Movie Watch: Amarillo film options for Dec. 20 to 28, including 'Showman,' 'Jumanji,' 'Downsizing,' 'All the Money,' more

Last Updated by Chip Chandler on
Kristen Wiig and Matt Damon, center, star in "Downsizing."
Courtesy Paramount

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

Christmas weekend arrives with theaters packed with movies! Check here for the scoop on all of your film options — seven new films in all through Monday!

 

Opening Wednesday

The Greatest Showman

Zac Efron and Hugh Jackman star in "The Greatest Showman," opening Wednesday.
Courtesy 20th Century Fox

Inspired (quite loosely) by the story of P.T. Barnum, this musical (featuring music by La La Land and Dear Evan Hansen team of Justin Paul and Benj Pasek) depicts Barnum's visionary (or boondoggle-y) creation of the business of show. The film scored three Golden Globe nominations last week — best actor (Jackman), best original song and best picture (musical/comedy). Reviews, however, are mixed: "Directed by first-timer Michael Gracey, the musical never aspires to be anything more than a heaping helping of PG-rated holiday cheese — something that the whole family can partake of. For the most part, it meets that low bar, though you’ll have to suspend disbelief at every turn," writes The Washington Post's Stephanie Merry. (PG for thematic elements including a brawl; click here for showtimes at United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd., and Cinemark Hollywood 16, 9100 Canyon Drive)

"The Greatest Showman" trailer

 

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Jack Black, from left, Nick Jonas, Karen Gillan, Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart star in "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle."
Courtesy Sony Pictures

A belated reboot of the 1995 Robin Williams film, this comedy stars Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black as the video-game avatars for a quartet of teenagers who get sucked into a game they start playing during a Breakfast Club-like detention. Black's real alter-ego is a teenage girl, naturally, while Gillan's is a shy bookworm and Hart's is a powerful jock. Initial reviews are positive enough, but IndieWire's David Ehrlich says the film is "further proof that even the stalest whiff of brand recognition has become preferable to originality. Only part of the blame for that belongs to the studios, but after cannibalizing themselves for much of the last 20 years, Hollywood has clearly eaten their way down to the crumbs." (PG-13 for adventure action, suggestive content and some language; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)

"Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" trailer

 

Opening Thursday

Downsizing

Paul (Matt Damon, left) talks with his recently shrunk friend Dave (Jason Sudeikis) in "Downsizing."
Courtesy Paramount

Director Alexander Payne is best known for realistic comedy-dramas like Sideways and The Descendents about average Joes. He stretches somewhat with his latest, which is still about an everyday man (Matt Damon), only he's the central figure in a sci-fi parable / satire. Here, a scientist has developed a way to shrink humans to 5 inches tall in an effort to curb overpopulation. Damon's Paul Safraek and his wife, Audrey (Kristen Wiig), agree to the procedure, but she backs out, leaving Paul to find a new life on his own. Critics' reactions are mixed, like the Seattle Times' Moira Macdonald, who writes that the film "runs out of steam long before it’s over. ... Perhaps Downsizing needed to be downsized a bit; as it is, it’s an intriguing concept that slips away." (R for language including sexual references, some graphic nudity and drug use; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)

"Downsizing" trailer

 

Father Figures

Owen Wilson, left, and Ed Helms go on a daddy hunt in "Father Figures."
Courtesy Warner Bros.

Owen Wilson and Ed Helms star as fraternal twin brothers who take a road trip to find their long-lost father after learning that their mom (Glenn Close) hasn't told the truth about him. Among the possibilities: Terry Bradshaw (as himself), J.K. Simmons, Christopher Walken and, somehow, Ving Rhames? No reviews have been released yet. (R for language and sexual references throughout; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)

"Father Figures" trailer

 

Pitch Perfect 3

The Barden Bellas sing their swan song in "Pitch Perfect 3."
Courtesy Universal

The Barden Bellas are back for one last show, with Beca (Anna Kendrick) and the rest finding only misery in the real world and reconnecting for an overseas USO tour. Reviews are pretty flat, but Entertainment Weekly's Leah Greenblatt found it enjoyable enough: "At a scant 93 minutes, PP3 is really more like an extended short than a movie anyway; one last daffy victory lap for the ladies who taught us how far friendship — and a franchise — can carry itself on hard work, matching halter tops, and a whole lot of mouth music." (PG-13 for crude and sexual content, language and some action; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)

"Pitch Perfect 3" trailer

 

Opening Friday

The Man Who Invented Christmas

Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer star as Charles Dickens and his most famous creation in "The Man Who Invented Christmas."
Courtesy Bleeker Street

Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) stars as author Charles Dickens in this imaginative retelling of his writing of A Christmas Carol, which he penned in six weeks and published himself when no one would take a chance on it. He finds inspiration in people he meets around London, which then come to life as characters in his book (including Christopher Plummer as Scrooge). Reviews have been fairly positive: "Stevens conveys Dickens' complex, self-absorbed personality with an enjoyably light touch (and) Plummer is such a sly, comic delight as Scrooge that it makes you wish he were given the opportunity to play the role in full," writes The Hollywood Reporter's Frank Scheck. (PG for thematic elements and some mild language; click here for showtimes at Premiere Cinemas Westgate Mall 6, 7701 W. Interstate 40)

"The Man Who Invented Christmas" trailer

 

Opening Monday

All the Money in the World

Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg star in the real-life drama "All the Money in the World."
Courtesy Sony Pictures

Michelle Williams stars as the mother of the teen grandson (Charlie Plummer) of the world's richest man, John Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer), in this based-on-a-true-story thriller. The grandson is kidnapped and Grandpa has no intention of paying the ransom, so Gail works with an ex-CIA agent (Mark Wahlberg) to secure his release. Possibly even more thrilling? The race to complete the movie in time for its release. Kevin Spacey originally took on the supporting role of the elder Getty, but when allegations of his sexual misconduct with minors broke out in October, director Ridley Scott quickly decided to recast the role with Plummer (his original choice) and reshot and re-edited the film in just six weeks, bumping the release date only three days. And reviews are pretty good: "The film reminds us that, onscreen and off, bumps along the road of life can often be surmounted by money carefully applied, but a tenacious mother (or director) is what ultimately makes the difference," writes Time Out's Joshua Rothkopf. (R for language, some violence, disturbing images and brief drug content; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)

"All the Money in the World" trailer

 

Special engagements

It's a Wonderful Life

"It's a Wonderful Life" trailer

Watch Frank Capra's melancholy holiday classic when it screens as part of Cinemark's Classics Series at 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Hollywood 16. (NR)

 

Gremlins

"Gremlins: Rule Breakers edition" trailer

The weekly series of holiday movies at Amarillo Star 14 concludes with Gremlins at noon Saturday. The Rule Breakers reissue of the 1984 horror-comedy classic will feature a special conversation with director Joe Dante. (PG)

 

Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time

"Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time" trailer

The annual Doctor Who Christmas special, gets the big-screen treatment in this cinematic event. It's the last appearance of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, and it features David Bradley as the First Doctor, as well. It'll screen at 7 p.m. Dec. 27 at the Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16, and encore at 7 p.m. Dec. 28 at the Amarillo Star 14 only. (NR)

 

Still in theaters

(NOTE: Some films will leave theaters between Friday and Monday; plan ahead before heading to the theater.)

A Bad Moms Christmas (WM-6); Coco (AS-14, H-16); Daddy's Home 2 (AS-14, H-16Despicable Me 3 (WM-6); Ferdinand (AS-14, H-16); Marshall (WM-6); Only the Brave (WM-6); Same Kind of Different As Me (WM-6); The Star (AS-14, H-16); Star Wars: The Last Jedi (AS-14, H-16); and Wonder (AS-14, H-16). (Click on titles for my reviews and on theaters for showtimes.)

 

 

 

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

 

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