Dallas Movie Screening

Dallas Movie Screenings started out as a mailing list on Yahoo Groups to facilitate finding free screening passes in the DFW area. When Yahoo Groups shut down, we are now posting screenings on our Facebook page at http://www..facebook.com/groups/dallasmoviescreenings
Earlier Reesa's Reviews can also be found at:http://www.moviegeekfeed.com

Logo art by Steve Cruz http://www.mfagallery.com

Website and Group Contact: dalscreenings@gmail.com

Monday, December 31, 2012

Dallas Movie Screenings Year in Review 2012

It didn't seem like it at first, but 2012 turned out to be an interesting year for movies. Especially since our movie calendar started out with probably the worst movie ever....The Devil Inside. A totally laughable found footage exorcism movie. Fortunately the month closed out with The Grey. It was the kind of movie that creeps up on you in your dreams. The next big surprise was Chronicle. The previews looked like a typical teen movie like the sucky Project X, but it was more than that, it was impressive. Salmon Fishing in Yemen was funny, romantic and clever. Then we were subjected to Act of Valor which was a propaganda film for the Navy SEALS As much as one appreciates our men in uniform, it really didn't do anyone a service. 21 Jump Street was so funny to the person sitting next to me at the screening, that I couldn't hear over the laughter. It was the beginning of the year of Channing Tatum many movies. Hunger Games was the first big draw of the season with it's Young Adult novel audience. The older audience was charmed by The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Our brains were sucked dry by the remake of the Three Stooges, but Joss Whedon came to our rescue with the most amazing Cabin in the Woods to restore our faith in movies. He was also responsible for The Avengers thankfully reminding us that superhero movies can be more than great FX. The wonderfully touching French film The Intouchables stirred our hearts and made a foreign film accessible. That's My Boy reminded me why I dislike Adam Sandler movies. Battleship failed to make Taylor Kitsch a star after he failed in John Carter, which I enjoyed more than this board game redo. Men in Black 3 was much better than the second of the series. As a huge Alien fan I had hopes for Prometheus which looked great, but amounted to a big black hole. So happy with Moonlight Kingdom, which restored my faith in quirky smart movies that messed with your head. Rock of Ages was weird, and not being a Tom Cruise fan, it was just annoying. Beast of the Southern Wild bored some, but fascinated many. Quvenzhane Wallis deserves some recognition for her performance. Safety Not Guaranteed was surprising and funny as well as Your Sister's Sister. Love those indie films. Abraham Lincoln the Vampire Hunter confused a lot of people, Ted offended a lot of people, and Magic Mike made lots of women happy. The Amazing Spiderman and The Dark Knight Rises in one month made comic book fans giddy with truly well done treatments. The Watch and Total Recall were bombs. Killer Joe fans will never eat chicken again. The best documentaries of the year were Ai WeiWei:Never Sorry, Searching for Sugarman, First Position, Wild Horses Wild Ride, Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Bully. For a Good Time Call... and Pitch Perfect showed that womancentric comedy can be truly funny. The unfortunate timing of Clint Eastwood's political TV appearance didn't help Trouble With the Curve. Perks of a Wallflower made everyone's best of the year list and hopes that we will see Ezra Miller more often in movies. Seven Psychopaths – loved it. Wreck it Ralph and Rise of the Guardians were favorite animated movies, but really loved the Secret World of Arrietty. The Sessions brought us a bravely naked Helen Hunt and an amazing performance by John Hawkes. Lincoln will probably walk away with the big awards. Everyone loves a movie that makes them feel smart. Denzel Washington made everyone gasp over that small liquor bottle in Flight. Silver Lining Playbook showed that Jennifer Lawrence is the new “it” girl, and for once Bradley Cooper was not Hangover Bradly Cooper. Robert Di Niro should get a best supporting nod as the sports OCD dad. Life of Pi blew me away. Eye candy and a touching story. My favorite of the year. Ben Affleck impressed us with his directing skills in Argo. Enjoyed End of Watch so much I saw it three times. Skyfall breathed fresh air to the franchise, and Javier Bardem was freaking amazing. The Twilight Saga is finally over. Too bad they didn't start the series with the last one which was so much better than the other three. Outside of Bill Murray's surprising turn as FDR in Hyde Park on Hudson, the movie was a bit of a disappointment. This is 40 was funny, but I don't know any of those people in life anywhere. We welcomed back Middle Earth with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey with it's innovated 48 frames per second but don't know if we actually saw that version. It sure looked good. Les Miserables assures Anne Hathaway will get a golden statue with her gut wrenching performance. Django Unchained was off the charts. A MUST see. Didn't get to see Zero Dark Thirty or The Impossible which have both garnered lots of buzz on everyone's charts. Wasn't invited to the press screenings. Oh well.

Would love to hear your comments.


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Movies Scheduled for the Week of 12/30 - 1/5

Hope everyone had a nice holiday. Real life is back, The apocalypse didn't happen. No zombies, at least not flesh eating kind. Back to settling down to our usual January movie selections as we wait for the award season to gear up. We had some good movies this year. Would love to hear which ones you liked.

Lets start 2013 off right by everyone taking a breath, and remember, to check your return address before hitting send. Little steps, ok?

Happy New Year, y'all!

December 30 - January 5

Dec 30

Dec 31

Jan 1
Happy New Year!

Jan 2

7:30 pm Not Fade Away - Angelika Dallas

Jan 3

7:30 pm Zero Dark Thirty - AMC Northpark

Jan 4

Jan 5

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Reesa's Movies for 2012

Here's my list of movies that seen in 2012 that were seen at screenings, film festivals, on DVD, theaters, or "where ever". This does not include old movies that are watched just for fun. There are 271 listed and there may be some just plain forgotten. Now I have to cull from this list, the "Best of 2012". If you have your movie lists you would like to post at Dallas Movie Screenings, please email it to reesas@yahoo.com

10 Years
21 Jump Street
A Little Bit of Heaven
A Thousand Words
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Ace Attorney
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Alex Cross
America's Parking Lot
American Reunion
Andrew Bird: Fever Year
Anna Karenina
Any Day Now
Architecture 101
Bad Kids Go to Hell
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Beauty and the Beast 3D
Being Flynn
Bel Ami
Beneath the Darkness
Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3
Biba! One Island, 879 Votes
Big Miracle
Bringing Up Bobby
Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best
Brooklyn Castle
Casa de Mi Padre
Celeste and Jesse Forever
Chasing Mavericks
Chernobyl Diaries
Cinema Six
Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
Cloud Atlas
Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope
Cowgirls 'n Angels
Crooked Arrows
Dangerously Excited
Dark Horse
Dark Shadows
Darling Companion
Daylight Savings
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Django Unchained
Doomsday Book
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax
Dragon (Wu Xia)
Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker
End of Watch
Father's Chair
Finding Nemo 3D
First Position
For a Good Time, Call...
Friends with Kids
Fun Size
Get the Gringo
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Girl in Progress
Girl Model
Give Up Tomorrow
Golden Slumbers
Good Deeds
Guns N' Roses
Here Comes the Boom
Hit and Run
Holy Motors
Hope Springs
Hotel Transylvania
House at the End of the Street
How to Survive a Plague
Hyde Park on Hudson
I Wish
Ice Age: Continental Drift
Jack Reacher
Jackal is Coming
Jeff, Who Lives at Home
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
John Carter
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Juan of the Dead
Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D
Killer Joe
Killing Them Softly
Kissed by the Devil
Les Misérables
Let Me Out
Let's Go
Liberal Arts
Life of Pi
Lola Versus
Love Fiction
Low & Clear
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
Madea's Witness Protection
Magic Mike
Man on a Ledge
Mariachi Gringo
Men in Black 3
Mirror Mirror
Moonrise Kingdom
My Way
Neil Young Journeys
Norwegian Wood
Oblivion Island
October Baby
One for the Money
One Mile Above
Overheard 2
Paranormal Activity 4
Parental Guidance
Peace, Love and Misunderstanding
Pearls of the Far East
People Like Us
Phantom of the Operal at the Royal Albert Hall
Pitch Perfect
Playing for Keeps
Premium Rush
Project X
Promised Land
R2B: Return to Base
Raiders of the Lost Ark: The IMAX Experience
Raspberry Jam
Red Dawn
Red Hook Summer
Red Tails
Resident Evil: Retribution
Rise of the Guardians
Rock of Ages
Ruby Sparks
Safe House
Safety Not Guaranteed
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Satellite of Love
Saya Zamurai
Searching for Sugar Man
Secrets, Objects
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Seven Psychopaths
Side by Side
Silent House
Silver Linings Playbook
Sleepwalk With Me
Snow White and the Huntsman
Solomon Kane
Somebody Up There Likes Me
Step Up Revolution
Tai Chi Zero
Take This Waltz
Taken 2
That's My Boy
The Amazing Spider-Man
The Apparition
The Avengers
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
The Bourne Legacy
The Cabin in the Woods
The Campaign
The Dark Knight Rises
The Devil Inside
The Dictator
The Divide
The Expendables 2
The Five-Year Engagement
The Good Doctor
The Great Magician
The Grey
The Guilt Trip
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Hunger Games
The Invisible War
The Lucky One
The Man with the Iron Fists
The Master
The Nutcracker 3D
The Odd Life of Timothy Green
The Pact
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
The Possession
The Queen of Versailles
The Raid: Redemption
The Raven
The Secret World of Arrietty
The Sessions
The Thieves
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2
The Victim
The Vow
The Watch
The Woman in Black
The Words
Think Like a Man
This Is 40
This Means War
This Must be the Place
Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie
Tinkerbell: Secret of the Wings
Titanic 3D
To Rome with Love
Tonight You're Mine
Total Recall
Trouble with the Curve
U.N. Me
Under African Skies
Underworld: Awakening
We Need to Talk About Kevin
What to Expect When You're Expecting
Where Do We Go Now?
Where Heaven Meets Hell
Wild Horse, Wild Ride
Won't Back Down
Wrath of the Titans
Wreck-It Ralph
Yes or No
Your Sister's Sister

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Promised Land

Director Gus Van Sand usually creates interesting character studies as in Milk, Finding Forrester, and My Own Private Idaho. Working with a script by John Krasinski and Matt Damon from a story by Dave Eggers, Promised Land comes off more quiet and laid back. It's sometimes curious, but mostly a sleepy small town vibe a lot of nothing really going on. It's a snap shot of America outside the city limits. The open farm land, the people struggling to survive. The diner filled with locals where everyone knows your name. The movie is saved by the performance of Matt Damon, who looks less like his Bourne hero persona and more like a high school English teacher.

Steve Bulter (Damon) plays a travelling salesman with his partner in crime, Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand) who visit the local farm owners to lease their land to the oil company. They scope out the lay of the land, even buying clothes from the local store. They play on the residents fear of the recession, and the promise that selling their drilling rights will infuse not only their personal lives, but that of their community with much needed income. Sue talks to the moms about schools, and Steve plays the father with security for their families in the years to come. Everyone has their hands out, even the local mayor who tries to grease the wheels for his own profit. It would seem like an easy one more town to add to their success and Steve's current elevation to a better position with the company. Except they hit a snag at the local town meeting when a high school science teacher begins to ask some serious questions on the wisdom of frakking (the process of extracting the gas and the poisonous chemicals that leak into the water table).

There should have been some intense debate of the pros and cons about the need to help make this country more energy dependent of foreign sources, helping to bring money to those in need, and the devastating effects like contamination, gas-powered flame leakage, and possible earthquakes. Only we get Steve digging his heels in to try and win over the people of the town with an earnestness like throwing a carnival. He's also distracted by a environmentalist that pulls into town. Dustin Noble (Krasinski) runs a green propaganda counter campaign to Steve and Sue. Steve is also attracted to a local teacher Alice (Rosemarie Dewitt) and there may be a little jealousy brewing as she seems to be spending time with Dustin.

Damon imbues Steve with a well meaning sincerity when he tells people that he's also from a farm family. He's kind, gentle, and people want to believe him. He gets a little out of hand when he starts to battle Dustin for the hearts and minds of the town people. Steve's company is also taking a close look on his performance too, which only adds to his dilemma. That's basically the only crisis that is happening in this film. There's a spin at the end of the movie, that you will probably see about half way through the story if you are still watching. Promised Land if full of promises, but that's about it.
(Review by reesa)

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Django Unchained

As I sat down to enjoy what I knew was going to be a great movie once again from Quentin Tarantino I knew I could expect two things: violence and an amazing script. But I never, ever expected that I would get as enthralled in this movie as I did. With superb characters, violence, a great script, and spot on casting this movie quickly became one of my top five movies of the year.

What probably shocked me most about this movie were the immense feelings I gained towards the characters. Whether I loved them or hated them, I became so connected to the characters as actual people that I actually put in thought as to whether I liked them or not. The greatest example of this was the Oscar-worthy performance put on by Mr. Christopher Waltz himself. In this film he plays Dr. King Schultz, a dentist-turned-bounty hunter who collects money for killing people. As soon as Waltz appeared on-screen he won me over with his quick wit and charm that isn’t found in a lot of characters. What I mean is a lot of characters have lines written for them, which is supposed to draw a laugh from the audience, but the line is just that, a line. It’s not the character’s personality, it’s just a line delivered by an actor who’s looking for a paycheck. What makes Waltz’s character different is how well he connects with it. Dr. King Schultz is a smart, witty man and that’s exactly how he is portrayed. If anything, it is worth paying to see this movie just for the sake of witnessing this astounding performance.

You could tell that Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel Jackson had a blast playing the villains in this film. The roles were so sinister and heartless, at points it made you cringe. Once again, a brilliant script helped these characters come to life, but it was the performances that tied it all together. The only enactment that seemed mediocre was that of Jamie Foxx, who played the lead role Django (the D is silent). That isn’t saying that it was bad in any stretch of the imagination, but his character did seem to have the least amount of expression. Whether that was the script’s fault, or that of Foxx’s, it did come across as dry at times. However, that dryness was quickly overshadowed by the intense and exciting violence that appeared.

Violence. That has always been something the Tarantino has been fond of depicting, and he doesn’t hold back here. What is on display here is probably one of the most violent and sickening movies I have ever watched. If there were one thing to hold you back from seeing this movie, it would be that. I am not a very weak-stomached person, but even I had to look away and cringe at certain times. The most violent and horrific scene, in my opinion, is when DiCaprio and company are enjoying watching a Mandingo fight. (For those that don’t know what Mandingo fighting is, don’t feel bad. It is a fight to the death between two unfortunate slaves.) While I’ve seen action movies with two characters fighting and killing each other, nothing could have prepared me for this. I don’t know if it was the blood, the fighting, or the fact that other characters were watching this for entertainment, but something made me sick in this scene. All of this goes to say that the violence wasn’t bad or depicted wrong. Just be warned if you have a squeamish stomach that this will make you squirm.

What should also make you squirm is the harsh language that is thrown around like baseballs, more specifically, the “N” word. I would say that that word got tossed around about 100+ times. I’ve heard it in movies before, but never as much or as nonchalantly as it is used here. Once I realized that for the time that word was normal verbiage, it became easier to swallow. But even after that, it was hard to hear.

In conclusion, Django Unchained is a brilliant movie written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. The acting, the casting, the violence, the music, and everything just make this a must-see film. In my opinion, it is one of Tarantino’s best. He is definitely at the top of his game here and it shows. While not for the squeamish, this movie is sure to please. I give this flick a 9 out of 10 stars and I can not wait to see it again!
(Review by Weston Baker)

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Les Misérables

Victor Hugo's novel Les Misérables was published in 1862 and considered to be one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century. Multiple versions of the story has been recreated in films, radio, animation and the stage. The classic tale examines the law, grace, politics, religion, class, philosophy, justice, romantic and familial love. Directed by Tom Hooper (The Kings Speech) with the screenplay by William Nicholson and Herbert Kretzmer based on the stage musical by Alain Boubill and Claude -Michel Schönberg covers a lot of ground. Basically the entire movie is sung and what is so unique is the fact it was filmed with “live” song performances. None of the sound track dubbed over the lip-syncing actors. The immediacy of this technique gives film a freshness and exhilaration as the actors can more effectively portray their emotional traumas.

Huge Jackman plays the lead role of Jean Valjean who is released from hard labor prison after serving a long term for stealing a loaf of bread. His nemesis is the righteous Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) who believes once a thief, always a thief, who makes tracking down Valjean when he escapes parole his main mission in life. Valjean who was tired of being treated so unfairly finds his faith again, and recreates his life as an owner of a factory. Fantine (Anne Hathaway) works there is fired when it's discovered she had a child out of wedlock. Cosette (Isabelle Allen) is being cared for by Madame Thénardier and her husband (Sacha Baron Cohen) who are innkeepers that grif their guests. They are the comedic element of what is a very sad and serious story. Fantine pays them to care for her daughter, but without a job she is forced into prostitution. Valjean promises her on her dying bed to care for her daughter.

Years later, Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) falls in love at first site with Marius (Eddie Redmayne) who with his fellow students are organizing a revolution to protest class inequality and poverty. Marius comes from a rich family, but has denounced them in favor of his fellow students. Éponine (Samatha Barks), the daughter of the innkeepers has a secret crush on Marius. She's heart broken when he's head over heels in love with Cosette. Javert tries to infiltrate the protesters, but is discovered. Valjean comes to his rescue which causes Javert to question his own morals and purpose in live. Also Valjean wants to rid himself of his guilt and not cause any harm to his ward, Cosette.

There's lots of stuff going on in story, which seems simplistic here, but one has to remember that the entire movie is in song. Speaking “lines” is so minimal as to be non existent. The Broadway music score with it's 50 songs are so well known and familiar. The singing is handled well by the women in the movie, and less so by the main leads Jackman and Crowe. Anne Hathaway's big number “I Dreamed a Dream” will rip your heart out with is strong emotional accapella delivered in it's entirety in one uncut tight shot of her face. Every quiver, every flash of her eyes speaks of her despair, humiliation and mother's need to have her child survive. It's heart wrenching.

This is the kinds of movie that movies are about. It's big, messy, beautiful to watch. Costumes, details, sets, and acting will make this a film you can watch over and over, if only just for the music.
(Review by reesa)

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Parental Guidance

Better Midler and Billy Crystal have known each other for over 30 years, yet have never made a movie together until now. Now that they are old enough to play grandparents who stay at their daughter's house to sit with their three grandchildren. Director Alan Fickman (The Game Plan and You Again) knows his way around family comedies. Surf's Up writers Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse team up again to add that good time feeling to the holiday movie season. It has all the formula moments that are helped by the stellar cast that know how to make a series of self humiliating scenarios amusing and not tiresome.

Crystal plays Artie Decke a just fired broadcaster for a Fresno baseball team. Artie is considered too old school. Diane (Midler) and Artie are asked as the last alternative by their type A daughter Alice (Marisa Tomei) to watch their children for a week. Alice's husband Phil (Tom Everett Scott) has developed a smart house and it's been nominated for an award to be announced at a resort. He would like to bring his wife for a mini vacation. His parents were not available which leaves only Alice's folks which makes her cringe. Their parenting style is opposite of the Decker's which means the kids are all neurotic. The older tween Harper (Bailee Madison) is stressing on her audition for a young adult symphony position. The middle child Turner (Joshua Rush) stammers and gets bullied by his classmates. The youngest Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) runs wild.

Do families like this exist in the real world? Hard to imagine that indulged youngsters being coddled by adults with baseball games that don't have “outs” so it's fair to everyone. How can they survive the modern world? When Barker takes off during a concert dashing around, most parents would grab the tyke and take him outside for some tough love. For storyline sake, the Decker's try to show the three kids there's more to life than being constantly politically correct. They try and do as their daughter's master plan dictates so they won't be known as the "other" grandparents. The only part that leads astray is Artie's foray into trying to get an audition with ESPN using his daughter's connection and pretending to be hip enough to commentate a skateboard competition doesn't really stay true to his character. It only sets up the real crisis in the whole film.

Diane seems truer in the whole grandma role as being the ready ear to tight as a drum Harper. She's under the gun to be successful that she doesn't know how to relax and be a kid. Artie has a better time communicating with Turner as he tries to negotiate sticking up for himself and finding his voice. Alice is the one that turns out to more whacked out by not being able to leave her brood with her folks. It's disappointing to Phil who is waiting for her at the hotel. Tomei does a good job as acting like a frazzled control freak. This is a perfect movie for the holidays offering the Crystal/Midler team to entertain the adults and their antics to make the kids laugh. The situations may be obvious and in lesser hands it would have been annoying. At least when Crystal and Midler harmonize to a little ditty towards the end of the movie, it can't help to make one smile.
(Review by reesa)

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Movies Scheduled for the week of 12/23 - 12/29

Doesn't seem worth the effort to post a weekly newsletter when there are no screenings scheduled for the week. Use the week to catch up on those films you missed with those gift certificates you will hopefully receive from Santa. Spend quality time with your loved ones, make new friends, start new projects, rewrite your resolution list. Our new year promises more screenings so please anticipate it.

Dallas Movie Screenings is offering 2 quick DVD contests to win The Words and Season 3 of Justified.



Winners will be notified 12/26. You need to send your full name and mailing address to dalscreenings@gmail.com. Remember to put in the subject line which contest you are entering.

Everyone have a safe and happy holiday. Eat, drink and be merry cause the apocalypse was a bust. See y'all next year!

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Win Justified Season 3 DVD

Win a copy of Season 3 of the TV hit series Justified which will be release 12/31.


In the nonstop, gunslinging third season of the highly acclaimed hit series, Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) must wield his brand of renegade justice against modern crime like never before. Surrounded by dirty politicians, drug cartels, murder frames, hidden fortunes and multiple criminal forces warring for control - including archenemies Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins, "The Shield") and Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies in his Emmyr-winning role), a mystery man named "Limehouse," a lethal mob enforcer newly arrived from the Motor City and in a final shocking showdown, his own father - Givens finds himself in everyone's cross hairs.

To win please send your name and mailing address to dalscreenings@gmail.com

You must include your full name and mailing address to qualify to win. Winner will be notified on Dec 26.

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Win The Words DVD

Here's your chance to win a copy of The Words which is being released on DVD on 12/24.


"There's more than one way to take a life..." and THE WORDS couldn't be truer. Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper) has achieved his every goal: a loving wife critical success and a best-selling novel. The only problem is he didn't write it. Now as his conscience starts to haunt him and his past wrongs are revealed it's difficult to tell fact from fiction. Jeremy Irons Dennis Quaid Olivia Wilde Ben Barnes and Zoe Saldana star in this romantic thriller that keeps you guessing until the very end.

Just send your name and mailing address to:

Remember you must include your full name and mailing address. Winners will be selected Wednesday, 12/26.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

This is 40

Judd Apatow, the genius behind Knocked Up and 40 Year Old Virgin, brings another coming of age story of white arrested developed adults starring his real life wife Leslie Mann and his real life children Maude and Iris. His movies are insightful and full of self involved grownups that do a lot of talking.

Debbie just turned 40 years old and in a complete state of denial. Her husband Pete (Paul Rudd) takes Viagra as a birthday present to bring more excitement for his wife. Unfortunately she doesn't quite see it that way. The crisis of getting older weighs heavily on Debbie's mind who decides to change the family lifestyle by diet, therapy, limiting social media access and adding spice to her relationship with Pete. Pete, who owns his own record company has put all this cards in with promoting Graham Parker who hasn't had a new record in 30 years, completely oblivious to the changing tastes of today's electronic/dance music trends. His finances are sunk and they may have to sell their house. Pete has to tell his father Larry (Albert Brooks) who has young triplets with his 2nd wife that he can't lend him money anymore. Debbie's dad Oliver (John Lithgow) has another wife and a young family doesn't spend time with her much to her regret. Debbie runs a boutique clothing store where Desi (Megan Fox) or Jodi (Charlyne Yi) may be stealing from her. On top of it, she finds out that she is also pregnant.

Chronicling the daily family life of a middle class couple while encountering their middle age will be familiar to anyone who has gone through this stage. The random sensibilities, insecurities, and interpersonal dynamics that often occur within a household, albeit with better dialogue. There's some really great lines like blaming JJ Abrams and hormones for their misbehaving 13 year old daughter. Charlyne Yi is brilliant as the pill popping Jodi. And Megan Fox shows off the hot bod for the husbands that will be dragged to this movie. There's lots of other interesting cast members like Jason Segel as Debbie's trainer, Lena Dunham ane Chris O'Dowd as Pete's employees, Tim Bagley as Debbie's gynecologist, and Graham Parker as himself as well as providing some really nice tunes.

Apatow knows how to create slice of life kinda stories. Nothing truly happens outside of an amusing glimpse of the trials and tribulations of privilege families. Yeah, the bankrupt company looms over Pete's head. They just need to sell their huge house to make up for it. Sure she's pregnant at 40, but they have good supporting friends and family to get them through. The only thing this couple seems to suffer from despite the constant talking is a failure to communicate. There are some laugh out loud moments due to some creative ad-libbing by the talented cast. It's a fun, kinda kill a Saturday afternoon sort of movie for the holidays.
(Review by reesa

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Cirque Du Soleil: World's Away 3D

Most people who can't afford the huge ticket prices to attend a live performance of the Cirque Du Soleil will throughly enjoy the movie version in James Cameron produced 3D. Director/writer of The Chronicles of Narna:Prince Caspian, Andrew Adamson, brings to the screen of fanciful adventure of a young woman visiting a carnival who follows an aerialist through a wormhole into a visually gorgeous scenarios with slow motion acrobatics. Filmed during the live performances from various Las Vegas shows such as O, Ka, Mystère, Viva Elvis, Criss Angel Believe, Zumanity and The Beatles LOVE bringing the acts close and personal showing the astounding feats of athleticism and dance for better appreciation.

The young woman Mia (Erica Linz) in what would be considered the real world visits a small town carnival where she's given a flyer to see the aerialist (Igor Zaripov) in the big top by a creepy insistent clown. It turns out he's one of the circus hands that she had a love at first sight moment just moments ago. He see her in the crowd and is distracted enough to miss the swing, falling to the ground which begins to swallow him up. Mia rushes to save him and falls into the hole too. She wake in another world where there are several big top tents. Armed with her flyer, she begins to ask (or pantomime) if anyone has seen him. While she searches, we the viewers are treated to a series of different Cirque Du Soleil Fellini-esque costumed gymnastic wonders involving water, trampolines, human controlled wheels spinning around, contortionists, walls that float vertically and horizontally all to music, some of it Beatles tunes. The loose storyline involves Mia trying to find her aerialist who has been captured by some dark forces in this world, and their eventual re-uniting culminating in a aerial pas de deux.

There are times when there is some much going on, that one wished to see the live version to fully take in the experience. It's also amazing to be able to see the slow motion details of the physically demanding artistry of their movements. The point of view from the stage brings you as close as one can be to the action. The edge of your seats defying gravity moments give the illusion of human flight as one could possibly attain. How someone can hold another human being with just a foot while spinning around suspended from a rope. It's boggles the mind on how these unique individuals have been trained for such events while wishing the Olympics could have such beauty and poetry.

Some may argue that the Cirque Du Soliel should be seen live to enjoy the excitement and wonder. But this arm chair viewer was just as enthralled and excited, without having to pay and arm, leg, and a first child for the price of a ticket.
(Review by reesa)

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Guilt Trip

The great Barbra Streisand is the ultimate Diva, with rightfully earned “ / “ titles in her varied career. It's only fitting that the Guilt Trip film makers offered her a road movie that could be totally filmed a few miles from her beautiful home in Malibu. Director Anne Fletcher (The Proposal, 27 Dresses and Step Up) with writer Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love and Cars) serve up a different take on the typical travel adventure involving a mom and her adult son.

Joyce Brewster (Streisand) is the stereotypical New Jersey mom, widowed for many years, with only her son to center her over bearing attention. She is prone to leave multiple voice messages on his phone offering suggestions, tidbits, and advice. Andy (Seth Rogen), a scientist turned inventor, has set up a series of meetings to pitch his non toxic cleaning product Scioclean to retailers. He plans to be gone for about a month, so he suggests to his mother to go out and meet someone. She tries to go to a mixer, but ends up discouraging all potential matches. Joyce confesses to her son that she had one great love of her life and he was named after him. Curious Andy “Googles” his namesake and finds someone by that name working for the same company he did when he met his mom and now living in San Francisco. He decides to ask him mom to travel with him and surprise her with the real reason for the stop in the Bay area.

The episodic nature of a road movie has each town have it's own moments that mostly entails Andy getting turned down during his presentations. Even his mom's loving support that her child can do no wrong and everything will be alright begins to wear the viewer down with the character's bickering and Joyce's random conversations and constant snack food intake. There's one WTF set up with Joyce eating a 50 ounce steak dinner so she can get it for free. Because she loves bargains to the point where she refills up her bottle water containers from the tap. Brett Cullen shows up as a steak house expert who flirts with Joyce, then like most of the other supporting characters in the film quickly disappears.

Andy may worry about his mom's love life, but Joyce also spends time fretting over her son's inability maintain a long lasting relationship. You would imagine if one is stuck in a car with one's mother listening to an audio book called Middlesex about a hermaphrodite would be potentially funny. Unfortunately most of the comedy falls flat. Fortunately it makes up for it by the endearing and annoying Striesand, the unusually restrained Rogen enjoying some real heart as mom and son that should make up for the lack of laugh out loud moments. This movie like Striesand didn't really travel far to work but it should have gone somewhere interesting.
(Review by reesa)

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Movies Scheduled for the Week of 12/16 - 12/22

It's boggling, truly, how some of y'all have a hard time figuring out how to respond to an "offer" post for a pass. Why is it so difficult to send your "need" directly to the person and NOT to the list? Repeated "reject" posts don't seem to deter people. That reply/send response is so hard wired that the two seconds it takes to double check where the email is going gets overlooked. You won't get your pass. Your post gets sent back to you. Truth be told, this moderator really wants you to get what you need, but honestly has better things to do than sort through your errant missives. Another thing, please put the correct form on the subject line stating if it's offer, want/need, trade, or gone. If the moderator has to correct another subject line... it's easier to reject the sucker until it's right. Just saying.

Doesn't seem to be any screenings scheduled for next week, so hope y'all have a safe and happy holiday!

December 16 - December 22

Dec 16

Dec 17
7:00 pm Guilt Trip - Cinemark West Plano
7:30 pm This is 40 - AMC Northpark

Dec 18
7:00 pm Parental Guidance - AMC Northpark
7:00 pm Les Miserables - Cinemark West Plano

Dec 19
7:00 pm Jack Reacher - Cinemark West Plano

Dec 20
7:00 pm Parental Guidance - Studio Movie Grill Royal
7:00 pm Nightmare Before Christmas - Cinemark West Plano
7:30 pm Promised Land - ?

Dec 21

Dec 22
7:00 pm White Christmas - Plaza Theatre, Garland

Fri 21

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Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hobbit:The Unexpected Journey

Director/writer/producer Peter Jackson successfully proved the existence of J.R.R. Tolkein's Middle Earth with the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. So it was fitting that he would take the helm the prequel of how the infamous ring came into the possession of the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins. The 1937 slim fantasy novel will be stretched out to be made into three films starting with this Unexpected Journey, then in 2013 will be The Desolation of Smaug followed the next year with There and Back Again. Guillermo del Toro who originally was tapped to direct joined co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. Illustrators John Howe and Alan Lee, art director Dan Hennah and cinematographer Andrew Lesnie are all back creating the familiar world with visual effects crafted by Weta Workshop. Howard Shore who scored by soundtrack for the Lord of the Rings is back highlighting the themes that made the first movies so memorable. A lot has been said about the 48 frames per second. The visuals at first seem like a live action anime until your eyes and brain become adjusted. Reportedly about 450 theaters out of 4000 in the US and Canada will have these projectors. Not sure if this particular advanced screening was with the normal 24 frames per second, but it was in 3D, and the picture was outstanding.

Martin Freeman plays the younger Bilbo Baggins who is recounting how the Wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) recruited his assistance in an adventure. Bilbo is reluctant to leave his small comfortable Hobbit home, content with his meals, his books and quiet life. Richard Armitage is Thorin the leader of the 13 Oaken Tree Shield dwarves who are set to reclaim their home under the Lonely Mountain which 60 years earlier was over taken by a dragon. Dwarves are master craftsmen of mining of gold and gems. The discovery of the Arkenstone by his father brought acclaim but also greed and power. Dragons known for their love of gold destroyed their kingdom scattering the inhabitants to live among the land of men. The plan to retake the mountain requires the need for someone small and stealth. Dragons know the smell of dwarves, but not that of Hobbits. They offer a contract to Bilbo to be their burglar.

Gandalf feels the presence of something amiss in Middle Earth and for reasons that will be explained later in the series, keeps disappearing then showing up at crucial moments. Orcs, trolls, goblins and giant spiders are being found away from their usual stomping grounds. The company's encounters with the various villains take up much of the story. In the book, each chapter contains an episodic quest that introduces the reader to specific creatures of Middle Earth. Bilbo who questions the wisdom of joining the group gains more confidence and competence, earning the respect of the tough loyal company of dwarves. Most of the time it's non stop action with brief respites in the Shire and the Elves home in Rivendale. Andy Serkis reprises his role as Gollum and we learn how he loses his “precious” ring to Bilbo.

The Hobbit series will once more bring the legions of LOTR's fans from their Hobbit holes during the holiday's in breathless anticipation for the rest of the series. Like the other movies, there's a lot of walking over the beautiful New Zealand landscape. It's a worthy and worthwhile addition to the Tolkein's Middle Earth legacy.
(Review by reesa)

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Hyde Park on Hudson

Margaret Suckley's private journals and diaries discovered after her death detailed her love affair with President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the later 1930's. Notting Hill director Roger Michell and writer Richard Nelson center the story on the visit of King George VI and the Queen Consort Elizabeth (the current Queen Elizabeth's parents) who had come to seek an alliance with the US as Europe prepares for a coming war. Roosevelt's image as a populist leader during these crisis years takes a hit as a philanderer and a bit of cad.

Laura Linney plays Daisy a 6th cousin who lives in the country caring for her aunt. She's resolved herself to a life of no expectations, but still dreams of something more. She gets a call from the Roosevelt matriarch (Elizabeth Wilson) to be a companion to her son while he stays at their upper New York family estate in Hyde Park as everyone else she called had some sort of excuse. His wife Eleanor (Olivia Williams) lives in a house with other women who make furniture. His faithful secretary Missy (Elizabeth Marvel) and staff take care of his official duties that otherwise keep him occupied. Daisy's job would serve as an attractive distraction for the President. Daisy is awkward at first, but everyone from the staff, housekeepers, and press seem to accept her right away. Roosevelt takes his cousin for long drives in his specially outfitted car for his polio crippled legs. They eventually consummate their relationship one day with the middle aged spinster giving the leader of the country a hand job in a convertible overlooking a serene hillside. Daisy becomes completely smitten with him.

The dalliances of men in power are nothing new, or particularly interesting unless there's some political subterfuge. It just works as a curious footnote in the life of FDR. Since this sordid affair can be no good for anyone, the story turns a lighthearted focus on the British royalty's visit to their former colony. No other seated king had ever visited the US before. The fish out of water scenario is the movies main amusement with King Albert and Queen Elizabeth (Samuel West and Olivia Colman) who are housed at Hyde Park in a room with anti-British revolutionary war political satire cartoons on the walls. The stammering king and his clucking wife stress over the a hot dog picnic organized by Eleanor wondering if they should be reading between the lines and be insulted.

Bill Murray does a decent job as Roosevelt capturing the tonal cadence of his signature speech patterns. Linney's presence is mostly a voice over narrative otherwise she stays mostly in the background even when she's in a scene. Her timidity only breaks when it's revealed that's she may not be so special after all in the president's life. Costumes, sets and vehicles echo the New Deal era with it's well appointed fashion and color. Everything is really lovely to look at, but although the movie is funny especially the scenes with the King and Queen, outside of Murray's amazing performance, there's nothing else happening at Hyde Park on Hudson.
(Review by reesa)

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Any Day Now

Hard to believe forty years ago, homosexual relationships were generally thought of as deviant behavior. Sure, that mindset still prevails in some red states in middle America, but those attitudes are dying out as same sex marriages are becoming law in across the US. This story set in the 1970's was directed and written by Travis Fine (The Space Between) with George Arthur Bloom about a gay couple who care for a down syndrome teenager chronicles the joy and heartbreak of a family that will not leave a dry eye in the house.

Rudy (Alan Cumming) is a drag performer in a California nightclub where he meets Paul (Garret Dillahunt). Divorced closeted Paul is immediately attracted to Rudy who becomes his first homosexual experience in the club's parking lot. Rudy chronically behind in his rent asks his druggie neighbor to turn down the music because not only is it annoying it's not good for her child's hearing. She ends up getting arrested by Vice and sent to jail leaving Marco (Isaac Leyva) to be taken by social services to a foster home but he takes off in the middle of the night to go back home. Rudy finds him wandering the streets and takes him back to his house. Rudy seeks out Paul's help who works at the District Attorney's office as to the welfare of the 14 year old special needs boy. Paul reluctant at first to help advises him to seek out temporary custody of the child from the mother. Marco also needs to live in a better environment where he can have his own room. Paul suggests that they move in with him and he tells everyone that Rudy is his cousin.

The instant surrogate family blooms and flourishes for at least a year before meddling eyes begin to question why Marco is drawing pictures of his family unit that has two daddies. Paul gets fired from the DA's office, and the boy is taken back into the social welfare system. The long protracted legal battle for the men to obtain permanent custody of Marco becomes the focus of the story on how unjust and unfair the laws are set up to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation. Francis Fisher plays Judge Meyerson who rules against them, Gregg Henry is prosecuting attorney who argues that homosexuality is not a good environment for Marco, Chris Mulkey is Paul's former boss, and Don Franklin is their appeal attorney.

Cumming plays flamboyant Rudy with a quasi New York accent, long hair and flippant back talk. He's balanced by the quiet unassuming Paul. They only thing these two seems to have in common is their love for the withdrawn boy who like them is different and unwanted. Inspired by a true story it's a reminder of how society was not ready to accept two men (or two women) freely raising children despite the love and care they can provide. Unfortunately, there's still people who think that way and this is like a 2x4 across the head to wake up. Bring tissues for Cumming's vocal performance of I Shall Be Released at the end of the film.
(Review by reesa)

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

2013 Golden Globes Award Nominations

The 70th Golden Globes ceremony will be held on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will co-host the Golden Globes awards.

Best Picture, Drama:
“Django Unchained”
“Life of Pi”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

Best Picture, Musical or Comedy:
“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”
“Les Misérables”
“Moonrise Kindgom”
“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”
“Silver Linings Playbook”

Best Director:

Ben Affleck, “Argo”
Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”
Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”

Best Actress, Drama

Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Marian Cotillard, “Rust and Bone”
Helen Mirren, “Hitchcock”
Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”
Rachel Weisz, “The Deep Blue Sea”

Best Actor, Drama
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
Richard Gere, “Arbitrage”
John Hawkes, “The Sessions”
Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”
Denzel Washington, “Flight”

Best Actor, Musical or Comedy:
Jack Black, “Bernie”
Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”
Ewan MCGregor, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”
Bill Murray, “Hyde Park on Hudson”

Best Actress, Musical or Comedy
Emily Blunt, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”
Judi Dench, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Maggie Smith, “Quartet”
Meryl Streep, “Hope Springs

Best Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams, “The Master”
Sally Field, “Lincoln”
Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”
Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”
Nicole Kidman, “The Paperboy”

Best Supporting Actor:
Alan Arkin, “Argo”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Django Unchained”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”
Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”
Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”

Best Screenplay:
Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Tony Kushner, “Lincoln”
David O’Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”
Chris Terrio, “Argo”

Foreign Language Film:
“A Royal Affair”
“The Intouchables”
“Rust and Bone”

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Movies Scheduled for the Week of 12/9 - 12/15

Nothing says the holidays like one week day filled with a large selection of screenings. So many to choose from so little time. Enjoy the boon while you can because there is zip scheduled for Christmas week thus far. Make sure you drive carefully during our Texas one and only day of winter this week.

Once again, y'all are reaching for that send button before checking that return address. You're not going to get the "precious" Hobbit passes unless you send your reply to the person offering and NOT to the group. If you do, it will be swallowed into the fiery depths of Mordor.

Because the kiddo's will be out of school for vacation remember to check the ratings on the movies, watch a trailer, and do a little research before bringing your children to the movies.

December 9 - December 15

Sun Dec 9

Mon Dec 10
7:00 pm The Hobbit the Unexpected Journey - Cinemark West Plan

Tue Dec 11
7:30 pm Promised Land - Angelika Dallas

Wed Dec 12
7:00 pm Jack Reacher - AMC Firewheel
7:30 pm Any Day Now - Magnolia
7:30 pm Hyde Park on Hudson - Angelika Dallas
7:30 pm Warm Bodies - Studio Movie Grill Spring Valley
7:30 pm Django Unchained - Cinemark West Plano

Thu Dec 13
7:30 pm Annie Hall Angelika Dallas

Fri Dec 14

Sat Dec 15
11:00 am Cirque Du Soleil:Worlds Away - Cinemark West Plano

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Movies Scheduled for the Week of 12/2 - 12/8

Don't forget it's the 8th Anniversary for Big Fan Boy!!! Come help celebrate and show your appreciate for the cool swag and passes that they offer. This is one party you DON'T want to miss! For more details go here: http://bigfanboy.com/wp/?p=16346

Different configuration for movies this week. Try not to get confused.

Remember to check the ratings on the movies, watch a trailer, and do a little research before bringing your children to the movies.

December 2 - December 8

Sun Dec 2

3:00 pm Guilt Trip - AMC Northpark
6:00 pm Big Fan Boy Anniversary Party - Angelika Dallas

Mon Dec 3

Various Times - The Nutcracker - Various Locations

Tues Dec 4

7:30 pm Playing for Keeps - Studio Movie Grill Spring Valley

Wed Dec 5

7:30 pm A Haunted House - Studio Movie Grill Royal

Thu Dec 6

Fri Dec 7

Sat Dec 8

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Movies Scheduled for the Week of 11/25 - 12/1

Hope y'all had a relaxing and food filled few days. The holiday season is creeping up, which means lots of fun and award quality films as the year closes out. Looking forward to seeing you again in the movie lines!

Our DMS group was offered some passes to the Star Trek Next Generation one night only screening. Check out details here:
Enter if you want to win. The screening is at Cinemark Legacy Plano.

Remember to check the ratings on the movies, watch a trailer, and do a little research before bringing your children to the movies.

November 25 - December 1

Sun Nov 25

Mon Nov 26

Tue Nov 27

7:30 pm Playing for Keeps - Cinemark West Plano
7:30 pm The Collection - Studio Movie Grill Royal

Wed Nov 28

6:00 pm This is 40 - AMC Northpark
10:00 pm HorrorRemix: Getaway - Studio Movie Grill Royal

Thu Nov 29

7:30 pm Hitchcock - The Angelika Dallas

Fri Nov 30

Sat Dec 1

11:00 am Dino Time - AMC Northpark

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Win Tickets to Star Trek: The Next Generation 25th Anniversary Event

Star Trek: The Next Generation 25th Anniversary Event

Dallas Movie Screening has a handful of good for two tickets to the screenings in Plano.

Star Trek: The Next Generation 25th Anniversary Event
In Select Movie Theaters Nationwide
Thurs, Nov 29th at 7:00 PM (local time)
Only One Night!

If you would like to enter to win please send an email to dalscreenings@gmail.com
Only enter if you plan to attend.

For more information on this event click here

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Anna Karenina

Leo Tolstoy's novel published in 1877 has been made into at least 13 different movies since 1914. It's hard to beat the 1935 melodramatic classic with Greta Garbo and Fredric March as the ill-fated lovers. The Joe Wright directed version with a screenplay by Tom Soppard shakes up the genre by filming on a single soundstage at Shepperton Studios in a dilapidated theater. The gorgeous costumes by designer Jacqueline Durran and the production design by Sarah Greenwood fill the screen with eye candy. The whole effort feels like Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! You feel any moment people will start singing and dancing. Perhaps they should have gone that route.

Keira Knightley as Anna is the queen of costume epics. Her beautiful angular face and pale skin works well as the aristocratic wife of a Russian government minister. Married at 18, she's the mother of a son and a dutiful wife of a passive husband Alexei Karenin living in St. Petersburg which was considered the cosmopolitan center of Russia. Anna learns her brother Stiva Oblonsky (Matthew Macfadyen) has been cheating on his ever pregnant wife Dolly (Kelly Macdonald). Anna begs her husband to let her go to Moscow to run interference to save her siblings marriage. On the train she meets Countess Vronskaya (Olivia Williams) who has a bit of a reputation. She tells Anna that it was better to love than never to have loved at all. Anna is intrigued as she's never been love. The Countess meets her son the dashing calvary officer Count Alexei Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Anna and the Count barely see each other in passing, but the Counts is immediately smitten. A railway worker accidentally falls in front of a train and is killed. When Anna is concerned for the man's family, the Count makes a show of giving the official money for their care.

There's a little side story with Stiva's friend Konstantin Levin (Domhnall Gleeson) a shy aristocratic landowner comes from his estate to woo the young beautiful Kitty (Alicia Vikander). Kitty rejects Levin's overtures as she has her eyes set on Count Vronsky. But at the ball the Count is tracking Anna. The chemistry between them becomes an obsession. The attention poured on her by the Count is not lost on Kitty and everyone else at the ball. Despite knowing that what they are doing is wrong, Anna can't help falling in love. She even returns to her husband and tells him that the Count is now her husband. She is so blinded by the overpowering hormones and happiness she can't stop herself even knowing that the affair will make her a pariah in her society as an immoral woman. Knightly tears up the screen as the emotionally wanton Anna. Her reputation is wrecked, but in the typical mores of the times, the Count will remain unscathed. Her insecurities over the Count's committed love to her becomes her undoing.

The scenes are mostly framed by the stage, or the wooden catwalks, and even the audience area and box seats. Sets change behind the actors and the action in a fluid motion that takes time for the brain to accept. It's a clever device, but it's often distracting. Some of the scenes are rhythmically choreographed with the dialogue and music. Interesting moments pass quickly then it's off to Annaland and her out of control lust for the piercing blue eyed young playboy. Lovely to look at, but ultimately too flawed.
(Review by reesa)

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Red Dawn

The remake of the 1984 cheese classic Red Dawn with Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen was actually shot in 2009. Studio management juggling led to it's shelving until this year, when the Chinese protagonists had to be changed to North Koreans for political correctness and appeasement. Instead of the teenage militia hiding in the Colorado wastelands, the band of high school kids are running around the woods of Spokane, WA. The target audience have never seen the first movie which had Soviet, Nicaraguan and Cuban troops landing by parachute on the football field as they witness their teacher getting shot. The violence is toned down in the new version with death and destruction only happening to the bad guys or off the screen. Stunt coordinator Dan Bradley is directing a screenplay by Carl Ellsworth and Jeremy Passmore. The action sequences are well played pulling out all the predictable scenarios.

Matty Eckert (Josh Peck) is the start football player in high school although he's got the penchant to take unnecessary risks and make fool moves. It's frustrating to his dad the town sheriff (Brett Cullen) and his older brother Jed (Chris Hemsworth in pre-Thor mode) who is home from the Marines. Matty is more concerned with his main squeeze Erica (Isabel Lucas) in typical teenage male mindset. One morning the town wakes up to the sound of heavy planes flying and soldiers parachuting down to their suburban neighborhood. Jed goes into solider mode, grabbing his brother and his friends and head out of town as their father runs interference. Matt is unable to save his girlfriend who is led off by the invading soldiers. The panicked young people get to the Eckert cabin in the woods where they have also gathered a few more stranglers following them. Jed organizes them quickly, but as expected there's one bad apple that lets the enemy know where they are hiding. Jed gives them the patriotic speech and trains them to become fighters. They start using guerrilla tactics engaging the occupying force and stealing weapons. They undermine Captain Lo (Will Yun Lee) by writing “wolverine” on the walls to claim their work and inspire the populace.

The first movie by John Milius was astonishing violent and earned the newly created PG-13 rating. The relationships of the characters were more intense and the real life threat of the Soviet nuclear power struggle was relevant for it's time. The idea of the North Korean's coming to a small town of Spokane, WA and taking it over is like, “WTF?”. The idea in the plot is that the US was defeated by an EMP blast, like in the current TV show Revolution. Only in this town the cars still work. But if you ignore those considerations, the story is aimed at action sequences that pop one after another while making the audience root for the intrepid teens. Little is given on the psychological effects of teens killing people, only justification for their acts by exercising their rights as free citizens of the good old USA. Outside of the obvious thought that this small town would fall so easily to an invading source, with only a handful of kids fighting them, they movie does try to get one caught up in the heartfelt relationship of the brothers. And of course cheering them on when they shoot those bad guys.
(Review by reesa)

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Rise of the Guardians

Santa with a Russian accent and swords and the Easter bunny who is a snarky punk are not the usual take on some favorite childhood icons. The 3D computer animated adventure is based on William Joyce's The Guardians of Childhood book series has a screenplay written by David Lindsay-Abaire and directed by Peter Ramsey. Originally Joyce and Reel FX created a short animated film called The Man in the Moon, which served as an inspiration to the Guardians. Rise of the Guardians is an entertaining and refreshing story on the innocence belief of children and what happens when they lose those precious moments.

Jack Frost (Chris Pine) doesn't remember how he came to be, only that he woke up rising from a frozen pond and he has the ability to fly around and make ice crystals. None of the children see him, but he's able to manipulate their snowtime activities and bring winter wherever he goes. He loves his carefree existence, but it's a bit lonely. That is until he meets Santa (Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) and the Sandman who doesn't speak. The Boogeyman (Jude Law) aka Pitch Black wants to move into the territory. The Man in the Moon suggests to Santa to recruit Jack Frost. Santa aka “North” is not your typical Kris Kringle in Coca Cola commercials. North is a sword wielding tattooed brawler who has Yeti's making toys. He just lets them think they are making the toys because who's to tell a Yeti they can't? The tiny minion sized elves actually do all the work. Bunnymund, the Easter bunny, is a smart mouthed punk with an Australian accent. Tooth is a giddy, talkative fairy who is assisted by mini fairies who collect childrens teeth that hold their special memories. Sandy who helps children sleep, may not speak, but he's able to weave sand pictures to communicate. Together they form a childhood superhero league to battle Pitch who wants to engulf the world in darkness by taking away childrens ability to dream. Without a child's fantasy world, the fab five lose their powers and may cease to exist.

Somewhere along the way to adulthood children lose their belief in those folklore tales. It's almost regrettable when they say “Santa's not real”. It's that loss of innocence that adults take for granted. When the lights on Santa/North's map blink out as the children become more dour and depressed you expect Peter Pan to show up urging children to sustain her. Jack in turn tries to turn the tables on Pitch by keeping the one remaining child, Jamie (Dakota Goyo), who has not given up on the Guardians. There's a battle between the Guardians and Pitch's team of black smoky horses that looks like the Lord of the Rings running down the elf princess. That's the only scary part for the kids. The rest of the story is light, the animation and colors worked well with the 3D, and it's a movie that parents won't fall asleep when they take their kids. A good holiday choice.
(Review by reesa)

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Silver Linings Playbook

Is it too early to start predicting Oscar considerations? This new film directed David O. Russell (The Fighter) and wrote the screenplay adaption from a book of the same name by Matthew Quick hits the theaters with an emotional bang. The simply amazing performances by Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro and specifically by Jennifer Lawrence will awe and astound and touch your heart in this life affirming story about marriage, sports fandom, and mental health. Doesn't sound like a great recipe for cinematic flavor, but it sure is tasty!

Bradly Cooper plays Pat Solitano, Jr, who has been committed to a mental hospital in Baltimore for the past eight months. He's been going to his therapies, but he's been cheating on his meds. He's lost weight, feels ready for the world has a new attitude with the key phrase “excelsior” which to him means seeing the world in a positive light and looking for that “silver lining” of success. His mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver) comes to take him back to Philadelphia because his sentence is up even as his doctors protest that he's not ready. Former high school teacher Pat suffers from an undiagnosed bi-polar disorder what was triggered out of control when he discovered his wife having an affair in their shower. The violence he suffered on his wife's lover is what had him committed. Everyone walks on eggshells around him hoping that he will not have another “episode”. His dad (Robert De Niro) wants Pat to indulge him in his OCD sports addiction to the football team the Eagles. His father has been bookmaking after having lost his job and pension. He hopes to start a Philly steak sub shop from his winnings. Pat is too obsessed with gaining back his wife Nikki (Brea Bee) despite everyone's warnings that there's a restraining order in effect.

Friends Ronnie and Veronica (John Ortiz and Julia Stiles) invite him over for dinner where he meets Veronica's sister Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) another damaged soul who was just widowed by the death of her policeman husband. Pat is attracted to Tiffany, but he's single minded in his pursuit to show Nikki that he's remade himself. His wily therapist Dr. Patel (Anupam Kher) suggests that helping Tiffany could be seen by Nikki as a positive gesture. Tiffany has the ability to straight talk Pat while everyone else is wary of his mood swings. The trigger song “My Cherie Amour” always sets him off in a manic state, Tiffany manages to calm him down. Tiffany offers to get a letter to Nikki in exchange Pat must be her dance partner in a competition. For the first time his parents notice a change in Pat as he leaves to practice at Tiffany's studio house every day.

Bradley Cooper finally is just not another pretty face giving a more nuanced performance. Jennifer Lawrence should be one of the front runners for a nomination. Robert De Niro is a wonder as the father trying to find a way of communicating with his son and Pat's daffy mother played by Jacki Weaver is so perfect even though she has very little lines to play. The standouts supporting players like John Ortiz as Ronnie who may seem like he has it all together, but is stressed out by his job, his controlling wife, and a new baby, Chris Tucker as Pat's nutty friend from the hospital, and Dr. Patel as the football fanatic therapist.

Their bittersweet relationship is spiked with sharp insightful dialogue that's abrasive and filter free. They say what they feel and what they want at any given time yet their vulnerabilities are on the surface. David O. Russell changed the dynamic between the father and son from the original story due to the personal relationship of Cooper and De Niro being good friends in real life according to the Author Matthew Quick. The mental health issues of the story doesn't distract from or try to manipulate your feelings in a negative way. It's just how these people have to deal with those chemical imbalances yet still be able to have fulfilling and satisfying lives.
(Review by reesa)

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Movies Scheduled for the Week of 11/18 - 11/24

Not too many movies this week due to the Holiday. Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones. Take a moment to be thankful for all the free movie screenings we get to attend. To the Studios who offer the screenings, to the websites that distribute the passes, to the kind people on the list who are willing to share their bounty with those in need, to all the nice people we get to meet in our movie lines, and the great conversations and friendships as a result of our movie community. Big thanks, drive carefully, and have fun!

November 18 - November 24

Sun Nov 18

Mon Nov 19

7:00PM Rise of the Guardians - Studio Movie Grill Plano
7:00PM Silver Linings Playbook - Magnolia

Tue Nov 20

7:30PM Anna Karenina - AMC Northpark

Wed Nov 21

8:00PM Garden State - Sundown at Granada

Thu Nov 22


Fri Nov 23

Sat Nov 24

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Pt 2

It's finally over! The last movie of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight book series. Too bad they didn't start out with this one instead of the last four yawners full of teen angst at one movie too long. Director Bill Condon who also did Part 1 is back with the 2nd half of the 4th book. Melissa Rosenberg's script starts from when Bella just turned vamp wakes to her new life. At last Bella is now a more attractive and interesting character.

Bella Cullen the new bride and mother wakes from her transformation. The title sequence showing Bella's awareness of everything around her is a good promise for what to come. Being a newbie vamp makes Bella incredibly strong and extremely hungry. She makes her first kill. ah....ew.... OK, this is supposed to be so romantic. Bella comes home unaware that Jacob (Taylor Lautner) has “imprinted” onto her new born daughter whom they blessed with the impossible name of Renesmee. There's a whole werewolf thing in Jacob's tribe that the person to which you are imprinted becomes their soul mate for life. Jacob and his “Nessie” are and will be inseparable. Not before Bella has her say. Then there's the problem with telling Bella's dad Charlie (Billy Burke) about how Bella is like Bella, but not. Suffice to say Jacob takes off his shirt.

Bella is no longer the awkward, clumsy and shy high school student. She's 18 and will be forever. Edward (Robert Pattinson) has finally found someone, making their uneven numbered family unit even and paired up. Carlisle (Peter Facinelli) and Esme (Elizabeth Reaser), Rosalie (Nikki Reed) and Emmett (Kellan Lutz) and Alice (Ashley Greene) and Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) and now Edward, Bella and Renemee make up the clan. The Cullen's give the young couple a beautiful romantic cottage in the woods all pointedly decorated in shabby chic. The rest of the family stays at the Cullen modern glass and wood compound. This new Bella is as she says, “born to be a vampire.”

Renesemee is the fast growing vampire/human hybrid ever. She also has a gift of being able to communicate with everyone by her touch. She's a cute, creepy CGI infant/child with a benevolent countenance. She is later portrayed as a young girl by Mackenzie Foy. Unfortunately their relative Irina (Maggie Grace) sees the young girl and reports to the Vampire rulers, the Volturi's, that the Cullen clan has created a forbidden child immortal. Centuries ago vamps thought it was cute to make little ones, but they never matured and hungry babies are not so cute anymore. Alice sees a vision of the Volturi coming. She and her boyfriend/brother Jasper take off. She leaves Bella a note with clues on how to create an extract route for Renesemee and Jacob in case things go south. Meanwhile the Cullens have to convince witnesses from their friends and relatives regarding the peaceful nature of Renesee. They gather 18 of them to help face off a hundred black hooded Volturi's.

The Volturi leader Aro (Michael Sheen) is as oily as it gets. His two powerful henchkids Jane (Dakota Fanning) and Alec (Cameron Bright) are always ready to inflict pain and confusion. The battle is probably the best vampire/werewolf mayhem to date. It's fun watching the good “veggie” vamps vs the bad human eating vamps go at each other. The characters all get a moment to flash their special powers and kick some butt. Like on Heroes or Alpha's these vamps have different types of “gifts”. One has the power to influence the elements, one has electrical power, Alice can foretell, Edward can read minds, and Bella also discovers her power. Granted that this book series is about the Bella/Edward/Jacob triangle, but these magical vamps can be the next big TV series.

It's a nice send off for what has been a very uneven ride. The ending credits include cast pictures and names from all of the movies. It just makes one wonder what it would have been like if some of the secondary characters had been explored as they are in the books. The Twilight hysteria will probably continue for a few months before becoming and annual marathon for twihard fans. Good thing the last film was the best of the bunch.
(Review by reesa)

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A Royal Affair

Historical dramas about royal families are the stuff of PBS specials. This new film by Nikolaj Arcel (who wrote the Swedish version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) and written with Ramus Helsterberg tells the true story of King Christian VII of Denmark. Based on the Bodil Steensen-Leth's erotic novel, Prinsesse Af blodet, it's a 18th century real life love triangle between the mad king, his queen and his royal physician. It's also Denmark's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards.

Caroline Mathilde (Alicia Vikander) is from the Royal British family and at 15 years of age the prospective bride of Christian the VII, King of Denmark (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard). Whatever hopes of Caroline having a happy ever after is quickly dashed when she realizes the King is a bit unstable probably mentally ill. The restrictive political and personal environment censor's the Queen's library she had brought from England. Having given the kingdom an heir, Queen Caroline resolves herself to her fate. That is until she meets the dashing royal physician Johann Friedrich Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen). Struensee was German country doctor. He was recruited by a Danish noble who needed to get some favors from the Royal Council. The Council basically rules the country while padding their pockets. The King is easily bullied or cowed into doing as the Council dictates. The doctor quickly develops a friendship with the young man. Their relationship becomes a big brother/father thing. Soon the doctor's influence is scaring the high ranking members of the royal court. At the same time the Queen is attracted to Struensee's interest in literature and ideas of the Enlightenment.

Soon the Queen and Struensee begin to take power from the pliable King. Laws enacting major social reforms to improve the lives of the common people begin to threaten the Queen Dowager who wants to put her own offspring on the throne. A conspiracy brews under the heady days of the king, queen and doctor who are feeling they are making a difference. Under Struensee's coaching and encouragement the king begins to offer his own opinions and suggestions at the royal council meetings. The doctor also gives himself the power to sign in place of the king and abolishes the royal council. After passing all these progressive programs like inoculations for smallpox and homes for unwanted children the government is becoming broke. Struensee's answer is to start collecting from the noble class. Then like now, the rich will do anything to protect their wealth. The doctor and queen's affair is revealed.

The queen leaves a letter while in exile for her children by the king and the doctor. She tells them the real story of their fathers and what they tried to do for their country. History proves the King Fredrick finished his father's job and brought Denmark out of the middle ages. Most people would never know any of this unless you are an history buff if it wasn't for movies like this love affair that changed the world. Beautifully filmed, costumes, sets, and decent subtitles, and maybe a little to long. Lust and love in the rotten state of Denmark.
(Review by reesa)

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