The Dallas Movie Screening Group

This is the homepage of the Dallas Movie Screening Group. To join our mailing list you must sign up at our group page on Yahoo. You will then be connected to receive notices on how to find passes to the local screenings in the DFW area. It's up to you to pickup or sign up for passes. You can also barter, trade or just giveaway passes you don't want, need or share with other members of the group. Please read the instructions on the Yahoo page very carefully before posting. This group is closely moderated so that your mail box is not full of spam or other unnecessary mail. We appreciate everyone's consideration and cooperation.

You can use this homepage for posting comments, reviews, and other things that cannot be posted to the group. Of course spam is not allowed. Thanks!

To join the Dallas Movie Screening Yahoo Group:
dallasmoviescreenings-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Reesa's Reviews can also be found at:
http://www.moviegeekfeed.com

Logo art by Steve Cruz http://www.mfagallery.com

Website and Group Contact: dalscreenings@gmail.com

Thursday, May 28, 2015

San Andreas




Everyone loves a good disaster movie, even ones that don't involve sharks and tornadoes. Plus if it has Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on board as the main hero, it's guaranteed box office fun to start the summer. Writer Carlton Cuse and director Brad Peyton (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island), offer a story with predictable dialogue and heavy on CGI mayhem. The April earthquake in Nepal that flattened many villages and cities leaving hundreds of thousands homeless, this movie will hopefully enlighten those living on the California coast, that building and populating areas on a major fault line is probably not a good idea. Neither is fracking in Texas.

The simplistic story line centers on Johnson as Ray Gaines who works as a LA Fire Department rescue helicopter pilot. The harrowing first scene has him rescue a young woman whose car went over a cliff and now dangles precariously on the side of a canyon. This is the first clue that the continuing movie means you should buckle in and enjoy the ride. Ray who is separated from his wife Emma (Carla Gugino) is having trouble accepting she is moving in with stupid rich boyfriend Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd) who is creating the tallest building in San Francisco. He's flying Ray and Emma's daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) to the bay city in his private plane with all sorts of reassurances that he's not trying to take her beloved fathers' place in her life. At the fancy building in SF she meets Ben (Hugo Johnson-Burt) and his little brother Ollie (Art Parkinson) as Ben his applying for a job with her new step dad to be.

Meanwhile at the California Institute of Technology, Lawrence (Paul Giamatti) and Dr. Kim Chung (Will Yun Lee) have discovered that their current research about earthquake swarms may be able to predict major quakes. While they gather information of an unknown fault on the Hoover Dam, the first big quake hits destroying the dam. Soon other major rumbles are set off along southern California and they are moving northward. With the help of reporter Serena (Archie Panjabi), he tries to get the word out through the media of the impending doom.

The film does impart some important information to those actually caught in an earthquake of “drop, cover and hold on” to protect oneself from falling or flying objects. That landlines will work when cellphones are out. And emergency preparedness along with a family communication plan for such events is something to think about in our own lives. The movie however suffers from an over abundance of spectacular destruction. But wait that's not all! There's a tsunami thrown in there for good measure. While millions of people are crushed, fall into crevasses, burned and drowned, we don't see their bodies as the story keeps us focused on Ray and Emma going to SF to save their daughter. Blake using her survival skills learned from her father, manages to impress Ben and Ollie as they try to find high ground for her father to come to rescue them. Girl power for having the young woman being the most resourceful.

Johnson does get a actual moment to display a little bit of dramatic angst while explaining the conflict that broke up his marriage. But the rest of the movie if filled with dumb forehead slapping verbal nonsense in between buildings falling over or errant shipping containers falling on the Golden Gate Bridge. It's a mindless adventure, that is both thrilling, fun and forgettable.
(Review by reesa)



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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Movies Scheduled 5/24-5/30

We have some new people and maybe some of the regulars that need a gentle reminder of the rules.

First of all you need passes for the movie. If after you have entered the contests or tried to nab passes and was unsuccessful then you can ask the group. Now don't just always ask the group but at least try to get passes on your own.

If there is a sign on the seat that says it is reserved don't sit in it until the promoters says it is cool to sit there. It isn't cool to plop your bootay in the seat if you don't see a good enough seat. They can and will kick your bootay out of the movie!

You have to get in line early to get a good seat. You can't just show up at 6 or 6:30 and expect a good seat or to be able to sit with your plus one! Just be happy if you get in.

If someone is holding seats for people that go get something to eat, trust that they will come back! Don't give their friend a hard time! Don't just assume they are lying to you!

Now when I say you can ask me a question, ask me questions. Saying you want this pass or that pass isn't a question. I am like y'all I have to enter the contests and jump through hoops just like y'all do. We do on occasion have passes but we will send out a email about that.

Last but not least don't freaking talk in the movie! You may think you are not loud but trust me you are!

If you have any questions please email me at damitdaina@hotmail.com


Sunday May 24th


Monday May 25th


Tuesday May 26th

San Andreas &;00 p.m. AMC Northpark


Wednesday May 27th

Spy 7:30 p.m. Regal McArthur Irving
San Andreas 7:00 p.m. AMC Northpark


Thursday May 28th

Me Earl and the Dying Girl 7:30 p.m. SMG Spring Valley


Friday May 29th


Saturday May 30th


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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Poltergeist




They're coming and They're here. It is hard to top a 1982 era Spielberg film but Sam Raimi and Gil Kenan sure want to try. They have enlisted the help of Sam Rockwell (his usually comic quippy self) is Eric Bowen and modern mom RoseMarie De Witt is wife Amy. Kyle Catlett, Saxon Sharbino and cutie pie Kennedi Clements are the kids - Griffin, Kendra and Madison (Maddie). Jared Harris is Carrigan, the House Cleaner, straight off of reality TV, accompanied by ex wife Dr. Claire Powell (Jane Adams) and her two helpers. It is often felt that the casts of classic films cannot be easily replaced but this cast tries hard and does a pretty good job. Sam Rockwell is engaging and Kennedi is engaging as the chubby cheeked youngest family member who holds the interest of the souls under the house.

The family moves in to their new house, but we soon discover dad is jobless and the credit cards are maxed out, true to the economic of the day. The kids want their old house back and Griffin has nervous and anxiety issues. The 2015 kids are a little bit mouthier, a little more disrespectful and much more plugged into technology. The TV is a large flat screen and electrical surges fry the cell phones and IPads. The original Poltergeist was new and original, full of creative ideas and imagination, packed chock full of classic scenes and lines. Many of those carry over in tweaked form. Obviously taking place in modern day, a toy drone makes an appearance and the ghostbusters have some amped up technology. The clowns are back and have multiplied. A demon squirrel has appeared. The tree is in constant waving view overhead and does some pretty cool things thanks to CGI and the pool has been replaced by the homes very foundation. While there are a few jumps and quick screams, most will not judge the movie as scary, mainly due to the predictability of the story. Offered in 3-D, it really doesn't make great use of the technology in ways that it could have (think room with objects flying- could have been AMAZING- here, not so much) Relatively short at 1 hour 33, the rising action moves little too quickly for this reviewers taste. Chaos break loose the first night the parents are out on a dinner date. Just not enough quick, creative and creepy goings on to satisfy the ultimate climax of the story. The HELP comes in quickly and doesn't ever seem to get really settled in over a period of time. The scares and viewer anticipation of them is just different enough on this outing that one does remain interested and a little on edge. The original moved the family through innocent occasional observations, a deepening interest and fascination with the entities and their antics, to concern to fear and finally all out terror.....plus a hint of a continuation. Those transitions are not quite as apparent in this rendition and the hidden credits scene takes it off a different direction. The family seems a little too calm, taking it all in, in fact Dad never really seems all that scared, panicked or upset. The only remote freak out is a short one from mom and of course kids when getting attacked by the tree, the foundation and the closet. It is just so odd that all this stuff is happening in the house by the creepy old tree and no one is ever outside watching things going down. The neighborhood just seems deserted with no body home. Guess everyone is hanging out underground, as we found out during the dinner.
(Review by Cheryl Wurtz)




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Good Kill




Ethan Hawke is on point as 6 tour seasoned but now grounded pilot, Major Thomas Egan, assigned to fly drones in Afganistan from a remote Las Vegas Nevada air force compound. Day after day, teams of three sit in metal boxes on concrete slabs full of the latest modern technological warfare equipment, waging war on the Taliban. He meets a new partner, Airman Vera Suarez (Zoe Kravitz), who has little experience in the game but is up for the challenges that are built into the job. Ethan has a wife and kids and seems to enjoy being a family man with a house on the outskirts of Vegas. Wife Molly (January Jones), a former Vegas dancer turned mom, loves her husband but notices him distancing from the family as the ethical questions surrounding what he does for a living begin to weigh him down. She really doesn't have very much of an idea what he does, exactly but knows he is becoming tortured.

His job is to keep watch on goings on, help protect troops on the ground, gather information and occasionally blow some folks off the planet as his direct superior orders. They follow strict protocols and procedures and take great care not to harm innocent victims. It is all very antiseptic and cold, overall, until his team is tapped to work with the CIA. The drones are precise, can zoom in, zoom back and spy on all sorts of activity up close an personal, and some of it is really unpleasant and borders on a voyeurism that snaps the crews back to reality.
Unfortunately the CIA does not base its bombing targets on hard facts. Often the agency orders kills on "best information', which is not reliable, and innocents and children are sometimes taken out as well.

Filmed in Morocco and New Mexico amid stark landscapes in 2014, the star is the cinematography. As the lines blur as to what it really takes to do this job (video gamer vs seasoned, highly trained pilot) the film brings to the forefront plenty of questions for viewer general discussion.

Can hiding behind technology take the morality out of killing during wartime? How does seeing the aftermath of what one has directly done affect a serviceman over time? It is not hard to believe that the film is based on actual events. The tension is palpable and the dilemmas rolling around in their minds are painful to consider as we imagine what we would do in those chairs, taking blind orders to kill from one to fifty at a time. They say Good Kill on completion of each bombing yet ask themselves it a war crime was committed after a certain strike. They are clearly uncomfortable doing the CIA's bidding over speaker phone. The film possesses some great visuals and intelligent dialogue that all can follow.

As Major Egan struggles, he becomes a little brooding, a little psychotic and quite a bit anxious and towards the end, has some serious personal choices to make. It is a difficult situation that begs the viewer to put themselves in his place and ask the hard questions.
(Review by Cheryl Wurtz)



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Slow West



Imagine being a kid, you have your favorite stuffed platypus named Earl and you are about to go to bed. You have everything in place except another human mouth to sit next to you and read you a bedtime story. You have one of your parents read you a great western fable and describe all the graphic violence in detail. This movie came off a violent bedtime story and I highly enjoyed it.

As a first time full-length feature Writer/Director, John Maclean gives us a slow (pun intended, I am surprised I didn’t use this in the first sentence) fantasy feel to the western genre and feels different and definitely a breath of fresh air for this genre. How is it unique? Well, the style and color palette. It’s as if Wes Anderson stumbled into a bar late at night, drank a lot of wine, took home a drunken cowboy, had a colorful one-night stand filled with great set design and nine months later, made Slow West. That’s not a knock (ed) up on it because I loved the visual aesthetic and really gave the story a voice. With that said, I do believe this was also a short, semi-rushed, story with some under-developed characters and random plot points thrown in so they can tie up everything at the end. The biggest thing is that it’s only an hour and fifteen minute movie. It felt rushed as if Maclean had nothing else for the characters and had to end it as fast as possible. There were some character attributes that I really enjoyed for the most part; I just didn’t feel any weight when certain things would happen because I felt like I didn’t know them that well.

The acting is actually very strong and everyone gives a very good performance in their respective characters. Michael Fassbender is always great in everything he is in and this is no exception. He is a very convincing cowboy and can pull off that gruff, mysterious element that most cowboy characters have in westerns. That’s right ladies, if you combined this character and his character in Shame, you will have a hell of a stripper for your bachelorette party. I felt like Fassbender had the most development out of everyone, which is weird because not much is really given about his character, but I could kind of see his past and what his personality is just by his performance. Kodi Smit-McPhee (I actually remembered how to spell that and not look it up and that’s ok if you don’t want to believe me) does well for what he is given. I kind wish I knew more about his past, but the conclusion of his character makes sense given the traits and philosophies of his character. Ben Mendelsohn is always great in everything he is in, but his character felt under-used and under-developed. That makes me cry on the inside because he is a very versatile actor like Mr. Michael “Cowboy” Fassbender and there wasn’t really anything for him to do. The other plyer in this cast is Caren Pistorious and her character suffered like Mendelsohn did. Her character was fine and had a purpose, but it was under-developed and I felt like I didn’t know her well enough. It’s like if you took the hottest chick to prom because you were physically attracted to her, but you realize you know nothing about her and you two just don’t click and now all you have is an awkward dance partner and you wish you were watching movies instead. If you are wondering why that analogy is so descriptive it’s because that actually happened to me. I would have watched a movie about prom than experience it.

The cinematography is another plus. Every shot was like a beautiful, vibrant painting you would see at one of those western shops in a mall somewhere. I live in Texas and I see these all the time. It was simply gorgeous and really added a cool contrast from all the bloody, brutal violence. Kind of how it was back in the day, beautiful scenery but is clouded with disgusting animalistic behavior that really shows what humans are like. The pace is fine. Now, it’s a very short film and my one complaint on that is I wish it was longer (something that will never be said about a Michael Bay film). I wish there more scenes, more character development and more beautiful scenery. It’s a slow movie, but the curiosity on how it is going to end will intrigue you as it did for me.

I love a good western and, despite some of the problems I listed above, this is a great breath of fresh air on the western genre and Fassbender needs to play another cowboy because he killed it in this role. I recommend this one. 7.5/10
(Review by Chase Lee)





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Good Kill




I will watch anything with Ethan Hawke in it, but this one felt flat and didn’t really explore its interesting premise. I can’t believe this was written and directed by the same guy who has written one of my favorite movies of all time, The Truman Show. Well, then again he also wrote and directed one of the worst films of 2013, The Host.

Director/Writer Andrew Niccol explores, or at least tries to, what happens to pilots in the military and how they were once the heroes in the air to heroes in a chair operating a drone hundred’s of miles away. They do say, “Chair Force”, so that was pretty clever; and that’s where the cleverness ends. That’s pretty interesting, right? Exploring a pilot who has been flying for years and is now reduced to the equivalent to some guy playing Call of Duty in his basement eating Cheetos and drinking Mountain Dew is pretty intriguing. I am that guy who he is equivalent to and I can say that’s pretty much accurate, except I drink Mountain Dew: Code Red because I like living on the edge like that. You can think of the toll it will take on a seasoned pilot and how it can affect his psyche. They don’t explore any of that and really just scratch the surface. Not to mention, it’s really repetitive. It’s literally scenes of Hawke’s home life and scenes of when he is in the giant tin box in the middle of the dessert playing Battlefield. I wouldn’t mind that, but it’s boring and uninspired. I felt there wasn’t any creativity put into the scenes and the actors were just there reciting lines. Andrew also explores the violent, grotesque nature of the Middle East and how some people are awful, committing rape and whatnot really fueling Ethan Hawke and his motivations. He also touches on government take over with the drones, but once again, it feels rushed and under developed. Great ideas at play, just not explored enough.

Let’s jump into the acting, kids! Listen I love the Hawke (that sounds like a crappy hairdo from the 90’s) but this was a misstep for him. His character wasn’t fully developed and he felt one-note with some characteristics that come out of nowhere with no explanation or real depth. Speaking of flat, boring performances, January Jones doesn’t add much to the film. She felt like she was there and some of the decisions she made, that could be justified, made her look like a bad person. Listen, January is attractive and she shares her name with my birth month, I am pretty sure that means we are soulmates and I am ok with that, but I haven’t accepted her as a good actress yet. I know all of you are probably yelling at your computer screen, which would be awkward if someone came in right now and saw you yelling, to watch Mad Men. Whenever I feel like slicking my hair back, grabbing a cigar and drink some Scotch, I will watch Mad Men; but here she hasn’t proven it to me or the other film roles she is in. I thought she was enjoyable in The Last Man on Earth and that’s where I draw the line. She always seems to have the same tone and personality in every character she has played. Zoe Kravitz is also in this film and she does well. I have nothing more for her character.

The cinematography is clean and nice to look at but nothing ground-breaking. With story getting repetitive, the shots also seem repetitive in a few scenes involving the drone pilot area. The editing was an issue as well. I felt like the whole film was disjointed and scenes would just end. It felt choppier than a lumberjack and beaver having a contest on who could chop more wood. It’s a terrible analogy and joke, but I am about as funny as a joke on a Laffy Taffy wrapper so that’s what you get. Despite all the choppy editing, the movie just ends abruptly. That’s how it felt to me.

Mr. Niccol, if you read this, please don’t hate me, even though I will be on your hit list now, I really do respect most of your work. I love The Truman Show so much; but I felt like this was a bland, under-developed, repetitive, idea that could have worked and been a great modern war film. I really can’t recommend it. I have seen worse movies, but this one I didn’t care for at all. 2/10
(Review by Chase Lee)





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Tomorrowland




When Disneyland in Anaheim opened the futuristic section of the theme park called Tomorrowland it reflected the 1950's vision of world possibilities that included smooth sleek monorails and rocket ships. In the new Disney movie of the same name director Brad Bird (Mission Impossible-Ghost Protocol and The Incredibles) which he co-wrote with Damon Lindelof, that vision is still intact for an alternate universe where all good things can live, grow and expand gloriously. But that world is set for doom, because the pessimistic world view has infected it like a virus and only something like positivity can set it right again. A simplistic Disney fairy tale notion set with rocket packs and robots.

The story begins at the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. A young farm kid Frank (Thomas Robinson) who just happens to be a boy genius has taken the bus with his rocket pack made from Electro-lux vacuum cleaners which he shows to David Nix (Hugh Laurie) who is in charge of assessing new inventions. David, impressed by his ingenuity, is put off when he learns it doesn't quite work as well as Frank expected. However, David's daughter Athena (Raffey Cassidy) is intrigued by Frank and slips him a small pin with the letter T on it, and encourages him to follow those selected by David into the Small World ride. That ride takes him to a place totally unexpected.

Flash forward and we meet Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) who is trying to sabotage the destruction of the NASA launchpad that will put her scientific engineer father out of work. (Disney movie = no mother). Casey obviously brilliant and knows how things work, but still ends up getting caught in the act of her civil terrorism. When she gets out jail by her dad, she finds a T-pin in her belongings. It's been keyed to her DNA. When she touches it she is transported to Tomorrowland. But no one can see it but her. Unfortunately the pin expires it's program, so she looks on the Internet to find another. Which is a cool memorabilia shop called Blast From the Past. But what she finds there is not exactly what she expected. Enter Athena, still young, who helps her, leading her to Frank (George Clooney).

From this point the movie picks up speed. Frank who had been exiled from Tomorrowland and now living as a grizzled old crank, still mad at Athena for whom he once crushed on way back when. Casey finds out that she be the potential savior of Tomorrowland. Athena has selected her as a new recruit for the Plus Ultra's, a secret group of artists and other gifted and smart who created Tomorrowland. Frank, reluctantly concedes that Casey's presence may have changed the odds of the ultimate world disaster. Now they have to get to Tomorrowland to try and fix it.

The gobbly-gook of explanations regarding the Plus Ultra's, and the establishment of the alternate universe will be lost on most people, which is probably fine, because Frank's gadget filled house and the rocket in the Eiffel Tower, all the while being chased by robots are totally fun and distracting from all that scientific mumbo jumbo. Tomorrowland itself is full of wonders, but it looks like a super clean subway station, or some new Frisco super mall. A souped up modernization of Disneyland in the 50's. Clooney plays Clooney with his typical dry wry wit. And Brit Robertson is panicky and perky. It's Raffey Cassidy who steels the movie as Athena.

The lesson the movie seems to try to impart is that negativity kills and the power of hope and love endures. So keep that in mind while watching this film and just have a good time. Don't think about top hard.
(Review by reesa)


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