The Dallas Movie Screening Group

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

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Website and Group Contact: dalscreenings@gmail.com

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Reset




RESET
*** (out of ****)

Reset is a relentless thriller that takes great care to use its time-bending storytelling gimmick with an accompanying sense of neat, internal logic. It’s also surprisingly effective as the story of a mother who will go to any length to protect her child, and then it pulls the rug out from under its audience’s comfortable perception of that story. The catalyst for that shift isn’t a twist, although there is one here – a development that is almost immediately disposed of, as if screenwriter Cha Muchun understood how trivial it was in the bigger picture and moved forward from it.

That means that the screenwriter is constantly one step (at least) ahead of the audience always, and that unstoppable sense of forward motion in a plot that doesn’t break for the easily exhausted is welcome, especially considering the film’s rough start. The opening half-hour of Cha’s screenplay frontloads a lot of information about the inner workings of a time machine that winds up being pretty incidental to what Cha and director Chang have up their sleeves. It requires some care on the part of a film critic to reveal plot information that might be of vital importance in this case. A general premise works better.

The film concerns the phenomenon of time travel as ushered forth by Tian Xia (Yang Mi), a scientist whose efforts have gotten her company to the point of being able to travel backward in time by one hour and fifty minutes. The brevity of that travel is important going forward, because no sooner is she on her way home after work than her son is kidnapped and the perpetrators are demanding that she hand over the materials used in developing the machine. This is all that should be comfortably revealed about a narrative that eventually folds in upon itself.

And it does take about half an hour, built upon explanation of the properties of that machine (which are mostly confounding, at least until we see them in action), for the film to find its footing. Once it does, though, in a sequence that establishes Tian’s desperation in an incredibly complex situation, the following hour is surprisingly ruthless in its depiction of the villains, who do not pause to consider the collateral damage, and nifty in the way Tian confronts the very physical ramifications of her creation. Yang’s performance, which forks off into three, very different directions because of that creation, is exceptional.

The film is also home to a series of impressive action sequences, including a wild chase down a series of highways (Some of the cheaply-produced special effects do get in the way, although Chang offsets that limitation well by not truly relying on them) and an equally nervy climactic shootout. Within that shootout, though, Cha and Chang’s final card is played, twisting the minor expectations built-up that define our relationship to a certain character into a kind of origami fold of a screenplay. Whether Reset plays fair is in the eye of the beholder. You know who you are.
(Review by Joel Copling)



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Baby Driver




As a director, Edgar Wright has not done a bad movie yet. This is going back to 2004’s sleeper “Shaun of the Dead,” which poked fun at and referred to zombie legends dos and donts.

Now, with “Baby Driver,” Wright takes on the action genre he knows all too well with 2007’s “Hot Fuzz,” a cops and robbers tale that made fun of life in the idyllic countryside. Simon Pegg was an overenthusiastic cop who excelled at most things, just not personal relationships.

In “Baby Driver,” Ansel Elgort (“The Fault on Our Stars”) is Baby, a getaway driver who listens to music as a means to coping with a tragedy that claimed the life of his mother many a year ago.

His boss is Doc (Kevin Spacey, “American Beauty,” “The Usual Suspects”), who he deals with as a close friend and confidant. Baby does not directly participate in the wrongdoings, since he is essentially just the ace behind the wheel and an awesome getaway driver.

Baby’s life includes taking care of a deaf caregiver, Joseph (CJ Jones) who he interacts with on an almost daily basis. When having his peanut butter on his sandwich, he prefers to have the whole piece of bread completely covered in the peanut butter, all to the edges.

Life gets more complicated when he meets Debra (Lilly James, “2015’s Cinderella,” “Pride + Prejudice + Zombies”), a waitress at the local diner, a place he has frequented since he was a little kid.

The team Baby works with usually switches, but he has been around the married couple of Jon Hamm’s Buddy and Elisa Gonzalez’s Darling.
Making a brief spell is Jon Bernthal’s Griff, who adds nothing on interest to the proceedings.

New in the nix is Jamie Foxx’s Bats, a thug who would rather kill the clerk than just pay for a pack of gum.

Spacey finds a way back in Baby’s life, by fitting in another job involving a bank they cased earlier in the movie. Baby even brings in Spacey’s nephew who also knows the ins and outs of accessing the situation.

The pacing on this entire movie feels brisk and efficient, like it knows where it is going every step of the way.

Like his work in 2010’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” music plays an important part of the proceedings. It is used not just as a placeholder, but rather as a way to enjoy the events as they are occurring.

Baby even returns the purse of a woman he stole the car from. Even she is surprised and flabbergasted when she gets her item back undamaged
I would count this one as a summer sleeper surprise, because it knows what it is doing every single step of the way.

Sure, it is violent in spots, but when flicks are tuned down to placate themselves for a PG-13 audience, it is refreshing to see a filmmaker go all lout to earn that “R” rating with pride.

Grade: A-
(Review by Ricky Miller>


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Okja





“Okja” is an amazing movie. The premise of raising a giant genetically modified pig is only part of the story. For starters, like “Beasts of No Nation” a couple of years ago, this movie is specifically made for Netflix. That is why I jumped at the chance to see it on the big screen. I saw it at The Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson, Texas.

The story centers on a family that chosen to help raise a pig-like creature that for all intents and purposes is nothing more than food.
The lead in “Okja” is Mija, played by 13 year old Seo-Hyun Ahn, who gives a remarkable performance that reminded me of Natalie Portman in “The Professional,” wherein a tiny girl gives an outstanding turn that has shades of depth beyond her years.

The rest of the cast all give credible performances, especially Paul Dano as Jay, leader of the ALF, an animal activist group that frees creatures from death and the like. Also enjoyable is Jake Gylenhaal as Johnny Wilcox, a pseudo animal activist celebrity who claims to be on the side of good, but turns out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. My point of reference comparison would be Kenneth Branagh’s supporting turn in “Harry Potter and “the Chamber of Secrets” as his fraud teacher teacher Gilderoy Lockhart.

Also worthy of mention is Lilly Collins as Red, who aids Jay and others members of the ALF. She was good in this, just like her part in the little seen “Rules Don’t Apply” from last year.

Also giving commendable support is Steven Yeun as K, a member of the ALF team.

Tilda Swinton returns as the antagonist of the story as sisters Lucy and Nancy Mirando. Nancy justifies killing the pigs by saying they just better (expletive) taste good.

Her character justifies the slaughter of the pigs by stating supposed facts by referring to their carbon footprint in today’s world. Supposedly, it is Less toxic waste and fewer greenhouse gases.

The relationship of Okja and Mija is central to the storyline. They share a special relationship where Mija just whispers what she is saying into Okja’s ear.

“Okja” is unrated, but with some brutal deaths near the end, I would give it a PG-13 rating. The violence is not necessary, but it does affect the storyline angle altogether.

I really appreciate d this movie, due in part because of the director Bong Joon Ho. He did a great job with 2006s “The Host.” More recently he handled the dystopian train saga “Snowpiercer,” (2013) which a lot of people praised, but to me just an average story. In that tale, it was lead Chris Evans (“Captain America” The First Avenger,” “Push,” “Gifted”) who resides on an endless train ride going around the planet.

For comparisons sake, I would liken “Okja” this to either Steven Spielberg’s 1982 masterpiece “E. T.” The Extra Terreststrial” and 1984’s “The Neverending Story.” They each had family fun that bordered on fantasy and the like.

Grade: B+
(Review by Ricky Miller


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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Okja




Okja, the title character is a superpig. What's a superpig? It's one of 27 creatures that are being sent to farms all over the world, to be raised on farms. In the hopes of raising the one supreme superpig. Corporation Mirando, led by CEO Lucy Mirando (Tilda Swinton) in an way far out there role (complete with braces) secretly engineered the GMO piggies to solve an impending world food supply crisis, in a mass media roll out. The competition is meant to be a diversion to the world, making them think the superpigs were discovered in South American, when secretly they were artificially created. Lucy feels that the public will not buy GMO foods, thus the public ruse. But Mirando stands to reap millions and millions for their 10'year time investment in the diversion. Their goal is of course market domination. So the show must go on. Okja, the creature onscreen, is an amazing, charming and very engaging CGI creation that is based on a pig, a dog and a manatee. Super lovable.

Okja as a baby was sent to South Korea to a rural mountain farmer, where he has grown fat on local fruit, swum in mountain pools, frolicked in the forest and formed a close relationship with young Mija, the grand daughter, who loves Okja deeply and completely. It is discovered, when company spokesman Johnny, a wacky and dramatic, over the top, yet failing animal-planet type TV host ( Jake Gyllenhall) shows up with his crew to examine Okja and declare him competition worthy. As grandfather explains to Mija that Okja is going to New York for his big reveal, Mirando employees and Johnny take Okja to board transport for the US.

Mija vows to follow and get Okja back, encountering a very amusing, black dressing, mask wearing, vigilante animal saving tactical force, led by Paul Dano, along the way.

Corporate Mirando realizes that the very public vigilante theft and subsequent loss, again, of Okja back into Mirando hands, is bad PR news, and Lucy decides to recruit and bring Mija along for the public reveal. It remains the goal of the animal rescue organization to free Okja and expose Lucy for the fake and liar that she is.

The film is full of hilarity, drama, visual appeal and a fair amount of four letter F -words. Quite a lot for an unrated movie that anticipates a PG-13. There is enough action and adventure for everyone. Wonderful special effects. Amusing stunts and twists and turns. Many images are visually stunning, coupled with a unique and quite lively score. There are dramatic and thrilling Okja chases in Korea, and underground mall, in New York City and at the superpig farm, where the horrors of the meat packing industry are laid bare. Many moments are heart wrenching and emotionally touching. The film, which debuted at Cannes and will be on Netflix the end of June, is truly an original, inspiring a broad range of emotions, about relationships, family, working for a worthy cause and the very timely themes of reducing violence in the meat industry, treating all animals humanely, the development and use of GMO products and an openness between corporations and consumers. Fair warning, some scenes at the factory, may be intense for young viewers, for they involve forced breeding, sac-ing, and meat processing, factory mass produced style. The other more pleasant idyllic scenes will imprint not unlike most Classic Disney films do.
(Review by Cheryl Wurtz)


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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Baby Driver



Baby Driver
Director: Edgar Wright
Studio: TriStar Pictures

“Baby” delivers the high-speeding performance

Sounds very childish for Ansel Elgort’s “Baby” character, but the story seems a bit decent for a relationship between a music-loving kid and a crime boss (portrayed by Kevin Spacey, The Usual Suspects), who was a also a veteran criminal, to tackle each criminal task there is in the city without being noticed by cops. Baby, as a getaway driver, also works with couple of crime gangsters who will take down every robbery throughout the entire course (portrayed by Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, and Eiza Gonzales) until they discovered Baby’s tape-recording confessions from them and his boss. It’s funny how Baby the driver has done some spectacular stunts on highways and traffic roads and manage to get himself and team away from noticeable cops from banks to post offices. During the midst of the film, Baby falls in love with the diner waitress (portrayed by Lily James, Cinderella) and romance blossoms like back in Alec Baldwin’s “The Cooler,” but never forgets his deal with his boss and his caring for his foster dad, which I called the character the “silent Morgan Freeman,” who was concerned about his adopted son. Later on, Baby betrayed the gangster group and his boss since I believed he had lots of emotions and good things to come in his heart. The most concerning part was that Baby finally went to jail at the end but later got released.

This film was amazing as the film contains lots of wonderful action sequences and some scenes that look very familiar and nostalgia based on “The Fast and the Furious” series, “Whiplash,” “The Cooler,” “The Godfather” and “Goodfellas.” I like Kevin Spacey’s performance just like Joe Pesci, Alec Baldwin, and Donbot from Futurama. The music and the direction seems perfect as well as the casting for their roles in such high-tailed levels and adventures of mishaps. I love how Spacey’s character mentioned “Monsters’ Inc.” as he knows what friendship deals with and I know Spacey previous appeared in the Disney-Pixar classical film, “A Bug’s Life,” whereas he voiced Hopper, the main antagonist of the film.

Overall, the film is pretty much delightful, but I won’t say it’s not too horrible when I see how the Baby character had turned out before or after the events of this film. If you’re a fan of high-speeding films, maybe you should watch it.

Grade: A
(Review by Henry Pham)


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Baby Driver





BABY DRIVER
**** (out of ****)

Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver comes out of the gate so strong that it’s a wonder it keeps its rhythm. The writer/director has carved out a comfortable niche in this arena of filmmaking that exists somewhere between refreshing ingenuity and reverent pastiche. His latest certainly has the whiff of Quentin Tarantino, circa the mid-1990s, but it never feels as if Wright is straining to imitate the other filmmaker. As in 1994’s Pulp Fiction, the dialogue crackles with pop-culture references and cheerful profanity, but that dialogue is its own language, with the actors adopting an unexpected rhythm that is also theirs alone.

Take Kevin Spacey, an actor with a specific type of charisma, who plays Doc, a crime boss with our protagonist in his debt and with the specific agenda of never using the same crew more than once, though, as we see, he does rotate within a specific circle of colleagues and accomplices. The character is almost impossible to pin down as a villain, speaking carefully modulated cliché after carefully modulated cliché, and in fact, the treatment of the man as a kind of father figure for our protagonist complicates any attempt to figure him out even further. Spacey’s performance is exceptional at finding what we cannot: whatever makes Doc tick.

The heist that opens the film has been conceived and planned by Doc, although the specifics of it aren’t that important. It’s a way of introducing us to the main players. The semi-exception is Griff (Jon Bernthal), who exits the team when this job ends, but Buddy (Jon Hamm) and Darling (Eiza Gonzalez), a psychotic Bonnie-and-Clyde pairing, factor importantly into what follows the opening bank robbery. Their driver is our protagonist, a dreamer named Baby (Ansel Elgort) whose prowess behind the wheel can be attributed to the focus that his music gives him. Baby’s soundtrack guides the film itself in its editorial sensibilities (particularly during a clever shootout in a warehouse that is quite literally edited to the beats of the song on one of Baby’s iPods).

The soundtrack has an emotional logic here: Baby was involved in a car crash that killed his parents, a car crash during which he was listening to music, because of his mother’s (played by Sky Ferreira) former occupation as a singer. The accident left him with a “hum in the drum,” as Doc puts it – a constantly ringing feedback within his ear canal that is successfully drowned out by music. As such, music is a constant on that exceptional soundtrack, which spans genres (from classic rock to easy listening to, in that shootout, a Latin reggae favorite), musical artists, and eras.

The plot kicks in once Baby tries to find a bit of happiness in his dead-end existence of driving for Doc, who knows the kid’s weakness lay in what he loves. At first, that would be his deaf foster parent/roommate Joseph (CJ Jones), whom Baby underestimates in the number of goings-on he can work out through careful observation of the nightly news and Baby’s stacks of cash hidden under a loose floorboard. Baby’s list of loves grows when he becomes enamored with Debbie (Lily James), a restive waitress at the diner where Baby’s mother used to work. The two fall quickly for each other, and eventually Baby ropes her into his plan to cut ties with Doc. This doesn’t sit well with the crime boss, as you can probably imagine.

The romance between Baby and Debbie is the good-hearted center of a film whose edges are filled in with very bad people, and it helps that the performances by these two are as effective as they are. Elgort plays Baby as a bit of an oddball, likable but closed-off from normal human interaction (“I’ve talked to you tonight more than I’ve talked to anyone all year,” he tells Debbie, who is visibly both flattered and baffled by this). James is the paragon of goodness and moral clarity, injecting the latter into a climax that pits the two against opposites. The rest of the ensemble – from Spacey to Hamm and Gonzalez (who share genuine chemistry as a joker and his harlequin) to Jamie Foxx (whose performance as the mysterious and psychotic Bats, another player in Doc’s twisted heists, is an expert mixture of menace and glee) – is superb, certain to be one of the best of its kind this year.

The cast and Wright’s unflappable sense of style in the car chase sequences (which flatly refuse to be quick-cut disasters and incorporate reasonable geography and superb sound design alongside Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss’s quixotic editing) combine to afford the film itself a refreshing flavor, and Wright’s expert weaving of his narrative suggests total control of some genuinely bonkers twists and turns. There is a unique visual language (as per usual for Wright) at work in Bill Pope’s exquisite photography, particularly in some cleverly unbroken takes. Really, there’s something new at every turn in Baby Driver, a thrilling new vision from one of our best working filmmakers.
(Review by Joel Copling)



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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Movies Scheduled for the Week of June 25 - July 1


Summer is here and school is out, so the crowds at the movies are going to be intense. Remember to get their early to be able to sit together. Please don't sit in the reserved seats, and don't hover by them. Find a seat while you can. Don't bitch and complain about how unfair it is that you have to sit in the front row. You can always go see the films on the weekend with a paid ticket and avoid the hassle. An please, please, please put those phones away!!!

There are lots of movies on Wednesday at Northpark, so expect lots of crowds. Cooperate with the theater staff.

Mon - June 26

Okja - 7:30 pm - Alamo Drafthouse Richardson

Tue - June 27

Despicable Me 3 - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark
The Beguiled - 7:30 pm - Angelika Dallas

Wed - June 28

The Big Sick - 7:30 pm - Alamo Drafthouse Cedars
The House - 7:30 - AMC Northpark
Despicable Me 3 - 7:30 - AMC Northpark
Spiderman: Homecoming - 7:30 - AMC Northpark




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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Okja




It's a story about a girl and her pig like creature, which seems like a child's film, but you may not want to bring little kids to it. Bong Joon-ho's followup to the amazing Snowpiecer, is a dark comedy that touches on the meat industry, corporate greed, and animal activism. Director Bong Joon-ho wrote the film with Jon Ronson, creates an unexpected world that will stick with you and maybe reconsider eating a hot dog again. The action goes from New York City, to the quiet and beautiful South Korean countryside. It's interesting that the western characters in this story are all garishly dresses and overly emotional as opposed to the simple farmers who live on at mountain in South Korea.

Mirando Corporation, an agrochemical company, has been accused of horrendous business practices by the late patriarchal founder. Lucy (Tilda Swinton), his daughter agrees that her father was a psychopath and wants to change the image of the company. Her plan is to put on the market a new animal food product, that has been genetically created to be bigger, better, and more sustainable. She wants to make these little piglets more acceptable to the public and people will probably not be so welcoming to a GMO animal. So in a reality show promotion she sends out 27 piglets across the globe and in 10 years will bring them back to New York to see who raised the best pig.

On the mountain in South Korea, Meji (Ahn Seo-hyun) has been the constant companion since the age of four to Okja. They explore the woods and play together, which reminds one of Pete's Dragon. Her grandfather led her to believe that they are paying Miranda to buy Okja, until she learns the truth when the company people show up to take Okja back to NY to be in the super pig contest. Obviously freaked out Meji, follows them to the city to get her friend back. In the process, she meets up with the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) led by J (Paul Dano) and his fellow pacifist terrorist team who want to implant a recorder on Okja so they can obtain evidence to show Mirando Corp's evilness. They promise Meji, they have a plan. Meji says no, but ALF's K (Steven Yeun) mistranslated her answer in his enthusiasm to complete their mission. Lucy gets wind of Meji and decides it would be a good marketing ploy to bring her to NY to introduce Okja.

The action gets bumped up with Meji trying to rescue Okja, to the ALF trying to bring to light the animal cruelty, to Lucy's obsession to prove to her sister Nancy that she can be the smart one. On top of all this, there is Jake Gyllenhaal as Dr. Johnny Wilcox, a washed up animal TV personality who is totally unhinged. Tilda Swinton, who usually plays such severely serious characters, is truly wacky and over the top. The CGI pigs are very realistic and helps to suspend belief. The images of the slaughter houses and yards will make vegans cringe, and the trauma suffered by Okja while being bred to another pig, is not for children. Despite that, the movie is truly magical, humorous, endearing and will probably be a favorite flick of the year.

Watch for it on Netfix on June 28, 2017
(Review by reesa)


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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Transformers: The Last Knight







Director Michael Bay has said publicly this would be his last “Transformers” movie. Honestly, his loss to the series does not really make a difference to me. What I do like, however is that he always shoots for the big screen. I’m sorry, but when the events that unfold on screen are larger than life, the movie theater is the place to see them

“Transformers: The Last Night” is actor Mark Wahlberg’s third appearance in a Bay-directed movie. He first worked with him on the true life tale of 2013’s “Pain and Gain,” which also featured The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) and Anthony Mackie (“The Hurt Locker,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”).

I gave it a grade of a C on the A-F scale. He then joined the ‘Transformers’ universe in 2014, playing Cade Yeager, an inventor residing in Texas who discovers Autobot leader Optimus Prime in a delapitated barn. It was another C+ entry into a franchised that has just been average at best.

What is ironic is the fact that Yeager’s daughter is off at school, so Bay weaves in a 14 year-old girl, Isabella (Isabela Moher) into the storyline.

He tries to bring further credibility to his popcorn flicks by bringing in Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins. Bay has done stuff like this before, bringing in Oscar-winner Frances McDormand into the Transformers universe with a government higher-up in “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” in 2012. Her appearance added nothing to the lackluster franchise but just give it a slice of credibility by just having her name and face in the flick.

Also returning to the franchise is Josh Duhamel, as U.S. soldier Major Lennox. He has been in all of the movies since the beginning with 2007’s “The Transformers.”

Also making an appearance is character actor Stanley Tucci, who appeared in “Age of Extinction” as wealthy industrialist Joshua Joyce. In “The Last Night,” he is Merlin, who aided various Transformers in their plights here on planet Earth.

His directorial debut with “Bad Boys” But every once in a while I get surprised, like 1995’s the Martin Lawrence-Will Smith team up was the epitome of style over substance. He treated sow motion as an overused device to no end.

As much as I dislike his movies, at least Bay is thinking outside the box a little. Last year witnessed him trying something different with “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Bengazzi.” I did not really care for that one either, giving it a C+ on my A-F scale.

Despite all my complaints about his work, Bay’s “Transformers: The Last Knight” is a definite must for the big screen and worth the extra money for the 3D IMAX experience.

Grade: C+
(Review by Ricky Miller)




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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bluebeard




The debut feature film of writer/director Lee Soo-yeon is a psychological thriller that is full of twists and turns that will make one's head spin. There is a lot going on in this movie, but if you bear with it, it will all make sense, sort of, in the end. Technically it's nicely atmospheric as scenes shift with the character's perception of reality. But sometimes, it gets muddled down in trying too hard to be complex.

Cho Jun-woong (The Handmaiden), plays Dr. Byun, a once successful doctor in Gangham who lost most of his wealth to pay alimony to his recent ex, and loan sharks. He now works in a country clinic performing mostly colonoscopies to senior patients and he lives in a small studio apartment above a butcher's shop. Socially awkward Dr. Byun loves to read murder mysteries and avoids having lunch with his co-workers. The recent news declares the discovery of a torso revealed by the thawing ice of the Han River. The story makes him uncomfortable, as one of his patients, the father of the butcher who also happens to be his landlord, had talked in his drugged state about body parts during his colonoscopy. Dr. Byun's increasingly paranoid state begins to view his landlords suspiciously as he thinks he see's what looks like a head in a plastic bag in the butcher store's freezer. One night he got drunk with the old man's son, and wakes up to find a head in his apartment freezer.

Events start spinning pretty quickly after this. He begins to see an older man sitting his clinic lobby all the time. One of the nurses has been stealing drugs from the clinic, and the police come by and tell him his wife is missing and he's the last one who saw her. It's pretty clear from the beginning the doctor is not playing with a full deck. The lingering shots of meat being butchered is creepy enough. The doctor's tiny studio that is filled with unpacked books lining up a wall contributes to his sad sack aura. Then there are his landlords that are overly kind and a bit sketchy filling the film with lots of red herrings. There are one too many "is it a dream?" moments. By the time the third act rolls around to clean up all the tiny loose ends it's at least satisfying to consider the doctor's paranoia may be somewhat justified.
(Review by reesa)



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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Movies Scheduled for the Week of June 18 - June 24



Just another gentle reminder that when someone offers their passes, please write directly to the person and NOT to the list. It will just be rejected. We really want to help you get passes, but there are certain hoops you have to jump to be successful.

Lots of movies this Monday, so I hope everyone is squared away. Waiting til the last moment to decide, probably means that most if not all of the passes have already been redeemed.

Again, if you invite someone to join our Facebook pages, please make sure they live in the DFW area (and their page says so) otherwise they will no be approved.

June 18 - June 24

June 19 - Mon

Resident Evil: Vendetta - time ? - AMC Mesquite, Cinemark 15 Vista Ridge, Cinemark 17
War of the Planet of the Apes - 7:00pm - AMC Northpark
Transformers: The Last Knight - 7:00pm - AMC Northpark

June 21 - Wed

Baby Driver - 7:00pm - Angelika Dallas

June 22 - Thur

Baby Driver - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark and Cinemark 17







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47 Meters Down




I am sorry, but save for “Jaws” and its decent sequel, “Jaws 2,” anything involving water does not equal enthralling entertainment. “47 Meters Down” tries to change that water myth due in part to the success of “The Shallows,” last summer which turned a suspenseful water tale into a halfway decent PG-13 suspense actioner for lead Blake Lively (“Sisterhood of Travelling Pants,” “Accepted,” “Savages”). She starred as a surfer stranded in an unnamed cove battling the elements and a great white shark, the nemesis of the movie.

“47 Meters Down” follows two sisters Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt) re-connecting after years apart. They are given a once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with the fishes (or in this case great white sharks).

Also of note is actor Matthew Modine, who has been absent from the movie industry as of late. His resume runs the gamut, most notably as Private Joker in 1987’s “Full Metal Jacket.” He also supported in Jonathan Demme’s “Married to the Mob” in 1988 as well as Renny Harlin’s pirate bomb “Cutthroat Island” in 1995.

This is not really a horror movie per se, but more of a suspense thriller. I would put it in the same vein as either Harlin’s “Deep Blue Sea” or Stephen Sommers’s popcorn actioner “Deep Rising” in 1998.

Both were made a while back, but the only other water movie I could think of was 2011’s “Shark Night 3-D,” a lame fish-involved flick from director David R. Ellis, who directed the sub-par “Final Destination 2” in 2003. He also finished the series in 2009 with “The Final Destination.” That one is significant because it had TV’s “American Idol” runner-up Katherine McPhee. Her character
was a tattoo fiend just hanging out with her buddies on a spring break trip that goes awry.

With “47 Meters Down,” my friend enjoyed this one quite a bit, but I am a hard person to please.

I do not think it was horrible, but even the marketing is in it for the cash grab. This is not a film of substance or quality, but just here and now as a quick cash grab when students are home for the summer when they have nothing to do but spend their hard earned money. My suggestion? Go and see “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” instead or even Alex Kurtzmam’s rehash of “The Mummy” with Tom Cruise. This writer is telling you to disregard this flick and just wait for the discount house.

Grade: C+
(Review by Ricky Miller)



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Friday, June 16, 2017

47 Meters Down




An adventure of a life-time vacation turns into terrifying tale of a shark diving excursion goes wrong. Two sisters, Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt) decides to embark upon an adventure with scuba diving in the Pacific Ocean while vacationing in Mexico.

Although Lisa’s limited experience and her apprehensiveness of scuba diving with sharks appears courageous, her intuition is in harmonious with her arising fear. But with Kate's consistent pressure she hopelessly gives in. After agreeing to the tour the sisters are lowered into the ocean while standing protected in the cage. Capturing the majestic beauty of the underwater scenery temporary tampers Lisa’s fears of the deep ocean around her. One moment of beauty turn into a life time of horror as the wire to the cage give way to drop 47 meters below. From that moment, their reality mergers into horror where the deep sea becomes a place of the unknown, dark, eerie and scary. Their surroundings become a nightmare of endless hope with nothing but overwhelming thoughts.

Once the panic attack is control, the sisters quickly realize they must get help. They know that their oxygen level is limited. They are too deep for the radio to work. They soon realize one of the sister must leave the safety of the cage to swim up to get help. This becomes a flight to stay alive by fighting off vicious sharks, maintaining the amount of oxygen levels and dealing with the rapid ascent associated with potentially deadly conditions known as bends. With a series of calamitous events, makes it extremely doubtful that the sisters won’t survive their deep underwater nightmare.

The writers did a great job of focusing on the sister staying alive from getting attacked from the sharks but focusing on their survival mechanism between the two sisters, given each hope until they are captured. Each moment is critical to their survival.

What makes this movie more interesting than other shark movies is their unique brand of terror underwater. The writers could have focused on the sharks as the theme of this movie but chose to add a bit of flair.
(Review by Dr. Dwanna Swan-Ary)



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The Hero



Director:
Brett Haley
Writers:
Brett Haley, Marc Basch
Cast:
Sam Elliott
Laura Prepon
Nick Offerman
Katharine Ross
Krysten Ritter

With a iconic voice and a epic mustache, the ever enigmatic Sam Elliott (Tombstone, Ghost Rider, The Big Lebowski) dons a character that fits him and is a little too close for comfort. He plays Lee Hayden a washed up western film/voice actor that takes out a new lease on life. Making ends meet with any roles he can get his hands on, he isn't exactly happy with the way his life is going. With the news that he has terminal cancer he becomes introspective and seeks advice from others and his long time buddy/pot dealer Jeremy played by Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation, Axe Cop). A complicated and distant relationships with his ex-wife Valerie played by in real life wife Katharine Ross (The Graduate, The Stepford Wives, Donnie Darko) and daughter Lucy played by Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones, Big Eyes) hangs on his head, and with time now a luxury the urge to mend it dwells on him. While visiting his buddy to buy more weed, a intriguing woman arrives played by Laura Prepon (Orange is the New Black, That 70's Show) to buy from him too. After running into her again they spark a intimate relationship that is strange and new for both of them. With all this going on he debates the reasons to keep on living or to just give up.

Sam Elliott as an actor has been pretty much been pigeonholed to a certain character (western badass) and in this film he definitely takes a chapter from his own life to play this part. The mundane feeling you get when he has to repeat a slogan from a barbecue sauce voiceover commercial he repeats over and over and over again seemed all too real. He gives the character depth that I don't think any other actor could do, definitely this part was written for him. Laura Prepon has the maturity for playing a winter/summer relationship to be believable and taken seriously not mention they definitely made a cute couple. When they were in a love scene together there was such a artistic eye, the contrast of his weathered tan skin against her blemish-less porcelain skin was quite beautiful. Focusing on how different they were but still so much alike at the same time. I had a connection to Krysten Ritter's character, she played the part with such honesty that I saw myself in her. The definite comedy relief was Nick Offerman giving the audience a release from such a heavy subject matter. Showing the inner workings of a male plutonic relationship, by being there for him even if they don't have deep conversations no words are necessary for a true friendship. At times the cinematography got very psychedelic (well he was on drugs) with scenes that just let the mind wander, with beautiful California scenery you can't help be in awe of it all.

This one is absolutely a keeper in my book, if you ever had any family that dealt with cancer I advise you to bring some tissues because you will cry like a baby. My Hope Is that Sam Elliott does more leading roles like this and keep expanding his repertoire this one is definitely worth the ticket.
(Review by Samantha Leggio)


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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cars 3



Cars 3
Director: Brian Fee
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

Rev up your engines for the next “Cars” adventure!

Cars 3 is a movie with wonderful comebacks and conflicting turn of events.

Eleven years after the release of the original “Cars,” this is the first comeback since 2011’s “Cars 2” and the first without the involvement of John Lasseter as the director. In this film, the characters were back in the big race again but this time, new racers showed up to the big race for the new generation and in hopes of winning, leaving the old-generating racers wiped out and retire for good. One fateful night, the veteran racer, Lighting McQueen (voiced by Dallas-own Owen Wilson), determines to beat the high-tech racer, Jackson Storm (voiced by Armie Hammer), but deliberately cause a terrible crash, sending his career down to retirement. He later request assistance from his friends and his new mentor, Cruz Ramirez (voiced by Cristela Alonzo), in order to get himself back on top. I found very intrigued to see how the relationship with racing goes between Lighting McQueen and Cruz. This film was extremely emotional as this film mentioned many events from the first film, including Doc Hudson (aka the Fabulous Hudson Hornet). The Doc Hudson character was an important part of the film to discover the great values of wisdom, faith, and friendship for generations. On the other hand, Doc Hudson was the true mentor to McQueen’s racing life.

This film was great and emotional as Pixar made several improvements to this one than the second film, which was Pixar’s worst production and completely ignored by audiences. The really loved the experiences the director, Brian Fee, have brought the Cars fans to explain the unique story line centering around Doc Hudson as an important role as a McQueen’s instincts to help him beat the high-tech racers. The writing and the direction is properly stable with great balance and great pace for the characters and the plot. The background music, comedy and drama are wonderful and nostalgia. I did like the usage of NASCAR drivers as cameos. However, I didn’t like how this film lacks the charm as there were missing pieces to the film that didn’t reach that height to the original.

Overall, Cars 3 was an astonishing sequel and was considered to be the best “Cars” film in the series. Pixar done a great job at storytelling. Like “Cars,” this film would never disappoint you to see how his racing career affects the future. I would watch this again and the first film, rather than sticking with “Cars 2,” but you have the option to watch the first film, second film, or both before watching this. I would go with this film as if “three is better than two,” referring to the sequels. It was the worth the trip of your life.

As a bonus, there was a Pixar short called “Lou” about a mysterious lost-and-found monster named Lou who wanted to teach the bully a lesson after he destroyed the children’s toys. The short film was wonderful, funny, and interesting with a rare story line like the previous Pixar shorts. It was a great presentation before Cars 3. This short and Cars 3 would be a perfect treat for Father’s Day weekend.

Grade: B+ (for Lou: A+
)
(Review by Henry Pham - Richland College)


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The Book of Henry




From Book to Life!

“The Book of Henry” offers some unique storytelling about a young, precocious, fatherless eleven-year-old boy named Henry Carpenter (portrayed by Jaeden Lieberher), who witnessed the child abuse of his girlfriend, Christina, next door to him and suffers a tumor in his brain. He is raised by a single mother (Naomi Watts) and has a brother named Peter Carpenter (Jacob Tremblay). His main goal is to put his plan into motion on defending his girlfriend. There were many turn of the events and life lessons about child abuse, bullying, and child protection from any harms and dangers throughout the course of humanity. I find it very interesting to see those characters (or people) who suffered these horrible conditions based on reality at schools, public, or anywhere. The film put a lot of emotion and concern to it on child characters and the dying-Henry scene as an advantage of family-genre films as well as putting younger child actors in this teen-oriented film as an advantage of PG-13 rating. Henry, along with Peter, have a lot of things in common in order to make things better to everyone, especially Christina. It’s like me who wanted to do or make things better and happier in the future.

The film was amazing as the storytelling fits perfectly for the two child actors, Jaeden and Jacob, to learn the meanings of life and humanity all around. These two have taught a lot about child abuse that would affect children and families in real life from bullies or anyone who torments someone. That was very brave and thoughtful to watch this film. The film itself contains lots of elements from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Jurassic World as these performances trigger the similarities to this film. I also like the comedic performances of Watts and Silverman as these women acted like “teens with crazy mishaps” throughout the film. Every mothers should see this film if they have things going on about their children.

However, I didn’t enjoy those scenes with the usage profanity to child characters as this would grab their attentions to do the same in reality and on set. The scene when the character dying seems scary but adds a lot of emotion to families. I also didn’t like the mother character proving a sugar-rush behavior to Peter. Seems like a warning for people who eat sweets most of the time. The writing and direction was a tiny-bit awful, but I did like how they expressed fear as part of the story line.

Overall, this film was amazing and well-told to younger children for generations. This film was full of imaginations and public concerns that may teach children and families about abuse and protection as these course of actions would send the message to public. I have a good reputation on watching this film just like back in E.T. and was surprised that this film was named after me or anyone with that name. Remember E.T. that he’ll always right here for you.
Grade: B-
(Review by Henry Pham - Richland College)





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47 Meters Down




Plot: Two sisters vacationing in Mexico are trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean. With less than an hour of oxygen left and great white sharks circling nearby, they must fight to survive.



(Review by Chase Lee)


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The Hero




Sam Elliot is famously known for this low gravelly voice, bushy mustache and his stoic western movie roles. In director Brett Haley's new film which he wrote with Matt Basch, The Hero, Elliot plays a character that is basically him. Haley and Elliott worked together in I'll See You In My Dreams which was the opening night film of the 2015 Dallas International Film Festival. The Hero premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival in January.

Elliot plays Lee Hayden whose career is waning having peaked in the 70's and 80's. He is now using his voice to shill BBQ sauce. His agent doesn't have anything for him, but the Western Appreciation and Preservation Group wants to give him a lifetime achievement award. That sort of makes him ponder if this is all that is left for him. On top of that his doctor gives him some bad news. Lee spends most of his time getting high with his friend Jeremy (Nick Offerman), who he met while doing a western TV show way back when. Nick introduces him to his stand up comic friend Charlotte (Laura Prepon).

Lee dreams of his best role, The Hero, which he interprets to mean that he's going to get a new project soon. He goes to see his ex-wife Val (Katharine Ross), who he tells that he's going to be working again, instead of telling her about the cancer. Val encourages him to see his daughter Lucy (Krysten Ritter), with whom he has a contentious relationship. When they finally connect, he asks her to come to the honor event, but she is busy, so he makes plans to have dinner with her.

Lee ends up asking Charlotte after flirting with her at a taco truck. She gives him some molly in the limousine on the way to the dinner since Lee seems kind of depressed. Of course his altered mood makes him a hit at the event. In fact, his very humble speech ends up giving his award to a member of the audience. Of course it goes viral afterwards getting 2 million hits in 2 hours. His agent is calling with lots of work being offered.

Elliot is perfect in the role as the pot smoking and often dour actor who stuck in wondering if a walk in the ocean may be the solution for a dead career and the looming expiration of his health. His relationship with the younger Charlotte is confusing to him, but she encourages him to come clean to his ex-wife and daughter who says he just can't go and die on good terms. Haley and Basch's script is a bit overly sentimental and slow. There are gaps in character development that makes one wonder why Lee hangs out by himself in his nice house, drinking and getting high. His self involvement with his perceived legacy of only being known for his best known movie, The Hero, makes one want to tell him to snap out of it. Outside of that, it's an excellent performance by Elliot and supporting cast, making it a nice afternoon flick with a dinner afterwards.
(Review by reesa)







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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Movies Scheduled for the Week of June 11 - 17


As usual the big blockbusters are coming up for the summer movie season. Passes will go fast. So please don't write to us, saying the passes are gone. That's the whole nature of this game. If you get it great, if you don't you can ask members of the group if anyone has one they are not using. They are not there to get the passes for your, but stuff happens and maybe they can't use the pass they got. Of course, it's advised to release those passes back, but if you can't, then share your bounty.

June 11 - June 17

Mon - June 12

The Hero - 7:00 pm - The Magnolia
Cars 3 - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark

Tues - June 13

47 Meters Down - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas
Cars 3 - 7:30 pm - Cinemark Alliance
The Book of Henry - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas

Wed - June 14

Rough Night - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas
Cars 3 - 7:30 pm - AMC Grapevine

Thur - June 15

All Eyez On Me - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark

Fri - June 16

Hidden Figures - 8:30 pm - Dallas Farmers Market



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Friday, June 9, 2017

It Comes at Night




Director and Writer(screenplay):
Trey Edward Shults
Cast:
Joel Edgerton
Kelvin Harrison Jr.
Carmen Ejogo
Christopher Abbott
Riley Keough
Griffin Robert Faulkner

H.P. Lovecraft once said "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown." No truer words have been spoken and more aptly describe the new tense horror/mystery film "It Comes At Night". With a small cast of only six, I was unsure what to expect, but the title and trailer spoke for it's self. It was Directed and Written by Trey Edward Shults who is relatively new to the scene, but he is definitely heavy hitter with the macabre. The film revolves around the lives of a couple and their son, living in the middle of the woods in fear of a biological terror in a post-apocalyptic world. With a very strict routine they ward off impending threat of contagion, but even the most prepared can not prepare for everything. With a series of unfortunate events leading up to a shocking ending, this claustrophobic movie had all the ingredients for a recipe for pure insanity.

The lead was taken by dual roles of the father and son, playing out the different behaviors for the same situation. Joel Edgerton (Black Mass, The Gift, Warrior) plays Paul, a father trying to keep his family safe at all costs. His portrayal of Paul was seamless to protect everything that he had left in that world by any means necessary. Kelvin Harrison Jr. (Birth of a Nation, Roots, Shots Fired) plays Tavis the doting son that likes to listen even when he shouldn't. He plays Tavis as the opposite spectrum of his father he likes to observe more than take action, the most terrifying thing was the nightmare's/prophecies of Travis which were hard to decipher and that is I think is the reason for the title the film. Carmen Ejogo (Alien: Covenant, Selma, Purge: Anarchy) plays Sarah the mother of Travis is head of reason in this but like mother like son, she is a observer. She definitely used her maternal connection to play this part I could truly feel the desperation of a mother just protecting her child. Christopher Abbott (HBO's Girls, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot) and Riley Keough (Mad Max: Fury Road, American Honey,The Runaways) play the younger couple Will and Kim with their son Andrew played by Griffin Robert Faulkner. I don't want to give too much away but their performances will chill you to the bone. The the beauty of the cinematography of the scenes were eerily picturesque even in the showing of the passage of time, you could tell it was executed with a precision eye. Even the gruesome events that take place had a aesthetic quality to them, giving it a intensity that shook me.

All I say is keep an open mind and eyes, because if you blink for a second you might miss something. In my opinion on a late night, this is definitely worth the ticket.
(Review by Samantha Leggio)




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Wonder Woman






Gal Gadot is full of Wonder!


FLASH! BANG! WALLOP! After encountering with Batman and Superman from the darkest battle upon the city. Gadot’s sexy character, Diane Prince/Wonder Woman, has her own move on her discovery on the men-less island of strong, rebellious females called Themyscira, where she fights and battles several Amazonian women on the island while learning the values of truth and justice. Later, a male survivor named Steve Trevor (portrayed by Chris Pine), who washed up ashore and took his spying job too well during his period of World War I in the early 20th century against the Nazis, agreed to take Diane Prince to a journey in London to stop the war and save others from danger. If Gadot knew the tricks like Mrs. Incredible/Elastigirl, then she would fight easily while Chris Pine’s character knew the discovery of the most powerful weapon: poison gas, developed by Dr. Poison (Elena Anaya) and General Ludendorff (Danny Hutson).

The film was very good that none of the films of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) could ever trigger that enormous level. I admired Patty Jenkins direction, its origin story, the performances from Gadot and Chris Pine, the usage of special effects, costume displays, and the settings of this film in London and in a different island. I laughed at Trevor’s words about him being with Diana, but eventually Trevor was a great character to keep company with Diane Prince as she was willing to take down her enemies herself to bring a peace and justice to humanity. I found it very interesting to see the two having a romantic interest to each other, which was believed to be funny, but strongly emotional. The good thing is Gadot provided a similar performance from Pixar’s “Brave” and “The Incredibles.”

However, I do have two things I’m not impressed in this film. First, the time-setting is different as the island looked more like present-time compared to the 1920’s style (aka the Roaring Twenties) back in London scenes. There was no word about transporting from the wonderful island to the World War event in London. The second was the beginning when there’s only one child (portrayed by Emily Carey) on the island and not many more.

Overall, the film was an amazing masterpiece for the first time in DC history as this one did much more improvements than the previous DC films. It’s the 2 ½ hour delightful treat for the fans of Wonder Woman and DC Comics. I prefer watching this again and “The LEGO Batman Movie” rather than sticking with “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

Grade: B+
(Review by Henry Pham - Richland College)




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Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Mummy




The general public does not know this, but Universal Pictures has been trying to get their own niche in the horror genre. They have tried a couple of times over the past couple of years with the Brendan Fraser-led “Mummy” movies as well as “The Wolfman” with the star power of Benicio Del Toro and Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins and 2014’s “Dracula Untold” with Luke Evans.

Now, with Director Alex Kurtzman’s “The Mummy,” Universal Pictures are trying to put a brand and stamp on their own niche in the genre, titling their division Universal Dark Universe. Kurtzman is usually just sitting in the producing chair, having worked in various capacities with “The Transformers” movies as well as Spider-Man and the “Star Trek” universe.

They have a built in audience with the star power of Tom Cruise as well as Oscar winner Russell Crowe (“Gladiator,” “A Beautiful Mind”). Crowe plays Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. His appearance plays into the monster tapestries wherein Universal's all new Dark Universe is heading.
His character is supposed to have a stand alone tale in the near future.

The plot in Kurtzman’s “The Mummy” deals with the first female led tale “Mummy” tale in which Sophia Boutella’s Ahmanet wants to take over the world entire.

Boutella might seem like a familiar face, and she is having supported in “The Kingsman: The Secret Service” as the woman with deadly scissor legs in 2014 as well as 2016’s “Star Trek Beyond.” In that one, she was a white painted alien named Jaylah, who might appear in the next entry a couple of years down the line.

A lot of people have said this was the worst Tom Cruise movie ever, but he’s done worse, namely 1983’s teen rom-com “Losin’ It” and 1988’s slice-of-life drama the boring “Cocktail.” More recently, he was the lead Stacee Jaxx in the annoying musical “Rock of Ages” in 2012.
Entertaining was the appearance of Jake Johnson’s Chris Vail, who pops up in various stages of decomposition interacting with Cruise’s Nick Morton. It is kind of a throwback to John Landis’ “An American Werewolf in London” wherein a rotting Griffin Dunne interacts with David Naughton’s character, the werewolf who bit him.

Also thrown in for good measure are references to the past “Mummy” films in which the audience glances at one of the unlocked books used to send one of the villains back to the underworld.

Of note is the rumor Johnny Depp will be in an update of “The Invisible Man” in 2020. Also mentioned is Angelina Jolie as “The Bride of Frankenstein” and Dwayne Johnson as “The Wolfman.”

The movie is a fun ride, albeit the hokey feel of the past Stephen Sommers “Mummy” flicks.


Grade: B

By Ricky Miller
Entertainment Editor



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It Comes At Night





(Review by Chase Lee)



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The Mummy





(Review by Chase Lee)



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Band Aid



BAND AID
*½ (out of ****)
The couple at the center of writer/director Zoe Lister-Jones’ Band Aid spends the duration of the movie evading their problems with each other, and when that doesn’t seem to be working, they devise a way to retreat further inward into a newer, supposedly cleverer way of evading those problems. This is a troubling and dishonest romantic drama about two souls, each alike in his or her distrust and dishonesty toward the other, and Lister-Jones’ screenplay never manages to reconcile the supposed honesty in such a view with the melodramatic methods of driving one wedge after another into the gap that divides this romance.

That means that whatever reconciliation between the characters that might occur feels dishonest, as well. The premise finds the two counterparts in the relationship creating a band out of their frustration with each other and turning what could be healthy arguments into songs. At this point, one must pause to remember that the institution of an artistic treatment of such a thing downplays its seriousness, hence the evasion of a genuine confrontation. It’s a mutual decision, too, so the problem splits into two separate sub-problems.

The first problem is that we recognize that, when Anna (Lister-Jones), a driver with a popular taxi service, and Ben (Adam Pally), a graphic designer in the dead-end existence of being commissioned for corporate logos, decide to confront their problems with song after discovering some marginal musical talent, we wish that they would stop singing for a minute to talk it out. The material involving their independently produced band, The Dirty Dishes (so named for the household chore that, they believe, represents much about their relationship, though we aren’t so sure), is distracted by the hiring of an oddball drummer (played by Fred Armisen) whose entire subplot is unnecessary before it’s dropped without a resolution.

The second problem arises when they do, indeed, stop to talk out their issues, and it’s a significant problem: These people need time apart to figure out who each of them is on his or her own terms. This truth rings true in multiple ways as the film confronts some of the louder melodrama of their shared past experiences, the first one regarding two professional failures and the second regarding a more obvious perceived “failure” that is the catalyst for some unfair aspersions cast on both sides of the argument by both parties. Of course, in these scenes, the concept of the musical routine is reintroduced, once more raising the question of genuine compatibility between these two.

The performances are solid: As Anna, Lister-Jones has an innate and important ability to convey a lot of complex emotional terrain, especially in the second half, and as Ben, Pally is good in a largely reactive role. Together, the pair is less certain, asked to fight, then to reconcile, entering a pattern that grows weary and, later, tiresome as the stakes rise and the film finds its tidy resolution. Little about that resolution in Band Aid feels honest, and so solid performances only get one so far. It certainly isn’t very far here, in a movie whose supposed “honesty” is hiding some pretty ugly truths designed to manipulate.
(Review by Joel Copling)




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Wonder Woman




“Wonder Woman” review. This is essentially an origin story centering on Diana Prince, (Gail Gadot) a god who was mad from clay by the almighty Zeus.

Although her character made a small yet memorable turn in 2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” in “Wonder Woman” Gadot gets to fly solo in director Patty Jenkins well-told tale.

The opening portion of “Wonder Woman” occurs on Themyscira, a fictional island where the Amazon woman train night and day.

What was really cool in this movie are the chords that strike whenever she is on screen, highlighting her theme song. Rupert Gregson-Williams handled the scoring duties here bringing forth an amazing and enthralling composition.

This one also has touches of the past, referencing the photo she appeared in during World War I.

Supporter Chris Pine is solid as American spy Steve Trevor, a soldier who finds out that his appearance is the first time she's ever interacted with a man, since her upbringing found her interacting purely with women, since no members of the opposite sex were present.

His character also comments on a disfigured woman known as Dr. Poison, (Elena Anaya), who aids the Germans in bringing down the good guys.

Integral to the story are Danny Huston ("30 Days of Night," "X-Men Origins: Wolverine"), Ewen Bremmer ("Trainspotting, "The Rundown"), Saïd Taghmaoui (“American Hustle,” “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”), David Thewlis (“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” “The Theory of Everything,” 1993’s “naked”), Robin Wright (“The Princess Bride,” “Forrest Gump”) and Connie Nelsen (“Gladiator,” “Rushmore”).

The latter two are important because Penn plays the matriarchal figure, Antiope and Nielsen’s Hippolyta is essentially the aunt.

Huston plays one of the antagonists of the story, a German SS officer known as Ludendorff. He is one of the higher ups in Germany’s plan for the final solution.

The plot twists are in abundance in this well told tale that delivers in almost every single department. Just when you think you have figured out the straightforward story, Jenkins and screenwriter Allan Heinberg throw in a couple of surprising plot twists and story turns.

“Wonder Woman” does what it’s supposed to do and just provide nothing more than a couple of hours of fun sheer entertainment value. Even though the movie runs longer than two hours (2 hours 11 minutes to be exact), there are never really any dry spells or lags in the process.

Grade: B+
(Review by Ricky Miller)





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