Movie Watch: Amarillo film options for Aug. 24 to 31, plus review of 'Leap!'
By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
Coming to Amarillo theaters: A trio of inspirational tales, plus a week-long marathon of Marvel movies.
New in theaters
John Corbett stars in this faith-based drama about a salesman who hears a calling to become a preacher. But when his small Tennessee church is ordered to shut down, he finds a new congregation in refugees from Myanmar. Reviews have not been released yet, but here's a fascinating feature about the true-life story from the Washington Post. (PG for thematic elements; click here for showtimes at United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd., and Cinemark Hollywood 16, 9100 Canyon Drive)
"All Saints" trailer
Birth of the Dragon
Before Bruce Lee's acting career took off, he was living and working in San Francisco as a martial-arts instructor. According to his account, he was challenged to a battle because he was teaching techniques to non-Asians; according to his eventual foe Wong Jack Man, Lee claimed he could beat anyone in San Francisco, and Wong decided to test him out. It was a seminal moment in Lee's career and still controversial — as is this film's decision to invent a Caucasian character (played by Billy Magnussen) as an intermediary between Lee (Philip Ng) and Wong (Yu Xia). "It huffs and puffs about what a mythic fight this was, yet it bumbles and stumbles when it comes to showing us what happened, and why it mattered," writes Variety's Owen Gleiberman. (PG-13 for martial arts violence, language and thematic elements; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)
"Birth of the Dragon" trailer
Leap! tries to land a grand jete but ends up sprawled across the floor on its butt.
It's a ridiculously plotted, modestly animated, diffidently voiced new children's film that's barely adequate enough to entertain even a less-than-discerning crowd.
Set sometime in the vaguely late 1800s — when, impossibly, the Statue of Liberty is being constructed at the same time as the Eiffel Tower — Leap! follows orphans Felicie (voiced by Elle Fanning) and Victor (Nat Wolff) as they escape from an orphanage and run to the streets of Paris, where she dreams of being a prima ballerina and he of being a famous inventor.
Felicie shows some raw talent which, according to this movie, is enough for her to become a top contender in a Parisian dance academy in, I guess, a matter of days (time is as fluid here as in Game of Thrones). Sure, she trains with a disabled maid (and former dancer) Odette (voiced by pop star Carly Rae Jepsen, sounding exactly like Idina Menzel in Frozen), but a couple of weeks' worth of training wouldn't be enough for her to compete against a rigidly disciplined dancer like her rival Camille (Maddie Ziegler).
Oh, and Felicie commits identity theft to steal Camille's spot in the academy in the first place, but never mind all that.
The girls are competing mainly because of the intense, baseless enmity Camille's mother, Regine (Kate McKinnon), feels toward Felicie — like, even before the identity theft. And, naturally, their rivalry leads to a final showdown over the role of Clara in, presumably, The Nutcracker (which actually was first staged in 1892, but never you mind about pesky details like that. #fakenews)
I swear, my niece and I looked at each other as Felicie and Camille's climactic showdown was about to begin and whispered "Dance off!" to each other just before the characters themselves did it. That wasn't the only oddly anachronistic touch in the dialogue. A mallet-wielding Regine, I kid you not, says "Stop! It's hammer time!", and I totally lost it, earning an eyeroll from my younger niece, who apparently liked the movie slightly more than I did.
That was the only real laugh, derisive or not, that the movie earned from me. Otherwise, it's just a sadly lazy film with no concept of how hard real dancers have to work. So it's not just stupid. It's more than a little offensive, too. (PG for some impolite humor, and action; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)
RiffTrax Live: The Five Doctors
Original Mystery Science Theater 3000 stars Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett bring their best snark to a new RiffTrax Live presentation in August. This time, they'll lovingly mock the 1983 Doctor Who film The Five Doctors, a 20th anniversary special that featured Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee and Peter Davis as the Second, Third and Fifth Doctors, respectively; Richard Hurndall as the First Doctor (filling in for the late William Hartnell); and, in archival footage only, Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor. I caught the live screening last Thursday, and it'll encore at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at both the Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16. As usual, laughs are a little hit-or-miss, though the hits definitely outnumber the flops. I'm not even a major Whovian — I've watched all of the new stuff, but I don't think I've ever seen an entire serial with any of these classic Doctors — and found it quite entertaining and silly in the best way. (NR)
Marvel XD Week
"Iron Man" trailer
A huge swath of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will unspool in theaters again during Marvel XD Week at Cinemark theaters, including Amarillo's Hollywood 16. The 11 films will screen for $5 each between Friday and Aug. 31. Here's the schedule:
- Friday: Iron Man at 1 p.m., Guardians of the Galaxy at 4 p.m., Ant-Man at 7 p.m. and Doctor Strange at 10 p.m.
- Saturday: Thor at 1 p.m., Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 at 4 p.m., The Avengers at 7 p.m. and Doctor Strange at 10 p.m.
- Sunday: Iron Man at 1 p.m., The Avengers at 4 p.m., Guardians of the Galaxy at 7 p.m. and Captain America: Civil War at 10 p.m.
- Monday: Captain America at 1 p.m., The Avengers at 4 p.m., Captain America: The Winter Soldier at 7 p.m. and Captain America: Civil War at 10 p.m.
- Tuesday: Captain America at 1 p.m., Thor at 4 p.m., The Avengers at 7 p.m. and Iron Man at 10 p.m.
- Wednesday: Guardians of the Galaxy at 1 p.m., Captain America: Civil War at 4 p.m., The Avengers at 7 p.m. and The Avengers: Age of Ultron at 10 p.m.
- Aug. 31: Guardians of the Galaxy at 1 p.m. and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 at 4 p.m.
The Spy Who Loved Me
"The Spy Who Loved Me" trailer
Cinemark's Classics Series continues with 40th anniversary screenings of The Spy Who Loved Me, with James Bond (Roger Moore) tracking down missing nuclear missiles with the help of a Russian agent. It'll screen at 2 p.m. Sunday and 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesday. (PG)
Castle in the Sky
GKids teams with Fathom Events for Studio Ghibli Fest, featuring six acclaimed anime films from the beloved Japanese film studio. The festival continues in August with screenings of Castle in the Sky, an adventure film with a mysterious young girl and boy who search for a floating island and fight pirates and spies. It'll screen at 12:55 p.m. Sunday (in an English-dubbed version) and 7 p.m. Monday (in a subtitled version) at the Amarillo Star 14.
"The Inhumans" trailer
The new ABC television series gets a sneak preview in IMAX-only screenings beginning Aug. 31 at the Amarillo Star 14. It'll screen for a week here, presumably making room for It. For those not in the know, the Inhumans are a super-powerful, secluded race in the Marvel Universe, led by Black Bolt (Anson Mount), whose whisper can level cities. Others can control the elements, teleport and have super-strong, pliable hair. The TV series premieres Sept. 29 with additional footage. (NR)
Still in theaters
Annabelle: Creation (AS-14, H-16 and Tascosa Drive-In, 1999 Dumas Drive); Baby Driver (AS-14, H-16 andTDI); Captain Underpants: The Epic First Movie (Premiere Cinemas Westgate Mall 6, 7701 W. Interstate 40); The Dark Tower (AS-14, H-16); Despicable Me 3 (H-16); Dunkirk (AS-14, H-16); The Emoji Movie (AS-14, H-16); 47 Meters Down (WM-6); Girls Trip (H-16); The Glass Castle (AS-14); Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (WM-6); The Hitman's Bodyguard (AS-14, H-16) Kidnap (AS-14, H-16); Logan Lucky (AS-14, H-16); The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (AS-14, H-16); Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (WM-6); Spider-Man: Homecoming (AS-14, H-16); Transformers: The Last Knight (WM-6); Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (WM-6); Wind River (AS-14, H-16); and Wonder Woman (AS-14, H-16) . (Click on titles for my reviews and on theaters for showtimes.)