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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Logo art by Steve Cruz

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Thursday, July 18, 2019

This Changes Everything

(Review by Chase Lee)

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The film Stuber showcases Kumail Nanjiani as a rather chill easy-going Uber driver ( Stu) whole by chance becones caught up in a rather bloody and violent police/ criminal car chase across LA, tracking a really bad drug dealer.

LAPD detective Vic Manning (Dave Bautista) hires Stu when his car is destroyed because he wrecked it while trying to drive after LASIX surgery against Dr orders. Both are a study in personality contrasts and intensity levels, especially because Stu is desperately trying to make a good impression and earn a coveted five star passenger rating, after several rides hilariously leave him with one star or worse ratings. Vic is extremely desperate and blindly driven in getting this guy, who escaped him many years earlier.

Stu and his fastidiously maintained Uber car find themselves in for the ride and experience of their lives. Stu isn't exactly the bravest branch on the tree, a rather innocent and peace living guy. We are often pleasantly entertained by his shocked and panicked reactions as things unfold in an odd combination of violence and comedy.

Be forewarned. The film is quite violent. Sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it just feels off. A few innocent bystanders are taken out in the process of the pursuit and that's just frustrating. Evil drug dealers you know. The casting is all there and they do the best they can with a rather predictable story line. It is certainly amusing in parts.

Happily, Mira Sorvino makes a return to the screen but her talents seem somewhat wasted. Joining her are Betty Gilpin and Karen Gillan in additional minor roles. One being the friend/ hook up Stu has been trying to get to all day and night long as he begins to realize he's going to be busy driving and ultimately aiding Vic until his goal is realized. No matter how long it takes.

Opinions appear mixed. Critics are not enthused but audiences are throwing their interest into this pairing.
(Review by Cheryl Wurtz)

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019


Writer/director Lulu Wang shared the story of her grandmother's illness on This American Life. Wang expanded it into a semi-autobiographical feature film that will linger in your heart for a long time to come as it addresses the nature of immigrants dealing with two cultures. Starring rapper and actress Awkwafina (a.k.a. Nora Lum) who was the scene stealer in Crazy Rich Asians plays Billi whose parents brought her to the U.S. as a child. The film premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition section at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

The beginning of the film declares that the story is "based on an actual lie". Billi discovers that her beloved grandmother Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen) has been diagnosed with lung cancer and only has a few months to live. Apparently it is common in families not to tell the sick person they are going to die, so her parents (Tzi Ma and Diana Lin) didn't tell Billi that they were going back to China because Billi who wears her heart on her sleeve would not be able to keep the secret. Billi goes anyways. The pretext of the whole family visiting is her paternal cousin is getting married to his Japanese girlfriend of only a three months. Her Nai Nai is thrilled for the reunion and is organizing a huge wedding party wanting lobster but can only get crab. Nai Nai is a force in which her two sons, their wives and children, various aunts and uncles revolve.

One would think such a somber subject would be a tearjerker. It is, but in a good way. Wang immerses the viewer into the personal dynamics of the family. The universality of family gatherings especially when dealing with those who left for another country versus those who stayed is quite understandable even if it's just people who moved to another city coming back to the homestead. You may not see them for years, but you step into the same rhythm enjoying the differences. Plus it's the big dinners when the family gathers and everyone is talking, catching up with their lives. Food is the translator woven together with love. Billi can't seem to stop the tears pooling in her eyes thinking that she is losing her grandmother who she calls fairly often from New York. But she manages to keep the information inside while enjoying each and every minute she can share with her Nai Nai. Awkwafina shows that she is more than a comedic distraction in a plot. She makes us remember it's important to appreciate one's family ties and hug the one your with.
(Review by reesa)

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Sunday, July 14, 2019

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Jul 14 - Jul 20

If you haven't noticed, the Asian Film Festival of Dallas is starting this week at the Angelika Dallas. Seeing as our usual promo's for the week aren't popping, you should check out the AFFD programming which offers some interesting selections that you don't often see at your local theaterplex. Check them out at

Jul 14 - Jul 20

Tues - Jul 16

Farewell - 7:00 pm - Angelika

Thu - Jul 18

Pennyworth - 7:30 pm - Angelika

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Thursday, July 11, 2019


“Kanarie” (“Canary” in English) takes place in mid-1980s South Africa during Apartheid (a fact that viewers will either know or not know at the film’s start). Writer/director Christiaan Olwagen and his co-writer Charl-Johan Lingenfelder don’t mention anything related to the country’s history as the movie starts, allowing viewers to become aware of South Africa’s social/political climate through the eyes of the film’s lead character Johan (Schalk Bezuidenhout).

Johan is a high school student living with his parents in a small town. On a dare from two friends (both female), Johan walks down the street wearing a wedding dress. Out on the street, the dress’s veil covering Johan’s face, Olwagen shifts the characters into a fantasy dance number featuring Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy,” a seemingly odd choice given that Bezuidenhout is made up to look like Boy George – Johan’s obsession/idol – during the scene. This sequence sets the tone for a movie that doesn’t follow. Shortly after this dare, Johan is drafted into the army. Attempting to make his service more palatable, he auditions for (and is accepted to) the South African Defence Force Choir and Concert Group, a small choir within the army whose 23 members are known as Kanaries.

Armed with his collection of records, Johan heads to training. On the train, he meets Ludolf (Germandt Geldenhuys), a fellow member of the Kanaries. The closeted Johan is off put by the behavior of the effeminate Ludolf, whose antics he worries will draw unwanted attention. At training, he finds a kindred spirit in Wolfgang (Hannes Otto), who shares his taste in music. Under the direction of Reverend Engelbrecht (Jacques Bessenger), the boys begin to practice for their eventual concert tour. The terror of discovery and its repercussions in a time and country where homosexuality is a punishable crime mount on top of the stress of military service requiring Johan to come to terms with himself.

Olwagen chooses to film the movie with mostly long takes, creating a visual and rhythmic disparity to the inner stress put upon the film’s characters. The soundtrack, mostly made up of religious hymns heard during the rehearsals and performances of the choir, is serene, aurally complimenting the film’s imagery. The camera at times languishes as if attempting to capture still photographs. A technique first used as the boys get their haircut and later used when they are at the border. The early sequence fits within the movie but the later one feels slightly disjointed, showing images of violence amongst its portraits when the exact purpose of the youth’s enlistment hasn’t been made entirely clear.

Performances are fine with Bezuidenhout, Otto, and Geldenhuys standing-out among the cast. Their on-screen relationship with each other helps to make their characters feel real. Bezuidenhout makes Johan’s insecurities apparent in contrast to the self-assuredness displayed by Otto and Geldenhuys.

Olwagen’s film is advertised as a coming-of-age war musical. The only questionable part of this description is the word “musical.” Yes, there is singing in Olwagen’s movie but it isn’t included in a way (besides the opening scene and a sequence that takes place in a night club) that makes one think of a musical.

There are pacing issues (some scenes go on just a bit too long) but, as a whole, Olwagen’s film works. “Kanarie” is an intriguing coming-of-age film, using a backdrop quite different than what’s usually seen in the genre.

On DVD and Video on Demand on June 18.
(Review by Bret Oswald)

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Through the use of archive footage and one-on-one interviews, director Alex Holmes tells the story of Tracy Edwards, her crew, and her ship Maiden. Edwards name, perhaps not instantly recognizable to most potential viewers, is famous in the world of competitive sailing for being the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to compete in the Whitbread Round the World Race.

“Maiden,” the name of her boat taken for the title of this documentary, begins with Holmes briefly chronicling Edwards’ early life. Holmes, using voice-over taken from his own interviews with Edwards, tells of her happy early childhood before revealing that it abruptly ended with the sudden death of her father. Her mother, unable to keep her husband’s business running, eventually decided to remarry. Unfortunately, her stepfather turned out to be an abusive alcoholic, which caused Edwards to grow into an angry and rebellious teenager and resulted in her running away from home.

Edwards found solace among the misfits and burn-outs found in the boating crews around island resorts. In 1985, she managed to get a role as cook (the only position she could get in the male-dominated sport of sailing) for a crew entering the fourth Whitbread Round the World Race. Her time on the crew, which she spent learning and absorbing as much as she could, led to the fruition of an idea – entering an all-female crew in the next Whitbread Round the World Race, which competes every three years.

What’s obvious to modern audiences, since this is a documentary, and we are watching interviews with all of the crew members, wasn’t so obvious to the world in the late-80s. Holmes’s documentary spends the majority of its length telling of Edwards’ willpower and determination in getting herself and her crew into the race. She struggled with funding, acquiring a boat, and getting a crew ready for a grueling, nearly year-long, water-bound race.

Edwards’ crew didn’t follow the trajectory many journalists and sports fans anticipated. They expected the group of women to be irritable and moody, incapable of working together or even completing the first leg of the race. Instead, Edwards and her crew revealed themselves to be a unified team more than capable of competing among the best in the unforgiving ocean waters.

The archival footage is rough looking. However, while the footage isn’t as visually appealing as modern audiences have come to expect, it’s more than adequate to give viewers a sense of what these women went through. This footage, in combination with the interviews conducted by Holmes, tells a compelling story. Editor Katie Bryer arranges the footage, both new and old, into a well-organized narrative. Unlike some documentaries which take a stream-of-consciousness approach to their topics, subjects are only introduced as they become relevant (and vanish when they become irrelevant) to the story. Although the documentary is a little dry at times, it manages to remain intriguing thanks to the passion these women show, even thirty years after the event, for their time preparing for and competing in the Whitbread Race Round the World.

There are some elements of the race that Holmes could have explained better. When your purpose is to inform, it’s best to assume your viewers know nothing. It’s mentioned that the boats are divided into classes but never made entirely clear how many are in each class. At one point, it’s stated that Maiden came in third place on one of the six legs of the competition (the leg aspect is mostly made clear by Holmes) but never clarified if this was last place or if other boats came in behind them. The mechanics of the race aren’t clearly communicated to viewers either. Is there a specific course each boat must take from point A to point B? Holmes also never specifies how long they are given a land furlough before returning to sea. A count of days at sea is also shown throughout that is a bit misleading since it doesn’t start over after they’ve had a period on dry land.

Nonetheless, “Maiden” is an intriguing and inspiring documentary about hard-work and determination.
(Review by Bret Oswald)

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(Review by Chase Lee)

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