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.

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Sunday, October 11, 2020

Force of Nature

I can’t believe how far has star power has fallen.

Going back to the mid-’90s with titles like “Ransom” (1996) and “What Women Want” (2000) Mel Gibson was the go-to for any movie viewer, myself included.

I, of course am talking about Gibson who used to be on the top of most moviegoers must watch lists. More recently, he directed the war action picture “Hacksaw Ridge,” (2016) which won multiple Oscars.

With his latest entry, “Force of Nature,” he is a grizzled cop who does not want to leave his residence despite the category five hurricane outside the front door of his high rise.

Also in the cast are Kate Bosworth (“Blue Crush,” (2002), “Superman Returns” (2006) and Emile Hirsch. (“The Girl Next Door,” (2004), “Speed Racer” (2008).

I am of the rare breed that could care less about his behavior in that I just want to see him on the big screen!

In “Force of Nature,” he tackles the grizzly cop role again as Ray Barrett who refuses to leave the high rise in which he resides. His nurse daughter, Troy (Kate Bosworth) oversees his life and is by his side. He resides in a foreign land: South America.

This one, however is all about the heist.

The bad guy here is a villain named John (David Zayas, TV’s “Dexter” (2006), “The Expendables” (2010), a mean-spirited baddie who indiscriminately kills people for just being in the way. In a nice change of pace, the almighty dollar is not the endgame reward.

Directing chores for “Nature” were handled by Michael Polish, who handled the intriguing “Northfork” in the early part of this decade, (2003) to be exact. He handles the pacing well, but the end result is merely “meh,” since this one does not end with a bang, rather a somber whimper.

What I’m waiting for net is both the prequel to his “Passion of the Christ” and yet another “Lethal Weapon” entry. They might be older, but they are not in wheelchairs yet.

So the reader knows I watched this on Amazon Prime.

If one has the time, “Nature” is worth the journey, despite the meh comments as well.

Grade: C+

(Review by Ricky Miller)

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The War With Grandpa

Director: Tim Hill Studio: 101 Studios, Brookdale Studios

Review: The War With Grandpa

Family comedy films are something lots of people would take advantage of when it comes to finding a subtle movie as a family outing for both children and adults. If one must take Robin Williams’ Hook for example, then the one must see the magical, but funnier experience where all the kids can enjoy their laughs together. The War With Grandpa is based on the novel written by author Robert Kimmel Smith. Spongebob Squarepants alumnus Tim Hill fills the role as the director of the film while legendary actor Robert De Niro (The Godfather Part II, Raging Bull) stars as the children’s grandfather named Ed.

The War With Grandpa focuses on a young boy Peter who works to get his grandfather to move out of his room after he moves in with his family by orchestrating a plethora of devious pranks until his grandfather fights back by knowing all the pranks and tricks up in his sleeves.

While the film is written by screenwriters Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember, the dialogue seems a bit dry on and pretty much confusing when it comes to having dysfunctional families that don’t get along each other, the director and the writing teams have been circling the main focus and the scenes involving the chemistry between De Niro’s and Fegley’s characters to fit the role for an father-and-son dynamic duo. The chemistry really brings much more depth and produces strong, yet rebellious character developments like how the filmmakers have studied the relationships between Homer and Bart Simpson in the television series.

Speaking of television series, director Tim Hill, having been working on Spongebob Squarepants and other cartoon shows, uses his comedy-gag routine from his shows to craft a feature film that produces some scenes that not only involves the increasable relationship between those two characters mentioned above but also gives a little fundamentals on the things that they enjoyed doing while they’re young.

With that in mind, the director did provide some blueprints on this film with several concepts and intakes from the film that can be highly comparable like the unlikable Going in Style (starring Michael Caine), Daddy’s Home (with Will Ferrell and Mark Walhberg), and other comedy films people can name them. While this film gives lots of laughs though, the story didn’t flow straight on for that matter when it comes to crafting a film that fits the genre for comedy films for both families and children.

Here in the film we have Oakes Fegley (2016’s Pete’s Dragon) who plays as Ed’s grandson named Peter who is forced to give up his room to his grandfather when he moves in. Child actress Poppy Gagnon stars in the film as Jennifer, the youngest sister while Laura Marano (Disney Channel’s Austin & Ally) portrays Mia, the older sister to both Peter and Jennifer. Actors Uma Thurman and Rob Riggle portray as the parents for Peter, Mia, and Jennifer with Thurman being heavily portrayed as Ed’s daughter as well.

Also appearing in the film are Cheech Marin, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Walken who are portrayed as Ed’s friends who assist him in the battle of pranks against Peter.

The War With Grandpa is an average 95-minute movie. I didn’t love it or hate it, I only focused and enjoyed the comedy too much and the performances from Robert De Niro and Oakes Fegley mainly, but some actors' performances portraying as family members do not really help with those two characters, especially Thurman’s role as a mother which gives me a center of distaste. I believe the director adds too much input rather than focusing on other characters’ personas in order to make a good movie that kids enjoy. I really don’t want to tell, I mean, it’s an old-school comedy routine dated back in the 1990s and 2000s. It would be a difficult choice to choose this film to get rid of the stress in desperation.


(Review by Henry Pham)

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Black Box

Director: Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Studio: Amazon Studios

Review: Black Box!

Thrillers can be something exciting, but also nervousing and scary for one’s own movie-viewing advantages. Black Box serves as a directorial debut for Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour. Before he directed this, he has directed several short films over the years. This film is the first of the eight films to be given a Blumhouse Studios’ deal with Amazon Studios under Blumhouse’s own television division. Actors Mamoudou Athie (Sorry for Your Loss) and Phylicia Rashad (NBC’s The Cosby Show) were given the main-leading roles while producer Jason Blum will be serving as an executive producer for this film.

Black Box centers on the man named Nolan, who, after losing his wife and his memory in a near-fatal car accident, undergoes an agonizing experimental treatment that causes him to question who he really is.

Mamoudou Athie portrays Nolan as a patient who suffered amnesia and injuries on his hand while Phylicia Rashad as Lilian, a doctor who performs an experimental surgery on him. Aside from those two, child actress Amanda Christine appears as Ana, Nolan’s daughter while Tosin Morohunfola (CW’s The Flash) plays as Gary.

With the script and the dialogue being delivered to the two main characters by Wade Allen-Marcus and Stephen Herman, the writers and director took every step and direction on filming a horror film based on Peele’s horror/thriller films, giving each scene some distant flavors from Peele’s experiences and borrow some of the tips and tricks from several Christopher Nolan’s films, including Inception and his most-recent film, Tenet. The film did include the usages of virtual reality on some scenes while most of the filming crew outdone the CGI parts, but from the looks of it, they both find a way to make the scenes happen compared the films being mentioned and following the recipe from the subtle Paranormal Activity film series. Additionally, the music coming from composer Brandon Roberts provides a wondrous, yet steadily musical beats to fit that genre for any horror films, like Jaws for example.

While the film is unique to watch, there are some difficult parts of the film that are extremely hard to digest scene by scene, which are the scenes with him remembering the things which gave myself some shivers, the violence being used in the second half of the film despite that there’s a child in the scenes, and the cutting-edge of the CGI usages which lacks focus on the characters and the film itself. My instinct is that filmmakers are putting much much effort into every scene being discussed at length. Over the top, the plot seems to flow gently and somewhat flawful.
Also appearing are Troy James who portrays as a silent Backwards Man who comes horrifyingly into Nolan's scenes and senses while being experimented by Lilian and Najah Bradley who appears as Rachel, Nolan’s late wife. And lastly, despite appearing almost the end is Donald Watkins as Thomas.

Black Box is an okay film, it clocks around 100 minutes to its regular length. Though I did not enjoy parts of it due its excruciating amounts of dark focal natures and the tone of the film. I kinda say, the director and the crew did it, but it’s just too much for that input as if people add too many candies in the bowl or bag just to make this film amazing and anticipated to watch for anyone's amusement. Speaking of horror films, Black Box may be the most nervousing choice for a movie-viewing pleasure at home as a Halloween treat for adults.


(Review by Henry Pham)

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The War With Grandpa

(Review by Chase Lee)
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A Call to Spy

(Review by Chase Lee)
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Black Box

(Review by Chase Lee)
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The Lie

(Review by Chase Lee)

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