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!

To join the Dallas Movie Screening Yahoo Group:

Reesa's Reviews can also be found at:

Logo art by Steve Cruz

Website and Group Contact:

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Black Sea

Any film having to do with submarines immediately fills one with claustrophobic dread. Directed by Kevin Macdonald (The Eagle, The Last King of Scotland) and written by Dennis Kelly takes a ten little Indians/Moby Dick plot within the cramped dark environment with English and Russian misfits who have nothing to lose. It's a tense with black comedic undertones. It's like the worse case scenario and everything bad that can happen...will happen. It's edge of your seat kind of stuff.

Jude Law plays Captain Robinson who just got laid off from his job as a submariner with a salvage company. He was with them for 11 years and working with subs for over 30 years. It's the only thing he knows. It ruined his family life and he can only watch his son and ex wife from afar. A friend tells him that he heard of a way to make some ridiculous money. There's a rich guy who will fund this adventure of retrieving some Nazi gold that was being transported by a Uboat during WWII. In order to get it, they will need a submarine and divers. They manage to get a really old rusted Russian submarine. With a basic crew of 9 men, half English and half Russian (since they will be near Russian seas, they need Russians on board just in case) they fix the basics and set out with the company lackey Daniel (Scoot McNairy). Daniel is sort of like the smarmy Burke in Aliens. He's totally unfit for the job at hand and easily panicked.

When Robinson tells the crew the mission and how much they aim to make in the haul, it brings out the worst in some of the crew members. Fraser (Ben Mendelsohn) the master diver, thinks the Russians will get greedy, so it's best to get them before they you. The Russians think the young kid Tobin (Bobby Schofield) is a bad luck virgin. The oldest is a broken down geezer with emphysema (David Threlfall). The crew members glower and sneer at each other and fanning the flames of their paranoia is Daniel and Fraser. Robinson manages to keep a tight cap on everyone's boiling over hysteria. The hierarchy of a ship's crew which is so firmly embedded in their need to survive corrals most of the arguments even by a hair.

But bad stuff happens, truths are revealed and crew members end horribly. Plus they are sitting at the bottom of the sea and taking on water. It's a gloomy and grimy but probably one of the best films to come out in January. So this is one to watch.
(Review by reesa)

Bookmark and Share


Mommy is a very endearing film that shows the rawness of a relationship between a mother and her son. This is one of the best foreign films I have ever seen; not because of the story and the relationship, but for the way it is shot as well. Let’s first start with the direction. Xavier Dolan directs this compelling drama of a mother who gets her son out of a juvenile center and tries to re-kindle their relationship. As they start to bond without a father figure, their neighbor across the street starts to become involved in their life. That’s all I will say, as I want you to experience this emotional journey. I really like the realness between all three characters. It feels like I am watching a real family and their problems. I can become more invested that way if I can relate to the characters and this film nails that. With the tone and direction of this film being top-notch, he also makes the decision to shoot this entire film in 1:1 aspect ratio. This is a ratio equivalent of shooting in on a cellphone. You are probably thinking, “Why would you do that?” Well, I thought the same thing at first, but I got used to it and I saw what Xavier was going for. When you shoot a film in that ratio you get close and a real intimate story; and I believe that’s genius. I realize people can be turned off from that, but I thought it was an absolutely amazing choice from the director. The acting is outstanding and I felt like they were a close-knit family. Anne Dorval plays the mother and her performance is very heartbreaking as she struggles to have a normal relationship with her son, played by Antoine-Olivier Pilon. He also gives a great performance and has a nice character arc towards the end. The cinematography, as stated above, is shot with a warmness and closeness to the entire film. It does surprise with some scenes where the image expands to regular widescreen and that brought a smile to my face. The editing is where my only complaint would be. The film is about two and half hours and in some parts I could feel the drag. It is still an engaging film, but that has to been noted for people that might want to see it. The language spoken is French so there are English subtitles. This is simply a beautiful film with a strong emotional bond and I have been thinking about it ever since I saw it. 9/10
(Review by Chase Lee)

Bookmark and Share

Black or White

The race issue is viewed from another side by writer/director Mike Binder (The Upside of Anger, The Sex Monster) with a story involving a white grandfather and custody of his bi-racial granddaughter. The film premiered at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival stars Kevin Costner who also produced the movie. Supposedly the story is based on true events it doesn't really tackle any thing substantial except annoyance that the whole premise is whether a young girl is better off with the white or black sides of her family. Can't she have both?

Costner plays Elliott, a lawyer, just lost his beloved wife in a car accident. He has to break the news to his granddaughter Eloise (Jillian Estell) with whom she lives as her mother died in childbirth. The only family she has lived with is grandmother and “papa”. Her father Reggie (AndrĂ© Holland) is a crackhead, thief, and has not been the child's life. His mother Rowena Jeffers (Octavia Spencer) also known as WeeWee is concerned that Eloise should live with her family in South Central. She believes that her granddaughter should be exposed to her “people”. She is also concerned because Elliott seems to be having a drinking problem.

It is frustrating as an audience member watching Elliott drink and attempt to take care of a little girl. So to show that Elliott is really not weird or unsavory, he hires a tutor from CraigsList. Duvan (Mpho Koaho) steals the show from the rest of the great cast. He plays an African civil war survivor who has studied well, writes papers on his work, self taught in 9 languages and he becomes Eloise and Elliott's tudor in middle school math, but also Elliott's driver when he's too sloshed to be behind a wheel.

Rowena decides to sue Elliott for full custody or even shared custody of Eloise. She hires her lawyer brother to help her. The uppity Ivy-Leaguer lays out his strategy with the “race card”. The paint by numbers stereo types is played in full day glo colors. Elliott is the typical white, paunchy rich guy who is used to getting his way. Rowena is the loud, over emotional, self rightous, self made black woman who supports multiple extended family while running a few businesses from her garage. She gives that all knowing “look” while rolling her eyes. Octavia Butler is basically used as comedic fodder especially when trading eyes with the judge.

The movie rolls along fine establishing characters and there are some funny moments that will have you chuckle out loud. But the last act of the film is somewhat expected, and Costner needs to make his obligatory speech about it's not about race...blah blah blah. We know already. It's not about black or white, it's sort of just grey.
(Review by reesa)

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Movies Scheduled 1/25-1/31

Make sure when you are wanting to reply to a post that you don't just hit reply. If you do then it just goes to the group where it will be rejected. If you are unable to figure out how to reply to the sender than look at the bottom of the email and it will say posted by Take that email and copy it and then instead of hitting reply hit forward and then copy the email into the address bar and bam you will send it to the sender and not the group. That way you can get the passes or give your passes!

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me and I will get to you quickly. My email address is

Sunday Jan. 25th

Monday Jan. 26th

Tuesday Jan. 27th

Black and White 7:30 p.m. AMC Northpark
Blacksea 7:30 p.m. TBA
McFarland, USA 7:30 p.m. Angelika Dallas

Wednesday Jan. 28th

Project Almanac 7:30 p.m. AMC Northpark
Blacksea 7:30 p.m. TBA
Kingsman Secret Service 7:30 p.m. TBA

Thursday Jan. 29th

Friday Jan. 30th

Experience Arlington Cinema 7:00 p.m. UTA Fine Arts Building/Film Theater

Saturday Jan. 31st

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water 10:30 a.m. Cinemark West Plano

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Two Days, One NIght

This is a simple, stripped-down story that packs an emotional punch and really questions our morals as humans. Marion Cotillard stars as a mother who has lost her job. She finds out that her co-workers took a pay bonus in exchange for her dismissal. Convincing her boss to let her keep her job, she goes to every one of the co-workers and persuades them to change their minds and let her stay with the company instead of them getting a bonus over the weekend. What I just told you is exactly what the film is; encounters of her and her co-workers explaining to them why she needs to keep the job. I won’t spoil on how it ends. Short, sweet and to the point, right? Yes, but there is some real, authentic human emotions we don’t see in film that often. The direction in this film is bare-bones storytelling, but very effective on how relatable this situation is to real life. If you look deep into it, the directors try and show us how we have crappy morals sometimes. Picking money over having a human being keep her job so she can support her family? It’s pretty heavy stuff, especially since Cotillard’s character has problems at home and within herself, too. On a moral standpoint, why would we take the money? Many on the co-workers in the film have families as well and have to support them. It’s a lose-lose situation, you will feel guilty no matter what. And that’s what the director’s display so well in this film. Unless you don’t care and take the money, then you might just not care about the main character. You laugh, but I know people like that. Marion Cotillard, recently, got an Oscar nomination for her work in this film and she deserves it. She carries this film and brings an intensity and rawness to her character and, easily, makes this one of most relatable characters she has played. She is simply, like the story, outstanding. The cinematography is nice and really sinks into the human emotion as it will stay on certain shots for 5-10 minutes straight. For this story, you don’t need ridiculous camera positions and fast cuts as you should let the story and dialogue carry it. As far as the editing goes, I said it stays on shots for a long period of time and it works. It never dragged and it had a nice slow-burning rhythm. For people who don’t like a slow-burn might find this boring. It’s a compelling human drama that questions our morality and how far someone will go just to keep a measly job; and maybe sometimes there is more to life than just a job. This was a nice surprise and I am glad Marion Cotillard got a nomination for this role. I highly recommend it. 9/10
(Review by Chase Lee)

Bookmark and Share

The Humbling

First impression of The Humbling that most people will refer to is Birdman. The story from a 2009 novel by Philip Roth with a screenplay by Buck Henry about an actor experiencing professional angst is similar to Michael Keaton's tearing up the screen battling his personal demons. Director Barry Levinson centers the camera on Al Pacino's craggy face while he recites his lines for a contemporary Shakespeare play while doing his own makeup. The actor who knows really nothing of the world outside his artificial creations must now deal with the real world when his talent begins to wane.

Al Pacino is known for eating up the screen in no matter what part he plays. His deliberate delivery of speech often borders on overkill. He plays the famous stage and film star Simon Axler who suddenly discovers that the passion of his talent is suddenly lost to him. He can't remember his lines, and he's mixing lines from other parts into what he's doing. He can't seem to separate his dreams from reality to the point where he takes a dive off the stage during a performance. When taken to the hospital he cries in pain getting the sympathetic nurse to help, and he's analyzing his performance asking if she actually believed him. After trying to do a Hemingway, after all that is why he has a shotgun to begin with, he institutionalizes himself for awhile. The stay helped a bit, but while there he meets this wacky young woman Sybil (Nina Arlanda) who wants him to kill her husband because he did a movie where he killed someone and he was good in it.

He goes back to his big beautiful home of 14 years, where he only lives on the bottom floor. His acting jobs have dried up and his agent (Charles Grodin) can only find him work doing hair loss commercials overseas. Axler Skypes his therapy sessions with his shrink (Dylan Baker). His god daughter Pegeen (Greta Gerwig) shows up at his doorstep and confesses she's loved him since she was 8 years old. She initiates a sexual relationship with him even though she tells him she's a lesbian. Pegeen's lover (Kyra Sedgwick) at Westcott College where she's a professor in theater arts begins to make cryptic calls to Axler. Plus Pegeen's ex lover who became a transgender Priscilla to Prince is hoping to get back together now that Pegeen is doing heterosex. Adding to the mix is Sybil who keeps stalking Axler to kill her husband. Pegeen's parents find out about their affair and as Axler's best friends (Dan Hedaya and Dianne Wiest) from the past they are aghast demanding him to stop seeing her.

Axler who had no real friends and family and has always been alone, basically just watches as the characters around him collide. He finds himself watching everyone and critiquing their performances. Pacino dominates the screen even when he's being passive. There are some very funny moments in the movie, but the film is very over the top. The cast is wonderful, especially Dianne Wiest). The film sort of falls apart at the end, but getting there is pretty interesting.
(Review by reesa)

Bookmark and Share

A Most Violent Year

The director/writer J.C. Chandor of Margin Call and All is Lost sets his newest work in the winter of 1981 which was the most violent year on record for New York City. The story follows three turbulent days of a young upwardly mobile couple who run a heating oil business. The movie is bathed in muted tones, and the cold harsh city's industrial districts. The costuming by Kasia Walicka Maimone is spot on for the times, and the music scored by Alex Ebert enhances the feeling of the film. It's almost a gangster movie, without real gangsters.

Oscar Isaac who was so memorable in Inside Llewyn Davis plays Abel Morales, a Latin American businessman who had bought a heating oil company from the gangster father of his wife Anna (Jessica Chastain). In a short time he's made it a successful venture that he hopes to expand by investing in a new piece of property that is not only on a waterway, but has several storage tanks and pumps. They invest all their savings into the down payment. The Orthodox Jewish owners give him a few days to bring the rest of the funds or they will lose their payment. Things seem to be going their way when another of their trucks are hijacked and their driver injured. Abel who prides himself as a self made man who rises to the top on his own positivity doesn't want to fall into the trap of using violence against violence. The teamsters want to arm the drivers. His fellow businessman turn a blink eye and don't want to help. Even his wife offers to have her father step in. It becomes worse when Abel's investors back out because of the violence with the hijackings. And a certain prosecutor (David Oyelowo) is bound and determined to prove Abel is a crook like everyone else in their line of work. Abel has to hustle, bargain, beg, and deal to raise the additional money.

It's the characterizations from the talented cast that makes this movie special. Isaac's Able is an intense guy. He trains his sale crew with his special methods of closing a sale. He strives to run his a legitimate business and very well dressed. He's trying to live the American dream. His wife is his partner, bookkeeper and mother of his children. Being the daughter of a gangster she was her own ways of dealing with things. Chastain inhabits Anna so well that you hardly notice that it is her. His lawyer Andrew Walsh (Albert Brooks) seems a bit shady and fellow businessman Peter (Alessandro Nivola) give color and smarmy attitude to the proceedings.

It's not a movie for everyone. It looks and feels well done and important. But at the same time, it drags and makes you wish for something else to happen. Chastain should nab a supporting nod.
(Review by reesa)

Bookmark and Share