The Dallas Movie Screening Group

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

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

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

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

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

Website and Group Contact: dalscreenings@gmail.com

Monday, September 30, 2019

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Sept 29 - Oct 5


So sorry this is so late. Life has an insidious way of getting in the way of the usual schedule.

Again, not too much happening, but the big movies are slowly showing up on the calendar. Of course having them competing on one day makes it hard to decide which one to see. But that's the fun.

Don't forget to check out the reviews of the films shown at the North Texas Film Festival the past weekend on our website.


Sept 29 - Oct 5

Mon - Sept 30

Raising Dion - 5:30 pm - Alamo Lake Highlands

Tue - Oct 1

I Still Believe - 7:00 pm - Cinemark West
Joker - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark



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This Week at Alamo Drafthouse DFW (9/30 - 10/6)





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

This week is all about the classics and getting your party on. Never stop stopping at Alamo DFW’s POPSTAR Sing-Along. Watch everyone’s favorite suspense-thriller about creepy twins and 80s carpets with the 4K Restoration of THE SHINING. Get your party on with Movie Parties for five fun-filled films throughout the week. For a full calendar listing, please visit drafthouse.com/dfw/calendar.

See y’all soon at the Alamo Drafthouse!



This Week's Highlights…

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Sing-Along

You're invited to kick it with the boyz of the Lonely Island at the most baller Sing-Along of all time (#sohumble). Alamo DFW will have inflatable microphones and onscreen lyrics so you can get in on the jamz glow necklaces and ribbon wands to dance along and an American flag for you to wave around during Conner’s erotic ode to patriotism. And be sure to show up early for the Show Pony drawing contest before the film. Belt along at the POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING Sing-Along at Denton, Lake Highlands, and Las Colinas

The Shining: Remastered in 4K
This 4K presentation of THE SHINING has been meticulously remastered and restored sourced from the film’s original camera negative. Following the feature presentation get a first look at DR. SLEEP with exclusive bonus content. Catch THE SHINING Remastered in 4K at Cedars, Las Colinas, and North Richland Hills.

Alamo DFW Movie Parties
Come out to one of five Alamo DFW Movie Parties and join in on the fun with A Nightmare On Elm Street, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Lost Boys, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Cedars, Lake Highlands, Las Colinas, North Richland Hills, and Richardson.


MONDAY | SEPTEMBER 30
Cedars
Screening: Hedwig and the Angry Inch Movie Party at 7:00PM

Denton
Screening: Hustlers Rowdy Screening at 10:40PM

Lake Highlands
Screening: Raising Dion at 5:30PM
Screening: Rocky 4K Restoration at 7:00PM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Vetted Well at 8:00PM
Screening: Hustlers Rowdy Screening at 10:00PM

Las Colinas
Screening: The Shining Remastered in 4K at 6:30PM
Screening: Hustlers Rowdy Screening at 10:25PM

North Richland Hills
Screening: Rocky 4K Restoration at 6:30PM

Richardson
Screening: Murder In The Front Row: The San Francisco Bay Area Thrash Metal Story at 7:00PM



TUESDAY | OCTOBER 1

Cedars
Screening: The Shining Remastered in 4K at 7:00PM

Denton
Screening: The Amityville Horror at 6:30PM
Screening: Hustlers Rowdy Screening at 10:45PM

Lake Highlands
Screening: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Sing-Along at 8:00PM
Screening: Hustlers Rowdy Screening at 9:55PM

Las Colinas
Screening: The Shining Remastered in 4K at 6:30PM
Screening: Hustlers Rowdy Screening at 10:25PM

North Richland Hills
Screening: The Shining Remastered in 4K at 6:30PM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Vetted Well at 8:00PM
Screening: Escape From New York at 8:35PM
Screening: The People Under The Stairs at 9:40PM

Richardson
Bar Event: Tiki Bingo - Glass Half Full at 7:00PM
Screening: The People Under The Stairs at 8:30PM



WEDNESDAY | OCTOBER 2

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

Denton
Screening: They Live at 6:30PM
Screening: Drácula (1931) [Spanish] MUBI Free Victory Screening at 9:05PM
Screening: Hustlers Rowdy Screening at 10:45PM

Lake Highlands
Screening: Hustlers Rowdy Screening at 9:55PM

Las Colinas
Screening: Anime-Zing: Vampire Hunter D (Subtitled) at 6:30PM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Vetted Well at 8:00PM
Screening: Hustlers Rowdy Screening at 10:25PM

North Richland Hills
Screening: Monty Python and the Holy Grail Movie Party at 6:45PM
Screening: The Howling at 8:35PM

Richardson
Screening: The Lost Boys Movie Party at 7:00PM
Screening: Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl at 7:30PM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Glass Half Full at 8:00PM



THURSDAY | OCTOBER 3
North Richland Hills
Screening: Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl at 7:30PM
Screening: The Amityville Horror at 8:40PM

Richardson
Screening: Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl at 7:30PM
Screening: The Amityville Horror at 8:50PM


FRIDAY | OCTOBER 4

Richardson
Screening: Wolfman’s Got Nards with Live Q&A at 7:00PM



SATURDAY | OCTOBER 5

Cedars
Screening: A Nightmare On Elm Street Movie Party at 7:45PM

Denton
Screening: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Sing-Along at 6:45PM

Lake Highlands
Screening: VHS Swap and SOV Mystery Movie at 5:30PM
Screening: The Rocky Horror Picture Show Movie Party at 8:50PM

Las Colinas
Screening: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Sing-Along at 7:05PM

North Richland Hills
Screening: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein Cereal Party at 10:00AM
Screening: Monty Python and the Holy Grail Movie Party at 8:20PM

Richardson
Screening: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein Cereal Party at 10:00AM



SUNDAY | OCTOBER 6
Denton
Screening: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein Cereal Party at 10:00AM
Screening: Frankenstein & Bride of Frankenstein Double Feature at 6:45PM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Vetted Well at 7:00PM

Lake Highlands
Screening: The Cabin In The Woods Beer Dinner at 6:45PM

North Richland Hills
Screening: The Wolf Man (1941) at 4:30PM
Screening: Monty Python and the Holy Grail Movie Party at 6:45PM

Richardson
Screening: House of Ghosts with Christopher R. Mihm at 4:15PM
Screening: The Mummy (1999) Movie Party at 6:50PM
Screening: The Mummy (1932) at 10:05PM


First Run Movies Now Playing...

Abominable
Ad Astra
Brittany Runs A Marathon
Downton Abbey
Hustlers
IT: Chapter Two
Rambo: Last Blood
The Peanut Butter Falcon
The Goldfinch

Premiering This Week…

Joker
Joker in 35MM


Stay Connected...
Facebook: facebook.com/AlamoDrafthouseDFW
Twitter: twitter.com/AlamoDFW
Instagram: instagram.com/alamodfw
Website: drafthouse.com/dfw
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | www.drafthouse.com




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Sunday, September 29, 2019

NTXFF - Marriage Story





The title of writer/director Noah Baumbach’s film, “Marriage Story,” is a bit of a misnomer. While it is indeed about a marriage, it’s not about an ongoing look at a couple’s union. Rather, it’s an examination of the process of divorce, delving into the vileness that even a seemingly amicable separation can fall into.

Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson), a theater director and an actress respectively, share what they love most about each other as the movie begins, starting the film off on a positive note that quickly does a 180 when it’s revealed that this is a task required by their divorce mediator. Even as the pair prepares for separation, they seem friendly enough, wanting to end on good terms for the benefit of their only child, Henry (Azhy Robertson).

Nicole has decided it’s time for a career change, moving home to Los Angeles to star in a TV pilot and to be near her family – mother, Sandra (Julie Hagerty), and sister, Cassie (Merritt Wever). Things take a nasty turn when a crew member prompts Nicole to hire a divorce lawyer. Enter Nora (Laura Dern), a charming and friendly woman who soon begins prying at Nicole to uncover the marriage’s dirty laundry, turning what was a potentially quick separation into a vicious custody battle.

Baumbach’s film seems like a movie from another generation. While it takes place in modern-day New York City and LA, Baumbach’s choice to shoot on 35 mm film stock gives the film the appearance of a bygone era. “Marriage Story” has a pleasing textured look that’s absent from the majority of modern-day digital filmmaking. The film is beautifully photographed by cinematographer Robbie Ryan, who keeps the framing intriguing and eye-catching.

On that same note, the film’s pacing gives the feel of cinema from the 1970s. “Marriage Stoy” is slow without ever being dull. Baumbach takes the time to examine both sides of the story. Nicole’s point of view is explored for an extended period of time before shifting to Charlie’s perspective. Baumbach keeps the narrative shifting between the two throughout the film. The screenplay’s examination of both sides keeps either person from becoming the victim or the perpetrator in the situation. Though it has a depressing storyline, “Marriage Story” is often surprisingly funny. Baumbach takes the various elements of divorce and uses them to create humorous moments without detracting from the gravity of the situation, creating a perfect balance between the serious and the comedic.

The biggest draw of Baumbach’s movie is the performances from the acting ensemble. Everyone appearing in the movie has a chance to shine. Johansson and Driver’s performances are the heart of the film. They show a tender concern for each other’s wellbeing that slowly shifts into an uncontrollable screaming match, the film’s climax, as their lawyers get under their skin. The circumstances get blown out of proportion, causing things to get ugly. After seeing Nora’s manipulative, dirty tactics, Charlie fires his friendly older lawyer (Alan Alda) for a tougher, hardball player (Ray Liotta) who can match her wits. Dern is a scene-stealer as Nora – a charmer who’s devious, beautiful, and well-composed. She’s wonderfully despicable in the role.

Its subject matter will surely be a turn off for some viewers but for those who can take it, “Marriage Story” is among the year’s best works. Baumbach takes viewers on an emotional journey as he guides them through Charlie and Nicole’s divorce, allowing each of his performers to showcase their acting ability throughout. Simultaneously moving, humorous, and gloomy, “Marriage Story” is definitely one to seek out.
(Review by Bret Oswald)




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NTXFF - Best of DIFF Short Films







(Review by Chase Lee)




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NTXFF - Dolemite is My Name






(Review by Chase Lee)



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NTXFF - Back of the Net







(Review by Chase Lee)




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NTXFF - The Lodge







More drama than a horror movie, co-directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz’s film “The Lodge” is going to have a hard time finding an audience. It’s not creepy or thrilling enough to draw in the genre fans and it leans too far into genre territory to draw in the drama crowd. Like the film’s characters, who eventually become stranded in an isolated lodge, “The Lodge” is in a bit of a no man’s land.



The movie, co-written by Fiala and Franz along with Sergio Casci, begins with a mother, Laura (Alicia Silverstone), preparing her children, Aidan (Jaeden Martell) and Mia (Lia McHugh), to go to their father’s (Richard Armitage) house. When she arrives, their father, Richard, informs her that he intends to marry his girlfriend, Grace (Riley Keough), who is implied to be the reason for their separation. Though the signs are there, it’s still a surprise when, shortly into the movie, Laura suddenly kills herself. Fiala and Franz’s film is understandably dreary, drenched in an icy cold color palette even in the summer months that start the film.



Jump forward six months to the holiday season. With the family still reeling from the loss of Laura, Richard continues to try to insert Grace into the children’s lives. Though months have gone by since they have started dating, both children are adamantly against her inclusion when Richard suggests she joins them at their lodge for Christmas, proposing that he leaves her alone with them for a few days so they can get better acquainted. It is revealed that Richard has written a book about a religious cult and their mass suicide. Grace, the daughter of the leader, was the only survivor.



Fiala and Franz take their time building the story. The movie is filled with hazily shot interiors of a dollhouse, later revealed to be a replica of the family’s lakeside lodge. Inside, an assortment of dolls is strewn about in positions implying death – sprawled on the floor, falling off the couch, hanging from the attic rafters. Once Richard, the children, and Grace arrive at the lodge, the focus is on wide shots down dimly lit hallways. So frustratingly dark that it’s near impossible to tell what is going on. Late a night, a figure is seen creeping around the house.



Is this a ghost story? Is Grace still consumed by the ideals of her father? Will she snap and murder the family? Maybe she has been planning to kill them all along?
(Review by Bret Oswald)






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Saturday, September 28, 2019

NTXFF - Marriage Story








(Review by Chase Lee)




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NTXFF - The Lodge






(Review by Chase Lee)




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NTXFF - Marriage Story






Title: Marriage Story
Run Time: 2hr and 16min
Rating: R for Language Throughout and Sexual References

A Modern American Classic in the Making.

Joel's Review

**** (out of ****)
Autopsy (n.) - inspection and dissection of a body after death, as for determination of the cause of death; postmortem examination

OR

an analysis of something after it has been done or made


Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story makes a connection, in one line of dialogue from a lawyer hired to represent one of the married-but-now-separated couple, that suggests it rather fits both of the definitions above. It obviously isn’t an actual post-death medical procedure, but it cuts deeply enough into the central eroding marriage that Baumbach might as well be taking a scalpel to its remains, taking note of everything that was fatal into a (figurative) tape recorder, and preparing it for burial in some way. By the end, one thing is clear: There really is no hope for this marriage.

For the first twenty minutes, though, Baumbach frames the relationship only as it can be framed: As the observations of two people so intimately familiar with each other that they can immediately clock each other’s strengths and, in doing so, perhaps highlight the few weaknesses that might come as a result of being in a marriage. What Charlie (Adam Driver) loves about his wife Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and what, in reverse, Nicole loves about her husband begin to look quite a bit similar – if not in the content of what is said, then in the attitude with which it has been formulated in the minds of these two people.

We learn that Charlie loves Nicole’s fastidious listening skills, her determination to be the most generous actress with whom to work, her desire to play – and genuinely to play – with their son Henry (Azhy Robertson), and her competitiveness (particularly at the game of Monopoly, which is later mirrored in the very real legal battle that ensues). Likewise, we learn that Nicole loves Charlie’s fastidious organization kills, his determination to be the fairest theatre director for whom to perform, his desire to be a sturdy presence for Henry, and his competitiveness (particularly at the game of Monopoly, etc.).

In other words, this early introduction to their marriage indicates a real, compatible romance, but these words, we learn as we go, are the unspoken observations of a kind of homework assignment. The reality is pretty grim: Charlie and Nicole are in the midst of divorce negotiations at the tail end of a trial separation. They aren’t happy with their mediator, who simply tries for the duration of the first meeting we see to get them to read those observations in this safe space. Charlie thinks his is well-written enough to read. Nicole neither wants to read her own nor hear what Charlie has written. Having heard them ourselves, we realize that they sound very similar. This simply causes another small pang of recognition that these two are so almost completely compatible that any differences could collapse the whole charade.

We also, because of the performances from Driver and Johansson, desperately want this marriage not to be a charade. These are both generally good, deeply flawed human beings, each with their own opinions about what has caused this eventual rift. For Nicole, it is a refusal from Charlie, in part due to his loyalty to a theatre production that may move to Broadway, to consider any other kind of life with her, which is why she takes on a TV pilot shooting in Los Angeles for several weeks. If the pilot goes to series, it could mean moving there permanently. To that effect, she takes Henry with her, enrolling him in a school to give the impression of permanence.

For Charlie, it is, well, a refusal to accept Nicole’s reality and to consider him, his wife, and their son anything but “a New York family.” Even as the pilot goes to series and every remaining member of this family – which basically means her family (Julie Hagerty as her mother Sandra and Merritt Wever as her sister Cassie, both superb and naturally funny), as he has no siblings and absentee parents with whom he has no relationship – resides in Los Angeles for months that encroach upon a full year and his own production fails, he refuses to accept reality. These are a man in denial and a woman in full control of her choices, and this is when we realize that, perhaps, they aren’t quite as compatible as we anticipated.

At first, they agree not to use lawyers, but when great distance becomes a factor, that option is no longer viable. Nicole hires Nora (Laura Dern, excellent as a human ball of energy who can navigate severe situations with some cookies and tea), a high-profile attorney of celebrities who went through a similar battle of her own. Reluctantly, Charlie eventually follows suit, first hiring the kind but ineffectual Bert Spitz (Alan Alda, who provides the observation at the beginning of this review: “Divorce is like a death without the body”) – whose name kind of requires one to say the entire thing – and eventually hiring the ruthless and expensive Jay (Ray Liotta, who digs into his character like so much apple pie).

It eventually becomes a film defined by big, dialogue-driven set pieces, such as a nearly ten-minute prologue (captured, rather boldly, in a single take by Baumbach and cinematographer Robbie Ryan, whose compositions find a middle ground between warm and stark) in which Johansson’s Nicole describes meeting and falling in love with Charlie or a stunning late-film performance of “Being Alive” (from Furth and Sondheim’s Company) by Driver whose start is clearly scripted but whose completion feels strangely impromptu. These are both exceptionally detailed and raw performances from actors who are bearing their souls to each other (One can only imagine what the come-down process was for Driver and Johansson – whether, for instance, they followed a shouting match with some time apart and a silly sitcom).

What results is a portrait of an entire marriage, and even though we don’t actually see the Meet Cute that occurred or the intervening years of building a relationship, Baumbach provides a good reminder that the dissolution of a marriage offers just as much insight into the dynamics of a relationship as some generational story of that entire relationship. The reports surrounding the development of this film are pretty clear: This was inspired, in part, by Baumbach’s marriage to and divorce from actress Jennifer Jason Leigh. Whether that means Marriage Story is semi-autobiographical is beside the point. It is still deeply, consequentially personal, with a vast emotional scope and a tight, intimate treatment.
(Review by Joel Copling)







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NTXFF2019 - The Laundromat






In “The Laundromat,” frequent collaborators director Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns, basing his screenplay on the book “Secrecy World” by Jake Bernstein, attempt to make the scandalous Panama Papers a palatable crowd-pleaser. The end result is an episodic movie that offers a tonally-impaired look at the way the world’s billionaires cheat the financial system using shell companies and offshore accounts.



The movie’s plot synopsis implies that the film’s main character is Ellen Martin (Meryl Streep, who will probably earn herself another Oscar nomination just for appearing on screen here). While on vacation with her husband (James Cromwell), the couple are involved in a ferry accident which results in her husband’s death, in addition to multiple other casualties. The ferry owners (Robert Patrick and David Schwimmer) discover that they have bought a phony insurance policy. Their crime? Attempting to save money – one of the few jokes that lands in the movie. When Ellen’s payout turns out to be less than expected, she begins to investigate, uncovering a web of shady dealings with a Panama law firm in their center.



Alas, Ellen is just one of many characters. Soderbergh and Burns present a kaleidoscopic look at the innerworkings of these fake institutions. As the film opens, a pair of overdressed gentlemen, later revealed to be the lawyers – Mossack (Gary Oldman) and Fonseca (Antonio Banderas) – at the center of the scandal, cheekily attempt to explain the basics of their scheme. Oldman gives one of his worst performances, an appallingly bad caricature that was surely intended to induce laughter but only causes cringes. Banderas doesn’t fare much better. The fourth wall is instantly broken as the filmmakers attempt to fuel the same energy found in “The Big Short.” The device doesn’t work here, creating a tonal imbalance that hinders the film.



As the duo poorly continues to intermittently woo the audience with their charm, they introduce a series of vignettes that highlight the reach of the scam. The stories take place from all corners of the world – the United States, China, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Africa – and all walks of life. Like most movies of this nature, some segments work better than others. Those in which the film isn’t trying to show how clever it is work best. This is one feature where I think a more serious approach might have been in the movie’s favor. “The Laundromat” tries too hard and often falls flat on its face. At the least, Soderbergh should have dialed back, or deleted, the Mossack and Fonseca wall-breaking sequences, the film’s biggest detractors.



With the number of A-listers involved – Sharon Stone, Jeffrey Wright, Melissa Rauch, Will Forte, Chris Parnell, and Matthias Schoenaerts also have bit parts – I expected better out of this movie. The biggest issue with this film is its inability to establish a consistent tone and steady rhythm. Although, the individual episodes don’t flow together well thanks to the cheeky wall-breaking connectors, they do play out well on their own. In the vignettes, the actors do a good job of sucking the audience in as the filmmakers use their tales to show some of the various ways in which the rich use these accounts to their advantage and how the business dealings can go down. By the end, the movie comes across as too preachy, especially in its final scene. Thankfully, this one is distributed by Netflix. If you must watch it, save your cash and view it when it is put up on their site.
(Review by Bret Oswald)





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Friday, September 27, 2019

Abominable






DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studios produced the computer animated feature written and directed by Jill Culton and co-directed by Todd Wilderman. The adventure features the Chinese countryside as three cousins living in Shanghai attempt to help a young Yeti find his way home to Mt. Everest. It's nice to see that finally some of the characters are actually voiced by Asian actors since the story is set in China.

The story begins as a Yeti breaks out of a laboratory of a rich corporation led by Mr. Burnish (Eddie Izzard) who wants to exploit his discovery. Yeti finds shelter on the roof where Yi (Chloe Bennet) hides out in her she-shed. Since her dad died, she dreams of traveling to all the places from where he sent her postcards. Yi has basically withdrawn from her mom and grandmother Ni-Ni (Tsai Chin). Even her little cousin Peng (Albert Tsai) misses her company. She spends her days working various jobs to earn money for her travels. On the roof playing her violin that was given to her by her dad, she hears the Yeti huddling in fear when helicopter with search lights fly over the rooftops. She quickly discerns that the creature is in hiding wanting to go back to Mt. Everest when he looks expectantly at a billboard with a picture of the great mountain.

Peng and his social media obsessed older brother Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) get involved with her plan to help the Yeti. Jin is very reluctant but in he is trying to keep Peng from trouble. He had called the cops in his fear, but when the corporate security team appears they all go on the run. They hide out in a container full of soda pop which is loaded on a ship destined to a spot up the river. The bad guys follow the trail of empty soda cans.

There are some enchanting visuals as Yeti who they call Everest uses his magic to help them escape. Creating a huge wave from a vast field of grassland. Causing gigantic blueberries that rival Willie Wonka. And using dandelions plumes to take out drones. At the Leshan Giant Buddha statue in Sichuan Yi and Everest create beautiful blooms to the soundtrack of an odd choice of a Coldplay tune. These are the best parts and the most fun. The typical story of the kids coming to appreciate each other while the evil corporations that want to use and destroy any wonders in the world for personal and financial gain is somewhat un-extraordinary. The art work is pleasant and easy on the eyes. It's fun for the family although there are some violent ends to some bad guys which seem to be excused by having them deserve it. You will be tempted to go and get some bao afterwards.
(Review by reesa)




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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Abominable





Director: Jill Culton Studio: DreamWorks/Universal Pictures

“Abominable” brings an icy, snowy adventure to kids.


Sure, you can say don’t judge a book by its cover in many levels. For this one, you can say don’t judge a movie by its name. This all comes down to this finely, but not-so-bright animated feature that takes a good crack on the visuals, the CGI, and the special effects usage throughout the film. This film cast includes the voices of Chloe Bennet (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Tenzing Norgay Trainor (Liv and Maddie), and Albert Tsai.

Years ago, DreamWorks Animation have been on a restructuring process since they decided not to release more than two films per year, the acquisition of Universal Pictures, and delaying several productions in line for upcoming release dates or indefinite period of time. Filmmakers, studio executives, and animators fear that crafting a film could be much harder and a tricky business when creating an idea in the head to make a very strong and thoughtful storytelling for audiences and critics to be motivated from.

In Abominable, Chloe Bennet’s character Yi finds a young, lonely Yeti who was seen hiding throughout the city to prevent from being seen by a power-hunger scientist and a wealthy man (voiced by Eddie Izzard) who are obsessed with capturing the Yeti. Yi, along with her two misfit friends, must embark on a quest to bring the Yeti home, which happens to be Mount Everest.

There was a 2015 film called Everest, directed by Baltasar Kormákur, featuring Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Sam Worthington, and Jake Gyllenhaal. That film really stood out on the similarities between those characters and these characters in Abominable, except that the fact of one thing that loving a family serves as a main dynamic for both films. If you haven’t seen this film, watch it before you can watch Abominable.

I have two things from the movie that are not seem to be as enjoyable: the plot of some points, the plot was cringey as the storytelling really didn’t add up to its levels for the characters and their behaviors when it comes to traveling, performing any action throughout. It’s just how an ordinary human can put more strength and determination to satisfy his or her wants and needs.

Rupert Gregson-Williams’s music comes and goes for Yi’s character and her adventures with some good melody, a smoothing sound, and culturally balance on the tip of the tone and voice.

My favorite parts of this film is film’s diversity and comedy being supported with Yeti and Albert Tsai’s character Peng who had a similar taste and input on the Edwyn "Eddie" Huang character in ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat.

Abominable is an okay, I didn’t hate it, but the film is just doesn’t reach to its potential on other DreamWorks’ other animated films that achieved success on the box office and for film critics in general. Culton really put effort on this film and cast made their characters unique. But the film really lost some magic right there and even when all the colors are present and being spread around the movie, I cannot recommend this movie at all as an adult moviegoer, but for kids, they might love it. And that’s all I going to say.

GRADE: C

(Review by Henry Pham)




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Judy





JUDY is a biopic centered around the early and latter performing years of the iconic singer and actress, Judy Garland. As most know, Judy died before her time at age 47, addicted to pills, cigarettes and alcohol. She took her incredible voice and screen acting skills with her, leaving behind a couple of ex husbands and three children.

The movie chooses to focus primarily on Judy's last year or two, when she was broke, with no home, just trying to keep her family of three together after splitting with husband, director Luft.

It seems that most of her life was spent careening towards this cross road of sink or swim. Demand for her talent had waned in the United States. She has found it hard to find anyone who wants to work with or hire her, after frequently showing up under the influence and sometimes not at all. Her lack of professionalism and the difficulty many found with working with her also did not help her stories career.

As Judy goes through different challenges, she flashbacks on her early year, when under contract to MGM, whose president, Louis B. Mayer, controlled nearly every aspect of her life and treated her as a seasoned adult cash cow. She was overworked, underfed, given uppers in the morning and downers at night. Even her social life was scripted and controlled. It is evident in the film, that the experiences of her youth set her up for the addictions and lack of coping skills of her adult life.

Renee Zellweger is magical in her portrayal of Judy and captures her unique gifts in ways that pay tribute to the unique star. Her movements, facial expressions and singing voice are close enough to evoke memories but not so different that it's distracting.

Playing a tour de force of the stage takes a major commitment to research and there is already Oscar buzz for Renee. All of the costuming is painstakingly created and period lovely, as Judy takes on a five week sold out engagement in London at The Talk of the Town, where she is still seen as the icon she always was. The relationship she develops with her assistant/handler is engaging to watch develop and unfold. Her goal is to make enough money to go home and buy a house for her and her children to live in. In the process, she finds a much younger husband (Finn Whitrock) whose pipe dreams promise her eventual financial independence for them both.

Throughout the film, it is evident that Judy is an eternal adolescent, always in need of someone, anyone to care for her. From Mickey Rooney, in the beginning to her last husband, in the end, her fragility is always the undercurrent beneath her great talent and stage presence. It's heartbreaking to watch even if there are moments of glory interspersed in all the struggles. It is one to see, especially if you were or are a fan. Be prepare to be treated to renditions of several of her standards.
(Review by Cheryl Wurtz)




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Abominable






(Review by Chase Lee)





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It Chapter 2





I am not a fan of horror movies. The exceptions are front and center here since it involves Stephen King, John Carpenter and Guillermo Del Toro. King’s movie adaptation track record has improved lately, since cinematic result are distilled from his novels. Filmmakers sometime take his words and manipulate them to just the right degree.

King hopped in the director’s chair for one movie titled “Maximum Overdrive” in 1986. It stunk. On the A-F scale, I’d probably give that one a D-. It was dumb, inane and ridiculous, but sure was a lot of fun. Chalk this one up as a guilty pleasure.

In the 1990 made-for-TV “It,” villain, Pennywise (Tim Curry) was creepy as the dancing clown. It was a first of its eerie kind, though. I don’t know what it is, but I am one of the few people who finds clowns altogether creepy. I think it even goes back to Tobe Hooper’s “Poltergeist” (1982), wherein a clown threatens a little boy’s life.

Flash forward to years later and the world is introduced to Bill Skarsgård’s creepy Pennywise. He sometimes swallows the kid’s whole head.

In this year’s version, Jessica Chastain is Beverly Marsh, who faced Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) many years earlier. She was part of The Losers Club, a close-knit group of friends who thought they extinguished that diabolical clown long ago. Pennywise, however, is still bringing harm to many innocents, particularly pint-sized children.

This second chapter does an adequate job of intertwining the two parts in having flashbacks from the time they were kids in Derry, Maine.

Chastain’s character is also part of the Losers Club, along with Bill Hader, James McAvoy, Isaih Mustata and James Ransome.

One of the interesting aspects of this tale is that borrows dialogue directly from John Carpenter’s “The Thing” (1982). When one of the characters sees a headless creature that is turned into a spider and says, “You’ve got to be expletive kidding me.” In the Carpenter update, David Clennon said that with a straight face.

Returning for “It: Chapter Two” is director Andy Muschetti, who helmed 2017’s “It” as well as the creepy “Mama” in 2013. As a director, he knows when to pile on the scare factor. It’s a tension grabber for the viewer. The sequel is a long one, though, running two hours and 50 min.

Most horror flicks come and go fast, almost like food at a drive-through window. This one wants you to just park awhile and enjoy the entire experience. By no means, is this a slow-burn horror entry.

This to me is ridiculous, but in the end, “It: Chapter Two” makes the whole experience is worth the time and energy.

Grade: B
(Review by Ricky Miller)





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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Ad Astra





Movies about space is usually a hit or miss venture. The science is usually more fiction than fact filled with aliens and space cowboys. This film directed by James Gray and co-wrote with Ethan Gross centers more on the inner space of the lead character Major Roy McBride (Brad Pitt). The voice over narrative may seem annoying at first, but it fills in the blanks as McBride is a somewhat terse and contemplative character. As an astronaut he is tight control of his inner self especially with the dangers of his job.

Set in the near future, there are settlements by various countries on the Moon and Mars. A series of power surges coming from Neptune is threatening life on earth and the planets. McBride is chosen for a secret mission to discover if this is related to his father Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones) who had disappeared some 16 years previously in the rings of Neptune. They need Roy to go to Mars and hopefully communicate with the missing ship. Before boarding a commercial transport to the moon, he has to spend a month in quarantine to make sure no weird germs will be shared there. On the way to the connecting ship to Mars they are attacked by pirates who chase their rovers. The Cepheus has 3 crew members. They are given mood stabilizers for the 19 day trip, but Roy doesn't take them. A mayday message from a space station turns out to be a bad idea and they lose the captain. Roy ends up taking control of the ship when the co-captain is unable to land the Cepheus manually.

The scripted messages the Roy is supposed to send to his father doesn't get a response until Roy goes off script. Then they tell him that he can go back to earth now. With the help of the Mars station manager (Ruth Negga), he breaks into the Cepheus who are charged with nuking the Lima Project ship. The once friendly crew tries to take out Roy. Needless to say, Roy ends up having to do the trip on his own.

The various hit and miss action sequences help to convey the dangers of space travel. But the story itself is mostly about the the father and son relationship as Roy has to come to terms with being abandoned when he was six years old. They assumed his father was dead when the Lima Project disappeared. Roy facing his daddy issues can hopefully mend his personal relationship with his wife Eve (Liv Tyler). People in the future are constantly being monitored with psychological, pulse and blood pressure testing while answering a series in innocuous questions. Roy is always cool as a cucumber.

Cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema who also did Intersteller and Dunkirk is outstanding. It's worth seeing this on the IMAX screen. Brad Pitt's performance is one of his best. While everyone enjoys watching fun sci-fi fantasy adventures, it's also important to explore what are current technology can do for us in our near future. Hopefully while we are still around to enjoy it.
(Review by reesa)




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Movies Scheduled for the Week of Sept 22 - Sept 28



It's autumn time! So where's the changing color of the trees? Where's the cool sweater weather? Oh yeah, this is Texas. We don't get fall.

Not much happening this week. Obviously if you have heard of another screening, please share with the group.

The North Texas Film Festival is happening this weekend at the Cinemark West. Go to https://ntxff.com/ for the films scheduled.

Sept 22 - Sept 28


Wed - Sept 25

Abominable - 7:00 - AMC Northpark



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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Hustlers






The new Jennifer Lopez movie is not a showpiece for her entirely. Rather, it is about dancers and the con they each pull on their clients. Lopez is just part of the ensemble, that includes Constance Wu (“Crazy Rich Asians”), Vanessa (Vanessa Aspillaga), Lili Reinhart, Carli B and Keke Palmer. Also included is Elizabeth, (Julia Stiles “Save the Last Dance, “10 Things I Hate About You””) doing an expose piece on all the shenanigans the group encountered.

“Hustlers” works only part of the time, since the entire storyline lacks focus on where it wants to go. The best part involves an entire sequence wherein, the troupe gathers around the holidays and Christmas.

“Hustlers” falls into the category of being “based on a true story.” Sure, this is an intriguing aspect, but it does not mean I have to like it. It did hold my attention, but for a portion of the time I was actually bored.

“Hustlers” wants to have shock value, but even with the existence of Paul Vehoeven’s NC-17 “Showgirls,” there is just something missing in the mix altogether. There are portions that are intriguing, but in the end, “Hustlers” is like a giant peanut butter and jelly sandwich that is missing a key ingredient.

“Hustlers” was helmed by Lorene Scafaria, who did a decent job with the camera. Besides the parts where doldrums settled in, the rest of the movie actually works. Great support came in from Oscar-winner Mercedes Ruehll, who plays Lopez’s mother, only referred to as Mother. She bartends where Lopez’s Ramona works.

Also intriguing to the plot are the familial plot points involved, since Wu lives with her grandmother, (Wai Ching Ho). The scenes with both Wu’s “Destiny strike the right chords for her part of the tale.

As a point of reference, in comparison to Andrew Bergman’s “Striptease,” (1996) wherein Demi Moore was a topless dancer dealing with cads and lotharios in Florida. I did not hate that movie as much, since Ving Rhames was great as well as Burt Reynolds had some great scenes and lines.

I really wanted to like this movie, but in the end, I just gave it a shrug of the soldiers with a “meh” response and say I’ve seen better, and I’ve seen worse.

Grade: C-
(Review by Ricky Miller)




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Ad Astra








(Review by Chase Lee)




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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Sept 15 - Sept 21



September is blah. So little to chose from. At least I will save gas. Didn't get passes for anything.

Of course if you have heard of anything that is not listed here, please share with the group.


Sept 15 - Sept 21


Wed - Sept 18

Downton Abbey - 7:30 pm - Angelika

Sat - Sept 21

Abominable - 10:00 am - Angelika



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Friday, September 13, 2019

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice






In December Linda Ronstadt will be a 2019 Kennedy Center honoree along with Sesame Street, Sally Fields and Earth, Wind and Fire. So it is fitting that this documentary by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman shines a light on her remarkable career and her amazing voice. Her various contemporary musician friends offer bits of memories and insight to her success. There is really no one else like her in today's music scene of singer/songwriters. Linda didn't write her own music, but she managed to make other writer's work all her own.

She grew up on a 10 acre ranch in Arizona. Her father wrote musical arrangements so she was exposed to different genres of sound like American standards, Mexican, country, classical and operetta. Her brother sang with a world class children's choir. She would later perform with her brother and sister at little clubs. She moved to Los Angeles when she was 18 going to the clubs that gave a stage to new performers. Herb Cohen who managed Frank Zappa brought her to the studio for 1967’s “Different Drum” with her first band the Stone Poneys. It was a huge hit. Going on a east coast tour, Don Henley and Glen Frey (later of the Eagles) were brought in. She fell in love with J.D. Southern and moved in with him. She turned the Eagles song Desperado's into a major hit. Linda had performed as a backup singer for Neil Young then later was the opening act for his tour in Canada.

Linda was good friends with women artists. She took in Emmy Lou Harris after the death of her partner Gram Parsons. She turns power ballads into hits for writer Karla Bonoff and was like a sister to Bonnie Raitt. Linda was a song stylist. At one time she had number one hits on three charts at one time. On an arena tour with Jackson Browne, they would take turns opening and closing. She was never comfortable on the road. Most of the time she would be the only woman. Other arena band performers jumped around the stage trying to generate energy with the audience. Linda would just stand at the microphone and use her vocals to fill the room. She was mesmerizing and she managed to win a Grammy for best singer beating out Barbra Streisand and Donna Summers.

Tired of doing arena tours which were always sold out, she switches gears and does Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance. Co-star Kevin Kline says he cried when he heard her sing. Her next adventure was to do Nelson Riddle standards. Then she did a trio album with Dolly Parton, and Emmy Lou Harris. She tells her record label that she wants to do an album of Mexican songs for herself. Her father had sung to her in Spanish when she was growing up. Her last big hit with Aaron Neville won 2 Grammy's. Then she began to lose her voice. Her last concert was in 2009.

Like her grandmother, Linda has been diagnosed with Parkinsons. Although her voice has been silenced, except for maybe singing with her family, she has left an amazing catalog of music to enjoy forever. Hopefully this film will bring her music to those under 40 years old to discover. She lived an interesting life and created beautiful music that will never to be silenced.
(Review by reesa)





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