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

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Movies Scheduled for the Week of 7/29 - 8/4

Don't y'all just love a movie every night? Nice selection of films that you should received if you had entered the contests and gone to pass pickups, or whatever hoops you have to jump through BEFORE you ask the group for help. Reminder to y'all that if there are contests pending for a screening, you must enter the contest first. If you don't win, then and only then can you ask from someone who did enter but suddenly finds that they cannot attend due to some unforeseeable situation and is willing to share. Please don't rely on someone getting a pass to relinquish one to you just because the calendar is posted and you realized that should have entered to win somewhere. People do notice the folks who chronically ask for passes.

As usual the moderator will be rejecting those posts that come to the group and not to the person to whom it is intended. When you get errant message back, do y'all understand what you did wrong?

July 29 - August 4, 2012

July 29

July 30

7:30PM Killer Joe - Angelika Dallas

July 31

7:00PM Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days - Amstar 14

August 1

7:00PM The Odd Life of Timothy Green - Studio Movie Grill Dallas

7:30PM Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry - Angelika Dallas

7:30PM Ruby Sparks- Magnolia

August 2

7:30PM Total Recall - AMC Northpark

August 3

August 4

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Friday, July 27, 2012

The Watch

The new comedy directed by Akiva Schaffer (Saturday Night Live) gained some early notoriety when it had to change it's title from The Neighborhood Watch to disassociate itself from the shooting of Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch member. Written by Jared Stern, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg it follows four suburban guys who want to protect their town from aliens.

Ben Stiller plays Evan, a manager of Costco who creates clubs to mingle with the diversified denizens of his home down of Glencoe, Ohio. When the security guard at his store is brutally killed, he decides to form a Neighborhood Watch group to stamp out murders. The only ones showing up is Bob (Vince Vaughn) a construction worker raising a teen daughter alone while his wife works out of town. Franklin (Jonah Hill) is a high school drop out who was rejected from joining the police department because according to Franklin he was too awesome. And Jarmarcus (Richard Ayoade, writer and director of Submarine) who wants to join the watch so he can be seduced by some scared Asian chick. Evan, straight laced and ridged has a hard time dealing with the group because they would prefer hanging out and drinking beer at Bob's man cave. On their first night out they get egged by some local teens. They capture one and they the guys feel united in their team and their watch jackets. Later they find an orb what shoots a powerful weapon, then later they kill an alien which they bring back to the man cave for photo ops. They can't tell the police about this because Sgt. Bressman (Will Forte) thinks they are useless and suspects Evan of being the killer.

Ben Stiller as the uptight husband of Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt) is his usual awkward character. Vince Vaughn is his usual motor mouthed character who obsessed with keeping tabs on this teen daughter. Jonah Hill is fairly funny as the over confident militant who lives with his mom. It's Richard Ayoade who steals the movie. Look for Billy Crudup as the creepy neighbor who has something going on in his basement to bring some laughs.

The immediate violence of the some of the scenes may be a little harsh for some tastes, but it's the potty mouthed humor that's more directed to arrested developed adults is the most off putting. It's gotten to the point where it's not surprising or funny to hear the characters go on about the quality of the alien green goo in a bit that just goes on longer than necessary. In fact the humor is not children friendly, so parents should be strongly advised to leave the kids at home.
(Review by reesa)

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Eclectic director Michael Winterbottom who has done such diverse works as The Trip, A Mighty Heart, Wonderland and Jude also wrote the script for this modern adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the d'Ubervilles. Beautifully filmed in Jaipur and Mumbai, India, the slow pacing meanders over the landscape radiating the heat of the environment amidst the hustle of the dense bustling population of it's inhabitants.

Jay Singh (Riz Ahmed) an English/Indian business man is touring the rural areas with his friends when he encounters Trishna (Freida Pinto) working as a server at a hotel. He's immediately attracted to the innocent 19 year old beauty and with the amused encouragement of this mates approaches her hoping to see her again. Later, Trishna is in a accident that destroys her father's rented Jeep tha critically injures her father. Jay offers Trishna a job at his father's hotel. The money offered is enough to support her family while her father recovers. Jay's attention to Trishna is sometimes sweet and uncomfortable. Trishna is an uneducated country girl who is being seduced by a spoiled rich kid who doesn't speak Hindi. She is attracted to his worldliness he's attracted to Frieda Pinto. Eventually they consummate the slow sexual tension that is building over the course of her waitress training, but afterwards Trishna feels shame and goes back home to even more shame when she discovers she's pregnant.

Jay finds her again and takes her with him to Mumbai where he wants to become a producer of Bollywood videos. They live together in a luxury condo, shopping, having dinner with friends, walking the beach, making love, and Trishna takes dance classes. Her world revolves around Jay until Jay's father gets sick and he goes back to England. The heady few months comes crashing down when he doesn't come back and for a brief moment it looks like she may find a way to survive on her own with her dance friends. Only Jay comes back wanting her to return to the hotel business while working once more as a hotel server. The brutal third act is the melodramatic spiral that is somewhat shocking and major downer.

One can understand Trishna's jumping from her poor home, unyielding father, and her sense of responsibility to support her family to go off with the rich young man hoping for a better life. Jay comes off like a laid back nice guy who truly likes the hard working agreeable young woman. So when their doomed fate begins to loom it sort of comes from left field if you are not familiar with the source material. While the circumstances may have worked in Hardy's time, it's hard to imagine that Trishna would not feel like there's alternatives given the friends and family she has in place. Pinto while absolutely stunning as Trishna doesn't give the woman much depth, more like a blank slate considering the number of crisis that befall her. It's only in her last cornered moments where she actually breathes some life into her character. The film works wonderfully as a travelogue, but the story will feel dated.
(Review by reesa)

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Movies Scheduled for the Week of 7/22- 7/28

As the tragedy in Colorado gives one pause in attending another screening, the movie theaters management around the metroplex have assured they are working with law enforcement agencies in strengthening security. I'm ever so grateful for our security guards at our free screenings.

Our main website here outside our Yahoo group is where you will find reviews of the movies opening and during the film festivals. If you would like to see your reviews here please email the moderator at reesas@yahoo.com

All posts to this group are MODERATED. You must designate in the subject line if you WANT/NEED, TRADE, OFFER or GOFOBO RELEASE. If you just hit reply when it's meant to go to a specific person your email will be rejected.

Our other social portals:

July 22 - July 28

SUN 22

MON 23

7:30 pm Trishna - Angelika Dallas

7:30 pm Step Up Revolution - tba Dallas

TUE 24

7:00 pm The Watch - Amstar 14

7:30 pm Step Up Revolution - Cinemark West Plano

WED 25

THU 26

FRI 27

SAT 28

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

The long anticipated end to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy comes to an end with The Dark Knight Rises which he wrote with Jonathan Nolan. Christian Bale is back as Batman recovering for the wounds he sustained and believing the city no longer needs his services. Set eight years after The Dark Knight when Batman took responsibility for the crimes committed by Harvey Dent so that the city could gain hope by believing he as a hero, finds Bruce Wayne walking with a limp and living as a recluse in his Wayne Manor. As the city is memorializes Dent's legacy of the Dent Act that has reduced crime in Gotham, a new villain is taking up residence in the city sewers.

Anne Hathaway dons the skin tight costume as Selina Kyle the cat burglar that surprises Bruce Wayne by stealing his mother's pearls from his personal safe. But it seems the pearls were not what she was after. The mask wearing Bane (Tom Hardy) has been leaving a trail of crime behind him takes up residence in Gotham's underground building an army of thugs. He gets a hold of Commissioner Gordon's speech in which he had planned to clear up Batman's reputation by telling the truth. Gordon (Gary Oldman) promotes rookie patrol officer John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is a true believer in Batman, and he reveals to Bruce that he's wise to the man behind the mask.

Somewhere along the way Wayne loses his fortune and Wayne Enterprises, which he put in the hands of Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard), a executive board member who encourages him to rejoin society. Michael Caine is back as the faithful butler Alfred who only wishes that Bruce will return a whole human being who is ready to settle down with a wife and family. When Wayne decides to take up the mask again, he doesn't stay to watch. Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) who runs Wayne Enterprises on Bruce's behalf still retains the armory and keeps an eye on their special project of a nuclear reactor that can be used as a source to power a city for free.

There's a lot of stuff going on in this story. It has to cover a lot of ground to set up Bane the new nemesis that has the metal grill on his face in which he must breathe that makes his voice low and distorted but not quite like Darth Vader. How he stands up to Heath Ledger's iconic Joker will have to be discussed on forums for the months ahead. The reason for his attack on Gotham to set up the city in a complete state of anarchy is slow to reveal. In the meantime there are some action packed confrontations between the two masked men. And as with all comic based movies, the bad guys always seems to keep one step ahead of the good guys and their nefarious ways seem impossible to overcome until the very last minute. The 2 hour and 45 minute running time goes quickly as it fills the eyes with Nolan's visual mastery and attention to detail.

Hathaway's Catwoman fortunately stays away from the purring sexuality of her predecessors. Her Selina is a firm believer in self preservation and puts out a somewhat cynical attitude. Her quick banter with Bruce promises a worthwhile collaboration in the future. But considering that Nolan says this is the last of the series, it will be hard to recapture that chemistry for another adventure. There will be those who will diss this entry but so what. It will be a close fight between The Avengers for supremacy of the summer blockbusters this year. The Dark Knight Rises closes this series with a satisfying sigh.
(Review by reesa)

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Asian Film Festival Dallas Day 7

Doomsday Book (Inryu myeongmang bogoseo)

A science fiction anthology of three unique stories of human self destruction in the modern high tech era told by South Korean directors Kim Ji woon (The Good, the Bad, the Weird and I Saw The Devil) and Yim Pil sung (Hansel & Gretel). The project was originally planned to be directed by Kim, Yim and Han Jae rim. The filming began in 2006 but shortly after Kim and Yim finished their sequence they lost financial backing and the third part called “A Christmas Gift” was never shot. After a new investor was brought in, Kim and Yim decided to collaborate as directors of a different third story.

A Brave New World
Directed by Yim Pil sung
The family of a lab researcher takes off on a vacation leaving him home alone with a list of chores. One is to empty the trash and recycle. Seok wook is repulsed by the garbage he has to remove. An apple with a rotten hole fascinates him. The apple ends up in a processing plant with all the other biodegradable material which in turn ends up being used for cattle feed. On a date at a BBQ place with his girlfriend, Seok wook takes a bite of some raw liver and is surprised to pull out a piece of apple skin. While kissing his girlfriend in the park afterwards, a couple of punks begin to mess with him and he gets beat up and begins to puke. Suddenly he's mixing it up with them and spits on the face of one of them. The night goes on when suddenly people are showing signs of an infection. The newscasters at first call it a flu, then like most zombie movie it falls into chaos quickly. Asian zombie movies don't seem to follow the same tropes and clichés as typical undead stories. This story seems to be symbolic for Eden and the apple infected by cooperate garbage. There's a Genesis quote after the story about the tree of life.

The Heavenly Creater
Directed by Kim Ji woon
This is an existential yarn about a laborer robot that achieves enlightenment. A service tech is called to a monastery in to check out their RU series robot that is supposed to clean and give tours. Besides his duties the robot begins to listen to the teachings with the other monks and is soon mediating with them. The head monk just wants to make sure that whatever the robot is doing is not due to defect. The tech does his diagnostic and determines that mechanically the machine is working without the normal perimeters. Because the robot is showing abnormal behavior by his expanded consciousness, the tech has to call it is to his superiors. This brings in the head honcho who arrives with the extermination team then declares that this particular model has previously shown unusual behavior, Interesting thought provoking discussion ensues about the meaning of life. The special effects are note worthy in this episode. And there's this thing with a mechanical pet dog.

Happy Birthday
Directors Yim Pil sung and Kim Ji woon
A young girl makes a dent in the 8 ball for her billiard obsessed father's pool table. Using her KAIST uncle's computer she finds a replacement ball for 10 cents which she orders online. At that same time her uncle had just came home and said he just say a UFO. Min seo throws the bad 8 ball out the window when her father walks in. The ball rolls down the steep street before landing in a hole with these weird lights take it.

Fast forward 2 years later and the big news is that a massive collision is expected. Earth will soon collide with a 10 km meteor soon. Min Seo's parents and uncle get ready for the apocalypse by filling a bunker basement with supplies, a greenhouse, and exercise bike generators. Min seo watches the newscasts that get increasingly foreboding where even the announcers are depressed and the weather girl says there's no weather, A close up of the meteor is revealed to be a huge ball with some strange writing on the side. Min sea realizes that the numbers on the ball is her birth date. She confesses to her parents about ordering the pool ball and tries to get them to believe there is some connection. They think she's nuts, but her uncle begins to believe and they try to cancel their order.

It's an interesting and curious group of stories that work really well together as a whole. But as with all short films it only serves to wet the appetite for something more substantial. Hopefully we will have Kim Ji woon's English language debut called The Last Stand someday soon.
(Review by reesa)

The last day of AFFD and I'm sated and pleased with the quality of the films screened during the festival. Unfortunately I didn't get to see everything, but what I did get to review was a great mix of genre's from many countries covering a wide variety of subjects. To the Asian Film Festival of Dallas, Thank You! Hopefully I'll get another opportunity next year.

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Asian Film Festival Dallas Day 6

Where Heaven Meets Hell

Kawah Ijen is an active 8530 feet tall volcano in East Java, Indonesia. Inside the crater is a 650 foot deep lake of sulfuric acid, the largest in the world. The temperature in the lake is 114 degree F. It is also the site of an intensive mining operation employing 200 miners who collect loads of pure sulfur which they haul by dual baskets balanced on a rod across their backs up the rocky 4 km path amidst the clouds of noxious sulfur dioxide gas. The company pays these laborers about $3 for 5 hours of work.

Filmmaker Sasha Friedlander attended the graduate program of Social Documentary Film making at the School for Visual Arts in New York decided to tell the story on the plight of the miners as her film thesis. Having lived in Indonesia for two years and fluent in the language, she was able to have greater access to the lives of the miners for over a six month period. Following the stories of four of the workers she hopes to bring to light the health and safety issues they have to endure and hopefully to shed some awareness of the poverty that forces these young people to work in the crater to support their families. The film address the issue of inadequate medical care, safety precautions and education for the people in this area. So the next time you feel like complaining about your job, think again.

The mine owner claims the work is simple and that it's not toxic. In fact you can eat it with no ill effect. However he asks his employee to eat it for the camera as he claims it might interact with some his medication. The miners are not only exposed to the gases and smoke that leads to chronic lung disease, but they must maneuver through hazardous terrain lugging 200 lbs of sulphur rock on their backs. The economy of the area makes it the only job choice for young men with out a high school certificate and with a family to feed. One man who was 59 has been working in the mine from the age of 14. Over the years he has managed to afford his family a decent house, and help his kids start a business, but the price of sacrifice is not lost on his children who worry about his health and safety. One young worker has ambitions to be a guide, practicing his language skills on the tourists that often visit the crater. When he is injured in a motorcycle accident, he had to stop working to recover. His co-workers hoped that he wasn't in the mines because he found his dream job. One of the miners keeps goats like a back up plan just in case of injury, or if his kids get sick. Selling his goats is like money stashed in the mattress. The miners backs are muscled and covered in calluses from carrying the loads. Their families are left alone for 15 day intervals while they work. The men worry if their family has enough food while they are gone. They worry about not fasting during Ramadan as they need the nourishment to keep working. Yet the people involved remain spiritual, resolved to their fate in life, making do with what they got and hanging on to the last bit of hope.

The miners main concern in life is not only to feed their families, but to earn enough for their kids to go to school. The lack of education sets up a perpetual cycle of poverty which prevents their sons from following them to Kawah Ijen which they call hell. Being able to care of their families is what they call heaven.
(Review by reesa)

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Asian Film Festival Dallas Day 5

Golden Slumbers

From 1960 to 1975 Cambodian cinema was thriving. More than 400 productions were shown on the 30 theater houses in Phnom Penh during it's heyday. With only about 7-8 producers and a handful of actors, the stories told were mostly melodramas or supernatural B thrillers. The film's director Davy Chou is the Cambodian French grandson of Vann Chann one of the most famous producers at the time. Today only 30 old movies in poor quality VHS and VCD formats remain.

Sohong Stehlin the daughter of Vann Chan and aunt of Chou recalls her father's first movie in 1964. When she returned in 1979 there was only about 13-15 pictures left of his 11 years of non stop film making. Another producer Yvon Hem stands at the location of his studio Bird of Paradise that is nothing but rumble and metal building frames. He recalls when Marcel Camus made a film in Cambodia and his sister was selected as a lead. Hem would drive her to the set, and Camus gave him a job too. After the movie was completed, his sister wanted to continue acting so they decided to do productions on their own naming the studio after Camus's movie. Ly Bum Yim's first movie was called Safe Virgin which he didn't think was all that great, but the audience loved it. Earlier he had found a camera on a trip to Hong Kong and brought it back with 40 reels. Like all of these producers they learned on the fly with little to no help or guidance. Creating special effects for ghosts appearing and disappearing. Director Ly You Sreang made a movie called The Sacred Pond in which his actor had to be nude with only a lotus leaf partly because he knew it would be popular with the ladies. There's also an interview with the most famous of the leading ladies of the time, Dy Saveth still looking amazing giving a moving account of the immortality of Cambodian cinema. Her wall is covered in old pictures of the time as a reminder of what was.

The King of Cambodia had a film festival in 1969 to encourage it's beginning cinema industry. The Khmer Rouge considered it decadent and many actors and producers were killed in the genocide that followed. The movie lingers too long on the old wreckage of the movie theaters that are now restaurants, recreation centers, makeshift housing or karaoke bars. The directors still have the light and enthusiasm for their movies when recalling their stories. There's also the heart break of what they had to endure and all that they lost. The movies may be lost but the all the movies included music particularly a duet by the leads at the end of the movie. Remarkably the music still remains popular and in the collective memory of those who survived.


The EDSA-Pasay Rotonda, situated in the middle of EDSA and Taft are two of the busiest streets in Manila. You can feel the heat of the day on the crowded roadways, the grills of the food vendors, and the intense traffic that fills one with sensory overload. Life is in full thrall as everyone is going about their business. This is the location for Lawrence Fajardo debut feature film with screenwriter John Bedi. The lives of the characters involved in the movie are only touched on as their stories are just another vibration that keeps the streets alive.

There's the father and son talking about a basketball scholarship, the taxi driver annoyed with a gay talent agent customer, a driver who works for his sister, a mom and daughter food vendor, a guy with a prositute who gets a little more than he expected, a very pregnant store keeper, a cop threatening a woman with buring down some squatters housing, and a couple hustlers playing poorman pool with bottle caps with a gunrunning thug. Amist the hustle and flow of the pedestrians, cars, buses, and noise and everyone going about their daily routine. Throw a random act of violence in the mix and chaos ensues.

The journey to the enivitable is paced with a percise rhythm that is enhanced by the city sound scape punctuated by the staccato rhythm of kid rappers that are like a Greek chorus. It's like the camera is eavesdropping on these people as we only hear snippets of conversations without set up or point of reference. It's the same kind of curiousty one feels when faced with a mass of people and wondering what brought that person to that point in time. And that bad luck monent that could crash down and stop their world in it's track. It's not surprising to see humanity take advantage of those hard moments reminding us that like it or not life goes on for the living. We rubberneck it like a traffic accident, we are amsued that the witnesses use their moment of glory on camera to play their own agenda. It's a somewhat cynical glipse of our human condition after all we are only a temporary blib.
(Reviews by reesa)

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Asian Film Festival Dallas Day 4

Loveable (The Lovely Child)

Written and directed by Park Chul soon, Loveable covers an unusual subject and an amazing first time performance by 11 year old Yoo Hae Jeong as the autistic young girl who paints graffiti all over her small seaside town. Da Seul lives with her grandmother and her uncle who have their own jobs and are not totally prepared to handle her.

Da Seul probably is afflicted by savant syndrome. Her paintings are beautiful on the walls and benches, and anywhere else she attacks with her colored chalk. The villagers don't particularly like it and Da Seul's relatives are often stuck with cleaning up her mess. The grandmother works for the fishery, the uncle works at a night club. Da Seul is left to her own devices all day long, She wanders looking at the world in her own unique way. Her grandmother feeds her when the child cooperates. Inside the house she is glued to the TV watching a video about a little girl and her snowman who fly around. Or she is sound asleep while her grandmother and uncle play cards and drink soju. It's difficult for them as though they have grown accustomed to Da Seul's limitations it's still hard with and angry frustrated Da Seul who will attack and bite a person.

During a snow Da Seul makes a snowman and carries it around town in a milk crate. It goes everywhere with her. She tries to keep it from melting. Her uncle brings home a used freezer for her to keep it in. On top of rooftops, the light house, Da Seul with her binoculars one days sees the view of her village then goes home to get a bucket of paint. Soon she is painting the roofs of buildings it seems like random messes compared to her usual drawing. One neighbors insists that the grandmother but her in a mental hospital which made the grandmother smack the neighbor over the head. It's almost impossible to love a child like Da Seul who shuns human contact and is not verbally coherent. The film is at times heart wrenching but also it shows a beautiful mind.

One Mile Above

Kora is what they call the pilgrimage in Tibet on the endlessly winding road of more than 1100 miles tracking over eight different mountains reaching impossible altitudes. This is the journey of Zhang Shuhao who decides to complete the trip that killed his brother. Wishing to fulfill his brother's final wish and armed with his brother's diary, Zhang a novice bicycler starts out in Lijiang in the Yunnan region of China to the sacred Tibetan capital of Lhasa. It is the first director's project for producer Du Jiayi based on the novel Zhang Shaun by Xie Wanglin which is based on a true story.

Just arriving at the starting point of the long trip the altitude is already difficult to breathe. He's given some pills by a cab driver who also offers to sell him some fake ID to get through the checkpoints. He gets ripped off when he meets an experienced cycler on the road who is also making the journey.
Wisely Zhang decides to partner with Li Xiaochuan who has been doing the trip for three years. Obviously the stunning part of this movie is the amazing and spectacular scenery. The climbs, the switchbacks, and the often unpaved roads they have to travel is daunting even for an experienced rider. Zhang begins to almost give up and is patiently urged on. They people they meet on their journey is like a travel show that allows us a look at a different culture that live in some of the worlds most remote areas. Tragedy strikes about half way through, and Zhang must make the remaining trek on this own through the winter.

It's a mesmerizing tale of endurance and the need Zhang's need to complete it in honor of his brother and to work out the grief of losing him. It takes fortitude to take on such a daunting experience and not give up. But as Chaun tells him, that once you get there then you have to go back.

Pearls of the Far East

Vietnamese director Cuong Ngo managed to get the caliber of talented actors to his debut feature film on the strength of a short film that won some awards on the festival circuit. For it's Texas premiere of Pears of the Far East it was awarded the Jury Prize for Best Cinematography by Ngo's former York U classmate Mikhail Petrenko. Taking six months to film the lush, beautiful scenes and rhythm of the film gives off a high budget aura. When funds got low Ngo edited the film in his mother's basement. Based on the shorts stories of Minh Ngoc Nguyen the seven short stories weaves tales of the feminine experience of love. The dreamy musical score was created by Alexina Louie and Alex Pauk, two leading lights of the Canadian new music scene.
Each chapter has a unique voice that melts into the next without ease that is sometimes hard to tell when it changed without the chapter titles. It begins with a young girl's first love from which she is separated, a young woman who must deliver the news of a woman's son was lost during an excavation but is mistaken for his fiancé, two beautiful young people stranded together on an island since they were children, a handsome young man meets a beautiful woman for night of bliss but she may have been a goddess, an older woman who was almost married 7 times contemplates her decisions, another older woman whose cheating husband gives her the strength to find love in a young man's arms, and an aging actress living alone in a large estate thinking about time.
It's a slow and meandering film that captivates the eye and insinuates it's self into your senses. It's the kind of movie that stays with you after you leave the theater without you realizing it. It's an unforgettable tapestry of characters in a universal experience.

Yes or No (Pu Chai Lulla)

Directed by Sarasawadee Wongsompetch Yes and No is a refreshing romantic comedy about a couple of new dorm mates. It seems to be a first film giving a lead role to a butch looking young woman.

Pie (Sucharat Manaying) is Pie a sweet and girly girl who is excited about being in anew dorm and looks forward to welcoming her new roommate that she writes a note on their bathroom mirror to their new friendship. She is taken aback when she discovers someone touching her suitcase that she give that person a swift kick until she realized that boy is actually a girl and her new roommate Kim (Supanart Jittaleela). With her short haircut, boy clothes and posture, Kim is very handsome. But Pie has taken on her mother's prejudices of not accepting anything not "normal" calls her a tomboy (butch lesbian).

Kim gets the attention of Jane who lives across the hall when she lends her a handkerchief, so Jane decides she's in love with Kim. Pie is so put off by the whole situation she puts a line of tape on the floor to separate their room. Kim is sweet and not really boy like when you get to know her tries to befriend Pie with food. Later Kim gets lost on campus looking for her aunt's cafe and Pie takes her there. After cake and listening to some music Pie begins to accept Kim as a friend.

This story is not too complicated with the usual misunderstanding and the joy of discovering a deeper relationship. There's also Pie's bland boy friend, her unyielding mother, Kim's funny accepting father and brothers, Jane's roommate Nerd who steals her scenes, and their wise cracking effeminate friend, But it also shines a light on the politics of love and that there is no way to control who is in your heart. Sweet, and enduring, it will bring tears to even the grumpiest person. It's hard to imagine if this movie was made in the states. No...don't want to try.
(Reviews by reesa)

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Asian Film Festival Dallas Day 3


Akira Kurosawa's 1962 black and white samurai movie starring Toshirō Mifune was written by Ryuzo Kikushima and Kurosawa. It was based on 'Shūgorō Yamamoto's short story Peaceful Days which was re-imagined with an anti hero by the studio once again using Mifune as the ronin in tattered robes. Not as meticulous as Yojimbo, this film is more fun and relaxed.

A group of young clan men want to root out the corruption in their clan. They are worried that their chamberlain Mutsuta and the ring leader's uncle tore up their petition. The nephew went to the superintendent Kikui who reassured him that he would take care of it and to meet them that night. A homeless samurai sleeping in the other room suddenly comes out and points out the flaws in their logic. Like the only reason why they are not willing to believe in the chamberlain is because he's ugly and the superintendent is not. When he finds out that they were supposed to meet there he senses an ambush. The men begin to believe him when they notice they are surrounded. He manages to get them out of the jam then they finally deduce that the chamberlain is probably in trouble. By the time they get the chamberlain house been taken prisoner and expected to write a confession that he is corrupt and perform seppuku. They manage to save the chamberlain's wife and daughter who make Sanjuro uncomfortable. The wife also tells him “You're too sharp. That's your trouble. You're like a drawn sword. Sharp, naked without a sheath. You cut well. But good swords are kept in their sheaths.”

The plan to save the chamberlain is wrought with problems as the young men that Sanjuro is helping can's seem to trust him and their tempers make they do stupid things. It's funny and no one seems to be taking themselves seriously. There's some really good sword play as Sunjuro can take out a room full of samurai. The sound is sharp punctuated by 60's style music and massive amounts of squirting blood. Thanks to the Criterion for releasing these classics.

Guns and Roses

Set in Japanese occupied Manchuria in the 30's, director Ning Hao has crafted a fanciful story about a young fast talking hustler who is not below stealing from the church or starving children. Xiao ends up in jail with a revolutionary and becomes in possession of some valuable information regarding a shipment of gold. He tries to sell the information to the rebels and insists on joining their gang. Working as a driver for an actress who also leads the revolutionaries that want the gold takes them to a party at the home of the bank president. Xiao crashes the party and tries to steal the silver but his caught by the president's daughter. His addled father who tagged along to eat the food almost ruins the rebels plans.

There's so much going on in this bank heist, romance, action adventure that's funny and violent. The Japanese are not shown in a good light with the colonel of the occupying force playing sadistic games with suspects at a movie theater, then shooting random people. Xiao hides out in a church by pretending he's a Christ figure on a cross. Xiao also gets beat up constantly by the cops, the army, and the rebels. Meanwhile there's a film being made by the president's daughter that Xiao is romancing, but then maybe he's just using her. His character is so unlikeable at times, and yet he's very close to his father.

It's not a perfect movie, but it's good for a few laughs. There's tanks, a big vat of acid, beautiful CGI cityscapes and vintage cars. The costumes are inventive and colorful. The movie itself rates an “interesting” worth the rental at Netflix.

Daylight Savings

Dave Boyle's follow up to festival favorite Surrogate Valentine brings back musician Goh Nakamura's adventure looking for love. Director Boyle liked the way Goh and San Francisco looked in black and white for Valentine continues the palette which serves to enhance the mood of Goh's sad sack state of mind. The film shot in 15 days features original music by Goh and fellow musician Yea Ming the lead singer of the band DreamDate.

Goh playing himself as a successful indie musician playing clubs with only himself and his guitar finds himself broken up with long time professor girlfriend Erika (Japanese actress Ayako Fujitani). She tells him one night on Skype that sends Goh into a major funk. As he's getting ready to move from San Francisco to Los Angeles to embark on a long concert tour he meets Yea Ming Chen at a going away party for him. They seem to click but she doesn't give him her phone number just so their next meeting will seem more magical. Anyway she's going to be playing in Las Vegas for her next gig. His cousin Mike (Michael Aki) comes to stay with him as he's going through a divorce. He's got a reputation for things going “bonkers” and his plan to drive Goh to LA via Las Vegas to see his love connection promises that it's not going to be smooth sailing. According to Mike he's got to live his life with assertion, deception and distraction.

Goh who helped write the script paints a perpetually vexed person who has to deal with his love disconnect, a rebound fling that maybe can't pan out because it is a rebound, his stuff stolen, physical injuries and ultimately has to make a choice. The journey to LA is fraught with trauma to the already down and miserable Goh. Mike is the glue that keeps him from spiraling down to complete self pity. Amusingly Goh's music is the theme song for an anti depressant commercial. Later he writes the music for a pet food commercial that is sung by Dave Boyle. The ending keeps the story going for perhaps a trilogy in this series that will hopefully find some happiness for our hero.

Saya Zamurai (Scabbard Samurai)

The centerpiece film for the festival features a funny imaginative film by Hitoshi Matsumoto. The film starts with a lone figure running through the woods with a urgency of someone following. He's out of breath, his kimono in tatters and disheveled, he wears black round eye glasses. Following him is a young girl who looks at him with impatience and regret. They continue on their path at a slower pace. When they reach a foot bridge a beautifully dressed woman with a musical instrument is going the opposite direction. Just as she passes by her instrument reveals a knife which she slashes the man. Instead of falling from his wound he runs away even faster. The little girl tends his wounds, and they continue before falling prey to two more assassins, a flamboyant gunman and a chiropractic killer. Each time the girl tends his wounds.

The next village he's arrested by the clan leader. He's given a chance to live he can in 30 make his sou laugh. The little boy has been basically catatonic since his mother died in an epidemic. Each day the samurai has to come up with one act that will elicit a smile. Each time he's commanded to perform seppuku. The little girl encourages her father to just go ahead and kill himself. Afterall he's a samurai without a sword and by rights should just go ahead and die. He harsh word only seems to make him continue with the foolishness. After awhile his guards are helping out with ideas. Somewhere along the way even the villagers begin to cheer him on.

It's the performances that he does that drives this movie. Everything from stomach dances, to putting chopsticks in his nose, solo sumo wrestling, to shooting himself out of a cannon or being a human firecracker. The execution and the wild set ups don't seem to work. Takaaki Nomi in his first ever movie role impresses as the down and out samurai who also lost his wife in an epidemic and like the young prince cannot get a handle on living. It's the strength of his daughter Tae who keeps going. The ending is an expectant dramatic twist, but it also offers hope and a song.
(Reviews by reesa)

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Movies Scheduled for the Week of 7/15 - 7/21

That was a nice break. Did y'all get stuff done, actually pay for a movie, did ya miss your movie line social? The big Batman is happening this week, so unless you've been living under a rock, the chance to enter the contests are probably past and people will be loading up the moderator basket with their needs and wants. Remember to clearly mark in the subject line NEED or WANT or OFFER or TRADE. This moderator will be busy at the Asian Film Festival Dallas that is currently running at the Magnolia this week and can't clean up your emails with her dumb phone. So anything sent to the list will be held in limbo until computer access is possible. You will have time to post correctly otherwise you run the risk of getting your post rejected. Thank you for your patience.

July 15 - July 21

Sun 15

Mon 16

The Turandot Project
Studio Movie Grill Dallas

Tue 17

Ruby Sparks
Angelika Dallas

Wed 18

The Dark Knight Rises
AMC Northpark

The Odd Life of Timothy Green
Cinemark 17

Dark Knight Rises
tba Dallas

Thurs 19

Fri 20

Sat 21

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Asian Film Festiva Dallas Day 2

Let's Go!

Revenge a Love Story director Wong Ching Po's latest Hong Kong action film is an odd film that goes from melodrama to revenge crimes to animated superhero fandom. Written by Simon Lai and Pak Wing Yan, the story flips and turns over wide plot holes while still be effectively entertaining even though a lot of doesn't make much sense.

Juno Mak produces and stars as Lee Siu Sheung who lives in a huge apartment building with his widowed mom. As child Siu Sheung and his dad were big fans of the transformer type of anime called Space Emperor God Sigma. They would watch the series on TV together, sing the theme song and mom would help dad raise their child in the air for the climatic hero pose. One day his dad died while being a hero and Siu Sheung who never watched cartoons since that day still tries to stay on the side of justice. His loser friend Big Bird (Wen Chao) doesn't want to give up his fantasy of Siu Sheung being the captain of their Earth Guards a sort of justice squad that doesn't really do any crime fighting. But Big Bird has a book he's drawn with their goals and he's even designed a uniform. Since the loss of his father Siu Sheung has devoted developing his fighting skills which is brought to the attention of Shing (Gordon Lam) who hires him as a security guard for the Matsumoto syndicate. The first lesson he earns there is never fight your co-workers. Siu Sheung is assigned to be the body guard of the boss's daughter who he early met and helped out when she was caught shoplifting. Annie (Stephy Tang) quickly becomes friends with Siu Sheung's mother and Big Bird. Mean while Shing decides to pull a coup on Hon Yu (Jimmy Wang Yu) and a bloody battle begins. Siu Sheung is forced to not only protect Annie but his friends and community.

The craziness in the last third of the movie seems to come out of left field. There doesn't seems to be a sense of time taking place, events could have occurred over weeks, hours or days. And Big Bird's attempts to exact revenge on Shing was unexpected but serves to propel the plot for Siu Sheung getting some super powers. Even when the viewer is wading through WTF moments, the action and silliness keep you watching just to see what comes next.

Give Up Tomorrow

In July of 1997 two sisters, Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong disappeared on the island of Cebu in the Philippines. Two days later the badly beaten, blindfolded and handcuffed body of Marijoy was found in a ravine. A crime like this has never happened in this town, and there was enormous pressure to print the perpetrator to justice. A few weeks later Paco Larranga was arrested for the crime with six other young men despite the fact that Paco was in Manila taking mid term exams at the time. Director Michael Collins and producer Marty Syjuco (a distant relative of the Larranga family) examine with a riveting expose on the miscarriage of justice that ruined a young man's life from the local police to the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

The media circus that exploded at the time provided a massive amount of newscasts, tabloids and TV interviews from that time that is woven along with the filmmakers interviews with the family, journalists and others involved in the case. The step by step discrepancies from how Paco's name came to be even considered as a suspect, the fact that Marijoy Chiong's father was supposed to testify against drug lord Peter Lim, and the policemen involved worked as Lim's body guards. The mother Thelma Chiong's sister was a long time secretary to President Estrada who put the pressure on to charge someone and close the case.

The Larrange family was painted by the media as being rich and privileged. The facts that there were forty two affidavits testifying that Paco was in Manila at the time the crime occurred, along with pictures of him partying with his friends were never taken in consideration. Paco didn't even know all the young men who were also charged with him. Weeks went by after they were arrested but no solid evidence was ever produced. Until suddenly an ex convict from America shows up and confesses to the crime and everyone's involvement although there is some evidence that he was tortured by cops before hand. It was also later brought up that the body found was never properly identified as Marijoy.

When the trial was being held, before the defense could present their case, the prosecution testimony included a televised reenactment of the crime using actors. In the Philippines only the judge can hear a case as they do not use the jury system. Key witnesses were not allowed to testify and the defense lawyers were jailed for contempt and substitute lawyers were assigned who didn't do anything. Even after the men were sentenced to 2 life terms, the appeal to the Philippine Supreme Court overturned the sentencing and gave them the death penalty.

Paco's case eventually through the help of relatives in Spain was brought to life and the attention of the United Nations. It wasn't until President Estrada was charged with corruption that Vice President Arroyo came into power and abolished the death penalty. Resolution of his case is still forthcoming. There are websites and a grass roots support system to free Paco. After this compelling documentary you will want to join that campaign.

The Great Magician

Triple Tap director Derek Yee with a story by Tin Nam Chun and Tung Shing Yee creates this fanciful world of early century China with warring warlords and fantastic magicians. The beginning sequence is a bit confusing with farmers being given a choice to join an army by distracting their attention with a magic act that ends with a officer being beheaded. Or was he really?

Hsien (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai) accepts a challenge from a magician offering money to anyone who can do his trick. Hsien does it easily and then some but turns down the cash. He's in town with some revolutionary types who want to take down the local warlord Bully Lei (Lau Ching-Wan). Bully has six wives, but his 7th circus acrobat Liu Yin (Zhou Xun) he never legally wed and she refuses Bully's attentions until he promises to find her father Liu Wan-Yao (Paul Chun). Yin has some other issues like her mysteriously missing fiancé who unsurprisingly turns out to be Hsien. Then there's the Japanese filmmakers bringing the art of movies to China, the other warlords who accept Bully as their leader when he brings tanks to the table that trumps everyone else's stash, and the group that wants Bully to declare his support of the Emperor. Bully who is known as the rotten warlord is also illiterate although he has perfect recall.

Bully is seen as a hound dog around pretty women, sweet with his wives, sincere in his desire to woo number 7, and cruel like when he shoots the director for shooting a bath scene with one of his wives. While Hsien is the smoldering cool magician whose magic amazes all, but no longer impresses his former girlfriend. It's a bit confusing at times when the bricks begin to fall into place. In the meantime, there's lots of fun magic, delightful sparing of Bully and Hsien over Yin. The bantering between Lau and Leung was fun cat and mouse play and wish there was more. There's a search for a special 7 Wonders Scroll that offers mind control and the ability to conger up an army. The underling theme going on is about magic and cinema not being real and magic only works if you are willing to believe. It's hard to decide what to believe in this story as things get complicated, but it's all in fun and games although it could have been better.
(Reviews by reesa)

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Asian Film Festival Dallas Day 1

Dangerously Exciting (Uiheomhan Heungbun)

The full day of programming for the 2012 AFFD opened with a South Korean film directed by Koo Ja Hong. It tells the story of a low level government employee who works for the Environmental Department that takes care of waste management, noise pollution, and snow plowing. Sitting in little cubicles the office workers endure complaining citizens and leveling fines. It's not glamorous, thankless rewards, doesn't pay overtime, but it's stable work for the rest of your life. It's not a place for someone with dreams or ambitions.

Han Dae Hee (Yoon Je Moon of The King2Hearts Korean drama) is a 38 year old employee who prides himself in being calm and efficient. He's the best at writing reports and dealing with the constant barrage of unhappy callers. One such caller demanded that the band practicing in their building needs to stop. He visits the site and coolly tells them they have to find another practice place. A real estate acquaintene of Dae Hee overhears the conversation and offers the kids a place of these people who are out of the country. After coming up with the large amount of deposit and moving their stuff over they return to find the guy ripped them off for their money and their instruments. Blaming Dae Hee because he knew the guy, he feels guilty and lets them use his basement. But he gets more than what he bargined for with the constant noise. When the band breaks up, he talks them into doing it with the remaining members, only they need a base player and suddenly he finds himself recruited.

Han Dae Hee is a bit of a know it all. He's stiff, unyielding, while remaining a aura of authority which rubs most people the wrong say. He tell the young band that he hates music, but has a great knowledge thanks to his older brother's vinyl collections in the attic. From the years of working in his dead end job, he's challenged by the band in their spirit, energy and their ability to see through him. He develops a friendship with Min Ki (Sung Joon of Shut Up Flower Boy Band) while being taught to play the bass. He thinks he can learn everything by books and his imagination of what a bassist should be like.

What is really nice is the small look into the Korean indie music scene which is often overshadowed by the K-Pop music world of boy and girl dancing acts. The music is catchy and garage like with the performers real voices. While the ending sort of meanders with nothing tied neatly, it is a light hearted, pleasant and amusing journey as Han Dae Hee gets to open up and look at the world with a little bit more rock and roll.

Love Fiction (Leobeu Pikseon)

Directed and written by Jeon Kye Soo the South Korean rom com stars two popular Korean actors, Ha Jung Woo (The Chaser) and Gong Hyo Jin (The Greatest Love). Although the script was completed in 2007 Jeon Kye Soon had difficulty in getting it started as industry insiders considered the material to be too difficult for the general public. Later the film was touted as being a male “Bridget Jones”. There was some negative feedback from the female audience members at the advanced screenings. It's unusual to have such a off beat and mainly male perspective on the issue of love and relationships.

Gu Joo Wol has been working on his 2nd novel for 2 years and has yet to finish it. It's gotten to the point where his characters are complaining. Joo Wol's alter ego is the private investigator in his novel played by Lee Byeong Joon. He's often see lurking and advising the under confident writer who is stymied by a serious case of writer's block. His publisher director Kwak (Jo Hee Bong) wants him to write a serial story for his tabloid paper and to come with him to Berlin for a book deal. It's in Germany that he meets Hee Jin (Gong Hyo Jin) and is quickly smitten. When they get back to Korea he sends her flowers and a letter that peeks her interest. Soon Joo Wol who was never lucky in relationships finally finds his muse.

What makes this movie so refreshing is the interesting slant on the way Joo Wol approaches finding love and the strength of the female character who isn't submissive or starry eyeid. She's a full fleshed woman of intelligence who doesn't put up with Joo Wol's insecurities. She's also a photographer who likes to take pictures of naked men. There's a whole running joke through the whole movie about Hee Jin's unshaved armpits because apparently they don't shave in Alaska. When Joo Wol breaks down and eventually writes the serial for the tabloid, his story is called the Hairy Lady. There's music in this too because Joo Wol's other job is working at the Yellow Submarine where the house band rocks out with more Korean indie music. Also look for Ji Jin Hee as Joo Wol's older brother Gu Joo ro.

Joo Wol is a great character who is a bit of a sad sack. Even his friends advise him to get a girl friend. His quick love with Hee Jin is bound to crash and burn because men often lose interest when faced with a serious relationship. Plus Joo Wol gets caught up in not being able to accept Hee Jin's past love life.
Its a little too long, but it's fun and interesting.

Overheard 2

The 2011 Hong Kong crime thriller is written and directed by Alan Mak and Felix Chong. It's not really a sequel to the 2009 film Overheard where the same actors play different roles and storyline. The white collar crime involves stock brokers and is often confusing as to the set up early in the film. There's just a feeling that the people involved are up to no good.

The movie starts out with a car chase with a Ferrari and a van through the crowded Hong Kong streets. The ultimate crash leads the Captain Jack Ho (Louis Koo) of the Securities Force to find the victims car was bugged with a military grade devise. Manson Law (Lau Ching Wan) a high powered stockbroker says he doesn't know why hes being bugged, but confesses to his wife that we was being followed. He reports this incident to this private club of stockbrokers who say that the incident has to be reported to Tony (Kenneth Tsang) a super rich guy who seems to pull everyone's strings. Ho's investigation is complicated by the “Landlord's Club” noncooperation. The eavesdropper Joe (Daniel Wu) is a devoted son to his Alzheimer's mother living in a nursing home. It's unclear why he has access to the police computer but Joe is able to stay one step ahead of the police but maybe not ahead of the henchmen Tony has sent to take him out.

The unveiling of the complicated plot by Joe against the Landlord Club is slowing peeled away by Ho and his team. Ho is also distracted by the release of his wife from jail as she was sent there by him when she started to use her clients money to get herself out of debt. Although it's bogged down by financial gobbly gook it does make some buying and selling of stock sort of interesting only because you know someone is going to get rich or ripped off. The car chases and especially the motorbike case is especially exciting. Don't let the money part get in the way of this intriguing story.

Dragon (Wu Xia)

No one makes a better martial arts movie than Donnie Yen. Directed by Peter Chan and written by Oi Wah Lam this film is like a classic kung fu film. Donnie Yen is also credited as the action director in which as one friend informed is fairly accurate in the southern fighting style.

The film opens with Yen as Jinix a family man who is the gentle paper maker. When he's fixing the paper windows of a local merchant, two thugs come in and terrorize the shop keepers. Hiding behind a wall, he only reacts when it looks like they are about to kill the shopkeeper's wife. He latches onto the bad guy and the movie rolls with an exciting and imaginative fight scene. Jinix is hailed as a hero by the village, but Detective Xu (Takeshi Kaneshiro) is 1917's answer to CSI decides that the only way that Jinix could have won is with martial arts. He is like a dog with a bone in trying to uncover Jinix secret because he believe s there no way for a mild manner paper maker could fight and kill 2 most wanted criminals. His investigation leads him to uncover Jinix's past despites everyone's advise to let it go. A past that was better left alone
The inventive shots of how Wu is deciphering the crime scenes and his though processes makes the narration from his point of view. Wu gives himself acupuncture to subdue his tendency for empathy that had caused the death of the parents of a young runaway. Jinix tries to show Wu that his destiny with Wu is karma. That one cannot avoid that events that led them together. When Jinix's secret is finally revealed, the last battle scenes are old school. It's an epic battle as Jinix will do everything to protect his family. It's a tribute to the old B movie afternoons in Chinatown.
(Reviews by reesa)

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Ice Age: Continental Drift

The fourth in the series about creatures who supposedly lived during the Ice Age is back with the characters a little bit older dealing with family issues. Directed by Steve Martino (Horton Hears a Who) and Mike Thurmeier (Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs) teamed up with writers Michael Berg (Ice Age) and Jason Fuchs in telling the continuing adventures of the woolly mammoth Manny and his friends as the continents of early earth break apart and form the world we know today. It's the first sequel not be be directed by Carlos Saldanha and the second Ice Age movie to be filmed in Digital 3D.

If kids learn anything from movies they will discover the saber tooth squirrel Scrat caused the crack in the world when he attempts to bury his elusive acorn. The massive upheaval leads to earthquakes and a shifting land mass that causes Manny (Ray Ramano), his wife Ellie (Quenn Latifah) and the rest of the inhabitants of their section of the world to find a somewhere that's not being edged into the ocean. Their typical teenage daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) has been hanging with some other juvenile mammoths that she loses track of her best friend Louis (Josh Gad) who is a molehog. Manny, Diego (Denis Leary) a saber tooth tiger, Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) and Sid's addled grandmother Granny (Wanda Sykes) get stuck on an iceberg that carries them far from the rest of the herds. While Ellie and Peaches try to move everyone to the land bridge for safety her father is dealing with pirates like Captain Gutt an ape voiced by Peter Dinklage. Among his crew is Jennifer Lobez as saber tooth cat Shira who becomes a love interest for Diego.

Inventive and creative with numerous popular actors voicing the various rolls like Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seann William Scott, Nicki Minaj, Aziz Ansari, Joy Behar, Patrick Stewart, and Alan Tudyk. It's a challenge and a distraction for the parents trying to guess the celebrities. The antics brought on by the characters are fun for whole family types of amusements. The only thing that may scare the little ones is their trip through the sea of Sirens. Outside of obvious liberties with scientific records regarding the creatures living in this era the on going theme is universal cooperation among species in mutual multiculturalism in order to survive. The journey to get back to each other's families teaches some valuable lessons of appreciate, tolerance and teamwork. Those kind of lessons no matter what age or mode of media is worth taking your kid to the movies. The best part of the Ice Age experience was the short film just before the movie called The Longest Daycare in which Maggie Simpson must stand up for what's right. It's a perfect little diddy that had no dialogue. Scrat's trials with the acorn also has no dialogue and you can relay a lot more information and laughs than all the talking in this world.
(Review by reesa)

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Movies Scheduled for the Week of 7/8- 7/14

Really? Only one movie this week? Well that means you will have time to attend the Asian Film Festival of Dallas that runs July 12 - July 19. Go check out their schedule of films at http://2012.asianfilmdallas.com/ Be there or be square.

As a reminder for those looking forward to The Dark Knight Rises the following week, please keep in mind that asking others for their passes will NOT be allowed until the contests are over. If you attempt to ask before that your posts will be DELETED. Everyone who gets a pass had to jump through the required hoops to get them. That means you have to try to get them too on your own. Don't make others do the work for you. Check the archived messages on the group pages for which contests are still pending.

Another thing...please follow the rules for entering contests. Those that abuse and try to circumvent the system will only make it more difficult for us to get passes in the future. If y'all can't behave, then this group will be shut down and y'all can fend for yourselves. As much fun as it is to have this group, sometimes it's not worth the headaches from a few bad apples.

July 8 - July 14

Jul 8

Jul 9

Jul 10
7:00PM Take This Waltz
The Magnolia

Jul 11

Jul 12

Jul 13

Jul 14

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

To Rome With Love

Woody Allen's latest picture postcard travelogue involves four vignettes set in Rome, Italy where the camera embraces the sunlit historic ruins, piazzas, cobbled streets, and zooming drivers. Not as centered on a fantasy like Midnight in Paris, the unconnected stories involve an architect, an architect student, his girlfriend with a visiting actress friend, a young couple from the country, an normal Italian family man and a recently retired opera director. Besides writing and directing Woody also stars in his first role since Scoop in 2006.

Actors all proclaim that they have all wanted to be asked to be in a Woody Allen movie. There's a mystique and challenge that is associated with the prolific director and writer that doesn't really direct his actors instead relying on their instincts for their characters. It's seems like a who's the new up and comers in the industry mixed with Woody's stable of favorite actors. Alison Pill plays Hayley an American tourist who meets cute the Michaelangelo (Flavio Parenti) and before you know it they are engaged to be married. Her parents from NY come to meet the Italian family. Haley's mom is Judy Davis as Phyllis who is married to Jerry (Woody) a not so happily retired opera director who in signature neurotic cadence complains about most things. Until he meets Michaelangelo's father Giancarlo (Fabio Armillato) whose singing voice in the shower inspires Jerry to come out of retirement. Roberto Benigni is Leopoldo, a office worker and regular guy, with a wife and two kids. He goes off to work one morning when he's suddenly sucked into a Karadasian syndrome vortex where someone is famous just for being famous. Paparazzi follow him and report every meaningless gesture as if it's breaking news. John (Alec Baldwin) is a successful architect who gets lost trying to find his old neighborhood and runs into Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) who like John did in his younger years is living in Rome studying buildings. Jack's beautiful girlfriend Sally (Greta Gerwig) is expecting her good friend Monica (Ellen Page) flying in and she is fretting that Monica will steal Jack away because she is so sexy and vivacious. Alessandro Tiberi and Alessandra Mastronardi are Antonio and Milly a young married couple who are from the country that have come to the city to meet with Antonio's relatives and join the family firm. Milly gets lost and hooker Anna (Penélope Cruz) ends up filling in the wife role.

The dialogue is sharp and amusing, but lacks coherence jumping from story to story. In Woody's movies everyone talks, talks, talks. It's non stop verbiage that is often times is interesting, clever but still wordy. The only section out of sync is John. Baldwin is almost the Bogart figure from Play It Again Sam, being the voice of consciousness for Jack as he contemplates having an affair with Monica. He's there, but not there. It was confusing. It's Penélope Cruz who as usual steals the movie as the prostitute pretending to be the wife of the mousy husband. You know he gets schooled. And the amazing opera voice of Fabio Armiliato is wonderful but Jerry's concept for the opera staring Giancarlo just goes on too long. The film is a curiosity. Not the best, but still worth visiting Rome with Woody when the DVD comes out.
(Review by reesa)

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012






July 2, 2012 (DALLAS, TX) – The Asian Film Festival of Dallas celebrates its 11th year with returning presenting sponsors McDonald’s & Well Go USA Entertainment, from Thursday, July 12 through Thursday, July 19, 2012 at the Landmark’s Magnolia Theatre in the West Village.

The festival kicks-off with a very sweet and bubbly Opening Night celebration on Thursday, July 12, from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at The Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa Penthouse floor (11th floor). Guests get a sneak peak of a 2013 Nissan vehicle before arriving to the Penthouse floor where decadent dessert and cocktail stations, a wine bar, music and a surprise performance awaits them. This event is open to everyone but space is limited and RSVP is required to RSVP@redidagency.com by Monday, July 9th.

This year, the Asian Film Festival of Dallas outdoes itself in all areas:
1 world premiere
7 North American premieres
9 debut feature films
8 feature filmmakers in attendance
5 shorts programs
6 parties

11th Annual Asian Film Festival of Dallas FULL SCHEDULE:
Click here to view the 11th Annual Asian Film Festival of Dallas Trailer 2012

8:30 pm Opening Night Film: ACE ATTORNEY (Texas Premiere)

12 pm Dangerously Excited (North American Premiere)
2 pm Love Fiction
4:30 pm Overheard 2
7 pm Wu Xia/ Dragon
9:30 pm Nightfall (North American Premiere)
11:59 pm Gyo

12 pm Student shorts, Q&A (Filmmakers in attendance)
2 pm Let’s Go! (North American Premiere)
4 pm Give Up Tomorrow, Q&A
6:30 pm Great Magician (North American Premiere)
9 pm Headshot 11 pm Karaoke in Magnolia Bar (Party)
11:15 pm Shorts: Dark

12 pm Experimental shorts, Q&A (Filmmakers in attendance)
1:35 pm Sanjuro
3:35 pm Guns N Roses
5:40 pm Daylight Savings, Q&A (Filmmaker in attendance)
7:15-7:45 pm Centerpiece Reception (Party)
7:45 pm Centerpiece: SAYA-ZAMURAI
10 pm Monsters Club

12 pm Drama shorts
1:30 pm Lovable (North American premiere)
3:15 pm One Mile Above (North American premiere)
5 pm Pearls of the Far East, Q&A (Filmmaker in attendance)
7:30 pm Yes Or No
8:30-10 pm Party at Malai Kitchen (Party, I am a Ghost filmmaker in attendance)
9:45 pm I am a Ghost, Q&A (Filmmaker in attendance)

12 pm Golden Slumbers
2 pm Shorts: Affronted, Q&A (Filmmaker in attendance)
4 pm Death of a Cemetery, Q&A (World Premiere, Filmmaker in attendance)
6 pm Too Many Villains, Q&A (North American Premiere, Filmmaker in attendance)
8 pm Kuroneko
10 pm Amok, Q&A (Filmmaker in attendance)
7-9 pm Filmmaker Reception at The Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa’s lobby bar
(Party, all filmmakers in attendance)

12 pm China Heavyweight
1:45 pm Hara Kiri
4:15 pm Where Heaven Meets Hell, Q&A (Filmmaker in attendance)
6:30 pm 10+10
8:45 pm Viette, Q&A (Filmmaker in attendance)

12 pm Great Magician (second showing)
2:30 pm Saya-Zamurai (second showing)
4:45 pm Guns N’ Roses (second showing)
7 pm Closing Night Film: Doomsday Book
9:30 pm Ace Attorney (second showing)
9-11 pm Closing Night Party at The Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa’s Penthouse floor (Party)

Individual ticket prices range from $10 to $12.50. Senior and student discounts are available. New this year, the AFFD introduces a group ticket package which includes 4 ticket vouchers for $32.00. These vouchers are valid for all films except the opening, centerpiece and closing films. .VIP passes for full access to the film festival are $159.00. All ticket information and purchases can be found online at www.asianfilmdallas.com.

For complete information and details on each of the films and parties, please visit www.asianfilmdallas.com.

About the Asian Film Festival of Dallas
Since its creation in 2002, the annual film festival has grown to become the South’s largest showcase of Asian and Asian-American cinema. Over the past 10 years, the festival has provided opportunities for nearly 500 Asian and Asian-American filmmakers and documentarians to share their vision, often providing the only venue for their films to be shown in Dallas.

The films have also allowed festival goers a chance to experience other lives and cultures without leaving their seats. The Asian Film Festival of Dallas is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating and supporting emerging and established Asian and Asian-American filmmakers and sharing the rich diversity of Asian culture through the medium of cinema.

SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR OPENING & CLOSING NIGHT PARTIES’ SPONSORS: Nissan, The Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, The Original Cupcakery (cupcakes & cake bites!), The Popcorn Market (gourmet popcorn!), The Green Bandana Group, Alon'Dria by Devin White, Duy Nguyen of DN foto, SmartWater, Lure Salon and DJ R3VO.

For more information about AFFD or to purchase tickets, please visit www.asianfilmdallas.com.

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