Movie Watch: Amarillo film options for April 12 to 19, with 'Rampage,' 'Truth or Dare,' more
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By Chip Chandler — Producer
In Amarillo theaters this week: The Rock goes on a Rampage, Wes Anderson goes to the Dogs and a game of Truth or Dare gets bloody.
New in theaters
Isle of Dogs
"Isle of Dogs" trailer
Director Wes Anderson (The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonlight Kingdom) returns to stop-motion animation with this fanciful film about an outbreak of canine flu, quarantined dogs and a young boy (voiced by Koyu Rankin) who tries to save his beloved mutt (Liev Shreiber). Other voice actors include Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson and Greta Gerwig. Reviews have been largely positive: "I’ve sometimes faulted his films for being too walled in by their own obsessively constructed worlds. But here as in The Grand Budapest Hotel, the director’s seemingly insatiable drive to build the perfect dollhouse takes on a larger, sadder perspective: The tiny utopias he (and often his characters) so painstakingly create teeter on the edge of much bigger historical dystopias," writes Slate's Dana Stevens. (PG-13 for thematic elements and some violent images; click here for showtimes at United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd., and Cinemark Hollywood 16, 9100 Canyon Drive)
The Leisure Seeker
"The Leisure Seeker" trailer
Helen Mirren scored a surprise Golden Globe nomination for this road-trip dramedy co-starring Donald Sutherland. John, a retired English professor, and Ella, his beloved wife, travel from Boston to Key West in an attempt to enjoy one last trip together before he's lost to dementia. (She has her own reasons for the trip, too, which unfold in their own time.) Mirren has fun chowing down on a thick Southern accent and an emotional role, and Sutherland shines even though he's got that convenient movie-style dementia, where he conveniently recovers his senses now and then, when it best suits the plot. Left behind are their children, Jane (Janel Moloney) and Will (Christian McKay, blustery and erratically accented). Italian director Paolo Virzi and a script credited to four screenwriters unfortunately don't have too much insightful to say, and there's not exactly many places a story like this can go or much growth its characters can display. The attempts at humor are gentle enough in the moment, but then you remember just how sad and dire their situation is. Mirren and Sutherland are pleasurable to watch, certainly, but their Chatty Cathy characters start to get on your nerves after a while. And Virzi has some trouble navigating his first English-language feature; there are nods to the 2016 political race that go nowhere, and he's too reliant on easy soundtrack cues ("It's Too Late" and "Don't Leave Me This Way" feel like anvils, in particular). (R for some sexual material; click here for showtimes at Premiere Cinemas Westgate Mall 6, 7701 W. Interstate 40)
Pirimatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) would rather hang out with a silverback gorilla than his fellow humans, but when a genetic experiment goes wrong, the ape and other animals grow to enormous size and start to threaten Chicago. Initial reviews aren't promising: "(T)his is in fact way more SyFy than Sci-Fi, one shark short of a Sharknado. (There is a giant alligator, though.) It’s aggressively dumb, and I’d feel safe in the assumption that everyone was in on the joke if it weren’t for the absence of any good ones," writes Vulture's Emily Yoshida. (PG-13 for sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief language, and crude gestures; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16, and here for showtimes at Tascosa Drive-In, 1999 Dumas Drive)
Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero
"Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero" trailer
This computer-animated film offers the true story of the most decorated canine in American history — a stray dog who became a hero during World War I, surviving 17 battles in the trenches. Voice talent includes Helena Bonham Carter, Logan Lerman and Gérard Depardieu. Reviews are solid: "(T)his kid-friendly, rather jingoistic account of the Great War and the canine that helped to win it also delves into some of the darker sides of the conflict. There are no talking animals or wink-wink pop culture asides à la Pixar, but rather straightforward dramatic scenes depicting shell-shocked troops in combat, mustard gas attacks and even a few casualties," writes the Hollywood Reporter's Jordan Mintzer. (PG for war action and some thematic elements; click here for showtimes at Hollywood 16)
Truth or Dare
"Truth or Dare" trailer
Technically Blumhouse's Truth or Dare, presumably to differentiate it from Madonna's, the latest from Blumhouse Productions (Get Out, Split) finds a group of young-adult friends, including Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars) and Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf), partying in Mexico before graduation. At a creepy mission, they start playing the eponymous game, then find themselves compelled to continue playing by some sort of demonic entity when they return to America. "(G)iven the bonkers set-up, the film’s deaths could be more daring or imaginative in the manner of the Rube Goldbergian mayhem to be found in the Final Destination movies, the horror franchise which this film most closely resembles. But the result is still an effective enough scare machine," writes Entertainment Weekly's Clark Collins. (PG-13 for violence and disturbing content, alcohol abuse, some sexuality, language and thematic material; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)
"The Amendment" trailer
This inspirational drama tells the story of Oklahoma legislator Brooks Douglass' championing of victims' rights laws. It'lll screen at 7 p.m. Thursday at Amarillo Star 14.
"Less Than" trailer
This documentary about poverty in America, a joint project of United Way of Amarillo & Canyon and ThreeLeaf Creative, will premiere with a 7 p.m. Friday screening in the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Buchanan St. The film posits that poverty is preventable and backs its assertion with interviews with experts and personal testimonies; the screening will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A session. Admission is free, but tickets are required. Call 806-376-6359.
Sonya Yoncheva in "Luisa Miller"
The Met: Live in HD series continues with Verdi's rarely performed opera, starring Placido Domingo and Sonya Yoncheva. It'll screen at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Hollywood 16.
"Grease" 40th anniversary trailer
TCM's Big Screen Classics series will continue with a 40th anniversary screening of the belovedly raunchy (or raunchily beloved) musical. It'll screen at 2 p.m. Saturday at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
Survival Sunday trailer
Zombie attack! The Walking Dead season finale and Fear the Walking Dead season premiere will screen back-to-back and commercial-free at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
Phoenix Wilder & The Great Elephant Adventure
"Phoenix Wilder" trailer
This family drama tells the story of a 13-year-old orphan who moves to Africa and bonds with a bull elephant. It'll screen at 6 p.m. Monday at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
Look & See: Wendell Berry's Kentucky
"Look & See" trailer
The latest Indie Lens Pop-Up screening from Panhandle PBS will feature this lyrical documentary about the poet, author and activist and his views about industrial agriculture vs. family farms. Stay for a discussion with representatives from Don Harrington Discovery Center, Amarillo Community Market, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension - Potter County, USDA-ARS Conservation & Production Research Laboratory, Wildcat Bluff Nature Center and Panhandle PBS. The screening begins at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Discovery Center, 1200 Streit Drive. Admission is free. Call 806-371-5224.
The Dating Project
"The Dating Project" trailer
This faith-based romance advice film — exploring dating in the app-based age — will screen at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Amarillo Star 14.
April 19: Advance tickers are on sale now for cult comedy sequel Super Troopers 2 at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16, as well as a double feature also including the original film at 4:20 p.m. April 19 at Amarillo Star 14. Advance tickets also are on sale now for Amy Schumer's I Feel Pretty at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
April 22 to 25: The Studio Ghibli Fest 2018 continues with the fantasy adventure The Cat Returns at both the Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16. An English-dubbed version will screen at 12:55 p.m. April 22 and 7 p.m. April 25, with a subtitled version screening at 7 p.m. April 23.
April 24: Faith-based special Fragments of Truth, featuring Craig Evans' attempts to prove historical foundations behind the New Testament, will screen at 7 p.m. at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
April 25: The Cobra Kai premiere event will feature a screening of the 1984 Karate Kid alongside the first two episodes of the new YouTube Red series, which picks up on the story of Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny (William Zabka) 34 years later. The event begins at 7 p.m. at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
April 26: Advance tickets are on sale for superhero smorgasbord Avengers: Infinity War at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
April 28: The Met: Live in HD continues with the company's first production of Massenet's Cendrillon, a Cinderella story starring Joyce DiDonato, Alice Coote and Kathleen Kim. It'll screen at 11:55 a.m. at the Hollywood 16.
April 29 to May 2: The fantasy classic Labyrinth, starring the late David Bowie as the Goblin King, will screen in a three-day celebration at 2 and 7 p.m. April 29 and 7 p.m. May 1 and 2 at Amarillo Star 14.
May 1 and 3: The faith-based family drama Like Arrows will screen at 7 p.m. May 1 and 3 at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
May 3: Anna Faris and Eugenio Debrez star in the gender-swapped remake of Overboard; advance tickets are on sale now at Hollywood 16, with Amarillo Star 14 expected to follow.
May 4: The thriller Bad Samaritan, starring David Tennant and Kerry Condon, and drama Tully, from the creators and stars of Juno and Young Adult, are expected to open nationally, but advance tickets are not yet on sale. Release dates are subject to change.
May 8: The children's animated film The Boxcar Children — Surprise Island will screen at 4 p.m. at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
May 9 and 12: The musical Puffs: Filmed Live Off Broadway, a parody of the Harry Potter series told from the perspective of different students, will screen at 7 p.m. May 9 and 12:55 p.m. May 12 at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
May 10: The anime film Digimon Adventure Tri.: Coexistence will hit big screens for showings at 7:30 p.m. May 10 at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
May 11: Home-invasion thriller Breaking In, starring Gabrielle Union, and college romp Life of the Party, starring Melissa McCarthy, are scheduled to open nationally, but advance tickets are not yet on sale.
May 13 and 16: The TCM Big Screen Classics series continues with Sunset Boulevard, screening at 2 and 7 p.m. May 13 and 16 at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
May 15: Singer Michael Bolton hosts American Dream: Detroit, a look back at the city's history and an optimistic examination of its future. It'll screen at 7 p.m. May 15 at Hollywood 16.
May 17: A National Theatre Live screening of Macbeth, starring Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff, will screen at 7 p.m. May 17 at Amarillo Star 14.
May 18: Adult dramedy Book Club, starring Diane Keaton and Jane Fonda; comic book sequel Deadpool 2; and children's comedy Show Dogs are scheduled to open nationally, but advance tickets are not yet on sale.
May 20 to 23: The Studio Ghibli Fest 2018 continues Porco Rosso at both the Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16. An English-dubbed version will screen at 12:55 p.m. May 20 and 7 p.m. May 23, with a subtitled version screening at 7 p.m. May 21.
May 22: The inspirational documentary Godspeed — The Race Across America charts an attempt by racers Jerry Schemmel and Brad Cooper to make it across America on bicycles. It'll screen at 7 p.m. May 22 at Amarillo Star 14.
May 25: The embattled sci-fi prequel Solo: A Star Wars Story, starring Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover, is scheduled to open nationally, but advance tickets are not yet on sale.
Listings at a glance
Click on titles for my reviews and on theaters for showtimes.
Black Panther (H-16); Blockers (AS-14, H-16); Bomb City (WM-6); Chappaquiddick (H-16); Ferdinand (WM-6); God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness (H-16); I Can Only Imagine (AS-14, H-16); Isle of Dogs (AS-14, H-16); Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (WM-6); The Leisure Seeker (WM-6); Midnight Sun (WM-6); The Miracle Season (AS-14, H-16); Pacific Rim Uprising (AS-14, H-16); Paul, Apostle of Christ (AS-14, H-16); Peter Rabbit (WM-6); A Quiet Place (AS-14, H-16); Ready Player One (AS-14, H-16 and TDI); Sherlock Gnomes (AS-14, H-16); Tomb Raider (WM-6); and Tyler Perry's Acrimony (AS-14, H-16).