Thursday, December 8, 2016
Jessica Chastain is calling on all her acting skills and putting her screen chops on display in this Washington D.C. set drama about the cut throat world of Capitol Hill lobbying. Elizabeth Sloane is 150 percent dedicated to her professional craft and lives, breaths and not eats or sleeps while doing so. She forgoes personal relationship and keeps any family at a distance so as to immerse herself completely in the no holds barred game of cat and mouse that is the life of this political lobbyist.
When caught between legislation regarding " the gun and arms question" and the supporters for each side, she makes her choice (the most challenging) and walks out of her old job, with a handful of loyal minion co-workers in tow to join a new firm. Her reputation around Washington insiders is without peer and many entities would love to lure her to their dens to work for them and their causes. Millions of dollars are often at stake and her employers have budgets to match, as she uses them to begin a slide towards the dark side. She considers breaking the law. Staging false events; anything to get ahead and use anything within her means to gain the political advantage as her firm tracks which legislators are in their pockets and will vote on their side of the legislation. Elizabeth Sloane is so totally consumed and driven the audience is not really sure just what she won't do to win. Ultimately, she gets into legal and ethical trouble and must come before an ethics board for a hearing and possible consequences that can ruin her career for good.
The film is a American and French production, directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, Marigold Hotels fame) , also starring Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alison Pill, John Lithgow (as a corrupt politician) and Sam Waterston. The soundtrack (minor electronica) is scored by Max Richter. The script is sharp, intelligent and quippy all the way around, but it is clear that this is Miss Chastain's vehicle and she is the solo driver. She takes us from total confidence- bordering on arrogance to puddle on the floor panicked heap when things aren't going her way, her driven and constantly calculating character walks and talks a frenzied, but methodical pace and we soon feel that she is headed for a cliff or brick wall somewhere on down the line and her efforts and those of her coworkers seem to start an out of control spiral. The film is more a personality study, it feels, than an introduction into how to lobby. But considered what is going on in the political world around us, with everything citizens feel may be at stake, viewing how possibly things get done in Washington will definitely add to the December chill in the air. All in all, the film is worth checking out if you want to delve into a headier subject.
(Review by Cheryl Wurtz)
Sunday, December 4, 2016
'Tis the season. Hope everyone is enjoying the cool temps and rainy days. Not many screenings happening, but there are some really good ones coming up. No word on whether there will be a promo screening for the new Star Wars, but many of you have already purchased your advanced tickets.
Some of y'all keep writing asking for passes after we post a link to enter a contest or grab a pass. The grab a pass usually goes quickly, but we do have other screening sponsors popping up all the time. So keep a look out on your emails before asking for passes from others. Save the begging until you have exhausted all possibilities, then and only then can you ask the group in general for assistance. And remember to check the group calendar for the list of links under each screening for where to find passes.
December 4 - December 10
Dec 5 - Monday
7:00 pm - Why Him? - Angelika Dallas
Dec 6 - Tuesday
7:30 pm - Miss Sloane - Angelika Dallas
7:30 pm - Office Christmas Party - AMC Northpark and Angelika Dallas
Dec 7 - Wednesday
7:00 pm - Sing - AMC Northpark
Friday, December 2, 2016
Based on an American comedy-romance film, written and produced by Warren Beatty, he portrayed the sophisticated, high powered, Hollywood “icon” Howard Hughes, who believed he could get anything he wants, anytime he wants and that rules do not apply to him. With his wealth, charming confidence, and gargantuan attitude he demonstrates his leadership by delivering empty promises while lacking consideration and compassion to those who cultivate in his presence. He persuades the young naïve, aspiring actress, Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins) who is under his contract, to leave her small town to move to Los Angeles. Marla’s luminous dreams and her jubilant belief is that Hughes will make it all happen for her. During her first trip to Hollywood she meets one of his young, ambitious drivers, Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich) who blindly falls for her even at the sake of his job. He knows that Marla is off limits to him but miserably falls for her anyway.
Marla is captivated by Forbes’s charm, his witty but out-going personality and their shared religious values. Although she knows that he is engaged to his high school sweet heart, they develop a great friendship that hints towards romance. When their attraction towards one another spirals out of control they know their religious values are tested. Their forbidden love is challenge with the clause of the contract and with Hughes' imperturbable behavior. Out of pure frustration and impatience, she ultimately lures in the great Hughes. Although, she knows that Hughes have plenty of women who are vying for his attention, she believed with her self-assured attitude that she will capture his heart. She naively falls for his superficial fairy tales and “ever after” themes until she realizes that Hughes was not all that she thought he was and flees back to her hometown. With the change in her life she soon learns that love was there all along.
Although, this film hinted towards blissful romance between Frank and Marla, it defaulted on palatable promises to keep the audience engage. With the primary focus bordered on Hughes quirky comedy and his frivolous attitude, the film lacked the true value in delivering its purpose.
(Review by Dr. Dwanna-Ary)
Thursday, December 1, 2016
OUT-OF-THIS-GALAXY CELEBRATIONS FOR OPENING WEEKEND OF STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE
Featuring opening night lobby party on Thursday, December 15 in Richardson; STAR WARS-themed Beach Party on Friday, December 16; appearances all weekend long by professional costumed characters, RSO string quartet performing live in the lobby, photo ops, themed menu, limited edition exclusive merchandise, and more
Dec. 1, 2016 — The Force is strong during the Alamo Drafthouse DFW opening weekend festivities for ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY!
– Opening night in Richardson (100 S Central Expressway #14) – December 15 from 6 p.m. – close:
– Alamo Richardson lobby will be teeming with professional costumed Star Wars characters and droids, photo ops, a DJ, vintage Star Wars arcade game by Free Play Arcade, pop-up shops featuring Star Wars toys, comics, wearables, art, and exclusive merchandise, plus a few more surprises up the sleeve of our Jedi robe!
– Friday night in Vetted Well (1005 S Lamar St., Dallas) – December 16 from 8 p.m. – midnight:
– Vetted Well, inside Alamo Cedars’ location, transforms into a Star Wars Beach Bash, inspired by the big beach battle sequence in ROGUE ONE!
Get ready to do the Lobot limbo, get Princess Lei'd, and bounce a Death Star beach ball! Featuring a live DJ spinning Star Wars remixes and classic beach jams as well as main stage karaoke. Join the host of professional costumed Star Wars characters to beach boogie with! A Star Wars beach-themed photo booth, professional photographer, and a themed menu featuring classic Star Wars drinks with a tropical twist. Guests are encouraged to come as your favorite Star Wars/beach mashup character!
Appearances by professional costumed Star Wars characters and droids will occur Thursday and Saturday at Richardson and Friday at Cedars. Fans can have their pictures taken with all their favorite characters from a galaxy far, far away including Stormtroopers, Darth Vader, Rebels, Jedis, R2-D2, and even a few of the new characters from ROGUE ONE!
Featured throughout the weekend:
• Appearances by professional costumed Star Wars characters and droids.
• Photo ops including a ROGUE ONE-themed photo booth and a life-size version of the Star Wars Black Series action figure box (presented by CUTX).
• Vintage Star Wars arcade game courtesy of Free Play Arcade.
• Richardson Symphony Orchestra quartet playing selections of the Star Wars score live in the lobby at Richardson Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
• Limited edition pint glass with exclusive Mondo-designed ROGUE ONE art for sale.
• Full themed menu of food and drink specials straight from the galaxy far, far away.
Richardson - 100 S Central Expressway #14 Richardson, TX 75080
Cedars - 1005 S Lamar St Dallas, TX 75215
About Alamo Drafthouse:
Tim and Karrie League founded Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in 1997 as a single-screen mom and pop repertory theater in Austin. Nineteen years later, the now 24-location chain has been named "the best theater in America" by Entertainment Weekly and "the best theater in the world" by Wired. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has built a reputation as a movie lover's oasis not only by combining food and drink service with the movie-going experience, but also introducing unique programming and high-profile, star studded special events. Alamo Drafthouse Founder & CEO, Tim League, created Fantastic Fest, a world renowned film festival dubbed "The Geek Telluride" by Variety. Fantastic Fest showcases eight days of genre cinema from independents, international filmmakers and major Hollywood studios. The Alamo Drafthouse's collectible art gallery, Mondo, offers breathtaking, original products featuring designs from world-famous artists based on licenses for popular TV and Movie properties including Star Wars, Star Trek & Universal Monsters. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is expanding its brand in new and exciting ways, including Drafthouse Films, founded in 2010, which has already garnered three Academy Award nominations and Birth.Movies.Death., an entertainment content platform for movie lovers and the pop culture obsessed.
Shia LaBeouf has to work hard to dispel his real life foibles that often distract from the great performances he delivers such as American Honey (although that film was in itself disappointing). La Beouf embodies the character of Gabriel Drummer with an edgy intensity as a Marine who experienced a traumatizing incident in Afghanistan. Directed by Dito Montiel and written by Adam G. Simon, the films’ good intentions become a muddled and a confusing mess. It was screened at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival and the 72nd Venice International Film Festival.
Drummer joined the Marines with his best friend Devin Roberts (Jai Courtney). Their training and deployment is told in a series of flashbacks while what seems like the present-day Drummer wandering around a post-apocalyptic world searching for this son. He and his wife Natalie (Kate Mara) are happy and proud of their young son John (Charlie Shotwell). They seem like the perfect couple while dealing with him being sent off to war. Then more flashbacks are introduced with Drummer speaking with Captain Peyton (Gary Oldman) a counselor with the Marines who has to access Drummer over an incident which involved the death of the men in his troop. The confident and patriotic young Marine seems to be fraying at the seams at this point and his mention of suicide raises flags with Peyton. A bottle of pills seems to be the counselor’s solution before he’s shipped back home. More flashbacks occur as Drummer painfully recalls what happened in the firefight.
It’s always important to shine a light on the problem of PTSD’s that affect the men and women returning home from their service in the war. Unfortunately, this film bounces back and forth confusing the most patient viewer. Also the color of the film is shot in a brownish pallet that doesn’t help clarify one flashback from another. La Beouf despite mumbling his dialogue, effectively portrays the fear and self loathing of what happened. The only thread of sanity that he hangs on to is the letter he writes to his son. Eventually it all makes sense in the end, but by then one just wants to leave the theater to get some real light and relief.
(Review by reesa)
Sunday, November 27, 2016
Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and maybe caught up on all the movies you may have missed. It actually seems seasonable weatherwise, so maybe there was some Netflix marathoning going on this weekend. In any event it's a short week for screenings. But as usual keep an eye on your emails because there may be some last minute additions to the schedule.
And as always, please write to the people offering the pass and not to this list. Daina and I do not personally have passes to distribute. You must enter the contests and/or follow the links provided. If any of those redeemable passes are not available, it will say event is full. We don't have any magical codes to give you. You can request help from other members of the group if they have one extra. Just pay it forward the next time.
November 27 - December 3
Monday - November 28
The Space Between - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark
Tuesday - November 29
Man Down - 7:30 pm - Cinemark 17
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Ben Affleck is Cool and All but Casey is Finally Getting his Due
Years ago when Ben Affleck was big in Hollywood no one paid attention to his brother Casey even though he was in some good films. Now, Ben is an established director/filmmaker and Casey is starting to nab these roles that make him shine. This one might launch him as the new Affleck in the public’s eyes. Let’s get reel and break this down.
An uncle is forced to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy's father dies.
Director Kenneth Lonergan brings us an authentic, genuine, and heartbreaking tale about loss and the process of how some people are different when coping with a tragedy. The characters seem realistic and as if you are following real people you would see every day around your community. The communal aspect and intimacy of the town really shines through adding the grounded realism of the story. The characters themselves are always consistent of how they are written and are never melodramatic and over acting. This film prompts me urgently to watch Lonergan’s previous works. I hear Margaret is amazing. The way it also ends really doesn’t sit well with people and just cuts off abruptly. I myself found it to be like real life and how things just happen and we have to deal with them and kind of move on.
Casey Affleck is definitely the star and really breaks through to an inevitable Oscar nomination. The raw nature of his performance and hardened character provides thunderous quiet moments and saddening loud moments. He bounces off of Michelle Williams fantastically. Her character is the only one who can break him and that provides us with some heartbreaking scenes. She is only in a few scenes but she makes an imprint on the film. Lucas Hedges, who plays Casey’s nephew, is also a standout providing the angst and frustration of losing a parental figure as a tennager.
This isn’t really a con but more an observation. I love Kyle Chandler a lot and he is very good in this film but his performance is slightly under everyone else. I am probably just nitpicking and you can light up your torches now.
I am a bit of sucker when it comes to films set on the east coast. This film is no different. The beautiful, blue ocean and the gorgeous fall colors of the landscapes made me want to move there immediately. All the ocean scenes add a layer of calming beauty to the characters and the dialogue.
The two hour run-time is non-existent and you are swept up into the tragedies that this family processes and really caring for each individual person. On the surface it might look like a typical family drama, but the performances will transport you into this environment and make you forget you are watching a movie.
Despite my love for the film, I am contemplating the re-watch ability of the film. It is heavy and not something I would want to watch all the time. My friend George McCann on Facebook said it best, “This would make a great stage play.” If it was a play, I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.
Definitely in my top ten of the year, this is simply one of the best of the year. Step aside Ben, Casey is about to burst through the mainstream with a nomination and I hope Michelle Williams gets one for Supporting Actress as well.
(Review by Chase Lee)