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!

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

Website and Group Contact: dalscreenings@gmail.com

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Kingsman The Golden Circle




This was a fun flick. As far as sequels go, this is an engaging ride that knows its limitations and parameters to make sure it makes no stops in rountinesville USA.

Even going back to 1989’s violent actioner “Lethal Weapon 2,” director Richard Donner returned to a formula that worked wonders for a captive audience that wanted more of the same.

The plot twists in “The Kingsnan: The Golden Circle” are not in abundance, but just enough to jeep the viewer interested in the story.
Returning to this fast paced tale is Taron Egerton and Mark Strong. Egerton was Eggsy, Firth’s choice to join this specialized group. Strong reprises his role as Merlin, a Kingsman member who knows how everything works.

Also involved with the plot and story are Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Channing Tatum and Colin Firth. Moore’s Poppy persona is the villain of this tale, a vindictive and arrogant persona who adores everything from the 1950’s and TV’s “Happy Days” as well as the freedom to peddle drugs wherever she chooses. Berry’s Ginger persona wants to be more active in the field rather than being behind the desk. Tatum’s Tequila persona does not trust the British counterparts in the very least. Firth returns as Harry Hart, a person the audience thought perished in the last entry.

Also returning for his sophomore directing effort behind the camera is Matthew Vaughn, who still manages to squeeze in some very cool plot twists and turns in this entry that had the chance of becoming a bit too mundane. He re-visits some bits of past dialogue while still managing to make the story fun. Even some of the shootout sequences amaze via the well-done fight chorography via a lasso and gunplay aplenty.

What was also cool was seeing performer Elton John in a part with some substance. He made a cameo appearance in 1997’s “Spice World,” but his part added nothing to the movie but a glorified cameo appearance. His last notable role was in director Ken Russsell’s “Tommy” in 1975, wherein the supergroup The Who had their filmed stage play translated to the big screen. He was The Pinball Wizard, a character personified by his enormous boots and presence on the machine involved with the title character portrayed by Roger Daltry.

Also amusing in this tale is that all of the channels in the movie are tuned into some kind of Fox affiliate. There are a variety of channels in the multiverse that is TV, but for some reason, everything goes back to Fox.

“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” does what its supposed to do in having an engaging stand-alone story that works as a new entry into a series that will hopefully continue and write further chapters into the mix.

Grade: B+

(Review by Ricky Miller)




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American Made





Reel Time with Joel and Chase

Tom Cruise is Riding a Bike Covered in Cocaine. It Sounds Insane, and so is the Story, but Joel and Chase are Split.

Title: American Made
Rating: R for Language Throughout and Some Sexuality/Nudity
Run Time: Ihr & 55min

Joel’s Review
*½ (out of ****)


American Made would seem to lend itself well to a cinematic treatment. The subject of the movie is Barry Seal, a Trans World Airlines pilot who was contracted by the Central Intelligence Agency to perform reconnaissance missions in the air over South America. The setting is primarily Louisiana and, later, Arkansas in the late 1970s. The twists in the story, which is certainly stranger than fiction, were that Seal was eventually asked to act as courier between the U.S. and Gen. Manuel Noriega and that, during the mission, the Medellin Cartel convinced him to run cocaine for them, too.

Any slight research into these accounts will reveal that Seal’s whole existence was tragic. There is an urgent story to be told here, especially as Seal’s fate became wrapped up in a political and moral fiasco for then-president Jimmy Carter. Those closely attentive to the details in the first paragraph can probably guess what fiasco that will turn out to be, but it isn’t until the last line of dialogue, delivered with a wink by its performer, that Gary Spinelli’s screenplay even hints at that fiasco. There is an entire layer of the story, even after Seal’s has ended, that has been rather crudely forgotten.

Tom Cruise, an actor whose charisma would seem to have no bottom, plays Seal in a performance that seems to have found the elusive bottom. He seems a bit exhausted here as Seal, whose entire story is told by montages bridged by singular events in which his mortality (not to mention his morality) is on the line. His wife Lucy (Sarah Wright) is aloof to his activities, on the orders of Schafer (Domhnall Gleeson), the shadowy operative who orders various measures with a cheeky grin that is more than a little morose. Eventually she must be looped in when her husband ups and moves them and their children to a small town in Arkansas with a convenient stretch of land and a government-owned airstrip.

Everything here is strategically placed to tell the story of Barry Seal with as much showboaty fanfare as is humanly possible, yet director Doug Liman’s efforts are oddly counterproductive to those ends. Yes, there are a lot of montages, courtesy of editing that relies a lot on style without any consideration for the points of the story, and cinematographer César Charlone offers a lot of Dutch angles and grainy imagery. None of it works to give the film a sense of urgency. Even as the movie reaches the point of confronting Seal’s fate, American Made takes its fascinating story and drains it of all significance.
(Review by Joel Copling)



Chase’s Review


(Review by Chase Lee)



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Woodshock




Rodarte couture label designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy wrote and directed this style over substance feature film starring Kristen Dunst. Moody and highly embellished visual light show with lingering moments of Dunst playing woodland fairy in the big trees, commonly called Woodshock when one is enraptured by the Sequoias. Distribution company A24 which steered Moonlight all the way to the Oscars gives this film some cache and viewer consideration. However the ending product is like a David Lynch film but without the quirky characters.

Dunst plays Theresa who works in a marijuana dispensary in Northern California. Her boss Keith (Pilou Asbaek of “Game of Thrones”) has been experimenting creating a product that helps those clients seeking euthanasia. Theresa's mom who is dying of cancer asks for her daughter's assistance to end her suffering. So she doses her usual medical marijuana joint with the mysterious concoction. This sends Theresa on a downward spiral of guilt and grief. Theresa lives with Nick (Joe Cole) who is a lumberjack. They were not getting on very well at this point and the loss of her mother makes her more distanced from him. Her disintegrating personality takes on a hallucinating dreamscape with Dunst channeling her character in Melancholia. Theresa wanders about her house staring into space, playing with glass facets in the sunlight. She is like those young women in the 60's who are not tightly wound up.

If there is a message in this film, because dialogue is at a minimum and reality is questioned, it may be excessive drug use, the lumber industries destroying forests and of course, euthanasia. Theresa at one point puts the deadly drug mixed pot into some of the bottles sold to customers. She also begins to smoke the tainted drugs too which would explain her nightly excursions building a wood fence in front of her house using random wood pounded with a rock. One thing is the slip she wears of her mother's while doing this construction. In fact all those costumes and set decoration have very retro hipster affectations. It's all pretty and nice to look at, but not much to think about.
(Review by reesa)




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Trophy




If you are have watched any number of the hunting shows on cable television, then you are aware of the obsession of Americans who fill the woods in their camouflage, rifles and/or archery equipment during deer season. Humankind has been bringing home the meat since forever. But with ready made food products it's no longer necessary for sustenance gathering. Hunting is now a multi-million dollar industry that is encouraged by the suppliers of their equipment, clothes, guides, and resorts that cater to those who can afford the luxury of being led to prime spots particularly in places like Africa that offer big game. As humanity encroaches on animal habitats, it's becomes increasingly more difficult for animals to avoid becoming extinct. Poachers have become a major problem by killing and wasting the animals for their body parts like horns and tusks. Management of these wildlife resources becomes imperative for their survival. Directors Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz take a multi-faceted look at this complex issue without siding one way or another on the subject, letting the viewer decide for themselves.

John Hume runs a rhino farm in Africa, hoping to breed at least 200 animals a year to save them. Rhino's are extremely vulnerable as their large horns are thought to contain some magical healing qualities in some parts of the world. Hume and his team dart the rhino's, take their vitals, and then cut off the horns so that they are not attractive to poachers. The horns grow back, so this is something that will have to be done every two years. The horns they accumulate are stored as the laws had put a moratorium on their sale. Hume cannot fund the farm without the income he can get for the horns unless he allows them to be hunted. In different parts of Africa, wildlife officials have to consider killing a lion that is eating the livestock from some villages where they have resorted to keeping their cows in the house to keep them safe. Photography tourists want the lions for their pictures and the quandary becomes the economic resources to the country verses lions stealing goats.

An American hunter has been planning for years his hunt for "The Big Five" (elephant, lion, cape buffalo, leopard, and rhino). As a creationist he claims the Bible says that God gave dominion of the animals to man. So basically killing endangered species his divine right. The safari guides in Africa, need the thousands of dollars these hunts provide. They also promote the use of conservation to control the animal population and only target older animals. The meat from the animals that are hunted are turned over to the local villages. One of the wildlife officials questions the concept of trying to save something so someone can come in and kill it.

There is a debate in the film with John Hume and the head of Born Free, which works with animal protection activists. While some people understand Hume's goal to save the rhino, they also put forth that he will financially benefit from the sale of the horns. Some activists just want all the animals to go free, unaware of the long term effects of over hunting and poaching will devastate the animal populations. One woman said "look sweetheart, I'm a vegan, I believe in all living things". Which is a nice sound byte, but doesn't save the lions.
(Review by reesa)


Opening 9/29 at Grapevine Mills 30 DIT with IMAX



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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Sept 22 - Sept 30


Holy smokes, it's the end of September. New seasons starting on TV this week, the Texas State Fair is right around the corner, and it's the beginning of the fall rush to the Oscars coming up. Hope everyone is having a good time!

Sept 22 - Sept 30

Mon - Sept 23

Battle of the Sexes - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas

Tue - Sept 24

Victoria and Abdul - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas
American Made - 7:30 pm - Angelika Dallas

Sat - Sept 30

My Little Pony - 11:00 am - AMC Northpark




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Friday, September 22, 2017

LEGO Ninjago





The LEGO Ninjago Movie
Director: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Time to Build the Action out of LEGOs.

A third LEGO cinematic offering from Warner Bros. and the LEGO Group after they assembled The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie, comes a brick-to-film about a teenage high school student, Lloyd (voiced by Dave Franco), who was living as an unpopular kid, but is actually a ninja on the inside in the town of Ninjago. As trouble is calling him when he faces the town’s attack under the control of Lord Garmadon (voiced by Justin Theroux), who is actually Lloyd’s father, he and his ninja friends, under the learning and leadership of Master Wu (voiced by martial artist Jackie Chan), must defeat Lord Garmadon in order to restore peace and put his relationships aside from his father from taking over Ninjago. But the main problem is he and Lord Garmadon really got family issues to deal with while learning the main principle of hope and glory.
It gives me to say this when it comes to father-and-son relationships, similar like “Star Wars” when Darth Vader shoots the “Luke, I am your father” quote, gives me a laugh-out-loud replica of this when a son (Lloyd) is good guy, while the father (Lord Garmadon) is a bad guy. Deep down, the relationship must go on. Sounds about strange, but funny. Never seem to be forgotten in this family-orientated film like returning to classics again. Think back from any movies with deeper family relationships and wisdom for your experience and your childhood. What do you see? Emotions!

The film is fairly decent to say the least compared to the TV series from Cartoon Network. There’s a little too much live-action scenes with some interesting, little-bit-violent scenes based on martial art television series and usage of a real cat, destroyer of Ninjago, throughout the entire film as an advantage of family LEGO film. It lost some notion, which had worn off after those two movies, as well as lacking the depth and textures when everything I see is not entirely made out of LEGOs. Doesn’t sound “awesome” as it looks. Use an instruction manual to learn this clearly. Though, I heavily enjoyed the voice casts, including Dave Franco and Jackie Chan, as well as increasing the comedy to this film like “The LEGO Batman Movie.” I admired the relationship between Lloyd and Master Wu as their form was a reminiscent of DreamWorks’s “Kung Fu Panda,” Marvel’s “Doctor Strange,” 2010’s “Karate Kid,” and some other films that may involve martial arts or anything the character wants to learn from.

Overall, “The LEGO Ninjago Movie” never seem to disappoint, regardless of any feedback from critics and audiences. I would assume if you’re a LEGO fan, Jackie Chan fan, or just a fan from the TV series, you should go watch this 101-minute creation. Only a “master builder” could enjoy everything. I can’t tell if the box-office record is maybe low unlike the first two films, but I’m pretty sure kids will have an opportunity to shine their faces from a slight bummer to a positive warm feeling on the way home after watching it or at the movies. For adults, it would sound mediocre like “meh.”

GRADE: B-

(Review by Henry Pham)






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Friend Request







(Review by Chase Lee)


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Kingsman The Golden Circle






(Review by Chase Lee)


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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Rebel in the Rye





There was a time when wore paperback copies of Catcher in the Rye was in the back pocket of most teenagers. Written in 1951, it's hard to imagine these new century teens reading this on their own unless it's a subject requirement to graduate. It's a shame because Holden Caulfield's angst and alienation is a universal theme that many can relate. Danny Strong who wrote and is making his directorial debut in this new feature on the life of J.D. Salinger. The story revolves around the time when he creates and refines Holden while he was a student at Columbia and during his life altering experience in the war.

Salinger (Nicolas Hoult) as an adult was reclusive and disdained the public eye. All the public relations, meetings and dinners, rabid fans kept him at his upstate country acreage. But as a young man, he as flirtatious with pretty women like Oona O'Neill (Zoey Deutch) who later married Charlie Chaplin. He was also set on being a writer. His mother (Hope Davis) believes he is immensely talented, while his father (Victor Garber) discourages his dreams preferring that we would pursue a career in business. He ends up going to Columbia in their writing program which is taught by Whit Burnett (Kevin Spacey) who challenges Salinger by criticizing his admittance letter. He asks his wise mouthed student, "Why do you write?". When he can figure out that answer, then maybe one day he can be published. Salinger is determined and he submits his short stories to various publications only to be rejected. Whit who published Story magazine eventually published the first story he had submitted. Seeing the potential in his character of Holden in another short story, he encourages Salinger to expand it to a novel.

The war breaks out and Salinger is in the thick of things. The only thing that keeps him together is writing every moment he can manage. He returns home with a wife in tow, which doesn't last long. He suffers PTSD, spending time in a sanatorium. He can't seem to bring himself to write again. His book agent, Dorothy Olding (Sarah Paulson) manages to get his anthology of shorts published. He had previously asked Whit to publish him but he said he couldn't and they had a falling out. Salinger discovers meditation and finds a guru, that helps him clear his mind and start writing again. After he writes Catcher in the Rye, his publishers give him lots of criticism. They don't understand Holden. So he hold off until he finds someone to publish and the rest is history.

So little is known of Salinger because he notoriously kept his life out of the limelight. At a certain point he said he would continue writing but he would never publish again. Danny Strong's script was taken from the book J. D. Salinger: A Life by Kenneth Slawenski. This film just briefly touches on the events of Salinger's life, but his creative process is missing. Whit who often told him his stories felt phony encouraged him to find the truth of his characters. Outside of the good performances, something about this biographical story doesn't quite gel.
(Review by reesa)





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Stronger





Social media is filled with emotional awe inspiring real life moments guaranteed to bring tears to the eyes and reaffirm our faith in humanity. Feel good movies about actual events and struggles to overcome that are suffered by the victims and their families don't seem to fare as well with costumed superheroes or cataclysmic sharknados. Jake Gyllenhaal has played many flawed and complicated characters, but his portrayal of Jeff Bauman (whose book the movie is based) is probably the best he's ever done, obviously deserving of the early awards buzz.

The Boston Marathon bombing has been already told in Patriots Day which touched on the various stories that affected those injured and those charged with finding the culprits. The focus of this story is about Jeff Bauman (Jake Gyllenhaal) who was at the finish line to cheer on his ex-girlfriend Erin (Tatiana Maslany). She was unaware that he was there as they broke up because he was never where he promised. She doesn't realize it until she sees him on TV being rescued. His family also learns of him from the TV and fill the hospital waiting room in the loud and raucous style of hard drinking working class denizens. When Jeff wakes up, he indicates that he saw one of the bombers, which becomes a crucial clue to their capture. This makes him a hero in the public's eye. Jeff puts on a brave face and thumbs up attitude to his family and the hordes of reporters who want interviews, and regular people who want to thank him for his bravery. His mom Patty (Miranda Richardson) is so proud of her son wanting him to capitalize on the attention like interviewing with Oprah. In all the craziness, no one seems to clue in to Jeff's uncomfortable feelings with the added attention. It's hard enough to have to deal with the loss of his legs having to figure out how to maneuver to the 2nd floor apartment he shares with his mom, how to move around the tiny spaces, even using the bathroom without assistance. He is so grateful to Erin, who quits her job as a nurse to move in with him and help him get to his therapy sessions. He still continues to drink with his friends, avoiding confronting the trauma that he endured.

His mom wants him to meet the man that helped him when he was laying injured at the bomb site. Carlos (Carlos Sanz) was at the race handing out American flags in honor of his two sons who had died. He had experienced depression and travels around trying to help others. His story helps Jeff come to grips with his fears and realize that's it's just not about him. The people who come to Jeff with their stories of loss and pain and how he inspired them finally brings him around. This isn't just a sweet pat ending to this story. Gyllenhaal's performance makes one cringe and fight with those demons along with him. He was just a Costco chicken roaster before all this, with not much ambition besides rooting for his favorite hometown teams. Suddenly, because of this tragedy, he's being asked to wave a flag at the Stanley Cup game on the ice and throw the opening pitch at the Fenway.

Director David Gordon Green and screenwriter John Pollono crafted a well paced story that follows the journey of the reluctant hero through the thick and thin without overly sentimental violins wringing out the tears. The people surrounding Jeff, his mom, his dad (Clancy Brown), his brother and friends, and aunts and uncles are all well meaning and try to help but still enjoy riding the coat tails of his new found attention. Only Erin tries to keep the wolves at bay, but her patience wears thin when Jeff can't accept the news he's going to be a father. It must be tough putting all your flaws on screen. But it's worth it if it moves and instills that need to rise above the adversity and unite to be stronger.
(Review by reesa)



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American Assassin




Sometimes, the name behind the movie marquee says it all. That’s why I was excited to see Michael Cuesta’s “American Assassin,” a film that gives Michael Keaton a shot at being an action hero in the Liam Neeson-led “Taken” vein.

Cuesta did a great job with the Jeremy Renner led true-life tale “Kill the Messenger” in 2014 so I was looking forward to seeing this one.
The lead in “American Assassin” is Dylan O’Brien as Mitch Rapp, who witnesses his fiancees’ murder. His character reports to Michael Keaton’s Stan Hurley, who still has some pull because of his success on past missions.

The film works because the audience feels a kinship with Rapp, who for all intents and purposes just wants vengeance for the death of his fiancee. Rapp risks it all to see his fiancee's killers perish by extreme prejudice.

Keaton, coming off as part of the ensemble cast that was “Spotlight,” brings a certain gravitas to Hurley. His motivations are just right, even when he faces torture by Taylor Kitsch’s malevolent Ghost persona. Hurley just shrugs it off because he taught the Ghost everything he knew.
It was weird seeing Kitsch in the antagonist role since he previously played heroes in a number of flicks including “Battleship,” director Peter Berg’s guilty pleasure fiasco of a film. Kitsch also starred in Oliver Stone’s “Savages,” in which he shared great chemistry opposite of Blake Lively and Aaron-Taylor Johnson. Lest we not forget “John Cater,” the Kitsch vehicle that cost Touchstone Pictures a healthy bit of change on their end-of-the year books.

Going back to “Assassin,” the film features a plutonium subplot that actually makes a water sequence plausible in the suspense department.
As I have said previously, the studios have not found a way to make water sequences suspenseful in the very least. The only water entries worthy of mention are Steven Spielberg’s classic, “Jaws” as well as the cliched disaster movie “The Poseidon Adventure.” Everything else is “so-so” in my book.

Also important to the plot is Sanaa Lathan. She portrays Irene Kennedy, Lathan’s boss. Lathan shares some good scenes with Keaton. Their banter a nice little tidbit to the film.

“American Assassin” is not a must see by any means, but worth the price of admission for the water sequences alone.

Grade: B
(Review by Ricky Miller)



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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Movies Scheduled for the Week of September 17 - September 23


Y'all watching the Emmy's? I personally don't watch much regular TV stuff, mostly streaming services. Don't know many of the shows and actors being honored. But thinking of making some binge lists when my car dies again.

Anyways, hope everyone got a chance to pick up some passes since we have lots of outlets now offering passes. You can as always ask others on the group for help. As always you must make an attempt on your own to get it yourself.

If you recommend someone for our Facebook page, please make sure their FB page says they live in the DFW area, or they will not be accepted.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/dallasmoviescreenings/


Sept 17 - Sept 23

Mon - Sept 18

Kingsman The Golden Circle - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas

Tue - Sept 19

Lego Ninjago - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark

Wed - Sept 20

Friend Request - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas
Kingsman The Golden Circle - 7:30 pm - AMC Norpark

Thu - Sept 21

Friend Request - 7L30 pm - AMC Northpark

Fri - Sept 22

100 Foot Long Journey - 7:30 pm - Dallas Farmers Market



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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Sept 10 - Sept 16


We are surrounded by natural disasters...fires in the west, hurricanes in the southeast and floods still persisting in the south. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected.

Only one movie day this week. Wish they would spread this out occasionally. Would be nice to have a transporter to get from one theater to the next in a timely manner.

Sept 10 - Sept 16

Thur - Sept 14

Rebel in the Rye - 7:00 pm - Magnolia
Mother! - 9:00 pm - AMC Valley View




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Friday, September 8, 2017

The Defenders




For those who don’t know, Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage took his name from a comic book character, Luke Cage from “Power Man and Iron Fist,” who is essentially bulletproof and very strong. To put into perspective, he is like “Superman,” sans the flying around the world scenario.
Going back to my youth, the 1980’s decade, the comic book “Power Man and Iron Fist” was amongst my favorite reads. My friend Mike was more a fan of “Daredevil,” as I was too, but for me the stylings of Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Danny Rand (Finn Jones) were more in my wheelhouse. The duo had little in common, but were both residents of the Big Apple.

Now, going back to “The Defenders,’ this is another in their line of Marvel-based tales that work on every single level, since the Netflix-produced shows spare no expense at putting money on the screen. As I have said in the past, I’m almost at the point of super hero fatigue, but so long as the quality is outstanding, I will keep watching what it is put out there.

“The Defenders” finds the character facing off against The Hand, a group of antagonists who are nothing more than pure evil. Their leader is Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra Reid, a wealthy socialite who has enough money power to facilitate her own private orchestra.

The pacing on all the episodes results in a worthwhile story and character arc. What is really cool was seeing how strong Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is when she can carry an elevator with both Luke Cage and Iron Fist with very little effort, in that she hardly breaks a sweat doing it.
It is also interesting to see the fight sequences and fist battles. The fight choreography amazes, since a bunch are set up in well-lit sequences. They are not just showcased for dimly lit sound stages, rather wide open hallways and corridors.

Also important to the story are Stick (Scott Glen) and nurse Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson). They each serve a purpose in the total tale of “The Defenders,” since Stick deals with both former pupils with Daredevil (Charlie Cox) and Elektra Natchios (Elodie Young). Claire is involved because she has a relationship with Luke Cage and thinks a partner and friend would do him some good.

This show works because it fleshes out the characters and identities. Of course there are motivations, each saga and character has their own resolution kin the end.

Grade: B+
(Review by Ricky Miller


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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Home Again






(Review by Chase Lee)


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Viceroy's House







VICEROY’S HOUSE
**½ (out of ****)

“History is written by the victors,” exclaims Viceroy’s House, before telling the story of the partition between India and Pakistan from the point-of-view of the British ruling class. One can detect the relevance of such a story in a time when the leadership of another powerful republic is calling for a border wall as a negotiated solution to a problem that would be exponentially increased by the construction of that wall. For India, the problem was a similar one, as ideological division between Sikhs and Muslims often led to violence. For Britain, though, the problem was of the practical sort. That kind of concern seems secondary, does it not?

Co-writer/director Gurinder Chadha’s film is similarly conflicted. On one hand, it wants to relay the facts of the build-up to and the consequences of the construction of that border line. It does so by using its characters, who are, of course, based upon real people, to relay a lot of expository information through dialogue. It isn’t enormously illuminating to anyone with a cursory knowledge of the history of British rule: England has announced they will leave India after several centuries, and the process to transfer power is interrupted by a plan to shave off a portion of India into another country that would come to be known as Pakistan.

Overseeing that process is Lord “Dickie” Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville), Viscount and cousin to the king, who has been appointed the last viceroy to India. He shuttles off to the country with wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson), rubs shoulders with English officials (played variously by Michael Gambon, Simon Callow, Simon Williams, and David Hayman) who sometimes exercise undue authority in the process, and mediate the discussion between warring leaders in the country, Jinnah (Denzil Smith) and Gandhi (Neeraj Kabi), who evangelize fundamentally different solutions to the chaos of weekly massacres.

On the other hand, Chadha’s screenplay, co-written by Paul Mayeda Burges and Moira Buffini and based on a pair of nonfiction books on the subject (Freedom at Midnight, by Larry Collins and Dominique LaPierre, and The Shadow of the Great Game: The Untold Story of India’s Partition, by Narendra Singh Sarila), concerns itself on the sidelines with a romance that never quite connects to the central narrative, even with a climax that places the participants in the direct path of the partition. Jeet Kumar (Manish Dayal) was once a police officer with Afghanistan forces, and Aalia Noor (Huma Qureshi) was the daughter of a prisoner in Jeet’s jail. Unspoken passions lay between the two, and potential tragedy is an inevitability in their future.

It’s unclear what purpose the subplot serves beyond the basic fact that real people were forever impacted by the partition between the two countries. The facts of the story itself would be enough, and indeed, the film’s strongest segments are in the discussions among government officials about all these notions. Viceroy’s House is distracted, though, by the need to frame this story with the machinations of a romantic subplot and with presenting the fate of a people as a cheap twist involving a traitor in Mountbatten’s midst. It results in a confusion of purpose of its own.
(Review by Joel Copling)


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From The Land of the Moon




FROM THE LAND OF THE MOON
*½ (out of ****)

From the Land of the Moon moves, inexorably and frustratingly, from wan melodrama to simply more wan melodrama. Here is a film that exists on a specific wavelength, which is a roundabout and more formal way of saying that it’s quite the slog. The central character is a woman whose indecisive actions and murky moral compass keep time with a structural choice on the part of screenwriters Nicole Garcia (who also directed) and Jacques Fieschi that is ruinous to any sense of tension within the character’s plight. It also struggles to connect us to this character on an emotional level, climaxing with a beat that feels entirely unearned.

The film, an adaptation of the novella by Milena Agus, spans twenty years in the life of Gabrielle (Marion Cotillard), but it begins near the end of her story, as she rides in a car with her family, spots a particular address, and runs off toward it in search of, well, something. We then receive the bulk of the rest of the story in flashback, which will predictably lead us back to the moment in the car. It turns out, though, that the bulk of the emotion within that story lay in what happens when Gabrielle abandons the car, calling into question the need for a flashback structure at all.

It turns out to be a lazy storytelling device meant to guide us through two romantic entanglements – one a marriage of convenience and the other an adulterous infatuation – that are equally uninteresting. The marriage is to José (Àlex Brendemühl), a Spanish farmhand for whom Gabrielle feels little or no affection. It’s a way for Gabrielle to appear as a respectable member of a family who essentially wish to arrange this union between the two. It’s a robotic relationship of mutual disinterest, though Brendemühl is able to locate some sense of loneliness in José, giving a serviceable performance whenever he’s onscreen.

Gabrielle soon discovers, through a stabbing pain in her left side, gall stones that need to be treated. She is relocated to an institute that cures the “evil stones” (amusingly, the loose translation of French title, Mal de pierres, to English) by spraying the patient with intense water pressure via a lengthy hose. Here, she meets André (Louis Garrel), whose own illness, brought on, perhaps, by the horrors of war, seems to be in the final stages of having its way with him. Garrel is easily the film’s most valuable attribute, in a deeply felt portrayal of the effects of trauma upon the sufferer, but this fling is essentially a non-starter.

There isn’t anything that Garcia and Fieschi is saying about this relationship, nor about the eventual chasm it wedges in between Gabrielle and José, that approaches insight. The problem is twofold: In tone, the film never wavers from desperate sadness, smothering everything (including the surprisingly candid sex scenes, which are supposed to be passionate) in a wallowing sadness. In the performance of Cotillard, we find a usually terrific actress unable to make sense of an aloof and miserable character. The film’s inability to commit to the tragedy of the story, even as it comes close in the denouement to confronting that tragedy, means that From the Land of the Moon makes it impossible to care.
(Review by Joel Copling)




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Home Again





This lighthearted comedy follows Alice Kinney, a single mother who just moved back to Los Angeles, and her unexpected encounter with three young filmmakers. Alice has just separated from her high-class music industry husband and is trying to make the most out of her new circumstances. She meets Harry, a young director who just completed a well-done short film, and subsequently finds herself enjoying the night away with three young men. She then lets them stay in her home and the film goes on from there.

To be honest, this wasn’t a highly memorable film. It was written well to some extent as it had some great comedic lines delivered in perfect for the moment situations. However, I wasn’t thoroughly impressed by the story-line. The film seemed to me a bit flat and it almost seemed as if it was just an investment looking out for a return. Reese Witherspoon adequately plays her role as the caring working mother who is possibly just looking for stability. She also clearly communicates her sense of being perplexed at the fact that she gets involved with somebody who looks like a very young adult.

I think that this story definitely plays well to mothers of children still in their development because of the relation of the plot points. Alice has just separated from the father of her children who can’t seem to get his mind out of work and is in her mind still stuck in his 20s. Austen, her separated husband, is from the beginning of the movie delaying the visiting of his own kids because of his misplaced priorities. Harry and his boys are a wonderful break from Alice’s issues. They provide a friendship with her family that becomes stronger and more solidified as the film progresses.

Like I said, the film wasn’t impactful enough in either its comedic delivery or dramatic qualities to render a highly favorable review. If anything, after walking out of the theater, I felt somewhat entertained but that was it. It was nice to see L.A. though with its palm trees and beautiful sun. The setting for the film came out strongly in the scenes where film industry business was conducted by producers and agents. It was interesting to note the disparity between the circumstances of Harry and his boys in comparison to established people in the industry. Overall, this was a film that somewhat entertained but should not cause another movie to be sacrificed as a choice.
(Review by Wyatt Head)


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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Movies Scheduled for the Week of September 3 - September 9


Hope everyone is having a safe Labor Day Weekend.

Just a reminder if you are going to see It at Northpark:

If you are planning to attend the below IT screening next week at AMC NorthPark, we will be collecting donations (see list of items below) to send down to the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston. For anyone who donates, you will receive an IT t-shirt or promotional item of your choice (while supplies last). Help our neighbors in Houston out and get some IT swag while you’re doing it!
Items needed most:

· Nonperishable food (protein needed most)

· Bottled Water

· Baby food

· Diapers

· Flashlights and batteries

· Hygiene items and cleaning supplies

· Clothing donations of new and unused men's and women's tops, pants, socks, undergarments are also welcome


September 3 - September 9

Tue - Sept 5

Home Again - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas

Wed - Sept 6

It - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark
It - 9:00 pm - Cinemark 17

Thur - Sept 7

La Bamba 30th Anniversary - Texas Hall UT Arlington




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