The Dallas Movie Screening Group

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

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

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

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

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

Website and Group Contact: dalscreenings@gmail.com

Monday, July 30, 2018

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Jul 29 - Aug 4


Have y'all been surviving the heat? And we still have another few months of this Texas summer. Can you believe it's almost August?

Since I'm travel challenged, getting to the screenings is problematic. I don't know what issues y'all are having in the line. If something is bugging you, please drop me an email.

As always, if something is missing on this list, please share.



Jul 29 - Aug 4

Tue - Jul 31

Christopher Robin - 7:30 pm - AMC Grapevine and the Angelika Dallas

Wed - Aug 1

Generation Wealth - 7:30 pm - Angelika Dallas
Crazy Rich Asians - 7:30 pm - Angelika Dallas

Thu - Aug 2

The Darkest Minds - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark









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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Eighth Grade





Reel Time with Joel and Chase

What If Lady Bird, but Younger?

Title: Eighth Grade

Rating: Not Rated

Run Time: 1hr & 34mins



Joel’s Review

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



For me, the most disastrous school year was ninth grade, but certainly the year before high school starts is no gift from the gods (unless they were feeling particularly vindictive in their gift-giving). Eighth Grade captures the feeling of enduring that final year of school before the four years that prepare you for college, and even though I obviously have no reference point to know this firsthand, writer/director Bo Burnham’s film certainly paints a convincing portrait of a young girl’s experience with this precipitous transitional period. Delightfully awkward, often very funny, and containing multitudes, this movie is a gem.

This particular eighth-grade year belongs to Kayla (Elsie Fisher), who splits her time between being relatively unpopular at school and hosting a series of self-help videos on YouTube at home. Her mother left years ago, and her father Mark (Josh Hamilton) struggles with a daughter who, to say the least, isn’t receptive to his brand of trying to keep her attention. The videos are as much an outlet for her to do all the talking that she isn’t comfortable doing at school as they are an array of equally wry and naïve observations about human nature. The videos also provide some of the highlights of the movie.

Kayla stutters and stumbles over the points she wishes to make in the videos in a way that is both amusing and endearing. A lot of that lies in Fisher’s breakthrough performance, which provides the tricky legwork possible to find this character endearing. In an alternate universe, Kayla is a passive protagonist, observing everything around her but taking no real part in any of that. That is, as it turns out, kind of half true here, but only because Kayla is shy by choice and introverted by nature in public (though, if approached, she maintains that she’s as talkative and lively as anyone).

In practice, though, and through the gift of Fisher’s remarkable performance, Kayla is a rare find as a protagonist in that she grows in front of our eyes. Much of this takes place at school, where she deals with various problems and disappointing people. She doesn’t really have a best friend, relying on the willingness of others to approach her, although hope arrives when she and her classmates are taken to a high school and each paired up with a student (in Kayla’s case, Olivia, a senior played by Emily Robinson). She tries to befriend the stiflingly popular Kennedy (Catherine Oliviere), whose single mother (played by Missy Yager) likes Mark, but only receives a cold stare.

Elsewhere, she nurses a crush on Aiden (Luke Prael), who prefers to receive sexual text messages from the girls he likes, and attempts to confront her own budding sexuality in the process. In a couple of amusing flourishes, Anna Meredith’s pounding, synth-heavy score is at its most pounding and synth-heaviy when Kayla claps eyes on Aiden and her attempt at researching how to perform a sexual act ends up being a little too intense for everyone involved. As a juxtaposition to this, a car ride with Olivia’s friend Riley (Daniel Zolghadri) turns really uncomfortable really fast when he unexpectedly parks the car.

Even with that excursion, the resounding feeling provided by the delicate handling of this material is to take away how funny and relatable it all is, particularly in a heart-to-heart between father and daughter (in which Hamilton’s own generous performance shines). Burnham, himself a former YouTube personality, navigates the video material with the subsequent honesty and charm, and the rest of this story takes on a timeless quality that manages to transcend the specificity of a young girl surviving the final year before high school. Eighth Grade isn’t foolish enough to eclipse that specificity, though. This is firmly Kayla’s story, and she’s gonna be ok.
(Review by Joel Copling)

Chase’s Review

(Review by Chase Lee)




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Eighth Grade





If you ever wanted to go back to middle school or junior high, here is your best chance. The film by Bo Burnham captures nearly every angst filled moment of a typical young girl, Kayla, in her final days as an eighth grader, to complete and excruciating perfection. Kayla is portrayed perfectly, to a T, by Elsie Fisher (Despicable Me) in all the glorious awkwardness befitting an invisible suburban eighth grade, self-conscious, introvert who hasn't had the best experiences in her last three years. But she maintains a positive attitude.

Eighth Grade is the first feature film for at from musician and comedian Bo Burnham, a 27 year old Massachusetts native, who became famous via YouTube. He wrote the screenplay and directed the mostly unknown cast towards a 2018 Sundance debut.

Kayla resides with her well meaning and caring single father (Josh Hamilton- Frances Ha, Manchester by the Sea) who tries as best he can to connect with his daughter, who he loves with all his heart. He just wants her to see herself as the special person that he sees.

Kayla spends alot of time alone, making inspirational self help advice videos for peers, that seem tailor made for herself. She is by far her own best cheerleader. She tries to put herself out to mingle with the typical groups: the popular kids, jocks, mean girls and creative types. She is clearly trying to be the best version of herself before she moves on to high school, while enduring a mixed pool party, being voted "Most Quiet" at an awards assembly, enduring acne and the inevitable hormonal fumbling advances by boys. She feels very misunderstood and wishes that peers knew her for the real person that she is inside.

She is her own optimist, trying to fight off anxiety attacks and awkward situations, while taking the occasional stand to put one particular queen bee in her place for being unkind. You will cringe with her, be anxious with her and run the extreme range of adolescent human emotion as her week unfolds.

Kayla experiences some genuine acceptance and happiness when she is paired with a very cool and kind older student who shows her the ropes of high school on a visit day and offers to be her mentor. There are moments of uncomfortable learning, coming of age and awareness of the R rated variety (language mostly) but that is real life for today's 12-14 year old. The life of a young teen in the digital age is realistically represented. All in all, this film is very very very REAL.

She experiences some epiphanies (we all remember learning what certain words actually mean), meets and befriends a kindred spirit in Gabe, and in the end reminds us that we are all the same in what we want; to be happy, to have friends, to have fun and to grow up with as few bruises, rejection and painful memories as possible. Middle School is simply a necessary developmental evil.
(Review by Cheryl Wurtz)



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Hot Summer Nights








(Review by Chase Lee)




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AFFD2018: Angels Wear White






This film has been presented for the Asian Film Festival in Dallas. What makes this film so dramatic is the main character has a rougher role to deal with when circumstances beyond his/her controls have just hit the character too hard. Director Vivian Qu made an explanation on this film about how troubles can be conquer anyone’s attention and must find a way to get rid of it once and for all without falling apart. Actress Vicky Chen (as Mia) will show the audience on what was the main situation that troubles her easily when she caught an eye of the young two victims in the motel she worked at.

In this film, Mia works at the motel as a cleaner, receptionist and a housekeeper. One night, when a man, along with two girls, checked into the motel rooms, she witness the man assaulting his two girls during her worktime. She records the incident using her phone and keeps this video to herself in order to not to find out as well as losing her job and her reputation. But when one of the victims, Xiaowen (Zhou Meijun), came to light about the incident, the troubles soon increase her intentions and she must find a way to get rid of her troubles by solving the case whilst avoiding being fired from her manager.

This plot seems to be rough to watch as the main cast took their roles seriously compared to the crime films like “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?,” “Sherlock Holmes,” and other mystery fictional stories. Qu’s direction was a tad confusing as the some scenes where it involves investigation doesn’t add up to any expectations compared to any crime films. Also the script-writing is sometimes sloppy for the main characters. Though, I do enjoyed the performances from actresses Vicky Chen and Peng Jing, who receives a supporting role in the film. Even Zhou Meijun knows how to be a supporting performer to the main protagonist.

Overall, “Angels Wear White” is good with the main cast’s remarkable performances. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad film, it’s a film that really toughens other people’s emotions and their points of views when a mystery can or cannot be solvable throughout the entire course of this film. It doesn’t really add up much potential to it. If you love Asian movies, you can watch this to exhibit feelings and concerns about the characters, but I have you know, this is one of the most powerful films to see just like the animated “Grave of the Fireflies,” produced in 1988. Running time: 107 minutes



GRADE: B
(Review by Henry Pham)



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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Teen Titans Go!





Director: Peter Rida Michail, Aaron Horvath Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
“Teen Titans” got their own movie after appearing on television.

For the first time in the studio’s history since “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm,” Warner Bros. and DC release their anticipated movie based on the reboot series on Cartoon Network. This superhero film is widely entrenched for their blockbuster landscape and for action-movie genre (even if this is a movie for kids). Cartoons aren’t just for kids, but also for teenagers and parents. Compared to the reboot series, this film features the returning cast from the television series and the setting also takes place in the same time period. Additionally, few newer cast join the party: Will Arnett as Slade, Nicholas Cage as Superman and Kristen Bell as the Jade Wilson, the director.

In this film, The Teen Titans, comprised of Robin (Scott Menville), Raven (Tara Strong), Beast Boy (Greg Cipes), Cyborg (Khary Payton), and Starfire (Hynden Walch), desperately wanted to their own movie, mostly Robin, under the director Jade Wilson (voiced by Kristen Bell) in order to become great superheroes. The main problems are they can’t help themselves seriously as they just making things a lot worst and they need an archenemy.

The plot from this film is somewhat rough to see and sometimes this film feels like a several episodes from the series have put altogether in one showcase. The scripting-writing is catchy and compelling just like 2017’s “The LEGO Batman Movie.” The main five actors done an outstanding job of keeping their acts together while Arnett keeps his Slade character more juicy, but funnier as it looks. The Slade character who looks like Deadpool would led this film to believe it is a “Deadpool movie for kids.” The dark comedy also works perfectly, thought there are some disturbing scenes for kids to watch out as time flies by so quick. Since this film is animated, it is easiest genre to digest for children and parents.

The jokes are highly humorous and break the fourth wall, such as Green Lantern being a flop, Slade (voiced by Will Arnett) being mistaken as Deadpool, “Guardians and the Galaxy,” the Warner Bros. water tower being a home for “Animaniacs,” the theme song from “Back to the Future,” and the Marvel comic-book titan Stan Lee appears as a cameo, though this is a DC film.

My favorite part from most of the film are the jokes from superhero films, the Warner Bros. Studios backlot which serves as the film’s main climax, and the Stan Lee cameo, which gave this film bonus points (he even shoots his signature phrase “Excelsior” to add more comedy). This is the first time Lee appears in DC film. Nuff said!

Overall, “Teen Titans Go!” is an amazing film for kids and parents. My main opinion is people can come here to see the action, comedy from the characters and DC superheroes, and the sharp jokes the cast have brought out to child audiences. “Teen Titans Go!” may not be the best of being the biggest superhero movie ever or the biggest animated movie of the year, but this film is the best bet for children and DC fans when it comes to superhero movies regardless. It serves as a promotion for the Cartoon Network series and it actually works. I hope you enjoy “Teen Titans Go!” to live up your expectations at home. Running time: 88 minutes.

As a bonus, don’t forget the DC Super Hero Girls short film, about a Batgirl wants to get there on time to fight with other DC superhero girls against their enemy. The short film also adds a touch for a big-screen presentation.

GRADE: B+
(Review by Henry Pham)





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AFFD2018: The Brink



The opening night film of the 2018 Asian Film Festival Dallas was the 2017 Hong Kong action film directed by Jonathan Li. What sets this off from other high action packed cops and bad guys films of this genre, is that big moments in the last act is in the middle of a typhoon. One literally can't take their eyes off the screen as waves pound a small ship as the players battle each other to the death.

Hot headed and reckless cop Cheng Sai Gau (Zhang Jin) was on suspension for causing the death of a fellow officer by throwing a bad guy out the window crushing a patrol car with said cop inside. Cheng is a bit of a wild card, but he's effective and a bull dog when trying to solve crimes. His new case involves a gold smuggling ring by a gang posing as fishermen. The pilot of the boat Jiang Gui Cheng (Shawn Yue) has plans to take over the operation when his boss decides to name a smarmy "son" as his successor. Tensions escalate when the son decides to eliminate Jiang. Then Jiang goes after their boss to find the source of the gold, the big boss Kui (Japanese vet Yasuaki Kurata), who lives and works on a floating casino in untouchable international waters. Cheng talks his partner A-de (Wu Yue) into joining him in his investigation even though A-de has given in his resignation with plans to go to Europe. Unfortunately A-de is taken hostage, so Cheng and his desk jockey supervisor Chan (Gordon Lam) has to work with him despite his lack of experience on the streets and his follow the rules attitude. He is way over his head, but wants to prove that he can handle it.

There is no end to the action as Jiang seems to be one step ahead of Cheng as mayhem and bodies pile up in their wake. At times it's hard to tell who are the bad guys and who are the good guys. Cheng's fighting skills seem endless. There are some great chases through market places, over boats that crowd the harbor, and in seedy neighbor hoods of old buildings. This contrasts to the floating casino with it's rich clientele, and the underwater action searching for the gold. Cheng, with his dyed blond hair looks like a rock star, and Jiang is cruel and brooding with a bomb throwing girlfriend. Women basically are just a filler in this story with Cheng being the guardian of a young woman who was the daughter of a thug that he had killed. Of course the biggest set piece is the typhoon fight that's worth the popcorn, just ignore the plot holes that are so big to sink a ship.



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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Jul 22 - Jul 28


Good goddess, it's hot out there. Make sure you keep your critters indoors, stay hydrated, and keep cool at the movies. I think the weather channel says it will not be as scary hot as this past week. Weird that we will feel cool with 101 degree weather. There doesn't seem to be many movies posted for next week...so keep and eye out and share if you find something.

On a personal note, my car is dead so I can't get around. (No buses in this area). Will miss seeing y'all for the time being.

Hope that you took advantage of the great programming offered by the Asian Film Festival Dallas currently running at the Angelika. Last day is Thursday, so please drop on by and see some amazing films.

Jul 22 - Jul 28

Mon - Jul 23

Mission Impossible Fall Out - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark
Mission Impossible Fall Out - 7:30 pm - Cinemark 17

Tues - Jul 24

Teen Titans Go! - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark

Wed - Jul 25

Crazy Rich Asians - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark





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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Movies Scheduled for the Week of July 15 - July 21



Wow...did y'all see the weather forecast? Three digit weather all week long and then some. Good weather to hide out at the movies all week. It's just getting from point A to point B that's the killer. Keep hydrated!

Lots of movies this week. And don't forget the Asian Film Festival begins on Thursday so please take advantage of the chance to see some great programming that you can't see anywhere else in Texas.

July 15 - July 21

Mon - July 16

Searching - 7:30 pm - ?

Tue - July 17

Equalizer 2 - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas
Equalizer 2 - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark
Mama Mia Here We Go Again - 7:30 pm - Angelika Dallas

Wed - July 18

Don't Worry He Can't Get Far On Foot - 7:30 pm - Magnolia

Thu - July 19

Eight Grade - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas
Dog Days - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark

Sat - July 21

Teen Titans - 11:00 am - Cinemark 17



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Friday, July 13, 2018

Hotel Transylvania: Summer Vacation




I have liked Adam Sandler for many years. One of my favorites was the 2002 release of the underrated Paul Thomas Anderson treasure that was “Punch-Drunk Love” that found his lonely and despondent Barry Egan character falling off the deep end with his troupe of sisters in his life.
With his new release of “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,” one of his last times to be seen on the big screen, since the variety of his flicks are going straight to Netflix nowadays.

The plot in “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” involves Dracula (the voice of Adam Sandler) receiving a “zing” when he looks upon the cruise director, Ericka (voice of Kathryn Hann). She is hiding something from Drac, but that aspect only adds to part of the plot twist in this very enjoyable tale.

Whereas the second chapter involved kids and shenanigans at a summer camp, this one is about a giant nighttime cruise that will be covering aspects of The Bermuda Triangle. The cruise is going there with some nefarious ideas on how to take out some of the monsters and eliminate them from the world altogether.

“Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” was directed by Genndy Tartakovosky, this Emmy winner for directing episodes of 2003’s “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”

He was also Emmy nominated for his work on “Samurai Jack,” “The Powerpuff Girls” and “Dexter’s Laboratory.” This is just a fun flick, with the animators at Sony avoid the inappropriate innuendoes that were prevalent in the mediocre sequel that was “Despicable Me 3” a couple of years back.

His usual band of brothers all return with appearance by the voice talents of Andy Samberg, (as Mavis’s husband, Johnny), Selena Gomez as Dracula’s daughter, Mavis, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Kevin James, Molly Shannon, Mel Brooks, Asher Binkoff, (as Mavis’s son Dennis), Fran Drescher, Joe Whyte and Sadie Sandler.

Some funny tidbits are involved when Asher tries to sneak their rather big dog Tinkles (Bob) on board the ship.

Another funny joke occurs when Steve Buscemi’s Wayne wolf drops off part of his brood of more than a dozen of his kin.

What was surprising was to see how the filmmakers prevented Dracula from going out during the day. He only when out at night.

Also amusing to the proceedings is Dracula states he does not say “bleh bleh” at all.

“Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” does what it’s supposed to do and just entertain the little tikes for a brief spell during the day.

Grade: C+
(Review by Ricky Miller)



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Thursday, July 12, 2018

17th Annual Asian Film Festival





17th ANNUAL ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL OF DALLAS

PRESENTED BY WELL GO USA ENTERTAINMENT

ANNOUNCES FIRST TITLES, FIRSTS & FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS


THURSDAY, JULY 19 THROUGH THURSDAY, JULY 26

ANGELIKA FILM CENTER DALLAS in MOCKINGBIRD STATION
5321 E Mockingbird Ln, Dallas, TX 75206


June 13, 2018 (DALLAS, TX) – The Asian Film Festival of Dallas celebrates its 17th year with returning presenting sponsor Well Go USA Entertainment, from Thursday, July 19 through Thursday, July 26, 2018.

This festival year boasts its first Kashmiri drama film and returns with a women's showcase of Asian directed and produced films by women. Sixty-six films will screened throughout the week: 6 short blocks (Drama, Experimental, Women’s, Student’s, Late Night and Documentary) and 31 feature films.

Film fans can also expect films from the U.S., Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Indian, Japan, S. Korea and Tibetan and from these genres: action, comedy, crime drama, documentary, drama, martial arts, psycho drama, thriller, romantic comedy and horror.

Passes and tickets will on sale and available on Monday, July 2, 2018 at www.asianfilmdallas.com

AFFD organizers are excited about announcing the first titles:

SHALOM BOLLYWOOD

Dallas Premiere
Genre: Documentary
Released: 2017
Country: Australia
Language: English
Director: Danny Ben-Moshe
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSn7XIy0yHc

Film Synopsis: When Indian cinema began 100 years ago it was taboo for Hindu and Islamic women to perform on screen, so Indian Jewish women, who were more liberal and progressive, took on female lead roles, which they then dominated for decades. However, because of their stage names people thought they were Muslims or Christians. Until now….



ANGELS WEAR WHITE

Dallas Premiere
Genre: Drama
Released: 2017
Country: China/Taiwan
Language: Chinese/ English subtitles
Director: Vivian Qu
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-t0YbdzKdw

Film Synopsis: In a small seaside town, two schoolgirls are assaulted by a middle-aged man in a motel. Mia, a teenager who was working as the receptionist that night, is the only witness. For fear of losing her job, she says nothing. Meanwhile, 12-year-old Wen, one of the victims, finds that her troubles have only just begun. Trapped in a world that offers them no safety, Mia and Wen will have to find their own way out.


HALF WIDOW

Southwest Premiere
Genre: Drama
Country: India/Kashmir
Language: Urdu/Kashmiri / English subtitles
Director: Danish Renzu
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_ITMZMsdwU



Film Synopsis: Amid the backdrop of the Kashmiri conflict, a young woman must come to grips with the disappearance of her doting husband and embarks on harrowing journey of self-discovery.



LAUGHING UNDER THE CLOUDS

U.S. Premiere
Genre: Action
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese / English subtitles
Director: Katsuyuki Motohiro
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUPKf_830O4


Film Synopsis: Orochi is a giant snake with enormous power. The giant snake revives once every 300 years and brings disaster to the people. This year is the year of Orochi’s revival.


The Kumo family, who succeeds the Kumo shrine, have 3 sons. The eldest son is Tenka ( Sota Fukushi), the second is Soramaru and the youngest Chutaro. The 3 brothers attempt to block the power of Orochi. Meanwhile, special forces Yamainu try to seal again the power of Orochi to bring peace to Japan, but the ninja group “Anyaku” from the Fuma clan begin their move to gain the power of Orochi to overthrow the government.


Surrounding the Orochi's revival a three-way battle takes place between the brothers, special forces Yamainu and ninja group Anyaku from Fuma clan.


GONJIAM: HAUNTED ASYLUM
Well USA Entertainment film
Genre: Horror
Released: 2017
Country: S. Korea
Language: Korean / English subtitles
Director: Jung Bum-Shik
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8h0eH7MRFRs

Film Synopsis: Based on the local legends and stories of people who’ve visited the real-life abandoned hospital, GONJIAM: HAUNTED ASYLUM follows the crew of a horror web show who plan to stream live from inside the asylum. To attract more viewers, the show’s host arranges some scares for the team, but as they move further into the nightmarish old building, they begin to encounter much more than expected.


Parties and events
VIP Reception: Thursday, 7/12, 7 pm to 9 pm. Invitation-only
Opening Night Party: Thursday, 7/19, 9 pm to 11 pm TBA
Women’s Showcase & Centerpiece Reception: Sun., 7/22, Reception to follow last Women’s Showcase film
Closing Night Party: Thursday, 7/26, 9 pm to 11 pm. TBA

More titles and full schedule of events and details will follow in the following weeks. Visit www.asianfilmdallas.com

About the Asian Film Festival of Dallas
Since its creation in 2002, the annual film festival has grown to become the South’s largest showcase of Asian and Asian-American cinema. Over the past 16 years, the festival has provided opportunities for nearly 600 Asian and Asian-American filmmakers and documentarians to share their vision, often providing the only venue for their films to be shown in Dallas.

The films have also allowed festival goers a chance to experience other lives and cultures without leaving their seats. The Asian Film Festival of Dallas is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating and supporting emerging and established Asian and Asian-American filmmakers and sharing the rich diversity of Asian culture through the medium of cinema.

For more information about AFFD or to purchase passes and tickets, please visit www.asianfilmdallas.com.



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Skyscraper




Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber Studio: Universal Pictures
“Skyscraper” is a fiery inferno for Dwayne Johnson!

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was known as his Luke Hobbs character in “The Fast and the Furious” movies, but not in this film. This film doesn’t set the course of a thrilling ride of a lifetime nor a good taste of any action movies, compared to “Die Hard” films. It is extremely a difficult to see Johnson’s character spring into action as part of the 30th anniversary of the famous action film, “Die Hard,” produced in 1988. In this film, former FBI agent, Will Sawyer who is living in the tallest and safest skyscraper, known as the Pearl, with his family. But when the group of terrorists have taken over the skyscraper, he must rescue his family from the tower before they get themselves killed.

As far as action films go, “Skyscraper” truly deserves a gold star on three things: the villains (including the leader Roland Møller), the humor, and Johnson’s performance on the second half of the film. It’s not terribly surprising that the terrorists group haven’t got any money nor taken advantage of a rich person’s (or people’s) values. These kinds of roles are really hard to play throughout the course of this film. Based on the events of this film, this film is a stunning callback form the aspects of 9/11. Extremely meaningless to come up with a story and casting, but Johnson is a best bet for this film after his “Fast and the Furious” films and the “Jumanji” sequel.

Although the rest of the film doesn’t sound very enjoyable as the plot is very cheesy and cliché. Same applies to the supporting actors Chin Han, Neve Campbell, and Noah Taylor. Even the child actors McKenna Roberts and Noah Cottrell aren’t helping at all. The film itself and the action sequences aren’t well-done for the action, thrilling movie unlike “Air Force One,” “Speed,” and “Top Gun” as well as not indulging the CGI methods being assisted for a greater height. Considering this action stunt-gig, Director Thurber also collaborated with Johnson in “Central Intelligence” which was okay according to the audiences.

Overall in this film, it seems okay but mediocre as Johnson’s character didn’t matched its level of Tom Cruise nor Harrison Ford. I highly rather rent this film rather than purchasing it. I wouldn’t want to watch this over again when it comes to action-thriller. I recommend you pick another action to see like “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” “Speed,” and other action movies I mentioned above. It was really tough to watch when Johnson’s Will Sawyer character breaks the ice in the wrong way. It’s not a bad movie, but considering how goofy much of the setup for “Skyscraper” is. “Skyscraper” would be like “Die Hard but with Dwayne Johnson all over.” Running time: 102 minutes

GRADE: C-
(Review by Henry Pham)


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Ant Man and the Wasp





I really wanted to like this movie. The first “Ant-Man,” originally released in 2015 was a fun enjoyable ride. I think I gave it an A- that particular year. At this point in time, however, I think Marvel Studios will just keep on cranking out their usual 1-2 titles per calendar year. They already had their big blockbusters entry with “Avengers: Infinity War” this past April. What they failed to mention is this was just part 1 of the saga that will have two chapters.

I was not dazzled with “Ant-Man and the Wasp” in the very least. To me, this is one of the lesser Marvel Studios entries. I figured at some point in time, a Marvel entry would hit the “meh” category in their storytelling practices. This entry for me is exactly what I felt when watching this disappointing tale. I hate to say it, but at a certain point, Marvel-based entries suffer from a certain color palate.
Most of them have a certain monochromatic color dynamic which is not too bright, but just falters into the breeze without any said punch. Not to draw comparisons to anything in the DC universe, but this was to me what Martin Campbell’s “Green Lantern” felt like when everything was said and done with that particular title.

Paul Rudd must still be following his original work out from the first “Ant-Man” flicks because he still has the tight washboard abs. In “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” the pair must contend with a villain only known as Ghost, (Hannah John-Kamen) who has high tech beyond their means and who can just jump from place to place in an instant. Think of a more subdued version of what Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) can do. She has help from Laurence Fishburne’s Dr. Bill Foster, who was an old ally of Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). So you know, family dynamics are a main part of the storyline here.

Another subplot involves Walton Scoggins as a small arms dealer, Sonny Burch, who cares little for human life as long as it is putting green into his wallet.

Also interwoven are returning characters involving Hank’s wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) who has been stuck in the quantum zone for upwards of 40 years. She has a way of helping the Ghost, because she has a way of knowing the ins and outs of the alternate dimension in which she was trapped.

Rudd’s Scott Lang shares some great scenes with Evangeline Lily’s Wasp character, Hope Van Dyne, since the pair make for some great on-screen chemistry together. The duo each knows their next moves before they even happen, something important for their hand-to-hand combat sequences, especially when it comes to fisticuff battles with the enemy.

What amazes me is the CG (computer graphics) implemented to add grey to the beards of both Douglas and Fishburne as well as the way to make Pfeiffer still look so vibrant. Even at the age of 60, Pfeiffer is still a knockout.

Director Peyton Reed knows how to keep the movie flowing at an even pace. Like “Thor: Ragnarok,” Reed has a keen sense where to lace some comic timing into the mix. It is not in abundance, but just strikes the right chord in certain spots.

I did not dislike this movie in any way, but did shrug my shoulders quite a bit. It had everything in place, but as aforementioned the ooh’s and aah’s were completely missing in the end.

Grade: B-
(Review by Ricky Miller)


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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Jul 8 - Jul 14



Hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far. It seems they are really pushing Skyscraper this week with three screenings happening this week. Hopefully everyone was able to obtain passes. Remember when responding to someone's requests, it's best to answer them directly and not through the group because your email will only get rejected.

The 19th annual Asian Film Festival of Dallas will be July 19 - July 24. If you would like to volunteer and perhaps see an amazing slate of films on their schedule, please come to the volunteer orientation this Friday the 13th at the Angelika.

July 8 - July 14

Mon - July 9

Sorry to Bother You - 7:30 pm - Angelika
Skyscraper - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark

Tue - July 10

Skyscraper - 7:30 pm -Angelika

Wed - July 11

Skyscraper - 7:30 pm - Cinemark 17

Thu - Jul 12

Unfriended: Dark Web - 7:30 pm - Angelika




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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Whitney





The global saturation of Whitney Houston began with her debut album in 1985, shot her to the stratosphere of stardom with the seven sequential number one hits generated from it. This British documentary by Kevin McDonald who is known for Marley and the Last King of Scotland, was made with the cooperation of Houston's family and friends. Their comments bear witness to the rise and fall of one of the most iconic performers of the generation. McDonald's use of news clips that feature the political and pop-cultural events of the times are woven into the tapestry of how and why the stage was set for her to make such an impact and how it affected her tragic fall from grace.

Whitney came from a family of singers. Her mother Cissy Houston was a prominent gospel singer and Cissy's nieces were soul veteran Dionne Warwick and her sister Dee Dee Warwick. Cissy brought her children up in the church where Whitney sang in the choir. Realizing Whitney's extraordinary vocal talent, Cissy started grooming her, teaching her how to use her voice. Her mother didn't want her daughter to be just another run of the mill pop singer, knowing her voice was meant for greater things. Whitney was one of her mom's background singers, when one night her mom feigned illness and made Whitney take center stage. She knocked the roof off. Soon music companies were fighting over her before she signed with Clive Davis. Whitney's beloved dad was known as a hustler, but to put it nicely, a deal maker. Her dad affectionately called her "Nippy" which stuck as her family name. Her dad began running her business affairs which included putting all the family members and close friends on the payroll. Her brothers became background singers and body guards. It was her brothers who also introduced her to drugs.

The film is filled with remarkable family video of the young and developing Whitney singing in the church choir. Even at that young age you can hear the strong potential of what she eventually develops into a world class performer. Family, friends, and producers contribute their memories and experience working with her. Even her ex-husband Bobby Brown talks, but refuses to discuss anything about drugs. The last part of the film focus's on her later decline in drug use and health. There is also a family secret that is revealed as people search for answers and possibly regret as to what they would have should have in respect to helping her survive. Whitney was a star so bright that left us too quickly. Fortunately her music remains.
(Review by reesa)





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Ant Man and the Wasp






Director: Peyton Reed Studio: Marvel Studios

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” receives a growing upgrade!

As far as Marvel films go, this film may surpass positive reviews by critics and audiences. This film marks the return of Paul Rudd as Ant-Man and Evangeline Lilly who will be the star as the Wasp. Michael Douglas and Michael Peña return as their supportive helpers.

“Ant-man” is like an all-new “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” movie, but in a superhero version. This film serves as the small plot leak for the Avengers: Infinity War and the upcoming Avengers 4. The latest installment centers on Scott Lang (Rudd) who tries to balance his life as an ordinary house-father and his superhero role as Ant-Man. When the new mission arrives, he must team up with another ant-hero called the Wasp (Lilly).

Peyton Reed’s direction, while outstanding, is somewhat cheesy compared to the original “Ant-Man,” which he directed, and others including Baby Driver, and Doctor Strange. The comedy also adds a nice touch, thanks to scriptwriters and the supporting actor Peña who keeping his personality real and plays the part pretty straightforward just like it was before.

I enjoyed the comedy provided by Douglas as Hank Pym, Randall Park (Jimmie Woo), and Abby Ryder Fortson as Cassie, Scott’s daughter. Tip "T.I." Harris as Dave and David Dastmalchian were humorous as well.

I love the action sequences, which create stunning experience. They were highly detailed compared to the Fast and the Furious films, Baby Driver, and any road-chasing films you may have seen. There’s are extra-points gag when the visual effects are well-done

The villain portrayed by Hannah John-Kamen (Ava/Ghost) who appears on and off-screen is more problematic. The villain is in this film much more irreverent than in other Marvel films. The setting is a big question. The filmmakers did not consider the time period, although there was a theory that this film takes place after Captain America: Civil War.

My favorite scenes from “Ant-Man and the Wasp” are Peña’s character, Luis, which will bring down the house. Marvel comic legend Stan Lee has a funny cameo, and the post-credits scene produce non-stop laughs.

I actually met Stan Lee in person when he comes to Dallas, Texas in April 2017 on his final Texas appearance and I know he keeps up with his cameos in upcoming Marvel films. The sequence builds anticipation for “Avengers 4” and it is best post-credit scene to date out of many of the Marvel films. Be aware that this upcoming sequel will be released in May 2019.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is delightful in that delivers action-packed sequences, laugh-out-loud experiences, and stunning stunts. Rudd, Lilly, Douglas and Peña really fit the bill. Anyone who is a fan of Ant-Man or any Marvel character, will enjoy this bad boy. It’s a fun-filled adventure with Ant-Man with more funny stories from Peña.

Running time: 118 minutes.

GRADE: B+
(Review by Henry Pham)





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The First Purge






There are a very select few people who relish violence and death on the screen, I, however am not one of those individuals.

My problem and predicament with life is that I’ve already endured enough problems and predicaments in my life to warrant a couple of books.

I already saw the other “Purge” movies, so spending my time with this one comes with a duty that is just part of my job as your at-large film critic.

Now, with “The First Purge,” Blum House productions went back into their piggy bank to dole out another chapter of the low budget franchise that will make another chapter that will undoubtedly turn another profit for the studio.

With “The First Purge,” Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei (1992’s “My Cousin Vinny”) makes an appearance as The Architect – Dr. Updike. With her experiment, as it were she wants to see if citizens can find an outlet to release their pent up aggression and hostility. It all sounds good on paper but when she finally sees the results firsthand, she is in shock and dismay. She does not realize the U.S. government is using it for their own ulterior motives.

Besides Tomei, the only other face common to us viewers of television and pop culture is actress Luna Velez. She was on Showtime’s “Dexter” for many a year as Capt. Maria La Guerta.

The rest are all new faces, which includes Lex Scott Davis, Y’Lan Noel, Jordan Wade, Kristen Solis and Rotimi Paul. Paul plays the creepy guy known as Skeletor, (A “He-Man and the Masters of the universe” reference) a villain in the story who is credited with the first purge kill. He just looks evil. He has tattoos splashed across his face and is just wicked and pure evil.

The bulk of the film’s setting takes place on Staten Island in New York state. Also interwoven into the storyline are flying armed drones that are used to wipe out entire families at the drop of a hat.

The movie also makes Blackwater references as well as and ways of life affecting the lower class. As I mentioned earlier, I am not a fan of this genre. To me it is just pure horror porn.

I just find the whole movie stupid, silly and preposterous.

So the reader knows, I gave 2013’s “The Purge” a C-, while the follow-ups with “Anarchy” (2014) a C and “Election Year” (2016) a C+.

Like I previously stated, I am not a fan of the horror genre in general. I find it futile to invest in characters when they are inevitably going to die.

But when it comes to horror-comedies, I am all in. I relished Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn,” “Zombieland” and the gem that was “Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil.”

“The First Purge” does what it’s supposed to do in re-introducing a pointless time-waster that one can just consume as a can of soda or soft drink.

Grade: C+
(Review by Ricky Miller)




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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Movies Scheduled for the Week of July 2 - July 7


It's 4th of July week! Remember not to stick your head out the window when all those bozo's start shooting their guns off. Doesn't anyone consider that those bullets shot in the air will come down? It's suppsed to be triple digit weather with a chance of rain...meaning super humid along with the heat. Watching fireworks on TV doesn't seem to be very exciting but cooler and safer.

The anticipated Ant Man and Wasp didn't have many outlets offering passes. In fact, I don't have a clue where they are screening. Anyone who got a pass, can you let us know where it will be?

Have a great week, y'all. Someday when I can get my chronic car problems addressed, I may actually get to go to the movies.

July 1 - July 7


Mon - Jul 2

Ant Man and the Wasp - 7:30 pm - Dallas and Fort Worth
The First Purge - 7:30 pm - Angelika

Sat - Jul7

Hotel Transylvania: Summer Vacation - 10:00 am - AMC Northpark
Hotel Transylvania: Summer Vacation - 11:00 am - Cinemark 17







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