Dallas Movie Screening

Dallas Movie Screenings started out as a mailing list on Yahoo Groups to facilitate finding free screening passes in the DFW area. When Yahoo Groups shut down, we are now posting screenings on our Facebook page at http://www..facebook.com/groups/dallasmoviescreenings
Earlier Reesa's Reviews can also be found at:http://www.moviegeekfeed.com

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

Website and Group Contact: dalscreenings@gmail.com

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Movies Scheduled for the Week of January 29 - February 4, 2016

Wow, what a month. Not too many movies this week. This time of year is usually pretty slow. But there are still plenty of outlets offering passes for movies. So grateful for them. Yes, some of the sites are in a different language, but there are plenty that are not, so please access those if you are having a problem translating. These screenings are open and available to all.

Check your email for pass offers or log into the group site on Yahoo and check our calendar. There's a list of places that have passes. If you don't get one, then and only then you can ask for assistance.

January 29 - February 4

Wed - February 1

The Space Between Us - 7:30 pm - Alamo Drafthouse Cedars and Cinemark 17

Thur - February 2

Rings - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark and Cinemark 17

Sat - February 4

The Lego Badman Movie - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark

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Friday, January 27, 2017


Title: Gold
Rating: R
Runtime: 2hr & 1min

On the Scale from Bronze to Gold this Lies in the Middle as Silver


Matthew McConaughey is always choosing interesting projects whether they are a small, intimate independent film or a giant blockbuster. I wasn’t really looking forward to this but, the diversity of McConaughey’s career and me being a fan, I was curious. It was better than expected but it was very average. Let’s get reel and break this down.

Kenny Wells, a prospector desperate for a lucky break, teams up with a similarly eager geologist and sets off on a journey to find gold in the uncharted jungle of Indonesia.



With the story based on true events, it does provide palpable interest and curiosity. The theme of greed, excess, and the harsh reality of business are throughout and keep the movie going, since us as a society love films with those themes. I will mention that brief love story we have between Bryce Dallas Howard and McConaughey was believable with good chemistry and was actually my favorite part. They made a good team. However…

…the overall structure of the film is very bland, doesn’t have the punch and energy, and doesn’t really try anything new with a film based on the rise and fall of a character fueled by greed. Everything appears to happen really fast and there is no real breathing room and almost felt like the director needed to hit certain points without it happening organically. The actual characters themselves weren’t really developed and seemed very one note. McConaughey had some character traits, I guess, but considering he was one of the main characters, I didn’t feel as much depth as I was hoping. The other thing that drove me crazy was a character switch from McConaughey in the middle of the film. I won’t say what it is, but given the scenes that literally play before it, it felt out of place and did not make sense with his character.



Everyone does give it their all and McConaughey does give a good performance physically and emotionally. Bryce Dallas Howard, who has been mediocre to me, was pretty good and the chemistry between her and McConaughey, like I said, was the best part.




The semi-grainy look adds to the authenticity of the 80’s.

The visuals didn’t have that pop and energy and was a bit stale.

Editing/Special Effects


There were a couple of sequences that had my attention a bit more than the others.

For the two hour run-time, it does feel dragged out. The lack of pure energy from filmmaking drowns the movie in a slump. The energy from McConaughey’s character didn’t match the editing.


This isn’t a bad film but it’s also not very good film. McConaughey keeps the drive of the story going but it’s just not enough to make you remember it much afterwards.

Grade: C+
(Review by Chase Lee)

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A Dog's Purpose

There is nothing like a little controversy regarding animal abuse to taint a movie opening. As with most stuff you see on the Internet, one must not take anything at face value. If you like alternative facts, it will no doubt make some people think twice about going to see the movie. Check out this explanation from one of the producer Gavin Polone here. Director Lasse Hallström who also did Hachi: A Dog’s Tale knows his way around squeezing the heartstrings on the bonds of human and pet relationships. The screenplay by W. Bruce Cameron, Cathryn Michon, Audrey Wells, Maya Forbes, Wallace Wolodarsky, is based on the book A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron. If you love dogs, you will enjoy this often cheesy but endearing tale.

The story is told from the perspective of the dog (voiced by Josh Gad). The first mutt is literally short lived when it is caught by animal control. Before young kids can grasp what happened, the dog is reincarnated into a red Labrador Retriever saved by a young boy and his mom (Juliet Rylance) from dying of heat and thirst in a cab of a truck. The boy Ethan (Bryce Gheisar) names the puppy Bailey. They grow up together with the usual crazy carnage that comes with a high energy dog running around the house and chasing the cat. As a teen, (K. J. Apa) now is a football star and falls for Hannah (Britt Robertson) with the help of the clever dog. Tragedy strikes the happy couple, and Bailey becomes alone and depressed missing his human when he goes off the college. There are a couple more "lives" involving gender, name and breed changes as Bailey becomes a German Shepard canine cop and a chubby Corgy before becoming a Golden Retriever. His last owner kept him chained to a tree then dropped off in the middle of nowhere to fend for himself. His dog nose leads him back to the farm where he lived with Ethan (now Dennis Quaid). Of course he reunites Ethan with his old flame Hannah (now Peggy Lipton).

It's a pretty cliche filled scenario that pulls on those sentimental emotions. Who can resist new born puppies? Who can resist those doggy eyed stares full of love and expectancy? The movie covers the issues of what animal control does to homeless dogs, leaving animals in hot cars, feeding pets nothing but human foods, neglect, and the dangers faced when working with police canine units. There's the expected moments of humor of dogs rolling in poop, playing with a donkey, doing stupid human/dog tricks and more heroic feats of saving people from a house fire, saving a girl from raging waters, saving his owner from being shot. All in a day's work for your typical movie dog. Humans are mostly secondary, as they only serve the purpose of adoring or abusing the pets while the dog narrator contemplates his fate and purpose for existence. There's a charm to this film that most dog owners will enjoy despite the corny machinations.
(Review by reesa)

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Things to Come

This film was a bit puzzling to me as I didn’t feel as if there was any purpose to it. I didn’t really feel a strong story line as the film was basically mundane to me. The movie follows Nathalie, a philosophy teacher, throughout a pretty trying period of her life. The struggles become more apparent throughout the film and we see the character become disillusioned with what is occurring around her. Isabelle Huppert delivers a great and solid performance as this older woman trying to make sense of what is crumbling around her. She is basically the only aspect or component that keeps this film together.

After the ending, I was almost disappointed and bewildered about why this picture was actually made. There was nothing about the script that created any sort of excitement, major tension, or significant drama that touches people in any way. I was completely underserved by this film. True, one definitely can have empathy and gain meaning from a story like this because many of the events within the story can easily happen. Beyond any sort of distant connection between the hearts of the film viewers and the filmmakers, there was nothing memorable about this project. I felt, as the credits rolled with the final camera focused inside Huppert’s character’s home, a sense of lacking of emotion.

There was an intriguing character of a former student who was basically an anarchist living in a secluded home with several other like-minded individuals. This character’s name is Fabien and he is played by Roman Kolinka. Fabien is someone who is like a comfort cushion or teddy bear for Nathalie. He is almost or is like a good friend although the disparity in their ages is overt. His educated mind which fuels his love for reading and revolution is somewhat engaging to watch.
(Review by Wyatt Head)

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

2017 Academy Awards Nominations

The 2017 Academy Awards will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and take place at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood. ABC will broadcast the show live on Sunday, Feb. 26, starting at 7:30 p.m. CT.

Best Picture:

Arrival (Produced by Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Aaron Ryder and David Linde)

Fences (Produced by Scott Rudin, Denzel Washington and Todd Black)

Hacksaw Ridge (Produced by Bill Mechanic and David Permut)

Hell or High Water (Produced by Carla Hacken and Julie Yorn)

Hidden Figures (Produced by Donna Gigliotti, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Pharrell Williams and Theodore Melfi)

La La Land (Produced by Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt)

Lion (Produced by Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Angie Fielder)

Manchester by the Sea (Produced by Matt Damon, Kimberly Steward, Chris Moore, Lauren Beck and Kevin J. Walsh)

Moonlight (Produced by Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner)

Best Director:

Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)

Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)

Damien Chazelle (La La Land)

Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)

Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Best Actor:

Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)

Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)

Ryan Gosling (La La Land)

Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)

Denzel Washington (Fences)

Best Actress:

Isabelle Huppert (Elle)

Ruth Negga (Loving)

Natalie Portman (Jackie)

Emma Stone (La La Land)

Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Best Supporting Actor:

Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)

Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)

Dev Patel (Lion)

Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)

Best Supporting Actress:

Viola Davis (Fences)

Naomie Harris (Moonlight)

Nicole Kidman (Lion)

Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)

Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Arrival (Eric Heisserer)

Fences (August Wilson)

Hidden Figures (Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi)

Lion (Luke Davies)

Moonlight (Barry Jenkins; Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney)

Best Original Screenplay:

Hell or High Water (Taylor Sheridan)

La La Land (Damien Chazelle)

The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou)

Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)

20th Century Women (Mike Mills)

Best Animated Feature:

Kubo and the Two Strings (Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner)

Moana (John Musker, Ron Clements and Osnat Shurer)

My Life as a Zucchini (Claude Barras and Max Karli)

The Red Turtle (Michael Dudok de Wit and Toshio Suzuki)

Zootopia (Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer)

Best Documentary:

Fire at Sea (Gianfranco Rosi and Donatella Palermo)

I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, Remi Grellety and Hebert Peck)

Life, Animated (Roger Ross Williams and Julie Goldman)

O.J.: Made in America (Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow)

13th (Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick and Howard Barish)

Best Foreign Language Film:

Land of Mine (Denmark)

A Man Called Ove (Sweden)

The Salesman (Iran)

Tanna (Australia)

Toni Erdmann (Germany)

Best Cinematography:

Arrival (Bradford Young)

La La Land (Linus Sandgren)

Lion (Greig Fraser)

Moonlight (James Laxton)

Silence (Rodrigo Prieto)

Best Film Editing:

Arrival (Joe Walker)

Hacksaw Ridge (John Gilbert)

Hell or High Water (Jake Roberts)

La La Land (Tom Cross)

Moonlight (Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders)

Best Costume Design:

Allied (Joanna Johnston)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Colleen Atwood)

Florence Foster Jenkins (Consolata Boyle)

Jackie (Madeline Fontaine)

La La Land (Mary Zophres)

Best Makeup and Hair:

A Man Called Ove (Eva von Bahr and Love Larson)

Star Trek Beyond (Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo)

Suicide Squad (Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson)

Best Original Score:

Jackie (Mica Levi)

La La Land (Justin Hurwitz)

Lion (Dustin O'Halloran and Hauschka)

Moonlight (Nicholas Britell)

Passengers (Thomas Newman)

Best Original Song:

"Audition (The Fools Who Dream)," from La La Land (Music by Justin Hurwitz, lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul)

"Can’t Stop the Feeling," from Trolls (Music and lyrics by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster)

"City of Stars," from La La Land (Music by Justin Hurwitz, lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul)

"The Empty Chair," from Jim: The James Foley Story (Music and lyrics by J. Ralph and Sting)

"How Far I'll Go," from Moana (Music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda)

Best Production Design:

Arrival (Production design: Patrice Vermette; Set decoration: Paul Hotte)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Production design: Stuart Craig; Set decoration: Anna Pinnock)

Hail, Caesar! (Production design: Jess Gonchor; Set decoration: Nancy Haigh)

La La Land (Production design: David Wasco; Set decoration: Sandy Reynolds-Wasco)

Passengers (Production design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set decoration: Gene Serdena)

Best Sound Editing:

Arrival (Sylvain Bellemare)

Deepwater Horizon (Wylie Stateman and Renée Tondelli)

Hacksaw Ridge (Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright)

La La Land (Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan)

Sully (Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman)

Best Sound Mixing:

Arrival (Bernard Gariepy Strobl and Claude La Haye)

Hacksaw Ridge (Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace)

La La Land (Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Morrow)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson)

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth)

Best Visual Effects:

Deepwater Horizon (Craig Hammack, Jason Snell, Jason Billington and Burt Dalton)

Doctor Strange (Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli and Paul Corbould)

The Jungle Book (Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon)

Kubo and the Two Strings (Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean and Brad Schiff)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel and Neil Corbould)

Best Animated Short:

Blind Vaysha (Theodore Ushev)

Borrowed Time (Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj)

Pear Cider and Cigarettes (Robert Valley and Cara Speller)

Pearl (Patrick Osborne)

Piper (Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer)

Best Documentary Short:

Extremis (Dan Krauss)

4.1 Miles (Daphne Matziaraki)

Joe’s Violin (Kahane Cooperman and Raphaela Neihausen)

Watani: My Homeland (Marcel Mettelsiefen and Stephen Ellis)

The White Helmets (Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara)

Best Live Action Short:

Ennemis Interieurs (Selim Azzazi)

La Femme et le TGV (Timo von Gunten and Giacun Caduff)

Silent Nights (Aske Bang and Kim Magnusson)

Sing (Kristof Deak and Anna Udvardy)

Timecode (Juanjo Gimenez)

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Movies Scheduled for the Week of January 22 - January 28

Busy week and weekend with all the stuff going on around the world. Hope y'all survived with your sanity intact.

Not too many films this week. Hope y'all entered and got the passes you need. Remember you can ask for help from each other, but please make sure you made an effort on your own. And to write directly to the person offering a pass.

January 22 - January 28

Mon - Jan 23

Gold - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas

Tue - Jan 24

A Dog's Purpose - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark

Wed - Jan 25

Un Padre No Tan Padre - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark

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Friday, January 20, 2017

The Founder

Director John Lee Hancock gives us another look at Americana with The Founder just as he did with the football in The Blind Side and Disney with Saving Mr. Banks. This is the birth of the fast food concept and big business of corporate restaurant franchising. If you have ever eaten at McDonald’s, like American dream stories, or if you are interested in business, you should see The Founder. This biographical drama tells the origin story of the fast food chain McDonald’s through the point of view of Ray Kroc and does not disappoint.

In 1954, Ray Kroc was a frustrated milkshake mixer salesman from a Chicago suburb when he received a serendipitous order from the McDonald brothers. Immediately intrigued, Kroc, hopped in his car and took Route 66 to San Bernardino, California, to experience a new burger joint called McDonald’s. Frustrated by burger drive-ins lack of efficiency, cold food, incorrect orders, broken and stolen plates, Brothers Richard “Dick” and Maurice “Mac” McDonald had figured out how to standardize restaurant food production in the most efficient ways possible creating a new walk up to go business model for delicious, fast food hamburgers with disposable packaging. Blown away by the “speedee” concept, Kroc convinces the brothers to let him franchise the restaurant.

Screenwriter Robert Siegel delivered an incredible script which honors the McDonald brothers and the legacy of Kroc. He tells the American dream story with all its blessings and curses using one of the biggest symbols of America –the golden arches. Everyone in the cast shines with spot on performances. Michael Keaton, who plays Ray Kroc, takes you on a range of emotions from rooting for him as the underdog to respecting and hating him. Nick Offerman who plays Richard “Dick” McDonald perfectly portrays the inventor and engineer showing his gifts and limitations. Laura Dern plays Kroc’s first wife. You feel her loneliness and sadness as a 1950s housewife every second she is on screen.

The path to creating one of the biggest corporations in the world was dirty, bumpy, and not pretty. Feelings are hurt. Hearts are broken. Fortunes are made. You feel for both the McDonald Brothers and Ray Kroc in the film. They all chased the American Dream with a series of businesses. As the McDonald brothers say in the film, “McDonalds is an overnight success thirty years in the making.” They all had financial disappointments but kept going. For better and for worse, the brothers took a conservative approach and Kroc went whole hog, but all three change our world.

Today, it is probably difficult to find an American who has never eaten at a McDonald’s. We know it by many names like the Golden Arches and Mickey-Ds. McDonald’s has sold over 100 billion hamburgers. It has become part of the American landscape and a symbol of America on the world landscape. It is estimated that over 68 million people eat McDonald’s everyday. And thanks to Harry Sonneborn and Ray Kroc, McDonald’s Corporation is the one of the largest landowners in the world. Most of its revenue stream comes from it property.

There are many great takeaways from this film:

1. If it is not in writing, it does not exist. Contacts. Contracts. Contacts. My Mother has been desperately trying to get me to understand this critical concept my entire life.

2. Dreamers and innovators usually can only take a concept or business so far. At some point, their big vision becomes narrow and they cannot take it to the next level.

3. There is no overnight success. We tend to only hear about success and what works. But for every success, there are countless failures where hard lessons are learned to later create the right conditions for “success” to happen.

4. You have to know what business you are in, because business is brutal.

5. Good customer service always wins.

6. “Persistence and Determination” keep trying again and again.

7. Don’t give up on your dreams. Think big picture and dream bigger.

(Review by Erin Nicole Parisi

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Thursday, January 19, 2017


There have been many films with characters who battle dis associative identity disorders ( schizophrenia, multiple personalities) from All About Eve to Sybil to A Beautiful Mind. DID's affect perhaps just 1% of the population but the 6 character(s) portrayed by a singular James McAvoy are wonders to behold in their diversity and expression. We meet six of the 23 who reside in his one body.
M. Knight Shyamalan has had a couple of thriller hits on his hands, with jaw dropping twists, followed by several less well received films that generally disappointed the critics. This latest offering is somewhat anticipated as film lovers eagerly anticipate whether he has returned with a quality offering, worthy of the ticket price
Going in knowing as little as possible about the storyline and characters as possible is the way to go here. McAvoy's onion peeling performance is by far the star attraction here. He plays Kevin Wendell Crumb, who is being seen in therapy by Dr. Karen Fletcher ( Betty Buckley), who has long documented the various personalities over the years and views Kevin as someone who can demonstrate real altered states of a physiological nature within Kevin and she suspects something foul is afoot where Kevin lives.

Turns out he has kidnapped three young women following a birthday party, and is keeping them prisoner. One by one, each of several characters within him make themselves known to the girls and an ominous warning is made about the "one to come" who has an evil, destructive purpose.
Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch) plays Casey Cook, the more cerebral of the three girls, is a social outsider. The other two girls want to use brawn over beauty and brains to escape but they are simply annoying and cumbersome baggage to Casey. They have led perfect and privileged lives and Kevin has taken notice. Casey, it seems, has a backstory, told in flashback, in that her father, who taught her to hunt, has died. She is being raised by an uncle. Casey, it turns out, is not a stranger to trauma and its after effects. As a result, she chooses to use mind over brawn in attempts to outwit Kevin and attempt to secure their freedom.

Don't waste time waiting for any twists or reveals in this film. The joy is in watching McAvoy bring 9 year old Hedwig, artistic and engaging Barry, germophobe Dennis, controlling Miss Patricia and lesser others to life. Each one unique in voice, demeanor, dress, body language, facial expression and tics. With his face alone, he can morph from one to another in seconds, like they are poured onto him, one after another, and he is delightful to watch

The setting, somewhere underground with pipes and rooms and storage is suffocating, stifling and claustrophobic, a house of potential horrors where the personalities reside in shared spaces. The pace is controlled and deliberate.

There is the requisite MKS cameo and moments of playful interaction as the horror of what Kevin will become and why is revealed in bits and pieces. Two characters are trying to take over wounded boy Kevin, and the others keep trying to warn the Doc and keep "the beast" at bay. This new guy should be visiting sometime soon and he doesn't really want to play very nice.

Split is fascinating purely as a Psyc study. McAvoy only filmed one character per day and took the role when Joaquin Phoenix no longer could consider it. The film is fluid and riveting, confident in its unfolding and leaves some raised eyebrows in end. The script has so few holes as to not be annoying or distracting and it appears that M. Knight, writer and director, is back, which will please his most loyal fans.
(Review by Cheryl Wurtz)

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The Founder

Title: The Founder
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 1hr & 55min

The Subliminal Messing Worked and I Definitely Didn’t go to McDonald's Afterwards.


From the awards season chatter to my obesity filled childhood, there was a lot to look forward to with this movie. The McDonald's story done like The Social Network style, count me in! I got that, kind of, but this movie is more dividing on a moral stand point and what the actual message is. Let’s get reel and break this down.

The story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who turned two brothers' fast food eatery, McDonald's, into one of the biggest restaurant businesses in the world.



Director John Lee Hancock does create a story that was naturally intriguing from the start given the history behind this company. The American dream is in full force and really does question what is moral when it comes to the business world and surviving in it. The authenticity of the 50’s and 60’s aesthetically was well done and he really puts you back in that time. Hancock always creates solid looking biopics. This is also a negative.

Hancock also has this tendency to create glossy, “Hollywood” looking movies (which actually worked in Saving Mr. Banks) and with this story of betrayal and some unlikable people I wish there was a bit more emotional punch and depth to the story. Speaking of unlikable people, Keaton plays Ray Kroc and we are supposed to follow him. He has very questionable business ethics and morals throughout and provides a negative message towards the end. Just note, there was a bit of character arc and development but it was a little too late. Kroc isn’t the only terrible person. Besides the actual McDonald's brothers, everyone is unlikable and extremely scummy. The weird thing is you really can’t fault the movie itself because it’s based on real people and personalities; but you sit there with a confused look on your face as to why this movie was made and what was ultimately the point. Other characters also are one-dimensional, under-developed, and don’t have much to do i.e. Laura Dern’s character.



Despite the character himself, Michael Keaton is wonderful and really sells the likability at the beginning and venomous distaste for him at the end. He had a slight charm that made him interesting to watch. Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch, may have been a bit gullible as the McDonald brothers, but had a balanced back and forth with one being against Kroc and greed and the other pushing to make his brother’s dream come true.

Honestly, everyone else was ok at best given their character and screen time. The chemistry between Laura Dern and Keaton was non-existent …but when you see the movie maybe that was the point?


The colors pop, the style from the clothes and cars have that flair and accuracy, and it’s pleasant to look at.

The actual camera angles, movements, and overall visual creativity are a bit flat.

Editing/Special Effects


Running at two hours, I was fascinated by the absurdity that Kroc got away with and kept my interest throughout.

The awful actions of the characters and mean-spirited nature can turn off some people and feel like a chore to get through.


Believe it or not, with all my cons, I would still recommend this and even say it’s a solid movie. I wish it would have reached the emotional level and punch of a The Social Network and The Wolf of Wall Street given the story and how it shows the bad side of human behavior, greed, and competition within the business world. Michael Keaton is definitely the selling point for anyone to see this movie…because you know…Michael is a boss.

Grade: B-
Review by Chase Lee

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Not everything is what you think it is in “Split” a dark psychological horror thriller from Universal Pictures that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Anyone who’s anyone knows how M Night Shyamalan movies go, because there’s always a twist at the end that you never see coming. This is no different as M Night Shyamalan’s 14th film to date, with this current film he wrote, directed, produced, and as always starred in. The original choice for the leading role was going to be Joaquin Phoenix but that fell through thankfully they chose James McAvoy for the lead in this cliffhanger.

James McAvoy’s (X-Men: Apocalypse, Filth) portrayal of Kevin a man with D.I.D. (dissociative identity disorder) is a compelling tour de force, playing many different characters all in one man. Along side him the stunning Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Morgan) plays Casey Cook one of his captives, also in this mind bender is the great Betty Buckley (Carrie, The Happening) is no stranger to horror or Mr. Shyamalan’s movies and brings a baseline to the film as she plays Dr. Karen Fletcher, Kevin’s psychologist trying to help him. If you feel jaded by other M Night Shyamalan films get ready because you won’t be with this one, he’s back and better than ever. The twists and turns never stop even with comedic relief at times but mostly it’s just nervous laughter because you’re just that creeped out by the whole premise. With the budget only being $10 million this movie is considered low budget, but with the claustrophobic feel it wasn’t necessary to have a big budget anyway. What really sells this movie is James McAvoy performance his character screams at you through the screen with the mere twitch of his brow he switches personalities and you begin to learn who’s who. As Casey and the others fight for their lives to escape you have a morbid need to root for Kevin just to see what happens next but also pity him too.

The build-up to the climax is ever marching on making you beg for more. If this is what M Night Shyamalan has in store for the future I definitely can’t wait for his next film. Overall this movie is very well made and very well executed, even with the controversy of the stigmatized depiction of people with mental health issues still this movie earns a place on the shelf of horror cult classics and definitely worth the ticket.
(Review by Samantha Leggio)

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He’s back!

After a plethora of dead on arrival duds like 2010’s “The Last Airbender” and the abysmal “After Earth” in 2013, writer/director M. Night Shyamalan has orchestrated a finely nuance tale with “Split.”

“Split” is not a great movie per se, nut it improves on garbage like the aforementioned films as well as the mess that was “The Happening” in 2008. I am not sure how he screwed it up, but making wind the antagonist of the story just did not gel in the end.

“Split” follows James McAvoy’s Dennis, a person with 23 distinct personalities who kidnaps a trio of friends on an ordinary day. The twist in this one is The Beast, a 24th distinct personality.

Dennis also spends time with his therapist, Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley), who knows of the distinct and differing personalities. In one of his rare moves as a director, he brings back a person he previously worked with. Here, it is
Betty Buckley, who worked with Shyamalan on “The Happening.”

Of the trio of girls, the one who stands out is Anya Tyler-Joy’s Casey Cooke, an outsider who does not really fit into the mix. The other girls are worried about their own welfare and never truly question each other about their circumstances at hand.

Like I said earlier, this one has a major pretzel twist I cannot really mention because it in it all likelihood would curtail the reader from even spending their hard earned money on this tale.

It also deals with a variety of issues, such as abuse and self-worth.

I would recommend this for suspense fans, but not necessarily a full price admission.

Grade: C+
(Review by Ricky Miller)

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Trespass Against Us

This feature debut from British TV director Adam Smith tells the story of a clan of thieves living in trailers in rural England. Written by Alastair Siddons, the film could have used subtitles to decipher the harsh accents and maybe footnotes to explain the slang. The plot is slight, and somewhat predictable. It's the strength of the cast and their sincerity of their performances that keep it afloat because it's hard to find any empathy for the group of aimless nefarious trouble makers.

The Cutlers and crew live in trailers or "shells" on spot of land like gypsies. They supplement their income by crime and spend their days playing pranks on the cops. Chad Cutler (Michael Fassbender) is the illiterate getaway driver. He's married to Kelly (Lyndsey Marshall) and has a young son and daughter. It's occurring to Chad that his errant lifestyle may not really be in the best interest of his kids who are enrolled in the local school. The leader of the clan, Colby Cutler (Brendon Gleeson) is a religious spouting anarchist who encourages his grandson to disrespect the authorities and the world may be flat. Chad had been arrested a few times, but never charged with anything due to lack of evidence. Chad makes plans to move his family out of their roaming existence and into a real home so the children can become educated. Colby sets a reluctant Chad on a job breaking into a big wigs home, which they crash a car into the house, then set it afire. They are chased again and become national news for their escapades. Chad's dreams of breaking away become more difficult with a price on his head.

The relationship between Chad and Colby is complicated as this is the only life they have ever known. Colby begins to feel Chad's resistance and coupled with the manhunt disrupting their lives. There's some car chases and people flying off the handle at any provocation. The only real emotions come at the end when Chad is able to express his love for his family, maybe finally realizing that his wish for a stable home is just an elusive dream.
(Review by reesa)

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Movies Scheduled for the Week of January 15 - January 21

Cowboys, rain, and politics. What a way to start the year. We are so lucky here in the DFW area to have so many outlets offering us chances for passes. We only ask that you make sure that you are actually going to attend the screening. Read all the fine print, like where and when. Also be cognizant that these screenings are usually set up for press and VIP's so sometimes the seats will all be reserved. Try not to whine, and don't sit in the reserved. Just remember these are FREE screenings. The studio reps need your opinions on the films afterwards. Lets try to show the studios that DFW has the best movie audience in the country.

OK...there are some folks who just discover these movies scheduled this week and wonder how to get passes. First you have to join our Yahoo Group and we will send you emails when we find out where to enter contests or redeem pass codes or go pick them up from local businesses. If you are too late, you are welcome to ask a group member for help. But don't abuse it. These folks did the work to get the passes, so you should do the same.

Also, Dallas Movie Screenings has a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/dallasmoviescreenings/), and many outlets post their screenings there too. Members must live the DFW area. If you don't have something on your FB page indicating you are from around here you will be rejected. We are also on Twitter (https://twitter.com/DalScreenings). We also do movie reviews so come check us out.

January 15 = January 21

Tues - Jan 17

The Founder - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas
Split - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark

Wed - Jan 18

A Dog's Purpose - 7:00 pm - UA Fossil Creek
Split - 7:30 pm - Cinemark 17
XXX The Return of Xander Cage - AMC Valley View

Thur - Jan 19

The Space Between Us - 6:30 pm - Cinemark West

Fri - Jan 20

Transamerica - 8:30 pm - Texas Theater

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Live By Night

Ben Affleck has wonderfully directed and starred in a glitzy interpretation of the dangerous world of the prohibition era organized crime. He takes on the role of Joe Coughlin a broken man with something to prove and nothing to lose. Son of a Police Captain and WWI veteran Joe walks the line of the law just to be free to do as he pleases and never be told what to do ever again. Careless actions send him down a road of pain but Joe is a glutton for punishment. The typical Affleck stoic acting is prevalent but this actually fits his character like the suits he wears throughout the film. Once again Affleck plays the anti-hero even with all his brutality you still root for him and hope deep down he's a good man.

The cinematography is seamlessly beautiful making the rush of the roaring 20's seem shiny and new even the carnage was ballet like but unfortunately over powers the lack of grit of the real violent desperation of the great depression. It does unflinchingly highlight how deeply rooted racism and xenophobia is in America. how people were harassed by domestic terrorism and in the bootlegging game life can be cheap. The wardrobe, cars, and locations were impeccable almost dreamlike.

This is a true ensemble cast with A-listers like Brendan Gleeson, Chris Messina, Elle Fanning, Zoe Saldana, and Sienna Miller. A saving grace from the darkness of the film was the comedic relief of Chris Messina of TV's "The Mindy Project" playing Dion Bartolo, his partner in crime. His father is played by the brilliant Brendan Gleeson. The real supporting roles though were the ladies. Zoe Saldana embodied Graciela a strong Cuban woman, Elle Fanning was raw as the broken angel Loretta Figgis, and Sienna Miller scorched the screen as the mob moll Emma Gould. The relationships between Joe and others are pinnacle to this film they guide him as he always tries to do the right thing but it never works out that way. This heartbreaking story shows how little control you have on our own lives and how much effect we have on others’ lives. If Affleck was a bit more believable as a son of an Irish immigrant then I would like this so much better but I guess the ride is better than the destination for this film but it is still worth the ticket.
(Review by Smantha Leggio)

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20th Century Women

Title: 20th Century Women
Rating: R
Runtime: 1hr & 58min

A Wonderful Slice of Life about Growing Up and Simply Living to the Fullest


Going into this film, I was already excited because of A24’s involvement. They are one of my favorite companies to distribute some of the most memorable pieces of cinema in the past three years. I will say this film isn’t bad but not necessarily the best thing they have put out. I think it’s a solid addition to their catalog. Let’s get reel and break this down.

The story of three women who explore love and freedom in Southern California during the late 1970s.



Director Mike Mills takes us along a self-discovery journey following three women at different points in their life and trying to understand it. Love, purpose, and finding the joys in life play prominent throughout and it’s a story anyone can relate to. Also, adding two male characters, at different points too, just trying to make sense of it all. It can be soul crushing sometimes but also uplifting with glowing hope. The characters themselves are interesting and provide likeable personalities and slightly compelling emotional connections with their depth.

The dialogue can be a bit on the nose sometimes but that’s not really a distraction for me. As much as I liked following these characters, I never felt like they explored them as much as they could. Yes, some backstory is provided but diving further into their characters and psyche lacked for me. Also, why wasn’t the kid in school as much? When you see the film you will know what I am talking about. Not a grade deduction or anything, just a noticeable thing.



Can we just say that Annette Benning is a national treasure already? She is fantastic and can pull you into any movie with her presence alone. She provided the subtle dry humor while still having some scenes showing us why she is a good dramatic actress as well. Greta Gerwig plays a more subdued, broken character and really sells the vulnerability and then finds her stride in her character to become a bit more confident. Elle Fanning was also good portraying a teenager living life to its fullest and going through the trials of confusion when it comes to teenage angst and first love. Everyone else is a nice addition and propels these three characters.




To be honest, besides the opening shot and vibrant colors from the set design and art direction, the cinematography is fine but nothing special.


Editing/Special Effects

Since there is a lot of characters to explore, the time allotted for each are balanced out well and kept my interest to see what would happen.

The nearly two hour runtime can feel a little sluggish.

Nothing extraordinary but a solid drama with humorous moments that anyone can relate to and definitely adds a colorful palette being its story set in the late 70’s.

Grade: B
(Review by Chase Lee)

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The Bye Bye Man

Title: The Bye Bye Man
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 1hr & 36min

The Villain Should Take his Own Name as Advice and Go Away


I didn’t want to hate this movie, as a matter of fact; I was kind of looking forward to it. A horror film like this doesn’t have to be of the best caliber but at least provide some good entertainment with some good scares. Nope, none of that happened. Let’s get reel and break this down.

Three friends stumble upon the horrific origins of the Bye Bye Man, a mysterious figure they discover is the root cause of the evil behind man's most unspeakable acts.



Some of the ideas of the Bye Bye Man and hallucinated scenes were cool but that’s as far as I go.

Story: This is a story we have seen many times and it never tries anything new or exciting to stand out from the rest. The plot structure is also paint by numbers PG-13 horror clichés or any cliché for that matter. The main concept of the Bye Bye Man is never explained and he is just simply there. Characters would also just come and go with no real weight to the actual story. A lot of stuff actually comes and goes and makes no sense. Writing/Dialogue: It’s awful. The bland and simple dialogue is sometimes laughable and terribly delivered by the actors. What’s even worse is when a character says something clearly for the audience and in the actual scene comes off as stilted. Characters: The main characters had no chemistry with each other whatsoever and they felt like they were reading lines from a mediocre script. On top of that, they make stupid decisions so you don’t care about anything they do and you don’t have any connection to them when sh*t hits the fan. The whole third act feels rushed and random and with the terrible acting it’s not fun to watch. The Rating: This film was originally rated R and then cut to PG-13 and it shows. Certain scenes don’t even have blood despite the violence depicted, the sex scenes are zoomed in and cropped very awkwardly, and language was muffled or cut in a jarring way.




Everyone was bad delivering terrible and simple dialogue. There was no weight to any performance and everyone was going through the motions. You simply don’t care about it but it is hilarious to witness these performances.



I will admit there are some interesting shots that are effective in some slight terror and creativity…but once again…that’s as far as I go.

Nothing really terrible but it’s just stale filmmaking and you feel like the actors are on a set.

Editing/Special Effects


At an hour and a half, it was funny so it was entertaining on that level?

When you simply don’t give a crap about anyone, witness the randomness of characters and scenes, the movie seems way longer than its runtime. The special effects are awful especially on a certain creature. It looked like burnt, fried bologna.

As JT from *NSYNC once said, “Bye Bye Bye.” I don’t want to ever see this movie again.

Grade: D+
(Review by Chase Lee)

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The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Title: The Autopsy of Jane Doe
Rating: R
Runtime: 1hr & 26min

Whatever You Do, Don’t Cut Open Jane Doe

Having really no idea what this movie would really be about beyond a simply autopsy, I was pleasantly surprised at the mystery that unfolded. Let’s get reel and break this down.

A father and son, both coroners, are pulled into a complex mystery while attempting to identify the body of a young woman, who was apparently harboring dark secrets.



The unsettling dread that permeates is very palpable and takes you on this mystery of what happened to Jane Doe. The director sets up an atmosphere that is soaked in foreboding terror and I was hooked from start to finish. From the opening scene onward, you are propelled into this disturbing film that didn’t pull any punches with its gore and imagery without it feeling gratuitous. The Jane Doe corpse itself is very creepy and detailed but you feel sympathy for it at the same time. Also, the little expressions on Jane Doe throughout the film as the movie progresses will definitely make you feel uncomfortable. I don’t want to reveal much as I want you to experience what the movie is about. The characters themselves are likeable and well-acted enough to where you care about them when they are in dire situations.

The girlfriend character could have honestly not been in there and I don’t think it would have made a difference and I definitely didn’t feel any connection for her. I wish it stuck with the father/son dynamic and went with that. A little nitpick is the last frame. I didn’t need to see that because it ventured into what a normal horror film does and I wish it would have ended with no cheesy shot and left us with a pit in our stomachs…or other items left in our stomachs. (This inside joke is for when you see the movie. On second thought, it sounded creepy.)



Emile Hirsh and Brian Cox are great and have that father/son connection and chemistry. The actress that played Jane Doe was pretty great considering you have to act like your dead and convince the audience like that. I also think the subtle expressions on her face sold it even further. Everyone else is serviceable.




The horrific nature of morgues is already creepy enough but when you have it stuck in a basement with the building having an insane asylum vibe, you know there will be some effective, tension filled cinematography. For the most part, the lighting and camera placements provide a great horror tone.

While being effective with striking fear in you, some scenes were a little too dark for my taste. I understood what they were going for but it was a bit hard to see. Maybe that was the point though to have your mind start imaging what they are looking at.

Editing/Special Effects


For an hour and a half movie, this doesn’t have any down time. It is top notch editing and doesn’t ever let your mind wander in distraction and has your eyes glued either due to the bloody imagery or fascination of the conclusion of the story. The practical effects of the corpse were gross, nerve-racking, but as realistic as you can get before it reaches into the campy territory.


This was a great surprise and a great time if you are a horror fan. If I saw it last year when it came out, I might have consider it in a top 20 list. If you are squeamish for blood, guts or morgues, this film is not for you as they get pretty detailed.

Grade: B+
(Review by Chase Lee)

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Patriots Day

National tragedy usually sparks the need to dramatize events so that we never forget. In director Peter Berg's new thriller it recreates the horrific bombing that occurred during the 2013 Boston Marathon. There were three proposed stories in which two of them were combined, one based on the book Boston Strong by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge. The screenplay was written by Berg, Matt Cook and Joshua Zeturner is part documentary, police procedural and patriotic grandstanding. Its an unabashed love letter to the first responders, the challenge of the law enforcers to work quickly despite the lack of information and differing methods and the cooperation of the people of the Boston area.

Mark Wahlberg plays the fictional Tommy Saunders to represent the everycop of the Boston Police. He's loud and brash, the stereo typical Masshole as they are known in the area. He's been sort of suspended due to his volatile character. John Goodman playing the real life Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, asks him to monitor the end of the race in order to get his job back. Real life James Colby, the Boston Police Superintendent is played by William Evans. The beginning of the film starts slow and introduces you to the various people affected by the bombing from the victims to the weed smoking dorm mates, to the culprits. No real reason for the attack is explored out side of the older brother Tamerian Tsarnaev (Themo Melikdze) who is heavily accented and the mastermind and younger brother Dzhokhar (Alex Wolff) is more assimilated and a college student are building bombs in their apartment while watching the news. The disjointed snippets also lets us see the life of Dun Meng (Jimmy Yang) who was hijacked by the Tsarnaevs. There is also the Watertown Police Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese played by J.K. Simmons who helped bring down one of the bombers. The film also honors the Officer Sean Collier (Jake Picking) who was killed by the Tsarnaevs a couple days later. Eventually these little emotional moments are united to fuel the urgency and outrage to bring the bad guys to justice.

Wahlberg does a good job does a good job conveying the shock at the chaos and havoc right after the bombs go off, then the anger and determination. Wahlberg, pretty much plays Wahlberg no matter what movie with the same toughness and tenderness with a brash, snarky attitude. FBI agent Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon), Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (Michael Beach) and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (Vincent Curatola) and the Boston Police clash egos and opinions as they investigate. FBI headquarters set up in a empty warehouse study the street cameras, and everyone's cell phones for clues. Once the brother's are picked out of the crowd, the action ramps up as the police close in and the random chain of events results in a shootout with police and bombs in the quiet Watertown neighborhood. The decision to put the city on lockdown to find the younger brother reminds everyone that Boston united together to help make Boston Strong.
(Review by reesa

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Movies Scheduled for the Week of January 8 - January 14, 2017

It's Golden Globes tonight! Hope you all survived the snow storm and cold weather, but next week it will be spring time temps. Because it's Texas. The red carpet shows are filled with people in pretty clothes flashing skin full of gratefulness of being allowed all the attention and hopefully better roles in the future. The Globes are usually a harbinger of what the Oscars will bring next month. The North Texas Film Critics Association, of which Dallas Movie Screenings is a member, had chosen La La Land as the best film of the year. What was yours?

Now for some group maintenance, if you recommend someone to be added to our Facebook page, make sure they live in the DFW area. Some people on our FB page and follow us on Twitter are totally unaware that our group even exists. Hard to understand, but whatever...Some of y'all in the group are unaware that we have a website where we post all our reviews and other news. Some day I will merge them, but since this is a not for profit entity, it will have to be as it is for the time being. Just come visit our website every once in a while. On another note, we are not responsible if you are having trouble accessing the websites to redeem your passes with the codes provided by the various sponsors. We cannot do that for you. We just point you in the direction so you can fend for yourselves.

January 8 - January 14

Mon - Jan 9

20th Century Women = 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas

Tue - Jan 10

Patriots Day - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark
Live by Night - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark
Paterson - 7:30 pm - Angelika Dallas

Wed - Jan 11

Live by Night - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark
A Dog's Purpose - 7:30 pm - Angelika Plano
Bye Bye Man - 7:30 - Angelika Dallas

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Monster Calls

Childhood and preadolescence can be an incredibly rough time in a young man's life. Especially so if he is smart, creative, sensitive and introspective. Conor is 12, small in stature, and somewhat of a loner. It is said that children are resilient but sometimes it takes a strong fantasy life to take one away from the things that are too scary and awful to face. He has several things not going for him.

His father (Toby Kebell) is long gone, his mother is dying of cancer and his future looks to be a life with his icy but well-meaning grandmother ( Sigourney Weaver) who lives in an emotionally sterile home full of antiques and untouchable furnishings. He is also bullied at school. Frequently. Conor (Lewis MacDougall) has inherited his mum's talent for drawing and he has been forced to develop special coping skills , not unlike the young girl in Pan's Labyrinth, because he cannot and will not face the reality of his future. He immerses himself in his drawings, but won't even consider the possibility that he will lose his mum (Felicity Jones).

The film, based on the award winning book by Patrick Ness (from an idea conceived by children's writer Siobhan Dowd- herself dying of cancer) and directed by JA Bayonna, who directed The Orphanage, is an emotional roller coaster and a visual tour de force via the fantasy escape sequences dominated by a yew tree monster growing near a disintegrating church within visual distance of his bedroom window (voiced magnificently by Liam Neeson) in a somewhat menacing, yet fatherly figure way. The Monster visits him in the night, offering 3 stories over time but demanding one from Conor after the 3 are revealed. The story from Conor must be a realization of what all that he is running away from but that he must ultimately face. via the Monster, Conor safely expresses his deeply hidden anger under the protective and collaborative branches of his "mentor". He learns to face all of his bullies, the adults who have let him down throughout his life and the things he cannot control in his young life. A child, as we know, grows best with a mum, a dad, loving extended family, friends, carefree experiences and solid support systems. The fantasy sequences are visually and cinematically sweeping and dramatically stunning. The CGI techniques utilized are unique and compelling. The book's original illustrator, Jim Kay, lends his talents to the illustrations in the movie version as well. The script, bittersweet and sad, is guaranteed to evoke a few tears. There are no weak acting performances in A Monster Calls. The film is dark in theme, and could be scary for young children with the topics of cancer, death, fear, bully violence and abandonment. Not to be overlooked is the beautifully melodic score by Fernando Velazquez. It complements all the artistic expression well.
(Review by Cheryl Wurtz)

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The Ultimate Movie to Come Out of the Entourage Show Universe


Let me just say that I love Entourage and I enjoy for what it is, but I couldn’t help but notice that this movie would fit in perfectly on that show as a “fake” Hollywood picture because of the overall ridiculous nature of the film. Let’s get reel and break this down.

A man attempts to rescue his kidnapped brother from a southern mobster.



At some points, it so bad it’s enjoyable. But those are in spurts and not throughout.

In order to break this down, I must go by specific sections, starting with the story, characters, and writing. The story itself is very basic and doesn’t offer anything new to a “mob, crime thriller”. With that said, it feels disjointed with no substance to anything happening with the characters or action. Some of the plot points are very dumb and some feel like they contradict to some of the characters themselves. The writing is laughable sometimes, especially given Cage’s over-the-top performances, and very generic given some of the forced line delivery by some of the actors. The characters aren’t very developed and, if they are, it feels like they are scratching the surface of them and not exploring any of the relationships. Since they aren’t developed well you ultimately don’t care about their safety or care in general. Some characters are in the background or in a few scenes and it feels like the director posed importance on them, but they never feel important. The overall direction is poor and feels like three different movies and never comes together as a whole. And the one thing that serves this movie injustice is the overtly, gratuitous violence, incredibly out of place slow motion scenes, and the overblown color correction to make it look like a student project. I don’t mind if the violence is graphic but it needs to serve the movie.



To be honest, everyone isn’t terrible but not very good either. I am somewhere in the middle on the performances, yes, even Cage, so I will put the performances in the pro section. The actors look and sound committed but the material made them look bad. And this is a personal issue but after seeing Entourage, Adrian Grenier has been cursed because all I see is his character Vincent Chase; once again, not his fault, just an issue of mine. And shout out to Todd Jenkins in the film, I have worked with the guy in a couple projects and he was an awesome actor and great guy.





I don’t mind handy-cam, look at the Bourne franchise, when it’s used correctly but the camerawork was very shoddy and comes off as amateurish. However, there were a few tripod shots that were very good. They should have gone that route. I understand the handy-cam argument to put you in the situation and make the story grounded, but this was too much. The lighting is overblown and never finds a balance between the outside and inside scenes. The colors are all over the place and never mesh well with the situations making it look like poor lighting and color gel choices.

Editing/Special Effects


I guess at an hour and a half it’s bearable? Regardless if I hate the violence, some, and I mean some of the effects and blood were effective.

The climax of the film feels rushed giving any tension made throughout the film to have no impact for the overall experience. Everything else prior was pretty boring, given my lack of any connection to any character or the choices they made. Most of the characters are either dumb or extremely unlikeable to make the flow of the film to trudge along at a snails pace.

There is nothing more to say, skip it. If you want a movie at 2 a.m., while drinking, with a group of friends, I would suggest it.

Grade: D+
(Review by Chase Lee)

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A Monster Calls

Someone Hand This Movie a Tissue, It’s Been Crying for Two Hours.


Prepare yourself; this is an emotional movie that hits for the most part and you definitely don’t want to be the person that doesn’t at least shed a tear and be accused of having no soul and love to point at and make fun of dogs. Let’s get reel and break this down.

A boy seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mum's terminal illness.



Director J.A. Bayona tackles the dark reality of losing a parent from an illness through the eyes of a kid who is in the middle of his youth and doesn’t fully know how to comprehend his emotions very well and you can feel the pain and suffering he is going through. Bayona balances the use of the fantasy world to showcase an escape of the issues while embracing him for his harsh reality and the real world to show an emotional depth and connection he has with his mother, father, and grandmother.

While the acting is convincing, the mother and the father are a bit underdeveloped. Yes, the emotional turmoil is there but I felt a bit of disconnect because I didn’t feel the gravity of the situation as much as I should, given the subject matter. Lastly, this film doesn’t have a good re-watch value either, unless you like to cry for two hours straight and have your eyes dry out.



As stated above, everyone is wonderful and the kid, played by Louis MacDougall, really surprised me and came to play with the fantastic actors and actresses around him. Oh, I also believed he was talking to this glorious tree voiced by Liam Neeson. Neeson’s voice has a level of comfort but also a stern, upfront approach to not sugarcoat the situation the son is going through.



The fantasy and day dreaming world is haunting yet inviting. The real world is grounded yet bleak. Both worlds are wonderfully shot and the colors definitely pop out of the fantasy world giving a fable like tone and atmosphere.


Editing/Special Effects


The two hours have a moderate pace to the story, despite it being emotionally heavy. The material is given time to breathe. The special effects are beautiful and detailed, especially from the monster.

Some of the green screen is noticeable, not bad to take you out of the movie, but it might take you off guard.

Despite some emotional disconnect issues, this is an emotional ride with some great performances and beautiful cinematography and effects. Alright, Bayona, I have seen what you can do with effects with a giant Liam Neeson tree but now I am curious to see how good the effects will look for when you do Jurassic World 2.


(Review by Chase Lee)

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The USA Film Festival announces SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

The USA Film Festival announces SCHEDULE OF EVENTS for the 33rd Annual KidFilm® Festival
January 21-22, 2017

DALLAS – The USA Film Festival announces the schedule of events for the 33rd Annual KidFilm® Festival/Presented by the USA Film Festival Dallas taking place Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22, 2017 at the Angelika Film Center, 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas. All programs will be presented FREE to the community.

KidFilm is the oldest and largest-attended children’s film festival in the United States, featuring an entertaining, educational, and diverse line-up of new and classic films for both children and adults. KidFilm is an annual outreach program of the USA Film Festival/Dallas, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the recognition and promotion of excellence in the film and video arts.

This year, the Festival pays tribute to favorite children's book authors and illustrators, celebrates diversity and tolerance, classic tales and films, magical journeys, and salutes environmental awareness with a program featuring live-action and animation, short films and feature-length works in a program for audiences of any age.

Honorary Co-Chairs for KidFilm are USA Film Festival Board of Directors members Kristin Carter Schor, Gail Terrell, David Dummer and Board President Laura Williamson. “We are so pleased to be able to offer this year’s program as a free-admission event thanks to support from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and from the Festival’s Sponsors,” said Laura Williamson. “We are particularly pleased that so many of the films we are presenting this year feature themes of self-empowerment, education and appreciating differences in others,” said Williamson, “timely and important messages for children of all ages.”

Highlights of this year’s program include:

MEET THE AUTHORS AND ILLUSTRATORS! Screenings and read-alongs with all guests -- kids can receive a FREE book to have signed!

A Salute to author and illustrator Tom Lichtenheld. The program will include a screening of Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs, his collaboration with Eric Litwin, followed by a reading and sing-a-long. Free copies of “Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs” will be distributed at the show (while supplies last). After the on-screen program and reading, Tom will sign books for the kids.

A Salute to author Anna Kang and illustrator Christopher Weyant. The program will include a screening of You Are (Not) Small, followed by a reading of their new book “Can I Tell You a Secret?” Free copies of “Can I Tell You a Secret?” will be distributed at the show (while supplies last). After the on-screen program and reading, Anna and Chris will sign books for the kids.

A Salute to author Beth Ferry. The program will include a screening of Stick and Stone, followed by a reading of her new book “Land Shark.” Free copies of “Land Shark” will be distributed at the show (while supplies last). After the on-screen program and reading, Beth will sign books for the kids.

Free healthy snacks for all kids will be provided at the authors program by KidFilm Sponsor Whole Foods Market.

NEW ANIMATED FEATURE FILMS to be presented include The Mice War (U.S.), Kikoriki: Legend of the Golden Dragon (Russia), The Snow Queen 3: Fire and Ice (Russia); Sheep & Wolves (Russia); and Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom (Canada).

NEW LIVE-ACTION FEATURE FILMS include My Friend Raffi (Germany), Fiddlesticks (Germany) and a special 35mm KidFilm Classics presentation of Benji (1974) (U.S.), as we revisit the beloved pooch who starred in five feature films just before he gets a remake by original writer/director Joe Camp’s son, Brandon Camp.

In addition to SHORT FILM PRESENTATIONS of beloved children books adapted for the screen, an additional twenty-two short live-action and animated films from around the world will be presented this year.

A full schedule of KidFilm programs may be viewed on the USA Film Festival’s website at
www.usafilmfestival.com beginning 1/5/17. Printed KidFilm flyers may also be picked up at the Angelika Film Center Dallas beginning January 11th.

Ticket & Location Information:

Tickets for all shows are FREE for children & adults!
Programs are free but you must have a ticket for admission; Tickets and seating are limited.

Tickets for all shows are available day of show only, beginning one hour before each showtime.

For additional information, please call the USA Film Festival at 214-821-FILM (3456) or visit www.usafilmfestival.com

During KidFilm, please inquire in person at the KidFilm Information Desk at the theater.

All programs will take place at the Angelika Film Center, 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas.

KidFilm is a program of the USA Film Festival/Dallas.


KidFilm programs for the public and the Dallas Independent School District are made possible at no admission cost thanks to special support from Sponsors -- Carol and Alan J. Bernon Family Charitable Foundation, Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater North Texas, Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate, Sidley Austin LLP, Whole Foods Market, The Eugene McDermott Foundation, Mary Fox, CASHSTORE.COM, Gaedeke Group, Headington Companies, Dallas Film Commission, Suddenlink Communications, Jackson Walker, L.L.P. and the Angelika Film Center.

The USA Film Festival is supported, in part, by the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts.


The 2017 KidFilm program is dedicated to educator and Weston Woods Studios founder Mort Schindel. One of the USA Film Festival’s National Advisory Committee Members, Mort Schindel passed away at 98 years of age this past summer leaving an incredible legacy to the world of children’s literature, media, literacy and learning. Schindel created his company Weston Woods Studios in 1953 with the sole focus of bringing children’s literature to life on screen through iconographic animation (a technique he invented), making the content more exciting and accessible, encouraging millions of young readers. Since then, the company has produced more than 350 motion pictures and 450 recordings -- always honoring Schindel’s mission that “A film should bring kids back to the book.”

KidFilm Guest Bios

Tom Lichtenheld doodled his way through school then worked as a sign painter, set designer, printer and art director. After a long career in advertising he accidentally (on-purpose) switched to creating children’s books. His work is noted for its humor, expressive characters and rich detail. He creates books that appeal to children and adults alike, and his portfolio of over twenty books offers something for every age. A number of his books, including Stick and Stone, created with Beth Ferry, and Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, created with Sherri Duskey Rinker, have been New York Times Bestsellers.

Anna Kang was born in the Bronx and grew up on Long Island where she spent most of her free time reading Teen Beat magazine, Archie comics, and watching movies at the local multiplex. She studied International Relations and Asian Studies at Tufts University and Nanzan University in Japan, then followed her heart and moved to Los Angeles, where she received an M.F.A. from USC's School of Cinematic Arts and discovered what made her happy -- telling stories. After graduating, Anna was selected to participate in the Sundance Institute's Screenwriters Lab and Film Independent's Directors Lab with her first feature script, The Lost Tribe of Long Island. All of her experiences - personal, professional, and creative - led her to write her debut picture book, You Are (Not) Small. Being able to create it with her talented illustrator-husband, Christopher Weyant, made the journey all the more rewarding for Anna. Since creating their first book together, the duo has gone on to create two additional books thus far: Can I Tell You A Secret? and That Is (Not) Mine.

Christopher Weyant is a native of New Jersey and product of twelve years of Catholic School. Both experiences led to a life of humor and satire. A cartoonist for The New Yorker, Chris’ work has been published worldwide in newspapers, magazines, books and online, and he has worked on numerous national advertising campaigns. His cartoons are in permanent collection at The Whitney Museum of American Art and The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City. In 2014, the Nieman Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard selected Weyant to be a Nieman Fellow, the second cartoonist to receive that honor in Nieman Foundation's seventy-five year history. Chris' work has been featured on “The Today Show,” “Meet The Press,” "ABC News With Diane Sawyer" "Late Night with Seth Meyers", CNN, MSNBC, and Fox. He is the winner of the 2015 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for his first illustrated children's book, You Are (Not) Small. Chris graduated from Gettysburg College with a B.A. in Political Science and Economics planning on a career as a lawyer. He gave it all up for a pen and a brush, and now lives outside New York City with his wife, Anna, and their two daughters.

Beth Ferry grew up by the beach where she spent most of the day reading. Her favorite childhood memories involve sun, salt, sand, and scribbling stories. She adores alliteration and the magic of rhyme done right. Her favorite word is anticipation and she loves the feeling of holding a book in her hand because she knows, through personal experience, that the book is holding her hand right back! Holding her own book, and having that dream come true, has been a feeling beyond compare for Beth. So far, she has written three children’s books: Stick and Stone, Land Shark, and Pirate’s Perfect Pet. Beth currently resides in New Jersey with her husband, three children and two bulldogs.

About KidFilms DISD Outreach Programs

In addition to the KidFilm public weekend, special outreach programs are presented for thousands of Dallas Independent School District students (grades K–5) and educators. Students attend programs selected especially for them. Many of the films presented are book‑based and designed to be curriculum-interactive including relevant topics and issues (cultural awareness and diversity, compassion and tolerance, history, math, geography, the importance of education and reading, etc.)

About the USA Film Festival

Now celebrating its 47th year, the USA Film Festival is a Dallas-based, 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the encouragement and recognition of excellence in the film and video arts. The Festival’s year-round programs and events include KidFilm, special monthly programs and premieres, TexFest, and the USA Film Festival held each spring. The USA Film Festival is supported in part by the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts. More information about the Festival is available online at www.usafilmfestival.com.

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