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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Raunchy comedies about women are becoming more popular since Bridesmaids and Sex and the City. The trouble is trying to make them so they are just not stupid humor that panders to the lowest common denominator. Lauren Miller and Katie Anne Naylon have written a smart, silly story about a friendship between two unlikely women who run a sex phone operation from their apartment. It's based on Lauren's real life college roommate who actually did such work from their dorm. Jamie Travis directs his début feature film which stars Ari Graynor who also produced and had it's premier at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
Lauren Miller plays Lauren who just lost her editing job, broke up with her bland boyfriend, and needs to move from her apartment. She's hooked up to Katie (Ari Graynor) whose grandmother's apartment just lost it's rent control that even her multiple jobs can't cover the cost. Their mutual gay friend Jesse (Justin Long) decided that they should help each other out despite they couldn't be more opposite in personalities. Lauren is uptight and boring while Katie is bubbly and flighty. Lauren hopes to score a big editing job but finds they already hired from within, so she's stuck having to bunk with Katie. She's shocked to discover that Katie is doing phone sex calls when she hears some loud moaning from her bedroom. Since she's still unemployed Lauren decides to help Katie work for herself raking in all the profit rather than pay a middleman. Katie schools inexperienced Lauren to the ins and outs of phone sex language and protocol. The resulting cooperation between the two is what gives this film it's charm and biggest laughs.
It's been awhile since women are portrayed on screen in anything besides dumb, jealous and pretty arm candy for their male partners. Lauren and Katie bicker, play and generally respect each other like dorm roommates. There's some really funny scenes when Lauren rich parents (Mimi Rogers and Don McManus) keep dropping by unannounced and in the most inopportune moments. Also the cameos of the regulars for Katie's services including Seth Rogen, Lauren Miller's real life husband. Nina Vardalos shows up as the Human Resource manager who is more than impressed with Lauren business acumen.
While this comedy goes for the expected crisis that threatens their new found friendship so they can find a resolution and be all happy again, it doesn't mistake the chemistry between the actresses. You can't deny that they hold the screen despite the by the numbers direction into a nice amusing tale that toys with it's risqué attitude without going down and dirty. It's burlesque with feathers rather than strip tease in the combat zone.
(Review by reesa)
Based on a real story of a Dybbuk box carved with Hebrew inscriptions supposedly containing some evil spirit that caused sickness and ill fortune to the owners. It was told to have been bought at a garage sale, then later sold on Ebay, and each time the buyer experienced some bad juju. The Hollywood version was written by Juliet Snowden and Stiles White and directed by Ole Bornedal (Nightwatch) and produced by Sam Raimi. Obviously they added their own fright sandwich to the mix, which despite it's great cast does little in the way of adding anything new to the demonic possession genre.
Ten year old Emily (Natasha Calis) the youngest daughter of Clyde and Stephanie (Jeffery Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick) finds this box at a garage sale. She immediately becomes fixated with the box which was introduced in the first scene where an older woman tried to attack it with a hammer ends up getting mysteriously thrown around the room. Even at the garage sale Emily sees the bandaged woman from the window silently screaming “no” to her. This doesn't deter Emily who brings it home and finds the secret latch. Inside are old dusty containers of odd bits, petrified bugs, carved animals, and a big tooth with roots. No one seems to notice that Emily is acting a bit spacey lately. They all seem to have their own agenda. Older sister Hannah (Madison Davenport) is in preteen all about “me” mode, mom is entertaining her new boyfriend, dad who is a basketball coach just moved into his new house and is contemplating taking a job in another state. They all seem to chalk up Emily's increasingly odd behavior to coming to grips with the parents divorce.
It isn't until Emily stabs her dad with a fork, that Clyde begins to think that his daughter is having an unusual obsession with that box and tries to dispose of it. Instead of crushing or burning it he takes it to a random dumpster. Which of course Emily makes it seem daddy dear smacked her around runs out of the house in her night gown straight for the dumpster. Mom thinks the worst of dad, until Emily goes to school and savagely beats another student. The teachers say she should get checked out by a medical professional. So she gets an MRI where mom and sis see this image of a head inside Emily's body when the electricity flickers during the test. Did the doctors see this too? No one is saying. Dad decides to check out the Hasidic rabbi's in Brooklyn who tell him it's in God's hands. Except for the rabbi's son Tzadok (Hasidic hip hop/reggae musician Matisyahu) who helps the desperate family.
The big difference in this film as opposed to others of this nature is the Jewish element which offers a different slant than the regular Catholic priests compelling the devil within. It also fortunately does not perpetuate the incorrect usage of the the Pentacle as a symbol of evil. There's really no jump in your seats frights, lots of moths, a dentist losing his teeth (no on really likes him anyway), some random teacher getting killed, fingers sticking out of someone throat and other grotesque images that are quick but carrying no sense of urgency or horror. And why don't people turn the lights on in a room? If you hear something weird, do people really wander around in the dark to investigate things that go bump in the night? Big yawner.
(Review by reesa)
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Matt Bondurant's 2008 novel the Wettest County in the World was based on the stories he had heard of his grandfather and great uncles in the Prohibition era of Franklin County, Virginia. Directed by John Hillcoat (The Road) and adapted to the screen by Nick Cave (The Proposition also directed by Hillcoat) it follows the lives of three brothers who are involved in bootlegging moonshine during the 1930's. It's a bloody, ruthless chapter in American history during the Great Depression which has been done a million times before but this time with better and more memorable performances.
The Bondurant brothers include Tom Hardy as Forrest the middle brother and ring leader of the clan. Older brother Franklin (Jason Clarke) who came back for WWI half crazed from surviving the trenches and the youngest brother Jack (Shia LaBeouf) who is awed by his older brothers and narrates the story. The local police and the bootleggers all work together for their mutual monetary benefits. That is until Federal Special Deputy Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) the citified dandy from Chicago comes to enforce the law. It's an us vs. them mentality in them thar hills as Forrest tries to unite the moonshiners who are reluctant to incite any attention. After all even big city gangsters like Floyd Banner (Gary Oldman) can come to town and machine gun another vehicle in a drive by shooting.
Forrest and Howard have this unspoken communication between the two of them when it comes to business. Howard spends his days drinking their product being the muscle and attack dog. Forrest with his no neck, marbles in the mouth speaking voice (could have used subtitles at times) is a no nonsense character. A myth surrounds him that he's immortal having survived near death situations in the past. They are also protective of their little brother Jack who wants to become a part of the family trade. Jack is the more ambitious of the bunch and sees Banner's operation as something he strives to mimic oblivious to the danger and violence involved. Moonshine is a way of making quick money for Jack in the same way as drug dealing attracts the young and stupid today. Jack's best friend Cricket (Dane DeHaan) who may be a bit physically handicapped is also a genius when it comes to motors and building super stills. Jack is also smitten by the lovely and religious Bertha (Mia Wasikowska) the daughter of a Mennonite preacher. Maggie (Jessica Chastain) ran away from her nightclub dancer job in the big city to work at the Bondurant brother's cafe and base of their operations becomes the love interest of Forrest. Their inclusion is the movie is not as predominate in the book. Pearce's Rakes is a sociopath, a sadist, with a parted trench down his shoe shined hair, wearing gloves to keep from touching the ugliness of the world around him. If he had a moustache he would be twirling it.
There's a lot of gory violence and mayhem in this film balanced by the scenic beauty of the Appalachian country side. The color palette, costumes, motor vehicles and other period details effectively engulf the viewer into the time and place woven with a bluegrass soundtrack. There's the slow build up and tension of the bad guys and our outlaw heroes battling in the modern old west, or east as this is supposed to be Virginia. Somewhere in this narrative may be a commentary about never-ending battle between entrepreneurial business and government interference of our free market system. But generally it's a old fashioned tale about a family and survival with some really good actors.
(Review by reesa)
Monday, August 27, 2012
From Subversive to Sublime:
25 Years of Dallas VideoFest
AMS Pictures Hosts Special Event
Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of VideoFest
Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 at AMS Pictures Studios
Dallas, TX – AMS Pictures (http://www.amspictures.com), a Dallas-based creative media company, hosts a special event celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Dallas VideoFest on Friday, September 14, at its studios at 16986 Dallas Parkway, Dallas. The special event will feature a mini-Festival of screenings of VideoFest favorites from the past, a preview of this year’s VideoFest programs, a DVF poster and photography exhibition, a special presentation by a panel of artists, and a silent auction featuring unusual items.
In the spirit of the Dallas VideoFest, AMS Pictures studios will be transformed into three themed screening rooms featuring some of the groundbreaking videos and performances that helped establish the Dallas VideoFest as one of the most unique cultural events in Dallas. Screenings will include works of video art, experimental video, music and performance video, narrative shorts and animation. Panelists, including media critic Ed Bark, video artist Carolyn Sortor, filmmaker Mark Birnbaum, arts journalist Manny Mendoza, and former DVF program coordinator Katie Gimenez, will share clips from their favorite DVF programs,
“We’re excited to host this event celebrating the 25th year of the Dallas Video Festival. Who would have thought in 1987 this eclectic little festival would become one the most unique and influential video festivals in the nation?” says AMS Pictures owner Andy Streitfeld.
Laura Neitzel, former executive director of the Video Association of Dallas and a producer/writer at AMS Pictures, is helping to organize the event. “We want to recreate the vibe that was the Dallas Video Festival back in the days when it would literally take over the Kalita Humphries Theater. There is a burst of creative energy that happens when VideoFest fans are together in one place, discussing something provocative that they just saw,” she said. “Anyone who has been inspired by something they saw at the Dallas VideoFest will not want to miss this.”
Tickets to the event are $25 per person or $40 per couple, and include drinks, appetizers, and all entertainment. Tickets can be purchased online at
ABOUT DALLAS VIDEOFEST 25
The Video Association of Dallas celebrates the 25th anniversary of its VideoFest Sept. 27-30, 2012 at its original home, the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St. in downtown Dallas. VideoFest (videofest.org) is now the oldest and largest video festival in the United States and continues to garner critical and popular acclaim.
The Dallas VideoFest 25 would not be possible without the support of our sponsors. Major Sponsors: HBO, NBC 5 and Jeff & Jani Leuschel. DVF25’s hotel sponsor is The Omni Hotel and Resort. Sponsors: Alamo Drafthouse DFW; Auto Web Expo, Brad Abrams Glass; Dallas Producers Association KD College, College of Film and Dramatic Arts; La Madeleine; IRed Agency; MargaretADonnelly.com; Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons, LLP; and The Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art. DVF25’s media sponsors include: Art&Seek, A+C Magazine, Alford Media Services, AMS Pictures, Brainfood, camBLOCK, Creative Eye Q, D Magazine Front Row, Meva Inc., Roderick Cordova Photography, Sell.com, Texas MicroCine, and VisionWise. DVF25’s Industry sponsors are Dallas Film Commission, Office of Cultural Affairs City of Dallas, Texas Commission on the Arts, and Texas Film Commission.
ABOUT AMS PICTURES
AMS Pictures is a Texas-based creative media company with studios in Dallas and Austin. Whether creating original entertainment for broadcast television or crafting targeted communication strategies and tools for corporate and public interest clients, AMS Pictures leverages 30 years’ experience in creative media with the latest innovations in digital tools and a mastery of storytelling to create dynamic experiences that engage audiences.
ABOUT VIDEO ASSOCIATION OF DALLAS
The mission of the Video Association is to promote an understanding of video as a creative medium and cultural force in our society, and to support and advance the work of Texas artists working in video and the electronic arts. The Video Association of Dallas (VAD) is a 501(c)(3) organization incorporated on April 25, 1989. It began in 1986 as a weekend event, “Video As A Creative Medium”, presented at the Dallas Museum of Art by independent curators Barton Weiss and John Held. That first event, which included two nights of video by selected local and national video artists, was a great popular success, which led to the founding of the Dallas Video Festival (DVF) in 1987. Video Association of Dallas also presents the 24 Hour Video Race, the Texas Show Tour, North Texas College Film Festival, Texas Independent Film Network screenings, Texas Fllmmakers Production Fund workshops, Three Star Cinema, and other programs throughout the year.
VIDEO ASSOCIATION OF DALLAS 4329 Belmont Ave Dallas, TX 75204-3033
Sunday, August 26, 2012
School is starting which usually means the lines for the movies probably won't be quite as crowded or hectic since folks will be hopefully staying home helping the kids with homework, making lunches, and getting to bed at decent hours. September also means summer blockbuster time is over. More indie films and other stuff that don't fit into any particular categories until studios begin to release the fall/winter barrage of Oscar bait.
Most of y'all have gotten the hang of putting the designator in your subject line which we the moderators are truly thankful. However there are still those who are still hitting reply and sending their responses to those emails to the group. One of these days, hopefully soon, one would realize when your post comes back rejected, that perhaps the second it takes to look at your return address will cure one of that habit before hitting send.
August 26 - September 1
6:00PM Fox’s New TV Shows Ben And Kate & The Mindy Project - AMC Valley View
7:30PM The Day - Cinemark West Plano
7:30PM Won't Back Down - ?
7:30PM End of Watch - Amstar 14
7:30PM Perks of Being a Wildflower - Angelika Dallas
8:00PM The Possession - Texas Theater
7:00PM Sleepwalk With Me - Angelika Dallas
7:30PM For a Good Time Call - Angelika Dallas
7:30PM Trouble With the Curve - ?
8:00PM Strictly Ballroom - AT&T PAC Annette Strauss Square
Friday, August 24, 2012
Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry- This film bring rebellion to life and shows calm working against a controlling theme through the screen. The centerpiece artist in the film shows us his motivation and we follow him through a journey.
The Queen of Versailles- This hilarious and brain working film intertwines the audience between chaos and wealthiness. It brings to life the imperfections of the American dream and also the American family.
For A Good Time Call- Funny and dirty jokes are all around this realistic movie. It makes you laugh all the way.
The Imposter- This film has so many turns that you change into several different minds throughout the film. You think one thing and then you think the next on this rollercoaster of mystery.
The Bourne Legacy- A slow film that gives you a rush of senses but only at certain points in the film. Very skipping everywhere type of film that can't be really enjoyable to a lot of people.
Looking at the poster for this new movie it would seem the title is Ride Like Hell with the catch phrase Premium Rush instead of the other way around. Directed by David Koepp who also wrote the script with John Kamps. We are told there are 1500 bike messengers in New York City risking their lives for $80 on a good day. It's obvious that it's the adrenaline that keeps this close knit community of messengers weaving in and out of traffic watching out for each other in times of need. And apparently these drivers are all in tip top condition with strong legs and plenty of attitude. This high octane joy ride with bike outlaws through the streets of New York will keep you at the edge of your seats fuelled by a pumped soundtrack.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Wilee an ex law student who thinks getting stuck behind a desk wearing a suit is the worst possible existence for him. Instead he loves the freedom of the streets, maneuvering in the crowded city traffic while his brain contemplates split second scenarios posed by the possible outcomes of bike vs cars and pedestrians. He's a daredevil who drives a pared down bike without the gears or breaks for the raw experience. It seems sexy and dangerous to his girlfriend Vanessa (Dania Ramirez) and a challenge to competitive Manny (Wolé Parks) who is also trying to woe Vanessa. The last ride of the day is delivering an envelope from the law school to Chinatown by 7 pm. The ride would have been uneventful, but there's a cop on his tail who wants that envelope and he will do literally anything to get it.
The story line swings back in forth in time to show why the cop came to that point. He's a gambling addicted detective Robert Monday (Michael Shannon at his crazy wild eyed best) who has anger management issues. He owes some Russian loan sharks and Chinese gambling houses some big money. He's been informed the envelope contains a ticket that is worth $50,000 from Chinese money launderers. When he's chasing Wilee at breakneck speeds it comes to the attention of a bike cop (Christopher Place) who also joins the chase.
What makes this different from the 1986 Quicksilver with Kevin Bacon is the snarky wit between the dirty cop and Wilee as they shout and bait each other during the pursuit. Shannon's hot tempered cop is scary and funny as he insults everyone, grimacing, shouting and sneering. All he needs is a moustache to twirl as he does it. Gordon-Levitt sustained an injury while filming requiring 31 stitches for a slice down his arm is believable as the risk taking messenger. While there's some typical formula pacing, the scenic rides around the city gives a ride worth taking. A fun movie to end the summer.
(Review by reesa)
Kevin Durant, three-time NBA scoring champion and Olympic gold medalist, headlines this new family flick directed by John Whitesell and written by Eric Champnella and Jeff Farely. It has as freaky Friday twist with the basketball star's talent being magically shifted to a 16 year old klutz who is is biggest fan. Durant says that the biggest hurtle in acting was to pretend to miss the long shots to the basket.
Nickelodeon star Taylor Gray plays Brian, the water boy for his small town high school basketball team. He's been trying out for the team every year, but he's hopelessly athletically uncoordinated. His basketball hero is Kevin Durant (as himself) the star of the Oklahoma Thunder. In his mind Brian tries to visualize Durant's moves on the court and while trying that out at home and horribly failing. His worst moves end up being broadcast to the high school in the lunch room cafeteria while he is trying to make a movie on the new girl in school Isabel (Tristin Mays). His dad (William Ragsdale) takes him to a Thunder game to ease his humiliation. It's there that's he's won a chance to do the half time long shot throw for a big prize. Instead he spurs another viral You Tube moment by hitting the mascot. Durant magnanimously signs the basketball for the star stuck Brian. When Brian wakes the next day he discovers that he's got mad talent and Kevin is suddenly in a major slump.
The high school coaches wonderfully played by James Belushi and Robert Belushi are thrilled by their new star who is taking them to the state championship. Meanwhile Kevin's agent (Brandon T. Jackson) is trying to figure out why his client has suddenly lost his game. Brian is delighted with the new attention and respect from his peers but it starts to go to his head to the consternation of his best friend Mitch (Larramie Doc Shaw) and Isabel.
As a family movie there's the crisis that must be solved, the valuable lesson to be learned and the belief and confidence in oneself that must be acquired. It's all nicely packaged in a TV movie type of pacing and imaging that's amusing and somewhat entertaining. One is keenly aware that Kevin is NOT an actor, but he's supported by a competent cast. The racially diverse cast covers most politically correct demographics. While some of the high school kids bully Brian in the beginning no overt revenge plots are payed back except to be upstaged by Brian's new basketball skills. Of course the big scene stealer's are the Belushi's and that alone will help keep mom and dad entertained when they inevitably have to bring their kids to this movie.
(Review by reesa)
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Dax Shepard of the currently popular TV series Parenthood not only stars in this feature, but also produced, edited, wrote and co-directed with David Palmer (their first film being Brother's Justice). His fiancé Kristen Bell plays his girlfriend in this slapstick homage to 80's car chase films like Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run. It even features Shepard's personal beautifully restored 1967 Lincoln Continental.
Shepard plays Charlie Bronson who is living under the Witness Protection Program, his real name being Yul Perkins. He testified against his partners of multiple bank robberies in which he was the get-away driver some 4 years earlier. Now living in the small California town of Milton with his girlfriend Annie who works at the local college, he's monitored by vehically challenged US Marshall Randy (Tom Arnold). Annie gets an offer for a job in Los Angeles and she needs to drive the 400 miles or so to the the interview. Charlie/Yul who has not been back in all these years decides he's spent enough time under protection and he will take her there in his dad's Lincoln Continental that was the only thing he brought with him to his new life. Annie's ex boyfriend Gil (Michael Rosenbaum) was earlier informed of Charlie's status as a WP thinks that leaving with Charlie is a bad idea because he still carries a torch for Annie. So he follows them and asks his gay brother cop for help. Gil discovers Charlie's real identity and Facebook's Yul's old partner Alex to his whereabouts. Alex Dmitri (Bradley Cooper in dreadlocks) and Yul's old fiancé Neve (Joy Bryant) are also join the pursuit.
The heart of this film is the sweet relationship of Charlie/Yul and Annie with the issue of trust revolving around his old life. There's many scenes of interesting conversations between the two of them that have nothing to do with the story of Charlie's misdeeds. As a sociology professor Annie is constantly berating her good natured lunkhead boyfriend on using terms like “fag”. His response is funny and insulting to lots of persuasions until he finally relents to her argument. The rest of the movie is the old school car chase with Tom Arnold overplaying his accident prone character. Bradley Cooper is the vicious leader of the gang who beats up and humiliates this large African American man over what kind of dog food he feed his animal then tells him no one wears a wife beater anymore unless it's ironic. While this film is amusing at times, it's also probably not worth paying a full price ticket so wait for the dollar cinema or Netflix.
(Review by reesa)
Sunday, August 19, 2012
So, did y'all miss the Sunday calendar/rant last week? Only 1 person wrote to ask about it. Interesting. But then y'all can access the calendar by going to the Yahoo group page and check it out on your own.
The same problems persist with folks insisting to just hit reply when responding to a pass offer or trade. There was some hope that when your email is returned as "rejected" the chronic abusers would mend their errant ways and never do it again. Alas, folks continue to forget and thus lose out on that pass. However some people were kind enough to acknowledge when they did wrong and write a thank you for the heads up which is greatly appreciated.
Lots of movies this week. Some contests have not be awarded yet, so please refrain from asking for passes for Premium Rush until they go "live" on GOFOBO or until Red Carpet Crash contacts the winners. Remember you have to enter contests to win those passes.
August 19 - August 25
7:30PM Pitch Perfect - Studio Movie Grill Dallas
7:30PM Hit and Run - Amstar 14
7:30PM Arbitrage - Angelika Dallas
7:30PM For A Good Time Call - Studio Movie Grill Dallas
7:30PM Pitch Perfect - AMC Park Arlington
7:30PM Thunderstruck - AMC Northpark
7:30PM Premium Rush - ?
8:00PM The Apparition - Cinemark 17
Friday, August 17, 2012
The opening film of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival was the documentary by Malik Bendjelloul that won the Special Jury Prize and the Audience Award for the best international doc. It has since gathered other Audience Awards at the LA Film Festival and the Durban International Film Festival and the Grand Jury Prize in Moscow. It is a chronicle of how some fans in South Africa came to find the American musician known as Rodriquez who put out two albums in the early 70's. He was unknown in his own country but his music was an anthem for the youth growing up in the apartheid regime.
Discovered playing in a smoking bar in Detroit with his back to the audience, Sixto Rodriquez made two albums of folk/pop songs for Clarence Avant's record label Sussex Records in 1970-71. His insightful lyrics that spoke of the harsh inner city living rivalled Bob Dylan in it's social consciousness but didn't reach an audience in the states and he was eventually dropped from the label. He raised three daughters while working construction labor and running for political office. Completely unaware that his music was insanely popular in another part of the world.
Rumor was that an American brought his album over and copies were shared on tape. At the time Cape Town South Africa government tightly controlled the information, products and ideas from the outside world. The influence of Rodriquez's music was emotionally felt as soundtrack to the lives of young people who honored the artist like they did the Beatles. But nothing was know about him. Stories circulated that Rodriquez committed suicide on stage in a number of different gruesome methods which only added to the myth. It took the work of a couple superfans Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom who investigated via the lyrics in this songs. Just when they were going to give up, they followed a line that mentioned Dearborn. In 1998 they were able to come face to face with the man who changed their lives. And Rodriquez discovered a legion of fans who turned out in droves for 6 sold out concerts.
The film is paced with archival footage, the stark desolate streets of Detroit under snow while interspersed with his music and interviews with friends and fans. Rodriquez's bright camera ready daughters offer insight into their father who never let them feel that his failed music career was anything for shame or disappointment. Even his friends and co-workers had a hard time believing that he was bigger than Elvis in Cape Town. Any profits that he made from the resurgence of his career all went to family and friends. His modesty and appreciation for the love that he was given was enough for him. This is a truly inspiring and remarkable tale. One that will make you want to go find his music and listen to it hard.
(Review by reesa)
This delightful indie by Rashida Jones and Will McCormack and directed by Lee Toland Krieger who won the 2009 Emerging Filmmaker award for his film “The Vicious Kind” at the Denver International Film Festival debuted at Sundance this year. It's sort of an anti-romance tale where the couple in question are divorced but still acting like best friends. It's a story of how to let go, move on and grow up.
Celeste (Rashida Jones) had written a book called Shitegeist and works as an expert analyst on trends. Jesse (Andy Samberg), her ex is a wanna be artist/slacker/man child who can't seem to move away from the only thing he knows...his relationship with Celeste. Child hood friends, a couple through high school and collge they were married for 6 years before Celeste gets frustrated by Jesse's lack of ambition. He's still living in the studio behind her house seeing her every day, speaking in their own language cultivated by years of being together. Their best friends Beth (Ari Graynor) and her fiance Tucker (Eric Christian Olsen) find it unsettling that they still act like they're married when they are not.
Celeste is a bit of a control freak and defines everyone around her in sound bytes. Even when the guy from her yoga class tries to flirt with her, she reads him like a book in a smug self satisfied way but still nailing her impression of him. Meanwhile Jesse runs into an old girlfriend that he had a brief fling after the divorce and suddenly he discovers he's going to be a dad. This is the issue that will force them to actually break up for good, or possibly make them realize what they mean to each other. Celeste starts to spin out of control when Jesse seriously starts to accept his new situation and actually evolving away from her. The comedy does resort to Celeste doing a dumpster dive and getting drunk at parties involving their mutual friends. There's also the ongoing joke between the couple where they pretend masturbate a tube of lip palm, or speak with German accents.
The movie also has a interesting secondary characters like Elijah Wood as Celeste's gay business partner , Skillz (Will McCormack) as Jesse's pot smoking buddy and Emma Roberts as a pop superstar that Celeste has to “rebrand”. The resulting logo turns out be a gay Izod.
Samberg does a really good job making Jesse a very likeable guy who has never flown alone and knows he relies too much on Celeste as a friend and confidant. Jones is beautiful (thanks to her parents Peggy Lipton and Quincy Jones) and effective showing Celeste's struggle to finally accept being right all the time is sometimes wrong. Although you may want to have them get back together, you also know for their own sanities, breaking up is the best way to go. There's a naturalness to all the performances which you don't find in the usual Hollyweird rom com's that are forced fed upon the audience. Not just a chick flick, but a nice story on the civilized way to break up.
(Review by reesa)
Disney once more brings the family together in this fantasy tear jerker about a couple desperately seeking to become parents and the child that comes into their lives. Directed and written by Peter Hedges (About a Boy) from a story by Ahmet Zappa (son of Frank), stars the perfect all American girl Jennifer Gardner and Australian actor Joel Edgerton as the earnest parents to be. Sweet, simple and chock full of small town goodness that doesn't blinks twice when a a young boy comes from their garden.
CJ Adams plays the 11 year old boy who arrives in their home one stormy night and he's got leaves on his legs. This was also the night that Cindy and Jim Green had resolved to give up their dreams of having a child by writing down their dreams for their ideal kid on slips of paper. They gather them in a box and bury it in their garden. They are awaken at night by claps of thunder and later find tracks of mud leading to the nursery. The boy they find calls them mom and dad as sure and natural as apple pie.
The Green's dive into their parenting overdrive right away first by having Timothy wear long socks to cover the leaves. They don't really explain to people how the kids suddenly arrived because everyone pretty much assumes he's adopted because they have been in the process for a long time. The young man is so innocent and unassuming that everyone is quickly enamoured with his charms. Cindy's over achieving sister Brenda (Rosemarie DeWitt) is the only one being a wet blanket. Then there is Jim's emotionally distant father who Jim is bound and determined not to be like that to his son.
The story involves besides the Greens learning to become parents without the learning curve of raising him from an infant, but also the crisis of the local town employer the Crudstaff Pencil Factory closing down. The Green's also deal with Timothy being bullied in school, joining the soccer team, and hanging out with a young lady who they don't think is appropriate for their child. Instead of trusting their kid, they are borderline over protective in their efforts of being worthy of being a parent. You will see some familiar faces populating this small town with M. Emmet Walsh as Uncle Bob and Lois Smith as Aunt Mel. Ron Livingston plays the dour factory owner son Franklin and Dianne Wiest as Ms. Crudstaff runs the musem where Cindy works. Shohreh Aghadashloo is the adoption agency worker who listens to the story of the Green's adventure This is a couple hanky movie that will tug at the heartstrings so blatantly and obviously but you probably won't mind.
(Review by reesa)
Monday, August 13, 2012
THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURE FILMING IN THE DFW AREA
LOOKING FOR FOOTBALL PLAYERS AND EXTRAS
One Heart movie to hold open casting call in North Texas
Dallas, TX (August 13, 2012) – Eterné Films will host an open audition for the cast of the theatrical motion picture, One Heart, September 9th & 11-12th with football player interviews to be held at the Hilton Southlake, in Southlake Town Center on September 9th. If selected, players will be invited to an on-field tryout September 11th and 12th. The Producers and Director of One Heart will conduct auditions for football players and extras for the movie, which will be filmed in the Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas area beginning in October 2012.
Based on real-life events, One Heart tells the amazing story of a 2008 high school football game between Grapevine Faith School and the Gainesville State School, a maximum-security juvenile facility. They were two groups from diverse backgrounds whose paths crossed to create life-changing hope and inspiration for those on both sides of the ball. Two teams, two cultures, One Heart. The movie is being produced by Eterné Films in association with Birchwood Pictures.
“One Heart is a powerful story that is already impacting troubled kids right where we live and all across America,” said Jason Witten, All-Pro tight end for the Dallas Cowboys.
One Heart director, Mark Ellis, and producers Steve Riach and Larry Frenzel, will hold the audition to fill the roles of high school football players, as well as other “extras” roles. Also, One Heart’s local casting director, Beth Sepko, will audition certain participants for speaking roles.
Interested players and extras must pre-register by logging on to www.oneheartmovie.com. Deadline for registration is September 8, 2012.
PLAYER REQUIREMENTS: Male players between the ages of 18-25 with extensive football experience. Players must have completed their high school football eligibility and should NOT be seeking NCAA eligibility through a college or junior college football program. Those selected for player roles are paid positions.
Registration, screening and interviews will be held on Sunday, September 9th,
at the Hilton Hotel Southlake Town Square, in Southlake, TX, from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
On-field tryouts will be held on Tuesday, September 11th and Wednesday, September 12th at a TBD location in the D/FW area.
Those interested in participating that do not meet the specific requirements for football players can still tryout for the movie. Information on other roles can be found at www.oneheartmovie.com
Friday, August 10, 2012
BLOCKBUSTER STORES ACROSS THE COUNTRY WILL GIVE FANS A CHANCE TO CELEBRATE THE RELEASE OF THE WILDLY POPULAR FILM WITH LOCAL FESTIVITIES
What: Fans who pre-order The Hunger Games DVD at their local Blockbuster through August 15 will receive a free exclusive Hunger Games poster and be invited to attend a special release party at their local stores.
Attendees at the Dallas/Frankford Road Blockbuster will be treated to a special appearance by KISS-FM on-air talent, HUNGER GAMES survival food, a screening of the movie in store, trivia contests for prizes, a special Tribute mini-makeover and learn self-defense techniques for the arena.
Find your store locations here: http://www.blockbuster.com/releaseparties
Friday, August 17
9:00pm – Midnight
4535 Frankford Road
Dallas, TX 75287
ABOUT THE FILM
Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains.
Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy. If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
THE HUNGER GAMES DVD releases Saturday, August 18
Thursday, August 9, 2012
In this election year it's not surprising to find a movie on candidates and their races for seats of power. Director Jay Roach (Meet the Fockers) with a screenplay by Christ Henchy and Shawn Harwell turn a couple of unlikable characters into prospective Congressmen looking to win the 14th District of Hammond County in North Carolina. With their overdone drawls stars Will Farrell and Zach Galifianakis make fun of lives of those who hold office and their battle to keep the status quo.
Farrell as a promiscuous Democratic politician Cam Brady looking to serve his fourth term in office is a cross between George Bush and John Edwards. His dumb as dirt gaffs are quickly handled by his champaign manager Mitch (Jason Sudeikis). His poll numbers take a dive when he makes a wrong number sex call to who he thinks is his new hot girlfriend. Enter Marty Huggins a normal slightly effeminate guy who is recruited by his father Raymond (Brian Cox) as a pasty for the corporate fat cats, the Motch brothers (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd), who plan to sell Hammond to the Chinese and open sweat shops to save on shipping prices. They finance his champaign and send in slick mysterious Tim Wattley (Dylan McDermott) who takes over Marty's life, his home, his wife, kids and even switches out his dogs for something more vote friendly. There's lots of “they didn't just do that” scenes that include punching a baby and The Artist dog. Good old boy sexist humor and jokes that just go on too long.
The battle between the two heat up with personal attacks and champaign ads that challenge good taste. Cam Brady's answer to everything when giving his thumping speeches is “America, Jesus, Freedom” which highlights how hoodwinked the voting public is by embracing the sound bytes. Coached by Wattley, Marty responds to Brady with his own lispy promise of “look out Washington, I'm coming to clean up because it's a mess!”. Farrell in his usual overkill character who as usual is his own worse enemy. Galifianakis comes off better by giving Marty a little bit of heart as he tries to stay true to himself and his willingness to sacrifice. This film probably would have been more effective as a biting satire, instead it's the too often seen bumbling dumbed down slapstick Hangover humor that makes fun of everyone with no real purpose.
(Review by reesa)
I would love to sit here and tell you all that The Bourne Legacy was just as good as any film in the original Damon trilogy, but, unfortunately, I can’t. While I did enjoy it, this is one of those films in which the bad or not-so-great outweighs the good.
*mild spoilers ahead*
The plot was weak and confusing; the entire first half of the film had me wondering what was happening, who was who, and why certain decisions were being made. While this wouldn’t have been a problem if all of my questions had been answered later in the film, most of them weren’t. I think that the film suffered from being set within the timeline of the original trilogy; references would have been fine, but this film takes place during and immediately after the third film, making things feel forced and a bit rushed. It would have been better to see the main character as a member of a completely separate, unrelated-to-Bourne project so that the film could be viewed less as a sequel and more as a continuation with a new focus.
I also wasn’t a huge fan of the whole “chemically-altered super-human” part of the story…it worked for Captain America because he is a superhero set in a different universe with different rules than ours. While this type of chemical altering may eventually become reality in our own universe, it just feels silly in the context of the film; a super-human doesn’t have the same appeal as a highly-gifted and intensely-trained person in a non-superhero world.
I enjoyed Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, but I felt that the character’s “motivation” was not adequate enough to justify the full movie. It is not the attempt on his life that motivates him (at least, it doesn’t feel like it is), but, rather, his dependency on some pills distributed by the organization he works for that seems to push him into action; the entire middle portion of the film is watching Cross find a way to get his hands on some of these pills. I also had a problem with Rachel Weisz’s character, Dr. Marta Shearling, a woman who seems to take no issue with the fact that Cross is capable of fighting and killing with apparent ease…there’s not even a moment’s flicker of doubt as she continues on her journey with this violent man. In The Bourne Identity, Marie tried to run away from Jason Bourne when she found out who he was and what he was capable of, only staying because Bourne convinces her that she needs him to survive…for at least a little while. There’s a moment that is sort of like this in The Bourne Legacy, but it is subdued and less effective. She asks no questions and makes no attempts to flee.
Though the character wasn’t as fleshed out as he could have been in the script, Renner as Aaron Cross worked wonderfully as the follow-up to Damon’s Bourne. Renner plays the character with a resolve that almost makes you forgive the rocky motivations that Cross acts on. Edward Norton was excellent in this film. His character, Eric Byer, is in charge of cleaning up after the CIA’s “Treadstone” and “Blackbriar” programs (the programs that created/tried to kill Bourne, respectfully). He’s got a sharp tongue, a firm authority, and a sense of urgency that you can’t help but admire. Another bright part of the movie was the action; Jeremy Renner did a great job with the physical aspect of the character as well, giving us fight scenes that, while not as inspired as the first fights in The Bourne Identity, entertain without becoming too much of a good thing…with one exception. The last twenty minutes or so of the film consists of one overly gratuitous chase sequence…it just takes way too long.
Let’s face it: The Bourne Legacy had quite a – well - legacy to live up to. The original trilogy starring Matt Damon in the title role was excellent in terms of plot, character development, emotion, and action. Unfortunately, Legacy fell short in just about every regard, but just because it isn’t as good as the original trilogy doesn’t mean that it isn’t enjoyable – because it is. The Bourne Legacy delivers plenty in the way of action and humor, and, after his brief screen time in The Avengers earlier this year and his supporting role in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, it was nice to see Jeremy Renner as the main protagonist. Boosted along by a fantastic score by James Newton Howard, The Bourne Legacy may disappoint die-hard fans of the original trilogy, but it is still a fairly entertaining summer action film that will please the average moviegoer.
Rating: 2.5 (out of 4)
MPAA: PG-13 - for violence and action sequences
P.S. – Read my review of this film’s score, composed by James Newton Howard, here!
Chad Likes Movies
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Thanks to Thank You for Watching for recording our interview with Thomas Haden Church during the brief press junket in Dallas in support of his new movie the dark comedy Killer Joe.
So is everyone keeping their cool in the 3 digit temps? An air conditioned movie house usually does the trick. This week another good week for films. Hope y'all entered all those contests, signed up for the newsletters for epasses, and generally did what you are supposed to so you don't have to beg passes from others who did all the work for them.
The new Yahoo Groups calendar is supposed to be improved, but frankly it wasn't broke before so why did they think it needed fixing? The most common problem seems to be the time the events are appearing. What you need to do is sign into your Yahoo Groups page at DMS (Dallas Movie Screenings), go to the calendar page and change your personal calendar time zone to Central Standard Time.
Another situation is that someone is screwing with the event information on the calendar by adding what they think are clever additions but they are merely annoying. So controls have been set so that only the moderators are allowed to create, modify and delete events. Really hate doing that because this is something that which members should be able to contribute. Unfortunately someone thinks that adding YouTube video links, changing the names of movies and other unnecessary comments have made your ability to add movies to the calendar to become restricted. If this person steps forward and apologizes, promises never to do it again, then controls will be reserved.
August 5 - 11, 2012
Sun August 5
Mon August 6
7:30PM The Campaign - AMC Northpark
Tues August 7
7:00PM The Odd Life of Timothy Green - AMC Stonebriar
7:30PM The Bourne Legacy - AMC Northpark
7:30PM Hope Springs - Studio Movie Grill Dallas
Wed August 8
7:00PM The Odd Life of Timothy Green = AMC Northpark
Thurs August 9
7:30PM Duck Soup - Angelika Dallas
Fri August 10
Sat August 11
Friday, August 3, 2012
Not exactly a remake of the 1990 film of the same name this version leaves out the whole Mars element and adds instead bit of the Blade Runner location. Director Len Wiseman and writers Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback have created a convoluted storyline that is pieced together by action set pieces and attractive actors. No signature pop culture lines will be taken away from this feature.
Collin Farrell plays Douglas Quaid who is married to Lori (Kate Beckinsale) in the eastern hemisphere of the colonies. It's 2084 and the world has been devastated by chemical warfare leaving most of the world in an unlivable “no-zone” where you need gas masks to breath. Doug works in the factory that builds synthetic soldiers on the assembly lines. Lately he's been feeling like he wants something more, especially when he's passed over for a promotion by the job going to someone from the UFB, commonly known as the United Federation of Britain which is located in the western hemisphere where the better haves live. Doug has been having these intense nightmares so he considers going to Rekall were you can have memories implanted. All you have to do is tell them your dream in life like being a rock star, CEO, athlete or a spy. Doug likes the idea of a spy. So before they send him on his journey he's tested to make sure that his scenario won't conflict with his reality. Just when things look good, they find somethings amiss and pull him off, then all hell breaks loose. The UFB cops arrive fully loaded, and somehow Doug is able to wipe them all out.
Farrell is quite good portraying the confused normal guy who suddenly finds himself able to shoot, fight and evade. When Lori tells him that he's not Doug Quaid, she's not his wife of 7 years, and she's been giving him “good wife” for the past 6 months, Doug starts to run from her murderous attacks and the police that are in pursuit. Enter Melina (Jessica Biel) who comes to his rescue and who he recognizes from his dreams.
You will see a lot of elements from other movies here besides Blade Runner there's The Bourne films, The Fifth Element and a touch of Star Wars. This movie doesn't have much to do with the original film nor from the source material of the Philip Dick short story We Remember For You Wholesale. It's a stand alone piece, but it does incorporate some things like the weird lady at the souped up x ray machine and the three breasted woman. What this movie does have is non stop action. Lori the wife for some reason is always there chasing him. Must be nice to be married to the director. It's just the storyline about political factions that's supposed to be the reason that Doug is someone else that is almost too much and often times confusing. But who cares, the cool races in air cars, parkour over the elevated building in the Colony, and chases through criss crossing elevators the movie is fun to watch. Just go home and watch the Schwarzenegger version for a better time.
(Review by reesa)
American director Alison Klayman followed artist Ai Weiwei in Beijing for three years documenting the artist as he and his volunteers seek to uncover the death toll of students who were lost during the devastating Sichuan earthquake of 2008. Ai investigated the “tofu” construction of the shoddily built schools that collapsed killing thousands of students. The Chinese government's attempts to keep this information under wraps leads to intimidation of Ai and his volunteers as they collect their information. What made this so different from other artists and writers who have criticized the Chinese authority was Ai Weiwei's ability to utilize the Internet's social media portals in communicating his political activism.
Ai was one year old when his father Chinese poet Ai Qing was sent to a labor camp for re-education in 1958 where they lived for 16 years. Ai was one of the founders of the early avant garde art group in Beijing. He lived in New York City's lower east side from 1981 – 1993 creating conceptual art. He returned to China when his father is sick and found there wasn't any art activity in his community. He started a basically underground art movement creating books of art and selling them secretly out side galleries. He started blogging in 2005 where he would post his very vocal opinions and show his home made documentaries. His art work was been exhibited all over the world. In 2008 he designed the famous Bird's Nest stadium for the Beijing Olympics only to boycott the event itself as propaganda. In this film we are given a tour of his studio and his work made from his ideas by his assistants. For a show in Munich he covered a wall in colored backpacks that spelled out a remembrance from a mother who lost her daughter during the earthquake. “She lived happily for seven years”. At the Tate Modern he fills a large gallery floor with 100 million hand painted porcelain sunflower seeds for museum goers to walk on and think about the power of anonymous millions. His most emotional piece was the wall of the names of the over 5000 children lost during the earthquake that his volunteers investigated along with their ages and grades.
Chinese authorities had shut down his blog and put surveillance cameras around his studio. Ai in turn takes pictures of the cameras and posts them on his twitter feed. The documentary also follows the event where Ai was beaten by the police and he suffered a brain bleed from it. They follow him while he makes attempts to complain about the treatment and tries to bring a lawsuit. The government decides to destroy his studios. So Ai Weiwei invites his supports via Twitter for a demolition party. In April 2011 he was arrested and detained for 81 days. The news went viral with various countries demanding his release. When they let him out he was handed a $2.4 million tax bill and forbidden to talk about what happened or leave the country.
Ai Weiwei is a burly man, a sharp insightful mind, deadpan eyes and a political activist artist who found a way to shine the light on his country and make their actions transparent. The documentary presents Ai's charisma and sense of humor like why can't cats open doors? And then one of his 40 cats opens the doors, he wonders why they can't close them. But you know he's pondering bigger questions. Like us all we should also ask ourselves what are we doing to become more aware who we are and where we are going. This is a engaging and important film.
(Review by reesa)
Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner Tracy Letts wrote the play for Killer Joe in 2003 and he also wrote the screenplay for the film version. Directed by 73 year old William Friedkin who brought us The Exocrcist, The French Connection and whose last feature work was Bug in 2007 shows that he can still capture the audience attention in this darkly humorous film that has been rated NC17.
Chris (Emile Hirsch) comes back to the trailer home of his step mom Sharla (Gina Gershon starting the film in a revealing first scene), his dad Ansel (Thomas Haden Church) and his sister Dottie (Juno Temple). Seems he owes $6000 to drug dealer Digger (Marc Macaulay) because Chris's mom stole his coke that he was supposed to sell. His dad doesn't have that kind of money so Chris hatches this scheme to kill his mom (no one will miss her anyways) and the insurance beneficiary sister will collect $50,000. He was even told there's a guy name Joe (Matthew McConaughey), a Dallas detective who moonlights as a contract killer. The only trouble is that Joe wants $25,000 up front. Chris proposes to pay him after they collect the settlement. Joe is about to walk off until he sees Dottie and suddenly offers to accept a “retainer” in the form of his little sister. It doesn't take long for them to make the deal and what comes after that is something that you won't expect.
Suffice to say there is not one redeeming character in this whole movie. The trailer park family is as dumb as dirt. Ansel is a mechanic, smokes pot with his son, and pretty much goes along with what everyone tells him. Sharla runs around without her pants, cheats on her husband, and works as a pizza waitress. Dottie is a sweet virginal Daisy Mae type full of little girl innocence in cutoffs and tank tops but somehow knows what's going on. Chris is full of half @ss ideas that don't really come to fruition like being a rabbit farmer. His plans only see the possible result completely skipping the practical applications. Like offing his mom and pimping out his sister only to pay off the dealer who promises to kill him in a couple of days after beating the crap out of him. Meanwhile Joe is slick and menacing. His intonations are more like whiny nasal growls. Cool and unflappable only becoming subjugated to winsome sexuality of Dottie.
Friedkin didn't allow any improvisation by his actors keeping true to the written script. At times it's bogged down by that same structure. There's plenty of nudity, violence and one scene will make you abhor chicken legs afterwards. The poor white trash absurd comic surrealism borders on excess. But it will keep your attention and it will make you laugh out loud, nervously perhaps in an OMG sort of way. One has to wonder how they did this as a play on stage and how many buckets of chicken they went through.
(Review by reesa)
Based on the third and fourth book of popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney, the new feature film follows the continuing misadventures of the Greg Heffley. The episodic pacing is probably like chapters in the book where each scene flips from one to another without any semblance of rhythm and flow.
Teen age Zachary Gordon is back playing Greg as the middle school kid getting out of school for the summer. His dream summer consists of spending the days playing video games. He even sets an alarm so that he can be off the game before his dad gets home from work. Like all of Greg's plans he gets found out and his father takes away all television privileges. He ends up going with his best friend Rowley (Robert Capron) to the country club pool with his parents. Greg is impressed with the easy smoothies, and empty pool. But what causes his biggest problem comes when he sees Holly (Peyton List) who he's got a major crush working. He ends up lying to his parents that he got a job at the country club as an excuse to keep going back. His older brother Roderick (Devon Bostick) finds out and tries to take advantage of the situation by making Greg sneak him in too. Eventually his father finds out about his lying and instead of yelling and screaming as usual he's disappointed. Greg is afraid that his father is going to send him to prep school. Roderick advises him to be the best Wilderness Scout ever and hopefully he will make his father proud.
There's a lot of stuff going on in this and most of the Wimpy Kid series. The main lesson in this particular set is the relationship or lack of thereof between Greg and his father. Obviously they are very much alike, but for some reason can't seem to find common ground outside of an inane comic strip that they both don't understand. The slow maturity of Greg actually learning from his mistakes, and his dad's appreciation that his son starts to own up to faults binds the two in that natural progression that should happen between growing your men and their dads. His father tells him that “a man who never made a mistake, never made anything”. It's just a little hard to feel sorry for the selfish kid who only thinks of his immediate gratification. There are eight books in the series, so we will probably be subjected to at least a couple more films where Greg will continue making mistakes.
(Review by reesa)