What Movies Are In Theaters?

Posted by    |    October 31st, 2013 at 10:36 pm

It’s now the time of year when films are carefully marketed and strategically released into theaters in the hopes that they will be fresh on the minds of those making the big decisions come award season in the early part of 2014. To this point, there are large quantities of good quality films coming out every month, and it is often tough to review all of them. On top of my traditional full-length reviews, I’ve decided to change it up a bit and give you a brief rundown of what else is in theaters and a little bit of info about each. (NOTE: these films are available now or coming out this weekend – they are not all award quality…)

12 Years A Slave: 

Chiwetel Ejiofor gives an incredible performance as Solomon Northup, a free black man living in the pre-Civil War United States era, who is kidnapped near his home in the Northeast and sold into slavery in the South. In a twelve-year struggle to stay alive and find his way home, Solomon witnesses first hand the cruel and inhuman slave practices, as well as some unexpected compassion and sympathy from a few people he encounters while moving from plantation to plantation.

This film will make you feel ashamed and almost uncomfortable as it is heartbreaking to watch how slaves were treated – raped, beaten, killed, starved, forced to live in horrible conditions – all in such an abusive way for the mere pleasure of the white plantation owners.  Watching the mistreatment of these slaves, I found myself at times wanting to look away, and yet with no clue what to expect, the audience seemed to be holding their breath in anticipation of what would happen next. 12 Years A Slave gives you a wide range of emotions from sadness, to concern, to disgust, to angriness, all culminating in a heart warming scene as Solomon is returned to his family after a long and tiresome journey.

12 Years A Slave should warrant attention come award season and could potentially be one of the greatest historical pieces ever. This film makes you reflect hard on how slaves were treated, how people turned their backs on issues such as this, and what it was like for someone like Northup. Unlike the recent film, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, which is set in a similar period, talks about slavery and the fight for black equality, 12 Years A Slave is an edgy, bare bone, accurate account of one man’s hard fight for freedom and survival. The film also features notable performances from Michael Fassbender, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Sarah Paulson, Lupita Nyong’o, and Brad Pitt.

12 Years A Slave is rated R for violence/cruelty, some nudity and brief sexuality. Running time is 2 hours and 14 minutes. Rated 4.3 out of 5 stars. (more…)

“Gravity” Review: Experience the Thrills of Space

Posted by    |    October 5th, 2013 at 9:54 am

There are infinite ways to describe Alfonso Cuaron’s newest movie, Gravity: breath taking, thrilling, masterpiece, state-of-the-art, intense, and the list goes on and on. Any of these descriptions are fitting as Cuaron was able to create a visually stunning and astonishingly detailed, ground-breaking, dramatic action/sci-fi film that allows the audience to experience the magnificent features of space as well as some of the more terrifying elements of this vastly unknown region. And if there were ever a film made for 3D/IMAX theaters, Gravity would be it.

g1When a rookie medical engineer and a veteran astronaut are interrupted by disastrous flying debris, their shuttle is destroyed, leaving them floating in space without any communication to earth and no direct way of getting home. Using their skills, knowledge, and the few resources around them, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) must work together to find the closest space station, attempt to establish communication with “Control”, and find a way of reaching earth. (more…)

The Texas State Fair Starts this Weekend and Big Tex Returns!

Posted by    |    September 25th, 2013 at 12:10 pm

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It’s that time of year again people, Texas State Fair time! Yes the fried food, fair rides and entertainment is back to make us full and happy again. But this weekend doesn’t just mark the beginning of the 2013 Texas State Fair, it also marks the return of our beloved Big Tex! Since his untimely (but not ultimate) demise last October Texas State Fair officials have been working tirelessly to return Big Tex to his rightful place at the front of the fair, greeting visitors with a howdy and that endearingly creepy smile.

This Friday, September 27th, Big Tex will be reintroduced to the world and all will be right with the Texas State Fair as we stroll through the attractions munching on deep fried chocolate chip burritos (yes everyone that’s a new item on the State Fair food list, prepare yourself). Also don’t miss the Opening Day Parade going on at noon that day. Here you can enjoy drill teams,  colorful floats and all types of parade stuff to get you into the fair going spirit.

 

“Prisoners” Review: An Intense Dramatic Thriller

Posted by    |    September 23rd, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Walking into the theater to see the new movie, Prisoners, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d seen multiple trailers on TV, but the only thing I took away from them was the sense that this film looked a bit dark and that it featured a well-known cast. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to find an intense, complex, and at times disturbing movie about a father who will do whatever it takes to find his lost child. Prisoners is an emotional, suspenseful, and dramatic thriller about two young girls who go missing, and the nightmare the families and local police experience trying to solve this mystery.

Photo of Hugh Jackman in "Prisoners"

Photo of Hugh Jackman in “Prisoners”

This film wastes no time in kicking off the intensity by having the girls disappear within the first few minutes. When two families get together to celebrate Thanksgiving, the two daughters of the families’ wander off in the neighborhood and are soon nowhere to be found. When the families begin to panic and search for the girls, the only lead is an old RV that the girls were playing on earlier that day. The police quickly discover the RV in a parking lot near the woods and arrest the driver – a quiet, odd boy, Alex Jones (Paul Dano), who appears to have mental issues. Unfortunately, the interrogation and evidence do not yield any results and the police are forced to let Jones go. The days continue to move on with the girls still missing, and finally one of the fathers, Keller Dove (Hugh Jackman), decides he must take matters into his own hands if there is any chance of saving his daughter. This is where the level of disturbing and eerie content is raised to a higher level. (more…)

“We’re The Millers” Review: One of the Funniest Movies of the Year

Posted by    |    August 8th, 2013 at 4:40 pm

We’re The Millers is a comedic crime adventure for adults coming out this week in theaters. This film stars Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, and Ed Helms. We’re The Millers is a vulgar, aggressive, exciting experience filled with shocking and over-the-top nonstop hilarity.

Emma Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Will Poulter, and Jason Sudeikis in "We're The Millers"

Emma Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Will Poulter, and Jason Sudeikis in “We’re The Millers”

When minor-league pot dealer, David Burke (Sudeikis), stumbles upon a couple of teenagers getting bullied around outside his apartment, he decides to step in and help, only to have his bag of drugs stolen, leaving him in debt to his eccentric supplier, Brad Gurdlinger (Helms). Gurdlinger soon proposes a scenario where David can pay off his debt and make a little extra by traveling across the Mexican border and bringing back a new shipment of drugs. David quickly comes up with a plan and recruits a local stripper named Rose (Aniston), an awkward, sexually inexperienced teenager, Kenny (Poulter), and a dirty-mouthed runaway, Casey (Roberts), to accompany him on the trip and pose as a fake family for cover. This film is basically one ridiculous or hilarious event/mishap after another as the “Millers” try to smuggle an RV full of drugs back into the U.S. and deal with the consequences. (more…)

“Pacific Rim” Review: Does Less With More

Posted by    |    July 17th, 2013 at 11:32 am

Guillermo del Toro’s newest summer blockbuster, Pacific Rim, delivers exactly what it advertises, but not much more. This film is a roller coaster of action as building-sized monsters (a mix between Godzilla and dinosaurs) battle it out with giant, transformers-style robotic machines piloted by humans. Pacific Rim is entertaining with spectacular special effects and techniques but features stock, cliché characters, a mediocre plot, and feels extremely small scale compared to the large size of action and devastation presented.

Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, and company in Pacific Rim

Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, and company in Pacific Rim

When monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, begin to rise from a portal to another dimension deep in the ocean, a war breaks out, consuming millions of lives, humanity’s resources, and causing the destruction of multiple major cities. To stop these monsters, the nations of the world come together to create unique weapons called Jaegers, which are gigantic robots controlled by two pilots whose minds are connected to each other and the robot through a “neural bridge” that allows the robot to mimic the pilots’ movements. Whilst nearing defeat and with no other options, the militaries resort to seeking assistance from a burnt-out ex-pilot, Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam), and a mysterious, inexperienced rookie, Mako (Rinko Kikuchi), to pilot a famed Jaeger. With help from another Jaeger, these heroes do their best to put an end to the Kaiju and seal the connection between the two dimensions. (more…)

“White House Down” Review: Unimpressively Entertaining

Posted by    |    June 28th, 2013 at 3:59 pm

I recently attended a screening of Roland Emmerich’s (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) newest project, White House Down, and I was expectantly unimpressed. In short, it’s an under-performing, over-the-top, dramatic action-flick, but with a refreshing balance of humor and action. The only things White House Down delivers on is weak, unrealistic action and cheap thrills, but at the end of the day, it is a simple crowd pleaser.

Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx in White House Down

Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx in White House Down

While visiting the White House for a secret service interview, Capitol Policemen, John Cale (Channing Tatum) and his daughter, Emily (Joey King), end up on a White House tour at the same time the White House falls under attack. When a heavily armed military group overtakes the complex, Cale must save the president, his daughter, and ultimately the country. White House Down begins already feeling mediocre, but quickly escalates to unrealistic action sequences, weak special effects, and a gap-filled storyline. (more…)

Top Weekend Activities

Posted by    |    May 17th, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I’m so glad that bout of angry weather we had Wednesday didn’t stick around for this weekend, there’s just too much fun stuff to do! Here are my top picks for this weekend, and if by some miracle you can make it all of them (which is possible), you’ll have yourself one heck of a perfect weekend.

1.First the biggest and nerdiest: DALLAS COMIC CON! May 17-19 

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Awww yeah! The annual Dallas Comic Con/SciFi Expo is back this year at the Irving Convention Center  and it’s going to be three days full of everything your little nerd heart could ever want want. Vendors, costumes,celebrity photo ops and autograph signings galore will fill the Irving convention center to the brim, making it quite possible that you’ll go in on Friday and not come back out until Sunday.  Before you dive into the sea of fan boys and girls here are a couple of things that are a couple of things that are going to be kind of a big deal this year at Dallas Comic Con.

 

 

1. Celebrity photo ops and autograph signings with William Shatner and Nathan Fillion

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Two of the finest captains to ever command a spaceship will be on site to sign your memorabilia and take a photos with you, make sure to wipe the sweat off your palms before you go in for a handshake or a hug.

2. For the comic book guys and gals: John Romita, Jr. and Arthur Suydam

It’s going to be a good day for super hero and zombie fans. Attending this year’s comic con and signing autographs are John Romita, Jr. and Arthur Suydam, two of the comic book world’s most recognized artists. John Romita, Jr. is most well known to folks as the illustrator and co-creator of the comic book Kick-Ass while Arthur Suydam is the award winning artist of both The Walking Dead comic book series and Marvel Zombies (he has appropriately been dubbed the zombie king), and as if meeting him wasn’t enough Mr.Suydam will also be doing FREE sketches for comic con attendees 16 and younger (omg! free amazing art!).

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Like I said these are only a couple of things that are happening this weekend up at Comic Con. Aside from the awesome people watching there will be no shortage of cool stuff to do and see, have a look at the official schedule and see.

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SXSW 2013

Posted by    |    March 15th, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Courtesy of Google Images

Courtesy of Google Images

Every year in March, creative minds gather in Austin, Texas to share their ideas and inspire future filmmakers and creators.  The SXSW Film Conference and Festival gives thinkers and innovators the opportunity to present their ideas to the entertainment and media culture, and pave the way for the future of film and entertainment. I attended the festival over the weekend on behalf of YouPlusDallas and covered the film portion of SXSW to present you with a description of the major events.

Courtesy of Google Images

Courtesy of Google Images

On Friday, March 8th, I attended the premiere of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, featuring Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, Jim Carrey, James Gandolfini, and Alan Arkin.  This film sets Carell and Buscemi as aging Las Vegas magicians, Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton, respectively, who soon have to dig deep for a better act once Carrey’s character (Steve Gray) begins to steal the spotlight as a fresh street magician.  From a critics standpoint, this film is very unimpressive, being described by some as “instantly forgettable” and “yawn-inspiring”, while others describe it as “periodically chuckle-worthy” and “just amusing enough to pass the time”.  Only time will tell if this film becomes a hit, but I’m not counting on it.  Some of the cast was also in attendance for this film. (more…)

The Oak Cliff Music Festival

Posted by    |    September 18th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

For the first time ever in Dallas, Oak Cliff is throwing its own music festival presented by the Kessler Theater! From noon to 8pm on November 3rd  you can hang out on West Davis and enjoy live performances from Joe Ely Band, Carolyn Wonderland, Lucky Peterson and many more. This is a great opportunity not only to get to check out local acts from Texas in general but also more local groups from Oak Cliff. While this is the first Oak Cliff music festival it definitely  won’t be the last.

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