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!

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Website and Group Contact: dalscreenings@gmail.com

Friday, April 3, 2020

Never Rarely Sometimes Always






Director: Eliza Hittman Studio: Focus Features

Review: Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Never underestimate the movie title to be questioned when the audiences and critics want to figure out why the filmmakers choose to name this film production, but as far as any drama films go, Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a film Eliza Hittman, the director, had offered to audiences at both film festivals and movie theaters, but Hittman always knows the palm of her hand when it comes to crafting a film that is only meant to be showcased at film festivals but deserves more attention than ever. And what is good news is that the film introduces the new actress Sidney Flanigan, playing the lead role as Autumn while Talia Ryder acts it out as her friend, Skylar. Just to let the readers know that this film is originally scheduled for March 2020 theatrical release, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the film is instead released on VOD.

The film focuses on the teenage girl named Autumn (portrayed by newcomer Sidney Flanigan in her feature film debut) decides to get an abortion following her unexpected pregnancy which causes her to question whether she’ll be ready to be a mother or not.

While the film’s main characters Autumn and Skylar both portrayed as simple friends comparing to any teenage-girl films, the characters both shared the screen time together that fits the story miraculously with those two providing strong, but somewhat redundant character development that explores the ordeal lives of teenagehood and motherhood while living in the suburbs or city in their older teen ages (or younger adult ages). Teenagehood and motherhood are something that can be easily concerned once as the film goes by understanding what it means to be a teenager and a about-to-be mother at the same time.

The direction is well put together when shooting every scene that focuses primarily on those two young girls. Hittman knows where to place each camera and its angles to the right spot to capture a perfect, engaging shot of those two regardless of the difficulties she and the actresses had gone through. In the end, she managed to work tirelessly and on time without going back to re-edit anything or start the process all over again.

The film won the Special Jury Award for Best Neo-Realism at the Sundance Film Festival 2020, which was very hard to capture this enduring moment due to its distinctive flavor of being an European-made film or an Italian film (for which Neo-Realism is known for there). The main answer is not only Hittman’s direction did the trick, but also the cinematography work from Helen Louvart, and the scenes about parenthood and abortion that defines naturalistic artwork any film or television series could ever done. Cinematography and certain scenes needed to be filled and focused on are the basic ingredients to follow the recipe when producing an ordinary drama film.

Overall, Never Rarely Sometimes Always is an excellent movie, if not better. I really enjoyed it on every scene that caught my attention. It’s a rare deadpanless film with a huge tendency that intrigues and woes the audience and critics out of their minds when talking about extraordinary films. The director, the two main actresses, and the cinematographer both did a wonderful job of putting this graceful story piece together. I honestly don’t care what other movie critics say, but I say this, Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a great viewing pleasure at home. You will love it. Trust me!


GRADE: A
(Review by Henry Pham)



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Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Hunt






So readers know, I saw this at a press only screening earlier this yar before the COVID epidemic took ahold of our country.

This version, titled “The Hunt” comes out as the latest from the Universal Pictures assembly line that is Blumhouse Pictures. They were involved with the “The Purge” franchise. They also did the surprisingly well-told “Happy Death Day” movies and last year’s awesome “Glass,” which finished the trilogy director M. Night Shyamalan started with “Unbreakable” in 2000.

Usually, I do not like horror movies, but this one falls into the category of something I do like: sardonic tales that are very tongue in cheek and not to be taken too seriously.

When it comes down to it, is just an old-fashioned update of “The Most Dangerous Game,” wherein human beings are hunted down as the ultimate prey. It was a short story originally written by Richard Connell. It ran in Collier’s magazine in 1924.

The main stars in “The Hunt,” are Betty Gillipn (“Stuber,” “Isn’t It Romantic”) as well as two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank (“Million Dollar Baby,” “Boy’s Don’t Cry”) The duo engage in a plethora of witty banter as well as plenty of scenes with the duo fighting fisticuffs aplenty.

The top billed stars of “The Hunt,” are Emma Roberts and Ike Barinholtz, but the duo exit stage left before even the end of the first act.

Also enjoyable is Ethan Suplee from director Kevin Smith’s underrated “Mallrats” (1995) wherein his character as a tough time with a “Magic Eye” painting and can’t find the hidden object in the portrait. Everyone but hi can see the hidden fisherman but him. Suplee looks slimmer and healthier in this movie.

Also supporting is Amy Madigan from Walter Hill’s “Streets of Fire” (1984). In this one she co-owns a small store with her husband off of the beaten path.

On a side note, but not the give anything away, there is a lot of dead bodies in “The Hunt,” but most of the deaths are taken as very tongue-in-cheek.

The best line was in “True Lies” wherein Arnold Schwarzeneggger’s Harry Tasker states “They were all bad.”

“The Hunt” should not be taken too seriously since the people in the flick are not actual people you would not like to know in real life. They are truly evil personas you would not like to hang around with, hence just passers-by in the everyday world.

“The Hunt” serves as a solid 90 minute time-waster that almost delivers in said departments, even though you will even remember seeing them the first time.

Grade: C+
(Review by Ricky Miller)




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The Other Lamb







(Review by Chase Lee)





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Friday, March 27, 2020

Resistance







(Review by Chase Lee)





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The Banker




Director: George Nolfi Studio: Apple

MOVIE REVIEW: The Banker

The Banker is an interesting, but fitting title for the story and the characters’ roles as African American bankers. The film is based on the true story of Bernard Garrett, a banker hailing in the 1950s or 1960s. Director George Nolfi steps into his game to helm this historical film with Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson co-starring with each other as the first African American bankers in the film.

Supposedly, the film was meant to be released somewhere in late 2019, but for some strange reason, was pushed back to sometime in the spring, before shifting its decision to release on Apple TV Plus due to the allegations of sexual harassment from the Beonard Garrett Jr., the co-producer of the film and the son of the real Beonard Garrett. Therefore, he was removed from the film’s project and was uncredited.

Here in the film, we have Bernard Garrett (Anthony Mackie) and Joe Morris (Samuel L. Jackson) who are two African American entrepreneurs living in the 1950s. Their main goal is to pursue an American dream by becoming what they want to be by becoming a janitor and chauffeur. They both become successful, though the main conflict is they have been threatened by the attention of the federal government.

While the film serves as a bio-topic for both civil rights and the racial discrimination, director Geroge Nolfi has a done a outstanding job of keeping the pace of the characters, the actors, and the historical setting to maintain its accuracy for that period. He even uses his American history knowledge and the intellect of the American economy to understand what the film explains perfectly when it involves racism and economical struggles. Even when the director overworks with the film, his time and money is well spent on the costumes, which really add bonus points to the film.

The main piece of the film that is highly enjoyable to see is the chemistry between Anthony Mackie’s character Bernard and Samuel L. Jackson’s character as Joe. Their relationship increases more character development, more accuracy, and more structural integrity to the film as this adds much depth for the film’s flavor. Not to mention that they both appeared in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, starring with Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson.

Also appearing are Nia Long as Bernard’s wife, Eunice; and Nicholas Hoult, which both of them are just as perfect and easy to watch for anyone looking for fresh streaming content.

Overall, The Banker is a good movie, if not enjoyable. I enjoyed every aspect of the film the director has done so far. Feels like it’s a good film for both social studies students and history-major students and teachers. Mackie and Jackson both nailed it together on their respective roles (NOTE: I also met Anthony Mackie in person in the summer of 2019). And that’s all there is to it, I can't complain much, it’s just that it’s a good film to watch while you’re at home or studying history during class or anything that has something to do with race or economical issues. The Banker is worth investing your time.


GRADE: B-

(Review by Henry Pham)


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Friday, March 20, 2020

Blow the Man Down







(Review by Chase Lee)





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The Simpsons’ Playdate with Destiny




Director: David Silverman Studio: 20th Century Studios

SHORT FILM REVIEW: The Simpsons’ Playdate with Destiny follows Pixar’s tradition.

Is that time of year, Disney welcomes The Simpsons into the House of Mouse.

The company is taking a new step on releasing a short film in front of a Disney/Pixar feature film from 20th Century Fox (now called 20th Century Studios) since Disney oversaw the acquisition of Fox in March 2019. Fame animated-television director David Silverman (The Simpsons Movie) returns to The Simpsons world to helm this new, dialogue-free, beloved short film, Playdate with Destiny, featuring Maggie Simpson as the lead character with the new Simpson character coming on board.

After the acquisition of Fox in March 2019, almost a year later in late February 2020, Disney announced that a new Simpsons short will be in front of Pixar’s next original film Onward, featuring the stars of Tom Holland and Chris Pratt.

Here in the short film, Maggie befriends and becomes smitten with the new baby boy named Hudson at the children’s park. However, the main problem is when Maggie goes home, all she can do is emotionally think about Hudson and wishes to see him again at the park.

While the short is completely silent (compared to the Pixar shorts), the few things that are highly interesting to watch are the hardworking Hans Zimmer-style music produced by Bleeding Fingers Music with much nervousness and less-suspenseful on the tone and the beats per measure, and the strong focus on Maggie Simpson providing a unique, observable character development with a few laughs and tears along the way. Even though the storyline went through much lighter weight than an ordinary Simpsons’ episode, the short really adds a nice touching moment between Maggie and Hudson, giving a proper feel as if the audience is watching a romantic film for that Casablanca-matter for both kids and adults, especially on that nice, soft ending that satisfies both audiences and the the short’s overall performance under the presence from the director.

With that being said, Playdate with Destiny is a wonderful five-to-six minute short film like the previous Simpsons short The Longest Daycare, which was released in 2012 in front of Ice Age: Continental Drift. I love this short just as much as I love Disney and Pixar shorts. The director really did a bang-up job on this short that made it seem more interesting to watch with the Maggie character providing a comedic-yet-dramatic performance on every scene and every setting. Just let the audience know that this short is screened in front of Disney-Pixar’s Onward, so if you get a chance to see this film in theaters, you’ll also get to see Playdate with Destiny short as an appetizer and for more amusement before you get to watch the main feature film.



GRADE: A+

(Review by Henry Pham)





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