Movie Watch: Amarillo film options for Aug. 2 to 9, including 'Christopher Robin,' 'Eighth Grade,' 'Spy Who Dumped Me,' more
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By Chip Chandler — Producer
New in Amarillo theaters this week: A real-life Pooh bear, funny women on a mission, one of the year's most acclaimed indie movies and more.
New in theaters
"Christopher Robin" trailer
A now-adult Christopher (Ewan McGregor) has lost his inner, playful child, and it's up to his old friends from the Hundred Acre Wood to help him bring it back. Pooh and the gang (all CGI) come to our world in this film from director Marc Forster (World War Z). No reviews have been released yet. (PG for some action; click here for showtimes at United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd., and Cinemark Hollywood 16, 9100 Canyon Drive)
The Darkest Minds
"The Darkest Minds" trailer
A virus kills 90 percent of the world's child population, leaving behind super-powered kids who are confined to camps while the government finds a way to either cure them or (more likely) use their new abilities for its own nefarious reasons. Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson's film is based on the popular YA franchise by Alexandra Bracken, and stars The Hunger Games alum Amandla Stenberg, but critics think the dystopian YA fad may have passed, leaving Bracken's story unfinished on the big screen (think Divergent): "The film zips through its final act at breakneck speed, doling out answers and riling up new conflicts with little care for how they impact a standalone story, just setting up for a franchise that might never come to fruition. Half a decade ago, it might have been a sure thing. These days, it’s no longer the obvious answer," writes IndieWire's Kate Erbland. (PG-13 for violence including disturbing images, and thematic elements; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)
Death of a Nation
"Death of a Nation" trailer
Author, filmmaker and conservative activist Dinesh D'Souza, recently pardoned by the president for his felony violation of campaign finance law, returns to theaters with another propaganda film disguised as a documentary. This time, D'Souza argues that Democrats are the heirs to the Nazi party, which ... I mean, there's allowing everyone to freely express their opinion, and there's incontrovertible proof of which American political party actually has neo-Nazis running for election under its banner. As usual, D'Souza's film is being met with critical brickbats: "In Death of a Nation, Dinesh D’Souza is no longer preaching to the choir; he’s preaching to the mentally unsound. That’s how detached from reality his 'philosophy,' his armchair rage, and his passionate and consuming desire to be a radical-right shill have become," writes Variety's Owen Gleiberman. (PG-13 for strong thematic material including violence/disturbing images, some language and brief drug use; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)
"Eighth Grade" trailer
Comedian Bo Burnham makes his feature directorial debut with this empathetic look at the life of a shy, 13-year old girl, Kayla (Elsie Fisher). Painfully bashful in real life, Kayla regularly posts self-help videos on YouTube, as the audience gets a bird's-eye view of the particular hells of middle school. Reviews have been ecstatic since the film (which Burnham also wrote) first debuted at Sundance in January. "Eighth Grade, with all its emotional intensity, is not about 'what happens.' It's about what it feels like to be thirteen. Middle school sucks. Everybody knows that. It's a stage you have to go through. But while you're there, it feels like it goes on forever. Try telling a 13-year-old 'This too shall pass,'" writes RogerEbert.com's Sheila O'Malley. "Burnham ... is only 27 years old. He respects where Kayla is at. He doesn't condescend to her, or to anyone else. Eighth Grade is an act of nervy humorous empathy." (R for language and some sexual material; click here for showtimes at Hollywood 16)
The Spy Who Dumped Me
"The Spy Who Dumped Me" trailer
Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon star as best buddies in this new action comedy. Kunis' Audrey has been dumped by her latest boyfriend (Justin Theroux), who turns out to be a spy (that's in the title, so it's not a spoiler). The bad guys think that Audrey and Morgan (McKinnon) know where that shady spy is, so the women are soon chased across Europe. Reviews are fairly mixed so far, but McKinnon is getting raves. "The two stars play off each other very well, with Kunis displaying a genuine gift for comedy. ... Their relationship is believable — cuckoo, but believable. They’re mutually, hilariously supportive. (But) thanks to McKinnon, Spy is a fun summer picture that is truly, weirdly special," writes the Seattle Times' Soren Andersen. (R for violence, language throughout, some crude sexual material and graphic nudity; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)
"Dog Days" trailer
Ken Marino (The State) directs this romantic ensemble comedy about multiple dog owners and their pets, whose various lives intersect around Los Angeles. Cast members include Nina Dobrev, Adam Pally, Vanessa Hudgens, Eva Longoria and Finn Wolfhard. It'll preview for two days before officially opening Thursday, and reviews are not yet out there. (PG for rude and suggestive content, and for language; click here for showtimes at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)
Made for More
"Made for More" trailer
Best-selling author Rachel Hollis' story is told in this inspirational documentary, followed by a Q&A with the author in this special streamed event. It'll screen at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Aug. 13 at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
Sailor Moon Supers — The Movie
"Sailor Moon Supers — The Movie" trailer
An encore screening of Sailor Moon R — The Movie will precede the premiere of Sailor Moon Supers — The Movie in a new special event. They'll screen at 12:55 p.m. Saturday (English-dubbed) and 7 p.m. Monday (subtitled) at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
The Big Lebowski
"The Big Lebowski" trailer
The TCM Big Screen Classics series continues with a 20th anniversary presentation of the Coen Brothers cult comedy The Big Lebowski at 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday and Wednesday at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
Have It All: The Movie
"Have It All: The Movie" trailer
Singer Jason Mraz will treat audiences to a family friendly celebration of the creative arts in the documentary-style feature Have It All: The Movie, featuring new material from upcoming album Know. It'll screen at 7 p.m. Tuesday at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
Big, Loud & Live 15
"Big, Loud & Live 15" trailer
Watch the Drum Corps International world championship prelims live from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in Big, Loud & Live 15. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 9 at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
Kids' movie specials
All three Amarillo movie theaters offered summer-long specials on family films, but only one remains.
This week's offerings:
- Premiere Cinemas Summer Kids Fest: Animated feature Storks will close out the season, screening at 10 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at Premiere Cinemas Westgate Mall 6, 7701 W. Interstate 40. Admission is free.
Aug. 12 to 15: The Studio Ghibli Fest 2018 continues with historical masterpiece Grave of the Fireflies at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16. An English-dubbed version will screen at 12:55 p.m. Aug. 12 and 7 p.m. Aug. 15, with a subtitled version screening at 7 p.m. Aug. 13.
Aug. 13: Best-selling author Rachel Hollis' story is told again in an encore screening of inspirational documentary Made for More, followed by a Q&A with the author. It'll be seen at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 13 at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
Aug. 14: The horror film Blood Fest, featuring a slasher targeting a film festival celebrating horror movies, will get a one-night-only screening at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 14 at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
Aug. 16 and 20: The iconic televised concert in which Elvis Presley relaunched his singing career will be seen again in Elvis '68 Comeback Special, a 50th anniversary reissue with behind-the-scenes footage and more. It'll screen at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 16 and 20 at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
Aug. 17: Action thriller Mile 22 is scheduled to open, but advance tickets are not yet on sale.
Aug. 20: In faith-based drama An Interview with God, young reporter (Brenton Thwaites, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) struggles with his dying faith after covering the Afghanistan war, then meets a mysterious man (David Strathairn) claiming to be God. The film will screen at 7 p.m. Aug. 20 to 22 at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
Aug. 23 and 25: The RiffTrax crew will take on notoriously awful sci-fi film Krull in a live screening at 7 p.m. Aug. 23, followed by an encore at 12:55 p.m. Aug. 25, at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
Aug. 26 and 29: The TCM Big Screen Classics series continues with a 60th anniversary presentation of the Rogers & Hammerstein musical South Pacific at 2 and 7 p.m. Aug. 26 and 29 at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
Listings at a glance
Click on titles for my review and on theaters for showtimes.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (H-16); Avengers: Infinity War (WM-6); Christopher Robin (AS-14, H-16); The Darkest Minds (AS-14, H-16); Deadpool 2 (WM-6); Death of a Nation (AS-14, H-16); Dog Days (AS-14, H-16 beginning Tuesday); Eighth Grade (H-16); The Equalizer 2 (AS-14, H-16); Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (AS-14, H-16); The Incredibles 2 (AS-14, H-16); Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (AS-14, H-16); Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (AS-14, H-16); Mission: Impossible — Fallout (AS-14, H-16 and Tascosa Drive-In, 1999 Dumas Drive) Ocean's 8 (WM-6); Overboard (WM-6); Sicario: Day of the Soldado (WM-6); Skyscraper (AS-14, H-16 and Tascosa); Solo: A Star Wars Story (WM-6); The Spy Who Dumped Me (AS-14, H-16); Teen Titans GO! to the Movies (AS-14, H-16); Unfriended: Dark Web (WM-6); and Won't You Be My Neighbor (WM-6).