Movie Watch: Amarillo film options for June 1 to 8
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By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
In movie theaters this week: An amazing Amazon, a Colossal-ly different drama and a hero in tighty whities, plus an offer you can't refuse.
New in theaters
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Two imaginative kids (voiced by Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch) hypnotize their principal (Ed Helms) into thinking he's an underpants-clad crimefighter in this animated adaptation of the popular children's books. Nick Kroll, Jordan Peele and Kristen Schaal are among the other comedy stars who provide voices. Reviews are fairly positive. "(W)hen you get beyond the toilet humor (fart jokes, nods to Uranus) there’s a lovely story of true-blue friendship," writes New York Daily News' Ariel Scotti. (PG for mild rude humor throughout; click here for showtimes at United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd., and Cinemark Hollywood 16, 9100 Canyon Drive)
"Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie" trailer
The wildly imaginative Colossal from director Nacho Vigalondo, opening Friday at Premiere Cinemas Westgate Mall 6, is a strikingly unusual mash-up between two unlikely genres: normcore drama and monster flick. It shouldn't work, but it does, beautifully.
Anne Hathaway stars as Gloria, a freelance writer of sorts, one who's mostly a raging alcoholic who has finally pushed her boyfriend (Dan Stevens, Beauty and the Beast) well beyond his breaking point. Suddenly homeless, she returns to her hometown, moving into a home her parents have left virtually abandoned and eventually scoring a job as a waitress at a bar owned by a former classmate, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis).
She soon falls into her old habits, tossing back beers with Oscar and his buddies (Tim Blake Nelson and Austin Stowell) after the bar closes and stumbling drunkenly home. After one such bender, she awakes to news of a giant monster that attacked Seoul, South Korea. Suddenly, we're in sci-fi territory, but Vigalondo and his actors play everything totally real. The characters react as you would if you'd learned that Godzilla was real.
Gloria (and the audience) soon discover that there's a connection between her and the monster, but the biggest surprise comes in the revelation of Oscar's true self, a logical development that still lands with a gut-punch and leads to a thematically rich and still totally gonzo climax.
Hathaway is fantastic, a wonderful reminder of her sensational talents in a role that seems perfectly calibrated to clap back at the internet haters who have tarnished her reputation. Sudeikis is a revelation, though it's difficult to say why without ruining some of the film's marvelous surprises.
And Vigalondo pulls off an amazing feat, crafting something that feels entirely new out of familiar elements. It's certainly not a film for everyone, but it's immensely rewarding for those on its wavelength. (R for language; click here for showtimes at Premiere Cinemas Westgate Mall 6, 7701 W. Interstate 40)
Two geeks and one college rival go on a quest to find a missing school chum in this Spanish-language comedy, a remake of a 2009 Indian comedy. Flashbacks recount the friends' time in college, based on the trailer. No major reviews have been released yet. (PG-13 for some rude humor and brief strong language; click here for showtimes at Hollywood 16)
"3 Idiotas" trailer
Diana of Themyscira comes to Man's World to save us from World War I's evils — and, in the process, she may help save DC's plans for a cinematic universe to rival that of Marvel's.
After an abysmal attempt to launch its own bid for box-office domination, DC gets it right with Wonder Woman. More to the point, director Patty Jenkins, screenwriter Allen Heinberg and stars Gal Gadot and Chris Pine get it right.
Maybe I'm grading on a slight curve 1) because previous forays into this shared universe (I'm looking at you Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice) were so dreadful and 2) because it has taken so long to get Wonder Woman to the screen in her own movie. But I don't think so. Jenkins, who has done strong work in TV since her feature-film debut with 2003's Monster, mixes heart and kick-butt action scenes with aplomb. Heinberg's script captures Diana's essential essence — loving, optimistic and committed to peace, and willing to fight to ensure it.
And Gadot is sensational as the title character. She was the lone bright spot in last year's Batman v. Superman, and that promise is more than met here. Innocent but fiercely intelligent, Diana is convinced that she can stop this "war to end all wars" by tracking down and slaying Ares, the Greek god of war — so sure that his wicked influence is what is causing the conflagration that she's willing to leave here island home in paradise to journey into a world she's never seen. After a grand battle sequence on the beaches of Themyscira, Wonder Woman becomes something of a fish-out-of-water romantic comedy as Diana and Steve Trevor (Pine) travel to London.
But at its heart, Wonder Woman is more serious than that. Don't get me wrong: After the dour, humorless BvS, Jenkins' and Heinberg's light touch is more than appreciated. But so, too, is their willingness to examine the very nature of evil and knows that to defeat something, one must first understand it. Similarly, by playing up Diana's innate goodness, they set her apart from DC's other cinematic creations.
Once in London, Diana and Steve must convince his superiors, including one politician (David Thewlis) who speaks out for a pending armistice agreement, to let them travel to the frontlines in occupied Belgium to stop General Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and his wicked scientist Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya) from developing a new mustard gas that's capable of burning through gas masks. They pick up a team of mercenaries (Ewen Bremner, Saïd Taghmaoui and Eugene Brave Rock) to help them make it to the trenches, where Diana delivers a resounding defeat to the German forces.
Here, Diana is confronted with true barbarity, but she doesn't waver in her belief that there's an innate goodness in mankind that must be fought for. Pine's Steve Trevor is more pragmatic, but he's never threatened by the fact that Diana clearly out-classes him, nor does he look down on her for her beliefs. It's a fantastic dynamic.
Wonder Woman isn't perfect. Jenkins incorporates BvS director Zack Snyder's penchant for slow-motion flourishes in the fight scenes to their detriment, and the final action sequence is a little too similar to previous films.
Still, it's a far sight better than anything leading up to it suggested, showing the value of representation and of finding new perspectives in film. And, just as importantly, is simply fun. More of this, please. (PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive content; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)
"Wonder Woman" trailer
Jonah: On Stage!
"Jonah: On Stage!" trailer
Sight & Sound Theatres in Lancaster, Penn., stages this musical adaptation of the biblical tale of the stubborn prophet's misadventure with a giant whale, encoring at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Amarillo Star 14. (NR)
"The Godfather" trailer
The iconic mobster drama, starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino and based on the Mario Puzo novel, returns to big screens for its 45th anniversary through Turner Classic Movies Big Screen Classics. It'll screen at 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday and Wednesday at both the Amarillo Star 14 and the Hollywood 16. (R)
Summer Movie Express
"Kung Fu Panda 3" trailer
Regal Cinemas' summer movie series for kids will kick off with screenings of Kung Fu Panda 3 and Ice Age: Collision Course at 10 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at Amarillo Star 14. Admission is $1. (Both PG)
Still in theaters
Alien: Covenant(AS-14, H-16); Baywatch(AS-14, H-16); Beauty and the Beast (WM-6); The Boss Baby (H-16); The Case for Christ (WM-6); Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (AS-14, H-16); Everything, Everything (AS-14, H-16); Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (AS-14, H-16); King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (H-16 and Tascosa Drive-In, 1999 Dumas Drive); Kong: Skull Island (WM-6); Logan (WM-6); Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (AS-14, H-16 and TDI); Power Rangers (WM-6); Snatched (AS-14, H-16); and Smurfs: The Lost Village (WM-6). (Click on titles for my reviews and on theaters for showtimes)