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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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Sept 22 - Sept 30

Holy smokes, it's the end of September. New seasons starting on TV this week, the Texas State Fair is right around the corner, and it's the beginning of the fall rush to the Oscars coming up. Hope everyone is having a good time!

Sept 22 - Sept 30

Mon - Sept 23

Battle of the Sexes - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas

Tue - Sept 24

Victoria and Abdul - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas
American Made - 7:30 pm - Angelika Dallas

Sat - Sept 30

My Little Pony - 11:00 am - AMC Northpark

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Friday, September 22, 2017

LEGO Ninjago

The LEGO Ninjago Movie
Director: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Time to Build the Action out of LEGOs.

A third LEGO cinematic offering from Warner Bros. and the LEGO Group after they assembled The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie, comes a brick-to-film about a teenage high school student, Lloyd (voiced by Dave Franco), who was living as an unpopular kid, but is actually a ninja on the inside in the town of Ninjago. As trouble is calling him when he faces the town’s attack under the control of Lord Garmadon (voiced by Justin Theroux), who is actually Lloyd’s father, he and his ninja friends, under the learning and leadership of Master Wu (voiced by martial artist Jackie Chan), must defeat Lord Garmadon in order to restore peace and put his relationships aside from his father from taking over Ninjago. But the main problem is he and Lord Garmadon really got family issues to deal with while learning the main principle of hope and glory.
It gives me to say this when it comes to father-and-son relationships, similar like “Star Wars” when Darth Vader shoots the “Luke, I am your father” quote, gives me a laugh-out-loud replica of this when a son (Lloyd) is good guy, while the father (Lord Garmadon) is a bad guy. Deep down, the relationship must go on. Sounds about strange, but funny. Never seem to be forgotten in this family-orientated film like returning to classics again. Think back from any movies with deeper family relationships and wisdom for your experience and your childhood. What do you see? Emotions!

The film is fairly decent to say the least compared to the TV series from Cartoon Network. There’s a little too much live-action scenes with some interesting, little-bit-violent scenes based on martial art television series and usage of a real cat, destroyer of Ninjago, throughout the entire film as an advantage of family LEGO film. It lost some notion, which had worn off after those two movies, as well as lacking the depth and textures when everything I see is not entirely made out of LEGOs. Doesn’t sound “awesome” as it looks. Use an instruction manual to learn this clearly. Though, I heavily enjoyed the voice casts, including Dave Franco and Jackie Chan, as well as increasing the comedy to this film like “The LEGO Batman Movie.” I admired the relationship between Lloyd and Master Wu as their form was a reminiscent of DreamWorks’s “Kung Fu Panda,” Marvel’s “Doctor Strange,” 2010’s “Karate Kid,” and some other films that may involve martial arts or anything the character wants to learn from.

Overall, “The LEGO Ninjago Movie” never seem to disappoint, regardless of any feedback from critics and audiences. I would assume if you’re a LEGO fan, Jackie Chan fan, or just a fan from the TV series, you should go watch this 101-minute creation. Only a “master builder” could enjoy everything. I can’t tell if the box-office record is maybe low unlike the first two films, but I’m pretty sure kids will have an opportunity to shine their faces from a slight bummer to a positive warm feeling on the way home after watching it or at the movies. For adults, it would sound mediocre like “meh.”


(Review by Henry Pham)

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Friend Request

(Review by Chase Lee)

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Kingsman The Golden Circle

(Review by Chase Lee)

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Rebel in the Rye

There was a time when wore paperback copies of Catcher in the Rye was in the back pocket of most teenagers. Written in 1951, it's hard to imagine these new century teens reading this on their own unless it's a subject requirement to graduate. It's a shame because Holden Caulfield's angst and alienation is a universal theme that many can relate. Danny Strong who wrote and is making his directorial debut in this new feature on the life of J.D. Salinger. The story revolves around the time when he creates and refines Holden while he was a student at Columbia and during his life altering experience in the war.

Salinger (Nicolas Hoult) as an adult was reclusive and disdained the public eye. All the public relations, meetings and dinners, rabid fans kept him at his upstate country acreage. But as a young man, he as flirtatious with pretty women like Oona O'Neill (Zoey Deutch) who later married Charlie Chaplin. He was also set on being a writer. His mother (Hope Davis) believes he is immensely talented, while his father (Victor Garber) discourages his dreams preferring that we would pursue a career in business. He ends up going to Columbia in their writing program which is taught by Whit Burnett (Kevin Spacey) who challenges Salinger by criticizing his admittance letter. He asks his wise mouthed student, "Why do you write?". When he can figure out that answer, then maybe one day he can be published. Salinger is determined and he submits his short stories to various publications only to be rejected. Whit who published Story magazine eventually published the first story he had submitted. Seeing the potential in his character of Holden in another short story, he encourages Salinger to expand it to a novel.

The war breaks out and Salinger is in the thick of things. The only thing that keeps him together is writing every moment he can manage. He returns home with a wife in tow, which doesn't last long. He suffers PTSD, spending time in a sanatorium. He can't seem to bring himself to write again. His book agent, Dorothy Olding (Sarah Paulson) manages to get his anthology of shorts published. He had previously asked Whit to publish him but he said he couldn't and they had a falling out. Salinger discovers meditation and finds a guru, that helps him clear his mind and start writing again. After he writes Catcher in the Rye, his publishers give him lots of criticism. They don't understand Holden. So he hold off until he finds someone to publish and the rest is history.

So little is known of Salinger because he notoriously kept his life out of the limelight. At a certain point he said he would continue writing but he would never publish again. Danny Strong's script was taken from the book J. D. Salinger: A Life by Kenneth Slawenski. This film just briefly touches on the events of Salinger's life, but his creative process is missing. Whit who often told him his stories felt phony encouraged him to find the truth of his characters. Outside of the good performances, something about this biographical story doesn't quite gel.
(Review by reesa)

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Social media is filled with emotional awe inspiring real life moments guaranteed to bring tears to the eyes and reaffirm our faith in humanity. Feel good movies about actual events and struggles to overcome that are suffered by the victims and their families don't seem to fare as well with costumed superheroes or cataclysmic sharknados. Jake Gyllenhaal has played many flawed and complicated characters, but his portrayal of Jeff Bauman (whose book the movie is based) is probably the best he's ever done, obviously deserving of the early awards buzz.

The Boston Marathon bombing has been already told in Patriots Day which touched on the various stories that affected those injured and those charged with finding the culprits. The focus of this story is about Jeff Bauman (Jake Gyllenhaal) who was at the finish line to cheer on his ex-girlfriend Erin (Tatiana Maslany). She was unaware that he was there as they broke up because he was never where he promised. She doesn't realize it until she sees him on TV being rescued. His family also learns of him from the TV and fill the hospital waiting room in the loud and raucous style of hard drinking working class denizens. When Jeff wakes up, he indicates that he saw one of the bombers, which becomes a crucial clue to their capture. This makes him a hero in the public's eye. Jeff puts on a brave face and thumbs up attitude to his family and the hordes of reporters who want interviews, and regular people who want to thank him for his bravery. His mom Patty (Miranda Richardson) is so proud of her son wanting him to capitalize on the attention like interviewing with Oprah. In all the craziness, no one seems to clue in to Jeff's uncomfortable feelings with the added attention. It's hard enough to have to deal with the loss of his legs having to figure out how to maneuver to the 2nd floor apartment he shares with his mom, how to move around the tiny spaces, even using the bathroom without assistance. He is so grateful to Erin, who quits her job as a nurse to move in with him and help him get to his therapy sessions. He still continues to drink with his friends, avoiding confronting the trauma that he endured.

His mom wants him to meet the man that helped him when he was laying injured at the bomb site. Carlos (Carlos Sanz) was at the race handing out American flags in honor of his two sons who had died. He had experienced depression and travels around trying to help others. His story helps Jeff come to grips with his fears and realize that's it's just not about him. The people who come to Jeff with their stories of loss and pain and how he inspired them finally brings him around. This isn't just a sweet pat ending to this story. Gyllenhaal's performance makes one cringe and fight with those demons along with him. He was just a Costco chicken roaster before all this, with not much ambition besides rooting for his favorite hometown teams. Suddenly, because of this tragedy, he's being asked to wave a flag at the Stanley Cup game on the ice and throw the opening pitch at the Fenway.

Director David Gordon Green and screenwriter John Pollono crafted a well paced story that follows the journey of the reluctant hero through the thick and thin without overly sentimental violins wringing out the tears. The people surrounding Jeff, his mom, his dad (Clancy Brown), his brother and friends, and aunts and uncles are all well meaning and try to help but still enjoy riding the coat tails of his new found attention. Only Erin tries to keep the wolves at bay, but her patience wears thin when Jeff can't accept the news he's going to be a father. It must be tough putting all your flaws on screen. But it's worth it if it moves and instills that need to rise above the adversity and unite to be stronger.
(Review by reesa)

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American Assassin

Sometimes, the name behind the movie marquee says it all. That’s why I was excited to see Michael Cuesta’s “American Assassin,” a film that gives Michael Keaton a shot at being an action hero in the Liam Neeson-led “Taken” vein.

Cuesta did a great job with the Jeremy Renner led true-life tale “Kill the Messenger” in 2014 so I was looking forward to seeing this one.
The lead in “American Assassin” is Dylan O’Brien as Mitch Rapp, who witnesses his fiancees’ murder. His character reports to Michael Keaton’s Stan Hurley, who still has some pull because of his success on past missions.

The film works because the audience feels a kinship with Rapp, who for all intents and purposes just wants vengeance for the death of his fiancee. Rapp risks it all to see his fiancee's killers perish by extreme prejudice.

Keaton, coming off as part of the ensemble cast that was “Spotlight,” brings a certain gravitas to Hurley. His motivations are just right, even when he faces torture by Taylor Kitsch’s malevolent Ghost persona. Hurley just shrugs it off because he taught the Ghost everything he knew.
It was weird seeing Kitsch in the antagonist role since he previously played heroes in a number of flicks including “Battleship,” director Peter Berg’s guilty pleasure fiasco of a film. Kitsch also starred in Oliver Stone’s “Savages,” in which he shared great chemistry opposite of Blake Lively and Aaron-Taylor Johnson. Lest we not forget “John Cater,” the Kitsch vehicle that cost Touchstone Pictures a healthy bit of change on their end-of-the year books.

Going back to “Assassin,” the film features a plutonium subplot that actually makes a water sequence plausible in the suspense department.
As I have said previously, the studios have not found a way to make water sequences suspenseful in the very least. The only water entries worthy of mention are Steven Spielberg’s classic, “Jaws” as well as the cliched disaster movie “The Poseidon Adventure.” Everything else is “so-so” in my book.

Also important to the plot is Sanaa Lathan. She portrays Irene Kennedy, Lathan’s boss. Lathan shares some good scenes with Keaton. Their banter a nice little tidbit to the film.

“American Assassin” is not a must see by any means, but worth the price of admission for the water sequences alone.

Grade: B
(Review by Ricky Miller)

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