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

Friday, March 31, 2017

Zookeeper's Wife

The Zookeeper’s Wife tells the true life story of a Polish couple, during WW2, who use the remnants of the zoo they run in Warsaw, Poland to shelter Polish Jews. They hide them in the basement of their home, obtain new identities for them and transport them out of the country to escape life in the Warsaw ghetto.Award winning director Niki Caro guides Jessica Chastain, as Antonina Zabinski and Johan Heldenbergh, as Dr. Jan Zabinski, who own and manage the Warsaw Zoo.

Adapted from the book, The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman, the film is a decidedly feminine story that centers around Antonina, the animal lover, and the extension of her humanity. The chance to shelter and hide Jews sort of befalls the family by chance as they seek to save friends, as the Nazi’s are clearing the Jews out of the city and into the ghetto area. Future rescues involves hiding and shuttling people out of the ghetto under the watchful eye of armed guards, which they accomplish by turning the bombed out zoo into a pig farm to feed the soldiers, thus remaining in some semblance of operation. Jan and friends hide refuges under garbage that they cart out of the ghetto daily to feed the pigs and hide them in their basement in cage and tunnels areas formerly used for the zoo animals.

While this is a story of heroes, and a solid one at that, it is a bit unusual in that these heroes did not set out to be heroic or have goals to be. This story is more of the character of what a good person is and what a good person does when given the opportunity to be helpful and kind; to do the right thing under the circumstances. It is clearly a woman’s story, which may explain why it took so long to get to print and to the screen, for Antonina is clearly the earth mother and driving force behind the rescue effort. Antonina turns her kind animal loving heart towards humankind, and is willing to risk her life and that of her family in order to save however many people she can in her ‘human zoo”. The parallels between the zoo and the refugees in hiding are unmistakable. She is even willing, if necessary, to sacrifice herself- feigning the attentions of a Nazi researcher and former associate, Lutz Heck, played by Daniel Bruehl, who grows more menacing as the story advances with the war.

There are going to be obvious comparisons between Chastain and Sophie’s Choice with her enchanting accent, the Zabinskis and Oskar Schindler. The film unfolds and feels somewhat like a play, with performances that could be found on an overly dramatic theater stage. There is some animal violence, for the sensitive of heart and it is pretty clear which creatures are real and which are not and that is somewhat distracting. Full of clichés, and lacking in substance or anything really new to add to the holocaust odyssey, it is lacking in original dramatic moments, yet Zookeeper’s Wife will be popular with the viewers who love an optimistic story where ordinary people can rise to be great. It lacks the dept and inspiration of another Schindler’s List, feels a little piece mealed but will join the ever expanding list of Holocaust films. Around 300 were saved and only two were lost before the end of the war, so the effort was significant to be sure. It was an audience pleaser during a recent screening for Dallas Jewish Film and received a warm round of applause at its conclusion. The story has a nice ending and an interesting post film era ending. It is suitable for PG 13 audiences.
(Review by Cheryl Wurtz)

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Boss Baby

Reel Time with Joel and Chase

The Boss Baby Character is Equivalent to the Actual DreamWorks Executive Walking around Confidently that This Film is a Great Idea

Title: The Boss Baby
Rating: PG for Some Mild Rude Humor
Run Time: 1hr & 37min

In the world of The Boss Baby, babies are not the result of the procreative measures that have become the subject of that old analogy involving birds and bees. In fact, when the real process is whispered to the title infant-but-not-really, he exclaims in disgust. It's one of the few clever moments in a screenplay (by Michael McCullers and based on the book by Marla Frazee) that otherwise goes for the lowest common denominator in its humor. The premise here is that babies are inherently heavenly beings who, based on the curious criterion of ticklishness, are either sent to a family or are shunted aside into management. Once they enter the field of the desk job, they are force-fed a formula that retains their infantile features. Their intelligence, however, grows as it usually would.

In other words, this is a surprisingly unnerving movie, filled with as many creepy details in the specifics of the universe it has built as it is riddled with lazy holes in the plot. Lactose intolerance, we learn, has a detrimental effect on the formula's power of age retention, until the screenplay decides randomly to drop that bit of information to wrap up the plot. Babies are in a constant state of war with puppies for reasons that are never quite developed beyond the fact that both are quite adorable. The villain's scheme, in fact, uses this never-ending battle of cute as leverage to breed a certain form of puppy, and that only adds to the creepy factor. The villain himself is also an odd creation, and his comeuppance, which of course involves the formula, seems to belong to a much more adult motion picture, perhaps one in the horror genre. As for the Boss Babies, the way in which McCullers and director Tom McGrath repeatedly put what appear to be toddlers in danger borders on the irresponsible.

One such Boss Baby, as they are called at BabyCorp, is voiced by Alec Baldwin, perhaps the only actor who could believably sell the idea of a man stuck in a baby's body and suffering from the subsequent snarky cynicism (It's an easy joke to make, but the actor's recent stint on a certain sketch-comedy program is definitive proof of this). He is transferred to the Templetons (voices of Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow), whose elder son Tim (voice of Miles Bakshi as a child and Tobey Maguire as Tim's older self in narration) quite decidedly does not take to the infant's intrusion upon his comfortable existence. Tim immediately cottons on to the Boss Baby's identity, and a reluctant bond is developed before Tim's parents, who work at a company called PuppyCo, are kidnapped by Francis E. Francis (voice of Steve Buscemi), a former Boss Baby who was fired in disgrace from BabyCorp and wants to revenge himself upon them.

Any plot is secondary here to a lot of goofy antics that stretch the animation department's talents and precisely no one's imagination. It's no secret at whom the film is aimed, for young children are likely to respond to the brightly lit nature of the thing and to the silliness of the tone. Children, as ever, deserve much better than this thin excuse for an action-comedy, though, especially one whose "action" is primarily bursts of controlled chaos, such as an apocalyptic battle in a backyard, and whose comedy consists of jokes that sometimes cross an invisible line from crude to genuinely questionable. Some laughs, such as when the Boss Baby must disguise himself as a puppy, are successful. The whole of The Boss Baby, though, is so slight and off-putting that it ends up defining mediocrity.
*½ (out of ****)
(Review by Joel Copling)

Video Review by Chase Lee

Samantha Leggio's Interview w/ Director Tom McGrath and Producer Ramsey Ann Naito

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DIFF2017: 44 Pages

*** (out of ****)

Garry and Caroline Myers loved kids, and they loved kids so much that they wanted to create a magazine directed toward children that would have a sense of respect for their level of intelligence and capture the time in which they lived. The year was 1946, so of course the decision to create such a magazine must be informed by the social, cultural, and political sphere of an Earth still recuperating from a world war and amid the advent of the Boomer generation. The creation of Highlights for Children, a publication that would come to be known by the first word of its title, is the subject of 44 Pages, a documentary that tracks the construction of the magazine’s June 2016 issue.
The structure of the documentary is simple and, admittedly, not very cinematic in any inherent way. We are introduced to the major players in the publishing group, such as the current editor-in-chief Christine French Cully. We meet the various copy editors and illustrators who put in the daily work of a nine-month process to build a single issue. We learn only a little about these people beyond how fate has led them to work for Highlights, the publishing company that has taken its name from the magazine they work tirelessly to foster into the more-than-respectable brand that it is now.

We are also witness to the process of the creation of an issue of Highlights, which begins at ground level with thousands of fiction and non-fiction manuscripts the staff combs through, determining what could belong in an issue and what, sadly, must be left out. Much of the documentary’s most potent material comes from our glimpses into these submissions. One child sends a drawing of the attacks of September 11, 2001, something that disquiets the copy editor who receives it. The “Dear Highlights” feature, which publishes a letter per month from children with genuinely pressing concerns, regularly turns up a plea for help in domestically volatile situations (although such letters are not published, of course) or in socially uncertain ones.

The publication’s aim from the old days remains in the current climate: to be respectful of the intelligence of children in a way that can contribute to their emotional growth but also to be respectful of the social mores that dictate the family model of today. The struggle to remain relevant is also a pressing matter of the heart for many of these people. The path to such relevance is slow: We see the first illustration featuring a same-sex couple arriving in February 2017 (after the production of this documentary was completed), while a growing interest in scientific articles is relatively recent, a direct response to children worrying about climate change.

Much of director Tony Shaff’s method is dependent upon talking-head interviews, which are interspersed with archival photographs and behind-closed-doors footage of the staff at work. The simplicity of the method works because the result is a fascinating study of process. We also get a clear, if rather simplified, picture of the impact of Highlights, which has and will hopefully continue to be considerable. 44 Pages is certainly modest, but the documentary is also an affecting tribute to a beloved brand that stands out by sheer force of will.
(Review by Joel Copling)

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Train Station

Over 40 different directors
Over 40 different actors

This was a real head scratcher, but I love experimental pieces. It's starts out simply as the person in brown's train is late. The same role done by over 40 directors, using over 40 actors, and filmed in over 20 countries all over the world is a wild endeavor indeed. It was surreal but easily relatable like those Choose Your Own Adventure books (showing my age) if you go down the wrong path you can always go back. The range of the actors change by gender, age, race, religion, location and sexual orientation which gives the idea that it could be anyone. This brilliant "what if" anthology will keep you guessing no story stays the same but it's all the same story (weird huh?).

After the missed train the story begins for our protagonist with paths that go from extreme to banal. It's seems to centered around the relationships our character is in that is caught cheating and just a mere choice change moves the story in a completely different direction which is very exciting to say the least. From German clowns to deal made with the devil this flim could go anywhere. With each scene evolves you can see how every filmmaker has differences in buget and style, I learned that one scene was filmed entirely by the light of a cell phone. It's like the MacGyver of movies doesn't matter what situation you put them in they will find a way to work with it.

The ingenuity of the cinematography is incredible, I love guerrilla film making. Just going out and filming it is this movie's mantra. The tone is all over place at times deep and heartwarming then other times it's unnerving and gets kinda weird (yeah they go there) but if abstract is your thing you will love this film like I did. The acting is varied like it's cast but something like this should be seen as a whole and not dissected. There was very little soundtrack only for some scenes but all the better because that might distract from the content of the film.

Overall I really loved this one, I have a penchant for impressionistic film (and horror) so this was right up my ally. For all of these people to take these risks of filmmaking is admirable. I know I wouldn't be so vulnerable to show who I really am by putting my own spin on things even though it's the same story, you make it your own. If u get a chance to see it please do it is definitely worth the ticket.
(Review by Samantha Leggio)

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Ghost in the Shell

Rupert Sanders
Scarlett Johansson
Pilou Asbæk
Juliette Binoche
Takeshi Kitano
Michael Pitt
Peter Ferdinando
Chin Han
Danusia Samal
Lasarus Ratuere

Rife with controversy the new American Manga/Anime adaptation "Ghost in the Shell" was definitely a hard pill to swallow right off the bat. With the casting of Scarlett Johansson as Major, it was not any anime fan's first choice and with them taking liberty with the story, characters, and names of characters even that really stuck in this Otaku's craw. The film has been called out for Hollywood whitewashing of a Asian character, which I have to agree is what happened. I understand that casting a big name actor brings in the big bucks and it isn't called show "business" because they do it for free, but I feel if they looked a bit harder they could have found someone that would fit the part better. In the end they actually unintentionally made some deep social commentary into the obsession of Caucasian features in film and in society as a whole.

Now don't get me wrong I really liked Scarlett Johansson's portrayal of a cybernetic ass kicker it will take you on a wild ride, but it was too reminiscent of her role in "Lucy" where she eventually just uploaded herself to the cloud. I truly hope she doesn't get pigeonholed into these type of roles, I know she is black widow but does she have to play that every time. I'm not saying she isn't good at it, I'm just saying i miss her in movies like "Ghost World". That being said, the supporting roles of Pilou Asbæk,Takeshi Kitano, Chin Han, Danusia Samal, and Lasarus Ratuere really stood out for me. They really held up the movie to the true Anime feel. Pilou Asbæk looks just like Batou and fit the role like a glove he is incredible. The wonderful Juliette Binoche playing Dr. Ouelet was very maternal as the creator of Major even though what she had done to her. Michael Pitt really did fit the role as Kuze(aka the puppet master wink wink) I was kind of taken aback by this since I've seen and read the original story, he made the role so accessible you could really empathize with him unlike in the original. Last but not least Peter Ferdinando was the guy you love to hate as Cutter, to be honest he has done better films but a villain is a villain.

Now that we got the casting out of the way, let's talk cinematography and special effects. OMFG I have to say this was a incredibly beautiful movie. They tried very hard to hold true to the artistry from the original. They have really out done themselves with the elegance of some of the scenes that just took my breath away. I have to go see it again in 3D now, there is no way you can't not experience it that way. So the verdict is kind of 50/50, if your new to this franchise then I say go see it you will love it it's worth the ticket and start watching some anime you will thank me. To the loyal anime fans out there how do I say this... dollar movie?
(Review by Samantha Leggio)

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The Blackcoat's Daughter

** (out of ****)

Here is a film that could quite possibly show up in a dictionary as an illustration of the term "slow-burn." The Blackcoat's Daughter is a puzzle movie whose pieces are put into place with patience and caution until a climax must allow the audience to put them together. Even so, it's more than a little frustrating how director Osgood Perkins's screenplay plays its cards a bit too early for the ultimate revelation to be much of a surprise. At some point in the puzzle, its solution becomes quite clearly the only one that makes sense, and then a sense of inevitability sets in. With that inevitability also comes a sense of routine. It's subtle, but once the observant viewer pinpoints said sensible solution, every piece of the puzzle that we receive feels obligatory.

The film concerns events that surround three young women and the strictly religious institution that houses or has housed all of them at some point. Kat (Kiernan Shipka in a phenomenal performance) has been defined by trauma from a young age, after she and her father found her mother dead in a mangled and totaled vehicle on an icy street. Rose (Lucy Boynton) has more typical, teen-aged concerns on her mind, such as the consequences of a fling with a fellow student that potentially left her with an STD. Joan (Emma Roberts) is a mysterious visitor into their midst, finding herself at the school on its winter break after hitch-hiking with a married couple (played by James Remar and Lauren Holly) who are a bit mysterious themselves. It seems a dark force is at work in this small town of Bramford.

It is important to tiptoe around the film's events because so much of it is dependent upon a third act in which all of the relevant details are either called into question or made irrelevant by a screenplay that wants desperately to jerk its audience around. The performances alleviate some of the film's troubles, with Shipka leading the charge in an unnerving role that demands a lot from the actress. Boynton and Roberts are also good in reactive roles that are ultimately informed by the events of a climax that folds in on itself twice and redefines what we are supposed to have learned. The puzzle-like framing of the narrative is both innovative, in how it consistently restructures itself, and increasingly trivial, as the restructuring is built around a mystery that becomes less involving the weirder the story becomes.

The film's ultimate impact comes from an atmosphere almost entirely provided by Perkins and cinematographer Julie Kirkwood's staging, framing, and compositing of sequences to be the eeriest that they can be. The snowy exteriors and blank, suffocating interiors are attractively captured and certainly reflect the hopeless goings-on in the school and around it. Unfortunately, the craft is wasted on a film that becomes a parlor trick with a last-minute bait-and-switch that undermines any and all of the good will that the film has built up in its solid foundation in characters. There are various questions to be asked during The Blackcoat's Daughter, but the one that we ask upon the end-credits roll is the most telling and important: Is that it?
(Review by Joel Copling)

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

EARTHxFilm presented by Earth Day Texas Announces Full Schedule for Festival Debut

EARTHxFilm presented by Earth Day Texas Announces
Full Schedule for Festival Debut
(April 20-23)

Jeff Orlowski’s CHASING CORAL will be the Opening Night selection,
leading off a film festival with award-winning and notable titles like Scott
Hamilton Kennedy’s FOOD EVOLUTION, Roger Williams and David
Mcllvride’s RIVERBLUE, and Roger Sorkin’s TIDEWATER

First Look Features and Works in Projects include Rameen Aminzadeh’s
BIGGER THAN WATER, Shannon Service and Jeff Waldman’s THE GHOST
FLEET, Jamie Redford’s HAPPENING, and Beau Ethridge and Daniel Nanasi’s

Dallas, TX (March 29, 2017) – EARTHxFilm, presented by Earth Day Texas (EDTx), today announced the full slate of films, presentations, and panels for the environmentally focused film festival’s debut at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas on April 20-23. Jeff Orlowski’s CHASING CORAL will be the Opening Night selection for a Gala Presentation on Thursday, April 20, complete with a Green Carpet at the Music Hall at Fair Park (909 1st Avenue). Among the 18 feature films, 33 shorts, 5 virtual reality (VR) projects, and 6 works in progress, are films exploring highly charged topics such as the state of the oceans and rivers, our food and water sources, clean energy, GMOs, sustainable farming, overwhelming plastic pollution, threats to our national security due to rising sea levels, and more.

Earth Day Texas CEO Ryan Brown said, “Creating EARTHxFilm within Earth Day Texas is an opportunity to use the power of film to greatly enhance our mission to educate the public about the reality of our planet’s environment, as well as better illustrate the possibilities going forward further inspiring people to take action in a personal way. This impressive slate of films, projects, and panels, does all of that as well as being very entertaining.”

EARTHxFilm Founder/President, Michael Cain, added, “We have been fortunate in our very first year to secure award-winning films, provocative films, and some very entertaining and exciting cinema with a focus on the environment, as well as offer up a number of first-look opportunities for our audiences to see films and projects that have the potential to make a real difference in people’s lives in the future. The caliber of filmmakers and organizations who are supporting our inaugural effort only highlights the immediacy of the issues we face and the real quest for viable solutions that films help provide.”

Orlowski’s award-winning CHASING CORAL follows the filmmaker’s devastating documentary CHASING ICE (2012) which created irrefutable, visual proof of the melting ice caps, with another startling look at the status of one of the world’s most important ecosystems. Coral reefs are the nursery for all life in the oceans, a remarkable ecosystem that sustains us. Yet with carbon emissions warming the seas, a phenomenon called “coral bleaching”—a sign of mass coral death—has been accelerating around the world, and the public has no idea of the scale or implication of the catastrophe silently raging underwater. The film serves as a clarion call to do something before it gets too late.

In addition to two previously announced high profile titles that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival (Laura Dunn and Jef Sewell’s LOOK AND SEE: A PORTRAIT OF WENDELL BERRY, Susan Froemke and John Hoffman’s RANCHER, FARMER, FISHERMAN), other notable films presented during the inaugural edition of EARTHxFilm include; Oscar nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s FOOD EVOLUTION, which looks at the controversy surrounding GMOs and food in a film narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson; Roger Williams and David Mcllvride’s RIVERBLUE, which features international river conservationist, Mark Angelo, and is narrated by Jason Priestley in a groundbreaking documentary examining the destruction of our rivers, its effect on humanity, and possible solutions to a dire situation; Jon Betz and Taggart Siegel’s award-winning SEED: THE UNTOLD STORY, which follows passionate seed keepers (including farmers, scientists, and lawyers) fighting to protect the world’s 12,000 year-old food legacy from biotech chemical companies attempting to control the majority of our seeds – and thus, the food we are allowed to eat; and Roger Sorkin’s TIDEWATER, which looks at how the U.S. military is fighting to save its highest concentration of bases from sea level rise, attempting to solve one of the greatest challenges to our national security and economic prosperity the nation has ever faced.

Free outdoor screenings include Bill Kroyer’s FERNGULLY (1992), the animated tale about the fight by the magical inhabitants of a rainforest to save their home, and David Lowery’s hit live-action updating of the Disney classic, PETE’S DRAGON. Fans of 70s kitschy horror, will get a kick out of George McCowan’s FROGS (1972), where a wealthy patriarch (Ray Milland) and his family see his birthday celebration on an island estate interrupted by killer amphibians, birds, insects, and reptiles.

EARTHxFilm will also feature a number of special screenings and works in progress highlighted by; Rameen Aminzadeh’s BIGGER THAN WATER, produced in Dallas, about the efforts of Flint, Michigan’s residents to fix their contaminated water systems that a politically negligent system created; a sneak peak of 15 minutes of Shannon Service and Jeff Waldman’s THE GHOST FLEET, with producer Jon Bowermaster in attendance, which will combine film footage and a panel discussion focusing on the connections between the decline of fishing stocks and human trafficking via the forced labor of commercial fishermen; Jamie Redford’s HAPPENING, about the filmmaker’s colorful personal journey into the dawn of the clean energy era as it creates jobs, turns profits, and makes communities stronger and healthier across the US; and Beau Ethridge and Daniel Nanasi’s WHERE’S THE FOOD? (WTF?), which will also combine key clips and footage from their film, and a panel discussion by the principals featured in the film, about the sustainable solutions to the food deserts plaguing Dallas, Texas, where 500,000 people are food insecure.

Virtual Reality (VR) will have a major presence at the film festival, with projects set for EARTHxFilm including; Jessie Hughes’s AMOR DE ABUELA – A GRANDMOTHER’S LOVE, which shows how a Guatemalan family’s life is transformed when their grandmother gains access to electricity and light; Sarah Hill’s “ARE YOU LISTENING?” Congo – Amazon, which is a multi-chapter video experience that combines immersive journalism with stories about how energy poverty is threatening lives in eastern Congo and sacred lands of the indigenous people in the Amazon; Jeff Orlowski’s CHASING CORAL: THE VR EXPERIENCE, a powerful extension of Orlowski’s documentary under the same title, about the quest of a group of filmmakers and ocean scientists to provide visual proof of climate change; Cascade Game Foundry SPC’s INFINITE SCUBA VR, which takes you on a virtual dive in Belize with legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle; and Sophie Ansel’s OUT OF THE BLUE, which puts the viewer within the world of a family of fishermen in Mexico as they sacrifice their livelihood to save open ocean sea life from overfishing.

Festival passes and tickets are on-sale now. For more information, please go to earthxfilm.org.

2017 EARTHxFilm Official Selections:

Director: Jared P. Scott
Country: USA, Running Time: 78min
THE AGE OF CONSEQUENCES investigates the impacts of climate change on increased resource scarcity, migration, and conflict through the lens of US national security and global stability.

Director: Paul Allen Hunton
Country: USA, Running Time: 75min
In the vast wilderness of Alaska, the earth is changing, threatening the history and culture of native peoples, natural landscapes, and the habitats of wild life. BETWEEN EARTH AND SKY examines how climate change is rapidly affecting Alaska, and will soon affect us all.

Director: Chuan Lu
Country: USA, Running Time: 76min
Venturing into the wilds of China, BORN IN CHINA captures intimate moments with a panda bear and her growing cub, a young golden monkey who feels displaced by his baby sister, and a mother snow leopard struggling to raise her two cubs.

Director: Jeff Orlowski
Country: USA, Running Time: 91min
Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world.

Director: Bill Kroyer
Country: USA, Running Time: 76min
The magical inhabitants of a rainforest fight to save their home, which is threatened by logging and a polluting force of destruction called Hexxus.

Director: Keith Malloy
Country: USA, Running Time: 60min
To some, the ocean is a fearsome and dangerous place. But to others, it’s a limitless world of fun, freedom and opportunity where life can be lived to the full. A new documentary presented by Patagonia and directed by Keith Malloy, FISHPEOPLE tells the stories of a unique cast of characters who have dedicated their lives to the sea. From surfers and spear fishers to a former coal miner and a group of inner city kids in San Francisco, it’s a film about the transformative effects of time spent in the ocean—and leaving our limitations behind to find deeper meaning in the saltwater wilderness that lies just beyond the shore.

Director: Mike Slee
Country: Canada, Running Time: 14min
It is a natural history epic. It is a detective story. Join hundreds of millions of real butterflies on an amazing journey to a remote and secret hideaway, and one scientist’s 40-year search to unravel the mystery – where do they go each fall? Experience the FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES.

Director: Scott Hamilton Kennedy
Country: USA, Running Time: 92min
From Academy Award® nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy (THE GARDEN, FAME HIGH, OT: OUR TOWN) and narrated by esteemed science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson, FOOD EVOLUTION is set amidst a brutally polarized debate marked by fear, distrust and confusion: the controversy surrounding GMOs and food.

FROGS (1972)
Director: George McCowan
Country: USA, Running Time: 91min
A group of hapless victims celebrate a birthday on an island estate crawling with killer amphibians, birds, insects, and reptiles.

Directors: Laura Dunn, Jef Sewell
Country: USA, Running Time: 80min
LOOK AND SEE: A PORTRAIT OF WENDELL BERRY is a cinematic portrait of farmer and writer Wendell Berry. Through his eyes, we see both the changing landscapes of rural America in the era of industrial agriculture and the redemptive beauty in taking the unworn path.

Director: David Lowery
Country: USA, Running Time: 103min
Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford), a woodcarver, delights local children with stories of a mysterious dragon that lives deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. His daughter Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) believes these are just tall tales, until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley), a 10-year-old orphan who says he lives in the woods with a giant, friendly dragon. With help from a young girl named Natalie (Oona Laurence), Grace sets out to investigate if this fantastic claim can be true.

Director: Craig Leeson
Country: USA, UK, Hong Kong, Running Time: 102min
A PLASTIC OCEAN brings to light the consequences of our global disposable lifestyle. An international team of adventurers, researchers, and ocean ambassadors go on a mission around the globe to uncover the shocking truth about what is truly lurking beneath the surface of our seemingly pristine ocean.

Director: Louie Psihoyos
Country: USA, Running Time: 90min
A documentary that follows undercover activists trying to stave off a man-made mass extinction.

Directors: Susan Froemke, John Hoffman
Country: USA, Running Time: 92min
From the Montana Rockies to the Kansas wheat fields and the Gulf of Mexico, families who work the land and sea are crossing political divides to find unexpected ways to protect the natural resources vital to their livelihoods. An official selection of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and narrated by Tom Brokaw, RANCHER, FARMER, FISHERMAN is the next chapter of conservation heroism, deep in America's heartland.

Directors: Roger Williams, David Mcllvride
Country: USA, Running Time: 95min
Following international river conservationist, Mark Angelo, RIVERBLUE spans the globe to infiltrate one of the world’s most pollutive industries, fashion. Narrated by clean water supporter Jason Priestley, this groundbreaking documentary examines the destruction of our rivers, its effect on humanity, and the solutions that inspire hope for a sustainable future.

Directors: Jon Betz, Taggart Siegel
Country: USA, Running Time: 94min
Few things on Earth are as miraculous and vital as seeds, worshiped and treasured since the dawn of humankind. Award winning documentary, SEED: THE UNTOLD STORY, follows passionate seed keepers protecting our 12,000-year-old food legacy. In the last century, 94% of our seed varieties have disappeared. As biotech chemical companies control the majority of our seeds, farmers, scientists, lawyers, and indigenous seed keepers fight a David and Goliath battle to defend the future of our food. In a harrowing and heartening story, these reluctant heroes rekindle a lost connection to our most treasured resource and revive a culture connected to seeds.

Director: Linda Booker
Country: USA, Running Time: 32min
Used once and tossed, billions of plastic straws wind up in landfills and streets finding their way to oceans. Actor Tim Robbins narrates the history and story of STRAWS, and marine researchers, citizen activists, and business owners discuss how it's possible to make a sea of change, one straw at a time.

Director: Roger Sorkin
Country: USA, Running Time: 42min
In Hampton Roads, Virginia, the U.S. military is fighting to save its highest concentration of bases from sea level rise, attempting to solve one of the greatest challenges to our national security and economic prosperity the nation has ever faced.

Director: Michael Colin
Country, USA, Running Time: 53min
A gripping documentary that explores the plight of endangered sea turtles, with particular focus on efforts by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to protect threatened species of sea turtles in Costa Rica. Paul Watson in attendance.

Director: James Brundige
Country: USA, Running Time: 53min
WILD WAYS: CORRIDORS OF LIFE explores the cutting edge of Conservation Biology to discover how the world's parks and preserves can be connected and better function as the last enclaves of wild nature. The world’s iconic wildlife – lions, tiger, elephants, wolves, and grizzly bears - are in danger of extinction because parks around the world have become islands in a human dominated landscape. WILD WAYS probes a promising solution to the fragmentation of wildlife habitat – Connectivity Conservation.


BIGGER THAN WATER (Work in Progress)
Director: Rameen Aminzadeh
Country: USA, Running Time: 125min
Clean water is supposed to be every American’s birthright, but when Flint city officials fail to properly treat a vital water system, and state officials follow suit, residents fight to fix their vital lifeline and thwart the effects that apolitically negligent system created.

THE GHOST FLEET (Selected clips and panel with Jon Bowermaster)
Directors: Shannon Service, Jeff Waldman
Country: US, Running Time: 15min
Tens of thousands of commercial fishermen around the world are slaves, sold into forced labor by greedy companies looking to save as fishing stocks decline and human trafficking booms.

HAPPENING (Work in Progress)
Director: Jamie Redford
Country: USA, Running Time: 75min
Filmmaker Jamie Redford embarks on a colorful personal journey into the dawn of the clean energy era as it creates jobs, turns profits, and makes communities stronger and healthier across the US. Unlikely entrepreneurs in communities from Lehi, UT to Georgetown, TX to Buffalo, NY reveal pioneering clean energy solutions while Jamie’s discovery of how clean energy works, and what it means at a personal level, becomes the audiences' discovery too. Reaching well beyond a great story of technology and innovation, HAPPENING explores issues of human resilience, social justice, embracing the future, and finding hope for our survival.

NATURE NEEDS HALF (Presentation)
Filmmaker and activist James Brundige will lead a workshop on Nature Needs Half - a global movement to protect and interconnect half of all the planet’s ecosystems – land and water – for the good of all life on earth. As the best science and traditional wisdom show us that existing global conservation goals are far too low to maintain a healthy and prosperous planet, Brundige and Media 186 are launching a Nature Needs Half Web Channel at Earth Day Texas. This is a bold, media–driven initiative to galvanize public audiences, conservation groups, philanthropists and governments to address the global biodiversity crisis at scale. Using film and social media for strategic impact, Nature Needs Half will promote a strikingly different relationship between people and nature to ensure a bountiful wild legacy for generations to come.

Director: Jeremy McKane
Country: USA, Running Time: 60min
What happens when an artist, a scientist, and a conservationist explore the planet to study the impact of climate change on indigenous people? Mythology, history, art, and culture turn climate change into more than just a series of statistics. RIDGE TO REEF is a series of short documentary style films that focus on ancient wisdom as it relates to care for the oceans and our spaceship earth. In hopes that we find a way to curb our greatest challenge, survival. Jeremy McKane and Markus Reymann in attendance. Panel and clips to discuss the impact of climate change in the South Pacific.

WHERE’S THE FOOD? (WTF?) (Selected clips and panel)
Directors: Beau Ethridge, Daniel Nanasi
Country: USA, Running Time: 60min
A film about the sustainable solutions to the food deserts plaguing one of the wealthiest cities in the US where 500k people are food insecure.


Film4Climate Competition Winners from World Bank

Director: Josh Dawson,
Country: Australia, Running Time: 0:58min

Director: Sanyog Mohite
Country: India, Running Time: 2:55min

Director: Sydelle Willow Smith
Country: South Africa, Running Time: 4:37min

Director: Ferdaous Abouhaouari
Country: Morocco, Running Time: 4:42min

Director: Skyros Team
Country: Greece, Running Time: 0:51min

Director: Rafael Altamira
Country: Mexico, Running Time: 3:55min

Director: Lulu DeBoer,
Countries: Kiribati/USA, Running Time: 5:00min

Director: Maylis Mercat
Country: France, Running Time: 5:07min

Director: Karim Saheb
Country: Finland, Running Time: 5:00min

PALE BLUE DOT (Pálido Ponto Azul)
Director: Antonio Heitor Cantão
Country: Brazil, Running Time: 0:47min

Director: Christopher Hanson
Country: USA, Running Time: 4:09min

Director: Souksamlan Laladeth
Country: Laos, Running Time: 5:09min

Director: Nathan Dappen
Country: USA, Running Time: 4:53min

Director: Rameshwar Bhatt
Country: India, Running Time: 2:38min

Director: Loic Jouan
Country: France, Running Time: 1:00min

Director: Spencer Sharp
Country: USA, Running Time: 4:08min

Rainforest Partnership’s Films for the Forest - Total Running Time: 21min

Director: Evgenyi Schegolev
Country: Russia, Running Time: 2min
A woman is running through the forest as the first snow falls.

Director: Saman Hosseinpuor
Country: Iran, Running Time: 4min
A little girl is distracted by a falling leaf.

Director: Sanyog Mohite
Country: India, Running Time: 3min
A group of kids ask the military to help them save the rainforest.

Director: Sullivan Rauzi
Country: USA, Running Time: 3min
A gritty memory of the Lost Pines forest destroyed in the 2011 Bastrop County Complex forest fire.

Director: Tomer Eshed
Country: Australia, Running Time: 4min
The feeding habits of the common chameleon.

Running Time: 1min
Impressions: Why do you think rainforests are important?

Director: Heather Garcia
Country: USA, Running Time: 3min
Garner Fine Arts Academy (Grand Prairie, Texas) students dance to promote rainforest conservation.

Running Time: 1min
Impressions: Do you know what percentage of the world is covered by rainforests?

Shorts 4 – Total Running Time: 20min

Director: Denise Dragiewicz
Country: Ecuador, Running Time: 15min
A small group of Ecuadorians are buying up remaining land in the Choco Rainforest of Ecuador, so community members have developed a sustainable way of growing cacao.

Director: Paul Redman
Country: USA, Running Time: 7min
A new model of conservation is emerging that values the role of local communities in Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Michoacán, Mexico.

Director: Jill Rose
Country: Australia, Running Time: 8min
A poetic portrait of scientist Nick Holmes and his work preventing extinctions on islands.

Running Time: 3min
Introduction to Rainforest Partnership’s mission and its work in the Amazon.

Running Time: 2min
Impressions: What do you think we can do to protect rainforests?


Director: Jessie Hughes
A Guatemalan family’s life is transformed when their grandmother gains access to electricity and light.

“ARE YOU LISTENING?” Congo – Amazon (VR)
Director: Sarah Hill
A multi-chapter video experience that combines immersive journalism with stories about how energy poverty is threatening lives in eastern Congo and sacred lands of the indigenous people in the Amazon. Shot with virtual reality cameras and stitching equipment powered in part by solar energy, Are You Listening transports people near Riwindi, Congo, atop Mount Nyiragongovolcano and the Tapajos River in the Amazon Basin. There, users have the opportunity to experience daily life to better understand how not having electricity is dangerous park rangers, the Munduruku people and the places these guardians of the forest are trying to protect.

1.3 billion people worldwide lack access to electricity. More power from the sun hits the earth in one hour than humanity uses in an entire year. These stories allow people to step inside a world they would not normally get to see and better understand what’s at stake if these communities don’t get access to reliable power.

Artist: Jeff Orlowski
This remarkably sobering VR is the powerful result of Jeff Orlowski’s project of the same name in documentary competition, about the quest of a group of filmmakers and ocean scientists to provide visual proof of climate change. This exclusive underwater experience follows Zackary Rago, a passionate scuba diver and researcher, as he documented the unprecedented 2016 coral bleaching event at Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia.

Artist: Cascade Game Foundry SPC
Do a virtual dive in Belize with legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle.

Director: Sophie Ansel
A family of fishermen in Mexico sacrifices their livelihood and saves open ocean sea life from overfishing. Narration by Sylvia Earle.

# # #

Launching April 20-23, 2017 at Earth Day Texas, EARTHxFilm showcases films and emerging media that explore conservation, climate change, and the environment while honoring the heroes working to protect our planet. Our mission is to turn awareness into action, through art and media. We achieve our goals by partnering with top environmental, film and entertainment organizations across the globe.

ABOUT Earth Day Texas
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on environmental education and awareness, Earth Day Texas (EDTx) has created the world’s largest annual forum for sharing the latest initiatives, discoveries, research, innovations, policies and corporate practices that are reshaping the future. Founded in 2011 by Dallas-based environmentalist, philanthropist and businessman Trammell S. Crow, EDTx promotes environmental awareness by curating an atmosphere for conscious business, nonpartisan collaboration and community-driven sustainable solutions. Attendees can also enjoy outdoor experiences, live music, environmentally themed films and art exhibits, beer and food pavilions, family activities and more. Last year’s EDTx exposition at Fair Park showcased more than 700 exhibitors and 250 speakers, with more than 130,000+ attendees enjoying the free, three-day event. For more information, visit http://www.earthdaytx.org.

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Movies Scheduled for the Week of March 26 - April 1

Isn't March supposed to go in like and lion and go out like a lamb? Did we miss something? Anyways, I hope you are all anticipating the Dallas International Film Festival starting this week with a gala event on Thursday and a full schedule of amazing movies for the next week. If you haven't volunteer, it's highly recommended as you can earn vouchers that you can redeem for movies during the fest. Dallas Movie Screenings contributing writers will be on hand to cover the films and their reviews will be posted to our website.

March 26 - April 1

Tues - March 28

Mind Gamers - 7:30 pm - Cinemark 17
The Zookeeper's Wife - 7:30 pm - Angelika Dallas

Wed - March 29

Ghost in the Shell - 7:30 pm - Cinemark 17

Sat - April 1

Smurfs: The Lost Village - 10:00 - AMC Parks
Smurfs: The Lost Village - 11:00 - Cinemark 17

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Friday, March 24, 2017

DIFF Opening Night and Additional Programming

The Dallas Film Society announces Faye Dunaway will
receive the Dallas Star Award on Opening Night,
Bill Paxton will be honored posthumously,
and Zoey Deutch will be presented with the Dallas Shining
Star Award at the Dallas International Film Festival
(March 30-April 9)

Filmmaker panels and additions to DIFF’s programming
lineup include Zoe Lister Jones’s BAND AID,
Robin Swicord’s WAKEFIELD, and the world premiere
of Shane Carruth’s Breakthrough: Predicting the Future

Dallas, TX (March 23, 2017) – The Dallas Film Society today announced Dallas Star Award and Shining Star honorees for the 11th edition of the Dallas International Film Festival. The Opening Night Gala 50th anniversary screening of BONNIE AND CLYDE at the Dallas City Performance Hall (2520 Flora Street) on Thursday, April 30, will gain some added luster with the presentation of the Dallas Star Award to iconic Academy Award-winner Faye Dunaway. Then, at the conclusion of DIFF, Fort Worth native and widely-admired actor and filmmaker Bill Paxton will be remembered and honored with a posthumous presentation of the Dallas Star Award, and Zoey Deutch, the talented star of the recent hit indie film, BEFORE I FALL, will receive the Dallas Shining Star Award during the DFS Honors event presented by the Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation at The Highland Dallas (5300 E. Mockingbird Lane).

Dunaway’s Dallas Star Award presentation at the Opening Night Gala celebration will follow her making a special guest appearance supporting Academy Award winner Robert Benton’s Art of Film event the prior evening.

Additions to DIFF’s schedule include Zoe Lister Jones’s BAND AID, Robin Swicord’s WAKEFIELD, the world premiere of Shane Carruth’s Breakthrough: Predicting the Future, and JUDGE REINHOLD PRESENTS: DADDY’S DYIN’… WHO’S GOT THE WILL.

James Faust, Artistic Director of the Dallas Film Society, said, “Our two Dallas Star Award honorees hail back to something this festival has done from its inception – honor cinema legends, icons, and the film artists that made a difference in our film viewing lives. Faye Dunaway has been at the center of a number of certifiably classic films, and we joined so many in being devastated by the recent loss of Bill Paxton, on so many levels. To have Dunaway here on Opening Night will be a spectacular moment for Dallas, and to have Paxton here in spirit, was a must to anyone that knows anything about this film festival’s history and the people that are a part of it.” Faust added, “Zoey Deutch is the quintessential choice for a Dallas Shining Star Award honoree. She has had a very impressive start to her career, and is now poised to take it to an entirely different level with wonderful performances in three different films this year.”

Faye Dunaway’s film career received a meteoric launch in 1967 with her “introduction” to the world as Bonnie Parker in BONNIE AND CLYDE. Roles in THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR (1968), LITTLE BIG MAN (1970), THE THREE MUSKETEERS (1973), and THE TOWERING INFERNO (1974) further established her in Hollywood, before three more films would cement her place as a cinema icon. Dunaway’s trio of performances in CHINATOWN, THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR (1975), and her Academy Award-winning role in NETWORK (1976) secured her spot as a dynamic actress that both reflected the style, enigmatic nature, and determination of the 70s, as well as being altogether timeless.

Notable films that followed included EYES OF LAURA MARS (1978), and her indelible performance as Joan Crawford in MOMMIE DEAREST (1981). In 1987, Dunaway was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for BARFLY. The 1990s saw Dunaway perform in several films, including THE HANDMAID’S TALE (1991), ARIZONA DREAMS (1993), THE MESSENGER: THE STORY OF JOAN OF ARC (1998), THE YARDS (1998), and THE RULES OF ATTRACTION (2001). Dunaway also had key performances on television including “Evita Peron” (1981), and an Emmy-winning turn on “Columbo” (1994), as well as appearances in a number of series, like “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (2006), “Grey's Anatomy” (2009). She was just seen in THE BYE BYE MAN, and upcoming films include THE AMERICAN CONNECTION, INCONCEIVABLE, and THE CASE FOR CHRIST.

Bill Paxton first gained attention with his short film, FISH HEADS (1980), became a cult hit following its debut on “Saturday Night Live.” Supporting appearances in films like THE LORDS OF DISCIPLINE (1983), STREETS OF FIRE (1984), and THE TERMINATOR (1984) followed until his roles in WEIRD SCIENCE (1985), ALIENS (1985), and NEAR DARK (1987), made a lasting impression on film audiences. His lead role in the independent classic ONE FALSE MOVE (1992) took Paxton’s career to another level, with star turns in TOMBSTONE (1993), TRUE LIES (1994), APOLLO 13 (1995), TWISTER (1996), TITANIC (1997), and A SIMPLE PLAN (1998) establishing his undeniable onscreen charisma and impact. Somewhat underrated as a filmmaker himself, Paxton produced TRAVELLER (1997), and made a stunning feature film directorial debut with FRAILTY (2001). On television, Paxton brought comllex dimensions to his polygamist character in “Big Love,” which ran from 2006-2011, earning three Golden Globe nominations for his work on the series. He followed that success with his Emmy nominated role in the miniseries “Hatfields & McCoys” in 2012. A scene-stealing guest role in “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (2014), and the lead in “Training Day,” (2016) followed.

Paxton, a long-time noted friend of the film festival will be honored during a special screening of Carl Franklin’s ONE FALSE MOVE on Saturday, April 8 at 5:00PM at the Angelika Theater (5321 E Mockingbird Lane).

Quickly establishing herself as a vibrant and charming presence onscreen, Zoey Deutch is currently starring in Ry Russo Young’s BEFORE I FALL, an adaptation of the popular YA novel. She will also be seen in Max Winkler’s FLOWER, which will make its world premiere at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, as well as Danny Strong’s REBEL IN THE RYE, portraying ‘Oona O’Neill,’ the daughter of legendary playwright Eugene O’Neill, set for release later in the year.

Last year, Deutch co-starred in John Hamburg’s WHY HIM? opposite James Franco and Bryan Cranston, Richard Linklater’s EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!, Dan Mazur’s notorious comedy DIRTY GRANDPA opposite Robert De Niro and Zac Efron, and Gary Michael Schultz’s indie VINCENT N ROXXY opposite Emile Hirsch, Zoe Kravitz and Emory Cohen.

Deutch recently wrapped production on THE YEAR OF SPECTACULAR MEN starring opposite her sister Madelyn Deutch, who wrote the script. The film also marks the directorial debut of their mother, Lea Thompson. Deutch will be presented with the Dallas Shining Star Award during the DFS Honors event presented by the Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation at The Highland Dallas (5300 E. Mockingbird Lane) on Friday, April 7. A special free screening of BEFORE I FALL, followed by a “Conversation with Zoey Deutch” will take place on Saturday, April 8 at 12:30PM at the Angelika Theater.

Screenings added to the DIFF slate include Robin Swicord’s drama, WAKEFIELD, which stars Bryan Cranston as a New York City lawyer, who hides out in the attic of his home for weeks, coming out in the daytime when his family is gone to shower and eat. His withdrawal leads him to examine his life, and he rationalizes that he has not abandoned his family because he is still in the house. When a former boyfriend re-enters his wife's life, he realizes that he may not be able to return to life he has abandoned. The film also stars Jennifer Garner.

Zoe Lister Jones’s comedy BAND AID, stars Lister and Adam Pally as a married couple that attempt to work through their marital issues and strife by pulling out some old musical instruments and making up songs about the subject of their arguments. The film also stars Fred Armisen, Brooklyn Decker, Jamie Chung, and Colin Hanks.

Other special presentations include the world premiere presentation of Breakthrough: Predicting the Future at the Dallas City Performance Hall on Sunday, April 2. An anthology series that sheds light on the world’s leading scientists and how their cutting-edge innovations and advancements will change our lives in the immediate future and beyond, Breakthrough brings to life the stories, people and technology behind these breakthroughs, and shows how they are changing our world. Directed by Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner Shane Carruth, Predicting the Future takes on advancements in big data and artificial intelligence. By finding hidden patterns in data, a new form of Artificial Intelligence predicts the future with incredible accuracy. But if we peer into the crystal ball, will we see a world where machines shape the future, leaving their creators far behind?

JUDGE REINHOLD PRESENTS: DADDY’S DYIN’… WHO’S GOT THE WILL screens on Saturday, April 8 at the Angelika Theater. The presentation will take a look at Texas native Jack Fisk’s 1990 hilarious ensemble comedy written by fellow Texan Del Shores. The film centers around bickering siblings reunited at their Texas home as their father lies on his deathbed, and features a great cast, including Reinhold, Beau Bridges, Keith Carradine, Beverly D’Angelo, and Tess Harper. Reinhold, an Emmy nominee, and veteran of 75 films and television appearances, will be on hand for a special “Conversation” and Q&A following the screening.

Filmmaker panels include:

1967: A Look Back at the Greatest Year in Cinema History
Panelists: Joe Leydon (Variety, Cowboys & Indians Magazine) and Chris Vognar (Dallas Morning News)
Saturday, April 1 at 12:00PM at The Highland Ballroom

Austin Film Society Film Grant Seminar
Moderator: Lliana Sosa (Artist Services Manager, Austin Film Society)
Saturday, April 1 at 2:00PM at The Highland Ballroom

Can A Film Change the World? With EARTHxFilm
Moderator: Michael Cain (Co-Founder EARTHxFilm), Panelist: Cullen Hoback (WHAT LIES UPSTREAM)
Sunday, April 2 2:00PM at The Highland Ballroom

Redefining the Docuseries with ATX Television Festival
Panelists: Kurt Sayenga (“Breakthrough: Predicting the Future”), Deidre A. Fenton (“O.J.: Made in America”), and Katie Dunn (“Murder Made Me Famous”)
Sunday, April 2 at 12:00PM at The Highland Ballroom

Screenwriting: Writing and Adapting for the Screen
Saturday, April 1 at 4:00PM at The Highland Ballroom

VR For Social Good with Reel FX
Sunday, April 2 at 4:00PM at The Highland Ballroom

Once again, the Dallas Film Society has teamed up with DART for their successful partnership DART to DIFF. Many DIFF activities and events take place in the heart of Dallas and the partnership with DART will provide quick and convenient transportation for all festival attendees. In addition, DFS has teamed with Uber for UBER to DIFF this year, as Uber has come onboard as the Exclusive Rideshare Partner for the 2017 Dallas International Film Festival. Download the Uber app and sign up with the promo code DIFF2017 to get $15 off your first ride! Sign up here: https://get.uber.com/go/DIFF2017.
Online ticket sales are available at DallasFilm.org, and the Prekindle Box Office.

The Dallas Film Society celebrates films and their impact on society. A 501(c)(3) non- profit organization, the Dallas Film Society recognizes and honors filmmakers for their achievements in enhancing the creative community, provides educational programs to students to develop a better understanding of the role of film in today’s world, and promotes the City of Dallas and its commitment to the art of filmmaking. The annual Dallas International Film Festival is a presentation of the Dallas Film Society and has been named by Movie Maker Magazine as one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World.” In addition to producing one of the largest festivals in the Southwest, the Society produces numerous year round events, film screening series and programs in partnership with arts organizations around the city. The offices of the Dallas Film Society are located at 110 Leslie Street, Suite 200, Dallas, TX 75207. For more information about the Dallas Film Society and its ongoing events, visit www.dallasfilm.org or call (214) 720-0555.

DART allows commuters to navigate around Dallas and 12 surrounding cities with modern public transit services and customer facilities tailored to make transportation fast, comfortable and economical. The new DART to DIFF partnership is making it even easier for 2017 Dallas International Film Festival-goers to quickly and safely travel from the 2017 DIFF hub to exciting events around the city. As the main public transportation provider in Dallas, DART is the perfect partner for the 2017 festival and a vital resource for movie-goers. In addition, DART pass and ticket holders will receive $2 discount off DIFF regular ticket prices when purchasing tickets at the DIFF Box Office.

2017 DIFF SPONSORS: ABCO; AdChat DFW; Advocate Magazine; Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, LLP; The Angelika Film Center; Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation; Baylor Jack and Jill Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital; Bloomberg Philanthropies; City of Dallas – Office of Cultural Affairs; Commerce House; Consulate General of Canada; Crazy Water; D Magazine; Dallas Film Commission; Dallas Morning News; Dallas Producer’s Association; Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District (DTPID); DART; Deep Eddy Vodka; Downtown Dallas, Inc.; Earth Day Texas; EARTHxFilm Festival; El Creative; Elliston Systems; Entertainment Partners; Festworks; Flagship Marketing; The Highland Dallas; Hong Kong Economic Trade Office; IMDB; In-N-Out Burger; Landmark’s Magnolia Theater; Lucky Post; Magnolia Hotel; Marcs Clips; Media 2-Way; Mercury One Foundation; MindHandle; Mockingbird Station; Murray Media; Nowadays Orange Productions; Panavision; PaperCity; People’s Last Stand; PreKindle; Radar Creative Studio; SAGIndie; Selig Polyscope Company; Sewell Automotive Companies; Southern Methodist University – Division of Film & Media Arts; Solarity Studios; State Fair Records; Stella Artois; Studio Movie Grill; Texas Commission for the Arts; Texas Association of Film Commissions; Texas Film Commission; UBER; Univision; Visit Dallas; West Village; WFAA; The Wine Group

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Personal Shopper

Now that the Twilight saga is over (Team Edward) Kirsten Stewart can finally really show some range in the new paranormal thriller "Personal Shopper". Written and directed by Olivier Assayas a French filmmaker that worked with Kirsten before in "Clouds of Sils Maria". He has written and directed over 30 films, with the particular way he films I feel he is a film favorite. Kirsten plays Maureen Cartwright a American living in Paris working as a personal shopper for a spoiled affluent celebrity. Moonlighting as a medium and reeling from the unexpected death of her twin brother she reaches out into the void to find a sign of her brother but gets more than she bargains for. Feeling ambivalent about her situation she gets caught between the unseen world and reality she escapes though her work being at the beck and call for a employer she hates.

Kirsten Stewart and Lars Eidinger dance a eerie forbidden entanglement for the screen, their dominant/submissive mind game of a relationship plays out as things get more sinister (texting has never been so creepy). Her fetishistic obsession with trying on clothes goes with the BDSM narrative also, so no prudes here. The ethereal beings Maureen contacts are not as disturbing as you think when you see how the nouveau riche shop for stuff and how much is spent on clothes for her rich client (it's a lot). Getting to see a inside look into the under belly of high fashion scene and the juxtaposition of pretty people doing ugly stuff (mind... blown). This film is dark more ways than one with some scenes that are nearly pitch black, which gives it a claustrophobic intensity. With a almost nonexistent music soundtrack it really adds to the tension with lots of uneasy bouts of silence that you think your hearing things. With the backdrop of jet setting all over Europe makes it look glamorous, but a lonely life. The clothes though in this film are exquisite and Kirsten Stewart wears them very well, she is becoming a more well rounded actor.

I really liked this film but I was left having more questions than answers and feeling confused I have to watch it again, but that just might be his intention. It was very M. Night Shyamalan-esque with a twist at the end. There is some gore so just as a warning for anyone that can't stomach that but his one is definitely worth the ticket for a date night (leave the kids at home).
(Review by Samantha Leggio)

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Personal Shopper

French director, Oliver Assayas is once again directing Kristen Stewart in his new offering, "Personal Shopper". Set in Paris, the storyline explores a couple of worlds that don't really mesh well together onscreen. High society fashion maid, creepy mansion solo seance, secret admirer mystery texted, murder mystery and lots and lots of tense emoting from Miss Stewart, as usual and expected. Kristen, famous for not smiling, doesn't disappoint here and keeps up the angsty, terse, twitchy act. Overall, it plays disjointedly and patchworked, as a mostly European cast populates the film. We are reminded how utterly tedious rich society types can be, with all their air kisses and seemingly purposeless lives lived in the bright lights. And it annoys.

Stewart plays Maureen, a personal fashion shopper, for demanding, pouty, hand-talking, wealthy social gal, Kyra. They communicate mostly via notes, texts and messages as Mo motorbikes around Paris fashion houses, pulling dresses, belts and shoes for her client in a rather self professed unfulfilling job. She spends after work hours trying to reconnect with her deceased twin brother, one medium to another, in the old mansion where he died. She connects with something, to be sure, but it is probably not her brother, who she is expecting to keep their sibling pact of whoever goes first must send a sign or contact the survivor.

The movie tries to be scary and mysterious, but it just blends old kitschy ghost story moments and tries to stitch them together in a mismatched quilt of a production. Vapors moving about. Water glasses dropping. Doors open in succession as if someone is walking out of rooms and out of buildings. Mysterious texts from a stranger who appears to be stalking Maureen. But that's sort of a new thing. Technology use by ghosts? Novel idea. Maureen's verbal delivery is clipped and abrupt. She's the type of gal that you really can't handle being around for too long, without being drawn into a weighty mess.

A quick day trip to London to do the same fashion pull is all in a day's routine and seemingly no big deal. Just another big yawn, as mystery guy starts texting cryptic and short messages. There is really only one character it can be so there is no real shocker there.

There is even an aspect of the story involving Kyra's forbidden edict that Maureen is not to try on any of the fashions. Of course she does, to erotic ends. She broods, she draws, she looks out side mansion doors to the outside. She admires herself in mirrors in outfits worth thousands. She has a very bright boyfriend, throughout that she follows to Oman after done in Paris, for she no longer has a job.

All in all everything just feels quite disjointed, like visiting a rich proper aunt who tells you to go here, do this, go there, don't do that, don't touch, and then not being able to sit on any of the furniture, or eat at the table set with the China and silver. One just can't get comfortable with it all. They say that when a film gets a mix of applause and boos simultaneously at a film festival, that makes it a must see, especially when that happens at Cannes. In this case, beauty will be in the eye of the beholder. Behold Personal Shopper if it sounds like it might be up you alley.

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T2 Trainspotting

The boys are back at it in the long awaited sequel "T2 Trainspotting". The critically acclaimed director Danny Boyle finally let the other shoe drop with this wickedly good drama. This a labor of love that took 21 years to make and well worth the wait. If anyone ever asked what happened to Mark Renton this is your answer, and anyone out there that hasn't seen "Trainspotting" watch it then go see "T2 Trainspotting". You'll laugh, you'll cry.... you'll get kinda grossed out, but it's still one helluva ride.

Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller, and Ewan Bremmer reprise their roles as Mark, Begbie, Simon aka Sick Boy, and Spud to our demented delight. The love/hate friendships between them all continues (well with Begbie there is no love lost), and get back into the mix because old habits die hard. Ewan McGregor brings new energy to a old character proving he still has the chops to be just as experimental as a actor as he always was. By far the most cringe worthy and unflinching role was by Robert Carlyle, I've never hated Begbie more than ever but I understand him more why he is the way he is now. Anjela Nedyalkova is a true dark horse to come out of this, a fairly new face on the scene plays a integral centerpiece for the film. Jonny Lee Miller was impeccable as Simon with his calling card platinum blonde hair. Last but not least Ewan Bremmer as Spud was the icing on the cake, you can't hate Spud you just can't. Almost all the original characters made a appearance, I gushed the the whole time knowing who was who.

The cinematography was bright colored and surreal which is classic Danny Boyle, but the old school way of filming he used lost it's effectiveness with the 20 year difference in film definition. The shots that were filmed like a handheld camera were clear and it kinda took me out of the story, like I wished it was grittier. The soundtrack was incredible a mix of old and new that seriously took me back loved it (got it on my Spotify now). The tone of the movie was more lighthearted (no pun intended) than the original so there is some comedic relief to match the films rough content. It felt almost like a buddy comedy, but I think that was intentional.

An all around good film and a new addition to the annals of cult classic films. Definitely worth watching again and worth the ticket. CHOOSE LIFE!!!
(Review by Samantha Leggio)

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T2 Trainspotting

Title: T2: Trainspotting
Rating: R
Runtime: 1hr & 57 min

The Equivalent to a Elmer’s Glue High


The original Trainspotting defined the year 1996, and hell, even the 90’s with the drug scene shot, directed, and edited in a unique way that really stood out as a profound journey about people getting high and trying to quit the addiction. I love the original. With this sequel coming out, I was excited to see where the story would go. Honestly, I could have gone without seeing it and feel like you don’t need to see it. Let’s get reel and break this down.

After 20 years abroad, Mark Renton returns to Scotland and reunites with his old friends Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie.



Danny Boyle, director of the first as well, does slip us back into this world with the characters we love to follow twenty years later. The interesting cinematography and editing choices are why Boyle stands out in his films and this is no different. There are a few scenes that Boyle really gets great performances out of the actors with some interesting dialogue that makes you look at your own life. Lastly, Ewen Bremner, out of the main four, does have the more compelling storyline.

The story itself feels dragged out and extremely unfocused. Multiple storylines and odd tonal shifts doesn’t bode well either for its near two hour runtime. I hate using this word but this film twenty years later felt a little…pointless and didn’t have much to say.



As much as I didn’t care for the story, the performances are all good. Ranging from darkly comedic, to frightening, to vulnerable, everyone does give it their all in what appears to be the last film in this universe.




As I stated above, Boyle always keeps his films visually appealing and provide a blend of interesting camera angles, movement, and how the characters are framed. There are even a few shots that I still think about because of the artistry of that particular shot. Needless to say, it’s never boring on that level.


Editing/Special Effects


Just like with the cinematography, the editing style is swift when it needs to be and slows down when the scene swells with emotion weight. On top of that, Boyle edits scenes with fascinating little visuals cues that just make that scene pop a bit more.

Since the story isn’t compelling and all over the place, the movie drags considerably and overstays its welcome.

It’s nowhere near the original but it’s also not the worst thing I have seen. The bad can’t take down the good and ultimately levels out for me. The length of the film is what takes the grade down a bit for me.

Grade: C-
(Review by Chase Lee)

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Personal Shopper

Title: Personal Shopper
Rating: R
Runtime: 1hr & 45 min

Can People Stop Saying Kristen Stewart is Awful Now? This is Another Home Run for K-Stew.

Post Twilight, Kristen Stewart has pick some notable and award-winning roles that make her an actress to look out for. Straight up, this is a bizarre film, but in the best way possible. I will do my best to review this so let’s get reel and break this down.

A ghost story set in the fashion underworld of Paris.



I haven’t seen the director’s previous work, also with Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria; but after seeing this one I am curious about his past and future work. Personal Shopper is a mix of horror, drama, and suspense and never feels jumbled, but more of a cathartic look into grief, loss, and finding purpose using different genres. The absolute brilliance is taking the audience for a ride being frightened one minute to being emotional and filled with (pun intended) soul. A lot of subtleties plague throughout whether it being the performances or the masterful construction of a scene and how it affects you. Bottom line, this story is unpredictable and that’s a good thing to have this mysterious cloud around it.

One plot line, while effective in suspense and the unknown of the purpose, didn’t really matter in the end when all is revealed. It’s a minor gripe and doesn’t tamper with my score.



Kristen Stewart is wonderful. The subtleties of her performance accentuate her character and add plenty of depth. The core of her character has emotional intensity and learning to cope with it between the spiritual and real world is something we all could face with if we lose someone close to us and want to find some way to communicate with them and guide us to heal.

Honestly, everyone else was just fine. Stewart is electric without being boisterous and everyone else is there to just service the story.



From the establishing shots of France to the unnerving, harsh lighting, there is always something to feast your eyes with visually. It’s not the best cinematography I have seen but some of the shots are definitely memorable to establish the mood and/or tone.


Editing/Special Effects


At just under two hours, it’s well paced and the unpredictable story will definitely keep you interested.

Some of the special effects were a bit hokey, but this isn’t the point of the movie so I will let it slide.

I don’t need to say anymore. Experience it for yourself as this will divide audiences…you are warned. I need to re-watch it again to fully appreciate it but as of right now I liked it.

Grade: B
(Review by Chase Lee)

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Song to Song

Title: Song to Song
Rating: R
Runtime: 2hr & 9 min

Song to Song a.k.a. The Movie Where Ten People Walked Out…and They Weren’t Wrong


I have never seen modern Terrence Malick films (Tree of Life, To the Wonder, Knight of Cups) but I have heard…let’s say…interesting things about them. I have been curious about watching them but after this I don’t know. I might go back and watch older Malick but this one makes me hesitant to do that. Let’s get reel and break this down.

Two intersecting love triangles with obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin, Texas.



Um…What did I just watch?

The simplicity of the story can be done well but in this case it isn’t. This is nothing more than beautiful people walking around and hooking up with other beautiful people, they get tired of each other, and go hook up with other people. There is no depth or emotional weight to anything happening that I didn’t care about anyone. The connection was lost between the audience and the characters. The “depth” that is added is when Malick makes something deeper and meaningful than it actually is and it doesn’t work as it comes off as pretentious. The characters are unlikeable and don’t really show any range or personality except for a few scenes that felt like they were from a different movie. Some of the dialogue is fine but for the most part is handled through poor V.O. and the actors sound bored with their delivery. Simply put, this film lacks focus.



Those few scenes, while unnecessary to the overall plot, I guess were acted well?

All the actors and actresses are wasted and they are given nothing to do. I never felt once like I was watching a genuine relationship unfold with fully realized characters. And some of the “minor” characters are just as wasted and pointless as the story.



This is where the film doesn’t bomb. I do enjoy the dream-like cloud floating cinematography throughout and it does feel like you are a bystander or a fly-on-the-wall just watching these people and their conversations. It does put you in the moment making the situations grounded so I will give Malick that. The establishing shots are well done and provide a beautiful look of nature and the city environment to show the beauty around the characters and their horrid situations making good visual contrast.

This is also a downfall as some of the shots are a bit lazy and have no purpose as to why they are framed or in motion that way.

Editing/Special Effects



Since the story seems to meander and wander around with no weight or purpose, the two hour runtime feels like a marathon to sit through and it’s very taxing.


I have no desire to ever watch this movie again. You might find some deeper philosophical meaning to it but I didn’t and this is a waste of everyone’s time. Out of all the releases this week, please skip this one.

Grade: D
(Review by Chase Lee)

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T2 Trainspotting

** (out of ****)

Stewing in nostalgia is no way to go through life, but it's the only way the characters in T2 Trainspotting know how to live. The film, catching us up on the lives of characters to whom we were introduced in 1996's rambunctiously enjoyable Trainspotting, also stews in that sense of nostalgia, much of it empty, because while the ending of the first film certainly hinted at an enormous amount of interpersonal conflict between its characters through the self-preservative actions of one of them, this film only deals with that conflict when the machinations of John Hodge's screenplay allow it to do so. Instead of dealing honestly with its wounded characters, director Danny Boyle inserts each of them into separate plots, then shifts randomly between them. The sense of focus and rhythm has been replaced by routine.

One of the plots dedicated to these characters works surprisingly well, and that would be our reunion with Spud (Ewen Bremner), whose position as the comic-relief of the central foursome hasn't changed. There's a sense of melancholy to the character this time around, as we learn that his wife Gail (Shirley Henderson) has left him, with their son in tow, after he relapsed and spiraled into the drug world once more. There's also a lot of potential in what we learn about what Renton (Ewan McGregor), the de facto leader of the group, has done in the interim since making off with almost all the money owed to the others. The only one to whom he gave any money was Spud, who of course abused his chance at an escape. Spud is in the middle of attempting suicide when Renton is reunited with him and saves his life.

If these two are the ones who are treated as genuine characters, the others in the group are treated as narrative devices. Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) has been leading a life of con artistry with Veronica (Anjela Nedyalkova), blackmailing upper-class society people with forged sex tapes to take a considerable portion of their income. Begbie (Robert Carlyle) has been in prison, although he breaks out by staging a shivving with a fellow prisoner and being sent to hospital. When he gets out, he can't wait to get back into his life of crime, even going so far as to employ his son in a scheme that nearly goes terribly awry. Much of these threads is played as comedy, although Sick Boy's schemes quickly evaporate as the film sees less and less use for them and Begbie's animosity toward Renton (once the film, in its last act, finally reunites the two) leads to a massive shift in tone as it all becomes a caper with a horror-movie killer as the predator.

Interwoven through this surprisingly thin material is a movie that consistently looks backward with an oddly misplaced sense of fondness that misses the point of the earlier film. There was at least a bit of optimism in that film, particularly when Renton twisted an anti-drug advertisement to look forward; here, he gets a similar moment that has itself been twisted into something as cynical as how he once viewed Scotland. He eventually turns to his old ways, which feels like an obligation in a screenplay that also contrives for Diane (Kelly Macdonald) to return for one scene to pass judgment on Renton. With T2 Trainspotting, Hodge and Boyle commit an act of revisionist history that feels dishonest, both toward its audience and toward characters who, for all their flaws, deserve better.
(Review by Joel Copling)

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