Kenny Laguna to her status as rock icon will be playing one night only! Join us Wednesday, September 26 at 7:00 PM for a theatrical version of the documentary, which will come packaged with an exclusive, brand new solo performance by Joan made specifically for this screening.

Art House Convergence presents Art House Theater Day, a national celebration of the art house theater and the cultural role it plays in a community that will take place at the State Theatre on Sunday, September 23. Screenings will include a feature for the whole family, a film festival favorite, and a restored genre classic, which will be the following: The Big Bad Fox & Other TalesThe Guilty, and Schlock. The day will also feature membership and swag giveaways, specialty drinks, and more!

This year, Manhattan Short Film Festival received 1565 entries from 73 countries from which nine finalists were selected. These nine short films will screen more than 1000 times in over 300 countries on six continents during the week of September 27 – October 7 and on Thursday,  September 27 at 7:30 PM they will screen at the Michigan Theater. And the judges of these films are YOU, the audience. Upon entry, festival attendees are handed a Voting Card and an Official Program and asked to vote for the ONE Film they feel should win. Votes are tallied by each host venue then emailed to the festival’s NYC headquarters.


At the Michigan: Pick of the Litter follows a litter of puppies from the moment they’re born and begin their quest to become guide dogs for the blind. Cameras follow these pups through an intense two-year odyssey as they train to become dogs whose ultimate responsibility is to protect their blind partners from harm. Along the way, these remarkable animals rely on a community of dedicated individuals who train them to do amazing, life-changing things in the service of their human.

The Wife follows Joan and Joe Castleman (played by Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce), who are complements after nearly forty years of marriage. Where Joe is casual, Joan is elegant. Where Joe is vain, Joan is self-effacing. And where Joe enjoys his very public role as the great novelist, Joan pours her considerable intellect, grace, charm and diplomacy into the role of a man’s wife. As Joe is about to be awarded the Nobel Prize for his acclaimed and prolific body of work, Joan starts to think about the shared compromises, secrets and betrayals.

At the State: Set in 1980s Detroit at the height of the crack epidemic and the War on Drugs, White Boy Rick is based on the moving true story of a blue-collar father and his teenage son. Rick Wershe is a single father who’s struggling to raise two teenagers. Wershe sells guns illegally to make ends meet but soon attracts attention from the FBI. Federal agents convince his son, Rick Jr., to become an undercover drug informant in exchange for keeping his father out of prison. When young Rick gets in too deep, he finds himself seduced by the lure of easy money and becomes a drug dealer himself.

Crazy Rich Asians is based on a global bestseller and follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu accompanying her longtime boyfriend, Nick, to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. She’s also surprised to learn that Nick’s family is extremely wealthy, and he’s considered one of the country’s most eligible bachelors. Thrust into the spotlight, Rachel must now contend with jealous socialites, quirky relatives and something far, far worse – Nick’s disapproving mother.

From visionary filmmaker, Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of an American hero. In BlackKklansman it’s the early 1970s, and Ron Stallworth (played by John David Washington) is the first black detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate the KKK. The young detective soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (played by Adam Driver), into the undercover investigation of a lifetime.


In the tradition of Amblin classics where fantastical events occur in the most unexpected places, Jack Black and two-time Academy Award (R) winner Cate Blanchett star in The House with a Clock in Its Walls, from Amblin Entertainment. The magical adventure tells the spine-tingling tale of 10-year-old Lewis (played by Owen Vaccaro) who goes to live with his uncle in a creaky old house with a mysterious tick-tocking heart. But his new town’s sleepy façade jolts to life with a secret world of warlocks and witches when Lewis accidentally awakens the dead. Opens in theaters on Friday, September 21!

In The Sister Brothers, it’s 1851, and Charlie and Eli Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly) are both brothers and assassins, boys grown to men in a savage and hostile world. They have blood on their hands: that of criminals, that of innocents…and they know no state of existence other than being gunmen. The Sisters brothers find themselves on a journey through the Northwest, bringing them to the mountains of Oregon, a dangerous brothel in the small town of Mayfield, and eventually, the gold rush land of California — an adventure that tests the deadly family ties that bind. Opens in theaters on Friday, September 21!

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