Chip's Movie Picks

Last Updated by Chip Chandler - Digital Content Producer on

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
Chip.Chandler@actx.edu

This weekend’s movie openings include a harrowing Oscar winner, a surprise sequel and more.

“Son of Saul” 

Son of Saul

As I wrote in my review yesterday, this Hungarian film about an inmate at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp isn’t easy to watch. But it’s a powerful work of art that deserves an audience, regardless. The movie, the first feature from director Laszlo Nemes, won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in February and will play in Amarillo on a screen dedicated to independent films at Premiere Cinemas Westgate Mall 6, 7701 W. Interstate 40. (R for disturbing violent content, and some graphic nudity)

“10 Cloverfield Lane” 

10 Cloverfield Lane

I’m absolutely fascinated by the development of this film. As detailed here, the film began life as a spec script by Josh Campbell and Matt Stuecken in which “a woman wakes up in a bomb shelter with a mysterious man who says he rescued her from an apocalyptic event.” It was picked up by Bad Robot, the production company owned by J.J. Abrams, and morphed into a semi-sequel to the Abrams-produced 2008 film “Cloverfield.” That one came out with a marketing plan that deliberately obfuscated the movie’s plot beyond just the simplest details, all the better to build the mystery. The first trailer dropped the summer before its release: No title, no particularly recognizable stars – just a party scene interrupted by a loud roar and a suddenly decapitated Statue of Liberty. The plan worked: The found-footage horror film earned more than $170 million. Now, they’re trying it again. This time, even stars John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr. didn’t even know they were making a film set in the “Cloverfield” universe (film franchises these days are “universes,” you know, like Marvel, DC, etc.). The trailer dropped Jan. 14 and, as Rolling Stone reported, “When the trailer began, audiences were completely oblivious to the existence of a second Cloverfield film; when the trailer ended, they were roughly eight weeks away from opening night.” Maybe it’s all hype, but at least it’s a lot of fun. It’ll screen at United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd., and Cinemark Hollywood 16, 9100 Canyon Drive, and (along with “Deadpool”) will screen at Tascosa Drive-In, 1999 Dumas Highway, in its first double-feature of the season.

“The Brothers Grimsby” 

The Brothers Grimsby

Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest comedy finds him starring opposite Mark Strong (“Kingsman: The Secret Service”) as long-separated brothers: Cohen is a poor father of a dozen kids; Strong is a polished, world-traveling assassin. In a review for The AV Club, Jesse Hassenger writes that the film is caught between “comic set pieces (and) semi-ironic action bits. … (I)t’s almost impressive that The Brothers Grimsby works as well as it does—which is to say, intermittently and likably.” The film will screen at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.

Also screening:

The Perfect Match,” in which a playboy (Terrence J) bets his friends that he won’t fall in love with a woman even if he commits to her for a month (R for sexuality, some nudity, and language throughout; playing exclusively at Hollywood 16); “The Young Messiah,” which, just as it sounds, is about the childhood of Jesus (PG-13 for some violence and thematic elements; Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16).