Dallas Movie Screening

Dallas Movie Screenings started out as a mailing list on Yahoo Groups to facilitate finding free screening passes in the DFW area. When Yahoo Groups shut down, we are now posting screenings on our Facebook page at http://www..facebook.com/groups/dallasmoviescreenings
Earlier Reesa's Reviews can also be found at:http://www.moviegeekfeed.com

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Website and Group Contact: dalscreenings@gmail.com

Friday, May 28, 2021


Director: Craig Gillespie

Studio: Disney

Keep your dogs away, Cruella has her first laugh as the protagonist.

This film and Joker set the stage on turning any darker movie villains into colorful main protagonists with strong, heavy origins of their perspective lifetime of a story or book. It’s impossible to unsee the villain’s refreshing take, but it’s going to be anticipated from the taste of seeing bad guys being carried over as either actual heroes or anti-heroes. Based on the 1956 novel written by Dodie Smith and Walt Disney's 1961 animated film One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Craig Gillespie takes leadership role as the leading director of this film while Emma Stone stars in her titular role as Cruella, along with actors Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, and Mark Strong in their respective supporting roles.

In Cruella, the film takes place in the 1970s era where a young, teenage girl named Estella de Vil is destined to become the greatest fashion designer ever while following the footsteps of her boss Baroness von Hellman. Having been gifted with talent, innovation, and ambition all in equal measures, the real problem is that her dreams didn’t seem to be as fulfilling as her fashion ambition and her boss’ success drove her into insanity. This led her to become a notorious criminal in London, adopting her name as Cruella De Vil. Academy-Award winner Emma Stone (La La Land) stars in her titular role as Estella (later named Cruella) while Emma Thompson (Howards End) steals the spotlight as Baroness von Hellman, a famed fashion designer and Estella’s boss and rival, who is responsible for Estella’s true form and transformation as Cruella. Emma Stone manages to stay above the levels of dramatic acting. She is very confident of playing a character with two forming parts from start to finish. Emma Stone is born to play the role of Cruella as she takes down the characteristic tones and mannerisms to alter the Estella/Cruella persona, which brings a massive surprise as if any Disney performance got an Oscar nomination for any category. But if it’s Best Actor/Actress anyone has talked about, Stone would be a strong contender.

As for Emma Thompson, she seems to be very serious, stubborn, and stern for her role as Baroness von Hellman when it all comes down to playing a meatier part, but she delivers a mighty-fine performance like several other A-list English actresses. Thompson knows the difficulties of portraying Baroness in the film, but in the end, she is filled with amusement and vile, making every second with Stone on screen to feel incredibly savage and captivating.

Stone and Thompson both brought a lot of fascinating chemistry to each other compared to Joaquin Phoenix’s onscreen role with Robert De Niro in Joker from a beautiful upbringings filled with bullying, eating up all the tortures, and family tragedy to the final elements of her transformation for her villainous ingredient, Emma Stone's character follows a similar characteristic arc, but with real-deal clear differences concerning the solution for her problems beyond the control of her character. This is something anyone who wanted to better understand more on the hardcore motifs of any villain.

The main director is Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya). Taking advice from the first two live-action 101 Dalmatians films, featuring Glenn Close, Gillespie decides to revamp the villain with a more superior personality and a wondrous backstory being added to give the character more details and more depth on Stone’s character as Estella/Cruella. He brings the audience to understand about the villain’s life story from being a colorful, happy kids’ tale from the start to the devilish Cruella, which is shown to be less ambiguous. Overall, the balance between the silly comedy and the more dramatic, depressing, traumatic storyline is mostly well-handled, but there are some small moments where Gillespie lets go of the rope. Despite this, Craig Gillespie and Emma Stone offer an incredibly captivating origin story about one of Disney's classical villains being made on the face of the earth. And speaking of Glenn Close, she lands onboard as an executive producer of the film, explaining the pros and cons to Emma Stone about her experiences of playing as Cruella in the first two live-action 101 Dalmatians films.

Actors Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser appeared in the film as Jasper and Horace respectively, supporting Stone for the film’s entirety. At first, those two actors seem very serious about their character parts, but in truth, they are extremely hilarious as the famous duo of thieves, trying to provide some laughs and hearts towards Estella/Cruella. While serving as comic-reliefs, both of them share a compelling connection to Estella, one that deserves a better conclusion. Regardless of how difficult one can play a thief, the two actors know what they are doing under the guidance of Stone and Gillespie.

While the film is filled with thrills and chills, the distracting CGI in dogs and other animals appearing in the film, however, don't necessarily overcome the obstacles while crafting this film. The CGI backgrounds, the animals, and their effects being made are way too noticeable for the studio that became purposely identical to the photorealistic-animation superiors and similarities from the increasable-realistic remake of The Jungle Book and The Lion King, which were both directed by Jon Favreau. Nevertheless, the CGI and its effects couldn’t rule out the predictably Oscar-winning costume design, gorgeous-yet-powerful makeup & hair, wonderful production design, and a sweet Hildur Guðnadóttir-flavored score that ties together (and directly) with Joker.

Also appearing are Mark Strong (1917) portraying the role of The Baroness' valet, actress Emily Beecham spotlighting as Cruella’s mother, and Kirby Howell-Baptiste who plays the role of Anita Darling, Estella’s childhood friend.

Above all the necessities for the pure villain’s backstory, Cruella is a good movie if not better. It clocks in around 134 minutes long for that timely length. I’ll admit, I do enjoy this more than Joker. This film is deeply a must even though it’s not a movie for dogs and pets out there to watch while you’re at home. Not only is Cruella one of the year’s biggest surprises, but it's also one of the best movies of the year so far. Stone and Thompson really nailed down the key roles. I really like to see Stone having her first laugh as she glimpses up onstage of being nominated for Best Actress Oscar for her role just like Joaquin Phoenix's take as Arthur Fleck/Joker in Joker. If you’re in the mood for any films, you should watch Cruella when this hits theaters and on Disney+ simultaneously.

One more thing, bonus points for the Cruella-fied Disney logo from at the beginning.


(Review by Henry Pham)

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Friday, May 21, 2021

Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead

I have said in the pst, I am not a fan of the horror genre per se, except when it comes to names like either Stephen King, Gullermo Del Toro, George A. Romero, Zack Snyder, Frank Darabont, Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg. Since this one felll into one of rule breakers, I was all in from the get-go.

The reason I don't watch horror movies is pure and simple. I gett too attached to the characters involved with the storyline. The only reason I bring this up is brcause their was a character I liked in the abysmal sequel to "Aliens vs. Predator" titled "Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem," (2007) in which a character I liked died halfway before the movie ended. That is my reason for skipping this genre altogether.

If you give me a horror-comedy, however, I am all-in for the full ride. Some examples that come to mind are Sam Raini's "Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn," Peter Jackson's "Dead-Alove," the Steven Spielberg produced "Gremlins" in 1984, the 1985 "Fright Night" as well as the 2011 version, which contained so,me amazing 3-D visuals.

Now, onto director Zack Snyder's latst, "Army of the Dead," in which greedy individuals fight for their pece of the "American pie," which always come down to the almighty dollar. Bautista's character states his past fight was for his country, but this time it is for themselves.

Bautista is the big name here, having played Drax in a couple of "Guardians of the Galaxy" entries as well as the mediocre "Stuber" (2019) a couple of years back.

In "Army of the Dwad," he is Scott Ward, a recent retired soldier from the United States Army.

He has a daughter, Kate (Ella Purnell, "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children") that he is estranged from, but the duo pair together and try and make amends. She is essentially a caregiver for a group of misplaced youths that encompass her other family.

So, this movie is more of a heist flick crossed over with a zombie lore mixed with a "Dirty Dozen" crossover tale. It is a fun flick, fille with iteresting dynamic about how to appease various members of the undead nation.

Even Lily (Nora Arnezeder) knows how things work in offfering a barter trade for allowing them to pass in the undead world. That is only part of the magic Snyder weaves into this gripping tale.

I've liked most of his entries, save for the ultra-disappointing "Sucker Punch," (2011) which had a downer of an ending.

I'm even one of the few people who liked "Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice." (2016). I liked the extended cut just a touch better, since that one received a B+ on my movie grading scale. It added more umph to the spice and dish details.

This one also deals with intellectual zombies as well. Their is one other zombie with smarts I liked. It was Sherman Howard's "Bub the zombie" in director George A. Romero's "Day of the Dead" (1985). He might be a zombie, but one grows to care for him and his pligt.

Also involved in the storyline are a zombie tiger that came from the showcase of Siegred and Roy, a pair of illusionists who were once a big deal on the Las Vegas strip.

Viewers should be warned, however, since this running time on this tale is 2 hrs., 28 min. If one watches this at home, you can skip around accordingly.

Hate to admit it, but I'm a big fanboy of Snyder's work. Save for the aforementoioned disappointment of "Sucker Punch," I've liked a;most everyting else he has done. I even respected that strange animated tale of 2010's "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole."

If one has a zombie fix they just can't take a bite of, look no further than Zack Snyder's "Army of the Dead," streaming excusively on Netflix.

Grade: B Review by Ricky Miller

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P!NK: All I Know So Far

Director: Michael Gracey

Studio: Amazon Studios

Review: P!NK: All I Know So Far!

Movies are something that makes people happy and so does music. P!NK: All I Know so Far focuses on real-life figure P!nk, whose real name is Alecia Beth Moore, takes her beloved fans and music-loving audiences on her journey to her 2019 world tour “Beautiful Trauma.” Joined by her family, she tries to balance her time as a mother to her kids and a performer. By using archive footage along the way on the road, behind-the-scenes interviews, and personal materials, musician P!nk and director Michael Gracey gives the fans and audiences a tourly-glimpse behind the scenes and curtain of the musical circus and career that she called life.

This documentary feature film serves as Michael Gracey’s second film as director after taking directorial duties from The Greatest Showman, featuring Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron. Before being a director, he was a visual effects artist and a digital compositor for various films. As director, Gracey did a great job organizing the footage and scenes with her family in order to see P!nk’s balancing life for her career and her family, which is something lots of actors and celebrities have been doing all day just like real busy people like us. In terms of family dynamics, Gracey and P!nk know what are the aspects in life when it comes to keeping one’s head on anyone’s job role and the role as a family member to someone.

P!nk serves as the narrator to her story, explaining her key role as a mother to her children. Her life as a musician and a family member became her own cultural impact that teaches lots of people about the concerns and hardcores of following one’s passion and loving friends and family everyday. She is something people can get to understand when it all comes down to any career every person needs to focus on, but in truth, families come first. With the messages about one’s career and life, P!nk brings a powerful message lots of people need to know and to engage for that consideration when people, including myself, view them as celebrities, they know what they are and who they are. The lesson is these people may be famous, but they are also busy people like us.

P!NK: All I Know so Far is an ok documentary film, it clocks to at least a hundred minutes. As a viewer for documentary films, I was heavily blown away to discover several documentary movies that explain the real-life crisis of celebrities. Although, I'm not a huge fan of documentary feature films, but I think the director and P!nk did an outstanding job on crafting this masterpiece whether or not this film will achieve remarkable success, though some scenes can be filled with boredom. I really wish this film was screened in theaters as this deserves a theatrical release, but sadly, it’s going to be on Amazon Prime instead.


(Review by Henry Pham)

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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Wrath of Man

Director: Guy Ritchie

Studio: United Artist/MGM/Miramax

Wrath of Man is another old-school gangster flick.

If you folks read my review for the 2020 film The Gentlemen (starring Matthew McConaughey), which was published last year, then you will know lots of people have chills on seeing how British gangster movies can have a huge impact on the whole world and to the movie industries. Based on the 2004 French film Cash Truck by Nicolas Boukhrief, visionary director Guy Ritchie returns as a money-making gangster movie director to helm this interesting action flick. The film features the consisting cast of Jason Statham, Holt McCallany, Jeffrey Donovan, Josh Hartnett, Laz Alonso, Raúl Castillo, DeObia Oparei, Eddie Marsan, and Scott Eastwood.

Wrath of Man follows the story of a main character named H who is hired by a cash truck company responsible for moving hundreds of millions of dollars around Los Angeles each week. While completing a task, the truck gets held up at gunpoint, forcing H to single-handedly deal with the robbers, showcasing his advanced combat skills and training.

The main star in this tale is English actor Jason Statham (Transporter trilogy, The Expendables, Fast & Furious series). Statham portrays H, a cold and mysterious stranger who becomes a new employee being hired by a cash truck company. This marks the fourth time Statham collaborated with director Ritchie after they previously worked on Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, and Revolver.

Sticking with the lower budget roots, the directing chores for Wrath of Man have been handled by Guy Ritchie. He was famously involved in the retooling Sherlock Holmes film, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. His resume also heads on over to 2015’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E film, which was a remake of a 1960 spy series, the Disney remake of Aladdin, and his most recent film, The Gentlemen. For this film, Ritchie, known for making crime action thriller films, utilizes his experience by lecturing the actors and crew to build up a good stage play on how any ordinary gangster flick works. He also uses the law-and-order for the sake of the plot, the characters, and the story arcs while meeting the action-movie criteria. Of course, this may seem challenging for both actors and producers because of the excessive action sequences, gunpoint directions, and some cat-and-mouse chasing that needs to be rehearsed.

Focusing on the downsides, parts of the plot are a bit hard to follow due to non-linear structures coming from the cast and crew, having no comic relief though bits of dry humor is shown throughout the some scenes, and the characters given some non-kindly hearted dialogue followed by a plethora of some slick quotes given by Ritchie, Ivan Atkinson, and Marn Davies.

Though, the acting and the atmosphere are great, though the storyline needs work just to make the film easier to enjoy. The acting levels are a pretty tedious work for the actors, including Statham, but they look like they are just having fun in their character parts while following the director’s orders.

Speaking of acting, the gang's all here in this movie. We have Holt McCallany (Netflix’s Mindhunter) as Bullet, Jeffrey Donovan (USA Network’s Burn Notice) as Jackson, Josh Hartnett (ABC’s Cracker) as Boy Sweat Dave, Laz Alonso (Avatar, Fast & Furious) as Carlos, Raúl Castillo (HBO’s Looking) as Sam, DeObia Oparei (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, 2019’s Dumbo) as Brad, Eddie Marsan (Happy-Go-Lucky) as Terry, and Scott Eastwood (The Fate of the Furious) as Jan. With Eastwood onboard, this marks the second time Statham and Eastwood have collaborated with each other after The Fate of the Furious.

Another surprise coming in this film is the cameo appearance of American rapper Post Malone.

Although it’s not a great movie by any means, Wrath of Man does an adequate job of keeping the viewer entertained for a brief spell. It clocks in at exactly two hours straight. What matters is that Richie never disappoints anyone for this film as he has done the swaggiest job on keeping the characters in position as well as guiding the actors and crew throughout the film based on his crime-action movie directing professionalism at all times and costs. Wrath of Man may not be top notch for Ritchie, but it’s a top-class crime thriller fare that will please the diehards out there.


(Review by Henry Pham)

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Friday, May 7, 2021

The Boy from Medellín

Director: Matthew Heineman

Studio: Amazon Studios

Review: The Boy from Medellín

There were lots of documentary films centered on well-known musicians, but some didn’t reach people's eyes and minds in person, even when those films received a theatrical release or digital release, due to its political contents or something inappropriate for that order. This documentary tale is produced widely and exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, directed by Matthew Heineman and with J Balvin being the center of attention.

The Boy from Medellín focuses on a celebrity-musician J Balvin as he prepares for his most important concert of his career, located in his hometown of Medellín, Colombia. Though his problems became bitter with sourness when his performance drew closer, the streets exploded with growing political unrest. Because of the political turmoil, this causes (and forces) him to take matters on his own hands by wrestling his conscience and responsibility as an artist to his beloved country and his fans around the world.

Directing chores are handled by filmmaker Matthew Heineman who is experienced with producing documentary films and television sitcoms. He has been in the documentary movie-making business for many years as lots of people recognized him for his talents and peers. Among those films he contributed, he directed 2015’s Cartel Land for which he was nominated for Best Documentary Feature Oscar, a first in his movie career.

J Balvin narrates the story as he and the director have provided some touching stories about dealing with one’s anxiety and depression from time to time, learning how this situation can be dealt with at certain levels. Even when on his successful career as a musician, he still deals with all the troubles he has had like in the past before his music life aroused popularity. Though, the film and the filmmakers provide some darker images that might involve children in it, going against a strict, stern policy on crafting a documentary feature that shrieks J Balvin’s fans out.

With the colors and the pavement present, The Boy from Medellín is an ok, but touching 90-minute documentary flick that weaves the story and life of J Balvin into the mannerly proceedings. I really enjoyed it, but there are some downfalls I witnessed due to darker political tones the filmmakers have installed as if any film would want to be like this more, but at some point I just happened to pop my eyes out. This film is ok as I thought I enjoyed his nice music build-up career in this film rather than talking about politics, but if you love J Balvin so much, you might as well try this.


(Review by Henry Pham)

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Thursday, May 6, 2021

The Human Factor

Director: Dror Moreh

Studio: Sony Pictures Classics

The Human Factor explores the concerns and safety regulations in the Middle East

The Human Factor is American-Israeli documentary film that takes the audiences through the behind-the-scenes of the United States' 30-year effort to secure peace in the Middle East that has been recounted from the unique perspective of the American mediators on the frontlines.

Just letting the viewers know that this film is not meant for kids as this feature film contains footage about bloody violence and anything offensive towards Israeli individuals. The director of this documentary film is Dror Moreh, who is a Israeli filmmaker and cinematographer. His credits include his film The Gatekeepers, for which he was nominated for Oscar for Best Documentary Feature film in 2012, and Beitar Provence as cinematography. His directorial-debut is Sharon, which was also a documentary film that focuses on the Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and was produced back in 2007.

At the first glance, The Human Factor would seem that this intriguing tale would be historical-friendly and well-educated, but under the hands of Dror Moreh himself, all bets are off. What started off as a nice scholarly interview from an historian before going through each of the footage being showcased before hopping to another person who gets interviewed to share the peace-making cases. Throughout the film, it also includes Bill Clinton’s cases as part of the whole scenery.

The film had extensive usages of archive footage about the peace processes in the Middle East and interviews from historians and scholars who explain their experiences with that process at certain locations, mainly the White House. Moreh handled all the organizations on interviews, news presses, and historial Middle East events to be put into one showcasing feature. Moreh also installs some darker images on these footages on some scenes to capture this turning point about the peace “process-making treaty” being given from the U.S. politicians, including the President. On the upscale, the director knows the books he has read through and knowledge he has taken action from based on his studies about the relationship between Israeli and the United States.

Despite the darker tones present in the film, every footage and interviews give a fluid and some dynamic turns, especially historians shown in the film as they want to share their answers and acknowledgements based on their witnesses on these particular events and their ways of reviewing the footage. Not only do they love sharing their stories, but they just want to have something to talk about for the credibility of the work they (the interviewing historians) put effort through time and space.

The Human Factor is an interesting 108-minute documentary feature, and yes, that seems pretty long for its time length but there’s a lot more to see and discover when it all comes down to educational films. This film is a must once it was released on digital if you’re studying history about the Middle East and taking history classes at schools and colleges. I highly recommend this to social studies teachers as well, no joke. I hope you learn something from this film when you get the chance to watch it, which is the main reason why I decided to see this film.


(Review by Henry Pham)

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