Category Archives: dallas

Coming Soon: ‘Wild Tales,’ ‘Kidnapping Mr. Heineken,’ ‘Buzzard,’ and More

'Wild Tales' (Sony Pictures Classics)
‘Wild Tales’ (Sony Pictures Classics)

Opening Friday, March 6

    • Chappie (d. Neill Blomkamp) A robot gains intelligence and inspires violent opposition from Hugh Jackman. Wide release.
    • Unfinished Business (d. Ken Scott) Vince Vaughn and Dave Franco in a comedy about, er, men in suits. In Europe. Wide release.
    • Buzzard. A young man has “issues.” Texas Theatre.
    • Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem. “In Israel there is neither civil marriage nor civil divorce.” A documentary about a woman who wants one of those. Angelika Dallas.
    • Kidnapping Mr. Heineken. Anthony Hopkins as a beer baron with brains that may get blown out. TBA.
    • Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. A sequel adds Richard Gere. Wide release.
    • These Final Hours. The end of the world. AMC Grapevine Mills.
    • Wild Tales. A superb collection of stories that paint a funny, disturbing, and dazzling view of modern life. Angelika Dallas, Angelika Plano.

Opening Friday, March 13

  • Cinderella. A poor girl is transformed for one night. Wide release.
  • Run All Night. Retired hitman Liam Neeson must protect his son (Joel Edgerton) from an angry mob boss (Ed Harris). Wide release.

Opening Friday, March 20

  • The Divergent Series: Insurgent. Shailene Woodley leads a revolution against one-word movie titles. Wide release.
  • Do You Believe? A religious drama. Wide release.
  • The Gunman. An angry Sean Penn, on the run in Europe. Wide release.

Opening Friday, March 27

  • Get Hard. Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart train to go to prison. Wide release.
  • Home. An animated adventure. Wide release.

Opening: ‘The Lazarus Effect,’ ‘Focus,’ Plus 8 Indies

Olivia Wilde in 'The Lazarus Effect'
Olivia Wilde in ‘The Lazarus Effect’

Opening Friday, February 27

    • The Lazarus Effect. Olivia Wilde dies and is then resurrected, to the misery of her fellow scientific experimenters. With Mark Duplass and Evan Peters. Wide release.
    • Focus. Will Smith and Margot Robbie in con-man adventure. Wide release.
    • A La Mala. A comedy from Mexico about a woman who helps her best friend test out her fiancee’s fidelity. Hmm, this sounds familiar. Wide release.
    • Human Capital A drama from Italy about two families and a tragic accident. Angelika Dallas.
    • Maps to the Stars. David Cronenberg looks at Hollywood. With Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, and Robert Pattinson. Look Cinemas.
    • Out of the Dark. Newly-arrived in Colombia, a married couple (Julia Stiles and Scott Speedman) discover their daughter is in mortal danger due to … ghosts? The movie is better than it may sound. with Stephen Rea. Studio Grill Spring Valley.
    • Red Army. An acclaimed documentary about the famed and fearsome Soviet Union national hockey team. Angelika Dallas, Cinemark West Plano.
    • Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal. A Chinese New Year’s confection from director Peter Pau. Cinemark Legacy.
    • Timbuktu. Academy Award-nominated drama about a cattle herder and his family. Landmark Magnolia, Angelika Plano.
    • What We Do in the Shadows. A horror-comedy mockumentary from the very funny and talented duo behind Flight of the Conchords. Advance word is positive. Angelika Dallas, Angelika Plano.

Coming Soon: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ ‘Kingsman’ and More

'Fifty Shades of Grey' (Focus Features)
‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ (Focus Features)

Opening Friday, February 13

  • Buen Dia, Ramon (d. Jorge Ramirez Suarez) A drama. AMC Valley View.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey (d. Sam Taylor-Johnson) Sexy times. With Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. Wide release.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service (d. Matthew Vaughn) High-energy spying hijinks. Wide release.
  • Old Fashioned (d. Rik Swartzwelder) “A former frat boy and a free-spirited woman together attempt the impossible: an ‘old-fashioned’ courtship in contemporary America.” Wide release.
  • The Rewrite (d. Marc Lawrence) Down on his luck screenwriter Hugh Grant takes a teaching job. AMC Grapevine Mills.
  • Song of the Sea (d. Tomm Moore) Animated fantasy, based on Irish and Scottish legends. Nominated for Academy Award for Best Animated Film. Angelika Dallas, Angelika Plano.

Opening Friday, February 20

  • Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (d. Steve Pink) Sequel to time-traveling comedy. Wide release.
  • McFarland, USA (d. Niki Caro) Real-life story of an inspirational white coach (Kevin Costner) who builds a highly-competitive cross-country team out of lowly Mexicans. Wide release.
  • The DUFF (d. Ari Sandel) Teen comedy. Wide release.

Opening Friday, February 27

  • Focus (d. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa) Will Smith and Margot Robbie in con-man adventure. Wide release.
  • The Lazarus Effect (d. David Gelb) Olivia Wilde dies and is then resurrected, to the misery of her fellow scientific experimenters. With Mark Duplass and Evan Peters. Wide release.

Opening Friday, March 6

  • Chappie (d. Neill Blomkamp) A robot gains intelligence and inspires violent opposition from Hugh Jackman. Wide release.
  • The Coup (d. John Erick Dowdle) A family is trapped overseas after political upheaval. With Pierce Brosnan, Owen Wilson, and Lake Bell. Wide release.
  • Unfinished Business (d. Ken Scott) Vince Vaughn and Dave Franco in a comedy about, er, men in suits. Wide release.


Review: ‘Inherent Vice’

Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice' (Warner Bros.)
Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Inherent Vice’ (Warner Bros.)

Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice is sure to polarize and challenge the expectations from a film noir. It’s a woozy tapestry of gung-ho cops, mysterious drug lords, disaffected Flower Children, fringe political anarchists and lots of marijuana use by its lead private investigator, which only casts a wider sense of paranoia and murkiness around the whole affair.

It’s also about the tenuous moment in time when sunny California, as the template for America at large, changed from the Summer of Love into something decidedly more sinister. Now, full admission. I worship P.T. Anderson’s films, so take the rest of this with a cinematic grain of salt. Two of his most divisive films, Magnolia (1999) and The Master (2012), I consider as two of the best films of their respective decades.

Like those ambitious efforts, Inherent Vice doesn’t play by the rules. The dialogue and voice-over (by indie singer Joanna Newsom) evoke the guttural poetry of a Hunter S. Thompson novel. Scenes between characters run on for minutes at a time, often in a slow zoom single take, allowing the words and their hidden meanings to take shape before our eyes. The actual case taken on by “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) doesn’t congeal into an easily explainable finale, often raising more questions than it answers. Inherent Vice isn’t a disposable Friday night date film. It requires patience, a bit of personal interaction and the desire to lose oneself in the convoluted universe Anderson and novelist Thomas Pynchon, whose book the film is based upon, have created. It’s a tall order but one that delivers on its majestic intent.

Taking place in the fictionalized ocean side town of Gordita Beach, California, in 1970, private investigator Larry “Doc” Sportello (Phoenix) has his nightly “decompression” time interrupted by ex-girlfriend Shasta Fay (Katherine Waterston) asking for help. She’s involved with some bad people who want to capitalize on the fortunes of her current boyfriend, wealthy land developer Mickey Wolfmann (Eric Roberts). He accepts the assignment and, before long, finds himself in a cascading tunnel of police investigations, shady characters and loose ends, all the while continuing to smoke pot which most assuredly obfuscates his own thinking on the case.

In addition to all that, other people begin seeking him out for the resolution of their own missing people. A distraught housewife (Jean Malone) wants “Doc” to find her missing jazz saxophonist husband (Owen Wilson). A Black Panther member (Michael K. Williams) enlists “Doc” to investigate an old cellmate with ties to the Aryan Brotherhood. His visit to a massage parlor and its kinky employee (Hong Chau) exposes “Doc” to the Golden Fang — which could either be a nondescript boat or the corporate name for a vertical drug smuggling operation responsible for pummeling the West Coast with heroin.

Somehow, all these leads inadvertently careen back to Wolfmann. Even the help of “Doc’s” supposed allies, including his lawyer buddy (Benecio del Toro), Deputy District Attorney/old girlfriend Penny (Reese Witherspoon), and overbearing Detective Bigfoot Bjornson (Josh Brolin), lead him further down the rabbit hole of suspicion, confusion and alienation.

Inherent Vice features so many red herrings, unusually zany cameos (Martin Short, incredible!) and diversions from the truth it soon becomes almost a parody of film noir. Fasten your seat belts. This isn’t your father’s Sam Spade.

In Anderson’s sophomore epic film on the travails of the porn industry, Boogie Nights (1997), the central set-piece involved a New Year’s Eve party on December 31, 1979, where emotions boil to the surface and a violent outburst shatters the good times. Nothing’s the same after that. The 1980s arrived and video cassette effectively curtailed that industry’s heyday. Within that 20-minute set-piece, Anderson effectively conveyed the end of an era.

With Inherent Vice he stretches the collision of the old 1960s free love with the harsher realities of the 70s over two and a half hours. The Sharon Tate murders are mentioned. The horrible, degenerative effect of heroin on the body are alluded to several times. As Shasta Fay, actress Waterston is given a long monologue that succinctly delineates her feelings on the state of modern relationships.

Effectively, Inherent Vice is a very sad film behind its very comedic heart. Its narrative may not always make complete sense, but the mood it resonates makes all the sense in the world. It’s one of the very best films of the year.

Briefly: ‘The Taking of Tiger Mountain’

Tsui Hark's 'The Taking of Tiger Mountain' at Cinemark Legacy (Well Go USA)
Tsui Hark’s ‘The Taking of Tiger Mountain’ at Cinemark Legacy (Well Go USA)

The Taking of Tiger Mountain (d. Tsui Hark)

Set in 1946, this wartime drama pits multiple sides against each other, all in quest of a strategic mountain post. Not being familiar with the battle nor the players, initially I found it a challenge to keep track of the heroes and villains; it doesn’t help that most everyone is bundled up against the cold. But the film is rarely static, which means it’s easy to sit back and get caught up in the swirling visual experience. Being familiar with Tsui Hark’s past work helps; I’ve often been baffled by elements of his storytelling , which is usually rescued by his ability to orchestrate action sequences, as it is here.

Granted, the effects work is not always top-rate, but, again, by the point that became an issue, I was already captivated by what was unfolding on screen. It’s a pleasure to see that Tsui’s ability to stage and assemble action sequences remains strong, cascading one upon the next; here it’s backed up and strengthened by the sober dramatics of the situation.

The film is playing an exclusive engagement at Cinemark Legacy in Plano; it’s a smaller auditorium, but features good sound and projection, and the stadium seating is fine. The English subtitles are well-timed and easy to read.

Coming Soon: ‘A Most Violent Year,’ ‘R100,’ and More

Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain in 'A Most Violent Year'
Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain in ‘A Most Violent Year’

Opening Friday, January 23

  • The Boy Next Door. Jennifer Lopez searches for love and sex, finds a psycho. In wide release.
  • Cake. Jennifer Aniston searches for an Academy Award nomination. In limited release.
  • The Humbling. Al Pacino is humbled. In wide release.
  • Manny. A documentary on a boxer. AMC Stonebriar.
  • Miss Julie. Based on a Strindberg play, written for the screen and directed by Liv Ullman. With Jessica Chastain and Colin Ferrell. Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art.
  • Mortdecai. Johnny Depp gets wacky. In wide release.
  • A Most Violent Year. Superb drama from J.C. Chandor (All Is Lost) about a turning point for New York in 1981. With Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain. Angelika Dallas, Angelika Plano
  • R100. Japanese people get wacky, evidently. Alamo Drafthouse.
  • Still Alice. Julianne Moore gets Alzheimer’s disease; husband Alec Baldwin tries to cope. Landmark Magnolia, Angelika Plano.
  • Strange Magic. George Lucas originated this fantasy adventure. In wide release.