Movies to Watch at the Michigan and State in March

Drive-Away Dolls

“Drive-Away Dolls” is a new movie from Ethan Coen, one half of the Coen Brothers, this time collaborating with his wife, editor Tricia Cooke. Coen has stated that in a current climate of very serious films, they set out to make a fun, “unimportant film.” Part screw-ball comedy, part film noir, it’s a “raunchy romp” about a pair of lesbian friends on a road trip from Philadelphia to Tallahassee in a one-way rental (drive-away car) that turns out to contain some packages they didn’t count on that are wanted by some violent people who follow them. Starring Margaret Qualley and Geraldine Viswanathan.

Now open at the State Theatre.

Tetsuo: The Iron Man

How to describe this surreal film?  “Akria” meets “Eraserhead” — experimental cinema at its finest, and a huge contribution to future cyborg movies. From Michigan Theater website: “A ‘metal fetishist’ (Shin’ya Tsukamoto), driven mad by the maggots wriggling in the wound he’s made to embed metal into his flesh, runs out into the night and is accidentally run down by a Japanese businessman (Tomorowo Taguchi) and his girlfriend (Kei Fujiwara). The pair dispose of the corpse in hopes of quietly moving on with their lives. However, the businessman soon finds that he is now plagued by a vicious curse that transforms his flesh into iron.”  Presented in Japanese with English subtitles. This is part of the U-M Center for Japanese Studies Winter 2024 Film Series.

Playing at the Michigan Theater on March 7. 

One Life

“One Life” is the true story of Sir Nicholas Winton, a young London broker who saved over 600 children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia in the months leading up to World War II. The film is told in flashback from (the film’s) present day 1988. Winton (Anthony Hopkins) is dogged by guilt over the children he couldn’t save when 251 children couldn’t be smuggled to safety due to the arrival of Hitler’s armies and the closing of the Czech boarder. The cast is stellar, featuring Hopkins, Lena Olin, Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Flynn as young Nicky Winton in flashbacks.

Opens at the Michigan Theater March 15.

Dance, Girl, Dance

Directed by Dorothy Arzner, one of the few female filmmakers in Hollywood at the time, who also taught Francis Ford Coppola in film school, “Dance, Girl, Dance” is a melodrama about a burlesque queen (Lucille Ball) who competes with an aspiring ballerina (Maureen O’Hara) for the affections of a divorced playboy (Louis Hayward). It’s fun to see Lucille Ball play against type as the villain and there are several plot points that are similar to “Flashdance.” Coincidence or not, this is a solid film and well worth seeing. Also Starring Ralph Bellamy and Virginia Field. 

Playing at the Michigan Theater on March 11. 

The Italian Job

A comic caper movie about a plan to steal a gold shipment from the streets of Turin by creating a traffic jam, this classic 1969 film stars Michael Caine and the city of Turin, Italy. It screens as part of Michigan Theater’s “Music by Quincy Jones” series.

Playing at the Michigan Theater on March 12. 


From Michigan Theater website: The Ranas — a happily patriarchal joint family — yearn for the birth of a baby boy to continue the family line. Their youngest son secretly joins an erotic dance theatre and falls for an ambitious trans starlet. Their impossible love story slowly illuminates the entire Rana family’s desire for sexual rebellion. Presented in Urdu with English subtitles. This is a FREE event but you must reserve your admission online.

Playing at the Michigan Theater on March 13. 

Love Lies Bleeding

When Jackie (Katy M. O’Brian), who has dreams of becoming a champion body builder, turns up in a quiet town, she finds an instant connection with Lou (Kristen Stewart), a gym employee. Their torrid affair leads them into a web of violence. Lou’s father (Ed Harris) is a dangerous crime boss and something in their past has strained the father/daughter relationship. The film has gotten very positive reviews so far, not only for Stewart’s performance, but also relative newcomer O’Brian and veteran actor Ed Harris. “Love Lies Bleeding” delivers its thrill ride, gore soaked, tension-packed promise. General admission tickets available on the Michigan Theater website. 

Playing at the State Theatre on March 15. 


Directed by SNL alum, Julio Torres, also known for his surrealist comedy, “Problemista” teams Torres with A24 Films — a studio known for cutting-edge arthouse cinema. Torres stars as Alejandro, an aspiring toy designer from El Salvador, who struggles to bring his unconventional designs to fruition in New York City. With time running out on his work visa, he gets a job as an assistant to eccentric art world outcast, Elizabeth (Tilda Swinton), to try to stay in the country. Elizabeth is the “problem” in “Problemista” — demanding, crazy, and a terror to most who meet her — but she takes a shine to Alejandro and together they make a spectacular odd couple. A film heralded as funny, moving, and filled with whimsy. Also starring RZA and Isabella Rossellini as the narrator. 

Playing at the State Theatre on March 22. 

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