Movie Watch: Amarillo film options for Jan. 4 to 11, including 'Molly's Game,' 'Insidious,' 'Lady Bird,' more

Posted by Chip Chandler on
Jessica Chastain stars in "Molly's Game."
Courtesy STX Entertainment

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

In Amarillo theaters this week: Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut, another Insidious bout of horror and a return of two of 2017's best-received films.


New in theaters

Insidious: The Last Key

Lin Shaye stars as Elise, a demonologist, in "Insidious: The Last Key."
Courtesy Universal

The haunted-house franchise wraps up with one final battle for demonologist Elise (Lin Shaye). This round, somewhat confusingly, is both "a sequel to the prequel of Insidious: Chapter 3 and a prequel to the original Insidious, which ended with Elise’s death," according to Eric Kohn's IndieWire review. Elise flashes back to her childhood in New Mexico and the development of her ghost-hunting skills, and her childhood is revisited when, as an adult, she is called back to her childhood home. "The cheesy dialogue and dime store philosophizing has a tendency to sound sleepy, even though Elise remains a compelling figure informed her struggle to make sense out of her gift," Kohn said, adding that "Shaye brings so much ferocity and sadness to the performance it’s a wonder she doesn’t land more substantial roles." (PG-13 for disturbing thematic content, violence and terror, and brief strong language; click here for showtimes at United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd., and Cinemark Hollywood 16, 9100 Canyon Drive)

"Insidious: The Last Key" trailer


Molly's Game

Jessica Chastain stars as the queen of high-stakes poker in "Molly's Game."
Courtesy STX Entertainment

Aaron Sorkin makes his directorial debut with his script of this biopic about championship-skiier-turned-poker-queenpin Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain), whose career running the highest-of-high-stakes games was brought down by an FBI raid. Idris Elba co-stars as her attorney, who struggles with finding a way to get her off. Molly Reviews are mostly positive but somewhat mixed, such as the Boston Globe's Ty Burr's take: "It’s tempting to think of Molly’s Game in poker terms: Sorkin’s holding a queen, a king, and at least a couple of aces, but the tell is that he talks too much, and in the end you realize he’s bluffing." Others are more impressed (or forgiving), like's Christy Lemire: "Chastain and Elba have crackling chemistry from the start—you can practically feel the energy of them leaning into each other. Either you’ll be able to give yourself over to Sorkin’s heightened world or you won’t, but the scenes between Chastain and Elba certainly make it easier." (R for language, drug content and some violence; click here for showtimes at Hollywood 16)

"Molly's Game" trailer


Returning to theaters

Lady Bird, writer-director Greta Gerwig's astonishingly good coming-of-age tale (my review) about a high school senior (Saorise Ronan) in the early 2000s, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, writer-director Martin McDonagh's prickly story (my review) of a justice-seeking mother (Frances McDormand) and a racist cop in her way (Sam Rockwell), return to town, this time screening at the Amarillo Star 14. (Click here for showtimes for Lady Bird, and here for showtimes for Three Billboards.)

Also returning: Roman J. Israel, Esq., a thriller starring Denzel Washington as an out-of-sync lawyer forced to catch up with the times. Reviews were fairly mixed on its original release, but Washington is still in the running for an Oscar nomination for best actor. It'll screen at Premiere Cinemas Westgate Mall 6, 7701 W. Interstate 40. 

Plus, Blade Runner 2049, the revival of Ridley Scott's influential sci-fi classic, also will screen at Westgate Mall 6. (Here's my review.)


Special engagements

I Am Not Your Negro

"I Am Not Your Negro" trailer

 Watch the Academy Award-nominated documentary I Am Not Your Negro, based on an unfinished work by author James Baldwin, before its broadcast debut in this Indie Lens Pop-Up Screening sponsored by Panhandle PBS, the Amarillo branch of the NAACP and the Amarillo Public Library. A panel discussion follows. The film will screen at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Amarillo Public Library downtown branch, 413 S.E. Fourth Ave. Admission is free. Call 806-371-5479. (Click here for more about the film and the screening.)


Agnyaathavaasi: Prince in Exile

"Agnyaathavaasi: Prince in Exile" trailer

This Indian film (shown in Telugu with English subtitles) stars Pawan Kalyan as the exiled heir of a murdered billionaire, out to get justice for his dead father. (t'll screen at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Hollywood 16.


Alien Intrusion: Unmasking a Deception

"Alien Intrusion: Unmasking a Deception" trailer

This film takes a Biblical look at UFO sightings. It will screen at 7 p.m. Jan. 11 at both the Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.


Looking ahead

Jan. 11: Advance tickets are on sale now for Paddington 2, the sequel to the well-received live-action take on the children's classic, and The Post, Steven Spielberg's look (with stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks) at the Washington Post's decision to print the Pentagon Papers, both of which are scheduled to screen at both the Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16. Advance tickets also are on sale, at Amarillo Star 14 only (for now), for The Commuter, an action thriller starring Liam Neeson and Vera Farmiga.

Jan. 18: Advance tickets are on sale now for Call Me By Your Name, a gay romance starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer that's drawing rapturous reviews. It's scheduled (for now) to screen only at Amarillo Star 14.


Still in theaters

A Bad Moms Christmas (WM-6); All the Money in the World (AS-14, H-16); Coco (AS-14, H-16); Darkest Hour (AS-14, H-16); Despicable Me 3 (WM-6); Downsizing (H-16); Father Figures (AS-14, H-16); Ferdinand (AS-14, H-16); The Florida Project (WM-6); The Greatest Showman (AS-14, H-16); Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (AS-14, H-16); Only the Brave (WM-6); Pitch Perfect 3 (AS-14, H-16); Star Wars: The Last Jedi (AS-14, H-16); and Wonder (AS-14). (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, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and on Facebook.

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