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.

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Website and Group Contact: dalscreenings@gmail.com

Friday, September 25, 2020

Rouge





This Megan Fox headlined action-suspense tale comes from an accomplished director in female M.J. Bassett, who spent time helming various TV shows befoere delving into features like this one as well as “Solomon Kane,” a 2009 entry that dealt with unsavory entities and the like set back a couple of hundreds of years ago. She also helmed the intriguing sequel “Silent Hill: Revelation” in 2012.

Now, with “Rogue,” she enters the action phase of Megan Fox’s solo career phase.

Fox brought in the teen male crowd with her turn as Shia LeBeouf’s girlfriend in the Michael Bay-directed “Transformers” in 2007, with “Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon.”

She then went on to do movie as well as the “meh” live action Michael Bay produced “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (2014) a couple of years later Turtles,” once again teaming her up with producer/director Michael Bay.

In a system that currently has nothing but male headlining all the stories and franchises, it is nice to see the girls taking over for once. America embraced Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Eveerdine for “The Hunger Games” tales a few years ago, but studios can’t seem to find hat niche for well written tales and stories.

Earlier this summer I was looking forward to “Black Widow,” with Scarlett Johansson returning as Natasha Romanoff, one of the various members of “The Avengers,” but all this COVID stuff has put a giant monkey wrench into the grinder.

But I digress, since we’re here to talk about “Rogue,” a Lionsgate title that has essentially replaced all the small studios in the mass to give the American public a wider viewing library to look at all things mainstream.

So the plot here essentially deals with a group of baddies who kidnap girls travelling abroad and uses said girls aa bargaining chips (re: ransom).

Fox, like James Franco a few years back was part of that system that felt America should embrace this star. Sure, she is talented and easy on the eyes, but one just has to ask why I should invest my time with this star who has had more misses than hits in recent years. “Jonah Hex” (2010) with Josh Brolin comes to mind when discussing her career path. Even the star power of Brolin could not even save this tale.

I would recommend “Rogue” as a fun time-waster, but digress, since there are too many other titles I can recommend.

Namely “The Old Guard,” “6 Underground” and “Enola Holmes,” recently added to the Netflix line-up as a fun family flick.

“Rogue” is worth a watch, but as I recently pointed out there are too many other movies and tales I would recommend over this so-so flick.

Grade: C+
(Review by Ricky Miller)






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The Nest




(Review by Chase Lee)



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Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles




(Review by Chase Lee)



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Thursday, September 10, 2020

The Broken Hearts Gallery





Director: Natalie Krinsky Studio: Tristar Pictures

Love finds a way in The Broken Hearts Gallery!

By recalling Ron Swanson’s quote, “If you don’t believe in love, what’s the point of living?” Most movies don't have to be as romantic as other Disney films. People asked if movies reflect relationships. To answer that question, sometimes it does, but not all the time. The real definition of a movie is a cultural product that centers on the person or people working and living in a certain point of time. Television writer Natalie Krinsky takes her first movie-directing job out through the streets of New York with actress Geraldine Viswanathan (Blockers) as an aspiring art curator named Lucy Gulliver while actors Dacre Montgomery (Stranger Things), Utkarsh Ambudkar, Molly Gordon (Booksmart, Life of the Party), and Phillipa Soo (Disney+ Hamilton) both received supporting roles.

The Broken Hearts Gallery follows a 20-something New Yorker and art gallery assistant named Lucy Gulliver who gets dumped by her latest boyfriend and creates a pop-up space for the items of previous relationships. While doing so, she meets and befriends a new hotel owner named Nick who agrees to open up a small pop-up gallery in his hotel.

The Broken Hearts Gallery serves as Natalie Krinsky’s first feature film to work on as well as her first time doing the screenwriting duty on a feature film. Before that, she worked on television shows Gossip Girl and Grey’s Anatomy as a writer on a small number of episodes, which became a starting point to her career. Her direction in the film really increases much velocity on the story and the characters with the picture quality and color palette are an improvement for the 1980s or 1990’s groovy era, making this film look fresh, new and improved as if people are going back through time to see their treasured memories they have as children or younger teens. Actress Selena Gomez is also involved in the film as an executive producer.

The comedy, the references, and the jokes being featured in the film are what makes the film easy to handle with such huge laughs to pop up for that affair. This one receives bonus points for witty writing, adding a touch of humor to it. The camera shots and angles coming from cinematographer Alar Kivilo really put some nice soft spots on the scenes, capturing the perfect balance for that main focus on Geraldine Viswanathan and Dacre Montgomery together.

The chemistry between Geraldine Viswanathan and Dacre Montgomery makes this film easy to watch and follow as they really bring up a good, diversified relationship the director really wants to study how any romantic films and television shows weaves in every scene to scene based on her influences on romantic, comedy films and any films that feature complicated, dysfunctional relationships with friends and families in real life.

Actor Utkarsh Ambudkar portrays Lucy's recent 30-something ex-boyfriend while Molly Gordon and Phillipa Soo portrayed Amasnda and Nadine, Lucy’s roommates.

Also appearing are Arturo Castro as Marcos, Suki Waterhouse as Nick’s girlfriend named Chloe whom he names the hotel after, and the legendary actress and Broadway star Bernadette Peters as Eva Wolff with the special guest appearance Roy Choi who had a cameo in this one.

On the bright side, The Broken Hearts Gallery is absolutely one of the greatest films I ever watched, which clocks over to 109 minutes. The director, Geraldine Viswanathan, and the rest of the crew have done an amazing job on working on such a fine piece of artwork that meets its gold standards and requirements for the motion picture studios. Basically, this film goes right up in my alley when it comes to social relationships. If you’re going to win a bet to see which film to choose that is greater, my best bet is that I highly recommend this film for both adults and parents who have been struggling with relationships throughout their lives.

GRADE: A

(Review by Henry Pham)



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Paper Spiders






(Review by Chase Lee)



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All In: The Fight for Democracy






(Review by Chase Lee)




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The Broken Hearts Gallery






(Review by Chase Lee)



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Paper Spiders





Director: Inon Shampanier Studio: Cranium Entertainment, Idiot Savant Pictures.

Review: Paper Spiders

Movies can be fun outings for both families and friends out there who want to take a load off from work or class at a school, but this film, Paper Spiders, brings a mother-and-daughter adventure to its new heights and levels in many directions. Inon Shampanier steps in as the director with his wife, Natalie Shampanier, as the writer and Ash Christian as a producer for the film. The film mainly stars Lili Taylor (American Crime) and Stefania LaVie Owen (Running Wilde) as a mother-and-daughter leads.

Paper Spiders primarily centers on the widowed mother named Dawn who experiences growing anxiety as her daughter Melanie departs for college, but after an altercation with a hostile new neighbor, Dawn’s mental condition becomes a primary concern as she begins to show signs of paranoid delusions. With that, Melanie’s task is to find many ways to help her mom with her delusions. Due to her facing difficult challenges with Dawn’s reality of persecution that ultimately tears them and their relationship apart, Melanie is forced to make the toughest decisions as she struggles to keep her mother afloat.

Inon and Natalie Shampanier are tasked to make a film that brings messages about the moral lessons about life situations and family issues that had an huge impact on human life and normality towards critics and audiences, especially when it comes to characters or people making tough decisions that endured their well-being, freedom of right, and new chapters on their adventures. His ways of telling the story prove to be suitable for the unmessy materials he and the crew had to work. Not only the Shampaniers made the film uniquely fascinating to watch with the storyline being filled with drama, but also adds a nice touching humor on those two main characters, adding some character developments, placing some good quality editing and script-writing for them, and directly smell the soothing sounds of tender love and heartful cinematic scenes that are easy to watch.

Lili Taylor portrays Dawn, a struggling mother whose husband passed away and suffers a paranoia after a scuffle with her new next-door neighbor while Stefania LaVie Owen portrays Dawn's daughter Melanie, who is on the verge of departing for college at USC after graduating high school, who attempts to help and cure her mother from her delusions.

Also appearing is Ian Nelson as the rich boy who dates Melanie in the film as well as Max Casella, David Rasche, and Micahel Cyril Creighton as the detective, Dawn’s attorney, and the school counselor respectively.

Although the second half of the film seems to darken the amusement as the joy and happiness is cut short. There are some heartbreaking moments based on the camera angles and the swirls the cinematographers have put up to produce more drama-effect flavors that my eyes and minds have tweaked up nervously. The film and its editing feels like, despite the strong, powerful story being told, it is going to be a Forrest Gump-flavored (or maybe a A Dog’s Purpose-nature) movie outing for both kids and adults.

On the side note, Paper Spiders is an okay film. It really gave me lots of shivers of emotion coming from these characters. Taylor and Owen really did a great job as a mother-and-daughter team. It does have a soft spot on films about family relationships when telling a bedtime story for kids. Paper Spiders may not be the best or worst, but I can’t say more, there’s nothing to be simplistic about this film that brings hope and glory to those who understand the types of dilemma the studios offer.

GRADE: B-
(Review by Henry Pham)




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Monday, September 7, 2020

Mulan





Director: Niki Caro Studio: Disney

Mulan may bring honor and glory but falls flat.

After several theatrical-releasing delays due to the ongoing virus, Disney finally decided to release this feature film on Disney+. As people, including the fans of animated Mulan, first see the trailer, they begin expressing their dislike for this live-action remake of Mulan, which brought up some negative publicity and thoughts about how this film will turn out to be. However, when they finally see the entire film, they slowly start to warm this film up, which is very hard to believe. The film is directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider) and stars Liu Yifei as the titular character whilst actors Donnie Yen, Tzi Ha, Yoson An, Jason Scott Lee, Gong Li, and Jet Li served as the supportive actors to Yifei.

In the film, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of the honored warrior, takes her ailing father’s place to serve the Imperial Army and defend the country from the group of invading armies taking over the country. Disguised as a man, she must train herself in every step and direction as well as learning the values of inner-strength that can increase her potential.

The plot and Niki Caro’s direction have put every ounce of hard work on Yifei’s character to match the original, animated incarnation from the 1998 animated-version of the film. Caro, along with producer Jason T. Reed also had her filming crews watch and study the influences from several martial arts films in order to make the storyline and the action sequences more relevant with Jackie Chan-style moves and Kill Bill-packaged visual effects being added for structural integrity. Additionally, the orchestration from the camera angles worked simultaneously and tirelessly well on Yifei’s action sequences and the battle throughout the film and at the very end. Not only the director and the cast have done all the scenes and cuts painstakingly, but they also brought music composer Harry Gregson-Williams on the set who utilizes the songs and compositions from the 1998 version with no musical numbers being featured or added in this remake, which kinda upset the fans out there.

While listening to some nice, clean dialogue being given to the characters from the screenwriting team of Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Lauren Hynek, and Elizabeth Martin, parts of the writings given for the actors and actresses are somewhat hard and pointless to follow. The main reason is due to the director wanting to make the characters and the story to be more realistic and fairly complex in several scenes. Nevertheless, the plot seems to be pleasurable to guide through.

Here we have Donnie Yen who is portrayed as the leader of the Imperial Army and serving as a mentor to Mulan while Yoson An appears as a soldier ailing with Mulan. Tzi Ma also appears as the father of the titular character who was a famed warrior and was recalled to join the army despite his failing health. Jason Scott Lee and Gong Li as the ruthless warrior and the female witch who sides with him. And lastly, despite the small screentime, Jet Li shows up as the Emperor of China.

And what can be surprising to give bonus points is the cameo appearance from actress Ming-Na Wen, the voice of Mulan from the animated version.

Overall, Mulan is a very good two-hour delight. Caro’s direction, Liu Yifei, and the cast really did an amazing job on making this film. It’s not what it looks like compared to the 1998 animated film, but it looks like the story has been well told in a different direction. Love it or hate, I promised you this may be the best remake on the top of its levels to watch on Disney+.

GRADE: B+
(Review by Henry Pham)


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Thursday, September 3, 2020

Tenet





Director: Christopher Nolan Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

Word of the Day: TENET!

After several speed bumps of theatrical delays and with the theaters being slowly reopened, Warner Bros. finally selected a perfect date for the film to be released after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Dark Knight alumnus Christopher Nolan returns to the director’s chair after helming 2017’s Dunkirk with Emma Thomas climbing onboard as a film’s producer. Tenet stars John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman) as a main lead role as the no-name CIA agent while Robert Pattison, Elizabeth Debicki, and Kenneth Branagh got Washington’s back as supportive role-playing game characters in the film.

Tenet follows the unnamed CIA agent, or The Protagonist, who is on a secret mission to prevent World War III by manipulating through time or utilizing his time-reversal motion to find out about the past and the future.

Tenet is actually a palindrome which is a number, word, or phrase that can be read backwards and forwards. Nolan has been long-waiting to come up with the story for this film for decades. He really wanted to do a fine piece of work on a spy film after his experience with action, science-fiction films, taking his ordinary experience and professionalism from his Dark Knight duties and Inception assignment. Nolan also has cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema used the mixtures of 70 mm and IMAX high-resolution cameras on the action-pack sequences simultaneously forwards and also filling scenes backwards (briefly known as the “reversal motion” in the filming cuts and scenes).

Nolan’s direction moves pretty straight forward on centering and camera-angling on Washington’s scenes in order to provide a sophisticated “spy” scene, even when involving adding visual effects and a little, fiery CGI on his dangerous-packed moments predominantly on the film’s second half on behalf of Nolan’s visual and special effects team. Even when Nolan has to go through different measures on having Hans Zimmer onboard, he instead brings the musical talents from composer Ludwig Göransson (Black Panther) who not only composes for the film but also produces a Hans Zimmer-flavored orchestra structures on several parts of the film and the climaxes for proper boost for an Nolan-Zimmer project and to fit the Nolanian tradition for all his works from the past.

Here we also have Robert Pattison who portrays the CIA agent’s handler who reveals about the time heist Washington's past and future while Elizabeth Dibicki plays as the ex-wife of Kenneth Branagh’s self-tempered Andrei Sator, a Russian oligarch. On and off-screen, Tenet also stars Indian actress Dimple Kapadia as Priya, the arms trafficker who is a hidden supportive character-turned-antagonist.

And with the surprise twist of being top-billed for the movie marketing, English actor and Nolan’s frequent collaborator Michael Caine also appears in the film despite receiving a small screen time.

While Tenet is highly-strung with excitement and explosive, the main things that the filmmakers made Tenet much more confusing and a bit un-enjoyable to look and listen: the screenwriting from Nolan and Emma Thomas didn’t provide much more integrity on the both Washington, Debicki, and Pattison’s characters throughout the film to have hard spot on any scenes hardcore as well as usages of sound mixing that didn’t sound too spy-ish and fit the genre for both spy films and action-packed adventure films, especially when it all comes down to Spaghetti Western films and War films for that ludicrous feel. Overall, the parts of the plot seem flawless and easy to guide forward, much like the comparison of Guy Ritche’s Sherlock Holmes tonely work.

As my calculations are correct, Tenet is actually a good 150-minute feature film. I couldn’t say more or less, Christopher Nolan really outshines his role as a director, guiding the rules and procedures for the cast and crew like he did with his tone-depth matterful Inception despite putting too many things in one basket regardless. Washington and Pattison really fit the bill on this one just to make this film more interesting to watch and digest. If you have the option for choosing a film, I say this, Tenet is worth your time and money.


GRADE: B

(Review by Henry Pham)




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