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

Friday, May 24, 2019

Photograph




While the world is filling the theaters of the big blockbusters of the season, the small foreign films slip through the cracks. Don't let this one pass by! Written, co-produced and directed by Ritesh Batra, Photograph had it's world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and the European premiere at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival that drew positive reviews. It's a sweet quiet romantic story set in several locations in Mumbai that gives western audiences a glimpse in a sociocultural lens.

The story begins with a struggling street photographer Rafi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who offers photos of people coming off the ferry to commemorate their journey at Mumbai's Gateway Monument. He takes a picture of a shy student, Miloni (Sanya Malhotra) who takes off without paying him. Rafi works day and night trying to pay off an old family debt that lost his grandmother's house. Everyone from his neighborhood seems to know his business telling him that his beloved grandmother (Farrukh Jaffar) is sick, refusing to take her medicine because she wants him to finally settle down and get married. Not wanting an arranged marriage, he impulsively sends her Miloni's picture hoping that it would keep her from bugging him. But she decides to come stay with him at the room he shares with several men. Rafi tries to track down Miloni when miraculously he finds her picture on a billboard advertising her school. He asks her to pose as his fiance and amazingly she agrees. Miloni's middle class family is also trying to arrange a marriage for her. She is studying to become an accountant because her parents expect her to be, but it's not her dream. She really wanted to be an actress.

The budding respect and attraction of the May-December relationship of these class diverse characters is slowly explored without the slap stick of modern U.S. cinema. Miloni questions their maid who sleeps on the floor of their kitchen pantry about village life. While Rafi tries to track down a cola that had gone out of business that Miloni said she used to drink with her grandfather. Perhaps taking the formula from an older gentleman who kept a small batch of cola going for his wife and opening up his own factory as urged by his grandmother. Because of their meeting, their world's open up a different way of how they see the world. The cinematography by Tim Gillis and Ben Kutchins brings the viewer into the beauty of the city of Mumbai just as Rafi and Miloni begin to see their environment from a different perspective. It's a movie that will stay with you after you leave the theater.
(Review by reesa)



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Sunday, May 12, 2019

Movies Scheduled for the Week of May 12 - May 18


Happy Mothers Day!!! Hope you did something nice for your mom's and mom substitutes.

The weather has been really nice lately. Hope it lasts a bit longer. Some good movies this week. Hope you got the passes you need. If you do ask for help, please remember to send your responses directly to the person who offered and not to the list.

May 12 - May 18

Mon - May 13

The Sun is Also a Star - 7:00 pm - Angelika

Tue - May 14

The Sun is Also a Star - 7:00 pm - Angelika
A Dog's Journey - 7:00 pm - Angelika
John Wick 3: Parabellum - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark

Thu - May 16

Untitled New Film - 7:00 pm - AMC Mesquite





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Friday, May 10, 2019

Pokemon Detective Pikachu








Just so readers know, despite the marketing push and publicity, this is not at all a kid's movie. “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” finds Justice Smith's (I enjoyed what he did in last year’s non-Transformer movie “Bumblebee.”)

In Detective Pikachu, his character returns home after a long absence from a place he left many years ago. The trouble with the movie is rests’ in the fact it does not know where to go.

There is a great scene in Penny Marshall’s “Big” when an adult Josh Baskin (Tom Hanks) comments on a giant skyscraper into a tall monster and states “I don’t get it.” That is exactly how I feel about the whole Pokémon craze that has been around for years. It means something great and grand for kids, but for me I could honestly care less.

Honestly, I know there are people in the world who relish this stuff, but in my life it is nothing more to me than sheer nonsense. What was cool was seeing Ken Watanabe in a role of substance and grit. He is a great character actor who easily encapsulates ant role he plays.

He plays a character who was Reynolds’s partner

Ryan Reynolds is a household name because of his time as Deadpool in a couple of X-Men related entries, including the disappointing “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” in 2009. He made up for it by headlining both “Deadpool” in 2016 and the equally fun “Deadpool 2” in 2018.

In “Deadpool 2,” Reynolds re-visits past mistakes and tries to erase both his appearances in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” as well as that fiasco that was Martin Campbell’s disjointed “Green Lantern.” I like him as both a personality and as an actor.

I even laughed with him in the sophomoric comedy “Just Friends” wherein even his clueless would be girlfriend in Ana Faris’s Samantha James is such a nit-wit that she does not even know how a microwave works. She does not realize that aluminum foil affects the way in which food is cooked.

For all the colors present in the movie, as both a moviegoer and paying patron I cannot recommend this movie at all.



Grade: C-
(Review by Ricky Miller)






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Poms





Poms is another gender-centric comedy only this time it involves older, mature, post menopausal women. The filmmakers pepper the story with predictable and embarrassing stunts, then somewhat embracing the physical quirks of aging while trying to relive their younger selves. Directed by Zara Hayes who wrote the script with Shane Atkinson, it sets the location in a plush retirement community in Georgia. Obviously the residents there are well heeled enough to afford the cookie cutter homes and all the amenities that one cannot get on Social Security alone.

Martha (Diane Keaton), a retired teacher, sells all her worldly goods from her apartment in NYC, and drives to Sun Springs, GA after canceling her doctor's appointments and chemo treatments for her ovarian cancer. When asked why she moved to Sun Springs, she dryly says she came to die. She is greeted by the welcoming committee lead by Vicki (Celia Weston) who spells out all the rules including that she is required to join one of the many clubs or create her own. She meets her new neighbor Sheryl (Jackie Weaver) who runs a loud poker party and then calls the security chief (Bruce McGill) on them. Despite that, they become quick friends. Sheryl encourages Martha to start a cheer leading squad to fulfill her past passion that she had to give up to care for her sick mom. The silly auditions include Pam Grier as Olive, Rhea Perlman as Alice, Phyllis Somerville as Helen, Carol Sutton as Ruby, Ginny MacColl as Evelyn, and Patricia French as Phyllis. At rehearsals they have to make a list of their ailments and limitations since age is a harsh mistress and the simple routines are difficult. Vicki, takes a dislike to Martha's team as she thinks they should do something more age appropriate, then bans them from using the community center to practice. Sheryl, who teaches part time at the high school manages to get them a performance space, but it's at the school's spirit rally. Helen ends up breaking her leg. Someone posts their ridiculous efforts on social media which becomes a viral hit. Vicki says they don't shine a good light on their community and dissolves their standing as an official club. Helen's son decides he and his wife are moving in with her so she can't get into any more trouble.

Martha and Sheryl confront Chloe (Alisha Boe) who filmed it, although it was her friend and fellow cheerleader who posted it. She feels horrible about it. The older women blackmail her into choreographing their routines. Ben (Charlie Tahan), Sheryl's grandson who is secretly living with her, because no one under 55 can live at Sun Springs, is recruited to mix music for them. Since they cannot perform at the talent show, they decide to enter a cheer competition in the 18 + category. The bonding of the women, young and old despite the increasing pain that Martha is enduring quietly is what keeps her from hiding away waiting to die.

It's really great to see women of age and color represented in films even if they are slightly stereotyped. The quality of the cast allows each one to shine in what little of written of their characters. Any male characters are kept secondary in either supporting their women or trying to keep them down. Female relationships in films are usually presented as bitchy, competitive teens, insecure young women with biological ticking clocks, while older women are left with nothing to do but support their children. It's nice to see them enjoying friendships and sharing the love and knowledge they have experienced over the years. Life is short, enjoy it while you can.
(Review by reesa)







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Thursday, May 9, 2019

8th Annual OAK CLIFF FILM FESTIVAL Announces 2019 Feature Programming




OCFF 2019
OAK CLIFF FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES
2019 FEATURE PROGRAMMING


The 8th annual edition of the festival returns to the historic Texas Theatre
and other venues in Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood June 6 - 9,
featuring the surreal suburban American Dream Parody GREENER GRASS as
Opening Night film; The Texas Premieres of Sailor Bear’s LIGHT FROM LIGHT,
A24’s THE FAREWELL and Danny Boyle’s YESTERDAY; the Dallas Premieres of THE MOUNTAIN starring Jeff Goldblum and STRANGE NEGOTIATIONS, the story of Pedro The Lion’s frontman Dave Bazan; a 35mm print of Ozu’s silent gangster film
DRAGNET GIRL with Live Score; plus much more!

Festival badges and tickets on sale now at OakCliffFilmFestival.com

DALLAS, TX - May 9, 2019 - Oak Cliff Film Festival is excited to announce the Feature Program lineup for the 8th annual edition of the festival, taking place June 6-9, 2019 at the historic Texas Theatre, Bishop Arts Theatre Center, Kessler Theater, and numerous other venues around Dallas’ vibrant Oak Cliff neighborhood. Featuring the very best of Oak Cliff’s historic theater venues, the festival also highlights the area’s popular restaurants, bars, and small businesses, and seeks to showcase and cultivate the best of independent and brave filmmaking in Texas and beyond. This year’s schedule is comprised of 28 feature-length films, with 13 of the films having their Texas premiere at this year’s festival. The festival also includes 36 short films, opening and closing night parties, filmmaking workshops, live music events with sets from E.B. The Younger (featuring Eric Pulido of Midlake) and Jacob Metcalf, and much more!

“We welcome movie goers and film fans to another Oak Cliff Film Festival! The diverse neighborhood of Oak Cliff is the perfect context for the varied programming the festival seeks to introduce to new audiences” said Barak Epstein and Jason Reimer, Oak Cliff Film Festival Co-Founders.

Kicking off proceedings with this year's opening night film are directors and stars Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe (Upright Citizens Brigade) in attendance for the DFW premiere of GREENER GRASS, an absurdist satire of suburban American life. The screening will be followed by a DJ Set by maximalist electronic composer Dan Deacon.

Additional festival highlights include: a 35mm screening of Ozu’s 1933 silent gangster pop drama DRAGNET GIRL with Live Score by deliberate ambient musicians Coupler;
THE MOUNTAIN starring Jeff Goldblum as a famous lobotomist on a tour of rural mental hospitals; STRANGE NEGOTIATIONS, the music doc which finds Pedro The Lion frontman David Bazan on a journey during which he has become a reluctant prophet of sorts to young Americans struggling to reconcile their faith; plus A24’s THE FAREWELL, Danny Boyle’s YESTERDAY, and the new Sailor Bear Production LIGHT FROM LIGHT.

For the 2019 festival, Oak Cliff Film Festival has once again partnered with with the Austin Film Society, Sailor Bear film collective, Tim Headington’s Ley Line Entertainment, and the Dallas Producers Association to provide up and coming North Texas filmmakers with grant funds specifically to make feature films and is proud to promote the North Texas Pioneer Film Grant of $35,000 as part of the 2019 AFS Grant. These funds are reserved for emerging filmmakers who reside in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with an emphasis on underrepresented perspectives.
See below for the Oak Cliff Film Festival 2019 Feature Program lineup. The full schedule, including the Shorts Programs, is available online.

OAK CLIFF FILM FESTIVAL 2019 FEATURE PROGRAM

OPENING NIGHT SELECTION

GREENER GRASS (USA, 96 mins)
Dir. Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe
DFW PREMIERE - Directors Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe in attendance.

Jill and Lisa live in their perfect homes in their idyllic suburban community with their happy families. Their days are spent in the grocery store exchanging fashion tips and at birthday parties complimenting their neighbors’ potluck dips. As the women desperately vie for validation, they struggle to maintain pleasantry and normalcy, even when things get weird. And they do get weird. When Jill gifts Lisa her newborn baby in an altruistic gesture, paranoia overwhelms Jill while her fears and anxieties quickly unravel.

SPOTLIGHT FEATURES

THE MOUNTAIN (USA, 106 mins)
Dir. Rick Alverson
TEXAS PREMIERE - Writer Dustin Guy Defa in attendance.

The year is 1953. Andy, a young, introverted teenager, works as a Zamboni driver at an ice rink where his father is a flamboyant skating instructor. Andy’s mother is institutionalized. When Andy meets Dr. Wallace Fiennes (Jeff Goldblum), a famous lobotomist now in the sad decline of his career, the shy young man joins the doctor on a tour of rural mental hospitals. As Fiennes desperately evangelizes for the lobotomy procedure to drum up business, Andy becomes infatuated with a patient and her father and immerses himself in the surreal, burgeoning New Age movement of the American West.

STRANGE NEGOTIATIONS (USA, 91 mins)
Dir. Brandon Vedder
DFW PREMIERE - Director Brandon Vedder in attendance.

After renouncing his long-held evangelical Christian beliefs and walking away from critically-acclaimed band Pedro the Lion, David Bazan retreated into a solitary life of touring solo, struggling to rebuild his worldview and career from the ground-up, and trying to support his family of four. Strange Negotiations finds David a decade into his journey, during which he has become a reluctant prophet of sorts to young Americans struggling to reconcile their faith, politics, and doubts amidst the 2016 elections.

THE FAREWELL (USA, 98 mins)
Dir. Lulu Wang
TEXAS PREMIERE

After learning their beloved matriarch has terminal lung cancer, a family opts not to tell her about the diagnosis, instead scheduling an impromptu wedding-reunion back in China. Headstrong and emotional writer Billi (Awkwafina) rebels against her parents’ directive to stay in New York and joins the family as they awkwardly attempt to rekindle old bonds, throw together a wedding that only grandma is actually looking forward to, and surreptitiously say their goodbyes.

CASSANDRO, THE EXOTICO! (France, 73 mins)
Dir. Marie Losier
TEXAS PREMIERE - Star Cassandro in attendance.

After 26 years of spinning dives and flying uppercuts in the ring, Cassandro, the star of the gender-bending cross-dressing Mexican wrestlers known as the Exoticos, is far from retiring. But with dozens of broken bones and metal pins in his body, he must now reinvent himself.

SATANIC PANIC (USA, 91 mins)
Dir. Chelsea Stardust
TEXAS PREMIERE - Director Chelsea Stardust in attendance.

In the new FANGORIA movie SATANIC PANIC: A pizza delivery girl at the end of her financial rope has to fight for her life - and her tips - when her last order of the night turns out to be for high society Satanists in need of a virgin sacrifice.

THE GRAND BIZARRE (USA, 61 mins)
Dir. Jodie Mack
TEXAS PREMIERE - 35mm Print

A postcard from an imploded society. Bringing mundane objects to life to interpret place through materials, THE GRAND BIZARRE transcribes an experience of pattern, labor, and alien[-]nation[s]. A pattern parade in pop music pairs figure and landscape to trip through the topologies of codification. Following components, systems, and samples in a collage of textiles, tourism, language, and music, the film investigates recurring motifs and how their metamorphoses function within a global economy.

YESTERDAY (UK, 112 mins)
Dir. Danny Boyle
TEXAS PREMIERE

Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is a struggling singer-songwriter in a tiny English seaside town whose dreams of fame are rapidly fading, despite the fierce devotion and support of his childhood best friend, Ellie (Lily James). Then, after a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed — and he finds himself with a very complicated problem, indeed. Performing songs by the greatest band in history to a world that has never heard them, and with a little help from his steel-hearted American agent, Debra (Kate McKinnon), Jack’s fame explodes. But as his star rises, he risks losing Ellie — the one person who always believed in him. With the door between his old life and his new closing, Jack will need to get back to where he once belonged and prove that all you need is love.

SWORD OF TRUST (USA, 88 mins)
Dir. Lynn Shelton
DFW PREMIERE
When Cynthia &
Mary (Jillian Bell & Michaela Watkins) show up to collect Cynthia’s inheritance from her deceased grandfather, the only item she’s received is an antique sword that was believed by her grandfather to be proof that the South won the Civil War. The two attempt to unload the object to a curmudgeonly pawnshop owner (Marc Maron) & his man-child sidekick Nathaniel (Jon Bass). When Mel and Nathaniel discover there’s a black market for the relic, the two pairs reluctantly join forces to sell this rarefied ‘prover item’ to the highest bidder. The adventure that ensues takes the four of them on a wild journey into the depths of conspiracy theory and and Southern disillusionment.

THE INFILTRATORS (USA, 95 mins)
Dir. Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra
DFW PREMIERE

This docu-thriller tells the true story of young immigrants who get arrested by Border Patrol, and put in a shadowy for-profit detention center – on purpose. Marco and Viri are members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, a group of radical Dreamers who are on a mission to stop deportations. And the best place to stop deportations, they believe, is in detention. However, when Marco and Viri try to pull off their heist – a kind of ‘prison break’ in reverse – things don’t go according to plan. By weaving together documentary footage of the real infiltrators with scripted re-enactments of the events inside the detention center, THE INFILTRATORS tells this incredible true story in a boundary-crossing new cinematic language.

JULES OF LIGHT AND DARK (USA, 90 mins)
Dir. Daniel Laabs
DFW PREMIERE - Director Daniel Laabs in attendance.

Maya has only recently emerged into full adulthood, but already there’s so much about her life that feels tentative, half-formed. Her relationship with her girlfriend Jules, though exciting, is more a source of mystery than security. Surrounded by free spirits, she longs to be tied down. Her state of hesitation comes to an outright halt after an accident leaves her battered and Jules nearly comatose. Help comes in the form of Freddy, a hard-drinking oilfield surveyor whose own will to change may be awakening for both of them.

TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG (Chile/Brazil/Netherlands/Argentina/Qatar, 110 mins)
Dir. Dominga Sotomayor Castillo
TEXAS PREMIERE

Summer 1990. The dawn of a new, post-dictatorship era in Chile. In the mountains, a commune of like-minded idealists is determined to live in harmony off the land. But the outside world encroaches. Sofia, on the verge of adulthood, longs to be independent, in love, and living in the city with her singer mother. This atmospheric drama evokes the tumultuous emotions of growing up and the ephemeral promise of childhood and utopia.

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION

KNIVES AND SKIN (USA, 111 mins)
Dir. Jennifer Reeder
TEXAS PREMIERE

An inexperienced local sheriff investigates a young girl’s disappearance in the rural Midwest. The ripple of fear and suspicion among the small-town residents destroys some relationships and strengthens others. This mystical teen noir presents coming of age as a life-long process and examines the profound impact of grief as the teenagers experience an accelerated loss of innocence while their parents are forced to confront adulthood failures.

A GREAT LAMP (USA, 77 mins)
Dir. Saad Qureshi
TEXAS PREMIERE - Director Saad Qureshi in attendance.

Max wheat pastes pictures of their dead grandma, Howie listens to fountain pennies and grants wishes, and Gene lives out of his car in exile from his family, when they each discover the prophetic coming of a fabled rocket launch in this heartfelt kaleidoscope of pain and friendship.

HAM ON RYE (USA, 85 mins)
Dir. Tyler Taormina
TEXAS PREMIERE - Director Tyler Taormina in attendance.

A bizarre rite of passage at the local deli determines the fate of a generation of teenagers, leading some to escape their suburban town and dooming others to remain.

LIGHT FROM LIGHT (USA, 82 mins)
Dir. Paul Harril
TEXAS PREMIERE - Producing Team and Director Paul Harril in attendance.

Shelia, a single mom and sometime paranormal investigator, is asked to investigate a possible “haunting” at a widower’s farmhouse in East Tennessee. After failing at investigating on her own, Shelia enlists Owen, her underachieving teenage son, and one of his classmates, a bright girl named Lucy. Together, Shelia, the widower, and the two teens attempt to understand the mystery.

DANIEL ISN’T REAL (USA, 96 mins)
Dir. Adam Egypt Mortimer
DFW PREMIERE - Director Adam Egypt Mortimer in attendance.

Traumatized 8-year old Luke invents an imaginary friend named Daniel who leads them both into a world of fantasy and imagination. After Daniel tricks Luke into doing something terrible, Luke is forced to lock him away. Twelve years later, Luke brings Daniel back -- and he now appears as a charming, manipulative young man with a terrifying secret agenda.

ONE MAN DIES A MILLION TIMES (USA, 97 mins)
Dir. Jessica Oreck
DFW PREMIERE

Caught in the grip of a war-torn Russian winter, the city is starving to death. Despite their hunger, Alyssa and Maksim heroically work to preserve the treasures of the world's most important seed bank - treasures that hold the key to the future of their country's food supply - even though its sustenance could mean their survival.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION

RECORDER: THE MARION STOKES PROJECT (USA, 87 mins)
Dir. Matt Wolf
TEXAS PREMIERE

Marion Stokes secretly recorded television 24 hours a day for 30 years from 1975 until her death in 2012. For Marion taping was a form of activism to seek the truth, and she believed that a comprehensive archive of the media would be invaluable for future generations. Her visionary and maddening project nearly tore her family apart, but now her 70,000 VHS tapes are being digitized and they’ll be searchable online.

BRAINIAC: TRANSMISSIONS AFTER ZERO (USA, 108 mins)
Dir. Eric Mahoney
DFW PREMIERE

This feature length documentary explores the seminal 90's rock band Brainiac from Dayton, OH and its creative force Tim Taylor. Just days before signing a major record contract, Taylor was killed in a bizarre auto accident leaving his family, friends and fans to pick up the pieces. The film celebrates the life and creativity of one of rock music's unsung heroes and how people cope with extreme and sudden loss and life changes.

LOVE, ANTOSHA (USA, 92 mins)
Dir. Garret Price
TEXAS PREMIERE - Director Garret Price in attendance.

From a prolific career in film and television, Anton Yelchin left an indelible legacy as an actor. Through his journals and other writings, his photography, the original music he wrote, and interviews with his family, friends, and colleagues, this film looks not just at Anton’s impressive career, but at a broader portrait of the man. Love, Antosha explores his successes and his struggles, and lets viewers get to know this extraordinary person the world was cheated from seeing grow old.

WE ARE THE RADICAL MONARCHS (USA, 97 mins)
Dir. Linda Goldstein Knowlton
DFW PREMIERE

A group of tween girls chant into megaphones, marching in the San Francisco Trans March. Fists clenched high, they wear brown berets and vests showcasing colorful badges like “Black Lives Matter” and “Radical Beauty.” Meet the Radical Monarchs, a group of young girls of color at the front lines of social justice. Set in Oakland, a city with a deep history of social justice movements, the film documents the journey of the group as they earn badges for completing units including being an LGBTQ ally, preserving the environment, and disability justice. Started by two fierce, queer women of color, we follow them as they face the challenge to grow the organization, both pre/post the 2016 election.

OTHER MUSIC (USA, 85 mins) - Special Record Shop Screening at Top Ten Records!
Dir. Puloma Basu and Rob Hatch-Miller
TEXAS PREMIERE - Directors Puloma Basu and Rob Hatch-Miller in attendance.

Other Music was not just a record store in the village. It was a place where a generation discovered groundbreaking artists who became larger than life icons in the music scene. It was a destination for music lovers, musicians, and industry representatives, where bands were formed and careers were launched. Other Music was and remains a symbol of independent music. It was a place that not only spotlighted those in independent music, but also served as a great influence on the music scene in New York City. The film chronicles the store’s 20-year history, featuring bands such as Animal Collective, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend, Interpol, TV On The Radio, and more. As retail stores continue to disappear, the film is an example of how the community and spirit of one much-loved independent record store lives on.

PAHOKEE (USA, 112 mins)
Dir. Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan
DFW PREMIERE - Directors Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan in attendance.

Four high-school students, Na’Kerria, Jocabed, Junior, and BJ, embark on their senior year in Pahokee, a small Florida town on the shores of Lake Okeechobee. The teens navigate all of the sometimes exciting, sometimes heartbreaking rite-of-passage rituals as they make profound decisions about their futures. As they do, the pressure of Pahokee's economic hardships weighs heavily on their shoulders—the community has placed all hopes for opportunity on them, the next generation.

REPERTORY

AMERICAN MOVIE (USA, 1999, 107 mins)
Dir. Chris Smith
35mm Print

The Oak Cliff Film Festival is proud to bring a 20th Anniversary Screening of this cult-favorite documentary. AMERICAN MOVIE is the story of filmmaker Mark Borchardt, his mission, and his dream. Spanning over two years of intense struggle with his film, his family, financial decline, and spiritual crisis, AMERICAN MOVIE is a portrayal of ambition, obsession, excess, and one man’s quest for the American Dream.

DRAGNET GIRL with Live Score Accompaniment (Japan, 1933, 100 mins)
Dir. Yasujirō Ozu
New Restoration - Live score accompaniment composed and performed by the Coupler Band.

The great Japanese filmmaker Yasujirō Ozu is best known for the stately, meditative domestic dramas he made after World War II. But during his first decade at Shochiku studios, where he dabbled in many genres, he put out a trio of precisely rendered, magnificently shot and edited silent crime films about the hopes, dreams and loves of small-time crooks. Heavily influenced in narrative and visual style by the American films Ozu adored, these movies are revelatory early examples of his cinematic genius.
This formally accomplished and psychologically complex gangster tale pivots on the growing attraction between Joji, a hardened career criminal, and Kazuko, the sweet-natured older sister of a newly initiated young hoodlum—a relationship that provokes the jealousy of Joji’s otherwise patient moll, Tokiko. With effortlessly cool performances and visual inventiveness, DRAGNET GIRL is a bravura work from Yasujirō Ozu.

Coupler is Deliberate Ambient Music from Nashville lead by Ryan Norris (Lambchop) which blends organic and electronic elements into enchanting, immersive sounds.

THE IRON GIANT (USA, 1999, 130 mins)
Dir. Brad Bird
*FREE Outdoor Screening

A young boy befriends a giant robot from outer space that a paranoid government agent wants to destroy in this BAFTA Children's award winning film written by Texas filmmaker Tim McCanlies. The Iron Giant is also the first feature directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) and features pre-Groot Vin Diesel voice acting! We dare you to keep your tears in with The Iron Giant spouts "I am not a gun.”

A TRIBUTE TO JONAS MEKAS AND CAROLEE SCHNEEMANN (65 mins)
A curated retrospect screening of works by these influential experimental filmmakers and promoters we lost this year.
WALDEN: REEL 1 (USA, 1969, 43 mins)

Dir. Jonas Mekas
16mm Print
Walden was Mekas' first diary film, and it was edited as a collection of images gathered between
the years 1964 and 1969.
FUSES (USA, 1967, 22 mins)
Dir. Carolee Schneeman
16mm Print
A silent film of collaged and painted sequences of lovemaking between Schneemann and her then
partner, composer James Tenney; observed by the cat, Kitch.


ATTEND

VIP Badges and tickets for individual screenings are available for purchase here. Tickets for individual screenings will also be available at the door for each venue at a later date.

For the latest festival developments and announcements, visit the Oak Cliff Film Festival website and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

OAK CLIFF FILM FESTIVAL Links
Facebook: Facebook.com/FilmOakCliff
Twitter: Twittter.com/FilmOakCliff
Instagram: Instagram.com/FilmOakCliff
Website: OakCliffFilmFestival.com

OAK CLIFF FILM FESTIVAL Media Inquiries:
Contact: Brad Johnson
E-Mail: brad@fonspr.com

About OAK CLIFF FILM FESTIVAL
The Oak Cliff Film Festival was established in 2012 as a regional film festival in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas, Texas. The festival has been received national acclaim from prominent sources including The New York Times, Filmmaker Magazine, and Moviemaker Magazine. The Oak Cliff Film Festival is the main program of the 501 3(c) Oak Cliff Film Society. The Oak Cliff Film Festival, headquartered at the legendary Texas Theatre, features the very best of Oak Cliff’s historic theater venues, highlights the popular restaurants and bars of the area, and seeks to showcase and cultivate the best of independent and brave filmmaking of all stripes from Texas and beyond. If you would like to get more information about the Oak Cliff Film Festival or its line-up, visit www.filmoakcliff.com or follow us – @filmoakcliff.








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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

This Week at Alamo Drafthouse DFW (5/6 - 5/12)





Calling all movie lovers… Here’s what’s happening this week at Alamo Drafthouse DFW!

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, but you can celebrate Mom all week with fun movies and events! Whether she’s a slasher fan or a rom-com-mama, Alamo Drafthouse DFW has you covered! From Psycho to Serial Mom to a special Dirty Dancing Mother’s Day Brunch (with a special themed menu!), Alamo Drafthouse has a film for every kind of movie-loving Mom out there!



This Week's Highlights…


Dirty Dancing Mother's Day Brunch
- This Sunday at Cedars, Denton, Lake Highlands and Las Colinas, celebrate that special woman in your life with the 80's movie classic and a special brunch menu that is themed to the film. Yoouuu’ve haaaad the time of your liiiiiife… and you owe at least some of that to your mom!

Pokemon Detective Pikachu Cereal Party
- Saturday mornings were made for this! Pokemon fans can enjoy their favorite characters on the big screen along with an all-you-can-eat cereal buffet! This Saturday at all 6 DFW locations. Pajamas encouraged!

Monster Mondays!
- Monsters are taking over at Alamo Drafthouse DFW locations tonight! Godzilla (1954) at Cedars and Lake Highlands, Destroy All Monsters at Denton, and Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah at Richardson.


MONDAY | MAY 06
Cedars
Screening: Godzilla (1954) at 7:15PM

Denton
Screening: Destroy All Monsters at 7:10PM

Lake Highlands
Screening: Godzilla (1954) at 8:10PM; Cream of the Cult: Serial Mom at 9:25PM

North Richland Hills
Screening: Video Vortex: Kickboxer From Hell at 8:30PM

Richardson
Screening: Sixteen Candles at 7:05PM; Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah at 9:00PM
Bar Event: Tiki Bingo - Glass Half Full at 7:00PM



TUESDAY | MAY 07
Cedars
Screening: Champaign Cinema: 9 To 5 Movie Party at 7:05PM

Denton
Screening: Video Vortex: Kickboxer From Hell at 8:30PM

Lake Highlands
Screening: Fist City: Hard Ticket to Hawaii at 9:00PM

Las Colinas
Screening: Road House at 9:15PM; Sixteen Candles at 7:00PM

Richardson
Screening: Bondthology: The World is Not Enough at 7:10PM; Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection [Dubbed] at 9:05PM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Glass Half Full at 8:00PM



WEDNESDAY | MAY 08
Cedars
Screening: Midnight Cowboy at 9:35PM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Vetted Well at 8:00PM

Denton
Screening: The Mummy at 9:00PM

Lake Highlands
Screening: The Mummy at 8:20PM

Las Colinas
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Vetted Well at 8:00PM

North Richland Hills
Screening: Road House at 8:20PM

Richardson
Screening: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection [Dubbed] at 9:00PM



SATURDAY | MAY 11
Cedars
Screening: Elton John Video Dance Party at 7:25PM; Pokemon Detective Pikachu Cereal Party at 10:15AM

Denton
Screening: Pokemon Detective Pikachu Cereal Party at 10:00AM; Rocky Horror Picture Show with Shadow Cast at 10:30PM

Lake Highlands
Screening: Pokemon Detective Pikachu Cereal Party at 10:00AM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink Brunch - Vetted Well at 2:00PM

Las Colinas
Screening: Pokemon Detective Pikachu Cereal Party at 10:00AM

North Richland Hills
Screening: Pokemon Detective Pikachu Cereal Party at 10:15AM

Richardson
Screening: Pokemon Detective Pikachu Cereal Party at 10:00AM



SUNDAY | MAY 12
Cedars
Screening: Dirty Dancing Mother's Day Brunch at 11:00AM

Denton
Screening: Dirty Dancing Mother's Day Brunch at 11:00AM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Vetted Well at 8:00PM

Lake Highlands
Screening: Dirty Dancing Mother's Day Brunch at 11:00AM

Las Colinas
Screening: Dirty Dancing Mother's Day Brunch at 11:00AM

Richardson
Screening: Psycho at 3:00PM

First Run Movies Now Playing…
2D Avengers: Endgame
Captain Marvel
Long Shot
Uglydolls
The Intruder
Shazam
The Curse of La Llorona
Breakthrough

Premiering This Week…
Pokemon Detective Pikachu

Stay connected…
www.drafthouse.com/dfw
www.facebook.com/alamodrafthousedfw
www.twitter.com/alamodfw
www.instagram.com/alamodfw
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | www.drafthouse.com




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Sunday, May 5, 2019

Movies Scheduled for the Week of May 5 - May 11



Hope everyone is enjoying the spring weather right now. By the end of the month it's gonna get HOT.

As usual, they always schedule films the same night so it's hard to decide which one to do. Please share if you know of any other screening that has not been listed.

May 5 - May 11

Tue - May 7

Tolkien - 6:30 pm - Cinemark 17
Detective Pikachu - 7:00 pm - Angelika

Wed - May 8

Poms - 7:00 pm - Angelika
The Hustle - 8:00 pm - Cinemark 17 and AMC Northpark






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Thursday, May 2, 2019

UglyDolls





Kelly Clarkson is everywhere lately. As a judge on The Voice, host of the Billboard awards, soon to have her own talk show, and now the lead character of an animated film, UglyDolls, which is based on a toyline of the same name. Directed by Kelly Asbury and written by Alison Peck from a story by, of all people, Robert Rodriguez. It's a brightly colored kids movie featuring original music from Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Blake Shelton, Janelle Monáe, Bebe Rexha, Pentatonix, Anitta, and Why Don't We. The film's score is composed by Christopher Lennertz while songs are written by Lennertz and Glenn Slater. The soundtracks lead single, Broken and Beautiful, sung by Kelly Clarkson was released prior to the film's opening.

Uglyville is a little community made up of doll rejects. They are lead by the unofficial Mayor Ox (Blake Shelton) who tries to discourage Moxie (Kelly Clarkson) from her hopes of "The Day" to find a child to love her. She is persistently in a good mood and encourages her friends to find a way out of Uglyville to discover the world outside by taking her fate into her own hands. There is her best friend Pitbull as Ugly Dog, Wanda Sykes as Wage, Wang Leehom as Lucky Bat, and Gabriel Iglesias as Babo. They get caught up in Moxie's enthusiasm and tenaciousness. They discover The Land of Perfection led by Lou (Joe Jonas) who puts the human looking dolls through the test of the Gauntlet before they are allowed to find their child in the real world. He is revolted by the UglyDolls because of their imperfections. They are befriended by another perfect doll named Mandy (Janelle Monae) who is not considered totally perfect because she wears glasses. Lou has Ox kidnapped and forces him to confess to the UglyDolls that their community was created because they were rejects. Ox hid this secret and tried to discourage the stories of the big world. The whole town becomes zapped of their hope and happiness until plucky Moxie decides to give it another chance thanks to Mandy who encourages her not to give up.

The obvious theme of the film is acceptance of our differences and to embrace our imperfections. Even Lou who everyone thought was the most perfect of the dolls has his own problems and insecurities. Of course he gets his karma payback when he loses the total adoration in the Land of Perfection including the mean girl dolls consisting of Tuesday (Bebe Rexha), Kitty (Charli XCX), and Lydia (Lizzo). At times it's seems like an overly long commercial to boost plushy sales on UglyDolls strung together by catchy tunes to support loving one's self and others. It's a big neon colored balloon of fluff and perfect for Netflix rainy day mindless breaks.
(Review by reesa)



ch
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The Intruder






(Review by Chase Lee)



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Red Joan






(Review by Chase Lee)


Opens at:

Village on the Parkway 9, Addison

Magnolia, Dallas

Stonebriar 24, Frisco

Angelika Film Center and Cafe, Plano



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UglyDolls








(Review by Chase Lee)




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The Intruder




In director Deon Taylor’s “The Intruder,” young married couple Annie (Meagan Good) and Scott Russell (Michael Ealy) decide it’s time to buy a house and start a family. Wanting to buy a house outside the city, the Russells go to look at the expansive home and estate of Charlie Peck (an overly manic Dennis Quaid). Charlie has lived in the massive house alone since his wife died (of cancer) two years prior and now plans to move across the country to live with his daughter in Florida. Annie, a country girl at heart, falls instantly in love with the house. Scott, a successful partner in an advertising agency, denies Charlie’s steep asking price, $3.5 million, but agrees to buy after a slight discount, $200,000, is offered. To paraphrase Charlie, “You wouldn’t be looking here if you couldn’t afford it.”

Unfortunately for Annie and Scott, Charlie has become quite attached to the house. Although Charlie has told them of his intentions to move, he doesn’t. He continually drops by to check on things or to lend a helping hand – mowing the yard, helping to hang Christmas lights. Annie, surprisingly still very naïve, isn’t so bothered by these things. She thinks that Charlie is just having a hard time letting go and insists that Scott be kinder to the man. Scott, on the other hand, is instantly put on edge – mostly due to their first encounter with him involving the shooting of a deer and Scott’s history with guns – warning his wife that she should stop being so nice to Charlie. She doesn’t listen and the situation starts spinning out of control.

Characters are all one cliché or another. Scott is the typical macho, protective husband, poorly portrayed by Michael Ealy who seems so artificial in the role. Dennis Quaid’s role, and his performance, isn’t any better. From the start, it’s apparent Charlie is deranged. There’s no hint that the man might be sane as the film inanely and predictably winds its way to its inevitable final encounter. And Annie is just so frustratingly naïve (you’d think that she’d pick up on what’s happening sooner). The preview audience vehemently reacted to one of her dumber decisions towards the movie’s conclusion. Despite her moronic character, Meagan Good’s performance fares the best among the main cast.

One of the nicest things I can say about this thriller is that the photography (at least for most of the movie) is nice. Frame compositions are well-composed. After Scott carries Annie across the threshold of their newly purchased home, cinematographer Daniel Pearl focuses on them through bar-like structures within the house – filming down on them from behind the upstairs railing, through the panels of the windows – visually showing that their new home is soon to become something more formidable than they anticipated. The third act falls apart visually. The final showdown between the Russell’s and Charlie is a jumbled mess. The camera shakes and bobs and action becomes near indecipherable, more than likely to show Charlie’s disturbed mental state.

The film’s conclusion goes on for far longer than it should. There comes a point where the movie could have satisfactorily shifted into an epilogue. Instead, screenwriter David Loughery continues the young couples’ ordeal, stretching out a movie that already over-stayed its welcome.

Sometimes these types of thrillers can be fun, offering viewers some B-level entertainment even if the movie isn’t very good. Not so with “The Intruder.” As far as horror movies and thrillers go, it’s pretty tame – not thrilling and not even remotely entertaining. Hopefully anyone interested in seeing it hasn’t already seen the trailer – highly unlikely if you frequently go to the theater – because, yet again, the advertisers have seen fit to distill the entire movie into a two-minute short.
(Review by Bret Oswald)





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DallasIFF2019 - Divine Love





In 2027, Brazil – according to the nameless child narrator of “Divine Love” – has become a deeply religious nation. Neon signs making proclamations of religious propaganda cut through the hazy darkness, illuminating stages where Christian music groups perform for massive audiences as part of the celebration of “Supreme Love” which has surpassed Carnaval’s importance to the people.

Against this backdrop, the story of Joana (Dira Paes) is told. Joana and her husband, Danilo (Julio Machado) wish to have a child, a prayer they’ve communicated to God multiple times without avail. As it turns out, Danilo’s sperm is no good, forcing the man to suspend himself upside down in front of a UV light intended to improve his fertility. Matters aren’t helped by the fact that every building in Brazil now seems to have a body scanner, which keeps track of whether or not the citizens are registered and, if they are female, whether or not they are pregnant and have registered the fetus, attached to each entry and exit door, a constant reminder to Joana of her current barren state.

Joana considers herself to be a devout citizen, frequently found attending a drive-thru church where she confesses her concerns to its pastor (Emílio de Mello). As devout as she claims to be, Joana is a meddlesome woman, taking advantage of her position within the government – she files divorce papers – to attempt to keep unhappy couples together. Often pushing those soon to be separated into joining a group that she’s a part of called Divine Love. Early in the movie, she receives a personal package in the mail, a gift (for which she’s reprimanded) from a previous couple she prevented from divorcing by enticing them to join Divine Love.

Taking an unexpected turn for a movie that continually pushes religion, director Gabriel Mascaro’s film features multiple scenes of explicit sexuality. Divine Love is a cult-like group. After an initial larger group meeting, where each member reads aloud from scripture, each couple pairs up with another couple for a private session where they trade spouses. In an unbroken shot with the voyeuristic camera positioned on the far side of an erotically lit neon-pink room, we observe as Joana and Danilo engage in an elongated sexual encounter with another couple, switching partners at the last possible second. The exact direction of “Divine Love” isn’t instantly realized, though after a while most will probably quickly guess the direction the story is heading.

“Divine Love” is a fanatically shot film accented by a synth-heavy score. Mascaro creates a dream-like atmosphere through the usage of foggy, neon-fused photography, seducing the audience with the camera. Paes does a good job of portraying Joana, effectively showing the woman’s confused piety. But, despite its well-made production, “Divine Love” feels lacking. There’s probably a deeper meaning to all of this but as someone unfamiliar with Brazil and its culture, that goes over my head.
(Review by Bret Oswald)





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Naples in Veils




The camera rests inside an apartment building staring up toward the roof. Slowly, it begins to spin around, the building’s elaborate stairs and floor landings are visible on the outskirts of the frame. After a while, it swoops to the staircase and starts creeping up the steps. On the landing, a door opens and a man runs out. He’s followed by a woman with a gun. She shoots him repeatedly, continuing to attempt to fire the weapon long after it’s run out of bullets. The woman looks behind her to see a young girl peering out of the apartment door. She ushers the girl inside and closes the door behind her.

Inside what turns out to be the same apartment, a group of people stand around watching a play. The camera begins to focus on the lecherous glances exchanged between two of the attendees, Adriana (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) and Andrea (Alessandro Borghi). Adriana looks exactly like the woman from the opening scene (Mezzogiorno plays both parts) but Andrea is not the man she shoots. Is this a movie that’s shown it’s ending first (or some point in its middle) and is now building back up to that moment or is this now taking place sometime long after the events of the opening scene?

Adriana and Andrea leave the gathering and go to Adriana’s apartment, where Andrea stays the night. As he leaves the next morning, they plan for a date later that evening. Adriana’s family and friends are surprised by her sudden romantic involvement when she meets with them later in the day. But, when Adriana shows up for their date, Andrea’s nowhere to be seen. The following day, Adriana, a medical examiner, starts to perform an autopsy. At first, the mutilated body isn’t recognizable. As one of Adriana’s co-workers begins cutting away the man’s clothes, a tattoo on the man’s hip is unveiled. One that Adriana recognizes from her previous night’s tryst (to put it nicely) with Andrea. Realizing that the body on the table before her is that of the man she’s fallen in love with, Adriana is forced to stop the autopsy. She finds herself drawn into the investigation of his mysterious death.

The acting in “Naples in Veils” is strong. Mezzogiorno and Borghi have good chemistry with each other, a spark that gives credibility to Adriana’s resulting devastation following a single night together. Mezzogiorno’s performance has an edge that makes Adriana’s despair, and – soon to be – paranoia (which I won’t get into), believable.

As Adriana’s drawn further into the investigation, deciding to withhold information from the police (both of whom she confusingly doesn’t trust despite having an established relationship with them through work), director Ferzan Ozpetek starts to blur the line between reality. Her aunt Adele (Anna Bonaiuto) describes a past lover who suddenly pops on screen to dance with her. As the camera moves away from them, it comes to focus on a pair of chairs on the side of the room while far off voices, assumedly from the past, are heard. Ozpetek inserts other odd fantasy elements into the film, even ending the movie with our ears hearing something our eyes know isn’t there.

Things do start coming together by the film’s conclusion, though a lot is left for the viewer to infer. This thriller can’t seem to make up it’s mind what it wants to be – an erotic thriller or something more esoteric. Scenes of graphic sex and mystery are combined with fantasy-like flourishes. A couple twists are even thrown in by the film’s end. But by then, you probably won’t care enough to be shocked. Nothing ever feels resolved, leaving the audience to speculate on what exactly happened.
(Review by Bret Oswald)


Available on DVD/VOD April 23


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Monday, April 29, 2019

This Week at Alamo Drafthouse North Texas (4/29 - 5/5)






Calling all movie lovers… Here’s what’s happening this week at Alamo Drafthouse North Texas!

In addition to The Avengers on-screen domination, Alamo Drafthouse North Texas has some great specialty programming for cinephiles across DFW to enjoy! Prepare for ROCKETMAN’s upcoming release with Alamo Drafthouse’s epic Elton John Video Dance Party, kicking off this week at Denton! And grab your best amigos and enjoy a special menu with tacos and cocktails, plus maracas and other props for everyone in the audience, at Alamo Drafthouse’s ¡Three Amigos! Quote-Along at North Richland Hills, Denton and Richardson!


This Week's Highlights…

WELCOME…Alamo Drafthouse North Richland Hills!
- This week we continue to celebrate the opening of Alamo's newest DFW location - North Richland Hills. Enjoy special discounts on food and non-alcoholic beverages through May 9!

Elton John Video Dance Party
- Calling all dancers, tiny and otherwise to this week's exclusive Elton John video dance party! No glasses are too big to watch this screening, as the Rocketman is celebrated with an exciting new biopic. To all the dancers, the entire theater is you platform!

¡Three Amigos! Quote Along
- This is the perfect quote along to attend with your amigos, with the legendary cast Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Chevy Chase. A special menu of tacos and cocktails pair brilliantly with a true Amigo salute!


MONDAY | APRIL 29

Richardson
Bar Event: Tiki Bingo - Glass Half Full at 7:00PM


TUESDAY | APRIL 30


Richardson
Bar Event: Tiki Bingo - Glass Half Full at 7:00PM


WEDNESDAY | MAY 01


Las Colinas
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Vetted Well at 8:00PM


SATURDAY | MAY 04

Denton
Screening: Elton John Video Dance Party at 7:00PM

Lake Highland
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink Brunch - Vetted Well at 2:00PM


SUNDAY | MAY 05


Denton
Screening: ¡Three Amigos! Quote Along at 7:00PM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Vetted Well at 7:00PM

North Richland Hills
Screening: ¡Three Amigos! Quote Along at 4:00PM=

Richardson
Screening: ¡Three Amigos! Quote Along at 4:00PM; Code Geass:Lelouch of the Resurrection [Subtitled] at 1:00PM



First Run Movies Now Playing...

2D Avengers: Endgame
Captain Marvel
Shazam!
The Curse of La Llorona
Dumbo
Little
Breakthrough
Missing Link


Premiering This Week...

Long Shot
The Intruder
Uglydolls



























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Sunday, April 28, 2019

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Apr 28 - May 4


Hope everyone had a good week. Last week nothing was scheduled at first, then they popped up unexpected like.

Did y'all get a chance to catch some EarthXFilms? Plus the USA Film Festival was happening. Busy, busy. At least we have some movies this week and of course they are mostly on the same day.

I'm not sure about that Poms screening on Monday at the Angelika. Couldn't get it to work.

Apr 28 - May 4

Mon - Mar 29

Poms - 7:00 pm - Angelika
The Intruder - 7:30 pm - Alamo Lake Highlands

Tue - Mar 30

Long Shots - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark

Wed - May 1

Booksmart - 7:00 pm - UA Galaxy and UA Fossil Creek
Ugly Dolls - 7:00 pm - Angelika and AMC Northpark
Long Shot - 7:00 pm - Cinemark 17
El Chicano - 7:30 pm - Studio Movie Grill Northwest Hwy.





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Friday, April 26, 2019

Avengers: Endgame






Directors: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo Studio: Disney

Avengers: Endgame ends with a final bang!

At last, after 10 years of Marvel’s unforgettable adventures, Avengers: Endgame marks the closing chapter of the book. Endgame is Marvelous Wrap to conclude the MCU’s Phase Three (though, there is a speculation that Spider-Man: Far From Home serves as the last). The Russo brothers, the directors, provide a continuation that picks up where Infinity War left off. To avoid any troubles, I can’t give out any spoilers away as Marvel Studios and Disney forbid the fans, critics, and moviegoers to post or mention any spoilers to people, especially on social media as the moments will be ruin as this is a no-peeking challenge sort of thing.

Just to let the viewers know, the film is three hours long, so I highly recommend you make a trip to the bathroom before the film starts as well as not eating or drinking for the entire time while watching Endgame. It’s a warning (and a pro-tip) if you don’t want to miss the good stuff for you own amusement.

First off, it’s incredible to see Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Spider-Man and all the others popping up on one ginormous crossover where they teamed up with the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. Really puts all the hardworking effort and equal time frame on the characters for the film’s structure from going back to the start all the way to the end, but despite this film being the end of Phase Three, I’m looking forward to look ahead at Phase Four of the MCU with Spider-Man: Far From Home and other solo/new sequels coming up.

Five years after the events of Infinity War, the remaining superheroes and half of all life are the only ones left in the universe and tried desperately (at best) to move on with their lives. They, along with Stark and Nebula, must team up for one last fight, reverse the irreversible using the time-heist methods to travel back in time, and restore life on Earth.

The Russo brothers and the ensemble cast from MCU and the films before Endgame had made their return to the big screen for one final chapter of the Avengers. They both splatter the sense of humor into the multiple narratives, but the whole fabric really stands out steadily just as the tone and the CGI really sparkles through for both Infinity War and Endgame.

While I admired the performances from Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, and all the others, what I found very touching is family-and-friendly relationship that never dies down on a number of levels, starting from one of the heroes’ family to a repairing friendship between a trust-building Iron Man and idea-making Captain America (just like you saw on the movie trailer and TV spots). Interestingly, the supporting actors from MCU appear as handy-dandy helpers to guide through the protagonists over the course of the film.

I really enjoyed how the pop culture on time-traveling films, including Back to The Future, is being used for the characters’ dynamics (as well as adding comedy more likely) to the film. Really gives me a warm-fuzzy feel that a person is missing his/her wonderful childhood back in the day as well as simply going back to watch the older MCU films from before. I also believe that the music score from Alan Sivestri, the CGI, and the visual effects become a strong finish for the characters and villains to appear equally. It really adds up to the conclusion of how the superheroes assemble in one big happy family/team to defeat Thanos (portrayed by Josh Brolin). Not to mention the funny dialogue and humorous amounts of die-hard action sequences that tickles the audiences on the edge of their seats.

Out of everything else I see, Avengers Endgame is great film with emotional plot twist. I will put this as one of the best Marvel films I ever watched. However, I cannot say anything more when it involves watching a superhero film with exciting things that will blow your mind. You’ll have to see it for yourself if you want to find out more. Since this is an anticipating film, I will guess that Endgame has a higher chance of being the king of the box office worldwide [-ly], but we’ll see how Endgame turn out to be. With that being said, Endgame manages to tie the entire MCU up with a beautiful, emotional, hopeful conclusion.

For one last tribute, this is Stan Lee's final cameo in a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie

GRADE: A

(Review by Henry Pham)




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Stockholm








(Review by Chase Lee)





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Avengers: Endgame





This one is it.

For all those who have delved into the cinematic universe of everything Marvel related, this is the appropriate conclusion to everything Marvel infused since director Jon Favreau’s “Iron Man” in 2008.

I can’t really touch into anything too specific, since there are people in the world who will hunt me down and take me out if I give away any of the slightest tidbit or nugget. Safe to say, one will not be disappointed in the very least. That is why I was not surprised to see all of those who perished in “Infinity War” a couple of years back, since I knew they were not gone for good.

What is also cool was seeing Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel save both Tony Stark and Nebula from their time floating endlessly in space. That is how she is introduced and brought into the Marvel fold. Her part is slated for seven more appearances in her contract.

She is a powerful hero, one that knows how to fight and stand her ground in battle.

I did like this movie, but was more impressed by both the stand alone sagas involving “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” in 2014 “Captain America: Civil War” in 2016. Both of those titles were helmed by the Russo brothers, Anthony and Joe.

The duo knows how to facilitate action sequences that are appealing and intriguing. The camera contemplates the greatness of eye appealing eye candy.

When it comes down to it, the entire Marvel cinematic universe stands on its own two feet. Gone are the days of directors like David Lean (“Lawrence of Arabia,“ (1962) “Bridge on the River Kwai” (1952) or even an auteur like Stanley Kubrick (“2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)” and “A Clockwork Orange” (1971).

What is also cool to see is the last official scene of Stan Lee in a Marvel-related film. His part is just that of a passenger shouting with glee and excitement in a convertible.

The “Avengers” theme comes back into play with the Alan Silvestri score. Although not as dynamic as those of John Williams and his “Star Wars” score, they are very recognizable.

So readers know, “Avengers: Endgame” is not the end of the Marvel cinematic universe. It is actually the finale of phase three, of which there are numerous chapters.

The actual official end to phase three occurs with “Spider-Man: Far From Home” which his theatres in early June of this year. Further Marvel titles occur with the upcoming entries “Dark Phoenix” as well as “New Mutants,” which has been sitting on the shelf since the middle of last year. It has been finished, but both moviegoers and the studio are waiting for the appropriate time to release it.

“Avengers: Endgame” clocks in at three hours of length. Also, be warned there is no Easter egg for the end credits sequence. Nada, Zip zero. So readers know, the official time is three hours, one minute.


Grade: B+

(Review by Ricky Miller)





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Thursday, April 25, 2019

DallasIFF2019: International Falls







For a movie labeled as a comedy, “International Falls” is surprisingly unfunny. Although its two lead characters are comedians, the lackluster Tim (Rob Huebel) and wannabe Dee (Rachael Harris), their featured stand-up routines do little to elicit laughs from the audience. It’s best to think of the film as a drama, a character study more than anything. Adapted from a play, “International Falls,” directed by Amber McGinnis, follows the duo’s brief affair. Their relationship, originally a one-night stand in Thomas Ward’s stage version (Ward also wrote the movie’s script), is expanded into a weekend fling for the film.

Dee works in a small hotel in International Falls, Minnesota. Bored with her current work and life, she dreams of someday changing careers and becoming a stand-up comic, held back by her demands as a wife and mother. She surprisingly finds herself drawn to the grouchy comic Tim, checking into the hotel as their weekly featured guest. After preparing and eating dinner with her family, Dee returns to the hotel for Tim’s set. After his set, she pretends to be drunk and flirts her way into his room. Their initial, unsatisfactory, intimate encounter ends with Dee beginning to drive home before deciding to turn around and stay the night.

What begins as an awkward meeting ends up with the two forming a natural bond. Dee declares her desire to become a stand-up comedian, eagerly eating up any advice Tim is willing to give her, while further divulging her dissatisfaction with her current life between her dead-end job and faltering relationship with her husband, Gary (Matthew Glave). Meanwhile, Tim reveals his true feelings about his career choice, blaming the constant travel and his lack of talent making him miserable and ultimately destroying his marriage due to a previous affair while on the road, and informing Dee that his next show will be his last. As their affair continues, it becomes apparent that through different circumstances they have come to be in similar psychological situations, allowing their bond to grow on an emotional level over a physical one.

Harris and Huebel have a natural ease that causes their relationship to feel believable. Their unhappiness is apparent through their portrayal of their characters, with each seeming to find a similar hint of hope in their connection with the other person. While the performances are good, “International Falls” ends up feeling like just another indie movie. The cinematography features a loose, shaky look frequently found in low-budget films of this nature. And, for the most part, the script follows the expected story arc – an event toward the end will probably surprise most viewers.

Dee and Tim’s relationship may be believable but it isn’t enough to make this movie an entirely engaging or entertaining one. Tim’s few stand-up routines are, understandably, unfunny. They wind up coming across as filler, attempting to elongate an already short movie with material whose message could have just as easily been conveyed in a shorter scene. Although it’s not an altogether terrible movie, “International Falls” begins to feel about as unwanted as one of Tim’s stand-up routines.
(Review by Bret Oswald)




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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

DallasIFF2019 - Freaks




Seven-year-old Chloe (Lexy Kolker) lives alone with her father (a scruffy man known only as Dad, played by Emile Hirsch). The house they live in (a dilapidated, chaotic mess with newspapers taped over the windows) makes the father-daughter duo appear to be living in a post-apocalyptic scenario. Dad seems on edge and paranoid, reprimanding Chloe for wanting to go outside. He warns her of the bad people out there who want to kill them, reminds her to let him know if she ever cries tears of blood, and rehearses a backstory for her if she’s ever asked any questions.

The opening segment of “Freaks” is packed with things that don’t quite make sense. When Dad falls asleep the reality around him seems to alter, his body unleashing a wave that causes the room to appear suddenly brighter. Chloe sleeps in the house’s dark, creepy attic in which Dad has set-up a hidden, lockable closet, which Chloe is supposed to hide herself in if they are ever in danger. Chloe’s closet isn’t the safe, secure place her dad intended. Inside, she often sees a screaming ghost (Amanda Crew), whose presence sends her fleeing from the closet while covering her ears and crying out for it to go away. Though this ghost isn’t the only thing to appear to her in there.

Outside the house is a pleasant looking street, suggesting that a bright, cheery world lurks just out of Chloe’s reach. From a window, Chloe observes a mysterious ice cream truck driver, Mr. Snowcone (Bruce Dern), selling treats to children on the street. While no one else seems to pay attention to their house, he seems aware of Chloe’s gaze. Even taking into account Mr. Snowcone, this view of the outside world doesn’t mesh with the world Dad is painting for his daughter. Why doesn’t he want her to go outside? “Freaks” slowly fleshes out its story as its naïve star begins to discover the truth of the world around her.

Kolker, making her acting debut, plays her part well. Her portrayal of Chloe is convincing, showing the young girl’s growth away from innocence throughout the movie. Though her performance does become grating at times. Writing / directing duo Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein manage to do a lot with a limited budget. They create a mostly realistic, believable world for their characters. Lipovsky and Stein take the time to ground their film’s reality before fully revealing its supernatural aspects, allowing the film’s final act to feel like a natural extension of what’s come before.

“Freaks” is the sort of film that works better the less first-time viewers know about it. In a way, the movie feels similar to Jeff Nichols recent sci-fi mystery “Midnight Special.” Except, “Freaks” isn’t as frustratingly dense or infuriatingly opaque as Nichols’s movie. Lipovsky and Stein keep the audience in the dark as much as they can without pushing them away, walking the fine line between captivation and lost interest.
(Review by Bret Oswald)




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Saturday, April 20, 2019

DallasIFF2019 - Shoot the Moon Right Between the Eyes





Elderly con-artists Jerry (David Kendrick) and Carl (Sonny Carl Davis) have worked their way across Texas, tricking multiple women out of their money. The two have begun working on their supposed final job when Jerry falls in love with the target, the waitress Maureen (Morgana Shaw). Unknown to the two, their previous target’s ex-boyfriend, Les (Frank Mosley), is a private investigator, hired to track down Jerry (who apparently does the wooing while Carl - whose existence is unknown to Les and his ex – sits on the sidelines) and her stolen money. The alcoholic Les slowly closes in on the two men as they work on the unsuspecting Maureen.

“Shoot the Moon Right Between the Eyes” is an odd piece of cinema – a low budget country / folk musical western based on a short story by James Joyce (“Two Gallants”), featuring the music of John Prine, and starring mostly older actors. While first time writer / director Graham Carter has an intriguing concept for his feature debut, it’s one that never works.

The cinematography, shot in the now almost entirely unused Academy ratio (think television screens before everything went to widescreen HDTV), looks cheap – a forgivable distraction given the film’s extremely low budget. Carter opens the film by listing four directors. Only one name – Edgar G. Ulmer – stuck in my brain due to being somewhat familiar with a few of his movies. Ulmer’s mention is suitable since he spent his career making mostly low budget affairs.

Carter builds his cast with actors who have long resumes but aren’t instantly recognizable faces, bit time players getting a chance at bigger roles in a smaller production. Unfortunately, Carter isn’t able to get good performances from his cast. Davis and Kendrick’s performances often come across as forced, with Davis becoming particularly goofy in some of his scenes. Frank Mosley doesn’t even win you over with his portrayal of the bumbling P.I., who fortuitously manages to stumble his way across the con-artists trail.

Shaw and Kendrick romantic relationship, arguably the central focus of the movie, doesn’t have any spark. Earlier in the movie, before Jerry starts courting her, Maureen catches Jerry and Carl spying on her, the inept pair barely hiding behind a truck parked outside her house. She already suspected these guys were up to no good, why does she still agree for a date? It’s a relationship you know won’t end well and, in all honesty, don’t in the least bit care about.

This all leads to the film’s cringe-worthy musical numbers. None of the cast members can carry a tune, yowling their way through the arrangements of Prine’s music. While most of the numbers feature the performers just standing there, one lamely makes a failed attempt at more interesting choreography.

As bad as the musical sequences are, a couple scenes do show some promise for Carter. In these scenes, Carter opts to film the actor or actress standing in a darkened space, lit so that their face and front side are easily visible but leaving the background dark while also stylishly lighting them from behind, creating a sparkling outline against the inky blackness. These are brief moments of appeal in a feature that slogs through its run time.

Besides the aforementioned positives, nothing in “Shoot the Moon Right Between the Eyes” cohesively comes together. Running only a scant 75 minutes (according to the festival schedule), it’s a movie that is more of a punishing chore to sit through than anything.
(Review by Bret Oswald)




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