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, February 21, 2019

How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World







Director: Dean DeBlois Studio: Universal Pictures/DreamWorks Animation

Review: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World



How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World comes to a warm, cozy conclusion for both Hiccup and Toothless. The third and final film is a bucket of adventure, emotion, and a bit of a romance along the way. DreamWorks Animation delivers a second sequel that takes you on the last dragon ride to where a nice quiet place comes and goes for their journey to meet its end. The things that we see that are good, must come to an end.

DreamWorks Animation have suffered the downfall throughout the years but The Hidden World really bounced the studio back after years of box-office downfalls on the films and the acquisition from Universal Studios. Dean DeBlois return to the director’s chair to helm this final sequel of the How to Train Your Dragon series.

In this sequel, picking up just about a year How to Train your Dragon 2 left off, Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and his dragon, Toothless, searching for the safest place for his dragon all the other dragons from his fellow dragon riders. Though during their plans to do so, Toothless encountered a female light-fury dragon.

The film brings the return of the actors Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, America Ferrera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Craig Ferguson, Kristen Wiig, and Gerard Butler to record their final moments for their final film respectively onscreen while newcomers F. Murray Abraham and Justin Rupple step in for their roles of the villainess Grimmel the Grisly and Tuffnut Thorston (with the latter replacing T.J. Miller).

Director Dean DeBlois has built some strong relationships between Hiccup and Toothless. They are meaningful, brave, and encouraging to keep their home, the dragon riders, and the dragons from being destroyed from antagonists from all three films. Their chemistry never dies down when it comes to forming a friendship and fighting for peace and freedom. Though animal/dragon freedom plays the signature dynamic for the film. The freedom of the dragon(s) proves to be the most difficult challenge ever of the film and to the human characters.

Producers Bonnie Arnold (Toy Story, Tarzan, How to Train Your Dragon) and Brad Lewis (Ratatouille, Cars 2, Storks) really fit the bill on assisting the director and the cast and crew for making this possible for The Hidden World. Also, what’s more nicer is the music produced by composer John Powell who return to create a nice, emotional music piece that makes the beginning and the ending more fitting.

However, I dislike the personality traits of the villain Grimmel the Grisly as the director made the character more boring, darker, but weaker as well as the battle between Hiccup and Grimmel that makes the battle somewhat confusing. Having a weak villain doesn’t seem to be entertaining when it comes to making any battle scenes more dramatic and cunning. I somewhat did not enjoy small bits of the first half of the film.

Not only DeBlois, but DreamWorks Animation co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg announced the idea of The Hidden World while using his leadership talents to supervise the studio. His leadership led the studio to create such beloved movie-to-be-franchises Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon. Before co-founding DreamWorks Animation, Katzenberg has previously worked at Disney Animation Studios where he was involved in four of Disney’s biggest hits The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King as the studio’s chairman and supervisor until 1994 when he stepped down the position.

To conclude this review, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a great film to watch. The fans of How to Train Your Dragon will find the ending perfectly to conclude the franchise. To those who haven’t seen the first two films, you will be mystified of seeing this so don’t jump to conclusions when you’re ready to watch The Hidden World. To me, it’s great movie, but doesn’t add up the expectations from the film like the first two films. It is anticipating film but with small downfalls in the way. I love it but I am waiting and rooting for Pixar’s Toy Story 4 and Avengers: Endgame. Running time: 104 minutes



GRADE: B+

(Review by Henry Pham)



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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Feb 17 - Feb 23


Y'all know that next Sunday is our movie lover's Super Bowl with the host-less Academy Awards Show Wisely they decided not to award some categories during the commercials. They should fire the guy who came up with that idea, really. So if you are having a Oscar watch party come by our Facebook page and share your reactions. Who do you think will win?

Not too many choices this week. Plus there's the Monday holiday for some folks. The optional President's Day. This is a good chance this week to check out the movie events at the Alamo Drafthouse's in our DFW area.

Incident of the Week That Was Uncomfortable For All Involved: At at recent screening at the Angelika, a woman plopped her chair at the beginning of the line in because she said no one was there. The people who had that space were in the theater sitting in the soft seats on the side. So it's not like they planted their chairs and took off. There were in the theater. Her excuse was that no one was there even though the line was full out side of the spaces in the front where the people were sitting off to the side. Even after speaking with her, she insisted that she had every right to sit there. Apparently she does this a lot. So please keep an eye out, be polite, but forceful that cutting in line is not how it works. You come in and go to the end of the line.


Feb 17 - Feb 23

Tues - Feb 19

How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark
Fighting With My Family - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark

Wed - Feb 20

How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World - 7:00 pm - Cinemark 17





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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Alita Battle Angel







(Review by Chase Lee)





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Happy Death Day 2U







(Review by Chase Lee)




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Alita Battle Angel






Gunnm (銃夢 Ganmu, literally "gun dream") is the Japanese cyberpunk manga series created by Yukito Kishiro in 1990. Producer James Cameron has been trying to develop this project for almost 20 years getting sidetracked by Avatar and other things. Good thing they waited for the advancements in the motion capture technology. With producer Jon Landau on board, Robert Rodriquez as director with the screenplay by James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis the shooting began in October of 2017. The story would focus on the first four books with the Motorball sports from the third and fourth books.

The floating city of Zalem/Tiphares rains down it's metal trash to the earth below where the ground dwellers of the apocalyptic world have lived off their scrap. Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) finds a part of a cyborg female and rebuilds her using the mechanical body he created for his murdered daughter. Alita (Rosa Salazar) wakes up with no memory of her past life. We see the world of wonder from her perspective as she discovers oranges and chocolate. She befriends a human young man Hugo (Keean Johnson) who introduces her to the sport of Motorball which is part roller derby, Quidditch, and stock car racing, Alita is quite quick to learn and the danger in the game triggers a memory. Ido as her surrogate father doesn't want her to put herself in danger. Alita is headstrong and fearless. She decides to become a registered bounty hunter when she discovers that Ido is one too. She finds out that she is skilled in the ancient martial arts of Panzer Kunst that had disappeared when the wars destroyed the world.

Ido's ex-girlfriend Dr. Chiren (Jennifer Connelly) had escaped from Zalem but broke up when their daughter died. She now lives with Vector (Mahershala Ali) who rigs the Motorball games while Chiren works on enhancing the heavily modified cybernetics of their players. That includes stealing tech from other cyborgs with the help of Hugo and his gang. Vector gets his orders from the powerful scientist Nova from Zalem who has the ability to take over someone's body and talk through them. As Alita comes closer to the truth of who she is, Nova seeks to stop her by any means.

The live action motion capture is amazing. It's worth paying the extra to see it in IMAX and/or Dolby for the whole experience. The world that Cameron, Landau and Rodriquez have created is flawless and fascinating. Rosa Salazar gives enough heart to Alita that one is drawn totally into her dilemma. The story does get muddled in spots and the various characters are hard to keep track of with all their mechanical parts. The CGI is not so overwhelming to make you dizzy. The film sets up some sequel possibilities that will hopefully fill in the character development and explore the political world of the rich hovering city and the earth scavengers.
(Review by reesa)



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Happy Death Day 2U








“Happy Death Day,” a pleasant surprise when it was released in 2017, twisted the slasher formula by combining it with science-fiction and sprinkling in a dash of humor. Following its success, a sequel was inevitable (director Christopher Landon says a trilogy is planned though you can see them keeping this up for multiple sequels if they remain profitable). “Happy Death Day 2U” fleshes out the world more than we saw in the original movie, finally revealing the how and why Tree, short for Theresa, got stuck in the time loop.

The sequel opens with Ryan (Phi Vu) waking up in his car and returning to his dorm room to find Tree (Jessica Rothe) and Carter (Israel Broussard) in bed. After quickly leaving the room, he’s called by one of his lab partner’s Samar (Suraj Sharma), who tells him to come to the lab. The group – Ryan, Samar, and Dre (Sarah Yarkin) – have been working on a device as part of their thesis project. They aren’t quite sure what the device does, but I’m sure you can guess. Soon, the dean (Steve Zissis) is barging into the room with some security guards confiscating the machine. As Ryan sits upset over the loss of his project, he begins receiving text messages that include pictures of himself. Using the pictures as a guide, he winds up in a lab where he is promptly murdered by the baby-face wearing masked killer and then awakens again in his car to repeat the day.

Writer / director Christopher Landon gives the impression that the film is going to start going in a different direction by focusing on a character who didn’t get much screen time in the previous movie. But what seems like a new approach is quickly dropped, leaving one to wonder why it was even brought up (though it could be addressed in the planned third movie). One thing leads to another, and the group find themselves face to face with Ryan’s killer, who then activates the machine, sending Tree back into her time loop. Once again stuck on her birthday, Tree goes on a rampage across campus. If you haven’t seen the original, don’t go see this one until you do (a quick recap is included but will spoil some of the fun of the original).

On the surface, everything seems the same as it did the last eleven times she lived through this day but as she rushes across campus to confront her murderous roommate Lori (Ruby Modine), Tree begins to notice differences. Lori isn’t where Tree is expecting her to be and she doesn’t know anything about the poisoned cupcake she previously gave Tree. Further confusing things, uppity sorority sister Danielle (Rachel Matthews) is nice to Ryan and is dating Carter, causing Tree to realize that she’s in an alternate reality. No longer sure of people’s personalities or their motivations, Tree finds herself having to find the new killer and a new way to break the cycle.

Jessica Rothe is again fantastic in the lead role. Her range is on full display as she captures the anger of someone realizing things have just taken a significant turn for the worse and, in the film’s more tender moments, as she relays her feelings for other characters including an emotional reunion with her mother – who isn’t dead in this reality. The rest of the cast is fine but Rothe outplays everyone else.

“Happy Death Day 2U” is well made from a production stand point, the photography looks great, the effects are believable, and the score works, yet, it isn’t able to match the energy and rhythm of the original movie. This time Landon decides to focus the movie more on the comedic and sci-fi elements. As previously mentioned, the included exposition attempting to explain the time loop causes scenes to grind to a halt and make the movie feel longer than it should.

Topping something as unique feeling as the original (even if the basic premise was taken from a 20-year-old comedy) was going to be a difficult job. While “Happy Death Day 2U” lacks the bite and wit of its predecessor, it’s still a fairly fun movie
(Review by Bret Oswald)





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Monday, February 11, 2019

Alamo Drafthouse North Texas Movie Events






If you haven't heard of the special programming and events at the Alamo Drafthouse's, then you are missing out. Not only do you get to see some of your favorite films on the big screen, you can join in for some interactive activities that will enhance your appreciation to the film.
Dallas Movie Screenings had a chance to enjoy The Princess Bride with inflatable swords, bells, and bubbles. Moulin Rouge included light sticks, rubber frogs, flashing diamonds, and maracas. Audience participation is a blast! Before each film they offered games and contests to win movie passes like sword fights or doing the can-can.

Go see it tonight!
https://drafthouse.com/dfw/show/alamo-encore-moulin-rouge-movie-party

This Week's Highlights...

- Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party
Enjoy this musical classic with interactive props and loads of audience participation. Experience Moulin Rouge! like never before, at all 5 Alamo Drafthouse DFW locations through Valentine’s Day!

- Galentine’s Day: Bridesmaids
Grab your gal pals for these special screenings on Feb. 13!

- Moonstruck Valentine's Feast at Alamo Drafthouse Lake Highlands
Our chef is whipping up a special 3-course Valentine’s Day dinner for one of the best romantic comedies of all time. A celebration of love, passion, and life, Moonstruck starring Cher and Nicholas Cage is a must see for this week's holiday.

- Alamo Drafthouse’s Valentine’s Day Hub
Movie screenings, gift cards, Mondo gift ideas, and more!

- 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts: Live Action and 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts: Live Action
​The entire collection of Oscar nominated shorts screening at the Denton location! Catch up before the actual ceremony on February 24.



MONDAY | FEBRUARY 11

Cedars:
Screening: Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 7:00PM

Denton:
Screening: 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts: Animated at 5:15PM;
2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts: Live Action at 2:20PM and 7:35PM;
Deconstruction The Beatles: Birth of The Beatles at 6:00PM;
The Arc of Texas Presents: Intelligent Lives at 7:00PM;
Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 7:15PM

Lake Highlands:
Screening: Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 7:00PM;
Deconstruction The Beatles: Birth of The Beatles at 9:05PM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Vetted Well at 8:00PM

Las Colinas:
Screening: Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 7:00PM;
Deconstruction The Beatles: Birth of The Beatles at 9:15PM

Richardson:
Screening: Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 9:00PM;
AGFA Secret Screening at 7:00PM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Glass Half Full at 8:00PM



TUESDAY | FEBRUARY 12

Cedars:
Screening: Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 7:00PM

Denton:
Screening: 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts: Animated at 10:50PM;
2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts: Live Action at 7:55PM;
Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 7:00PM;
Video Vortex: Blood Tracks at 9:10PM

Lake Highlands:
Screening: Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 7:00PM;
Fist City: Police Story at 9:05PM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Vetted Well at 8:00PM

Las Colinas:
Screening: Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 7:00PM;
Champaign Cinema: You've Got Mail at 9:00PM

Richardson:
Screening: Air Time: Big Fish at 7:00PM;
Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 7:30PM
Bar Event: Tiki Bingo - Glass Half Full at 7:00PM



WEDNESDAY | FEBRUARY 13

Cedars:
Screening: Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 7:00PM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Vetted Well at 8:00PM

Denton:
Screening: Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 7:00PM
Bridesmaids at 9:00PM

Lake Highlands:
Screening: Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 7:00PM;
Bridesmaids at 9:05PM

Las Colinas:
Screening: Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 7:00PM;
Bridesmaids at 9:00PM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Vetted Well at 8:00PM

Richardson:
Screening: Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 7:00PM;
Bridesmaids at 9:00PM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Glass Half Full at 8:00PM



THURSDAY | FEBRUARY 14

Cedars:
Screening: Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 7:00PM

Denton:
Screening: Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 7:00PM

Lake Highlands:
Screening: Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 7:00PM;
Moonstruck Valentine's Feast at 7:30PM

Las Colinas:
Screening: Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 7:00PM

Richardson:
Screening: Alamo Encore: Moulin Rouge! Movie Party at 7:00PM;
My Bloody Valentine (1981) at 9:00PM



FRIDAY | FEBRUARY 15

Denton:
Screening: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Movie Party at 9:00PM



SATURDAY | FEBRUARY 16

Cedars:
Screening: We Heart Hepburn: Roman Holiday (1953) at 1:00PM

Lake Highlands:
Screening: Old Fashioned: Sabrina (1954) at 1:00PM;
PBS KIDS at the Alamo: Valentine's Mix at 10:00AM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Vetted Well at 2:00PM

Las Colinas:
Screening: Moonstruck Valentine's Feast at 1:00PM

Richardson:
Screening: Moonstruck Valentine's Feast at 1:00PM



SUNDAY | FEBRUARY

Denton:
Screening: We Heart Hepburn: Funny Face (1957) at 1:00PM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink Brunch - Vetted Well at 7:00PM

Lake Highlands:
Screening: Dallas Children's Theater Presents: Ella Enchanted at 4:00PM;
PBS KIDS at the Alamo Valentine's Mix at 10:00AM

Las Colinas:
Screening: We Heart Hepburn: Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) at 1:00PM

Richardson:
Screening: We Heart Hepburn: Funny Face (1957) at 1:00PM


First Run Movies Now Playing...
The Lego Movie Movie 2: The Second Part
What Men Want
Cold Pursuit
The Prodigy
They Shall Not Grow Old
Miss Bala
2D Alita: Battle Angel
The Kid Who Would Be King
Green Book
Glass
The Upside
Mary Poppins Returns

​Releasing This Week...
Happy Death Day 2U
Isn't It Romantic

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, February 10, 2019

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Feb 10 - Feb 16



Are y'all watching The Grammy's. Nothing makes one feel old when you don't recognized most of these new artists and you get bored with their tunes. All the suggestive dancers, fire and smoke...What ever happened to just singing a song? Anyway, just showing my age I guess. Pass the ben-gay.

At least the weather will be nicer for this week of movies.

Feb 10 - Feb 16

Mon - Feb 11

AGFA Secret Screening - 7:30 pm - Alamo Richardson
Happy Death Day 2U - 7:30 pm - AMC Valley View
Happy Death Day 2U - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark
Isn't It Romantic - 7:30 pm - Cinemark 17

Tue - Feb 12

Isn't It Romantic - 7:30 pm - Angelika

Wed - Feb 13

Fighting With My Family - 7:30 pm - Angelika

Thu - Feb 14

Happy Valentine's Day!






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Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Prodigy







(Review by Chase Lee)





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High Flying Bird







(Review by Chase Lee)




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To Dust






(Review by Chase Lee)




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The Prodigy







In rural Ohio, a hand breaks out of a rotting wood door that is locked by a latch from the outside. The hand gropes around, opens the latch, and a woman, Margaret St. James (Brittany Allen), runs into the nearby woods. Meanwhile, another woman is seen driving down a heavily wooded road. The scene intercuts between these two women and serial killer Edward Scarka (Paul Fauteux), the man who has kidnapped Margaret and is unaware of her escape from his house. As expected, Margaret nearly gets herself run over by the woman driving the car. Meanwhile, in an idealized suburban home in Pennsylvania, a young couple, Sarah (Taylor Schilling) and John (Peter Mooney), find that Sarah is about to give birth. Now, the scene intercuts between a SWAT team raiding the killer’s house and Sarah having the baby. The man, realizing his victim has escaped and his time has come to an end, emerges, completely naked, from his house and is shot dead. Simultaneously, Sarah gives birth to Miles and, as this ping-ponging sequence of events draws to a close, a nurse wipes Miles clean of the remnants of blood left from his mother’s womb.

This scene doesn’t get “The Prodigy” off to a promising start. Writer Jeff Buhler essentially removes any elements of mystery from the film with everything revealed in this sequence of events. Knowing that somehow, someway this killer is connected with Sarah and John’s child, the revelation of strange behavior from Miles (the movie chronicles his growth through a montage focusing on a few odd or disturbing episodes that somehow go unnoticed by his parents) comes as no surprise. Fully expecting a movie with a twist ending, baring the movie’s intentions on its sleeve in the opening scene is refreshing.

As Miles continues to grow, Sarah eventually comes to suspect that he may be gifted. He learns to talk at an unusually early age – somewhere around 20 weeks – and doesn’t cry when receiving his vaccination shots, all of which the doctors assure her is completely normal. Following testing, her assessment of his genius is confirmed but the doctors inform her that Miles’s brain might not be well developed in other areas.

With Miles increasing age comes a more apparent violent aggression – a game of hide and seek with his babysitter, Zoe (Elisa Moolecherry), ends with her foot full of glass and, shortly after, Miles bludgeons a classmate with a wrench. The now eight-year old Miles (Jackson Robert Scott) claims not to remember anything about these episodes afterward, leaving his parents feeling lost. After hearing a recording of what Sarah thinks is Miles talking gibberish in his sleep, Miles’s psychologist, Dr. Elaine Strasser (Paula Boudreau), begins to think something more is going on and asks for help from Dr. Arthur Jacobson (Colm Feore). Dr. Jacobson, whose ideas about Miles’s predicament isn’t initially taken seriously by Sarah or John, proposes that Miles is being possessed by a reincarnated soul determined to finish some unresolved business.

While “The Prodigy” is a run-of-the-mill evil child horror film, its presentation helps to elevate the material. Director Nicholas McCarthy has a good eye and sense of timing for creating suspenseful moments. Take, for example, the game of hide and seek with the babysitter. It’s obvious that something is going to happen to Zoe as she moves down the stairs. Miles has previously been seen unscrewing a lightbulb so it won’t come on when she flicks the switch. As she makes her, clichély slow, descent into the darkness, the camera focuses on her bare feet, slothfully revealing each step as she takes it. Before he toys with the audience too much, avoiding annoyance, McCarthy has the camera suddenly move ahead of her feet to reveal what awaits her on the next step before tracking the camera down to the landing, where she’ll end up. Genre expected jump scares are present throughout, yet jolting the audience with sudden bursts of noise isn’t the aim of the movie.

Scott is capable of playing the full range of Miles’s dual personalities, going back and forth from sweet and innocent to full on psychopathic monster. Schilling and Mooney are fine as the concerned parents, though Mooney takes a back seat to Schilling’s meatier role. As the couple becomes more concerned, and terrified, of their son, Schilling manages to convey a motherly alarm for the health of her child while also showing her unease at being around the disturbed boy. Her confused jumble of emotions becomes most apparent in a scene where she discovers the source for the sudden appearance of flies in the house. As for the rest of the cast, they don’t leave much of an impression, serving to fill roles in which they could easily be exchanged for other actors.

Don’t let the presence of child actor Scott fool you into thinking the filmmakers will hold back. While “The Prodigy” isn’t a blood bath, it is fairly violent at times. Mostly, the violence happens off-screen with McCarthy only allowing viewers to see the pulpy aftermath. There are a few on-screen stabs with a particularly gruesome murder in the finale. Cinematographer Bridger Nielson keeps the movie expectedly dark and drab. When Sarah takes Miles to be evaluated by Dr. Jacobson, his office is lined with dark brown wallpaper and darkly colored furniture. This scene is accented by simplistic, yet effective, scoring from composer Joseph Bishara as the soundtrack focuses on the sound of a ticking metronome, every fourth beat accented by a reverberating low tone.

The majority of the special effects are not very believable. When Sarah catches a quick glimpse of Miles with his face transformed into that of Scarka, the transformation looks too cartoony causing the scene to be ineffective. It is a quick glance, but it is long enough to question whether the filmmakers actually thought it looked believable. The stab wounds also looked like they were handled by a computer and give an artificial appearance to the attacks.

Sarah’s thinking becomes distorted as she suspects she and John are quickly running out of time to save Miles, causing her to make a big assumption (a very questionable leap in logic that will leave some scratching their heads) in her plan to save her child. Ultimately, the film ends as predictably as it begins. What could have been an effective finale is quickly undermined by the inane decision to set up a franchise, using the final moments of the movie to set-up a potential, and unwarranted, sequel.

Although there are missteps, as a whole, McCarthy manages to make the movie work in spite of its predictability. It’s not going to be a classic and it’s not scary, but I did find it engaging and entertaining.
(Review by Bret Oswald)






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The Lego Movie 2






Director: Mike Mitchell Studio: Warner Bros.

Review: The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part


What is awesomer is that the world has another fun-filled adventure with laughter, sugar, wonderful animation, and pieces to be built for the entire, colorful sequel. I always love watching “The Lego Movie” and now it seems like I’m watching it again but in a different way. “The Lego Movie 2” adds a whole new experience where characters and the action seem to get more complicated than ever. I can respect Mike Mitchell’s direction on helming the sequel but I’ve always regarded Phil Lord and Christopher Miller as a duo of “brain trust” writers.

“The Lego Movie 2” features the retuning character, Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt), whom witness his friends, including Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett) and others, being kidnapped and taken to the spaceship where a spaceship alien queen (Tiffany Haddish) intends to wed Batman and, later indirectly, making peace to both as newcomers to their world.

Not only the cast all returned for this sequel, but new ones come in, including Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph even though she briefly appears in short amount of time, and Stephanie Beatriz. Aside from that, Pratt also voices Rex Dangervest, a future version of Emmet whose character development conceived by Pratts’s films “Jurassic World,” “Guardians of the Galaxy, and “Magnificent Seven.” Also returning are the DCEU actors Jason Momoa, Gal Gadot, and Margot Robbie. And to add extra laughs, “Die Hard” actor Bruce Willis making a cameo in the film, providing his John McClane persona as a reference.

The friendship mainly served as the film’s main dynamics for the storyline and the characters. The plot development reflects a difficult alliance for the live-action characters to appear and re-appear in parts of the film. Those who pop up in the live-action scene are the two children, Finn (Jadon Sand from the first film) and his sister, Bianca. Their relationship also served as the film’s dynamics and as explainable reason why the setting and the characters become so difficult to flourish the healthy relationship between the two.

I enjoyed the comedy much more like the first film as well as the music soundtrack that becomes the center of attention. While “Everything is Awesome” song is put into earworm for the audience, other new songs like “Catchy Song” and “Super Cool” didn’t add up to its greater level like in the original film. On the other side, I am more focused on the inside jokes and movie references, which are highly astounding to be used as a running gag throughout the film. The jokes give me a whole lot of laughs when it comes putting anything perennial that refreshes the memories up as you grow up watching any particular films, such as “Mad Max” and Pixar films for example. Let’s not forget, I found a little homage Emmet provided, a “Rexcelsior” spaceship which is a play on the popular catchphrase "excelsior" used by Marvel’s Stan Lee.

To top it all off, “The Lego Movie 2” is an awesome movie, if not, no less. Though, I sort of enjoyed the first film just a little bit better than “The Lego Movie 2.” Mike Mitchell knows how to spin a tale that does not adhere to a crash-and-burn destruction. I liked it, but I can’t give it a higher rating than the first “LEGO Movie.” If you want to have a great time at the movies, you can do no worse than this. Running time: 107 minutes



GRADE: B+
(Review by Henry Pham)






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Aquaman








Although it’s been out quite a long time, the James Wan-directed “Aquaman is still ranking on the top 10 U.S. box-office. Like the Patty Jenkins directed “Wonder Woman,” from 2017, “Aquaman” stands out as another in the lone of commendable DC offerings.

“Aquaman” for all intents and purposes is just a fun trip the DC comic book universe. Jason Mamoa is Arthur Curry, “a man who can talk to fish, says Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne aka Batman says in the trailer.

Ironically that was uttered in “Justice League,” just released last year.

Although it was panned by many of my colleagues, I thought it was an engaging introduction to some of the best identities in the DC universe. Like the first outing of “The Avengers” (2012), wherein the earth’s mightiest heroes team up to fight various bad guys.

Recently Warner Bros. and the studio released a

The other great thing about “Aquaman” is the notion director James Wan actually made this water-based entry interesting and captivating. I’ve said many times in the past that many directors do not have an adept hand at creating suspense in the water.

The obvious suspects are 1975’s “Jaws,” as well as that clichéd ridden epic ensemble that was “The Poseidon Adventure,” led by Oscar winner Gene Hackman.

Then fast forward to 1989’s Phillip Noyce directed suspenser “Dead Calm,” with the star power of a very young Nicole Kidman and a pre-“Jurassic Park” Sam Neill.

Going back to “Aquaman,” this tale finds Mamoa’s Curry battling for the right to run Atlantis, which is currently run by Patrick Wilson’s King Orm. Orm thinks he has the entire ocean at his side, but he is a malevolent king who does not cater to his own public in the very least.

Wan actually knows how to make the seas and water kinetic in nature. He has an adept stride in

Also interesting is the appearances of supporters Nicole Kidman, Amber Heard and Willem Dafoe.

Kidman is Curry’s mother, who makes a brief appearance in the beginning of this engaging tale. Both Heard and Dafoe have bigger parts here, because for some unknown reason, the pair had more in depth story arches that were left out of the finished project altogether. Dafoe’s Vulko spends a lot of time teaching Curry in both his powers and hand-to-hand combat as well. Heard’s Mera is a confidant of Curry who retrieves him to his rightful place in the ocean’s blue.

Both Heard and Mamoa share some great onscreen chemistry together. The duo look and feel like they belong together.

On track for my comeback of the year is Dolph Lundgren, who not only supported in “Creed II” this year, but in “Aquaman,” he makes an appearance as King Nereus, one of the leaders of the ocean below.

For me, this one was like either “Wonder Woman” or “Deadpool,” just passable entertainment for a fun night out with the movies. Wan proved that he could make an H20 entry both compelling and fun while still telling and engaging tale that was just fun.



Grade: B

(Review by Ricky Miller)






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Sunday, February 3, 2019

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Feb 3 - Feb 9


So the Superbowl is over. Next is the Grammy's, then the big Academy Awards. February being short this year and all. Happy Birthday Leap Year babies.

As usual, if I missed a screening notice, please feel free to share to the group or our Facebook page.


Feb 3 - Feb 9

Mon - Feb 4

The Lego Movie 2 - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark

Tue - Feb 5

The Prodigy - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark
What Men Want - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark
Alita: Battle Angel - 7:30 pm - Cinemark 17

Wed - Feb 6

What Men Want - 7:30 pm - Studio Movie Grill Northwest Hwy.






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Friday, February 1, 2019

Miss Bala





The original Miss Bala received universal acclaim at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and became Mexico's entry for the Oscars Best Foreign Film. In this Hollywoodized version directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight) and written by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer is reportedly a little blander aimed at a more commercial audience. Gina Rodriguez of television's Jane the Virgin is the plucky young woman who is caught in the criminal world across the border. It's a typical kind of action adventure movie that one would expect in January. Mindless entertainment to escape the deep freeze.

Gina plays Gloria Fuentes, a aspiring designer working as a make up artist living in Los Angeles. She goes across the border to help her best friend Suzan (Cristina Rodlo) who has entered the Miss Baja pageant. Hitting the party at a local club, she is introduced to the Chief of Police who is the pageant boss and has been known to bed the winners. The club is set upon my a criminal cartel that is out to get the police chief. Panicked Gloria tries to find her friend. She ends up in the hands of the bad guys who blackmail her into working for them in exchange for finding information on her friend. Lino (Ismael Cruz Cordova) is brutal, but kind to Gloria who he gets her involved in a car bombing. He tells her to enter the Miss Baja contest where she escapes, and is picked up by the DEA. They put a bug in the phone that Lino gave her to keep track of where they are while promising to help her find her friend. Now playing both sides, Lino has her made a run across the border with cash taped to her body and in secret compartments under her car in exchange for drugs. She tells the DEA where the the rendezvous will take place and a shootout occurs. The DEA fails to help her escape, and when Lino gets injured she helps him to safety. They take her to their hideout, where Lino teaches her how to shoot and automatic. Lino treats her well, talking about his life in Bakersfield. Of course his blue eyes are captivating, and Gloria is somewhat lulled by his kindness. He tells her of the plan to eliminate the police chief who is his main adversary and part of a criminal cartel. Her friend may be part of his human trafficking business. They only way they can get close to him is for her to win the Miss Baja contest and get her to lure the creepy old man into his bedroom.

There are plenty of shootouts, explosions, and executions. Gloria is forced to be resourceful to survive at all costs. The last act is Gloria taking control of a really bad situation. Gina Rodriquez manages to make her Gloria into a believable heroine despite the unbelievable situations. She soldiers on no matter what happens and bodies fall around her. Hardwicke tries to make Lino sympathetic like blood sucking vampires in Twilight, but it's just a distraction for his cold blooded killer nature. This is a typical kind of action adventure movie that one would expect in January. Mindless entertainment to escape the deep freeze.
(Review by reesa)



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Miss Bala







(Review by Chase Lee)




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