Movie Watch: Films opening in Amarillo the weekend of April 8

Last Updated by Chip Chandler - Digital Content Producer on

by Chip Chandler — Digtal Content Producer

A moody mystery, a brash Melissa McCarthy comedy and a first-person POV action flick are headed to theaters in Amarillo this weekend, as are a boisterous classic comedy and a epic ballet direct from Russia.

“Midnight Special”: I’m trying to keep in the dark as much as possible about this film, the latest from writer/director Jeff Nichols. His previous films, “Mud” and “Take Shelter,” were outstanding dramas – the former, a tense coming-of-age drama starring Matthew McConaughey in one of his best-ever roles; the latter about a man (Michael Shannon) with apocalyptic visions who may or may not be off his rocker. This time, Nichols offers a story about a young boy (Jaeden Lieberher, “St. Vincent”) on the run from a religious cult with his father (Shannon again) and a helper (Joel Edgerton). Reviews have been quite good: “How ambitious is Nichols?” Ty Burr wrote for the Boston Globe. “His model isn’t merely Steven Spielberg, but the Spielberg of the 1970s and ’80s, when the man was knocking out great, mythic box office hits.” (PG-13 for some violence and action; United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd.)


“The Boss”: Melissa McCarthy first came up with the character of Michelle Darnell (“the 47th wealthiest woman in America”) as a member of The Groundlings comedy troupe, fleshing her out for this feature, co-starring Kristen Bell as her put-upon assistant. Darnell’s the boss from hell – we’ve all had one like that, right? – who is arrested and imprisoned for insider trading, then tries to rebuild her empire by way of the Girl Scout-like Dandelion Troop of Bell’s daughter. Reviews aren’t stellar, but McCarthy is getting good notices: “‘The Boss’ provides the talented Melissa McCarthy plenty of scenery to comically chew on – she is very funny at times – but the story is paper-thin,” David Lewis wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle. (R for sexual content, language and brief drug use; Amarillo Star 14 and Cinemark Hollywood 16, 9100 Canyon Drive)


“Hardcore Henry”: A cyborg soldier unable to speak or remember his background is thrust into a battle between a rebel scientist (Sharlto Copley) and an albino telekinetic supervillain (Danila Kozlovsky) in this joint U.S.-Russia production, inspired by director Illya Naishuller’s music video for his band Biting Elbows. Like a video game, it’s almost all told from the first-person perspective, “bursting with sick humor and splatterpunk violence,” Stephen Dalton wrote for The Hollywood Reporter. “‘Hardcore Henry’ is a seriously silly movie, and by no means perfect. … Even so, there is ample redeeming tongue-in-cheek humor in the film, plus exhilarating action and high-caliber technical achievement.” (R for non-stop bloody brutal violence and mayhem, language throughout, sexual content/nudity and drug use; Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)


“It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”: This sprawling, star-packed 1963 comedy – called “a whamdoodle, humdinger, stemwinder” by the New York World Telegram & Sun, and really, how many movies are whamdoodles? – is one of my all-time favorite flicks. My dad introduced it to me at an impressionable age, and even though it runs about three hours, it’s still one of my favorite go-to films when I need a good laugh. Director Stanley Kramer may have been better known for dramas like “Judgment at Nuremberg” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” but with “Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad,” he assembled a who’s-who of American comedians, including Sid Caesar, Jonathan Winters, Ethel Merman, Milton Berle, Mickey Rooney and Buddy Hackett – with Spencer Tracy playing straightman as the cop trying to keep them all from running away with a buried treasure. Though I’ve seen the film countless times, I’ve never gotten to see it on a big screen; thanks to Cinemark’s Classics Series, though, I (and you) will get the chance to do so at 2 p.m. Sunday or 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesday. (NR; Hollywood 16)


“Don Quixote”:  The Bolshoi Ballet presents its take on this famous epic, featuring an eccentric hero on a road trip with his loyal squire. The performance is filmed live in Moscow and broadcast in theaters around the country through Fathom Events, screening here only at 11:55 a.m. Sunday. (NR; Amarillo Star 14)


* Chip Chandler is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. He can be contacted at, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and on Facebook.