Alamo Grand Opening

The New ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE LAKE HIGHLANDS is Opening Soon!

I just got an update about the new Alamo Drafthouse Lake Highlands, and it’s good news! Looks like the Grand Opening is set for March 28th, with a soft-opening starting March 20th. You’ll be able to get discounted food and nonalcoholic drinks that week while the staff is training. Those tickets will go on-sale tonight at drafthouse.com. The new Alamo Drafthouse will also feature a bar/event-space called Vetted Well, which will open up to a patio on the White Rock Trail. There will be plenty of bike parking, if you choose to pedal your own over or borrow one of the countless Lime Bikes that are laying around Lake Highlands. Continue reading →

Love, Simon

MOVIE REVIEW: Why YOU (& Your KIDS) Should See “Love, Simon”

I took my 13-year-old daughter to a screening of Love, Simon last night. We both laughed and cried our way through this tale of a high-school senior (an adorable Nick Robinson) who is struggling to come out to his friends and family. It’s a sweet, if not entirely realistic story about the desire for love and acceptance, but when the lights came up, I could tell it meant much more to my daughter.
“Oh WOW,” she gushed. “I just want to watch it all over again, right now!”
Emma related to Love, Simon the same way I did to my favorite John Hughes’ movies, like Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club. She also appreciated it’s messages of empathy and courage, which go beyond the question of coming out to one’s family. Kids drop truth-bombs on their parents regularly, so they know that even little disclosures, like bad grades or big mistakes, take their own type of courage. Love, Simon shows kids that families can weather disclosures, big and small, and still love and support each other.
I encourage parents to see Love, Simon with their older kids (it’s rated PG-13 for profanity, some sexual references, and images of kids drinking alcohol) to help open the door to those types of conversations. I also suspect that this film will inspire kids to “come out” about all sorts of things, from sexual preference and gender identity, to depression issues or even eating disorders. Love, Simon has the potential to motivate kids in a positive way and, if they are inspired to bravery, we as parents and care-givers should rise to the occasion, as well. Continue reading →

Jennifer Lawrence
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MOVIE REVIEW: Why I Walked Out of Jennifer Lawrence’s “Red Sparrow”

I’ve been struggling to write a review of Red Sparrow, and not just because I don’t know how it ends (yeah, I walked out). See, even I was surprised by the strong reaction I had to this dull, but not entirely awful film about a ballerina who is forced to become a Russian spy. Dominika suffers a career-ending injury but must still care for her ailing mother. She accepts the help of her creepy Uncle, who just happens to be the head of a dangerous Russian Intelligence Agency. This is where Dominkia is taught to be a Red Sparrow, which is essentially a spy who uses sex to get information.
What follows is a seemingly endless montage of sex, sometimes violent, sometimes not, but always starring Lawrence in some ridiculous bathing-suit, lingerie, or slinky dress. Later in the film, we are treated to a full-blown torture scene where Lawrence, in various stages of nudity, suffers some of the worst abuse I’ve seen onscreen.
This is nothing new, but it reminded me of a scene in mother!, where Jennifer Lawrence is kicked and punched until her boobs fly out of her shirt.
I remember asking in a podcast afterwards, “Why are they beating Jennifer Lawrence up in movies? Who wants to see that?
I found myself asking the exact same question as her character was sexually-assaulted a second time in Red Sparrow.
Who wants to see this and, more importantly, why are we making movies for them? Continue reading →

Black Panther
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MOMMY MOVIE REVIEW: Is “Black Panther” OK for Kids?

If your kids are anything like mine, they’re probably begging to see Marvel‘s newest superhero movie, Black Panther. This one tells the story of T’Challa (the Black Panther), who returns to his home of Wakanda and prepares to take over the throne after the death of his father. If that doesn’t ring any bells for you, consider watching Captain America: Civil War again so you’re all caught up.
I’ve seen Black Panther and can tell you that it undoubtedly lives up to the hype,
but is it something you can share with your kids? Continue reading →

FIFTY SHADES FREED
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MOVIE REVIEW: “Fifty Shades Freed” (Thank GOD, the End is NIGH!)

A friend asked me, just yesterday, “UGGGGH, are they really still making those Fifty Shades of Grey movies?”
Yes, and UGH indeed.
See, I’ve never been been a fan of these damn things. I didn’t even finish the first book because I thought it was boring and that the sex-scenes were just slightly more titillating than men’s underwear mannequins at Macy’s. The films are a bit more fun because we have the dewy, sweet-faced Dakota Johnson as our Anastasia, but we also have the cut-directly-from-cardboard Jamie Dornan, as our Christian Grey. Sure, he has a beautiful body but the lack of charisma is daunting.
The vapid Fifty Shades story-line might have been saved if these two were ever capable of generating any real heat. No one remembers exactly what Nine and a Half Weeks was about, but certain scenes will live forever just because they were so HOT (Yes, please leave your hat on!). Dornan and Johnson’s love-scenes however, seem to cause a sex-vacuum, and often feel like you’re watching two strangers, who don’t even like each other, try to get it on. Now that I think about it, that’s exactly what we’re watching. Sure, there are stories and satellite characters and actual arcs built into this tome, but does any of it matter if the sex isn’t sexy?
These are the questions I’ve asked myself repeatedly while sitting through each of these movies. That’s one of the only downfalls of being a Film Critic (aside from all that money you aren’t making): Sometimes you have to see movies that you DON’T want to see.
Which brings me to the main point of my Fifty Shades Freed review.
I feel pretty certain that those of you who WANT to see this movie WILL see it, regardless of what I say. I sat through all 105 (thankfully brief) minutes though, so you’re getting my review anyhow. Continue reading →

Paddington 2
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MOMMY MOVIE REVIEW: Why Your Kids (and YOU) Need “Paddington 2”

I usually spend my Mommy Movie Review time explaining why a movie is or is not appropriate for your kids, but I’m not doing that today. No, today I’m going to tell you why you need to see Paddington 2, because I know you have absolutely NO interest in it.
How do I know this?
Well, I know because I gave away FREE MOVIE PASSES to Paddington 2 and no one took them. OK, a handful of you took tickets, but only after I reminded you to (and begged, just a little). I usually run out of free passes pretty quickly, so I was surprised that no one wanted these. I’ll admit to a wave of apathy when I watched the Paddington 2 trailer, and that I brought extra candy to the screening, in case my daughters started to complain.
They didn’t complain. In fact, we were all swept up in the magic and utter sweetness of Paddington 2 as soon as it started. Continue reading →

Best of

The Julie Says So TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2017

I’m writing a TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2017 list, even though I suspect no one will ever read it. Honestly, I think I make “Best Of” lists just so I can look back at them years later and say, “Oh yeah…I forgot about that one.”
Or maybe now, “Oh yeah…that was back before So-n-So got busted for showing his business to coworkers and had to stop making movies.”
Let’s hope that no one on this current list will end up on that future one. Continue reading →

Movie Minute

JULIE SAYS SO “Movie Minute” Featuring “The Greatest Showman & “Jumaji: Welcome to the Jungle”

Looking for a movie to see over the holidays? I can help!
Here’s the latest JULIE SAYS SO Movie Minute, where I give abbreviated reviews of the biggest movies opening this week- The Greatest Showman and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. I didn’t get a chance to cover everything that’s coming out, but I’ve got links to those reviews. Click HERE if you want to read about Pitch Perfect 3, HERE to read about Downsizing, and HERE if you need reviews for Father Figures.
Watch my TOP 5 MOVIES TO SEE NOW list to see what other good stuff you’re missing and don’t forget to check the FREE MOVIE PASSES page to see what I’m giving away next.
By the way, they released the trailer for the new Ocean’s 8, which is CLEARLY the HOTTEST NEW MOVIE TRAILER OF THE WEEK, after we taped this. I posted it after the MOVIE MINUTE below, so you can check it out, too.
Happy Holidays & Have Fun at the Movies!

Jumanji
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MOMMY MOVIE REVIEW- Is “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” OK for Kids?

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is about four high-school students who get pulled into a video game, where they become their avatars. It stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black as game characters who must figure out clues and save the island, or possibly die in the process. Along the way, they meet Nick Jonas’ Seaplane McDonough, who has been trapped inside the game for twenty years.
Look, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is goofy and about as substantial as a handful of popcorn. It’s also surprisingly engaging and a load of fun. Continue reading →

Hugh Jackman
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MOVIE REVIEW: Just How Great IS “The Greatest Showman?”

I had several snarky thoughts when I first saw the trailer for The Greatest Showman.
Things like:
-I think I preferred this movie when it was called Moulin Rouge.
-Isn’t Hugh Jackman a little old to be playing Michelle Williams’ husband?
-Really??? Another slow-motion shot of a hot-chick dangling from the ceiling???
You get the point.
See, I have to sit through a ton of movies and I’m afraid that, after a while, many of them start to look the same.
I even warned my daughters to “keep your expectations low” when we sat down to watch The Greatest Showman, and then prepared myself to be sufficiently underwhelmed.

Man…was I wrong. Continue reading →