The Dallas Movie Screening Group

This is the homepage of the Dallas Movie Screening Group. To join our mailing list you must sign up at our group page on Yahoo. You will then be connected to receive notices on how to find passes to the local screenings in the DFW area. It's up to you to pickup or sign up for passes. You can also barter, trade or just giveaway passes you don't want, need or share with other members of the group. Please read the instructions on the Yahoo page very carefully before posting. This group is closely moderated so that your mail box is not full of spam or other unnecessary mail. We appreciate everyone's consideration and cooperation.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Book of Life

It's not surprising that Hispanic moviegoers are the fastest growing demographic, so a movie that is aimed at their cultural celebration should not only pack the theaters but also enlighten others to this world. Directed by Jorge Guiterrez and co-written with Doug Langdale, the film was also produced by Guillermo del Toro. The brightly 3D computer animated adventure is a being released a little early for the Halloween/Day of the Dead end of the month celebration but will certainly delight and humor it's target family audience.

The story is about Manolo Sánchez (Diego Luna) who comes from a long line of bullfighters. But he would rather be a musician. He is also in love with Maria (Zoe Saldana) who he has to battle his best friend Joaquín (Channing Tatum) for her affections. Two spirits La Muerte (Kate del Castillo) who rules the Land of the Remembered and Xibalba (Ron Perlman) who rules the Land of the Forgotten decide to make a bet on who will win Maria's heart. La Muerte backs Manolo and Xibalba backs Joaquín. However, Xibalba cheats by giving Joaquín a magical badge that will make him invincible and he becomes the hero of the land fighting the bandits that prey on small villages like their own. It also makes him egotistical and easily manipulated by Xibalba. Manola on the other hand is peace loving to the point where he refuses to kill the bull in the arena to the disappointment of his father. Maria who was sent away to school in Europe, returns enlightened, liberated and unwillingly being pressured to marry Joaquín by her father to save the town. Xibalba also cause Manola to wander through the Land of the Forgotten and the Land of the Remembered while facing his greatest fears.

A movie about the Day of Dead probably wouldn't sell especially to kids as it sounds more like a zombie flick. The title Book of Life is more upbeat and positive. The Day of the Dead is explained as the time when loved ones who have passed are remembered. As long as there is someone to remember them, their spirits will dwell in the Land of the Remembered. If no one is there, they will pass to the Land of the Forgotten. There are parts of the story that may seem grim to the little ones, but the colors and artwork more than make up for it's more serious subject matter. The upbeat music and amusing characters keep the action and adventure moving along. Like meeting the Candlemaker (Ice Cube) who lives beyond the Labyrinth and can help Manola go back to the land of the living.

There are some little life lessons in the film and no heavy duty religious tones. But mostly it's intense eye candy. The characters are drawn like puppet with sharp angles, oversized heads, tiny legs and feet. The colors are almost psychedelic keeping your eyes glued to the screen. It's a movie worth getting the DVD and playing it annually for your harvest festivals.
(Review by reesa)

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