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:
dallasmoviescreenings-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Magic Mike



It was Channing Tatum who suggested to director Steven Soderbergh the concept of a movie about male revue dancers. Tatum had some experience in this line of work before he started being the biggest star going today as the largely female audience of advance screeners can attest. One screening had the added bonus of the appearance by performers from the Dallas hotspot La Bare in attendance giving the crowd a chance to get up close and personal with the buff, smooth butter soft skinned mansome talent. Really wanted to ask the dancers what they though of Tatum's portrayal of their craft and what it is that motivates them to do what they do on stage. Because watching this movie will not answer those questions.

Tatum plays Magic Mike, a self made entrepreneur, who has lots of businesses going from mobile detailing, construction and building costume furniture from found items. He works his other jobs during the day, but at night he hustles ladies in the neighboring clubs to bring to their act. He enlists the help of 19 year old Adam (Alex Pettyfer) who he met on the construction site having got that job from Craigslist. Adam once a promising athlete now sleeps on this sister's couch (Brooke played by Cody Horn). Mike sees potential in the handsome, but aimless young man and convinces the club owner Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) to give him a job. After watching the dancers do their acts to an enthusiastic audience of screaming women, Adam finds himself on stage being told to strip.

It's mostly all in good fun. The camaraderie of the dancers Ken (Matt Bomer), Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello), Zorro (William Levy), Tarzan (Kevin Nash) and Tito (Adam Rodríguez) is easy and carefree. Their backstage conversations are just rumblings without any purpose while the lead actors try to advance the storyline. There isn't any extravagant Flashdance choreography here, more g-strings and rip off pants stuff while strutting their hairless muscles and six packs. Tatum shows off his impressive moves, and more power to him The other guys as good looking but they are only get brief nods, which will hopefully be expanded in the DVD version.

The gist of the story includes Dallas wanting to move the club to Miami from Tampa promising his protégé Mike who he brought into the club some 6 years before a larger piece of the business. Adam has to answer to his big sister Brooke who is suspicious and wary of Mike yet charges him to watch out of him. The seedier side of the life is touched on when Adam gets caught up some drug dealing. And the wanton sex and drinking that keeps Mike from moving on becoming a more responsible adult. The clunky script by Reid Carolin of why this particular lifestyle is so attractive to these men is obviously the money because all we see is the surface of these characters and nothing else that motivates them.

Tatum expands his repertoire to include stuttering and in-articulation. McConaughey rocking the butt-less chaps does well as the jaded and confident leader of the pack. The weakest link is Cody Horn as the Magic Mike love interest. There's more chemistry with Mike's bed buddy Joanna (Olivia Munn). The curiosity factor and the bridal party get together's will fill the audience for this but you will get more bang for your bucks at La Bare's.
(Review by reesa)



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People Like Us



Alex Kurtzman had first met his half sister when she introduced herself at a party. This started the seeds to his story which he wrote with his writing partner Roberto Orci and their college friend Jody Lambert. To give the atmosphere it's unique look it was shot in some of the more off beat sections of Los Angeles to give it a Southern California feel without falling for obvious landmarks. Kurtzman who is more known for writing action movies like Star Trek, Cowboys and Aliens and Mission Impossible III tries his hand at a more personal and intimate story of troubled souls for his directorial debut.

Chris Pine plays Sam a fast talking New York sales guy who is somewhat ethically and morally annoying. He screws up a deal that makes the Federal Trade Commission get on his case. His boss (Jon Favreau) is close to firing unless Sam can make it right. In the middle of his crisis he has to go home to Laurel Canyon for the funeral of his record producer father. Sam makes himself and his girlfriend Hannah (Olivia Wilde) miss their flight on purpose so he doesn't have to attend the actual ceremony which peeves his mother Lillian (Michelle Pfeiffer). Hoping his inheritance will get him out his jam with the FTC, he is miffed to discover his father only left him his vinyl record collection. Even more vexing is a shaving kit bag stuffed with $150,000 and instructions to deliver it to a certain address. Which of course he doesn't do it because he's more than tempted to keep the money for his own uses. By this time Hannah becomes fed up with Sam and goes back to New York.

Sam using his dad's red vintage convertible begins to stalk the residents of the notes address. He finds that Franki (Elizabeth Banks) is a bartender and has a troubling precocious 11 year old son Josh ( Michael Hall D'Addario). He befriends Josh then later Franki, still unaware of their connection to each other. He eventually finds out from his mother a one time Joni Mitchell wannabe who met his dad back in the day of Laurel Canyon's magic music days. The secret she's carried all these years was close to a breaking point for her. Now the burden is on Sam who by this time is so intertwined with Franki and Josh that Franki is almost thinking of him as a potential lover and father figure for his son. It's almost creepy and one wonders how they get themselves out of this corner and why Sam lacks the backbone to come clean.

Pine is effective as the brash and self centered young man with daddy issues who has to learn responsibility and forgiveness. Pfeiffer has just gotten more beautiful as she gets older infuses Lillian as a forlorn but strong willed woman who thinks she did what she did to keep her family together. It's Elizabeth Banks who as always gives Franki some color and personality. She's got a been there done that attitude that she uses to keep emotional involvements in check. Being a mom keeps her centered and grounded when everything else is just hanging from a thread. The story which is paper thin and obvious is held together by the sensitive performances which gives this more backbone than a Lifetime movie.
(Review by reesa)


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Ted




John Bennett was a lonely child until he received a big stuffed bear for Christmas. He made a wish that his bear could talk to him and they would become best friends forever. That wish came true and 27 years later he's 35 and still BFF with his animated bear friend Ted. Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane directed, wrote with Alec Sulkin and is the voice of Ted. The male characters are your stereotypical Beantown bromance boys who talk smack, watch Flash Gordon, drink beer and smoke weed. So don't let the cute stuffed bear fool you, this is not a movie for kids.

Mark Wahlberg may have spend years trying to get rid of his Boston accent, but it now pays to go back to his roots. He plays John an emotionally stunted adult who works for a car rental agency, that is when he remembers to show up to the job. For some reason he's managed to be in a steady relationship for the past four years with Lori (Mila Kunis) but she thinks that it's time for John to grow up and choose between her and Ted. Fortunately their chemistry works enough to make their romance believable. John realizes that he would be lost without Lori, so he helps Ted find a new apartment and a job at a supermarket where his rudeness is only appreciated by the manager. Separation anxiety gets the best of them and John becomes easily sucked in to Ted's immature antics. Even the night of Lori's big company party thrown by her smarmy boss Rex (Joel McHale), John is lured to Ted's place because his hero Sam Jones (as himself only bigger and better) is there. That's the last straw for Lori who kicks John out of their apartment.

There seems to be a rash of movies dealing with arrested developed adults written in the supposedly natural voices of real people. What makes this one different is the stupidity that's usually prevalent and mind numbing to make one uncomfortable and erase brain cells is saved from the sympathy for all the people and stuffed bears involved. Even the “bad” guys Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) and his spoiled son Robert (Aedin Mincks) who want to have Ted as their own are just sorry needy individuals. Rex who wants to date Lori tries to out manno John by showing off his boys with toys memorabilia collections. Even John and Ted who try to hang on to each other as “thunder buddies” who have their own song to ease the fear of God's farts are endearing. The bawdy behavior and language keeps this firmly rooted in risqué not for TV type of ratings. It's not exactly offensive, just tiresome because do we really need to go there to make it funny? Over all it's amusing and different, well worth the popcorn and keep the kiddies at home.
(Review by reesa)


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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Movies Scheduled for the Week 6/24 - 6/30



Is it really that difficult to stop and put the correct address into the reply address before hitting send? Yes, it's imperative to move quickly when a pass if being offered. But when you hit reply and send, it goes to the group. When it goes to the group it gets kicked back to you and guess what? You missed that window of opportunity and your chance of scoring those passes. One would think that after getting your rejected post back, one would reflect the error of their ways, make corrections and move on. But there are people who chronically do this each and every time. Must be getting frustrated from not getting that pass, eh?

It's a light week, but the big Spiderman is coming for the holiday weekend. That means everyone and their mother's kitchen sink will be on the prowl and lookout for passes. REMINDER: You must enter the contests on your own. Don't be mooching for passes from people who went through the effort. Anyone begging for passes while contests are still pending will be rejected. Fair warning!

June 24 - 40, 2011

Sun
June 24

Mon
June 25

8:00PM Ted
AMC Norhpark

Tue
June 26

7:30PM People Like Us
AMC Northpark

7:30PM Magic Mike
Angelika Dallas

Wed
June 27

7:30PM People Like Us
Rave Ridgmar Fort Worth

Thurs
June 28

7:00PM People Like Us
Cinemark West Plano

Fri
June 29

Sat
June 30


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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Brave





Pixar completely rewrote their animation system for the first time in 25 years. The complex visuals is what gives their new fantasy adventure film a more pictorial splendor. The film directed and written by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman the first woman to ever direct a Pixar movie, along with writers Steve Purcell and Irene Mecchi. Pixar also includes a cute engaging short called La Luna directed by Enrico Casarosa. Mostly young girls will enjoy this new Disney princess but it doesn't have the same appeal of Wall-E, Toy Story or Up that entertained the adults as much as the kids.

Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) is a red headed curly topped young lady who is chaffing at the collar under Queen Elinor's (Emma Thompson) tutelage on becoming a proper lady and leader of her country. Merida would rather roam free practicing her archery. She is more like her big burly dad Fergus (Billy Connolly) the king of the four clans. He's obsessed with catching the giant bear that took his leg. Tradition say the four clans must gather to decide who will become Merida's marriage suitor. The first born of each house must compete for her hand. Each of the clans, Dingwall's, MacGuffin's and Macintosh (Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd and Craig Ferguson) offer up less than suitable contenders. Merida's insistence that she is not ready to be married falls on deaf ears and she's competes on behalf of herself just to keep from being mated. Elinor locks her in her room and the angry Merida slashes a tapestry of her family before escaping to the woods. She meets a bear obsessed wood working witch (Julie Walters) who gives her a cake that promises will change her mom. Only thinking of getting her mom to change her mind about the wedding, Merida feeds it to Elinor who instead becomes a bear. The witch gives them 2 days for Merida to figure out a riddle or her mom will stay a bear forever.

It's not usual for Disney movies to feature relationship issues between a mother and daughter with the mother involved in a major way. They are usually like a side note that propels the young woman to find her own truth. In this case both mom and daughter have to find a way to communicate and appreciate each other. Even the witch is not your typical evil doer or scary. She's more mischievous and does give Merida a solution that requires her to actually amend herself to save her mom. Merida's three little brothers play more like the three Stooges as they help their bear mom and sister will be fun for the young boys that will be dragged to see this with their sisters. The only scary part for kids is the clueless dad doesn't recognize his wife as a bear and only wants to kill her. Otherwise the uplifting message is against the grain of typical princess stories with the girl getting her guy. In this case Merida fights for the freedom of finding someone for love and not tradition. Which is the modern Disney way of influencing young people's minds.
(Review by reesa)


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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter




Literary mash-ups (the art of combining genre's) is so five minutes ago but it's made it's way to the big screen. Russian director of Day Watch and Wanted Timur Bekmambetov and writer Seth Grahame-Smith (based on his book published in 2010) tackle the 16th President of the United States utilizing his famous ax as a vampire weapon of destruction. Grahame-Smith took painstaking effort to make the fantasy horror film as historically accurate as possible. Between Lincoln's vamp slaying, it also examines the life of the man and not just the legend he has become.

The story starts when Lincoln was a child and a vampire mortally bites his mother while Abe was watching and he swears to a life of vengeance. Years later Abraham (Benjamin Walker) meets Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) who helps him channel that anger into power in which to fight the vampires that inhabit the world. He trains him into a life he calls a higher calling and silver coats his favorite ax before sending him out into the world. Like Nikita he lives like a normal person until he receives intel from Henry on hidden vampires to take out. Although he promised Henry that he would devote his life into eradicating the world of blood suckers he becomes smitten with the lovely Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who is engaged to Stephen A. Douglas (Alan Tudyk). Working as a store clerk with Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson), Abraham lives a double life courting Ms. Mary and talking politics. Abraham's activities comes to the attention of the lead vampire Adam (Rufus Sewell) whose lackey Jack Barts (Marton Csokas) was the vamp that killed Abe's mother. Adam who's clan uses the slaves in New Orleans as a food source follows Abraham's rise to power as a possible stepping stone on taking over the US for a vampire nation by supporting the southern rebels. With the help of his store keeper boss and his child hood friend Will (Anthony Mackle) a free black man whose mistreatment influenced Lincoln's hatred of slavery formed his principal advisors. Lincoln who decided to fight with words instead of the ax must now wield it again.

There's plenty of super cool battle scenes from a horse stampede, trains, Civil War battlefields all shot in 3-D. The team uncovered actual 3-D images from the era during their research and Bekmambetov thought it was a way to bring people in the middle of the action. Visually the film slightly tinted is interesting and the use of 3-D actually enhances rather than annoy. Costuming to set decoration are also stimulating to the sense of time and space. All the action is balanced with discussions of the issue of slavery. It's all played out with a certain amount of seriousness. There's even a bit about Harriet Tubman's Underground Railway. Sewell's Adam doesn't sneer or snarl playing the vampire leader with a world weariness and an arrogance of power. Cooper's Henry who harbors secrets of his own tries to guide Lincoln on his quest to stop the vampires knowing he can't stop the man. Walker looking like a young Liam Neeson will inspire a lot of Halloween costumes and people trying to mimic his ax twirling. The film bogs down through some of the historical bits and some of the slo mo blood spurting will seem been there done that. Overall it's a fun, over the top, eye candy with a little bit of patriotic spirit for the 4th of July.
(Review by reesa)


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Your Sister's Sister





Jack is in a funk. He's not working, he's not happy. Tom his brother died a year earlier and at the remembrance thrown by his brother's friends, he manages to ruin the love fest by dragging everyone down with his negative attitude and an increasingly hostile toast. Tom's girlfriend Iris suggests that Jack go to this island village where her family has a cottage. No one will be there, no cell phone, no Internet, nothing but peace and quiet for some reflection and to get his act together.

Taking his funky red bike, back pack and tent, Jack (Mark Duplass) boards the ferry to one of the Washington state islands with it's scenic wooded vistas. He arrives at night and discovers Iris's half sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) is also there. She just broke up with her lesbian lover of seven years. After bonding over some late night tequila they challenge each other for what turns out to be the least appealing sexual encounter. The aftermath is made even more uncomfortable when Iris decides to show up under the pretext of checking up on Jack while Jack more than Hannah try to cover up any evidence of their one night stand. Duplass has the harder job of trying to make something out of Jack who is a pretty formless individual. He keeps Jack from being just another a-hole by his articulate quick wit and self depreciation. The women have an easier job with their natural camaraderie. The whispered conversations in bed between them are lovely and endearing. The three stuck in a remote cottage who become captive audiences for each other's agendas and the secrets that they try to keep will ultimately blow up in their faces.

Lynn Shelton's improvised script came from the idea vault of the Duplass Brothers. Originally it involved a mother and daughter but it fortunately evolved into a interesting, amusing and awkward relationship story of two sisters and a guy. The actors, Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt and Mike Birbiglla were all credited as script consultants as the movie team worked at hashing out characters and situations. In fact Shelton basically edited the story into existence from a 70 page out line and hours of improv'd scenes. The synergy of the story relies heavily on the chemistry of the actors who spent months preparing except for DeWitt who came on to the project four days before the 12 day shoot began. While not much happens in the way of any action sequences, the movie is filled with stunted conversation including stutters, stammers and reactions like real life. The camera focus is on the faces and the internalized turmoil. It's like visiting people you don't know and rubber necking an accident scene but in a fun way.
(Review by reesa)





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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Movies Scheduled for the Week of 6/17- 6/23



Hope all the movie group dads had a wonderful Father's Day!

So did anyone miss the Sunday calendar and rant last week? Yahoo Groups decided to "fix" their calendar and the new "improved" version is available. At least that's what they say.

Lots of movies going on this week, and trading is already hot and heavy. Many of y'all got your posts rejected because a.) you replied to the group and not to the person to whom it's intended, b.) it's not formed correctly as in improper subject heading and/or content, c.) your email has been hijacked by spammer who is sending garbage to the group. Really, the moderator has nothing better to do than reject those 10 posts that said the exact same thing that bombarded this list.

Every time this calendar reminder comes out people suddenly want passes to the movies listed. Keep in mind that posts were send out earlier regarding which contests to enter, which websites to check out, where to pick up passes. It's up to you to obtain these passes on your own. Other people went through the effort so should you. Don't think you can just Want/Need and you will get a pass. No one likes a moocher. Also if you do make arrangements with someone, then keep to it. It's vexing to think that you offered that pass to someone and they don't show up to get it, or they don't use it. Only ask and accept if you are really, truly going to take advantage of the screening.

June 17 - June 23

June 17
Sun

June 18
Mon

7:00PM Your Sister's Sister Magnolia

June 19
Tue

7:00PM People Like Us Cinemark West Plano
7:00PM Abraham Lincoln the Vampire Hunter AM Star 14
7:00PM The Newsroom AMC Northpark

June 20
Wed

7:00PM Brave Cinemark West Plano
7:30PM Magic Mike AMC Northpark

June 21
Thurs

7:30PM Magic Mike Angelika Dallas
7:30PM Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Studio Movie Grill Dallas

June 22
Fri

June 23
Sat


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Friday, June 15, 2012

Wyatt Head Movie Review


Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding- This is a feel-good film that has realistic mini-plots and scenarios that can be hilarious to sad. I really loved how Catherine Keener played the uptight and edgy New York lawyer. The characters of her kids were just perfect and blended in nicely with the setting placed before them.

Moonrise Kingdom- I enjoyed the nice adventure that this film had to offer. The film delivered a great older story that really entered people's hearts and stayed there for the rest of the film.

Rock of Ages- The voices, the bright lights, and the music rocked! The only thing that really was over the top was the sexual references which let's face it wasn't really a bad thing.




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Safety Not Guaranteed




This movie is based on a 1997 Backwoods Home Magazine classified ad asking for a partner in time travel. It made it's way around the Internet eventually turned into Safety Not Guaranteed which won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Colin Trevorrow and written by Derek Connolly the film is everything that you want or expect from a independent feature, and then some. At times it seems it wants to go in that typical quirky spin but it inevitably turns out to be more that what you expect.

Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Recreation plays Darius a loner, disaffected, unambitious and slightly depressed young woman who lives with her father and can't even get a waitress job because she's not considered a “quality hire”. She spends her days as an intern at Seattle Magazine where she is treated with no respect by the editor Bridget (Mary Lynn Rajskub) and has to stock toilet paper in the bathrooms. During a brainstorming meeting Jeff (Jake M. Johnson) suggests a story about this classified ad for someone looking to time travel and asks for a couple of interns ...the lesbian and the Indian to accompany him. They travel to Oceanview where Jeff's obnoxiously attempts to contact the ads' author which only makes the subject annoyed and wary. Darius is more effective and gets Kenneth (Mark Duplass) to start testing and training her for their mission. Amused at first, Darius begins to have fun and in some strange fashion connects with the person that everyone finds looney. Meanwhile Jeff is using this trip to reconnect with Liz (Jenica Bergere) his first love from high school. He also badgers the other intern Amau (Karan Soni) a biomedical student who only wants to beef up his resume by working for the magazine that he should lose his virginity.

Kenneth is sort of paranoid about people watching him, but he's a sweet loner who awkwardly trains Darius on his homemake obstacle course and teaches her to shoot guns. He even uses Darius as an accomplice in stealing some laser equipment. Although she's winning Kenneth's trust she doesn't come clean with her agenda. Duplass and Plaza work wonderfully off each other as their doubt and trust ebbs and flows with the smalls truth each is willing to impart. The dialogue seems more like improv with it's mundane cadence and sarcastic nuance. The secondary stories of Jeff and Amau which fill half of the movie don't really offer a lot to the time travel idea, but their characters are funny and vulnerable. This film could have taken some easy ways, but it always surprises and worth to stick around to see if that time machine really does work.
(Review by reesa)


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Rock of Ages




Take all your favorite classic rock hits from the 80's, throw them in a hat and draw a bunch out then build a story around them. That's what Rock of Ages feels like. Featuring songs from Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Steve Perry, Poison, REO Speedwagon and other well known rock bands that are easy to sing along with while watching the movie. Adapted from the 2006 stage musical it is directed by Adam Shankman (Hairspray) with a screenplay by Justin Theroux, Chris D'Arienzo and Allan Loeb featuring Tom Cruise in the Brett Michaels role of rock god Stacee Jaxx and he does his own singing.

The story starts in 1987 with Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) traveling from Oklahoma to Los Angeles to become a singer. But her belongings are stolen including her prize record collection. She cute meets Drew (Diego Boneta) who works at the Bourbon Room a popular nightclub run by Dennis Dupree (Alex Baldwin in a long haired wig) and his right hand man Lonny (Russell Brand). She gets a job as a waitress there and falls in love with Drew. Meanwhile the club is getting ready for a big night because Stacee Jaxx is coming with his band Arsenal in his last performance before he embarks on a solo career. His manager the oily Paul (Paul Giamatti) is having a hard time getting Stacee to get on stage much less make it to the theater. Stacee is the typical narcissistic rock performer who is so famous and worshiped by the fans that he's beyond reality. When he eventually makes it to the Bourbon room he is interviewed by rock journalist Constance (Malin Åkerman) who calls him on his shortcomings before eventually succumbing to his charisma. Meanwhile Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones) the wife of the the LA Mayor Mike Whitmore (Bryan Cranston) is rallying the church ladies to get rid of the Bourbon Room to eliminate the bad element that threatens the young people.

OK, take this gist of the story and insert musical interludes of the characters singing rock songs that describe the feelings of each scene. Because it's the 80's there is a lot of sexually suggestive dancing, posing and language. Cruise fashioned after Axel Rose struts with his bare chest thrust out like a peacock looking more creepy than sexual even with the bare backside shot. Hough and Boneta are charming as the two love birds. Their journeys from new love, to breaking up when Sherrie works as a pole dancer at the Venus Club with owner Justice Charlier (Mary J. Blige) and Drew getting reimaged by manager Paul as a singer in a boy band then they reunite in a Journey song. Russell Brand who is usually annoying in most movies is amusing paired up with Alec Baldwin and they steal the movie from the flashier scenes.

Not sure how this compares to the actual stage play. It just seems too long at times. If your radio dial is set to light FM then it will be a good time. And it does leave you with a Glee type song to sing along when you leave the theater.
(Review by reesa)



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That's My Boy






One is either a fan of Adam Sandler movies or they are not. His last outing playing brother and sister twins in Jack and Jill won the Raspberry Awards as THE worst movie of the year. What redeems this film is that he didn't write or direct it and it also stars Andy Samberg. Directed by Sean Anders (Sex Drive) and written by David Caspe (TV's Happy Endings) tells the story of an arrested developed father who reconnects with his son who changed his name and works as a financial whiz on the eve of the son's wedding.

When Donny Berger was young he gained notoriety for having wanton sex with his hot math teacher Ms. Mary McGarricle (Eva Amurri) who later becomes pregnant and gets sent to prison. Donny's escapades apparently feeds into the male ego that someone young like him could bang his teacher. The Van Halen song comes to mind. He's hailed as a hero which the media frenzy makes him famous with interviews, tours, talks, and even a TV show. Donny (Adam Sandler) as an adult is a washed out 80's has been who never broke out of the fast, hedonistic lifestyle and is now broke. He's got to come up with $43,000 to pay back taxes or he's going to jail. With his last $20 he bets on a fat guy to win the Boston marathon. Then he searches for his son who has become Todd Peterson to avoid being associated with Donny and to avoid his real name of Han Solo Berger. He shows up at the house of Todd/Han's boss Steve (Tony Orlando) where the wedding is being held and introduces himself as his son's best friend who he had rescued in an elaborate story which in reality would never be believed, but everyone thinks that Donny is a hero. His celebrity also makes him interesting to everyone except for Todd who tries to get rid of his father. He felt traumatized as a child who was overweight from being fed a steady diet of coke and cake and getting tattooed with New Kids on the Block on his back which is not distorted from growing up.

Obviously the heart of the story is of forgiveness and redemption between the father and the son. How it gets there can at times be hilarious and annoying. The supporting players like Milo Ventimiglia of Heroes who plays Chad the Marine garbed brother of this bride Jamie (Leighton Meester), James Caan as the fighting priest Father McNally and Vanilla Ice as himself offer up the most laughs. There's the running gag of Donny pulling a beer out of the most unlikely places Most of the time you can fully understand why Todd wants to avoid his dad who doesn't seem to improve as the movie goes on. It was a nice but expected to see Susan Sarandon play the grown version Mary as Eva the young Mary is her real life daughter. The last 15 minutes were probably the funniest in the whole movie, but most of the film was filled with potty mouth, dumbed down to the lowest common denominator humor. So if this is what you want for a movie, knock yourself out. Adam Sandler fans with buy tickets no mater what.
(Review by reesa)


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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Prometheus






In Greek mythology Prometheus is a titan, a champion of mankind who fashioned humans our of clay and stole fire from Zeus to give to the mortals. In the new Ridley Scott film, Prometheus is a ship that is travelling to deep space in search for the beginning of life. Serving as a prequel to his 1979 film Alien, with screenwriters Jon Spaihts (The Darkest Hour) and Damon Lindelof (Lost) give a satisfying origins story that will hopefully re-boot the franchise after the disappointing Alien 3 and 4.

In the year of 2089 on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, Noomi Rapace of the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo taking on the tough Ripley type of female lead Dr. Elizabeth Shaw and her partner Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) have discovered a series of ancient pictographs from various time periods that are identical. It leads them to believe this is a invitation to find them. Weyland Corporation the omnipresent big brother from the series is footing the trillion dollar bill for the expedition that departs in 2093. The crew of 17 that includes scientists and ship personnel set off in suspended hibernation for two years, two months, and 15 days before they reach their destination, the moon LV-223. Except for David (Michael Fassbender) the android who uses the time to monitor the dreams of it's sleepers, ship controls, learning languages, and watching movies. He seems to style himself after Peter O'Toole.

Michael Fassbender's impeccable mannered robot who obviously has his own agenda on this mission is outstanding. His precise and calm demeanor is like Alien's Bishop, but less friendly. They have obviously made improvements to the model. Charlize Theron is the Weyland representative on the ship, Meredith Vickers who is skeptical of the purpose of this trip. Idris Elba is Captain Janek who's only concern is the safety of the ship. Guy Pearce plays Weyland who hopes to find the secret of immortality, his only reason for paying for this party. Noomi Rapace is not as bad @ss as Ripley or even Lizbeth Salander, but she's still a strong level headed character that opens up the dialogue of balancing her scientific mind with her spiritual beliefs.

What they discover there will be familiar to fans of the Alien movies at the same time answering questions and filling in those blanks while opening the door for more mysteries. The “engineers” as Dr. Shaw calls them may have indeed seeded Earth, but just what exactly is the purpose of those canisters of facehuggers? What happened to the crew of engineers who are now just holograph records? Granted there may be some holes and worrisome continuity problems with the already established Alien lore. It's not jump out of your seat horror like the original movie, or guns a blazing like Cameron's space marine homage in Aliens. The creepy factor is just as cool and visuals are outstanding with it all layered with the eerie original musical score by Marc Streitenfeld. The 3D effects are well used and not annoying as in most movies. It seems to enhance the already claustrophobic atmosphere of the underground tunnels and space ship corridors. While those who already dislike sci-fi films will probably not enjoy this,Alien fans will look forward to the sequel of this prequel, and if or when Ridley Scott will do another Blade Runner.
(Review by reesa)



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Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted





The zoo animals are back for another adventure this time in a circus that they hope will bring them back home to New York City. Directors Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath and Conrad Vernon take on the animated characters in Africa where they last seen in the second film. Writers Eric Darnell and Noah Baumbach works the amusing animal dialogue that is easy for kids, tolerable for adults story of friendship and the importance of where you hang your hat is home.

Ben Stiller voices Alex the lion, Chris Rock is Marty the zebra, David Schwimmer as Melman the giraffe and his girlfriend Gloria the hippo voiced by Jada Pinkett Smith. They are still stuck in Africa after the penguins flew off with the monkeys. Tired of waiting for them to return from Monte Carlo, they decide to swim there. It's a cartoon...just go with it. Once in France their antics comes to the attention of the animal control Captain Chantal Dubois (Frances McDormand) playing a version of the Dalmatians Cruella de Vil. Only Ms. Dubois hopes to hang the lions head on her wall of trophies. She's formidable foe who chases them to a train yard where they seek shelter on a zoo train, the Circo Zarcoza. The animals won't help unless they are circus animals. Of course Alex lies and says they are because although they were not technically circus, they did entertain. They are told that a famous promoter will see them perform in England and decide if they will get a contract to tour America. Alex and friends think this is their way to get back home. The penguins using their casino winnings buys the circus. But their first performance is so bad they are forced to stop and reconsider. The main star of the circus was the Tiger Vitaly (Bryan Cranston) who used to do the impossible trick of jumping through insanely small hoops until one day it didn't work and he lost all confidence,. It's up to Alex and friends to restore his nerve and get them all home. All the while Capt. Dubois is on their tail.

The bright colors, the universal theme of family, friendship and home with lessons on telling the truth and believing in oneself are important to children audiences. There's nothing here to offend, except it's in 3D. Just a fun movie with plenty of eye candy that will entertain your little ones. Probably not so much fun on DVD, so go borrow a kid if you want and take them to the movies.
(Review by reesa)



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Peace Love and Misunderstanding







Nothing says hippie mama like Jane Fonda, right? During those formative years in the late 60's Jane was about as far away from the hippie lifestyle as one could get back then outside maybe a tweak of fashion. In this new film by director Bruce Beresford Jane plays an old flower child still living in that alternative hippie dippy universe in Woodstock, NY who reconnects with her uptight lawyer daughter and meeting her grandchildren for the first time. The script by Christina Mengert and Joseph Muszynski soaks this formula story in tie dyed, war protesting, organic farming stereotypes while characters wallow in their inabilities to communicate and love one another as the Grateful Dead plays in the background.

Diane (Catherine Keener) is a suit wearing sour faced lawyer who is informed by her lawyer husband Mark (Kyle MacLachian) that he wants a divorce. Her teenage son Jake (Nat Wolff) thinks it's about time, while college age Zoe (Elizabeth Olsen) is having a hard time coming to terms with the family breaking up. Diane decides to spend the weekend with her mother Grace (Jane Fonda) who she hasn't seen in 20 years who lives in a time warp as an artist and pot farmer in Woodstock. Diane asks her mom to tone down her free loving activities while the kids are in the house, and warns her kids not to eat the brownies. She gets vexed when Grace takes the kids to the weekend war protests where tie dyed garbed, poster waving, drum playing chanters fill the town square. At the after party at Grace's house Diane is introduced to Jude (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) an furniture maker who was intrigued when Diane pulled her kids from the protest. In fact, the kids also make a love connection with vegetarian Zoe and Cole (Chace Crawford) the ethical butcher and Jake with coffee house waitress Tara (Marissa O'Donnell). Then everyone has a misunderstanding and unresolved issues with each other. Everyone goes to their separate corners before coming back with forgiveness and acceptance. All the while Grace is reciting poetry and new ageisms.

There's even a moon worship circle as the local women howl and drink tequila. Rosanna Arquette shows up here as one of the revellers. Grandma Grace shows the kids her pot growing room and the kids get high from 2nd hand smoke of her bong. Diane gets frisky with Jude. Jude tries to get her to “let go” of her anger. Jake records everything with his camera making a movie with no set plan or idea. Avant garde according to Tara. Zoe has to realize that her perfect mate may actually have different ideas than she does and that may not be a bad thing. And Grace really shouldn't let chickens roam her house and furniture.

It looks nice, the actors are great, Grace's costumes are a hippies dream, the farm house is funky and shabby chic, the story...well the story has been done before a million other times and done better. There is not one thing about this story that rings true. It's only pleasant to watch, Jane is just beautiful, you can't stop looking at Elizabeth Olsen, Catherine Keener is as always fascinating. Three powerhouse actresses and the story just wastes their talents. There is nothing unexpected, nothing surprising, nothing that you will remember 30 minutes after you leave the theater. It's like being a tourist visiting Woodstock and giggling over the quirkiness.
(Review by reesa)




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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

THE TRANSIT OF VENUS OFFERS ASTRONOMERS A CLUE TO FINDING PROMETHEUS-STYLE PLANETS




Livestream Event, Which Begins This Afternoon, Reveals Secrets of the Heavens – and Possible Link to PROMETHEUS?



LOS ANGELES, June 5, 2012… Star gazers (and perhaps legions of movie fans) will have their eyes on the sky today to catch a glimpse of The Transit of Venus, a rare celestial event that occurs when the planet passes directly between Earth and the sun. Such transits help us to identify the capacity for life on other worlds as they move across the face of their home star. It was a transit like this that helped the scientists at Weyland Industries identify life on a distant world, which would ultimately lead to a world-changing, exploratory space mission aboard the ship The Prometheus.



So is the Transit of Venus timing and the release of the Ridley Scott film a coincidence? The heavens reveal all beginning this afternoon. You won’t want to miss it – the last one was in 1874, later inspiring Gustav Holst to write “The Planets.” And if you’d like some company, catch it via livestream hosted by Astronomers Without Borders and Discovery News. http://sunearthday.gsfc.nasa.gov/webcasts/mtwilson/

“Planetary transits may seem like no more than an entertaining celestial event, but they could uncover the kind of world depicted in Ridley Scott's new film, 'Prometheus,’ said Seth Shostak, of SETI Institute. “When planets hundreds of light-years away pass in front of their home star, they slightly dim the light from that star. NASA's Kepler space telescope has found more than two thousand such transits, and discovers new ones every day. Within a year or two, it's expected that this instrument will find a planet that's a cousin of the Earth -- one laquered in liquid oceans, and wrapped in a thick atmosphere. Such a world could well be home to extraterrestrial biology -- and possibly even intelligent beings. The premise of ‘Prometheus’ is well grounded in modern research."




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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Movies Scheduled for the Week of 6/3- 6/9

Act 1, Scene 1
The moderator enters stage left. Goes to podium. Adjusts the microphone. Scans the darkened theater house and clears throat.

Moderator: It has come to our attention that there seems to be a reoccurring situation in regards to reserve seating at our screenings. Y'all know that those seats that are marked off are for press or guests of the studio. We are allowed by the studios to fill the remaining seats when these screenings are held. If we want to continue with this privilege then we must abide by the studio representatives rules. Do NOT sit in reserve seats. It's very simple. If you want a good seat, then arrive early. Do NOT rip off the reserve sign and pretend you don't speak English and ignore the rep. That kind of behavior will get you kicked out of the screening. Also, calling the rep a b*tch will not win you any points. And if someone's belongings are on a seat, do not move their stuff to the aisle and sit in that seat. Really, that's spelling major tool on your forehead. So unless you want to see these screenings severely controlled, limited, and harder to attend, stop acting like it's all about you.

Some audience members snicker in agreement, some are on their banned cell phones, other's are getting up for the 5th time to go wander around.

Act 1, Scene 2
Moderator: You come to the theater and stand in line early. It looks innocently like there's just a couple families ahead of you. Total count 10. By the time the rest of their party arrives there are 30 people in front of you. Lets have to common sense and courtesy. Everyone saves spaces in line for their friends and relatives. But can we self impose some rules like going to the back of the line when you have a multiple guests. One or two people cutting in we can all probably live with, but several families, their kids, grandparents and school mates? Really? Come on people!

The Moderator steps away from podium giving one last look at the crowd, who by now have completely gone on to doing whatever. The message is completely lost to them because frankly they don't care. It's free movies, we got in, so what, give me swag.

June 3 - 9, 2012

Sun
6/3

Mon
6/4

Tue
6/5

Wed
6/6

7:00 pm
Peace, Love and Misunderstanding
tba-Dallas

7:30 pm
That's My Boy
Studio Movie Grill Dallas

Thu
6/7

7:30 pm
That's My Boy
Cinemark 17

8:00 pm
Ted
Studio Movie Grill Dallas

Fri
6/8

Sat
6/9




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Friday, June 1, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman




First time director Rupert Sanders packs his feature film with other fantasy movie references sprinkled within. You will see a little bit of Lord of the Rings, Avatar, Princess Mononoke, Narnia, Robin Hood and even Terminator 2. Scripted by Evan Daugherly, Hossein Amini and John Lee Hancock the Brothers Grim fairy tale of 1812 retains most of elements of the original story including the poison apple, the magic mirror and the seven dwarfs. Plus it also loads the story with medieval castles, trolls, hallucinogenic mushroom spoors, shattered glass demons and a ton of crows.

Charlize Theron plays the beautiful Ravenna who seduces the widowed king and kills him on their wedding night. His daughter Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is able to escape with her childhood friend William (Sam Claflin) and his father the Duke (Vincent Regan) the hostile take over by Ravenna's creepy evil brother Finn (Sam Spruell) and she is locked in the tower. First redecorating that Ravenna does is put up her magic mirror, a big gold dish in which a liquid coated draped figure arises when summoned. Ravenna's self image confidence is directly tied to the mirror's reassurance that she's the fairest of the land. Unfortunately the mirror says there's another more fairer. That she is destined to be her end and her savior. The only way the Queen can obtain immortality and stop sucking up the youthful energy of the attractive women in the kingdom is to feast on Snow White's heart now that she has come of age. Snow manages to escape her prison and flee to the dark forest. The Queen's power doesn't work there so she hires the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to track her down. He's a widower who has been drowning his sorrow and not to keen on doing the Queen's bidding until she offers to use her magic to bring back his wife. When he meets Snow White he changes his mind and instead helps her on her way to the Duke's castle.

There are 8 dwarfs in this version and they have come along way in making big people look really like little people since we last introduced to Hobbits. Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winsone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones and Johnny Harris who play the last dwarfs in the kingdom steal the movie they almost deserve a movie of their own. They swear allegiance to Snow White as they were loyal to her father. Plus the tree branch antlered deer in the fairy forest gives his blessing that Snow White is the chosen one to save the world. Rising from the dead after biting the poison apple gets the rest of the oppressed population all fired up to attack the evil queen in a last gasp battle.

There are plenty of sword and armor fight scenes, catapults, heroic deeds, and fanciful creatures that the action is non stop. It flows easily and not like each adventure is a game level that has to be accomplished. The costuming and set decoration is a feast for the eyes and deserves special attention. The performances are to be expected from the quality of the cast. Stewart is able to break out of the perpetually dour Bella mode and show some spunk. Hemsworth wields his ax staff like Thor's hammer . The evil witch is given some back story regarding her issues with men so Theron is able to make one feel almost sympathy for the vain and jealous queen. The movie has a lot going for it, but it's also all over the place, but in a good way. It's probably not great for younger children as there's lots of death and dark scary stuff. But fun for those who love magic mushrooms.
(Review by reesa)


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