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

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Big Brother





Hardcore fans of Donny Yen action movies may be a little confused with his new movie in which he plays an unconventional high school teacher. It's a bit formulaic story wise, but it's fun to watch while also addressing some serious social issues facing Hong Kong's educational system.
This is a passion project for co-producer Yen, directed by Ka-Wai Kam and written by Tai-lee Chan that pulls on the heart strings as it aims for inspiration.

Yen plays Chen Xia who is returning to his old school, a Hong Kong Band Three secondary school which is threatened with closure due to the low performance of it's student test scores. Despite his inexperience in teaching, he is given a liberal studies classroom where the unruly teens are cooking, listening to music, playing video games and sleeping. Anyone else would have been yelling for their attention, but Chen attends each of the students offering some common sense advise with knowledge is power information on the hazards of smoking. The students don't know what to think of him.

The story follows a group of misfits, twin brothers Bruce (Tong Kwan-chi) and Chris (Tong Kwan-yiu) with an alcoholic father; car fanatic tomboy Gladys (Li Ching-kwan) who feels unloved by her dad because she's not a boy; a poor boy Jack (Jack Lok) who lives with his grandmother and gets mixed up with gangsters; and an aspiring Pakistani singer Gordon (Lau Chiu-kin) whose dreams are stymied by social prejudice. They get expelled from school for a fight, but Chen manages to get them another chance. Jack alone does not come back, but instead gets involved with gangsters at the MMA gym run by Kane (Yu Kang). Chen manages to find solutions to everyone's problems including fighting his way out of the boxing gym to extract Jack from the gangster's clutches. When word of his fighting skills is reported on TV, suddenly everyone at school is seeing Chen in a different light. He becomes an object of hero worship including from fellow teacher Ms. Laing (Joe Chen) who is totally smitten.

The students discover that their teacher not only is an alumnus of their school, but was a U.S. Marine. There is plenty of Donny Yen fighting skills on display especially with Yu Kang who is an fight choreographer. For a school drama, it really doesn't show much of Chen's teaching methods. The students become more attentive and respectful after they discover that Chen is an unbeatable martial artist. The path from feeling like losers to suddenly wanting to ace their exams and think there may be life after they graduate is pretty quick. Despite how everything is conveniently resolved, it's still an enjoyable light tale. The stress faced by students while dealing with their family and financial problems that sometimes lead to suicide are addressed. It's too bad we can't all have Donny Yen as our teacher.
(Review by reesa)

Big Brother opens Aug 31 at Cinemark Legacy





Bookmark and Share

Juliet, Naked






(Review by Chase Lee)





Bookmark and Share

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Aug 26 - Sep 1



Wow, end of August already. Hope everyone had a great summer!

As usual there's not a lot of movies coming up to bat before the fall movie madness takes over.

Question: Do all of you belong to our Facebook group? Don't respond to the group. Just email me.

Aug 26 - Sep 1

Mon- Aug 27

Operation Finale - 7:30 pm - Angelika Dallas

Tue - Aug 28

Kin - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark

Wed - Aug 29

God Bless the Broken Road - 7:00 - Harkins Southlake







Bookmark and Share

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Happytime Murders




To be quite honest, this movie was a lot tamer than I expected. I expected lots of outrageous gags, toilet humor and reprehensible antics to occur. They did, but in a far less reaching tableau of time.

This reminds me of last year’s fun “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” wherein lead Samuel L. Jackson used colorful vocabulary sans the “F-bombs” from his usual cache of vocabulary.

The puppets and man co-exist in this world, something that is just looked at as commonplace in their society.

“The Happytime Murders” takes full advantage of the “R” rating, since bits of dialogue are a tad extreme in their delivery.

For comparisons sake, I choose “South Park” creators’ Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s puppet-laden 2004 release of “Team America: World Police” as a noteworthy companion piece to “The Happytime Murders.” That one carried an “R” rating as well.

The antics that occur are outrageous in spots, but the majority of the humor misses the mark. Lead actress Melissa McCarthy brings back friend and co-star Maya Rudolph (“Bridesmaids”) as a human known as Bubbles, who handles the day-to-day happenings of Phil Phillips, who is McCarthy’s ex-partner on the Los Angeles police force. Other humans in this tale include Elizabeth Banks (“The 40 Year Old Virgin,” “Zack and Miri Make a Porno”), Joel McHale (TV’s “Community”) and Leslie David Baker. Some people might remember Baker from TV’s “The Office” wherein he always shrugged at the ridiculous notions that came out of the idiot Michael Scott played by Oscar-nominee Steve Carell.

The directing chores were handled by Brian Henson, who did a great job with 1992’s “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” one of the few musicals I can actually tolerate. So the reader knows, I am not a fan of musicals at all. I can tolerate them to a certain point, but am not a fan of the genre as a whole.

He also handled the directing chores on “Muppet Treasure Island,” (1996). As of this moment in time he’s executive producing “The Power of the Dark Crystal,” a follow-up to 1982’s “The Dark Crystal,” which was directed by his dad, the late Jim Henson and Frank Oz. It was a strange concoction, since no human beings are in the movie, rather just puppets and fantasy elements galore. Brian Henson is also on board for executive producing an update of “Labyrinth,” a 1986 family fantasy which was also directed by his late father.

Some of the one-liners work, such as when Phil Phillips comments on McHale’s FBI’s agent status and sarcastically calls it an fn’ big idiot. The chemistry between Randolph’s Bubbles and cop Phil Phillips works. McHale’s part is that of FBI agent Campbell, who thinks mighty high of himself and his role in the City of Angels police department.

“The Happytime Murders” might find an audience here with the cinema selection appearing kind of lackluster, but there are worst choices out there.

The chemistry between McCarthy and the other characters work since the interaction between the humans and the puppets is taken as an everyday occurrence. There is a backstory involved, but that angle is only used to cover a portion of this tale. I wouldn’t call this movie a major dud, because some bright spots tickled my funny bone.

Grade: C
(Review by Ricky Miller)



Bookmark and Share

Blaze with Q&A






(Review by Chase Lee)

Q&A with Ben Dickey and Ethan Hawke





Bookmark and Share

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Mile 22






Peter Berg has amassed quite the career. First, with his acting gigs, which encompassed quite the resume with roles in “Very Bad Things,” (Which he also directed) “A Midnight Clear,” TV’s “Chicago Hope,” “Fire in the Sky,” James Mangold’s “Cop Land,” and Michael Mann’s Tom Cruise-led “Collateral.” He also helmed one of the dumbest yet fun guilty pleasures with the based-on-a board game “Battleship.”

But, we’re here to talk about his new action-drama “Mile 22,” which finds him re-teaming with Mark Wahlberg, (for the fourth time), a star he worked with most recently in “Lone Survivor,” a 2013 tale about the last man standing in an operation overseas. More recent pairings were with the true-life tale oil spill flick “Deepwater Horizon” and “Patriots Day,” about the Boston bombing which occurred in 2013.

“Mile 22” has a great cast with Lauren Cohan (TV’s “The Walking Dead”), Oscar nominee John Malkovich, (1993’s In the Line of Fire”), Ronda Rousey (“The Expendables 3”) and Iko Ulwas aka Tony Jaa.

Berg knows his prowess and it shows in his handling of the scenes where Li Nor takes on some nurses at the local hospital. It is significant because that is not where they have to take Jaa’s Li Nor, a prisoner and former cop they want for safe keeping. He also has some intel on an ongoing situation they want the keys for.

Berg knows how to handle the camera in these sequences, because it is a tight fit where all the action takes place. Just like his fine work in 2003’s “The Rundown,” where The Rock actually did a great job in the role and did not make his part a caricature, since his bounty hunter persona wanted to open a restaurant and get out of the bounty hunting life he was accustomed to. Berg knows when and where to just point and shoot.
“Mile 22” is gritty as all get out, since the movie does not follow normal traditions and parameters in storytelling technique. It is non-stop from the opening scene. The pacing is brisk, fast and only sets itself up for brief spells to just do some minor character development.

Wahlberg, like The Rock before him, proved he could single handedly carry a movie. For him, it was Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Boogie Nights,” the tale of a young dishwasher, Edie Adams, who eventually becomes porn sensation Dirk Diggler. It is one of Anderson’s earlier works, from 1997.
A lot of the viewing public was there to see Wahlberg, but for me it was seeing the often underrated Jaa, who like other martial arts maestros Donne Yen, Jet Li or even Jackie Chan has a very selective and discreet audience.

What was also of interest was the close knit operations that endured. Everyone involved does not carry any identification. The team, for all intents and purposes is a bunch of ghosts.

Not to ruin anything, but this one falls into “The Usual Suspects” and “The Game” pretzel-twisting thriller camp.

As aforementioned, the pacing on this well told tale is simply relentless. Berg always keeps viewers eyes transfixed on the screen.

Grade: B+
(Review by Ricky Miller)



Bookmark and Share

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Aug 19 - Aug 25



Yes, school is finally back in session. Which means of course the lines will not be as crazy, but then the movies this week are not exactly for kids. If you are thinking of seeing Happytime Murders, please leave the kids at home. This will be not appropriate despite the appearance of puppets. So please, use common sense.



If you are going to the movie on Monday, please be aware that the theater has been changed from AMC Northpark to Cinemak 17. If you got a pass, they would have sent you an update.



Aug 19 - Aug 25



Mon - Aug 20



Ya Veremos - 7:30 pm - Cinemark 17



Wed - Aug 22



Kin - 7:00 pm - Angelika Dallas

HappyTime Murders - 7:30 pm - Angelika Dallas



Thur - Aug 23



Searching - 7:30 pm - Angelika Dallas










Bookmark and Share

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Mile 22





In their fourth collaboration, actor/producer Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, team up again to bring to the screen what they hope will be a franchise of hard action films. However, this first of the series doesn't bring much hope of this happening. The fighting scenes are pretty intense, the acting minimal from most of the players, the editing and pacing is jumbled, and Wahlberg's manic dialogue is distracting. Only
Iko Uwais as Li Noor keeps one glued to the screen.

The screenplay by Lea Carpenter, from a story by Carpenter and Graham Roland is a bit confusing, so to simply it, it's about a CIA special forces team called the Ground Branch who work off the grid guided by their operations leader called Mother (John Malkovich). Like a Mission Impossible team where the government can't officially acknowledge any of their activities, the Ground Branch wipes clean any nefarious plots. In this case, they must get an informant out of the country by moving him 22 miles from the United States Embassy to and awaiting plane within a window of time while terrorists thwart their movements. Li Noor (Iko Uwais) who claims to know the locations of stolen deadly explosives bargains his information for transport out of the country. He also attached some sort of electronic booby trap to their computers and he won't give the code til he's at the plane. So there is that.

The beginning of the movie shows how ruthless the team can be when they unearth a Russian operation in the middle of a suburb and they are forced to eliminate the occupants, including a 18 yaar old young man. Now they are in Southeast Asian looking for these contraband explosives. The exposition of the story is narrated by Silva (Mark Wahlberg) who is being debriefed after the the extraction. His character is rude, abrasive, everyone has nothing good to say about him, but he's supposed to be brilliant. He motor mouths his superiors and they put up with it because he can get the job done. Lauren Cohan plays Alice one of his team members who is fighting with her ex to see her daughter. Rhonda Rousey is Sam another kick-@ss member of the team. At least they don't have the women wearing tight outfits and high heels. They wear boots and are as competent and fearless as their male counterparts. The body counts are high and bloody making up much of the film with tense chase scenes. Iko Uwais who starred in The Raid is pretty amazing. If nothing else, he's worth going just to see him. If this is going to be a trilogy, hopefully it will include him.
(Review by reesa)





Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians






Director: Jon M. Chu Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

“Crazy Rich Asians” brought the increasable joy!

Based on the novel of the same name by author Kevin Kwan, “Crazy Rich Asians” may not topped over the same style as Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it is widely considered to be an exciting flick to see as a movie goer. Not only it’s film for American viewers, but it’s also for Asian people in general. It is the first Hollywood film to feature Asian Americans in leading roles since 1993’s “The Joy of Luck Club.”

This film centers the young woman named Rachel Chu (portrayed by Constance Wu) who is meeting her boyfriend (portrayed by Henry Golding) and his parents in Singapore. But when she finds out about their lives as the richest family in Singapore, she discovers her boyfriend’s family with the dark past and purpose to be revealed.

Actors Henry Golding (BBC's “The Travel Show”) and Constance Wu (“Fresh off the Boat”) are a loving couple and finding their place to satisfy themselves. Through the movie, they soon learned what’s more than just being rich: it’s about love and money never solves problems. Money is the enemy of love as it produces power and self-ambition, but with a dark purpose.

What’s more surprising is actress Michelle Yeoh stole the spotlight as a key witness and low-key villain to Wu’s character, similar to the performances of Michael Keaton from “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and Alec Baldwin from “The Cooler.”

The plot entirely seems like it is a mystery film when it comes to being rich or having lots of values based on family cultures. Even in the humble beginning of the film, the setting is alike from several casino films. The stereotypes are brought up surprisingly towards Asian men and women. Men are charming and attractive while women are open-minded and independent. Not only that, but also the plot and the main characters are as just as juicer as Pixar’s “A Bug’s Life.”

The direction and the scripting are good but not as perfect as Marvel’s “Black Panther.” Jon M. Chu’s direction is somewhat cliché while the script-writing isn’t well done at all like a flat iron steak being cooked properly. However, the film gets a gold star on two things: music and the supporting cast. The music is very artful and crafty compared to Pixar’s “Incredibles 2.” Supporting actors Gemma Chan (2019 “Captain Marvel”), Lisa Lu, Nico Santos, Ken Jeong, Ronny Chieng and Jimmy O. Yang also done a terrific job on their roles. My favorite apart about this film is the scenes involving Jimmy O Yang and Constance Wu as they both provide comedy in the background.

In conclusion, “Crazy Rich Asians” is a good movie. This film is filled with awesome adventures and sneaky surprises. I did not particularly dislike this film, but it’s a recommendation for Asian Americans as well as people hailing from Asia. I found my eyes and senses quite shivering with suspense. But if you interested in this flick, be my guest. This is typically the most diverse film I ever watched, not counting Disney films.

GRADE: B+
(Review by Henry Pham)



Bookmark and Share

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Aug 12 - Aug 18


Love the rain, but I'm kinda over it right now. At least it's not as hot, just humid, sticky, nasty humid. And it stinks cause someone left a window open in the car.

Anyways, they are showing the same movies at two different theaters. So hopefully the theaters won't be annoyingly crowded.


Aug 12 - Aug 18

Mon - Aug 13

Crazy Rich Asians - 7:00 pm - Angelika
Crazy Rich Asians - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark

Tue - Aug 14

Alpha - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark

Wed - Aug 15

Mile 22 - 7:00 pm - Angelika
Mile 22 - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark










Bookmark and Share

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Meg





For all intents and purposes, Jon Turteltaub’s “The Meg” is just a fun ride. Action hero extraordinaire Jason Statham (“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” “The Transporter”) is Jonas Taylor, a deep sea rescue operative who encounters a megaladon, a once thought to be extinct creature living in the ocean blue. It is 75 feet long and has a plethora of teeth in its huge jaw line.

“The Meg” is very tongue-in-cheek, wherein the events that occur are not to be taken too seriously. Sure, some people you like die, but it is done with purpose to just advance the story.

Rainn Wilson is Morris, a wealthy industrialist whose operation is funding the giant laboratory in the middle of the ocean blue.

Aiding in this story is Bingbing Li’s Suyia, a single mother who also has her daughter Meiying (Shuya Sophia Cai) on board the floating vessel that serves as a way station for the entire crew. Also on board the station is Suyia’s father, Zhang (Winston Chao). He is there as a scientist who knows the ins and outs of all the specialized marine life. Also involved is Cliff Curtis’s Mao, an old friend of Jonas from back in the day when the pair used to work together. Also included is Ruby Rose’s Jaxx, a wizard with technology and apps, who can make things work with the push of a button.

Meiying has a couple of faces that amuse since she knows they are goofy and just hams it up.

“The Meg,” like 1975’s Steven Spielberg-directed “Jaws,” is a complete work of fiction. It is based on the novel courtesy of writer Steve Alten. He also did a couple of follow-ups to the original story of “The Meg”, including “The Trench,” “Primal Waters” and “Hell’s Aquarium.”
This movie, like the fun rides and adventures that encompassed Stephen Sommers’ ocean liner yarn “Deep Rising” just leave you smiling at how ridiculous and stupid the events that just occurred. The same can be said of director Renny Harlin’s “Deep Blue Sea” wherin a giant crew is reduced to just a few by movie’s end. In the end game of things, it is just an escape from the everyday world.

What I also like and admire about Turteltaub is that he shoots for the big screen. Earlier in his career, he made smaller films, ”Three Ninjas,’ (1992), “Cool Runnings” (1993) and “While You Were Sleeping” (1995) that were not made for big screen treatment. Later on, with “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (2010) and a pair of “National Treasure” (2004 and 2007) movies under his belt, he shifted to the widescreen treatment in which his movies are meant for a theatre experience. I actually met Turteltaub in Dallas for “Instinct,” a movie he directed with Anthony Hopkins and Cuba Gooding Jr. That one was also shot in the “scope” format as well.

I saw “The Meg” on the giant IMAX screen at the Northpark in Dallas. Despite the ludicrous shenanigans that occurred, it is still worth the theatre experience.

The perfect escape movie, “The Meg” does what it’s supposed to do and just entertain you for a couple of hours while trying to escape the real world outside.

Grade: B-
(Review by Ricky Miller)







Bookmark and Share

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Puzzle





Jigsaw puzzles can be relaxing and meditative, especially when there is no TV, radio or internet to absorb your attention. Then your cat jumps on the table deciding to sleep on it scattering stuff all over the floor which ends up under the furniture and several pieces go missing. This new film in a directorial debut by Marc Turtletaub was written by Oren Moverman and Polly Mann based on the 2010 Argentine film of the same name. It's hard to imagine a movie about a woman who does puzzles would be interesting, but the amazing and sensitive portrayal by Kelly Macdonald makes this film a keeper.

Agnes (Kelly Macdonald) is sort of a throwback to a 50's stay at home mom who wears a dress and heels while vacuuming her home, decorating party decorations for her own birthday party. Married to car mechanic Lou (David Denman) they have two sons, Ziggy (Bubba Weiler) and Gabe (Austin Abrams). Ziggy works in his dad garage which makes him very unhappy. Gabe is applying for college, but is not exactly enthused having to write some essays on why he wants to go to college. Agnes spends her days doing the daily chores of fixing beds, laundry, food shopping and cooking for her family. During her off time, she works with the church women groups that service the community. Life is predictable but somehow comforting and of course unsatisfying. For her birthday she received a phone, which she says she doesn't need. She has the house phone, the radio and if something important is happening someone will tell her. She also received a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle of a world map. It's when she impulsively decides to open it up on her dining room table she discovers the puzzle is something she has been missing in her life. She was also good at math, and the focus the puzzle gives her help to organize her mind. She manages to complete it in a couple of hours.

It's when she takes the train into the city to purchase another puzzle, that she sees an ad for someone looking for a puzzle partner. Someone to compete in a puzzle championship. Life suddenly becomes more adventurous. She lies to her family about where she is going a couple days a week by saying she is taking care of her aunt who broke her foot. Instead she is practicing with Robert (Irrfan Khan), a reclusive inventor whose wife just left him. This step for Agnes begins to open a whole world to her, one that is unexpected and confusing for her clueless but devoted husband, and delightful for her sons who always suspected she was unhappy.

It's hard to imagine there are still women stuck in that mindset of domestic subservience. It makes her journey to self-discovery more poignant and believable as it affects the people around her as she becomes a person. As her world gets bigger and her confidence builds, she starts to think for herself and not what others expect. It's told very simplistically, but it's Macdonald's sensitive performance that enlightens the transformation.
(Review by reesa)



Bookmark and Share

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Aug 5 - Aug 11



Guess that hot spell is making us appreciate the 90's..where's my sweater? It makes it nice they are having multiple screenings of things so it can work around your schedule. Dallas is full of new movie houses. It's hard to decide if it's worth it to stand in line, when it's playing that weekend at somewhere convenient to you. Of course it's not free, but standing in line isn't exactly free either. Your time is precious. It also seems like people are just putting down their folding chairs, holding spaces and taking off. Been there, done that a few years ago where it really got out of hand. Let's be considerate out there.

Aug 5 - Aug 11

Mon - Aug 6

Dog Days - 7:30 pm = AMC Firewheel, AMC Northpark, Studio Movie Grill NWY

Tue - Aug 7

The Meg - 7 pm - AMC Northpark

Wed - Aug 8

Alpha - 7:30 pm - Alamo Drafthouse Lake Highlands
The Meg 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark






Bookmark and Share

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Darkest Minds




Where to even begin with this movie? This is part one of a supposed series that might not even get off the ground if the movie-going public never gets to see it. This is part of the craze that wants people clamoring for something unique and original, but within certain set parameters of originality.

Take, for instance the new show on the Fox network “The Gifted,” which deals with mutants and their otherworldly abilities. It is a very interesting and feels like a pretzel-twisting show that has viewers returning to see what happens the next week.

The cast of “The Darkest Minds” contains some familiar faces. Amandla Stenberg of “Everything Everything” and “The Hunger Games” is Ruby, a character sent to the orange faction who has some amazing supernatural abilities, including the erasing of memories and the ability of persuasion. Also present is Mandy Moore’s Cate persona, who is a doctor at the place where Ruby was a prisoner who was forced to work a thankless job required for her sheer survival.

Moore is probably best known for her role in 2002’s “A Walk to Remember”, written by Nicholas Sparks, and “Tangled,” the animated Disney tale about Rapunzel and her magical hair.

One scene finds Ruby returning home but she only peers through the window. She never ever sets a foot in the house, but just walks away without any answers.

She becomes friends with her peers. Of course, there is a love interest in Harris dickinson’s Liam, an older gentleman who shares a certain kinship with Rudy. It is nice to see is her relationship with a Chinese girl named Zu (Mya Cech) and a fellow friend in Chubs (Skylan Brooks).
The director for this live action dystopian tale is Jennifer Yuh Nelson. She has been in the business for upwards of twenty-plus years. She even received an Oscar nomination for directing “Kung-Fu Panda 2,” as well as prime time Emmys for directing 1999’s animated “Spawn” TV series.
The trouble is that within this movie all adults are seen as some sort of liability or evil entity.

The pacing in “The Darkest Minds” is neither brisk nor fast, but just kind of putters along until it ends in pure mediocrity. The big reveal in the end feels like a cheat to the audience.

I’m sorry, but why do all dystopian tales end in such disdain and misery?

I wanted so much more out of this movie, but like the disappointment that was Chris Weitz’s 2007 “The Golden Compass,” I just left feeling very unfulfilled.

Grade: C+
(Review by Ricky Miller)


Bookmark and Share

Christopher Robin




This gem was a fun flick in the typical Disney vein.

Director Marc Foster, who dabbled in family friendly fare with 2004’s J.M. Barie “Peter Pan” tale “Finding Neverland” with Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore and Kate Winslet eases the audience in to what happens when “Christopher Robin” (Ewan McGregor) grows up and has to deal with some corrupt British nayer-do-wells at his current job as of late. His job title, easily put is that of an “Efficiency Expert.” His Robin character is forced to “trim the fat” at his current job by laying off 20 percent of his work force.

This movie was cool, since it even brings back the voice talents from the ensemble. This includes Jim Cummings as both Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, as well as Brad Garrett as Eyore (the original actor who provided the voice of Eyore, Bud Luckey passed away Feb. 18, 2016) , Nick Mohammed as Piglet, Peter Capaldi as rabbit, Sophie Okoendo as Kanga and Toby Joes as Owl.

As his wife, Hayley Atwell brings forth a certain charm and spunk as his wife, Evelyn Robbin. If she looks familiar, that because she’s part of the Marvel Universe with her recurring role as Agent Carter, who made her first appearance in “Captain America: The First Avenger. (2011).”
Also important is Brooke Carmichael as daughter Madeline Robin, who quickly takes to Winnie the Pooh’s troupe. She is one of the few actresses I have seen in recent memory who can actually work well with the inanimate objects that are supposed to be her friends.

This drama-fantasy actually works because it deals with plights and predicaments that occur when one gets old. At one point, Pooh even says “You still look the same, but with more creases.”

The animatronics work here completely captivates from the opening scene when all the characters are spending time at a picnic. They are gathered to say goodbye to Christopher Robin.

The antics that occur here improve vastly over the stand-alone “Winnie the Pooh” tale that landed with a thud in the summer of 2011. That particular tale had no spunk or verve, and I think I gave it an unimpressive C when I originally viewed it.

A family tale worth the full price of admission, Disney’s “Christopher Robbin” captivates from beginning until end.

Grade: B+
(Review by Ricky Miller)


Bookmark and Share

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Darkest Minds





Yes, it's another young adult fiction series turned into a movie when plucky teens fight against the world trying to put them down. It's not as visually violent as it's predecessors like The Maze, Divergent, or the Hunger Games. The concept is more interesting and the lead heroine is a young woman of color. The screenplay was written by Chad Hodge based on the 2012 book by Alexandra Bradken. There are six books in this series, so there is no doubt there will be more movies to come. Director of Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who did Kung Fu Panda 2 and 3 is at the helm giving the story over to the emotional development of the characters drawing the audience in and keeping them engaged.

The country has been affected by a pandemic called IAAN that kills most of the children under 20 years old. The remaining children start displaying "powers" of various degrees. They are all gathered up and put in special camps where they are tested, then categorized by a color that labels their capabilities. Greens are harmless, and they are the smart ones. There are blues and yellows above them. The reds and oranges are terminated immediately as they are the most dangerous. Young Ruby(Amandla Stenbergis) an orange, but she uses her powers to get the doctor to say she's a green. She spends the next 6 years hiding her condition until the government figures out how to use a sonic sound that affects the ones with the strongest powers. Ruby is helped to escape by Dr. Cate Conner (Mandy Moore) who works with a group called the League that wants to expose the horrific treatment of the children. At this point, Ruby is not trusting anyone. She escapes from their custody and encounters Liam (Harris Dickenson), Chubbs (Skylan Brooks) and Zu (Myla Cech) who reluctantly take her with them. They are also being chased by bounty hunter Lady Jane (Gwendoline Christie). The kids are in search of camp set up for super powered kids that have escaped the government.

The world is basically childless, with most adults moving to the cities for work. The countryside is empty of life except for a few farms. Malls and service stations have long been abandoned. The surviving children have been living in the government camps for years have have been psychologically affected (interesting comment on what is happening to migrant families). Those that escape are forever damaged and afraid to return to their families. The slip camp is run by Clancy Gray (Patrick Gibson) the president's son who was supposedly cured. Of course that's a ploy by the government to bring hope to families. There are some plot points that are fairly obvious and the story is opened ended so that you want to read other other books to find out what happens next before the next movie comes out. Overall, it's interesting though somewhat formula. It's just nice to see characters not walking around doing dumb stuff with performances that make you care about them. Worth the popcorn.
(Review by reesa)









Bookmark and Share

Christoper Robin




Director: Marc Forster Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

“Christopher Robin” grows up in this new “Winnie the Pooh” feature.

Not to be confused with 2017’s “Goodbye Christopher Robin,” Disney is known for producing solid live-action remakes that would bring magic to families who grew up watching animated features. This feature enhances your moment to see two main characters, Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh together as this film unfolds the mystery of childhood and adulthood. This film stars Ewan McGregor and Hayley Atwell while voice actors Brad Garrett, Toby Jones, Nick Mohammed, Peter Capaldi, Sophie Okonedo, Sara Sheen, and the returning voice artist Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger appear in this feature.

In this film, Christopher Robin has grown up and forgets everything that has happened with his times with Pooh and his friends. Pooh and the rest of the gang helps Christopher revived his childhood to bring his imagination back.

This plot is very good. I love how the characters interact with the CGI Winnie the Pooh characters. They both gave stunning surprises as an advantage of a remake. The main cast of McGregor, Atwell, and Cummings did a remarkable job on their roles. The music in the background is outstanding while the CGI is well done. However, the main problem is there is no theme song of Winnie the Pooh included for the background. Additionally, small parts of the script-writing and the settings are chemically unbalanced as the story supposed to flow onto the right direction. Forster’s direction was somewhat difficult to blame as he gives children a terrible meaning of imagination. In regards, he has done a good job of keeping the flow for storytelling. Nevertheless, the film almost reach its level of delightfulness. This is the second Disney remake to both Ewan McGregor and Hayley Atwell as they featured in 2017’s “Beauty and the Beast” and 2015’s “Cinderella” respectively. Also, extra points on the legendary composer Richard M. Sherman for his cameo.

Compared to 2011’s “Winnie the Pooh” feature, produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, the characters of Winnie the Pooh brought some good viewpoints of childhood and imagination, which are main dynamics of the storyline. I gave this animated film a grade of A+ on a scale of A to F. What is a good childhood is that I met the voice actor Jim Cummings in town as he gave lots of laughs to children when performed a voice of Winnie the Pooh.

As I aforementioned, “Christopher Robin” is an unforgettable family feature that will refresh your memories. On the outside, it’s a movie for grownups, but on the inside, it’s a movie for both grownups and children. I guarantee this film will bring your childhood and your imagination back to your senses. It will make you feel like a kid again and you always have your imagination to live on as you grow up. But if you don’t want to watch this, it’s better to watch the animated classics for your own amusement.

Remember the slogan of Toys “Я” Us, you can never grow up, play on! Running time: 108 minutes

GRADE: A-
(Review by Henry Pham)




Bookmark and Share