The Dallas Movie Screening Group

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

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

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

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

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

Website and Group Contact: dalscreenings@gmail.com

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Movies Scheduled for the Week of May 28 - June 3


Holy smokes it's June!!! Where did May go? Any way school is out and the crowds in the line will explode with the summer visitors. Please be mindful of the unspoken rules of the lines. I need not remind folks, right....?

May 28

Sun

May 29
Mon

Tue
May 30

Wonder Woman - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark
Dean - 7:00 pm - Magnolia

Wed
May 31

Wonder Woman - 7:30 pom - Cinemark 17
3 Idiots - 7:30 pm = AMC Northpark
Baby Driver - 7:30 pm = Studio Movie Grill Royal

Thur
June 1

Ip Man 3 8:30 pm - Monkey King Noodle Company in Carrolton





Bookmark and Share


Thursday, May 25, 2017

All Eyez On Me Sneak Peak and Review




A good way to get out of the heat was seeing the exclusive sneak peek of the new Tupac Shakur biopic "All Eyez on Me". The portable theater was definitely a change, with comfy seats and cup holders (i got to get me one for my backyard) but enough about the theater. This was a exciting behind the scenes look into the making of this epic film. With his friends and family being involved, this was definitely a labor of love. The jaw dropping identical doppelganger Demetrius Shipp Jr. plays Tupac Shakur, ironically enough his father actually worked with Tupac on one of his albums. Jamal Woodlard reprise is his role as Biggie in the anticipated film also. I am definitely excited for this new film that will be releasing on Tupac's birthday June 16th go check it out.
(Reported by Samantha Leggio)







Director:
Benny Boom
Writers:
Jeremy Haft, Eddie Gonzalez, Steven Bagatourian
Cast:
Demetrius Shipp Jr.
Danai Gurira
Jamie Hector
Kat Graham
Hill Harper
Annie Ilonzeh

Can a whole lifetime be truly documented for the screen? Director Benny Boom (48 hrs To Live, S.W.A.T., Next Day Air) successfully films a moving depiction of Tupac Shakur's life. Beginning before he was even born, this film is a loving memorial to the rapper and actor. Demetrius Shipp Jr. a absolute dead ringer for the artist absolutely embodies him taking a deep look into where Tupac came from. The film was set during a interview when he was still in prison the reporter was played by Hill Harper (CSI: New York, Concussion, He Got Game). A poet and scholar Tupac became who he was because of the influence of his mother Afeni Shakur played by Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead, My Soul To Take) which she instilled a love of the word and education. While at an art school he met long-time friend Jada Pinkett played by Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries, 17 Again) where they had a very deep and connected relationship. Unable to control his living situation he moved from New York to the West Coast in California. That was definitely a defining moment for the rapper when he quit school and begin his music and acting career. Dealing with his mother's drug addiction was probably the hardest thing he had to deal with not to mention taking care of his little sister. With all this going on his career ignited like a rocket soaring to heights that most artist never even see in their lifetime. With four albums while he was alive (7 more posthumously) and at least 11 movies he starred in Tupac Shakur will forever be a legend in his own right.

Demetrius Shipp Jr. definitely was Tupac in this film he didn't exactly sound like him but he had his eyes down pat. The most interesting thing about the movie is that Demetrius's father L.T. Hutton also a producer of the film actually personally knew Tupac and helped him produce his albums at Death Row Records, so this movie is a labor of love from friends and family. The 2 hr and 20 minutes flew by, i was so engrossed in the film i didn't want to miss a minute. The film paints them as a real human being and not just what the media made him out to be. Just a man that had such incredible talent and with that talent comes people that want what they can't have. That I truly believe was his downfall is having trust in others and just wanting to be a normal person, not a huge celebrity. He was humble and Demetrius Shipp Jr. depicted him as so, even in his death scene it wasn't gratuitous at all this was a loving tribute to him.

The movie will be released today June 16th Tupac Shakur's birthday he would have been 46 yrs old today. R.I.P Pac you were beyond your years and this ungrateful world didn't deserve you. Go out and see this movie about the man, the myth, and the legend Tupac Shakur it's definitely worth the ticket.
(Review by Samantha Leggio)




Bookmark and Share

Paris Can Wait





This softly outstanding film follows a woman, Anne, who has been shaded by her husband’s work in a spontaneous adventure through France accompanied by a man named Jacques. The audience follows Anne as she suddenly has a side-by-side journey with her husband’s business partner who she has only known professionally. The journey reveals the true loves and passions that both characters possess. It also allows Anne to finally relax and let go of the highly-scheduled busy life that is beginning to consume her relationship.

One thing that needs to be absolutely stated about this film is that the IMDb rating is a gross underestimate of the quality that this movie represents. It was a fully intoxicating 92 minute film that seemed longer because of its addictive brilliantness. This was a simple rendition of a love story that involved an intimate journey together where feelings carefully develop between two genuine human-beings. Eleanor Coppola, the film’s writer, director, and producer, is ingenious in her execution of the blossoming of love.

People who have affinities for the culinary aspect of the world are thoroughly rewarded by watching this project. Jacques, in his vast knowledge and fantastic taste, takes Anne on an extraordinary sampling of all the beautiful foods that France has to offer. We, as an audience, are exposed to exquisite chocolate desserts, cheeses, and fish among other foods that both of the characters get to consume on screen. The food research work alone for this film had to be extensive in order to produce such wonderful sights.

The script is also clever in how it repeatedly jerks the audience to think that this is all too good to be true and that Jacques is questionable. Alec Baldwin, who plays Michael, Anne’s husband, has a minor role but still conveys his character of a privileged workaholic exceedingly well. He has a great look with abundant class and is also almost continuously on the phone. We see this behavior affect Anne from the beginning and further disconnect her from Michael.

Diane Lane is truly a star in her portrayal of a woman just in need of a breather. She brings a subtlety to Anne that is apparent in her character’s demeanor throughout the film. I would say that this movie is a highly suggestible film for any age old or young. It is a fantastic story about truly enjoying life and all of its numerous gifts.
(Review by Wyatt Head)





Bookmark and Share

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Movies Scheduled for the Week of May 21 - May 27

There are many contests for Wonder Woman, so there is no excuse for folks to beg for passes. Go ahead and enter, you might be lucky and get a reserved seat! Remember you must at least try on your own to obtain passes. Don't grab passes if you have no intention on going to the screening. Leave it for someone who will use it in good faith.

School will be out soon, so it's going to get crowded in the movie lines soon. Please keep in mind that saving places for everyone in your family and their friends and neighbors is just not cool and unfair to those who get in line early. Just exercise some consideration and common sense. Thank you!


May 21 - May 27

May 22 - Mon

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark

May 23 - Tues

I Can Only Imagine - 7:00 pm - Cinemark West
Baywatch - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark
In Our Hands: The Battle for Jerusalem - 7:30 pm - UA Galaxy

May 24 - Wed

Rough Night - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas

May 27 - Sat

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie - 10:00 am - Cinemark Tinseltown Grapevine


Bookmark and Share

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Lovers





The Lovers
Director and Writer:
Azazel Jacobs
Cast:
Debra Winger
Tracy Letts
Aidan Gillen
Melora Walters
Tyler Ross
Jessica Sula

The new romance/comedy by writer and director Azazel Jacobs "The Lovers" is a entertaining skewed view of a relationship on the rocks. Debra Winger and Tracy Letts play Mary and Michael a long together couple at the winter of their relationship. With the marriage turning to just roommates that sleep in the same bed. They both have ventured out to find new love with others, but still retaining the marriage to keep up appearances. In the process of mutually exposing their infidelity and that they are leaving for them for a another, all the while trying to hurt each other. Attempting to avoid adding to the stress of their son visiting from college with his new girlfriend they set a date to tell each other after he leaves, but these things don't always pan out. While working out the logistics of spilling the beans they unintentionally rekindle the romance between each other, but as they say " you can't have your cake and eat it too".

The talented and complex Debra Winger comes off a acting hiatus to star in this unique but mild feature. As the part of Mary, she brings a strength and exuberance to a older woman character that I haven't seen since the 90s. With her herself being 10 years older than her counterpart Terry Letts in real life, is a breath of fresh air. It is type of realism in a film that i myself like to see that unfortunately most of Hollywood tends to avoid (my mom was 9 years older than my dad it's more common than u think). Depicting a woman's desirability and libido doesn't end at 40, which is so reliable as she portrays Mary. Opposite her is Terry Letts known for writing and acting for both film and television. Terry also brings a relatable and humorous performance of a older gentleman in the same way Debra did for her character. One of my favorite Irish actors Aidan Gillen plays Robert and brings the anxiety of a man in love with a married woman so brilliantly that even i wanted to tell him to chill out on be too possessive. Melora Walters plays Lucy a redheaded spit fire with a needy streak that got into a complicated relationship with a complicated man. The tone of the film is is a bit flat but that's where it gets it's humor from the long pauses and sighs of frustration give it the real life feel. The only character that annoyed me was the son played by Tyler Ross, a bit of a mama's boy he attempts to protect her but fails to see his mother a human with faults of her own. The son's girlfriend played by Jessica Sula from the recent film "Split" and "Skins(uk)", plays the outsider looking in and even was just as shocked as I was when Lucy hissed at Mary and retorted with the hilarious line "did she just hiss at you?"

All and all this was a very funny and earthy film that deserves recognition and in my expert opinion definitely worth the ticket.
(Review by Samantha Leggio)




Bookmark and Share

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Alien: Covenant




Reel Time with Joel & Chase
In Space, There’s a lot of People Screaming and We Love it. Does that make us Bad People?

Title: Alien Covenant
Rating: R for sci-fi violence, bloody images, language and some sexuality/nudity
Runtime: 2hr & 2min

Joel’s Review

*** (out of ****)

Alien: Covenant, the second in a series of prequels to the films that followed 1979’s Alien and a direct sequel to 2012’s Prometheus, splits its time evenly between more of the thoughtful confrontation of the origins of mankind shared by its immediate predecessor and the gruesome body horror of its spiritual forebears. It’s not exactly a new creation, but the return to the basics is quite effective, with screenwriters John Logan and Dante Harper relishing the opportunity to ask the Important Questions and director Ridley Scott clearly having a blast with returning to the iconography of a franchise he helped to create.
The exploratory spaceship Prometheus is a bygone legend, its disappearance a ten-year-old mystery to those who have attempted to follow the doomed craft that left, it is believed, no survivors in its wake. A new crew of explorers, aboard the Covenant, have charted a course to a new system, hoping to set up a colony on a faraway planet that can sustain life. Its old captain dies in a freak encounter with a neutrino blast that damages the ship, and into his position a new captain, Oram (Billy Crudup, good as a man beyond his depth), is promoted, husband to the ship’s doctor Karine (Carmen Ejogo) and terrified at the mountain of responsibilities ahead of him.
When a coded distress signal is intercepted on a previously unnoticed planet, also capable of sustaining life, Oram makes the decision to cut short what might be a years-long journey, much to the chagrin and protest of his second-in-command, Daniels (Katherine Waterston). The rest of the Covenant crew are split into two parts, with one part descending to the planet’s surface and the other remaining on the ship. Visiting the planet alongside Daniels, Oram, and Karine are Lope (Demián Bichir), Faris (Amy Seimetz), and a handful of interchangeable others. Present also for the exploration is Walter (Michael Fassbender), the resident “synthetic,” a remarkably humanoid, artificially intelligent android.
His outer shell, especially to those who saw this film’s predecessor, will be familiar, and indeed, David (also played by Fassbender) returns to this narrative in a capacity that will not be fully revealed here. Fassbender’s dual performances are impressive, though, in ways that go beyond the superficial nuances (Walter speaks with an American accent to compare with David’s English one). David is malleable, creative, and cunning, with a genuine philosophy that has evolved over time. Walter is comparatively preprogrammed, with a limited range of evolution in his ability to adapt to external pressures. The actor makes sense of this through expertly attuned body language.
The plot essentially bookends the film, with the alien virus causing its usual havoc to the crew in ways that lead to the thoracic explosions of guts and body parts that thankfully don’t compromise the carnage. The climax is a chase sequence involving the crew that stays behind on the mothership – including Faris’ husband Tennessee (Danny McBride) – and a revelation of the sort that reframes the ending to be almost pitilessly dark. It’s a bit predictable, though less so when the focus is on the philosophical dichotomy between two, artificially intelligent beings and, of course, their physical strength in a fight. Alien: Covenant does occasionally give in to formula, but the whole is properly thoughtful and very exciting.
(Review by Joel Copling)


Chase’s Review
Alien Covenant Movie Review

(Review by Chase Lee)



Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The All Eyez on Me Experience National Cine-Transformer Tour



“THE ALL EYEZ ON ME EXPERIENCE” NATIONAL CINE-TRANSFORMER TOUR KICKED OFF MAY 6th AT 2017 POWER 106 POWERHOUSE CONCERT

Codeblack Films inaugurated a 17-city Mobile Cinema Tour at the Power106 Powerhouse Concert to promote and celebrate the highly-anticipated biopic of hip hop icon, Tupac Shakur, starring Demetrius Shipp, Jr. in the title role alongside Kat Graham, Lauren Cohan, Hill Harper, Jamal Woolard and Danai Gurira.

Morgan Creek, Program Pictures and Codeblack Films, a Lionsgate company kicked off a mobile cinema tour on behalf of the highly anticipated biopic of hip hop icon Tupac Shakur, “The All Eyez on Me Experience” Cine-Transformer Tour at the Power 106 Powerhouse Concert in Los Angeles this past Saturday, May 6, 2017.

Befitting a beloved, “larger than life” artist like Shakur, “The All Eyez on Me Experience” Cine-Transformer is an impressive 53-foot, double expandable, state-of-the-art mobile cinema that will literally go directly to fans, offering them a special experience as it travels through various cities, from coast to coast. A movie theater on wheels, the Cine-Transformer houses 91 seats, full projection and space inside for guests to enjoy a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of the movie. Outside, the vehicle features an outdoor video monitor and a creative space for fans to grab a selfie and share their experience on social media.

The first stop of a 17-city tour took place in Los Angeles, California, this past Saturday, May 6th, at the Power106 Powerhouse Concert. Going forward, at each tour stop, fans will have an opportunity to view never-before-seen behind the scenes footage from All Eyez on Me and receive free merchandise and discounted ticket coupons (courtesy of Atom Tickets). Additionally, at select stops there will be live appearances by cast from the film and special appearances by the filmmakers.

ALL EYEZ ON ME tells the true and untold story of prolific rapper, actor, poet and activist Tupac Shakur. The film follows Shakur from his early days on the East Coast to his evolution into being one of the world’s most recognized and influential voices before his untimely death at the age of 25. Against all odds, Shakur’s raw talent, powerful lyrics and revolutionary mind-set propelled him into becoming a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow long after his passing. ALL EYEZ ON ME stars Demetrius Shipp, Jr. as Tupac Shakur alongside Kat Graham, Lauren Cohan, Hill Harper, Jamal Woolard and Danai Gurira.

The remaining Cine-Transformer schedule is as follows:

5/6 – 5/8
Los Angeles, CA


5/11
Oakland, CA

5/12
San Francisco, CA

5/14
Las Vegas, NV

5/17
Houston, TX

5/18
Dallas, TX


5/20 – 5/22
Atlanta, GA

5/24
Charlotte, NC

5/26
Baltimore, MD

5/27 – 5/28
Washington, DC

5/30
Chicago, IL

6/1
Detroit, MI

6/3
Philadelphia, PA

6/5
Boston, MA

6/6 – 6/11
New York, NY

6/14
Orlando, FL

6/15 – 6/17
Miami, F




Bookmark and Share

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Movies Scheduled for the Week of May 14 - May 20

It has come to our attention that some of y'all are getting a little testy when you discover a screening is mostly reserved for press. Perhaps you have forgotten that these screenings are not necessarily held so you can go to the movie for free. These screenings are usually for the press, and if there are seats left, then the regular folks are allowed to get in to fill the theater. This is a gift, y'all and one that I am very grateful to be able to take part. So bitchin', moanin' and complainin' is not going to make it. Just say thank you. Otherwise, you can actually pay for the movie when it opens.

As usual, as soon as this weekly schedule is posted, people suddenly realize that they don't have passes. Like hello?!?!? We send you emails when the passes become available, so please check your emails and get your own passes rather than relying on others to do it for you.



May 14 - May 20

Mon - May 15

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales - 7:00 pm - AMC Parks

Tue - May 16

Everything Everything - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark

Wed - May 17

Baywatch - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark

Everything Everything - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark

Thur - May 18

Special Screening: Ip Man 3 - 8:00 pm - Monkey King Noodle Company - Carrolton

Fri - May 19

Bound - 9:00 pm - Texas Theater


Bookmark and Share

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Snatched




Snatched
Director:
Jonathan Levine
Writer:
Katie Dippold
Cast:
Amy Schumer
Goldie Hawn
Ike Barinholtz
Wanda Sykes
Joan Cusack
Óscar Jaenada
Tom Bateman
Bashir Salahuddin
Christopher Meloni
Randall Park

The irreverent comedy of Amy Schumer is back in theaters for Mother's day and is exactly what I would go see with my mom (but my mom was cool like that). "Snatched" is another brainchild of Katie Dippold (The Heat, Spy). This femme fatale slapstick comedy surrounds a mother and daughter staring Amy Schumer as Emily Middleton a typical slacker chick living with a active social media life, that has just been dumped by her boyfriend Michael played by Randall Park. Seeking refuge from the sting of rejection with her mom Linda played by the classically funny Goldie Hawn. Then unfortunate happens, Emily's trip for 2 to Ecuador is... nonrefundable (duh duh duh *suspenseful music*) and mommy has to go with. Then the duo get into a mess they can't get out of in the jungles of South America and hilarity ensues.

This is the first film in 15 years Goldie Hawn has appeared in. The return of Goldie Hawn to the screen is warmly welcomed, she plays the Abbott to Amy Schumer's Costello. Ike Barinholtz plays the shut-in brother, the back and forth with Bashir Salahuddin's character is so funny. But the parts that really stood out to me was Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack as Ruth and Barb, they took the cake you can't keep a straight face watching them in this gross out girl comedy. The one part I didn't see coming was Christopher Meloni as Roger Simmons the "Adventurer", seeing him for years as a dramatic actor on "Law and Order: SVU" just tickles me to see him do comedy. Óscar Jaenada as Morgado was awesome because I loved him in "The Losers". Last but not least was the bait Tom Bateman as James he does have a pretty face. The picturesque jungle in the movie was actually filmed in Hawaii. The soundtrack is great with alternative jams from South America like Bomba Estéreo's song "yo soy" that u hear everywhere right now. The movie was fast paced but a lot of funny is packed i a mere 90 minutes so it's a well rounded movie.

Movies like these get a lot of crap, especially Amy Schumer for her type of comedy. I see it like this there is a comedy for everyone if your not a fan of her blue humor then this isn't for you. If your like me and enjoy some adult rated R, laugh your face off, and be in stitches good time, then it is definitely worth the ticket.
(Review by Samantha Leggio)


Bookmark and Share

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Wall




"The Wall"
by Ricky Miller

I wanted to be intrigued with director Doug Liman's "The Wall," but was nlot really that enthralled with the story and structure as a whole.

Aaron Taylor Johnson is Isaac, part of a two-man sniper team sent overseas to investigate an operation somewhere in the Middle East. Although their are no specific instructions given, both he and John Cena's Matthews are the only two souls left in a fight that has seen better days.

"The Wall" is essentially just a character study set beween Aaron Taylor Johnson's Isaac and the voice of Laith Nakli's Nuba, a soldier just doing his job of killing him.

As a director, Liman is alwways hit or miss. His first movie, "Swingers" looked at the life of single struggling actors in Hollywood. That particular entry was mid--1990s (1996) fare that just entertained. On the A-F scale, I would probbably give it a B-. 1999 brought viewers the denizens of a Los Angeles set tale in which viewers were treaded to a young Katie Holmes and a very young Melissa McCarthy, pre TV's "Mike and Molly" days.

He hit a major home run with "The Bourne Identity" in 2002. Liman also produced the follow ups with "The Bourne Supremacy" in 2004 and "The Bourne Ultimatium" in 2007.

Liman scored again with 2014's "The Edge of Tomorrow," aka "Live Die Repeat" which for all intents and purposes was a rehash of "Groundhog Day," but motre exhausting.

This entry also marks an early start for Amazon Studios who just jumped into the movie making world of producing good-looking movies with a cheaoer budget. I think this might mark the fourth release for the independent studio, following last year's Oscar-winniing "Mamnchester By the Sea," which gave supporting actor Casey Affleck his trophy last year and Nicolas Winding Refyn's "The Neon Demon," a tale of misguided models in Los Angeles. Elle Fanning was decent, but the ending just plain disappointed.

"The Wall" does not necessarily satisfy, but it leaves the viewer quenching for more in a flick that does disappoint just a tad.
Grade: B-



Bookmark and Share

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Chuck




This quality-driven film follows the story of Chuck Wepner who was Muhammad Ali’s heavyweight contestant and the inspiration for the famous Rocky series. The film follows his footprints from being selected to fight Muhammad Ali to going down a considerably dark hole which involved heavy adultery and a cocaine addiction. We get to see Mr. Wepner’s behavior affect his wife, child, and brother in severely damaging ways. Yet, we also get to see some light and a phenomenal dedication in work ethic to his profession as a heavyweight boxer.

This is the type of film that fully captivates one’s attention with not an inkling of release from the connection that it makes. It completely captures Chuck’s rise to stardom and his super-high that he received from such circumstances. We see a character through the thoughtful, careful, and meticulous writing of the screenplay get lost in the attention that suddenly took hold. Chuck starts caring more about being famous and the attention rather than his own loving family. This concept of losing sight of what is truly valuable after the glitz clears was extremely well-executed by the writers.

Liev Schreiber brings an edgy, wild, and yet human approach to Chuck which basically renders a superior performance to reality. We see his love for his wife that is truly there be ignored and discarded by his wild impulsivity of seducing women. We see his care for his daughter be subsequently outpaced by the consequent repercussions of his behavior. What makes this film a well-rounded piece of cinema is that it gets into the unpleasant situations that Chuck experiences and then rises up with the character.

Elisabeth Moss does exceptional work with the role of Phyllis who is Chuck’s wife. Her character just needs Chuck’s commitment to their family and she is at the end of the day a super-strong woman. She works for her daughter and tries to ensure her family’s happiness. One can definitely feel empathy for this woman as she tries to communicate to Chuck her emotional damage that he gives in to causing.

In one scene, Chuck decides to walk on his own to their house after being out with his wife. The film then cuts to him in a diner with a woman who he briefly and indirectly met in their outing. In an almost unbelievable occurrence, Phyllis shows up at their table with a few words to say to the both of them. The character certainly has a maternal quality that permeates throughout the story. Although I was unsure at first about the likability of this film, I am now certain that it will please a vast number of audiences.
(Review by Wyatt Head)


Bookmark and Share

Graduation




GRADUATION
***½ (out of ****)


The man just wants what’s best for his daughter. The crux of Graduation is as simple as that, but this is not a movie about simple desires for what’s right. The morality of the characters in writer/director Cristian Mungiu’s film is relative to each one of them, a troubling fact that haunts our protagonist in every step he takes toward what he believes to be – and what others reassure him is – true justice. This is not a revenge thriller, although one can sense vaguely the pieces for such a genre effort somewhere beneath the quiet, sad surface of Mungiu’s screenplay. It’s a morality tale, built from melodramatic pieces but more reliant on these characters than on the situation in which they find themselves.

None of these characters is simple, nor do any of them, thankfully, tend toward archetypes of the usual morality tale. Our protagonist is Romeo (Adrian Titieni), an unassuming doctor of 49 whose cosseted existence is upended by the assault of his daughter Eliza (Maria Dragus) on the eve of an examination that will gain the young woman entry to a prestigious university of her choosing. The assault was sexual in nature, though the strongly implied impotence of the attacker only left her with a fractured wrist (of her writing hand, no less), a slight concussion, and night terrors that last for weeks.

Romeo’s (and, by extension, Eliza’s) home life is shambles, with a chronically ill and exhausted wife, Magda (Lia Bugnar), on whom he is cheating with Sandra (Malina Manovici), an official at Eliza’s high school, and a mother (played by Alexandra Davidescu) whose frailty needs constant attention. The assault sparks Romeo into the action of looking for some system of assistance from the higher-ups in the examination committee, including its president (Gelu Colceag), and in the police department, including his old friend the Chief Inspector (Vlad Ivanov).

The favors, as they always do, start out small. The Chief Inspector has a friend in one of Romeo’s patients, a man on the list for liver donors, who helped a pregnant wife get back onto the exam committee. Money is exchanged despite the insistences on both sides that it shouldn’t be issue, and a snowball effect of minimal, if notable, corruption begins. This is, ultimately, a tragic tale, if not in the Shakespearean sense, and Mungiu’s tone is primarily funereal. It isn’t one-note, though, which means that the screenplay and the actors are allowed some personality.

Granted, these are still characters in a state between normality and dealing with trauma, so the personality is limited to semi-normal conversation and some very light humor. Titieni is exceptional as a man beyond his depth in a political infrastructure that no one, even the Chief Inspector of the police, bothers to deny is corrupt. Dragus conveys the trauma of her character’s present very well, especially in a medium shot of father and daughter discussing their limited options. Manovici offers a complex portrayal of the “other woman” that considers her position in a relationship that seems more open than the one between Romeo and his wife.

We get a similarly complex portrait of a small town run on closed-door favors through this self-contained story of the aftermath of trauma. Graduation makes no concessions for its characters’ moral fortitude in this tale of the blacks, whites, and greys of such matters, but it is remarkably compassionate toward them. The final moments, steeped in ambiguity and ending on just the right note, are a considerable achievement on the film’s behalf: They answer no questions for any of these characters because it knows those answers are never easy to give. That, then, is reflective of the film’s protagonist: He is searching for what is right, and he chooses the wrong path.
(Review by Joel Copling)


Bookmark and Share

The Wall




THE WALL
*** (out of ****)

The seemingly never-ending conflict known, in some political circles, as the “War on Terror” is explored in microcosm by The Wall, a tense, minimalist thriller set around the structure of the title. The simplicity here is rather breathtaking: An American sniper, his spotter, and an Iraqi insurgent, himself skilled at sniping, are engaged in a battle of wit and patience. Eventually, the action moves to that wall, a crumbling structure that is (ironically, given its importance) only a small comfort for the desperate and wounded soldier who finds refuge behind it. Dwain Worrell’s screenplay is admirably succinct in how well-contained this story is.

There is essentially no baggage here to trip up the narrative that Worrell has woven around this simple set-up. We gain little insight into the primary protagonist or, for that matter, the other two characters, at least until a melodramatic revelation to which Worrell calls back at exactly the right moment in the climax to give it staying power. Even then, it’s the most basic kernel of information possible to know about the character in question. It’s enough, though, and combined with the performance of the actor in question, it hits surprisingly hard. It’s that kind of succinct character development all the way through.

It works, and that might be because of Worrell’s commitment to the idea. The premise finds Matthews (John Cena), the American sniper, and Isaac (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), his spotter, observing a grisly scene at the laying of a pipeline in the middle of nowhere: several dead oil workers and some brothers-in-arms laid to waste nearby. Isaac believes that each of the shots was to the head. Matthews is reluctant to trust this until he himself is hit as he scopes out the scene more closely. Isaac is forced by the crumbling wall while the Iraqi sniper (voiced by Laith Nakili) taunts him through his communications unit.

Worrell and director Doug Liman gain a lot of mileage with their single-location gimmick (We shall call it what it is): The wall itself truly is crumbling and unstable, with Isaac easily creating a hole in which to place his scope (which is broken, a fact that, it turns out, is crucial). Isaac suffers a leg wound in the popliteal vein of his right knee. His canteen has a hole in it, depleting his water rapidly, and his radio’s antenna was damaged by the rifle fire. Matthews’s sniper rifle has landed next to his unmoving form, right in the crosshairs of the enemy. The enemy, by the way, is hunkered down in an unknown location.

Through a mix of punchy editing (by Julia Bloch, who edits to the timing of the gunfire and the impact of the bullets) and stark cinematography (by Roman Vasyanov, whose job is more functional but who takes great care to capture the arid desert), this simple premise works. The performances, too, are solid. Taylor-Johnson must juggle a lot of psychological, physiological, and mental desperation, and he does so with intense fortitude. Cena has a moment of intense physical performance that is stunning to watch in its every, grueling moment. Nakili voices the enemy sniper with a lot of complex malice bubbling underneath the polite surface. The Wall doesn’t strain to be more than it is, and that less-is-more approach quite decidedly works in its favor.
(Review by Joel Copling)



Bookmark and Share

Snatched





(Review by Chase Lee)


Bookmark and Share

Chuck





(Review by Chase Lee)




Bookmark and Share

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Movies Scheduled for the Week of May 7 - May 13

Y'all know that you can check the calendar on the Yahoo group pages. If you see we missed a screening, you can send us a note so it can be added. Make sure you tell the source of the pass. The whole idea of this group is the SHARE screening information.

Also, please be specific in your emails to offer, want or trade passes. Just don't say I got passes and want something else. You don't have to include a song and dance. Be brief and clear about what you need.

May 7 - May 13

Mon - May 8

Everything Everything - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas
Chuck - 7:00 pm - Magnolia

Tue - May 9

Snatched - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword - 7:30 pm - AMC Mesquite and AMC Northpark

Wed - May 10

Alien: Covenant - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas

Sat - May 13

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul - 10:00 am - Cinemark Tinseltown Grapevine





Bookmark and Share

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2




By Ricky Miller
Entertainment Editor

As a cardinal rule, most sequels fail to deliver.

Writer/director James Gunn’s follow up to Marvel’s 2014 release of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vo. 2” delivers in virtually every single department. From the opening scene, Gunn somehow replicates what made the original one so great.

The start of the flick involves The Guardians (Star-Lord (Chris Pratt, the knucklehead bully of Drax (Dave Bautista), Gamora, (Zoe Saldana), Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon and Vin Diesel as a talking tree named Groot, who says only three words: “ I am Groot.”, fighting a monster from another world.

They have to retrieve a thief Nebula (Karen Gillian), Gamora’s (Saldana) sister who was stealing from Elizabeth Debicki’s Ayesha. She is part of the Sovereign race, a gold-hued species that has a high opinion of themselves.

The opening scene alone is a joy to watch, since Baby Groot (Diesel) is dancing around without a care in the world. His character of Baby Groot is just happy to be alive. He is just dancing to the beat of the song. A portion of this opening is shot in slow motion, adding to the effectiveness of the scene.

Part of the plot twist with “vol. 2” looks at the relationship between Ego (Kurt Rusell) and Star-Lord (Pratt). For all intents and purposes, he is Quill’s father.

Also involved is Mantis, an alien that aids in Ego’s sleep cycle.

Also of note is the relationship of Michael Rooker’s blue-hued alien thief Yondu, because he had a falling out with Sylvester Stallone’ Stakar Ogord. The relationship between the duo went south at some point, and Yondu is oblivious to the fact he slighted him in some way or form in the past.

What was really cool in this entry is the family dynamics between Gamora and Nebula because the latter has a firm disdain for her elder sister. The duo always seem to be adversial, because Nebula always seems to be left in the wind with no one to help in her struggle.

Also amusing was a character named Tazer Face, because he did not realize how dumb that sounded when said out loud.

That is just one of the few moments that stand out on a chapter that continues to impress in a series that will bring forth nothing but cheers and pleasantries for everyone and all to enjoy.
Grade: A



Bookmark and Share

The Dinner



THE DINNER
** (out of ****)

Oren Moverman’s The Dinner concerns the prejudiced actions of a pair of young men born into privilege, and how the film confronts that prejudice and their privilege is, perhaps, a bit short-sighted. Their respective parents meet at a grotesquely high-end restaurant to dine and to discuss options for this period in which the boys’ involvement is still a secret, despite video evidence. Through a welcome sense of maturity, Moverman’s screenplay (based on a novel by Herman Koch that has been adapted twice previously in Italy and the Netherlands) does, indeed, confront its loaded ideas and its characters’ folly and frailty. It’s also quite graceless in how it does so.

The fact of the matter is that Michael (Charlie Plummer) and Rick (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) committed a horrific crime (with one of them complicit in the very commitment of the act and the other implicit in his inability and unwillingness to stop it), and that should be all that matters to Moverman and to the characters, who spend a lot of time dancing around this fact until it is revealed to the audience what exactly transpired. It was an ugly act of gruesome proportions, brought about by two kinds of prejudice, and the film bravely does not back away from where they might have learned these prejudices. Like the act of violence, this is a cruel, sometimes ugly movie, too, although that’s not necessarily a problem on the face of it.

The problem is that there isn’t a single character here who is worthy of our sympathy. The boys are pathetic and mean-spirited, and the parents don’t fare at all better. Michael’s parents are Paul (Steve Coogan), a history teacher, and Claire Lohman (Laura Linney), who have prided themselves on their son, the only child they plan to have after a tumultuous pregnancy and a long illness. Rick’s parents are Stan (Richard Gere), up for election as governor, and his much younger wife Katelyn (Rebecca Hall), who is Rick’s stepmother after Barbara (Chloë Sevigny, very good in a small but potent role). Paul is obsessed with the Civil War, having spent months researching the battle at Gettysburg, and this has led him down a path of possible prejudice that Michael has inherited. Stan is proposing legislation geared toward the underprivileged, and perhaps some lingering resentment has given Rick a righteous awareness of his class status.

Whatever the case, this is a cynical movie about the division in racial and class structure that approaches such prickly social politics through the obvious measure of characters talking them. There’s plenty of distraction from this point, though, especially in the film’s love affair with the restaurant at which they are dining, which includes an intrusive serving staff (Michael Chernus is amusingly exasperated as one of the managers, who breathlessly explains every aspect of their meal courses), and in the film’s reliance on flashback, which shows us the crime in explicit detail but also wanders a lot in attempting to provide for us the insight into these characters that is necessary to warm up to them.

For their part, the actors do quite well. Gere and Hall are just right as the upper-upper-class well-doers of society, and Linney is a ball of nerves on the edge of implosion as the desperate mother who might know more about the crime than she’s letting on. Coogan, though, is the MVP in an exceptionally internalized turn as Paul, who is bitter after years of teaching kids he hates about things he knows too well and has known for far too long. Good performances (and burnished, gorgeous cinematography by Bobby Bukowski that takes advantage of the lantern-lit textures of the restaurant), though, cannot reconcile the shaggy, unfocused trajectory of The Dinner.
(Review by Joel Copling)


Bookmark and Share

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City





CITIZEN JANE: BATTLE FOR THE CITY
** (out of ****)

We all know how thoroughly absolute power can corrupt, and Matt Tyrnauer’s Citizen Jane: Battle for the City hypothesizes that Robert Moses, an urban-planner-turned-mogul who fundamentally shaped the horizon of New York City for the worse, was the poster child for that kind of power. This is a not-especially-subtle documentary about the perennial rivalry between Moses and Jane Jacobs, the unassuming but well-spoken writer and activist who fought for the democratization of city planning that considers the shared humanity of a city’s inhabitants. Moses had no time for such sentimentality, seeing urban areas as obstacles either to overcome or to bulldoze through (literally).

Jacobs saw this sudden shift from a well-meaning plan to one that would uproot lives without the conscience to consider them, and Tyrnauer’s film exists only in two modes: recounting the biographical elements of Jacobs’s life and iterating, then reiterating, the legacies of both players involved in this decades-long battle of wits. We do gain biographical insight into both of its subjects. Jacobs had a knack for finding the elegance in writing critically about the developing city as Moses made all the wrong decisions in planning it, and Moses’ philosophy was to warm up to the city’s political infrastructure to accomplish his vision.

That vision was, by all accounts, essentially anonymous, replacing the worn and cracked slums with blandly white apartment structures that would eliminate a place in which the homeowners could congregate. Tyrnauer and his host of talking heads posit the reason to be racially motivated, and we see footage that supports the theory, such as advertising that skews toward the white, upper-class families who could benefit from a pretty city at which to look or a speech from former President Lyndon B. Johnson that affirms Moses’ philosophy toward the planning of the city. Much like the “war on drugs” that would similarly target minority Americans a few decades later, this was a battle for the soul of a city that would be micromanaged to its deathbed.

We gain similar insight into Jacobs’s part in this battle for the city’s soul. Her months upon years of research and articles led to a book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, which would become the first of eight books for the writer and would greatly aggravate Moses by how critical it was toward his entire philosophy. Years pass. Jacobs becomes an activist on the social justice front as issues of civil rights enter the public arena. Eventually, Moses proposes a series of expressways that would cripple the Bronx, and a proposed expressway through lower Manhattan is rejected.

There is a sense here that Tyrnauer is merely scratching the surface of Jacobs’s life and of this forever rivalry. Jacobs was, no doubt, a fascinating figure in the history of urban theory, but this documentary isn’t as insightful as it could have been. It is also typical in its presentation – archival footage spliced together with talking heads discussing the legacy of this rivalry and with readings by Jacobs and Moses themselves (Actors Marisa Tomei and Vincent D’Onofrio provide those readings that were not captured in audio). There is a fascinating telling of the story of these lives, but Citizen Jane: Battle for the City is not it.
(Review by Joel Copling)



Bookmark and Share