The Big Screen

The Big Screen looks in-depth at the most interesting new release in theaters each week. We also have a weekly conversation with a major movie star or mover-and-shaker in the North Texas film scene and we highlight movies and DVDs to watch this weekend. The Big Screen is hosted by Chris Vognar, movie critic for The Dallas Morning News ( and Stephen Becker, reporter for Art and Seek, from KERA (
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The Big Screen




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Sep 20, 2017

Richardson native David Gordon Green is best known for directing "Pineapple Express" and other broad comedies. With his new film, “Stronger,” he returns to his more dramatic roots in telling the story of a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing. This week, we talk about the film - and about Green’s evolution as a director. "Stronger" opens on Friday.

Sep 13, 2017

Dallasites Cynthia and Allen Mondell have been married for nearly 48 years. And for most of that time, they’ve made films together. A retrospective of their documentaries airs tonight on KERA-TV, and they sit down to talk about their partnership on this week’s edition of The Big Screen.

Sep 6, 2017

The crowds at the Venice Film Festival are getting the first look at some of the most important films of 2017. One half of our Big Screen team -Chris Vognar - is taking in the scene, and he takes a break from the glitz and glamour to check in.

Aug 30, 2017

This fall, a pair of high-profile Texas directors - David Gordon Green and Richard Linklater - will release new films that could get the attention of Oscar voters. Green's up first with "Stronger," starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Jeff Bauman, a man who lost both of his legs during the Boston Marathon bombing. Meanwhile, Linklater gathers Steve Carell, Laurence Fishburn and Bryan Cranston for "Last Flag Flying." It tells the story of a grieving father (Carell) who goes on a road trip to retrieve the remains of his killed in action in Iraq. This week, we preview those films and take a sneak peek at the upcoming Venice Film Festival, which one of our team members will be attending.

Aug 23, 2017

In 1998, Carter High School’s football team dominated the competition on the way to a state title. And then, that title was taken away. This week, we talk about Carter’s fall from grace with Adam Hootnick, director of 'What Carter Lost,' the new ESPN documentary about the team. The film airs Thursday night at 8:30.

Aug 16, 2017

In his 1989 film “Do the Right Thing,” Spike Lee captured a day in the life in a historically black Brooklyn neighborhood. And his story of racial tension and gentrification is just as relevant nearly 30 years after its debut. This week, we talk about the movie with Brandon Harris, author of "Making Rent in Bed-Stuy: A Memoir of Trying to Make It in New York City." He's showing the film and talking about his book this Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Texas Theatre.

Aug 10, 2017

A new series is bringing some of Hollywood’s scariest movies back for one-night-only screenings. And it's hosted by our own Chris Vognar! This week, we talk about the movies and why they’re worth visiting the theater – even if we’re afraid of the dark.

Aug 2, 2017

The highest-grossing films of the summer - Wonder Woman – was made by a woman – Patty Jenkins. And this month, an entire festival of movies made by women is coming to Dallas. This week we preview the Women Texas Film Festival with its artistic director, Justin Walford. The Women Texas Film Festival runs August 16-20 at Studio Movie Grill in Dallas. Details are at

Jul 26, 2017

Big wave surfers are athletic, have incredible balance and practice for years to reach the top of their sport. Those traits are also common among dancers. This week, we talk with Emilie Skinner, artistic director of Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet, whose latest work is inspired by surf culture and classic movies that tap into that culture. The company performs a pair of pieces before a screening of the seminal surf documentary "The Endless Summer" on Sunday at the Texas Theat

Jul 19, 2017

A new web series follows a young woman struggling to re-enter society after prison. This week, we talk with Ya'Ke Smith about the many real-life sources he pulled from to make "The Beginning and Ending of Everything." You can stream the first two episodes of on the show’s Facebook page. Episode 3 is out Friday.

Jul 12, 2017

The Asian Film Festival of Dallas begins its weeklong run Thursday night. And the 70 films on this year’s schedule are the most it’s ever had. This week, we get a preview from the event’s programmer, David Gibson.

Jun 29, 2017

Dallas director David Lowery broke big last summer with his remake of the Disney classic “Pete’s Dragon.” For his new film, he returns to his indie roots to tell a story of a ghost revisiting his former life. This week, we talk with him about that film, called “A Ghost Story."

Jun 27, 2017

This weekend’s African Film Festival will show films from nearly 20 countries. This week, we preview the Dallas event with its executive director.

Jun 21, 2017

A new documentary looks at the coal industry’s role as both job provider and air polluter. This week, we talk with a pair of Dallas women featured in the film “From the Ashes,” which screens Thursday night at 6 at the Alamo Drafthouse in Dallas and will also air Sunday on National Geographic Channel.

Jun 14, 2017

Fifty years ago this weekend, some of the biggest names in music - including Janis Joplin, The Who and Jimi Hendrix - gathered for a three-day concert in Monterey, Calif. This week, we look back at the influential documentary that captured some of the most memorable performances in rock history.

Jun 7, 2017

More than 60 feature films and shorts will play this week’s Oak Cliff Film Festival. This week, we preview the event with one of its founders and North Texas director David Lowery, who's showing his newest film this weekend. Visit for picks for this year's fest.

May 31, 2017

When the calendar turns to June, the action on movie screens heats up. This week, we talk about a pair of high-brow directors who should be making big splashes this summer.

May 24, 2017

John Coltrane is arguably the most revered saxophone player who ever lived. A new documentary called "Chasing Trane" looks at the jazz innovator’s short but inspired life. This week, we talk about the film with Brad Leali, who teaches jazz saxophone at the University of North Texas.

May 17, 2017

Chris Burden was a performance artist and sculptor whose work questioned the very nature of art. A new documentary about Burden opens this weekend at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and this week we talk about the artist’s significance with a curator from the Dallas Museum of Art - which has a Burden sculpture in its collection.

May 3, 2017

In the 1980s, Jeremiah Tower was one of the most famous chefs in America and helped create today’s celebrity chef culture. A new film explores his pioneering approach to food that still resonates in restaurants today. This week, we talk about "Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent" with Leslie Brenner, restaurant critic for The Dallas Morning News.

Apr 26, 2017

For 30 years, Nancy Cartwright has voiced Bart Simpsons on "The Simpsons." For her latest project, though, she puts down the mic and pics up the pen. This week, we talk with Cartwright about “In Search of Fellini” - a film she wrote that shows Friday at 7 p.m. during this week’s USA Film Festival. And she lets us listen in on a conversation between Bart, Nelson and Ralph.

Apr 19, 2017

A new festival dedicated to environmental films debuts this weekend in Dallas. This week, we talk with its founder about using film as a call to action

Apr 7, 2017

Denton’s Thin Line Festival has always centered on documentary films. For its 10th edition, though, the festival is branching out. We talk with its film programmer about adding narrative movies to the mix.

Apr 5, 2017

The Dallas International Film Festival wraps up this weekend. This week, we look at what’s on tap for the remainder of the festival with its artistic director, James Faust.

Mar 29, 2017

Robert Benton is the winner of three Academy Awards for writing and directing Kramer vs. Kramer and Places in the Heart. This week, our Big Screen team talks with the Waxahachie native, who’s in town to open the Dallas International Film Festival with the first movie he ever wrote – Bonnie and Clyde.

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