Sunday, July 24, 2016
Hope y'all are surviving these hot summer days. Its been a busy week with the Asian Film Festival Dallas that has just closed. Y'all really have to take advantage of the events offered in the DFW area.
We are expecting you will be scrambling for Jason Bourne passes this week. Just remember you have to enter to win before you start to mooch from some one else. And those folks who get multiples please release them or offer them if you are not going to use them.
July 24 - July 30
Hillsong: Let Hope Rise - 7:00 pm - Cinemark Alliance
Nerve - 7:30 pm - AMC North park
Hillsong: Let Hope Rise - 7:00 pm - AMC Mesquite
Jason Bourne - 7:30 pm- TBA
Lights Out - 7:30 pm - AMC North park
Captain Fantastic - 7:30 pm - Angelika Dallas
Jason Bourne - 7:30 pm - tba
Jason Bourne - 7:30 pm - Studio Movie Grill
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Zombie movies are normally of a dime a dozen that fill the movie channels nightly. Filled with scantily clad women who scream and stereotypical useless people. It takes a South Korean film to bring back the faith of the genre. Directed by Yeon Sang ho and written by Park Joo sum sets the story on a passenger train for an hour long journey from Seoul to Busan. Well acted it is carefully paced with horror and character development. The film had a big midnight screening at Cannes and opened in South Korea breaking box office records. It's well worth the trip to Cine Oasis in Carrollton to catch this train.
Gong yoo , the favorite actor of Korean drama Coffee Prince, plays a fund manager Seok woo who is a workaholic divorced dad to Su-an (Kim Su an) who just wants to see her mom in Busan. His mother guilts him into accompanying Su-an on the train. At the same time the train is departing the station there are news reports of some unrest happening in the city. Seok woo is too distracted by the stress of his job that he doesn't notice the news or his daughter who wandered off curious about the conductor checking out a stow a way muttering some thing about everyone being dead. Elsewhere on the train, an injured young woman has also boarded and it doesn't take long before mayhem erupts.
These zombies are particularly gruesome. The change happens quickly and they are World War Z fast. Survivors manage to huddle on one car while the major players are established. The pregnant Sung kyunk (Jung Yu mi) and her tough husband Seok hwa (Ma Dong Seok), teenagers Young guk (Choice Woo sik) and his girlfriend Jin hee (An Soon hee), and the selfish paranoid CEO Yong sum (Kim Eui sung). Seok woo at one point tells his daughter to think only about her self when push comes to shove, but despite most peoples inclination for self survival some rise to the occasion to save each other.
The claustrophobic surroundings of a train hurtling down the tracks while flesh eating zombies plaster their dead eyed faces against the glass partitions is a bit unnerving. There are terrifying moments when the train stops and people debark looking for safety but finding none there, they get back on the train but some end up trapped. The last portion of the film is a nail biter as a rescue attempt is made and the selfish CEO becomes problematic. While there is so much going on we actually feel for the people involved and not distracted by the usual stupid character that takes one out of the story. This is absolutely one of the best zombie movies ever, a must see, but you may want too drive there and skip the DART.
(Review by reesa)
Friday, July 22, 2016
My phone interview with Director Roger Ross Williams on his recent film Life, Animated. The film follows a autistic man, Owen Suskind's, family in his journey to independence and reflects back on his childhood.
(Interview by Wyatt Head)
This happy and uplifting film shares the story of Owen, who has Autism, from the time he was very young to his young adulthood. We are taken through the family’s trials and first realizations that he had the condition. The camera follows him through his life using animation, interviews, and footage of Owen going to through his current day. Owen gained his tools that he has today through Disney animation. The shots of him viewing the films, which he has thoroughly memorized, brought memorable and magical moments to me as I remembered those films.
The animation used as a sketch 2-D type to tell Owen’s story really was remarkable and pretty. The thick lines and colors added to the animation as if it were a painting brought a sense of adventure to the family’s recollections. They actually in the opening credits took video footage from the family and made it into a sketch. A piece of footage with Owen’s father and him playing in the yard was gripping because his dad didn’t know about his Autism at the time. His father explains that at the age of three Owen just stopped being the Owen they knew.
The film had a great balance between the story of the family’s history and what was going on currently in Owen’s life. Something that was mentioned well was that Autism was an unflattering thing back in the early 90s. That gave you a sense of where the family was at the time of his diagnosis and the work they would have to do. The filmmakers use audio to imitate the garble that Owen now says he heard from everyone when he was young. It was a wonderful way for us as the audience to understand his over stimulation.
There is a segment where the father explains how Owen said something to him for the first time in a year through a puppet. The father spoke through a voice and used a Disney puppet to ask him how his son felt. This is reminisced upon while the father tears up in the interview. One can imagine how emotional and trying it was to just get their son to speak to them. The film made a very clear path towards understanding all of Owen’s needs and breakthroughs.
Owen says it himself that he uses the films to make sense of the world. To watch the sequences of Disney films on the screen is quite an extraordinary thing because for Owen this was his cherished tool. This documentary supported the growth of Autism awareness and made animation more aesthetic than ever.
(Review by Wyatt Head)
Don’t get discouraged that is a review for part 1 and part 2 of this film. I consider it a four hour movie instead of two separate two hour films so I figure it would easier to review that way. I have never been to the Asian Film Festival of Dallas, but after this film I want to go back and watch more brilliant anime. This is based off a popular manga series from Japan and then adapted as a television series with the first season being released and it runs about twenty-five episodes with a second season along the way. These two films are essentially the twenty-five episodes crammed into four hours so simpletons like me don’t have to sit through it all. However, after watching this epic film, I want to go back and watch the rest of the television show. Let’s get reel and break this down.
Part 1: In a dystopian world, a young man vows to eliminate the giant humanoid creatures that threaten the remnants of humanity.
Part 2: As the Trost District is reclaimed from the Titans, Eren is taken under the wing of Captain Levi and his squad, who decide to try and teach him to master his mysterious abilities.
Simply put, this story feels epic and sucks you in from the moment it starts. The dark, sci-fi fantasy elements are imaginative and creative while still having some great commentary on: society, social classes, vengeance, war, government and the military and even hints of obsession with power and how it can consume you and other themes sprinkled throughout. There are a lot of working elements that bring this story to life with entertainment and depth. All of the characters have their motives and distinct personalities that make each of them standout and have their moment without watering the story down with all the characters presented. The director brought had the difficult task of condensing the twenty-five hour season into a four hour film that still makes sense and brings in new fans that have never heard of this property. He brought in the original voice actors from the show to redo the dialogue to make it flow better for the films. For the most the director did the best he could do but…
…you can definitely tell where the missing parts are from the series and it’s very apparent and makes you wonder what you missed and was it important. The other thing that felt unfinished was the whole experience itself. At the end of part 2, we are presented with an ending to the characters current journey but it leaves on a massive cliffhanger and doesn’t have a definitive ending with some questions unanswered. That’s not a bad thing but maybe I am jealous because I want more of it and have to wait until season two.
Everyone brings these animated characters to life with intensity and charisma for their characters. From all the epic battle scenes and the quieter, emotional moments, there is a distinct full range of emotions the voice acting carries through.
I love anime and I would like to watch more of it but sometimes the intensity in the voice audio in some anime can be a little too much. Case in point, I am fine with the battle and action scenes because they require of intensity; but some of the smaller, quieter moments had an exaggerated voice inflection that take you out of the moment. I realize most anime is like that but when I wanted to get invested I want to feel the emotions and not have the characters yell the whole time. But then again, I am an idiot and I don’t know what I am talking about.
From the inner cities to the beautiful, sometimes terrifying, open land beyond the walls, the cinematography is gorgeous and feels like this could be a real location somewhere. The action set pieces mesmerizing, the dramatic scenes are well lit to set a specific mood, the shot choices really insinuate the epic scope of the titans and the humans.
If you are into anime, you will like it. If you are into fantasies, you will like it. If you don’t like subtitled movies, you won’t like it. I realize this type of animation isn’t for everyone but as soon as the movie starts with a great hook it carries you to a good ending, despite it leaving on a cliffhanger. The animation is flawless and those titans…dear lord are they creepy.
The holes missing in the movies from the show do feel like awkward speed bumps in the story but its only temporary and the scene following gets you right into it again.
Being my only two films I saw at the Asian Film Festival of Dallas, I was entertained and sucked into this world and had such a fun time with it. This is a great anime and I really want to 1.) Go back and watch the whole first season again and see what I missed and 2.) I really can’t wait for season two and I will definitely watch it.
(Review by Chase Lee)
Hard to believe the new film directed by Mike Thurmeier and Galen T. Chu with a script by Michael J. Wilson is the fifth installment of the series that started in 2002. The continuing adventure of the characters of mammoths, sloths, and sabre tooth tigers that are now older and confronting getting older and their children leaving the nest, but they also face the possible annihilation of life as the know it when meteors rain down on them.
Ray Romano is once again the voice of wooly mammoth Manny who is not willing to let go of his daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) who is set to marry Julian (Adam DeVine). Mom Ellie ( Queen Latifah) tries to get Manny to accept his son in law to be and found some common ground with him. Everything is going in typical sit com fashion, but up in space Scratch the acorn obsessed squirrel had in earthed a spaceship frozen in a mountain of ice and inadvertainly launched it into space hitting debris causing a chunk of rock to plunge towards earth. Hoping to avoid the destruction Manny thinks that the should go to the underground dinosaur habitat from the last movie.
Buck (Simon Pegg), the one eyed weasel and dinosaur hunter has found pillar of prophecy etched in pictures. He's discovered that the asteroids have always landed in the same place. If they find the spot they can figure out how to stop the impeding doom. But three dromarosaurs (Nick Offeman, Stephanie Breatriz, and Max Greenfield) want to stop them figuring that since the can fly they will inherit the world. Buck's plan is to use the crystals from the last event to divert the approaching space rock bye its magnetic properties. But inside one of the crystal they find Geotopia, a hippie type world where its inhabitants don't age run my the Shangri Llama (Jesse Tyler Ferguson).
Most of this doesn't make a whole lot of sense. There are comic asides by Neil deBuck Weasel (Neil deGrasse Tyson) to point out the absurdity of it all. But that's the whole point of this film series that its not there to teach some environmental lesson to kids as much as telling a story of the importance of family. Its fun and mindless but the really young ones may get restless before its all said and done.
(Review by reesa)
Sunday, July 17, 2016
Hope everyone is surviving the usual hot Texas summer where hanging out in an air condtioned movie theater is a more welcome solution. The Asian Fi!m Festival Dallas is currently screening an amazing collection of films you will probably not be able to enjoy at our local movie houses.
As usual, you must enter to win passes and not rely on someone providing you with extras. And please only enter for those screenings that you can actually attend and not to be used as hostage for another movie.
July 17-July 23
Absolutely Fabulous - 7:30 pm - Angelika Dallas
Lights Out - 7:00 pm - AMC Northark
Cafe Society - 7:30 pm - Magnolia
Star Trek Fan Event - 4:30 pm - AMC North park and Cinemark West
Star Trek Beyond - 7:30 pm - Cinemark 17
Bad Moms 7:00 pm - Harkins South lake
Friday, July 15, 2016
The opening night film of the 2016 Asian Film Festival Dallas is the followup to the successful 2014 Samurai Hustle continuing with the adventures of the Yunagaya Domain's lord and samurai warriors as they return from one of their Sankin-kotai (required ritual visit to the shogun). Coming home relaxed and pleased with their visit they receive word that an insurrection by some "farmers" that has devastated the rice crops. They must now rush home by foot in a couple of days before the inspector arrives.
Kuranosuke Sasaki plays the good natured Lord Naito who is looking forward to getting married to Osaki (Kyoko Fukada), a bar maiden with whom he fell head over in heels with in the last film. She is a bit insecure being from a poor and unscrupulous background that may bring shame to her future husband. When the mismatched warriors, who had forged a strong bond in the previous movie, decide to leave everything behind, hike up their hakamas and run. They must also once again fool the postal station guards by hiring marchers to make 30 men look like 100 which is the accepted amount for a domain of their size or they will risk shame on their domain. Along the way they find out warrants have been issued for their arrest and for inciting the insurrection. They are also are waylaid by an opposing group of samurai that includes an old compatriot.
They return back to the castle to find their clan has been dissolved and replaced by another. Some of their people have been imprisoned, the field and stores of food destroyed. The instigator of their bad luck is the recently released from house arrest Councillor Nobutoki who still harbors a grudge against the pauper lord for foiling his plans in Samurai Hustle 1 and just for being poor. In fact Nobutoki has more ambitious plans. Fortunately the Edo magistrate Ooka suspects something is amiss.
The relationships of the Yunagaya clan is what gives this film some heart. One doesn't necessarily need to see the first, but it helps, and its a good. The sword fights are pretty impressive. Especially the ending battle pitting the illustrious seven plus monkey against an army of 1000. Each of the lovable characters are given a chance to shine. The bad guy is fabulously sinister with blue eye shadow. Don't worry if you missed the opening night screening. It will be playing again on the last day of the festival.
(Review by Reesa)