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Making Dallas Even Better

In Hail, Caesar!, the Coen Brothers Lovingly Re-Create 1950s Hollywood

It’s difficult to want to criticize a movie as in love with the sometimes dirty business of movie-making as is Hail, Caesar!

But criticize I must, though perhaps a bit unfairly because this is a Coen brothers production. Their own spectacular filmography burdens each of their new releases with excessively high expectations. When you’ve made Fargo, No Country For Old Men, Barton Fink, and The Big Lebowski (among many others), it’s harder to skate by on a less-than-A+ entertainment without disappointing your audience, however slightly.

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A Killer Idea Lacks Bite in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

There’s a certain glee in seeing the Bennet sisters as warriors in Victorian ball gowns, wielding swords and guns while trying to eradicate a zombie outbreak.

Yet while Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is an ambitious genre mash-up — adapted from the Jane Austen send-up by novelist Seth Grahame-Smith — the concept ultimately is more amusing than the execution, and not as cool as it sounds.

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What We Know About the Alamo Drafthouse Opening in Downtown Dallas

At the tail end of last week, Alamo Drafthouse confirmed a Feb. 12 opening date for its new theater at 1005 South Lamar St. in the Cedars. The “grand opening” is March 9. We didn’t have many more details than that at the time.

After attending a “State of Alamo DFW” media roundtable Saturday with some local Alamo bigwigs, details are slightly less scarce. The chit-chat was at the branch in Richardson, so we still have not seen the interior of downtown Dallas’ long-awaited movie theater. (The Dallas Morning News has, if you’re more of a visual learner.)

But Alamo DFW COO Bill DiGaetano, creative manager James Wallace, and general managers Champ Jones and Jordan Michael did have some interesting tidbits about the Dallas theater, and about Alamo Drafthouse’s expanding presence in North Texas. Theaters are coming to Las Colinas and Little Elm, and DiGaetano hinted that a Tarrant County location may not be far off — although Fort Worth itself remains Alamo’s “great white whale.” There is, unfortunately, no chance of Alamo Drafthouse taking over the Lakewood Theater anytime soon, DiGaetano said. (The lack of parking remains a sticking point.)

Let’s talk about the new theater downtown, though. Here are the bullet points of what we learned:

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The Alamo Drafthouse in Downtown Dallas Opens Feb. 12

Downtown Dallas will finally have a movie theater to call its own on Feb. 12.

According to a contest on Alamo Drafthouse’s website, the popular Austin-based theater chain will throw open the doors at 1005 South Lamar St. for a soft open in February before its March 9 grand opening.

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45 Years Meditates on Love, Marriage, and Growing Old

A long-held secret threatens to upend the marriage of a septuagenarian English couple in the days leading up to the celebration of their 45th wedding anniversary. If I tell you just that synopsis, you likely have a guess or two about the nature of this film’s revelations. But it’s not exactly what you’re thinking. 45 Years is subtler than that.

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Harrowing Son of Saul Journeys Through the Hellish Circles of a Nazi Death Camp

How might a person cope with life in hell? When unspeakable horrors occur daily all around you, and you’ve been made complicit in their execution, it must be hard to say whether the dead or the living are the lucky ones. It must be hard to say what “dead” and “alive” truly mean.

In their World War II death camps, the Nazis forced some, mostly Jews, to aid in leading others to the gas chambers and to dispose of their victims’ remains. Known as the Sonderkommando (“special unit,” a euphemism), these prisoners typically were kept living only a few extra months before being slaughtered themselves.

The achievement of Hungarian director László Nemes’ Son of Saul is how every shot helps us to feel the psychological box in which the Sonderkommando must have kept themselves in order to maintain a sense of sanity amidst the seemingly never-ending parade of torture and murder into which their world had transformed.

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