The Dallas Movie Screening Group

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

You can use this homepage for posting comments, reviews, and other things that cannot be posted to the group. Of course spam is not allowed. Thanks!

To join the Dallas Movie Screening Yahoo Group:
dallasmoviescreenings-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Reesa's Reviews can also be found at:
http://www.moviegeekfeed.com

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

Website and Group Contact: dalscreenings@gmail.com

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Reesa's Movie List 2016


The total number of movies that I usually see during the year is greatly reduced due to various personal reasons, but I have been able to enjoy some really interesting and unforgettable films. Here is my top favorites (in alphabetical order):

10 Cloverfield Lane
A Monster Calls
Arrival
Captain American: Civil War
Captain Fantastic
Don't Think Twice
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
Kubo and the TWo Strings
La La Land
Life, Animated
Lion
Love & Friendship
Manchester by the Sea
Miss Sloane
Moonlight
Nocturnal Animals
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Sing Street
The Dressmaker
The Handmaiden
The Lobster
The Tunnel
The Wailing
Train to Busan
Weiner
Where to Invade Next
Zootopia


Reesa's Movie List for 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane
A Fat Wreck
A Monster Calls
A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story
Alice Through the Looking Glass Adventure
American Honey
American Pastoral
Anthropoid
Arrival
Assassin’s Creed
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Bitcoin Heist
Bleed For This
Booger Red
Bridget Jones’s Baby
Captain America: Civil War
Captain Fantastic
Central Intelligence
Chongqing Hot Pot
City of Gold
Collateral Beauty
Criminal
De Palma
Deadpool
Deepwater Horizon
Denial
Dheepan
Divergent: Allegiant
Doctor Strange
Don’t Think Twice
Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words
Eddie the Eagle
Elle
Eye in the Sky
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Fences
Finding Dory
Free State of Jones
Ghostbusters
Gods of Egypt
Hacksaw Ridge
Hands of Stone
Hardcore Henry
Hell or High Water
Hello, My Name is Doris
Hidden Figures
Honky Tonk Heaven
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
I Saw the Light
Ice Age: Collision Course
Independence Day: Resurgence
Inferno
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Jackie
Jason Bourne
Kampai! For the Love of Sake
Knight of Cups
Kubo and the Two Strings
Kung Fu Panda 3
La La Land
Life, Animated
Lights Out
Lion
Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World
London Has Fallen
Love & Friendship
Loving
Ma Ma
Man Down
Manchester by the Sea
Max Rose
Me Before You
Midnight Special
Miles Ahead
Miracles from Heaven
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Miss Sloane
Missing You
Moana
Money Monster
Moonlight
Morgan
Mr. Pig
Nocturnal Animals
Norm of the North
Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You
Occupy Texas
Odd Ball
Orion
Papa: Hemingway in Cuba
Passengers
Pete’s Dragon
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Puerto Ricans in Paris
Queen of Katwe
Remember
Rise of the Legend
Robinson Crusoe
Rurôni Kenshin: Meiji kenkaku roman tan
Rurouni Kenshin II: Kyoto Inferno
Rurouni Kenshin III: The Legend Ends
Samurai Hustle Returns
Sausage Party
Seoul Searching
Sing
Sing Street
Snowden
Son of Saul
Star Trek Beyond
Storks
Strayer’s Chronicle
Suicide Squad
Sully
Takim (The Team)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
The Accountant
The Age of Shadows
The Anthropologist
The BFG
The Birth of a Nation
The Bodyguard
The Dressmaker
The Finest Hours
The Girl on the Train
The Green Room
The Handmaiden
The Hollars
The Infiltrator
The Jungle Book
The Legend of Tarzan
The Light Between Oceans
The Lobster
The Magnificent Seven
The Man Who Knew Infinity
The Meddler
The Nice Guys
The Secret Life of Pets
The Space Between Us
The Wailing
The Witch
Three Days in August
Train to Busan
Transpecos
Triple 9
Trolls
Tunnel
War Dogs
Weiner
Where to Invade Next
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Why Him?
Wolf Girl and Black Prince
X-Men: Apocalypse
Yip Man 3
You Call it Passion
Zootopia








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Dallas Movie Screening Reviewers Best of 2016




Contributing writers for Dallas Movie Screenings weigh in on their favorite films of 2016.

Chase Lee

1. Moonlight
2. Nocturnal Animals
3. The Invitation
4. Tower
5. Jackie
6. Arrival
7. Manchester by the Sea
8. Hell or High Water
9. La La Land
10. Zootopia


Wyatt Head

1. Weiner
2. Where To Invade Next
3. Free State of Jones
4. Sully
5. Money Monster
6. Risen
7. Life, Animated
8. The Man Who Knew Infinity
9. The Edge of Seventeen
10. The Jungle Book


reesa

As you can tell, I have a bias for Asian films, particularly South Korean cinema. I didn't get to see as many films this year as I have in the past.

1. Train to Busan
2. The Wailing
3. The Handmaiden
4. Manchester by the Sea
5. Love & Friendship
6. Sing Street
7. Captain Fantastic
9. The Lobster
10. Zootopia

Favorite Documentaries:

1. Where to Invade Next
2. Life, Animated
3. Weiner


Erin Nicole Parisi



As we say adios to 2016, it is always so-o-o-o hard to narrow it down to just ten movies! Also I would like to note that I have not seen Hidden Figures yet which I think would probably have made my top ten list.

So here goes, in no particular order:

1. Tiger
2. Nocturnal Animals
3. Captain Fantastic
4. Moonlight
5. Manchester by the Sea
6. 20th Century Women
7. Edge of 17
8. La La Land
9. Hell or Highwater
10. Love & Friendship

Documentaries
1. The Tower
2. Miss Sharon Jones
3. Weiner

Here's to discovering more incredible films in 2017! Happy New Year to all!


Cheryl Wurtz

No particular order

1. Moonlight
2. Manchester by the Sea
3. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
4. Deadpool
5. Hell or High Water
6. Lion
7. Fences
8. A Monster Calls
9. Gleason
10. Silence

Honorable Mention - Star Wars Rogue One, Loving, Hidden Figures, Jackie, Birth of a Nation, Hacksaw Ridge, Captain Fantastic, Tower, Life-Animated, Weiner






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Thursday, December 29, 2016

North Texas Film Critics Announces Best of 2016




N Tx FILM CRITICS NAME “LA LA LAND” AS BEST FILM OF 2016


The North Texas Film Critics Association voted the romantic musical LA LA LAND as the Best Film of 2016, according to the results of its annual critics’ poll. Completing list of the top 10 films of the year were MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (2), MOONLIGHT (3), HACKSAW RIDGE (4), LOVING (5), ARRIVAL (6), CAPTAIN FANTASTIC (7), NOCTURNAL ANIMALS (8), JACKIE (9) and THE BIRTH OF A NATION (10).

For Best Actor, the association named Casey Affleck for MANCHESTER BY THE SEA. Runners-up included Ryan Gosling for LA LA LAND (2), Denzel Washington for FENCES (3), Andrew Garfield for HACKSAW RIDGE (4) and Don Cheadle for MILES AHEAD (5).

Natalie Portman was voted Best Actress for JACKIE. Next in the voting were Emma Stone for LA LA LAND (2), Amy Adams for ARRIVAL (3), Emily Blunt for THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (4) and Ruth Negga for LOVING (5).

In the Best Supporting Actor category, the winner was Michael Shannon for NOCTURNAL ANIMALS. He was followed by Mahershala Ali for MOONLIGHT (2), Dev Patel for LION (3), Jeff Bridges for HELL OR HIGH WATER (4) and Lucas Hedges for MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (5).

For Best Supporting Actress, the association named Michelle Williams for MANCHESTER BY THE SEA. Runners-up included Viola Davis for FENCES (2), Naomie Harris for MOONLIGHT (3), Octavia Spencer for HIDDEN FIGURES (4) and Janelle Monáe for HIDDEN FIGURES (5).

Damien Chazelle was voted Best Director for LA LA LAND. Next in the voting were Barry Jenkins for MOONLIGHT (2), Mel Gibson for HACKSAW RIDGE (3), Denis Villeneuve for ARRIVAL (4) and Kenneth Lonergan for MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (5).

The association voted ELLE as the Best Foreign Language film of the year. Runners-up were THE HANDMAIDEN (2), THE HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE (3), TONI ERDMANN and THE SALESMAN tied for the last spot (4).

GLEASON won for Best Documentary over 13th (2), TOWER (3), WEINER (4) and THE EAGLE HUNTRESS (5).

ZOOTOPIA was named the Best Animated film of 2016, over KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS (2) and SING (3).

The award for Best Cinematography went to Linus Sandgren for LA LA LAND, followed by James Laxton for MOONLIGHT (2), Bradford Young for ARRIVAL and Simon Duggan for HACKSAW RIDGE tied for the next spot (3) and Stéphane Fontaine for JACKIE (5).

This year’s awards were dedicated to the memory of our past president, Gary Murray. In his honor, next year we will designate an award in perpetuity. The Gary Murray Award will honor the Best Newcomer in a film.






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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Movies Scheduled for the Week of December 25 - December 31


Hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday weekend. For all of you who are having the week off, get to the theaters to watch some of the films you may have missed. Our Dallas Movie Screenings reviewers are raving about Hidden Figures and Lion which opened today.

As expected, a last minute screening popped up this week. So keep an eye on your group mail just in case something else shows up. We get lots of emails asking about passes after this calendar is posted. The information on how to get the passes are usually emailed previously, so it's important to check your group mail so you don't miss out.

December 25 - December 31

Wednesday - December 28

Split - 4:00 pm - Cinemark West Plano


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Saturday, December 24, 2016

HIdden Figures




Honest, Mature, and Inspirational

Opening:

I was surprised on how good this was. This is one of those movies that needs supports and be shown for the disgusting reminder of human behavior towards racism and the inspirational nature of three woman who beat the odds and proved to be just as equal, and more so, than their male counterparts. Let’s get reel and break this down.

Plot:
A team of African-American women provide NASA with important mathematical data needed to launch the program's first successful space missions.

Directing/Writing

Pros:

I love the way the film is put together and the director treating the subject matter, despite the PG rating, with maturity so it isn’t watered down but also glimmering with hope. The emotional moments hit with ferocity and really show how terrible sexism and racism was back in the day. These three women, based on real life people, prove to any kid who watches this that if life beats you down by ignorance you standup for equality and fight it. With its strong messages, it is also entertaining and makes the world of NASA super inviting to sign up and join. Lastly, you are rooting for these characters every step of the way and they are some of my favorite heroes portrayed on screen this year.

Cons:
Maybe see a bit more of Octavia Spencer’s character’s home life. The other two are well balanced between work and home life but I wish we got a bit more with her.

Acting

Pros:

Everyone is wonderful. All three main actresses provide the charisma and strength of these real life people. They all have their shining moments that will make you stand up and cheer. The supporting cast is great as well and Kevin Costner is my second favorite performance. His character gives the humanity and compassion that people are supposed to have for one another and stand up against inequality.

Cons:
None.

Cinematography

Pros:

The beautiful colors pop from the fantastic set design and art direction. The whole atmosphere feels like it’s from the 60’s and has a warm quality about it.

Cons:
None.

Editing/Special Effects

Pros:
For it
s two hour run-time it doesn’t feel too long and I was intrigued the whole time. I almost wish it was longer. Then again, I am huge fan of anything based on real life people and/or events. Even if you bring your kid or younger sibling to it, I think they will enjoy it.

Cons:
None.

Overall:
I compared this to Remember the Titans. It has a friendly rating for all families to enjoy but doesn’t treat the audience like their dumb and show the struggle that these women went through with care and honesty while being entertaining and having you cheer towards the end.

Grade:
B+

(Review by Chase Lee)






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Lion



Lion is a true gem of a film. A must see. Visually stunning, via long lazy aerial footage, lush with people and culture, both gritty and enveloping, and auditory engaging via a mish mash of dialects and music, the film tells the true story of Saroo Brierly and his book "The Long Way Home". Saroo, as a five year old West Indian boy, took refuge at a train station in an empty rail car, while his older brother, Guddu, worked nearby overnight. He awoke to find the car enroute to Kolkata, around 1000 miles east of his small village, mother and family. Sunny Pawar stars as young Saroo in an amazing performance from one so young. Alone, wide-eyed and guided by self-survival skills, he bounces from crowded space to crowded place like a pin ball. The language barrier between Saroo, who speaks Hindi and the locals, who speak Bengali, prevents him from being understood by all the seemingly complacent passers-by. He did not know his mother's name, mispronounced the name of his home and to an extend, didn't even identify himself thoroughly. He ends up in an orphanage, after escaping friendly but dangerous sex traffickers, and is eventually adopted by a couple in Hobart, Tasmania in Austrailia. Saroo is later joined by a new brother, also adopted from India. His brother has not fared as well in adapting to his traumatic experiences. He demonstrates severe anger issues and turns to drugs as an adult while Saroo thrives in school and attends a hotel management program as an adult, where he meets his girlfriend Lucy. At 25, haunted and tormented by the images and voices of his mother and brother, who he imagines are still frantically searching for him after all these years, he decides to use google earth and what he remembers of the layout and landmarks of his tiny village, to try to find home and whatever may be there left for him.

This Golden Globe nominated film is the total package. It has an engaging story, guaranteed to produce tears in the eyes of even the hardest hearted. It is a vehicle for a wide range of stellar performances from Dev Patel as Saroo, Nicole Kidman as his new mother, and Rooney Mara as Lucy. The story unfolds into two parts; the road away from home with its daily struggles to survive, and the road back to home, bridged by the emergence of Saroo the adult survivor, who exists only because of the love and support of his adoptive parents, from the enormously engaging inner young Saroo. He is spurred on his journey home back to try to find the love of his birth mother, by his younger self. He is tormented by the fact that his life has been so charmed, and that the lives of so many have not been, including his birth brother and mother, who were poor laborers, trying to eak out a living despite having an absent husband and father. The pull of home, wherever-whatever-whoever that may be, is strong and is an integral part of one's identity. The story is a testament to the human will to survive and complete one's self and should see at least a few awards in the upcoming awards season.
(Review by Cheryl Wurtz)



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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Why Him?




Comedy movies always seem to aim for the lowest common denominator, giving out a few laughs, but most of the time leaves one gritting their teeth hoping it's over soon. Director John Hamburg who created The Fockers, co-wrote the screenplay with Ian Helfer about an overprotective dad and the eager to please soon to be son in law. The women in the movie take a back seat to the male ego flexing. Fortunately the film has an interesting cast who seem to be having a good time so the 111 minute running time goes quickly.

Bryan Cranston plays Ned Fleming an uptight owner of a printing company in Michigan which is struggling due to the online competition. His beloved daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) who is attending Stanford, wants the family to come to California at Christmas to meet her boyfriend Laird Mayhew. What Stephanie didn't tell them is that her BF is a gaming app tech billionaire living in this Silicon Valley minimalist eco-friendly modern mansion with really bad art (a bison encased in urine), nerdy employees, and celebrity hanger on's. It's as overwhelming as the blunt, gregarious and expletive spouting Laird, who James Franco plays with the seriousness of a new puppy. Mom Barb (Megan Mullally) is somewhat uncomfortable, but enjoys the amenities, and little brother Scotty (Griffin Gluck) practically hero worships Laird. The usual duck out of water shenanigans, the dad is caught up in keeping his princess away from the wild and crazy guy and Laird doing everything he can to impress his GF's family all in the wrong ways. It's a formula concept dressed up in a social media tech savvy world which in a year or so will be hopelessly out dated.

Thank goodness for Keegan-Michael Key who plays Laird's European estate manager who not only takes care of Laird's finances, whims and foibles, but also his martial arts trainer who physically attacks him by surprise at any given moment. He keeps the laughs going even while trying to fix the programming on a Japanese toilet that doesn't require paper. Kaley Cuoco is the voice of Justine, the Internet of Things, that oversees everything. Sort of Google Home on steroids and probably soon to be the next big thing. This is a movie for those cranky old stuck in the mud old guys and those long in the tooth hipsters battling for the fair princess. But no one asks what the women in this film think of all this. They are set up in these weird embarrassing scenes involving sex. It's annoying until KISS shows up then it's just ridiculous. Merry Christmas!
(Review by reesa)






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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Assassin's Creed



The backstory is probably not important to gamers since most people just like immersing themselves into battling the various levels of challenges. The movie versions of a film based on a game begs to have a coherent story to tie together the game's action sequences. This new film based on the Ubisoft game of the same name, is directed by Justin Kurzel and written by Michael Lesslie, Adam Cooper and Bill Collage that follows an original concept in the Assassin's Creed universe. One would think from the intriguing teasers and trailers and with the high caliber actors involved that there would be something more there.

Michael Fassbender who also produced the film, stars as Callum Lynch in the present and his ancestor, Aquilar de Nerha in 1492. As a child Callum discovered his father had killed his mother, so he grows up drifting in and out of trouble until he is sentenced to death for murder. He wakes up after his lethal injection to find him self at a research institution in Spain called Abstegrgo. Dr. Spohia Rikken (Marion Cotillard) tells him that she is trying to eliminate violence in the world. All he has to do is be hooked up to the Animus machine that ties your consciousness to an ancient ancestor to help them find the Apple of Eden.

The Apple of Eden supposedly will end free will and this end will end violence. What they don't tell him right away is that the Knights of the Templar who have been chasing this artifact throughout the centuries wanting to control the Apple of Eden and have everyone live under the rule of the Templar. They have been stymied by the Assassin's Creed who "live in the dark to protect the light". In other words, they protect free will. The head of the Templar, Ellen Kaye (Charlotte Rampling) is going to pull the funding for Dr. Rikken's project, so Alan Rikken (Jeremy Irons) Sofia's dad and boss, forces Cal's regressions despite his daughter's warnings.

The whole Apple of Eden thing is a bunch of hooey, so don't think so hard on it. They best parts are the visuals and actions sequences. During Cal's regressions as Aguliar, he runs around with his Assassin team doing lots of fighting, impossible parkour, and flashy stunts. Running around medieval cities, with a bunch of tough hombres who have wrist knives, shoe knives, smoke bombs, swords and ninja fighting skills is fun and maybe worth seeing. The rest of the film falls into a big muddled mess towards the end. If the year 1492 doesn't give you a clue, Christoper Columbus in involved.
(Review by reesa)



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Sing




This Movie is the Equivalent to Lil Wayne Trying to Actually Sing and End up Sounding like a Dying Goose with a Scratchy Voice



Opening:

When the year has had some of the best animation in recent years, you have a lot to live up to. Sing definitely ends the year of animation as the nail that pops the tire of the animation car travelling fast from earlier this year. Let’s get reel and break this down.

Plot:
A koala named Buster Moon has one final chance to restore his theater to its former glory by producing the world's greatest singing competition.

Directing/Writing

Pros:

The environment that the animals inhabitant does match the accuracy of daily life of us mortal humans. The songs are about as catchy as a five-year-old playing catch with their parent…so hit and miss. The theme is nice for kids on never giving up on your dreams but it doesn’t go beyond that.

Cons:

The story is non-existent and it’s a cheap marketing ploy to make you watch America’s Got Talent, The Voice, or The Other Singing Competition Show. That last one doesn’t exist but I want to create a primetime parody show called that. The characters are lifeless or extremely one-dimensional but that’s ok kids the next song is around the corner!!! With Zootopia (you knew I was going to bring it up) it was adult and tackled serious conversations while being friendly, colorful, and clever with humor. Sing does none of this. I know it’s a different movie, but when you have the same type of environments take advantage of it instead of making it simple to appeal just to toddlers. Lastly, I didn’t feel like I knew any of the characters beyond this competition and there were also side stories and characters that felt like different movies and didn’t mesh well.

Voice Acting

Pros:

Everyone is fine, I guess. Some of the lines garnered a chuckle here and there from Seth MacFarlane.

Cons:
None.

Cinematography

Pros:

The environments and some animals look great and capture the grounded reality of the real world.

Cons:
With the above statement, they also don’t try anything new so most shots are very bland or standard.

Editing/Special Effects

Pros:

At an hour and a half it’s painless?

Cons:

Since the story is so empty, at parts it does feel longer than a usual animated film.

Overall:

As an adult taking your sibling, kid, or going by yourself, you can find some visual eye candy appealing but it is masked with a lifeless movie considering how animated the characters are sometimes and a big advertisement for America’s Got Talent and nothing more.

Note: They actually did play an advertisement for an America’s Got Talent Christmas Special before the movie…so you know…that says a lot.

Grade:
D+

(Review by Chase Lee)







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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Movies Scheduled for the Week of December 18 - December 24



One more week until the holidays. Hope y'all are keeping warm and safe. Nothing seems to be on the calendar for next week, so it will be a good time to catch up on all the stuff you may have missed. Then again last minute stuff might show up and surprise us.

Just a reminder that if someone offers passes, you must write directly to them and not the group. You will just have your post "rejected". So please double check that return email before hitting send.

December 18 - December 24

Monday - December 19

Passengers - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas
Passengers - 7:30 pm - AMC Valley View
Sing - 7:00 pm - ?
Why Him? - 7:30 pm - Studio Movie Grill Plano

Tuesday - December 20

Why Him? - 7:00 pm - Studio Movie Grill Northwest Hwy
Fences - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark

Wednesday - December 21

A Monster Calls - 7:30 pm - Angelika Dallas

Thursday - December 22

Hidden Figures - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark




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Friday, December 16, 2016

La La Land




La La Land. Los Angeles. Hollywood. In its heyday, the musical was the thing. Big, bold productions filled huge sound stages and were chock full of talented vocalists and dancers; experts in their craft. Musicals on film were cranked out, one after the other, many to become classics like An American in Paris or Singing in the Rain. The trend continued on into the sixties with the likes of West Side Story and Hello Dolly. But a time came when film versions died off and the musical lived on elsewhere, relegated to tiny Broadway stages. But Hollywood loves Hollywood and the vehicle that is La La Land comes to us heavily hyped, heavily lauded and highly anticipated; loaded with expectations. Does it live up to the hype? Not so sure.

Prepare yourself for a wonderful, fresh new score by Justin Hurwitz who collaborated with director and writer Damien Chazelle on this film as well as the tour de force Whiplash. Laced with song and dance numbers, big production pieces such as the opener "Traffic", and smokey, hazy jazz interludes throughout, the music is the stitching in the fabric of the film. But the fabric itself is a bit bland. Color is all throughout the production but the basic storyline has been done so many times in far too many ways.

Struggling actress/ barista Mia (Emma Stone) trying to make her way away from home, not the Midwest this time but Nevada, to try making it big as an actress. She crosses paths a few times with Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a jazz aficionado who longs to open his own jazz club in a time where jazz is dying. He makes ends meet by playing meaningless gigs around town. Mia auditions and flops through a chain of auditions and performances while Sebastian begins to stretch his legs with a new band gaining popularity but not really playing the the kind of stuff he is passionate about, in order to pay the bills. Their budding relationship and year long courtship waxes and wanes through the less interesting midsection of the film, until their professional courses diverge and related demands begin to threaten to divide them. The paths they take and the expression of the driving forces behind them are when the movie seriously and finally become the most interesting and complex.

The singing and dancing talents of our real stars are pleasant enough but they do not completely impress. The characters are charming but remain flat through most of the storyline until conflict and personal drive force choices in each of them. Is there enough love and commitment to their relationship to support both through their personal goals in and out of La La Land? There is plenty of "La La" or altered reality states via dream sequences such as the one at the observatory following a screening of "Rebel Without a Cause". Cinematography sparkles and shines, through creative camerawork and there are certainly worthwhile visual moments. But one really senses a big lull in the rather thin and predictable storyline. The chemistry between Stone and Gosling was much stronger and more electric in 2011's Crazy, Stupid, Love. And there are sluggish 50's undertones that don't translate well into the current day City of Angels.

Stone seems to be attempting to stretch her performance skills much, since her early start as a more comedic actress, followed by some romantic-comedic roles , then most recently dramatic parts and now attempting the triple threat with some degree of success. Gosling is like able enough but should stick to the piano, and let the keys do his dancing and singing for him.

Award nominations are pouring in left and right for this piece and it is really really trying to resurrect the classic Hollywood musical. L.A. , Itself, has not looked this good in a long time on screen. But great sound and pretty cinematography, with skilled editing, will not hide a thinly veiled script of minimal substance and two actors trying their best to become professional singers and dancers in Hollywood's own love letter to itself. It will most likely win many of those awards but are they deserved? Perhaps if only for the ambitious attempt to resurrect a great genre and pave the way for more to come in the future. L.A. Can bring them on and hopefully build better storylines into the next ones.
(Review by Cheryl Wurtz)




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Thursday, December 15, 2016

La La Land




While the White House is Reverting Back to the 1950's, Damien Chazelle Pays Homage to the Musicals and Films of the 1950's.

Opening:

As a person who has a dark soul, I do not care for musicals. There are few that really leave an impression but most don’t click for me. La La Land is one of those ones that will leave an impression for a lifetime. Let’s get reel and break this down.


Plot:
A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.

Directing/Writing

Pros:

Simply, pure movie magic; like with Whiplash, Chazelle creates another film destined to be a classic. The musical drive to the story works and really adds a balance of fun and emotion. The visual cues and bright colors harken back to old school film making and never feel like it was trying too hard. The romance itself is very charming and lovable, while also being different and unconventional for a typical romance film. Chazelle makes it very, very difficult to hate this film and not put a smile on your face from beginning to end.

Cons:
None.

Acting

Pros:

The chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone is palpable and you would be convinced they are a real life couple. The characters are rich and animated sometimes but never feel like they aren’t grounded. They both are magnetic to watch and I could have watched them for two more hours.

Cons
:
While he did a fine job, John Legend was a bit of a distraction. Like I said, not a bad performance, but the other actors are miles above him and it shows.

Cinematography

Pros:

The long, beautiful takes, the vivid colors, the stunning art direction and superb lighting all click together to make this pure visual eye candy.

Cons:
None.

Editing/Special Effects

Pros:

Tom Cross, editor of Whiplash too, makes a tightly edited story that never slows down and is paced perfectly making it snappy for the musical numbers and slower for the more dramatic scenes to really let the emotions and characters breathe. The practical sets and green screen shots were dream-like and put you into this magical world of music and storytelling. The music is catchy and heart-breaking making you hum it all the way home after the movie.

Cons:
None.

Overall:

This is why I love going to the movies. Out of the handful of musicals I have seen, this is one of my favorites and gets better and better each viewing. You will feel crushed by the fantastic climax but ultimately feel the charm and likability wash over you from everything prior.

Grade:
A

(Review by Chase Lee)






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La La Land




There are probably way over one hundred films that will have come out this year and seeing something like this makes me appreciate each gem that appears. This musical is a stunning portrayal of two struggling artists’ lives done by two iconic millennial actors, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Having just seen Stone in Birdman and Gosling in The Big Short, which I have seen multiple times and is the best film of 2015 in my opinion, I was in no doubt that both of them would deliver substantial performances.

This truly beautiful musical event explores the contemporary Hollywood life of actors trying to get their start and musicians trying to share their gift. The huge numbers that were amazingly choreographed took the screen with their energy which made it seem as if one was actually at a New York theater. The opening does wonders with its passing of cars in traffic while it listens to each vehicle’s music that then soon leads to the dancing of dozens of people over a highway.

The little Hollywood stereotypes were definitely played upon well and presented themselves like when a woman asks if a pastry is gluten-free or not. This tiny scene brought to light the concept of the privileged being allowed to be gluten-free which had been in my head for a long time. The contrast between the girl, Mia, and the already famed actresses who walk into the café she works in is noticeable from the start.
The tough facets of auditioning are exploited here in an ingenious way by Director Damien Chazelle. The really emotional scenes being run through when one is suddenly rudely interrupted in a casting call and the attention to the phone by the casting director were solidly great aspects displayed. The music was riveting with its melancholy, slow, and dreamy like composition.

This is a type of film that could very easily make its way into critics’ top five lists for the year of 2016. Ryan Gosling certainly overachieved and impressed the audience with his well learned piano pieces that were performed with seemingly great ease.

The story of these two young people who just fall completely in love with each other in a romantic style setting of Hollywood was touching. Musicals may be seen as too corny and too childlike. That generalized fallacy does not apply here like in many other places where musicals grab your heart with highly relatable stories that explore the lives of diverse people. This was an excellent and essential experience to have.
(Review by Wyatt Head)



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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Movies Scheduled for the Week of December 11-17, 2016


Typical Texas weather has us freezing then it's balmy. At least it's going to be a nice week of movies, although it maybe problematic with finding parking spots at Northpark due to the holiday shoppers.

Just a note, there are only two contests for the Rogue One going on and they were only offering one person passes. So please don't flood the list with begging for this screening.

Note from Daina:
Okay guys we send you the links and contests and stuff. Now we can't grab the passes for you. We really are trying to help you out and all but we aren't going to do it all for you!

December 11 - December 17

Monday
December 12

Sing - 7:00 pm - AMC Stonebriar and AMC Garland
Lion - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas
Jackie - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark

Tuesday
December 13

Collateral Beauty- 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm - AMC Northpark
La La Land - 7:30 - AMC Northpark

Wednesday
December 14

Sing - 7:00 pm - Studio Movie Grill Royal
Why Him? - 7:00 pm - AMC Mesquite and AMC Northpark
Rogue One:A Star Wars Story - 7:30 pm - tba





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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Miss Sloane




Jessica Chastain is calling on all her acting skills and putting her screen chops on display in this Washington D.C. set drama about the cut throat world of Capitol Hill lobbying. Elizabeth Sloane is 150 percent dedicated to her professional craft and lives, breaths and not eats or sleeps while doing so. She forgoes personal relationship and keeps any family at a distance so as to immerse herself completely in the no holds barred game of cat and mouse that is the life of this political lobbyist.

When caught between legislation regarding " the gun and arms question" and the supporters for each side, she makes her choice (the most challenging) and walks out of her old job, with a handful of loyal minion co-workers in tow to join a new firm. Her reputation around Washington insiders is without peer and many entities would love to lure her to their dens to work for them and their causes. Millions of dollars are often at stake and her employers have budgets to match, as she uses them to begin a slide towards the dark side. She considers breaking the law. Staging false events; anything to get ahead and use anything within her means to gain the political advantage as her firm tracks which legislators are in their pockets and will vote on their side of the legislation. Elizabeth Sloane is so totally consumed and driven the audience is not really sure just what she won't do to win. Ultimately, she gets into legal and ethical trouble and must come before an ethics board for a hearing and possible consequences that can ruin her career for good.

The film is a American and French production, directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, Marigold Hotels fame) , also starring Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alison Pill, John Lithgow (as a corrupt politician) and Sam Waterston. The soundtrack (minor electronica) is scored by Max Richter. The script is sharp, intelligent and quippy all the way around, but it is clear that this is Miss Chastain's vehicle and she is the solo driver. She takes us from total confidence- bordering on arrogance to puddle on the floor panicked heap when things aren't going her way, her driven and constantly calculating character walks and talks a frenzied, but methodical pace and we soon feel that she is headed for a cliff or brick wall somewhere on down the line and her efforts and those of her coworkers seem to start an out of control spiral. The film is more a personality study, it feels, than an introduction into how to lobby. But considered what is going on in the political world around us, with everything citizens feel may be at stake, viewing how possibly things get done in Washington will definitely add to the December chill in the air. All in all, the film is worth checking out if you want to delve into a headier subject.
(Review by Cheryl Wurtz)




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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Movies Scheduled for the Week of December 4 - December 10


'Tis the season. Hope everyone is enjoying the cool temps and rainy days. Not many screenings happening, but there are some really good ones coming up. No word on whether there will be a promo screening for the new Star Wars, but many of you have already purchased your advanced tickets.

Some of y'all keep writing asking for passes after we post a link to enter a contest or grab a pass. The grab a pass usually goes quickly, but we do have other screening sponsors popping up all the time. So keep a look out on your emails before asking for passes from others. Save the begging until you have exhausted all possibilities, then and only then can you ask the group in general for assistance. And remember to check the group calendar for the list of links under each screening for where to find passes.

December 4 - December 10

Dec 5 - Monday

7:00 pm - Why Him? - Angelika Dallas

Dec 6 - Tuesday

7:30 pm - Miss Sloane - Angelika Dallas
7:30 pm - Office Christmas Party - AMC Northpark and Angelika Dallas

Dec 7 - Wednesday

7:00 pm - Sing - AMC Northpark





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Friday, December 2, 2016

Rules Don't Apply




Based on an American comedy-romance film, written and produced by Warren Beatty, he portrayed the sophisticated, high powered, Hollywood “icon” Howard Hughes, who believed he could get anything he wants, anytime he wants and that rules do not apply to him. With his wealth, charming confidence, and gargantuan attitude he demonstrates his leadership by delivering empty promises while lacking consideration and compassion to those who cultivate in his presence. He persuades the young naïve, aspiring actress, Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins) who is under his contract, to leave her small town to move to Los Angeles. Marla’s luminous dreams and her jubilant belief is that Hughes will make it all happen for her. During her first trip to Hollywood she meets one of his young, ambitious drivers, Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich) who blindly falls for her even at the sake of his job. He knows that Marla is off limits to him but miserably falls for her anyway.

Marla is captivated by Forbes’s charm, his witty but out-going personality and their shared religious values. Although she knows that he is engaged to his high school sweet heart, they develop a great friendship that hints towards romance. When their attraction towards one another spirals out of control they know their religious values are tested. Their forbidden love is challenge with the clause of the contract and with Hughes' imperturbable behavior. Out of pure frustration and impatience, she ultimately lures in the great Hughes. Although, she knows that Hughes have plenty of women who are vying for his attention, she believed with her self-assured attitude that she will capture his heart. She naively falls for his superficial fairy tales and “ever after” themes until she realizes that Hughes was not all that she thought he was and flees back to her hometown. With the change in her life she soon learns that love was there all along.

Although, this film hinted towards blissful romance between Frank and Marla, it defaulted on palatable promises to keep the audience engage. With the primary focus bordered on Hughes quirky comedy and his frivolous attitude, the film lacked the true value in delivering its purpose.
(Review by Dr. Dwanna-Ary)



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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Opening Weekend of Star Wars: Rogue One




OUT-OF-THIS-GALAXY CELEBRATIONS FOR OPENING WEEKEND OF STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE

Featuring opening night lobby party on Thursday, December 15 in Richardson; STAR WARS-themed Beach Party on Friday, December 16; appearances all weekend long by professional costumed characters, RSO string quartet performing live in the lobby, photo ops, themed menu, limited edition exclusive merchandise, and more


Dec. 1, 2016 — The Force is strong during the Alamo Drafthouse DFW opening weekend festivities for ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY!


– Opening night in Richardson (100 S Central Expressway #14) – December 15 from 6 p.m. – close:
– Alamo Richardson lobby will be teeming with professional costumed Star Wars characters and droids, photo ops, a DJ, vintage Star Wars arcade game by Free Play Arcade, pop-up shops featuring Star Wars toys, comics, wearables, art, and exclusive merchandise, plus a few more surprises up the sleeve of our Jedi robe!


– Friday night in Vetted Well (1005 S Lamar St., Dallas) – December 16 from 8 p.m. – midnight:
– Vetted Well, inside Alamo Cedars’ location, transforms into a Star Wars Beach Bash, inspired by the big beach battle sequence in ROGUE ONE!

Get ready to do the Lobot limbo, get Princess Lei'd, and bounce a Death Star beach ball! Featuring a live DJ spinning Star Wars remixes and classic beach jams as well as main stage karaoke. Join the host of professional costumed Star Wars characters to beach boogie with! A Star Wars beach-themed photo booth, professional photographer, and a themed menu featuring classic Star Wars drinks with a tropical twist. Guests are encouraged to come as your favorite Star Wars/beach mashup character!


Appearances by professional costumed Star Wars characters and droids will occur Thursday and Saturday at Richardson and Friday at Cedars. Fans can have their pictures taken with all their favorite characters from a galaxy far, far away including Stormtroopers, Darth Vader, Rebels, Jedis, R2-D2, and even a few of the new characters from ROGUE ONE!



Featured throughout the weekend:
• Appearances by professional costumed Star Wars characters and droids.
• Photo ops including a ROGUE ONE-themed photo booth and a life-size version of the Star Wars Black Series action figure box (presented by CUTX).
• Vintage Star Wars arcade game courtesy of Free Play Arcade.
• Richardson Symphony Orchestra quartet playing selections of the Star Wars score live in the lobby at Richardson Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
• Limited edition pint glass with exclusive Mondo-designed ROGUE ONE art for sale.
• Full themed menu of food and drink specials straight from the galaxy far, far away.


Tickets: https://drafthouse.com/dfw/show/2d-rogue-one-a-star-wars-story


Addresses:
Richardson - 100 S Central Expressway #14 Richardson, TX 75080
Cedars - 1005 S Lamar St Dallas, TX 75215



About Alamo Drafthouse:
Tim and Karrie League founded Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in 1997 as a single-screen mom and pop repertory theater in Austin. Nineteen years later, the now 24-location chain has been named "the best theater in America" by Entertainment Weekly and "the best theater in the world" by Wired. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has built a reputation as a movie lover's oasis not only by combining food and drink service with the movie-going experience, but also introducing unique programming and high-profile, star studded special events. Alamo Drafthouse Founder & CEO, Tim League, created Fantastic Fest, a world renowned film festival dubbed "The Geek Telluride" by Variety. Fantastic Fest showcases eight days of genre cinema from independents, international filmmakers and major Hollywood studios. The Alamo Drafthouse's collectible art gallery, Mondo, offers breathtaking, original products featuring designs from world-famous artists based on licenses for popular TV and Movie properties including Star Wars, Star Trek & Universal Monsters. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is expanding its brand in new and exciting ways, including Drafthouse Films, founded in 2010, which has already garnered three Academy Award nominations and Birth.Movies.Death., an entertainment content platform for movie lovers and the pop culture obsessed.





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Man Down





Shia LaBeouf has to work hard to dispel his real life foibles that often distract from the great performances he delivers such as American Honey (although that film was in itself disappointing). La Beouf embodies the character of Gabriel Drummer with an edgy intensity as a Marine who experienced a traumatizing incident in Afghanistan. Directed by Dito Montiel and written by Adam G. Simon, the films’ good intentions become a muddled and a confusing mess. It was screened at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival and the 72nd Venice International Film Festival.

Drummer joined the Marines with his best friend Devin Roberts (Jai Courtney). Their training and deployment is told in a series of flashbacks while what seems like the present-day Drummer wandering around a post-apocalyptic world searching for this son. He and his wife Natalie (Kate Mara) are happy and proud of their young son John (Charlie Shotwell). They seem like the perfect couple while dealing with him being sent off to war. Then more flashbacks are introduced with Drummer speaking with Captain Peyton (Gary Oldman) a counselor with the Marines who has to access Drummer over an incident which involved the death of the men in his troop. The confident and patriotic young Marine seems to be fraying at the seams at this point and his mention of suicide raises flags with Peyton. A bottle of pills seems to be the counselor’s solution before he’s shipped back home. More flashbacks occur as Drummer painfully recalls what happened in the firefight.

It’s always important to shine a light on the problem of PTSD’s that affect the men and women returning home from their service in the war. Unfortunately, this film bounces back and forth confusing the most patient viewer. Also the color of the film is shot in a brownish pallet that doesn’t help clarify one flashback from another. La Beouf despite mumbling his dialogue, effectively portrays the fear and self loathing of what happened. The only thread of sanity that he hangs on to is the letter he writes to his son. Eventually it all makes sense in the end, but by then one just wants to leave the theater to get some real light and relief.
(Review by reesa)



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