Dallas Movie Screening

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

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

Website and Group Contact: dalscreenings@gmail.com

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Jan 28 - Feb 3

Is it just me? But there doesn't seem to be many promo screenings lately. Very sparse. The Academy Awards are coming up, so this is a good time to catch up on the nominees as they are being played at the local theaters around town. Go check them out if you missed them last time out.

You know we try to post them all offerings as they come out by a variety of outlets. Sometimes they are in different languages. No big thing, use the translator on your medium, or ask someone who speaks that language to help you out. Or just wait, cause there will be more opportunities from other websites. That's how we roll here.

Jan 28 - Feb 3

Mon - Jan 29

Bilal: A New Breed of Hero - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark

Sat - Feb 3

Peter Rabbit - 10:00 am - AMC Northpark
Peter Rabbit - 11:00 am - AMC Valley View

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

2018 Oscar Nominations

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Timothée Chalamet in "Call Me by Your Name" (Sony Pictures Classics)

Daniel Day-Lewis in "Phantom Thread" (Focus Features)

Daniel Kaluuya in "Get Out" (Universal)

Gary Oldman in "Darkest Hour" (Focus Features)

Denzel Washington in "Roman J. Israel, Esq." (Sony Pictures Releasing)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Willem Dafoe in "The Florida Project" (A24)

Woody Harrelson in "Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri" (Fox Searchlight)

Richard Jenkins in "The Shape of Water" (Fox Searchlight)

Christopher Plummer in "All the Money in the World" (Sony Pictures Releasing)

Sam Rockwell in "Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri" (Fox Searchlight)

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Sally Hawkins in "The Shape of Water" (Fox Searchlight)

Frances McDormand in "Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri" (Fox Searchlight)

Margot Robbie in "I, Tonya" (Neon/30 West)

Saoirse Ronan in "Lady Bird" (A24)

Meryl Streep in "The Post" (20th Century Fox)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Mary J. Blige in "Mudbound" (Netflix)

Allison Janney in "I, Tonya" (Neon/30 West)

Lesley Manville in "Phantom Thread" (Focus Features)

Laurie Metcalf in "Lady Bird" (A24)

Octavia Spencer in "The Shape of Water" (Fox Searchlight)

Best animated feature film of the year

"The Boss Baby" (20th Century Fox) Tom McGrath and Ramsey Naito

"The Breadwinner" (GKIDS) Nora Twomey and Anthony Leo

"Coco" (Walt Disney) Lee Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson

"Ferdinand" (20th Century Fox) Carlos Saldanha

"Loving Vincent" (Good Deed Entertainment) Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman and Ivan

Achievement in cinematography

"Blade Runner 2049" (Warner Bros.) Roger A. Deakins

"Darkest Hour" (Focus Features) Bruno Delbonnel

"Dunkirk" (Warner Bros.) Hoyte van Hoytema

"Mudbound" (Netflix) Rachel Morrison

"The Shape of Water" (Fox Searchlight) Dan Laustsen

Achievement in costume design

"Beauty and the Beast" (Walt Disney) Jacqueline Durran

"Darkest Hour" (Focus Features) Jacqueline Durran

"Phantom Thread" (Focus Features) Mark Bridges

"The Shape of Water" (Fox Searchlight) Luis Sequeira

"Victoria & Abdul" (Focus Features) Consolata Boyle

Achievement in directing

"Dunkirk" (Warner Bros.) Christopher Nolan

"Get Out" (Universal) Jordan Peele

"Lady Bird" (A24) Greta Gerwig

"Phantom Thread" (Focus Features) Paul Thomas Anderson

"The Shape of Water" (Fox Searchlight) Guillermo del Toro

Best documentary feature

"Abacus: Small Enough to Jail" (PBS Distribution)
A Mitten Media/Motto Pictures/Kartemquin
Educational Films/WGBH/FRONTLINE Production
Steve James, Mark Mitten and Julie Goldman

"Faces Places" (Cohen Media Group)
A Ciné Tamaris Production
Agnès Varda, JR and Rosalie Varda

"Icarus" (Netflix)
A Netflix Documentary in association with Impact
Partners, Diamond Docs, Chicago Media Project and
Alex Production
Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan

"Last Men in Aleppo" (Grasshopper Film)
A Larm Film and Aleppo Media Center Production
Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed and Søren Steen

"Strong Island" (Netflix)
A Yanceville Films and Louverture Films Production
Yance Ford and Joslyn Barnes

Best documentary short subject

"Edith+Eddie" (Kartemquin Films)
A Heart is Red/Kartemquin Films Production
Laura Checkoway and Thomas Lee Wright

"Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405"
A Stiefel & Co. Production
Frank Stiefel

"Heroin(e)" (Netflix)
A Netflix Original Documentary in association with The
Center for Investigative Reporting/Requisite Media
Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Kerrin Sheldon

"Knife Skills"
A TFL Films Production
Thomas Lennon

"Traffic Stop" (HBO Documentary Films)
A Q-Ball Production
Kate Davis and David Heilbroner

Achievement in film editing

"Baby Driver" (Sony Pictures Releasing) Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos

"Dunkirk" (Warner Bros.) Lee Smith

"I, Tonya" (Neon/30 West) Tatiana S. Riegel

"The Shape of Water" (Fox Searchlight) Sidney Wolinsky

"Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri"
(Fox Searchlight)
Jon Gregory

Best foreign language film of the year

"A Fantastic Woman"
A Fabula Production

"The Insult"
A Douri Film Production

A Non-Stop Production

"On Body and Soul"
An Inforg-M&M Film Production

"The Square"
A Plattform Production

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling

"Darkest Hour" (Focus Features) Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy

"Victoria & Abdul" (Focus Features) Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard

"Wonder" (Lionsgate) Arjen Tuiten

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

"Dunkirk" (Warner Bros.) Hans Zimmer

"Phantom Thread" (Focus Features) Jonny Greenwood

"The Shape of Water" (Fox Searchlight) Alexandre Desplat

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" (Walt Disney) John Williams

"Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri"
(Fox Searchlight)
Carter Burwell

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

"Mighty River" from “Mudbound”
Music and Lyric by Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq
and Taura Stinson

"Mystery Of Love" from “Call Me by Your Name”
(Sony Pictures Classics)
Music and Lyric by Sufjan Stevens

"Remember Me" from “Coco”
(Walt Disney)
Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and
Robert Lopez

"Stand Up For Something" from “Marshall”
(Open Road Films)
Music by Diane Warren
Lyric by Lonnie R. Lynn and Diane Warren

"This Is Me" from “The Greatest Showman”
(20th Century Fox)
Music and Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Best motion picture of the year

"Call Me by Your Name" (Sony Pictures Classics)
A Frenesy Film/La Cinéfacture/Memento Films
International/RT Features Production
Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges
and Marco Morabito, Producers

"Darkest Hour" (Focus Features)
A Working Title Films Production
Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony
McCarten and Douglas Urbanski, Producers

"Dunkirk" (Warner Bros.)
A Syncopy Pictures Production
Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers

"Get Out" (Universal)
A Blumhouse Productions/QC
Entertainment/Monkeypaw Production
Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H.
Hamm Jr. and Jordan Peele, Producers

"Lady Bird" (A24)
A Mission Films Production
Scott Rudin, Eli Bush and Evelyn O'Neill,

"Phantom Thread" (Focus Features)
An Annapurna Pictures Production
JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan
Ellison and Daniel Lupi, Producers

"The Post" (20th Century Fox)
A 20th Century Fox/DreamWorks Pictures Production
Amy Pascal, Steven Spielberg and Kristie
Macosko Krieger, Producers

"The Shape of Water" (Fox Searchlight)
A Double Dare You Production
Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale, Producers

"Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri"
(Fox Searchlight)
A Blueprint Pictures Production
Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin and Martin
McDonagh, Producers

Achievement in production design

"Beauty and the Beast" (Walt Disney) Production Design:
Set Decoration:
Sarah Greenwood
Katie Spencer

"Blade Runner 2049" (Warner Bros.) Production Design:
Set Decoration:
Dennis Gassner
Alessandra Querzola

"Darkest Hour" (Focus Features) Production Design:
Set Decoration:
Sarah Greenwood
Katie Spencer

"Dunkirk" (Warner Bros.) Production Design:
Set Decoration:
Nathan Crowley
Gary Fettis

"The Shape of Water" (Fox Searchlight) Production Design:
Set Decoration:
Paul Denham Austerberry
Shane Vieau and Jeff

Best animated short film

"Dear Basketball" (Verizon go90)
A Glen Keane Production
Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant

"Garden Party"A MOPA Production
Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon

"Lou" (Walt Disney)
A Pixar Animation Studios Production
Dave Mullins and Dana Murray

"Negative Space"
An Ikki Films Production
Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata

"Revolting Rhymes"
A Magic Light Pictures Production
Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer

Best live action short film

"DeKalb Elementary"
A UCLA Production
Reed Van Dyk

"The Eleven O'Clock"
A FINCH Production
Derin Seale and Josh Lawson

"My Nephew Emmett"
A New York University Production
Kevin Wilson, Jr.

"The Silent Child"
A Slick Films Production
Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton

"Watu Wote/All of Us"
A Hamburg Media School Production
Katja Benrath and Tobias Rosen

Achievement in sound editing

"Baby Driver" (Sony Pictures Releasing) Julian Slater

"Blade Runner 2049" (Warner Bros.) Mark Mangini and Theo Green

"Dunkirk" (Warner Bros.) Richard King and Alex Gibson

"The Shape of Water" (Fox Searchlight) Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" (Walt Disney) Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce

Achievement in sound mixing

"Baby Driver" (Sony Pictures Releasing) Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin and Mary H. Ellis

"Blade Runner 2049" (Warner Bros.) Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill and Mac Ruth

"Dunkirk" (Warner Bros.) Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker and Gary A.

"The Shape of Water" (Fox Searchlight) Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern and Glen Gauthier

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" (Walt Disney) David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and
Stuart Wilson

Achievement in visual effects

"Blade Runner 2049" (Warner Bros.) John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and
Richard R. Hoover

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" (Walt Disney) Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan
Fawkner and Dan Sudick

"Kong: Skull Island" (Warner Bros.) Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza and
Mike Meinardus

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" (Walt Disney) Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan and
Chris Corbould

"War for the Planet of the Apes" (20th Century Fox) Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon and Joel

Adapted screenplay

"Call Me by Your Name" (Sony Pictures Classics) Screenplay by James Ivory

"The Disaster Artist" (A24) Screenplay by Scott Neustadter & Michael H.

"Logan" (20th Century Fox) Screenplay by Scott Frank & James Mangold and
Michael Green
Story by James Mangold

"Molly's Game" (STXfilms) Written for the screen by Aaron Sorkin

"Mudbound" (Netflix) Screenplay by Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Original screenplay

"The Big Sick" (Amazon Studios) Written by Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani

"Get Out" (Universal) Written by Jordan Peele

"Lady Bird" (A24) Written by Greta Gerwig

"The Shape of Water" (Fox Searchlight) Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa
Story by Guillermo del Toro

"Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri"
(Fox Searchlight)
Written by Martin McDonagh

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Friday, January 19, 2018

Den of Thieves

A on of the newest movies directed by Christian Gudegast who also wrote the script with Paul Scheuring, takes a unique plan and plot out of the ultimate bank heist by creating a group of professional bank robbers that attempts to rob a Federal Reserve Bank in Los Angeles.

Making the impossible possible, the established Pablo Schreiber, known as Ray Merrimen, the ex-marine, merciless, cutthroat gang leader, known as the criminal mastermind of the operation, focus on pulling off not only breaking in the Los Angeles reserve bank, but to get away with it too. This has never been done before. The goal is to steal unmarked, untraceable cash in an unlocked-down fortress of money by replacing it with stolen marked money right under the nose of the law enforcement in Los Angeles. Of course, strategy and intelligence plays a big part in the criminal bank robbers working together to pull it off. These bad guys are intense. They are fearless. They are brutal and they will kill anyone who gets in their way.

The plot thickens as Gerard Butler asserts his role as the hard core Nick "Big Nick" O'Brien, the elite team leader of the LAPD to bring own the notorious, brutal, professional bank robbers. In fact, he rather not do things by the books, skimming along the lines of illegal to get the job done. He won't stop at nothing until he brings these guys down. Of course, in the midst of all of that, it doesn not make things any better. Nick is caught up in a collapsing marriage to Debbie (Dawn Olivieri) that contributed to his on going outlandish, psychotic behaviors.

So when Donnie (O'Shea Jackson Jr.) is kidnapped by Flanagan to snitch and expose the operation of his team. Viewers would think that Donnie
getting exposed in front of Merriman and his men he would have been punished or to say the least, end up in a ditch
somewhere. But no: Merrimen questions him, and is apparently reassured by Donnie’s answers that he was captured, tortured
and strong-armed, by Flanagan but told him nothing of their plan. And to think that Donnie exited the federal reserve building without
getting caught, questioned or detained as a delivery boy. In the end when all was said and done viewers had a lot of loose
ends that failed to pull the story line airtight. There were too many mishaps and loose areas that failed in achieving it goal.

However, Den of Thieves is still worth watching. Although there are a lot of unnecessary fillers though out the movie.
(Review by Dr. Dwanna Swan-Ary)

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Post

What makes Steven Spielberg so amazing is the fact he can make almost any story amazing. His best includes some of my all time favorite movies, including 1981’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” the following years “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” “Close encounters of the Third Kind,” “The Color Purple,” “Schindler’s List,” and “Saving Private Ryan,” which won a well deserved Best Director statue from the Academy.

Now, with his latest drama “The Post,’ Spielberg re-teams with Oscar winner Tom Hanks for this based on a true story tale that looks at a pre-Watergate scandal involving president Richard Nixon and his misdealing with the Vietnam War. Hanks’s co-star is perennial Oscar w nominee and inner Meryl Streep who is Kay Graham, who essentially runs the Washington Post, a tough publisher who is looked at differently because she is a woman with authority.

The pair share great on-screen chemistry and share screen time like they are old friends just catching up on the day’s work.

What to me is the fact Hanks has been such a great go to actor for roles of any type. He does just fine as Ben Bradlee, who was important to oversee the day-to day dealings with the newspaper and cover everything in both Washington D.C. and the world.

He already has his best actor statues with “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump.” Nowadays he just does projects that essentially still keep him relevant in today’s world. Honestly, I don’t see him embracing anything in the superhero realm anytime soon.

Streep, as usual is aces in her as Graham, who essentially runs the newspaper she used to share with her late husband.

The supporting cast all shine as well. This includes Bob Odenkirk, whose chatterer states he always wanted to be part of a smaller rebellion. Also amazing in her small part is Sarah Paulson as Tony, Ben’s wife and confidant.

I have a feeling this one might be front and center in this year’s Oscar race.

I could be wrong, however, since his 1985 gem “The Color Purple” was completely shut out of the win column entirely. So you know, it was nominated for 11 separate Oscars, but did not even land a single win in any category.

My other predicament is that a newspaper movie just won the Busy Picture statue with last year’s amazing true life tale with “Spotlight.” The trouble is, the statues do not always go to the right person or entity.

Regardless, this is a movie one needs to see in the theater. Yes, it is that good.

Grade: A+
(Review Ricky Miller)

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12 Strong

Director: Nicolai Fuglsig Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

“12 Strong” delivers the bravery!

Not a huge fan of war films nor the thriller of the events took place in real life, but this film have brought some interesting, historical viewpoints for everyone who needed to be aware about the happenings of 9/11 and the most important wars (e.g. Civil War, Cold War, Vietnam War, etc.) from centuries and decades.

Chris Hemsworth provided the juiciest, strongest role as Captain Nelson of the Special Forces who was sent to Afghanistan to take down many enemies and murders down the valley and the mountains. Nicolai Fuglsig, who made his directorial debut in this film, and Chris Hemsworth both teach students, veterans, and teachers the valuable lesson about the serving the country and made sacrifices to help others and comrades in order to restore glory and hope for the citizens who were the main targets by shooters. It seems like getting into something new and interesting just like a man going into war or the army and a college student going into college. The main viewpoint is not only fighting, but also tackling through each difficult obstacles as well as taking advices. It was problematic thing to do for the director to set everything in desert areas and to valleys of rocks.

Michael Shannon, Michael Pena, Trevante Rhodes, and Navid Negahban are there as Hemsworth army and supporting comrades to defend off the Taliban army. They both provided the steadiest and flawless performances with bloody marks all over the film, thought it was tough to keep the murder out of the way (and to be seen throughout some war-bloody sceneries) once the Taliban shooters were spotted as well as leaving families and children behind to go into war while keeping promises. And even Elsa Pataky, who was Hemsworth’s wife and portrayed as Captain Nelson’s wife, provided a strong message about love and family.

This film was wonderful, crispy gathering for everyone, history teachers, and veterans who have served countries for many years. Based on the book, “Horse Soldiers” written by journalist Doug Stanton, producer Jerry Bruckheimer have kept the book as a film dream to produce and to remember of the veterans and soldiers’ sacrifice just like the “Pirates vs British soldiers” intervention from Pirates of the Caribbean series (also produced by Bruckheimer), where the crews are all here to fight for justice. It was an uplifting movie when it comes to bravery stand-ups, action-packed answers, tragedies to learn from, and hitting a few speed bumps when the soldiers were outnumbered or caught red-handed. So grab your bloody maries or anything healthier and watch this soldiers’ move just as you watch Forrest Gump making an impact.

(Review by Henry Pham)

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Forever My Girl with Alex Roe Interview

Bethany Ashton Wolf wrote and directed this easy listening feature that is loosely based on the novel of the same name by Heidi McLaughlin. She developed all of the original songs in the film with Brett Boyett and Jackson Odell two years before shooting commenced. The book's main character was a rock singer, which was changed to country music as Wolf had wanted Travis Tritt to play a cameo role in the film and sing an original song. The simple story has the usual tropes of a Lifetime Movie Channel fare of love lost, found again, catharsis and redemption as told by beautiful young actors in a serene small town, USA.

Alex Roe plays Liam Page, who is now a big ticket country star who ran out on his wedding day to Josie (Jessica Rothe) some eight years previously. He's your typical indulged artist, sleeping with groupies, and self centered, watched over by is co-dependent manager (Peter Cambor} who is reminding him that the record label wants new songs. Except Liam has a writers block at the moment while sulking over his life choices. When he hears that an old friend had passed away in his home town, Liam runs away from his responsibilities of his career to go back. It's a small town, his dad is the pastor (John Benjamin Hickey) and everyone was pretty disappointed that he ran off on Josie. His welcome back was less that heartwarming. Josie punches him in the gut when she sees him. He tries to make amends and discovers that Josie has a 7 year old girl named Billie (Abby Ryder Fortson), which happens to be the name of Liam's late mother. Wait, does this mean...?

The rest of the film follows Liam wanting to get to know his daughter, trying to warm up to Josie, making peace with his father. Meanwhile his manager and PR representative are spinning stories to keep the fans off kilter about his life. Being famous is obviously very complicated. There are some amusing moments like Liam trying to figure out how to order stuff online, asking is manager to send him some credit cards and a car seeing as he just run back home with nothing, riding his bike around town. Billie decides not to make it easy on her father, explaining that she will not ride in his convertible backed by accident statistics. It takes a bit before the looming reality of what it means to be an adult and a father comes crashing down on Liam, and the only way he knows how to deal, is to run.

You can pretty much guess what happens to everyone after all they are still very stupid in love with each other. The journey there is saved by the earnest and sincere performances. Plus the music soundtrack is ready for the radio. A neat pleasant movie coming to Netflix soon.
(Review by reesa)

Round table interview with Alex Roe who spoke with the media at the Hotel ZaZa:

Part 1

Part 2

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Jan 14 - Jan 20

It's the middle of January and they are saying it might snow. They are always saying it's gonna snow. I'll believe it when I see it. But a word of warning, it's gonna be bitterly cold on Tuesday night, and that is when there are three movies screening. Stay warm and safe, folks.

It's so weird not to have many films scheduled for the end of the month. Black Panther doesn't come out until the middle of next month. Will they promo screen it for us? Who knows? They are not doing a promo for Maze Runner:The Death Cure. Well, enjoy the time off to catch up on the new Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu offerings. Go to the Fort Worth Stock Show.

You know folks, if you are having trouble with a particular website, please write to the website owners. We have no control over your particular browser has trouble accessing pages. We usually check out the links we share with y'all. If it works for us, then it should work for y'all. We can't guarantee the site still has passes available. We look to see at the time. We won't post it if all the passes are gone.

January 14 - January 20

Tues - Jan 16

12 Strong - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark
Den of Thieves - 7:30 pm - Angelika Dallas
Forever My Girl - 7:30 pm - Angelika Plano

Wed - Jan 17

12 Strong - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark
Den of Thieves - Cinemark 17

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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Movies Scheduled for the Week of January 7 - January 13

Here we are in the first full week of the new year and it's either freezing or sweating. But that is Texas. At least we were hit with the cyclone bomb and are cars are frozen in the flooded streets. Those wonderful videos on Facebook were from the town I used it live before moving here.

Anyways, it looks like Wednesday is going to be really busy at Northpark. Please stay calm and chill in the face of humanity. School is back, holidays are over, life should settle in the usual patterns. January and February don't usually hold the promise of exceptional movies. Just enough to keep one mildly entertained.

Don't forget the Golden Globes will be celebrating the possible Oscar front runners Sunday night. What was your faves?

January 7 - January 13

Sun - Jan 7

Paddington 2 - 10:00 am - Cinemark 17

Tue - Jan 9

Paddington 2 - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark
The Commuter - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark
The Commuter - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark

Wed - Jan 10

Phantom Thread - 7:00 pm - Highland Village Theater

Thu - Jan 11

Alien Intrusion: Unmasking A Deception - One night only, various theaters

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Insidious: The Last Key

(Review by Chase Lee)

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(Review Chase Lee)

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The Post

Reel Time with Joel and Chase

A Potently Relevant Gut-Punch to the Current Administration and a Lesson of History Repeating Itself

Title: The Post
Rating: PG-13 for Language & Brief War Violence
Run Time: Ihr & 43min

Joel’s Review
**** (out of ****)

In director Steven Spielberg’s The Post, the leader of the United States of America (and, by proxy, the free world), with the weight of the government behind him, has blacklisted at least one major news organization following the potential release of proof that his administration was involved in a mass political cover-up involving, to some degree, rigged elections. Until one gets to the details of the puzzle pieces, the comparison between this story and what is currently happening in the States now is undeniable. The screenplay by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer certainly drops a handful of lines of dialogue, delivered by its performers with a shade of a wink, into the proceedings that seek to make that point.

It’s a worthy point, though, and Spielberg, one of the cinema’s great modern humanists, frames the point as a plea to its audience to listen. He is a filmmaker, after all, who has reached his level of clout through ignoring, when necessary, the nuance of a story and simply going for the broad strokes, even while handling the moments of nuance with a firm grasp. Here, in one of his shortest pictures (and his best in perhaps a decade), the director hits the ground running, crafts an accomplished piece of straightforward storytelling and impressive filmmaking, and gets out. It quite mirrors the act of journalistic reporting: telling us the who, when, where, what, and why.

That might make the film sound dry, but it is not. Spielberg, the screenwriters, and editors Michael Kahn and Sarah Broshar cram a lot of information into a tightly assembled package that is constantly moving, and John Williams’s score elevates the tension without specifically guiding it. Cinematographer Janusz Kamiński, meanwhile, utilizes his now-famous heavenly-bars-of-light-through windows composition scheme to great effect, giving the film a distinctive look and tone that assures it won’t feel like a repeat of previous films of this ilk (1976’s towering All the President’s Men is the most obvious one). Standing on the shoulders of a great crew is a defining feature of Spielberg’s oeuvre, and this is the newest example of that process in motion.

Right from the prologue, in which Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys), a military analyst for the RAND Corporation, exits a bit of controlled chaos in the 16th year of Vietnam War, only to find himself witnessing the lies of his superiors about the conflict’s efficacy. Bob McNamara (Bruce Greenwood) admits that Ellsberg is right in his assertion that the war isn’t changing anything, then does a 180 with the press, claiming that it’s headed in the right direction. Ellsberg steals the documents that prove the United States knew they had no chance to win the conflict, that four Presidencies had lied about this fact, and releases them to the New York Times.

This sends shockwaves through the country’s leadership. President Richard Nixon (who was less than a year away from another controversy that would eventually overshadow this one) censures the Times, which itself is a headline-worthy story. It catches the eyes of Kay Graham (Meryl Streep), the publisher of the Washington Post she inherited from her late father, and Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), the publication’s executive editor. Two questions arise: How does one frame the censorship of media that casts a negative light on the country’s leaders, and when the documents themselves fall into the Post’s lap, should they press forward in the face of potential prison time?

The narrative divides its time between that one and the story of Kay’s facing down the rampant sexism that leads to an otherwise all-male group of board members and the belief that a woman, who only gained the paper through the will and testament of her father, should not oversee a publication with so much at stake. Streep is tremendous in a performance that builds and builds to a specific moment of exasperated relief (and more than a little concession) when the decision to run with the story – again, in the face of a board who would rather a woman not make that decision – becomes an immediate reality.

The other half of the narrative is the more prominent half, as investigative reporters working under Kay and Ben seek out and seek to publish sections of what would come to be known as the “Pentagon Papers.” A thorough and superb supporting cast, only one or two of whom don’t have a Big Moment to call their own, elevate the proceedings: Greenwood as McNamara (who isn’t conflicted about the President’s actions but warns Kay of the crap that will hit the fan if she publishes), Rhys as a troubled Ellsberg, Sarah Paulson as Ben’s clever, long-suffering wife Tony, Bob Odenkirk as Ben Bagdikian (who finds Ellsberg and keeps his identity close to the chest), Jesse Plemons as Roger Clark (a meticulous lawyer who finds himself overwhelmed by the job at hand), and even more where that comes from. Every performance clicks.

The movie does, too, especially as it enters a climactic race to publish that is every bit as thrilling as an action movie, if not for the fact that it features no explosions and only minimal running on the part of the characters. What follows features the whispers of a courtroom drama that it never becomes. It doesn’t need to. The legal decision – that a free press informs the governed, rather than appeasing the governors – is all we need to know. The point is obvious, but it’s so obvious that the point is made merely by its presence. The Post has, at its core, a rock-solid sense of dramatic forward motion, and it’s the story we need to hear right now.
(Review by Joel Copling)

Chase’s Review

(Review by Chase Lee)

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