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, February 28, 2020

Best of the Fests





BEST OF FEST 2020

Dallas is getting culturally diverse on the films being made and released to the public.
There are many varieties of films releasing in the Dallas Areas via showcasing at many types of film festivals here in Dallas, TX, presented by EarthX and it’s film division, EarthX Film. On February 27th through March 1st, EarthX is showcasing 11 films that gain populace from the audiences or represent the aesthetic work from the filmmakers. The festival will either take place at Alamo Drafthouse Cedars or Texas Theatre.

The participating films presented from each film festival include: 3 Star Jewish Cinema, Asian Film Festival of Dallas, Czech That film, Deep Ellum Film Festival, Denton Black Film Festival, Dallas International Film Festival, and many others. Additionally, filmmakers who worked on these films and productions will also be making appearances for Q&A sessions as well, including filmmaker and musician Luke Dick.

Here are the main feature film selections that were selected for this year’s Best of Fests: Golda’s Balcony, Winter Files, Flannery, Brotherhood, The Witch Part 1: The Subversion, Fantastic Fungi, Red Dog, Swallow, International Falls, Building the American Dream, and Namdev Bhau in the Search of Silence.

The festival also presents a plethora of short films, but will showcased either in separate show times or in front of the participating films being selected as mentioned above. You can find more information online at https://www.bestoffests.org/ to see which films, depending on the schedule, you’re looking forward to see from February 27th to March 1st. Festival Passes and student tickets are also available to purchase.
(Reported by Henry Pham)





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Disappearance of Clifton Hill









(Review by Chase Lee)






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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Feb 23 - Feb 29



Here we are at the end of Feb. March is supposed to go in like a lion and out like a lamb. Will be nice to plant some flowers and open some windows soon.

So how are the lines working for y'all at Northpark? If my car feels better and can go out and play this week we may try and finally go to a screening. But the thought of standing sounds painful. Missing ya'll movie friends.

Feb 23 - Feb 29

Mon - Feb 24

Burden - 7:00 pm - Angelika

Tue - Feb 25

The Invisible Man - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark
Emma - 7:30 pm - Angelika

Wed - Feb 26

My Spy - 7:00 pm - Cinemark West
The Invisible Man - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark









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Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Call of the Wild







Jack London's beloved 1903 publication of The Call of the Wild has been remade once again. This version stars Harrison Ford, who at 77 looks and sounds the part of the reclusive adventurer, John Thornton, mourning a lost son and an estranged wife, who befriends Buck, a large, active dog who finds himself quite out of his element in the Klondike area of Alaska during the Gold Rush.

Our doggie hero finds himself at odds with his wealthy family, the thief, bad guys, a sled pack, the elements, water, a spirit dog, the landscape, bears, more bad people and ultimately with himself as he senses calls from all around him, including an entire wolf pack as he returns to his roots and all of his inborn instincts as they return. He meets a few who love, respect and support him on his journey.

Buck had been the pet of a Judge and his family and was quite spoiled despite his energy level. Finding himself scolded and banned to the outside, an opportunist seizes the chance to make some money by tricking and stealing Buck and selling him off as a sled dog in the far North. Very far from home in a strange new land, including his first introduction to snow. The two who choose him from a large shipment of dogs for a US postal sled dog route, Perrault and Mercedes, assist him as he adjusts to all the strange surroundings and new demands.

The Call of the Wild is a tale of Buck against the world in all its forms. During the journey, Buck reconnects with his genetic ancestors in real and in cellular level form. This version of Buck moves in amazing ways and emotes very real emotion with people and creatures he encounters. That is because he is computer generated. The story could not have been told with the same level of drama and attachment without CGI.

Buck is actually modeled after an actual dog adopted from a shelter in Emporia KS and is the same breed mix as in the book. The glorious and expansive scenery is also CGI and is relatively seamlessly embedded with the characters. The animals as CGI? Not so much seamlessness but it is only distracting at times. In this case it was a necessary move to achieve all that the producer and directors wanted to convey.
This version of Buck is almost human in his desire to connect with, work hard for and please his human master of the moment.

A good film for families as it is rated PG. May be scary for younger children. Combining man's best friend with adventures in the great outdoors is usually a recipe for success and is a visual treat.
(Review by Cheryl Wurtz)






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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Feb 16 - Feb 22




Maybe it's because it's a sort of holiday (President's Day) for the shortage of screenings this week. But next week will make up for that.

Has anything exciting happening or problems at the screenings. I have unfortunately been stuck at home for the past couple months with a deadish car. Email me if you have concerns.

Also is you sign up your friends for our Facebook group page, please make sure they live in the DFW area. If it doesn't say somewhere on their page, that they are living somewhere in TX, they will not be approved.

Feb 16 - Feb 22

Wed - Feb 19
My Boyfriend's Meds - 7:30 pm = AMC Northpark




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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Incitement







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

With obsessive detail and from one specific perspective, Incitement recounts the political fervor, the psychological mindset, and the historical events that led to the November 1995 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, a figure of great controversy for his support of the Oslo II Accords, which granted a peace agreement between the government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). This was seen, not only as a betrayal, but as a sacrilegious act by the far-right wing in Israel, and the unique thing about co-writer/director Yaron Zilberman’s film is that it takes on the perspective of Rabin’s assassin without ever affording Yilgar Amir all that much in terms of sympathy toward the extremist.

It is a difficult balancing act, but part of it is achieved through the performance by Yehuda Nahari, who plays the film’s version of Yilgar with both righteous determination and almost psychopathic precision. Much of Zilberman’s screenplay, co-written by Ron Leshem (with additional writing credited to Yair Hizmi), is docudramatic in nature, with Rabin seen almost entirely through archival and news footage (the exception being the sequence of Rabin’s assassination, for which a body double is briefly provided but barely seen). The film cuts to credits almost immediately upon the moment of the killing, which happened in the public square and was caught on a bystander’s home video camera.

Amir was sentenced to life in prison, exacerbated by a law six years after the incident that prohibited him from qualifying for parole or early release. The challenge for Zilberman and Leshem is to tell this story from Amir’s perspective without letting him off the hook. It mostly works, likely because Zilberman keeps just enough distance between the audience and the protagonist through some of the devices of the storytelling at his disposal. One would be the approach, which is like a clinician’s in its stern atmosphere, and the other would be the presence of dissenting voices trying to intervene in Yilgar’s self-righteous attempt to seek justice on behalf of the observant Jews with whom he congregates.

The opposition are secular Jews, inspired by Rabin, his political rival-turned-colleague Shimon Peres (also only seen through footage and by proxy of a body double) and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (never seen in any sense and only mentioned through disgusted mouths). More personally, though, Yilgar only has his parents (played by Amitai Yaish and Anat Ravnitzki) and Nava (Daniella Kertesz), his first of two girlfriends in this narrative, to try to bleat feebly, in his mind, about the futility of violence, especially in the aftermath of a pair of suicide bombings committed by Palestinians in retaliation for an unprompted attack on a worship center by Israeli forces.

For Yilgar, that vicious cycle of violence is neither explicable nor worthy of the explanation. He has no answer for anyone who asks directly about the violence until sometime near the end of his self-imposed mission of vengeance (egged on by a crew of three including his brother, played variously by Yoav Levi, Dolav Ohana, and Raanan Paz, as well as a second girlfriend played by Sivan Mast), disguised as a kind of religious liberation. Incitement crucially never engages with that kind of ideology except to deconstruct the face of it. This is primarily a tightly wound thriller built out of nervous energy, clearheaded politics, and a risky but potent sympathetic experiment at its center.
(Review by Joel Copling)



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The Photograph







In writer/director Stella Meghie’s “The Photograph,” journalist Michael Block (LaKeith Stanfield) is sent to Louisiana for his latest assignment, an interview with Isaac Jefferson (Rob Morgan). The exact purpose of this interview is muddled when, shortly after arriving, Michael catches sight of a collection of framed photographs placed on Isaac’s mantel. Sitting among them is the photograph of the movie’s title – a snapshot of the artist herself, photographer Christina Eames (Chanté Adams). This sidetrack leads Isaac to reminisce about his long-ago girlfriend and alters the course of Michael’s article.

Back in New York City and looking into Christina’s work, Michael meets her daughter Mae (Issa Rae), who is grieving from the recent passing of her mother and is planning an exhibition of her work. As Mae discovers her mother’s past, shining light on a woman she always considered distant, she finds herself falling in love with Michael. “The Photograph” focuses on the budding relationship between Mae and Michael in the present and the relationship between Christina and Isaac (played in his youth by Y’lan Noel) in the past.

Christina and Isaac’s storyline is integrated into the film through a letter that Mae finds in a safe-deposit box, which also includes a print of the titular photograph. Mae begins to heal as she reads the letter and learns about her estranged mother. Through her characters, Meghie explores how a person’s actions don’t always match their emotions, presenting Christina as a stand-offish character unable to express her love to her family but easily able to express herself in her artwork.

It’s not too hard to figure out where this story is going. Meghie directs with a sure hand, giving viewers a finely photographed movie. This isn’t a film that’s trying to wow viewers with its photography. The shots are unassuming and well laid out, keeping the focus on the story (however simple it may be) and the characters. The sections focusing on Mae and Michael work better than the ones focusing on Christina and Isaac. Rae and Stanfield give better performances and have better chemistry than Adams and Y’lan, though Adams does better with her solo scenes.

The past events depicted in “The Photograph” shed some light on the present but, unfortunately, the movie feels like it’s crawling to its destination. The pacing of this film is just off, making the movie feel much longer than it actually is. Meghie glacially moves through her narrative, slowly building to the final resolution, inserting some brief comedic moments that help to liven up the proceedings. She isn’t aided by the film’s mellow, jazzy score which helps instill its sluggish pace.

Despite its generic storyline and pacing issues, the movie still manages to work. You come to care about Mae and Michael and hope for a happy outcome. “The Photograph” doesn’t offer anything new to the romance genre but for viewers looking for a romantically themed theatrical outing this will probably fit the bill.
(Review by Bret Oswald)





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Citizen K






Citizen K is a documentary that will fill the mind and satisfy any fan of post Communist Russian history with detailed information about its attempt's to become a democracy, albeit under the current economic leadership of wealthy oligarchs and Vladimir Putin. The stories are told thought the use of historical narration, archival footage and interviews profiling the rise and fall of Mikhail Khodorkovsky from young oil tycoon to exiled political dissident, via the changing political and economic climates following the fall of communist Russia in 1991.

After the collapse of the old guard in 1991, Russian leader Gorbachev and eventually Boris Yelstin, who Khordorkovsky liked and admired, attempted efforts to turn a communist economy/government into democratic one. They failed miserably, amid the emerging presence of individuals who had a great desire for power, had greed and were part of organized crime. Yeltsin worked for economic and political freedoms. But the rise of capitalism was occurring via this wide spread crime and frequent murder. Turns out it wasn't going to be quite so easy to shift from communist rule, where the government owns and controls everything, to a free market, capitalist economy. The needs of the people were not being met. They had no way to earn money and there were not enough necessities and basics for the population. Eventually, seven opportunistic oligarchs controlled 50 percent of the economy, all financed with vouchers purchased for far less value than they were worth. They were modern day robber barons, not unlike those who built up the US economy.

Khodorkovsky, the main subject of this doc, was at one time the richest man in Russia, through the oil company he bought and built. He had begun his career in the 90's by founding the first commercial bank and admitted in interviews that he was fueled by greed. As Putin was rising to power, the two became adversaries in that Khodorkovsky threatened Putin, who wanted control of the economy back into the hands of the state or under the supervision of his own minions. K observed the power of the media, which Putin took control over, further illustrating his personal support for free and unbiased media. So in 2003, K was charged with fraud, theft, embezzlement and tax evasion, tried and sentenced in court, through sketchy means, and imprisoned for 10 years in a Siberian prison, but gaining an eventual pardon from Putin. He was considered a "prisoner of conscience" by Amnesty International. In doing so he became a public figure for human rights and for democracy. He self exiled to London and eventually lost billions from his failing company, became an outspoken critic of Putin, including his rather seedy rise to power. His concerns centered around what Putin's government was and is doing to Russia. K is currently wanted in Russia on alleged murder charges, from 1998, and has a price on his head. While he would like to return and help his country, he cannot. London is not much safer, where several high profile Russians have met their ends under suspicious circumstances.

With a handful of men controlling the Russian economy and the continued spread of corruption in Russia, which some believe is spilling into and influencing the US government, this is an eye opening look into how the Russian government most recently and currently is working. Some of the images of Russia are rather terrifying with respect to free speech and free press. Directed by Oscar winner Alex Gibley, the work is solid, chock full of information, and detailed to a T. There is alot to unpack here and at times it can be a little but dry at 2 hours and 8 minutes of complex history, and the film may be hard to follow for some viewers. There are two previous docs out on Khodorkovsky (2011, 2015) should one want to check them out as well.

In this version, "Citizen K" himself is telling a large portion of his own story, via interview. He has begun an organization called Open Russia and has a long term plan intended to rid Russian of corrupt despots. It shows a clear picture of a society that we do not want to become. The film is primarily in Russian with subtitles, especially in the news reports and archival footage, as well as the first half.
(Review by Cheryl Wurtz)




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Downhill






“Downhill” is a dumbed down Americanized version of Ruben Östlund’s vastly superior 2014 film “Force Majeure.” Adapted by screenwriters Jesse Armstrong, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash, with Faxon and Rash also directing the movie, “Downhill” finds a married couple, Pete (Will Ferrell) and Billie (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and their two children going on a ski vacation in the Alps. One of the first things the family experiences on their trip is an avalanche. While Billie hunkers down trying to protect the children, Pete scurries off making sure to grab his cell phone. This starts a debate inside Billie as she contemplates on her husband’s commitment to the family and drastically alters the family’s luxurious getaway.

To start on a positive note, Louis-Dreyfus is fantastic in her role. She gives the character and her emotions depth, making her experience and resulting actions believable for the audience. The character of Billie is the glue that holds this movie together because, to be quite honest, not much else works in the movie’s favor.

Will Ferrell has given some excellent dramatically comedic performances over the years, look at “Stranger Than Fiction” or “Everything Must Go,” but that’s not the case here. His performance feels out of balance with the tone of the rest of the movie. He’s not as outlandishly goofy as he usually is but he’s also not as restrained as he should have been. Pete feels like a low-key take on many of Ferrell’s past roles. Louis-Dreyfus’ performance doesn’t mix well with Ferrell’s, making Ferrell feel miscast.

Then, there’s Miranda Otto’s character, Charlotte. She’s a pill. Charlotte is cartoony to the extreme with a penchant for discussing sex. There’s a similar character in the original but what’s handled deftly there and seems to enhance the narrative is handled crudely here becoming an annoying distraction. Her character feels even more out of place than Ferrell’s Pete, especially with her ridiculous accent and broken English.

“Downhill” feels the need to go in some unnecessary directions with its storytelling. “Force Majeure” is a nuanced work with a natural flow to it that feels like it just happens to be funny, at times. Faxon and Rash’s movie feels like its only goal is to make the audience laugh (at that it doesn’t always do a particularly good job, though there are some funny bits). “Downhill” strips the storyline of “Force Majeure” down to its bare essentials. It simplifies the narrative to its base elements and removes the philosophical tone that director Östlund instilled in his movie. At least Faxon and Rash have the decency to make their version of the story short, the film isn’t even 90 minutes long.

Perhaps the biggest detraction in this remake is that the filmmakers don’t have confidence in the intelligence of their audience. Things that are left implied for the European audiences are flat out stated here, ensuring that the viewer knows exactly what these characters are thinking and doing. Louis-Dreyfus is the only thing that makes this version worth watching.
(Review by Bret Oswald)




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Enter the Fat Dragon





Fans of Donnie Yen will be amused by his newest departure from his iconic role as Ip Man. It is a sort of remake of a 1978 film of the same name staring Sammo Hung. It was directed by veteran stuntman Kenji Tanigaki from a script by Wong Jing, Lui Koon-nam and Ronald Chan Kin-hung. Instead of Sammo Hung's pig farmer, Yen is a Hong Kong cop who has a reputation for causing trouble. Due to the recent coronavirus crisis the film opened on streaming services in China and select theaters in the U.S, but unfortunately not in DFW.

Yen plays Fallon Zhu who describes himself as a 145 lb policeman is engaged to Chloe (Niki Chow) his actress girlfriend of 10 years. The day he is supposed to meet her at the photographer's studio for their pre-wedding pictures, bad guys come in to rob the place. As a cop, Fallon gives chase and the heavily armed robbers wreck havoc in their escape. There's a very cool inventive fight scene involving a van. Afterwards his very angry bosses have him reassigned to the evidence room. Chloe has also had it with him putting himself in danger trying to right all the wrongs and breaks up with him. After he breaks a leg in a bike accident, he spends his heartbroken recuperation time eating junk food and watching Bruce Lee movies. Even after he gets back to work his weight balloons to 250 lbs.

His boss sends him to escort a porn director being extradited to Japan. On the plane he runs into Chloe who is doing some celebrity work. She barely recognizes him. Fallon is met by sleazy toupee wearing cop and a Chinese interpreter (Jessica Jann and Naoto Takenaka). They get their charge delivered, but then he escapes. The Yukuza wants him as he had videoed some incriminating footage. Fallon's boss sends him to a former cop Thor (played by director Wong Jing). He's been in Japan 10 years as he's in love with a restaurant owner (Theresa Mo). She is in trouble with some gangsters to pay back a loan. Fallon helps break up the attack. In order to find the missing director, Thor and Fallon end up at the Fish Market where Chloe is helping open a new business which happens to be owned by the main gang boss. Another fight ensues this time involving a forklift.

In all the convoluted plot twists, Chloe finally realizes that she is still in love with Fallon despite his weight gain. In any other movie the fat shamming would be considered to politically incorrect and insensitive. In this case, Fallon manages to kick@ss and get the bad guys despite his extra poundage. It's a fun to watch the comedic squabbles between the two couples. And it's nice to see the women taking a more aggressive role in the battles rather than the usual passive positions of the damsels in distress. Yen is delightful as Fallon, a far cry from his serious and deadly characters. Hopefully this will open in Dallas, or find it's way to Netflix soon.
(Review by reesa)




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The Photograph








(Review by Chase Lee)





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Sonic The Hedgehog





Director: Jeff Fowler Studio: Paramount

Speed-up Sonic the Hedgehog!

After an outrage over the original Sonic design in the first trailer, Paramount and the filmmakers made a heavy decision on pushing the film’s released date back much further in order to redesign Sonic. Based on the video game franchise produced by Sega, Sonic the Hedgehog serves as a directorial debut for director Jeff Fowler and stars Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic while supportive actors Jim Carrey and James Marsden appear in the film. Also appearing is actress Tika Sumpter (ABC’s One Life to Live) who portrays as the wife of Marsden’s character.

Here’s a little brief background for the director Jeff Fowler, he was the director of the 2004 animated short film Gopher Broke, for which he was nominated Best Animated Short Film Oscar, and was a visual effects artist for the 2009 feature film Where the Wild Things Are.

Sonic the Hedgehog focuses on the anthropomorphic blue hedgehog named Sonic who can run faster at supersonic speeds. However, the biggest conflict is that he is on the run from both Dr. Robotnik (portrayed by Jim Carrey), a mad scientist and inventor who is obsessed with capturing Sonic for his world domination plans, and the U.S. government. As means of escaping and avoid captivity, he meets and is assisted by the town’s police officer named Tom (James Marsden) who decides to help him from being captured and used by Dr. Robotnik.

Sonic the Hedgehog features a comedic and nicely-done dialogue and interaction between a CGI-paced character and the live-action characters. With many different approaches, Fowler uses the similarities and the resemblances from the Sonic’s character abilities by revisiting a plethora of retro-style games produced from the 1980s to 2000s as part of the film’s dynamics. Fowler also makes his story structures more concrete but makes the story much more fun and enjoyable for the kids. Another thing is Fowler adds a small load of movie references that involves speeding as another inspiration for the film. Lastly, what is surprising is that the director leaves a little cliffhanger at the end, judging by the mid-credit scenes in the end, reminding the audiences that the future of Sonic will happen.

As a voice actor, Ben Schwartz is trying his best to strengthen his character, even if it means providing plenty of smiles, smirks, and laughs. He also brings much character development based on the video games whilst performing motion capture on the set. While Schwartz’s energy is still going, two supportive actors Jim Carrey and James Marsden are doing the best they can under Fowler’s presence to bring the energy and nifty aspects of their slow-pacing performance and cues.

More importantly, the redesign of Sonic has been built perfectly with much CGI, the pacing, the movement, and the visual effects based on what the audiences saw from the second trailer. Fowler made the right decision for him and the filmmakers to tirelessly work all day and night to fix Sonic as well as making his move on every scene, place, and action sequence. It takes much time, effort, commitment, dedication, hard work, and determination to repair the whole mess.

Although there is some lack of character development for Marsden and Carrey right there. Marsden didn’t provide much support for his Tom character and the relationship with Schwartz’s Sonic while Carrey didn’t provide much enough comedy and slapstick performance to make the film easier to digest. Not to mention, the plot twists are not so abundant, although the action sequences are enjoyable, but somewhat corny. Also, there isn’t much characters from the Sonic games that appear in the film as this meant to be a Sonic solo film. Even the CGI-handcrafted Dr. Robotnik’s robots in the film aren’t even helping to match the outlook from the game.

With the redesign Sonic being fun and easier to watch, Sonic the Hedgehog is a good movie or maybe stupidly, fun movie I must say. I like it, but not entirely. I wasn’t sure if this film is going to be a hit or miss, but that’s one thing the audience will find out. It’s a good movie for kids and Sonic the Hedgehog fans out there who grew up playing Sonic games but for adults, not really. Don’t forget, this film arrives on Valentine’s Day, which that means Sonic the Hedgehog is the perfect treat for a Valentine’s Day outing.



GRADE: C+
(Review by Henry Pham)




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Birds of Prey





This one was a delicious ride throughout the lengthy running time.

Margot Robbie reprises her role as Harley Quinn, the young doctor and former boyfriend of the Joker (Jared Leto) who does not even make an appearance in the storyline/plot here. This marks her first appearance as the character since her role in the so-so director David Ayer’s “Suicide Squad” from 2016. I think I gave it a grade of B- when it originally came out.

The audience is treated to her adoption of a hyena named Bruce, who resides in a metal bathtub in her kitchen. She and the aforementioned Joker broke up, so Harley is now flying solo.

What makes the movie excel most of all is the action choreography. It does not feel rushed, but just used as a right-set adjusted placeholder.

So readers know, this is a DC comic book film. They have improved since the annoying “Green Lantern” (2001), quite a few years back..

For instance, Harley Quinn goes into a police station and disarms various individuals with via a bean bag shotgun, that blows up with multi-colored and confetti sprinkles flying all over the place. They are not all dead, rather maimed in some form or fash
ion.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is a character known aa Huntress, a woman seeking revenge on those who vanquished her entire family from the planet. Her part has some depth, since her justification is just due and appropriate for the role.

O the allies side is Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s character of singer Dinah Lance aka Black Canary. She is a singer For Ewan McGregor’s Roman Sionis, the villain of the story. In addition, she also serves as his driver, since Harley Quinn put his other driver out of commission by breaking his driver’s leg earlier in the story.
Also part of the ensemble is Rosie Perez’s tough-as-nails cop Renee Montoya. Also part of the troupe is Ella Jay Basco’s Cassandra Cain, a teen pickpocket keeping the girls on their toes.
“Birds of Prey” is just plain enjoyable. The women, for all intents and purposes are not the bad guys, rather just anti-heroes.

Directing chores for “Birds of Prey” were handled by Cathy Yan, who last directed the little seen “Dead Pigs” in 2018. It received recognition at the Dallas international Film Festival that year. It took home a trophy for Grand Jury prize in the Narrative Feature competition.

So readers know, the running time on this is 1 hr., 49 min.. It goes by really fast and quick, so there is not too many dry spells in the narrative.

They left the door open for further sequels, since the movie just ends with the characters all o their own adventures and such.

Grade: A-

(Review by Ricky Miller)




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Sunday, February 9, 2020

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Feb 9 - Feb 15



The Academy Awards is going to be on a few minutes. It's kinda anti-climatic as the other awards shows have set up the winners already. Did you watch the Film Independent Spirit Awards? At least there were a few surprises. And my very favorite films of last year, The Farewell and Parasite managed to get recognized for their excellence.

An issue was discussed on our Facebook page regarding how people with disabilities are being treated in the lines. I'm really sorry y'all have to go through this. Not sure who we need to address these issues. So if anyone has suggestions, let me know. I haven't been at the movies lately because my car is still broken (again).

Feb 9 - Feb 15

Tue - Feb 11

Downhill - 7:00 pm - Angelika

Wed - Feb 12

The Photograph - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark

Thu - Feb 13

Call of the Wild - 7:00 pm - Harkins Southlake








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Thursday, February 6, 2020

Birds of Prey






Director: Cathy Yan Studio: Warner Bros.

“Birds of Prey” nailed it!

Warner Bros. have finally figured out how to impress the audiences and critics by wanting a nice, clean plot unlike the previous DC films that got into a rocky start of the DCEU franchise. Surely, filmmakers don’t make Superhero films just to woo the fans and audiences, they make movies to discover the people (or characters) in their livelihood. And that’s how the origins of any character can connect to the film’s plot and the cast. The film features the return of Margot Robbie from Suidcide Squad, reprising her role as Harley Quinn/ Harleen Quinzel. The film also stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, and Ewan McGregor. Birds of Prey also introduced Ella Jay Basco in her acting debut in a motion picture film.

Birds of Prey tells the story of Harley's life after she broke up with the Joker. Later throughout the film, she focuses on her own post-Joker lifestyle of living before joining forces with the Black Canary, The Huntress, and the police detective Renee Montoya to protect the foster girl named Cassandra Cain under the threat from the criminal mastermind, the Black Mask.

Birds of Prey (more formally known as Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) puts the characters into their separate places in their perspective career roles: we have Perez playing the as a tough police cop, Smollett-Bell as the club singer and (somewhat) a spy, Basco as the child theft, Winstead as the female hunter with a mad, strong martial-art skills, and of course, the movie has Ewan McGregor as Roman Sionis, the club’s owner and a criminal mastermind whose personality, insane-driven, and power-hungry ambition later transformed him into the Black Mask.

With the director Cathy Yan on board, Yan basically knows the nuts and bolts on how to craft this film into a colorful work of art. Yan understands what every aspect from every character should learn when it involves putting much violent contents each other to add comedy in the background, build bridges to avoid messy gaps on the way, and learn about having a good time of their lives even if it means by teaming up despite their misfit personalities (akin to Guardians of the Galaxy films, but only females, which is one of main influences for this film as a whole).

What can be refreshing is that Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn character breaks the fourth wall to shuffle the events of the order of the film, giving the audience more structural details, put off-beat humor to its place, and gathering information on how the film flows based on the characters and the action. Similarity, the style, the familiarity, and the comparisons came from the Marvel's Deadpool films, which they cannot be missed. But if anything stands in the way, both Deadpool/Wade Wilson and Harley Quinn focus on the fourth-wall jokes via commentary about the superheroes, making Birds of Prey a perfect choice to be Deadpool’s roommate as well as being placed in the superhero genre rather than just a action-adventure genre in that matter.

One thing that can’t be missed is that the entire ensemble delivers their assigned troupes, with Harley proving the jars of Looney Tunes-flavored energy and personality she has gotten to make this film incredibly funnier and enjoyable. While that’s taking care of, supportive actor Ewan McGregor, who is given a meatier role from the director, and his partner star Chris Messina are doing their best to provide a strong, funnier role with much comedic dialogue.

With the colors, the pacing, the slapstick, and the laugh-out-loud flavored scenes present, Birds of Prey is an awesome movie (of as if anyone can say “the great chick flick”). This certainly proves why Harley Quinn has become such an endearing, beloved character in the pop-culture phenomenon. I certainly enjoyed this film with a big bucket loads of sugar-crazed laughter on the edge of my seat. Birds of Prey really let DCEU back on its feet and pave the way to the top. With the cast, the direction, and the humor embracing together, the future of DCEU looks bright, a stint compared to the Disney Renaissance era and Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you can’t figure out what movie to see the most, I guarantee, Birds of Prey is worth the price of admission.



GRADE: A-
(Review by Henry Pham)




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Frozen 2





How and why this thing got made comes down to the almighty dollar. This one is enjoyable, but it lacked originality and pizzazz of the 2013’s “Frozen.”

Disney wants to hold onto their possessions, but at some point in time they will just have to make due with what they are given. This flick manages to strike then right chords, since I did get those goosebumps at least once during the various song and dance numbers.

That, however, was a bit hokey and superficial in spots since everything felt too staged in spots and sequences.

There is an entire sequence that reeks of an old-time 1980’s music video wherein one feels the cheese and rolls their eyes and surprised this became part of a theatrical film.

“Frozen II” essentially has the same voices of the original tale. This includes Kristen Bell’s Elsa, Idina Manzell’s Anna, Josh Gad’s Olaf, Hans (the voice of Santino Fontana) and his trusty steed Duke (Alan Tudyk).

“Frozen II” deals with Elsa’s running away from home again and trying to figure out her place in the kingdom in which she resides. It is flourishing town, but somewhere in the past some unsavory events occurred.

The problem with “Frozen II” is that it feels like it just wants to exist to sell merchandise and the like. I had fun, but at some point, it just feels too forced.

At some point in time, the events that occur feel like a sitcom that has ran for just too many seasons.
Returning for directing chores on “Frozen II” are Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee. Buck helmed 2013’s “Frozen” as well as 1999’s “Tarzan” and 2007’s “Surf’s Up.”

With “Frozen II,” he delves into some deeper parts of the storyline in which the past comes back around and gives a touch of life lessons that are important for that easygoing feeling.

Lee also directed the “Frozen” short “Frozen Fever” in 2015. It ran before Kenneth Branagh’s “Cinderella” update that same year. I enjoyed that one because their was not a plethora of song and dance numbers throughout.

I would recommend “Frozen II,” despite the forced aspects of the storyline. It does what it’s supposed to do in that it reintroduces a bunch of people the entire family can love.

Grade: B-
(Review by Ricky Miller)





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The Gentlemen





Director: Guy Ritchie Studio: STX Entertainment/Miramax

“The Gentlemen” shoots a fiery, yet unforgettable adventure.

The Gentlemen is the latest British action-crime film from the exquisite director Guy Ritchie who takes on the director-pin ship to helm this wonderful, crafty, comedy adventure. Not only Ritchie uses his experience from his Sherlock Holmes films (starring Robert Downey Jr.), but he also uses the 2019 films Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, The Irishman, and Knives Out as part of the inspiration for the film, but more British-style like the James Bond films. He, as usual, stuffs The Gentlemen with several contemporary actors Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, and supportive actor Hugh Grant appearing together.

In the film, Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) is American expatriate who becomes rich by selling drugs and building up marijuana empire in London. But when the word spreads about him cashing out of business, it leads to an array of plots and schemes from those scavenging vultures who want to take their hands on his fortune.

What Guy Ritchie did as the director of the film is to bring the classics from these three 2019 films (mentioned above) and put them altogether to build up the climaxes and the plotline that fit the film’s storylines really well and cunning for the audiences and critics’ amusement. Ritchie have produced the ill-fated King Arthur: Legend of the Sword back in 2017, though he later made it up to helm the remake of Disney’s Aladdin and The Gentlemen right here. He even puts his Hollywood directing-style techniques to the test by including quick scene cuts, onscreen titles, and extensive voiceover with a little breaking-the-fourth-wall reference.

Not only the film itself is well thought out, but the actors have been studiously ornamented sleazed up with flashy, fancy outfits to represent the manhood of British-English etiquette. Even when the long, screen time-consuming performances and action sequences are remarkable and ambiguous, those actors look like they they’re having the time of their lives. And lastly, the relationship between the actors Grant and Hunnam have more romantic chemistry than McConaughey and Dockery do.

And let’s not forget, what is surprising is actress Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) have stolen the spotlight as the sexy, spy woman-esque wife of Matthew McConaughey’s character and the fact that Hugh Grant’s character revealing that the entire storyline of the film is actually a movie pitch to Miramax, which really brings the whole idea for the director to reveal that The Gentlemen is a film-within-a-film.

The Gentlemen is a great movie, I heavily enjoyed every action sequence there is compared to Knives Out and other crime, mystery films. Let me say this, The Gentlemen looks a bit Oscar/Golden Globe worthy due to the screenplay, the marketing, the actors’ performances, and the plotline overall. The four actors Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, and Hugh Grant did a really great job to keep up with their character Ritchie have always wanted. I must say it’s a must, no muss, no fuss.



GRADE: A-
(Review by Henry Pham)






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Feedback







In director Pedro C. Alonso’s “Feedback,” Jarvis Dolan (Eddie Marsan), the host of a politically angled talk show for a London radio station, has been having more than a bit of trouble lately. He’s been abducted – a confusingly included, and vaguely detailed, plot point that doesn’t contribute anything to the main plot – and now, the radio station’s manager, Norman (Anthony Head), wants him to reteam with his past hosting partner, Andrew Wilde (Paul Anderson). Andrew and Jarvis have had a falling out and are not on the best of terms. Following a heated discussion, Jarvis reluctantly agrees to the reunion, telling Norman that Andrew can appear on the show later that night.



Things take another turn for the worse when Jarvis goes live on air and, shortly thereafter, the recording studio is secretly taken hostage by a pair of masked men, armed with a sledgehammer and a shotgun. They force Jarvis to continue the show but with their own planned script, threatening bodily harm to him and his techs if he tries anything. There are more than a few problems with this setup. How did these guys get into the studio unnoticed, especially with all these weapons? It can’t be that easy to carry a sledgehammer past the building’s security guards. Jarvis has already been kidnapped this week, now he can add being taken hostage to his list of woes – two unrelated incidents in one week, it’s a bit over-the-top as far as set-ups go.



Written by Alonso along with Alberto Marini, “Feedback” leaves a lot to be desired. Why has Jarvis’ show been taken over? Are the hostage-takers unhappy about the content or is something else going on? It’s soon revealed that the hostage-takers have an agenda. They want Jarvis to get Andrew to confess about an event years in his past. The necessary involvement of Andrew is one thing that really bothered me about their plan. How did they know Andrew was going to be on the show that night? Jarvis apparently had no idea. This is the type of movie that asks you to blindly go along with it.



For the majority of the movie, Alonso makes Jarvis the sympathetic character. However, Alonso abruptly tries to switch the audience’s sympathies in the film’s finale, flip-flopping the victim and the victimizers and making the movie’s motives questionable. How are we supposed to switch our sympathies after what we’ve just witnessed? Can we fully believe either party’s story? This script could have used some more work.



Despite the obvious problems, Alonso handles the material with skill. “Feedback” is a taut, tightly constructed thriller that’s shot with a sure hand. The action is laid out well and easy to follow and the acting is excellent. All things considered; I didn’t really like this one. With some better writing this would have been a much more effective movie.
(Review by Bret Oswald)






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Come to Daddy






(Review by Chase Lee)







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Monday, February 3, 2020

This Week at Alamo Drafthouse DFW (2/3 - 2/9)





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

Get ready to tackle your daddy issues with a special Fantastic Fest Presents screening of Come to Daddy with a livestream Q&A following with Elijah Wood and director Ant Timpson. Make sure to leave the lights on after watching the grim haunting tale The Lodge with it’s own advance look and special livestream Q&A with directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala plus actor Jaeden Martell. And finally, it would not be Febuary without a little Bad Romance. Celebrate movies that take the love story in new and unusual directions with screenings this week including Boomerang and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. For a full calendar listing, please visit drafthouse.com/dfw/calendar.

See y’all soon at the Alamo Drafthouse!



This Week's Highlights…

Fantastic Fest Presents: Come to Daddy with Livestream Q&A

Join us for our Fantastic Fest Presents screening of COME TO DADDY followed by a Livestream Q&A with Elijah Wood and director Ant Timpson. Acclaimed producer Ant Timpson concocts a perfect grinder of dark humor unexpected twists and total mayhem in his pulpy genre-bending directorial debut. Elijah Wood plays Norval a mustachioed down-on-his-luck hipster reunited with his estranged father. And that’s when things get weird. Pairing sharp wit with gonzo violence Come to Daddy tackles provocative themes with bloody delight.The film is preceded by the Michael Arcos's experimental documentary short about one very bad jaguar Valerio’s Day Out.

The Lodge with Livestream Q&A
Join us for an advance look at the movie Slash Film is calling "the next great horror film." Followed by a Livestream Q&A with directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala plus actor Jaeden Martell. Straight from a critically-acclaimed Sundance Film Festival premiere The Lodge is a grim haunting tale of grief loathing and isolation. Melding the bleak trauma of the directors’ debut with echoes of The Shining and Hereditary, it’s a horror film you won’t soon get out of your psyche.

February’s Bad Romance Series

Lovey-dovey montages set to pop songs? Nah. Charming meet-cutes? Uh-uh. Kisses in the rain? That’s a “nope.”We’re all for romance but we also know there are times in our lives where the last thing we need to see is a bunch of beautiful people being all ooey-gooey over each other.So this February we’re showcasing movies that take the love story in new and unusual directions. Some are full of heart. Some are full of blood. All are delightfully twisted.



MONDAY | FEBRUARY 3

Cedars
Screening: Bad Romance: Get Out at 7:00PM
Denton
Screening: Champagne Cinema: Pride & Prejudice at 7:00PM

Lake Highlands
Screening: Bad Romance: Boomerang at 7:00PM

Las Colinas
Screening: Music Monday: Hype! at 7:00PM

North Richland Hills
Screening: Bad Romance: Wild at Heart at 7:00PM

Richardson
Screening: Champagne Cinema: Pride & Prejudice at 7:00PM
Screening: Fantastic Fest Presents: Come to Daddy with livestream Q&A at 8:00PM



TUESDAY | FEBRUARY 4

Cedars
Screening: Terror Tuesday: My Bloody Valentine (1981) at 9:00PM

Denton
Screening: Anime-zing: Promare (Subtitled) at 7:00PM
Screening: The Lodge with livestream Q&A at 7:30PM

Lake Highlands
Screening: The Lodge with livestream Q&A at 7:00PM

Las Colinas
Screening: Terror Tuesday: In the Mouth of Madness at 9:05PM

North Richland Hills
Screening: The Lodge with livestream Q&A at 7:00PM
Screening: Terror Tuesday: In the Mouth of Madness at 8:05PM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Vetted Well at 8:00PM

Richardson
Screening: Graveyard Shift: The Fog at 9:00PM
Bar Event: Tiki Bingo - Glass Half Full at 7:00PM



WEDNESDAY | FEBRUARY 5

Cedars
Screening: Bad Romance: Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) at 7:00PM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Vetted Well at 8:00PM

Denton
Screening: Bad Romance: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind at 7:00PM

Lake Highlands
Screening: Anime-zing: Promare (Subtitled) at 7:00PM

Las Colinas
Screening: Bad Romance: The Awful Truth at 7:00PM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Vetted Well at 8:00PM

North Richland Hills
Screening: Bad Romance: Boomerang at 7:00PM

Richardson
Screening: Bad Romance: Boomerang at 7:00PM
Bar Event: Geeks Who Drink - Glass Half Full at 8:00PM



THURSDAY | FEBRUARY 6

Denton
Screening: Watch Party: UNT Mean Green Basketball at 6:30PM

Las Colinas
Screening: Bad Radio Presents: Step Brothers at 7:30PM

Richardson
Screening: Fantastic Fest Presents: Come to Daddy at 7:00PM
Screening: Birds of Prey Glitter Punk Screening at 8:00PM



FRIDAY | FEBRUARY 7

Richardson
Screening: Fantastic Fest Presents: Come to Daddy at 7:00PM



SATURDAY | FEBRUARY 8

Denton
Screening: Watch Party: UNT Mean Green Basketball at 1:00PM
Screening: Rocky Horror Picture Show with Los Bastardos Shadow Cast at 10:00PM

Lake Highlands
Screening: PBS Kids at The Alamo: Odd Squad at 10:00AM

Las Colinas
Screening: Bad Romance: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind at 7:00PM
Screening: Movie Party: Little Shop of Horrors at 7:00PM

North Richland Hills
Screening: Bad Romance: Phantom Thread Afternoon Tea at 3:45PM
Screening: Bad Romance: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind at 7:00PM

Richardson
Screening: Fantastic Fest Presents: Come to Daddy at 7:00PM
Screening: Love Bites Music Video Party at 9:00PM



SUNDAY | FEBRUARY 9
Cedars
Screening: Movie Party: The Phantom of the Opera (2004) at 7:05PM

Denton
Screening: Flashback Brunch: The Wedding Singer at 11:00AM

Lake Highlands
Screening: Flashback Brunch: The Wedding Singer at 11:00AM

Las Colinas
Screening: Flashback Brunch: The Breakfast Club at 11:00AM

North Richland Hills
Screening: Flashback Brunch: The Wedding Singer at 11:00AM

Richardson
Screening: Bad Romance: The Awful Truth at 4:25PM
Screening: Fantastic Fest Presents: Come to Daddy at 7:00PM



First Run Movies Now Playing…

The Rhythm Section
Gretel & Hansel
1917
Bad Boys For Life
Dolittle
Jojo Rabbit
Knives Out
Little Women
Parasite
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
The Gentlemen
The Turning
Uncut Gems


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





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Sunday, February 2, 2020

Movies Scheduled for the Week of Feb 2 - Feb 8


So Superbowl has come and gone. Did you watch it? Also on tonight was the British Academy Awards that gave a hint of what to expect for next weekend. It's almost anticlimactic. So happy to see Parasite won a couple of awards.

Personally I haven't been able to attend as my car has been doomed only allowed short jaunts for milk and toilet paper. Not too many movies this week, but hopefully me and my mini-me will be back in line with y'all. If there are problems you need addressing please email me at reesas@yahoo.com


Feb 2 - Feb 8

Tues - Feb 4

Birds of Prey - 7:30 pm - AMC Northpark
To All The Boys I Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You - 7:30 pm - Angelika

Wed - Feb 5

Birds of Prey - 7:00 pm - AMC Northpark

Sat - Feb 8

Sonic The Hedgehog - 11:00 am - AMC Northpark
Sonic The Hedgehog - 11:30 am - Cinemark 17






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