Movie Watch: Amarillo film options for June 29 to July 6
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By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
Movie options over the holiday weekend include a illegal gambling romp, more Despicable fun with Gru and more. Plus, check out my review of Baby Driver.
New in theaters
Despicable Me 3
Gru (Steve Carrell) tries to continue to walk the straight & narrow in the latest installment of this smash-hit franchise, but he must contend with getting fired from the Anti-Villain League and with meeting a heretofore unknown twin brother, Dru. Kristen Wiig returns as wife Lucy, with Trey Parker (South Park) voicing Balthazar Bratt, a former '80s TV star who broke bad. And, of course, the Minions return, as well. Initial reviews are fairly positive. "All in all, the film is a little cluttered, and occasionally moves a little too fast; it doesn't have the relaxed feel of the last one (a mood I hope the next one will return to). But if you have restless children and an overheated house, it still offers a nice, cool matinee at the movies," writes the Newark Star-Ledger's Stephen Whitty. But not everyone is charmed: "Despicable Me 3 suffers both from a lack of new ideas – there are no memorable gags or action set-pieces, just a lot of flying about and yelling – and from an assumption that the audience is already invested enough to care about what happens," writes Time Out London's Tom Huddleston. (PG for action and rude humor; click here for showtimes at United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd., and Cinemark Hollywood 16, 9100 Canyon Drive, and here for showtimes at Tascosa Drive-In, 9100 Dumas Drive)
"Despicable Me 3" trailer
Saturday Night Live alums Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler costar as a husband and wife so desperate to send their daughter to the college of her dreams that they open up an underground casino to recoup their lost college fun. Jason Mantzoukas costars as their guide into the world of debauchery, with appearances by other comedy favorites like Nick Kroll, Michaela Watkins, Rob Huebel and Cedric Yarbrough. No reviews have been released yet. (R for language throughout, sexual references, drug use, some violence and brief nudity; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)
"The House" trailer
The Lost City of Z
Charlie Hunnam won raves for his portrayal of British explorer Percy Fawcett who, at the turn of the 20th century, began several journeys to the Amazon rainforest to look for proof of an advanced civilization now lost to the mists of time. Fighting not only the dangers of the jungle but also the dismissive prejudices of his peers, Fawcett eventually disappears mysteriously. "The Lost City of Z is a miraculous movie, at once moving, intimidating, and gorgeous to behold. It’s a tale of colonial exploration that’s aware of the sins of the past, and a portrait of a driven, obsessive, flawed male protagonist that avoids the clichés of the genre," writes The Atlantic's David Sims. "(Director James) Gray’s film is beguiling and poetic, capable of gluing you to the screen for every second of its languorous 150-minute running time and lingering in the brain for weeks after." (PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, brief strong language and some nudity; click here for showtimes at Premiere Cinemas Westgate Mall 6, 7701 W. Interstate 40)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
"Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" clip
The latest in the Cinemark Classics Series has a timely patriotic flair: Director Frank Capra's iconic film about a regular Joe (Jimmy Stewart) who gets elected to Congress and learns how ugly politics can be. It'll screen at 2 p.m. Sunday and 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Cinemark Hollywood 16. (NR)
Still in theaters
Propelled by a killer soundtrack constantly playing in his ears, Baby (the lissome Ansel Elgort of The Fault in Our Stars) glides everywhere he goes, whether he's bebopping through his funky Atlanta neighborhood, running for his life across, over and through an urban obstacle course, or — most especially — screaming down the road in a borrowed set of wheels, weaving through traffic and pivoting on a dime.
Baby Driver (like the sentence above) never stops, pausing only for emphasis. This Baby is OK with being in a corner — all the better from which to plot an escape route, and all the better from which to enjoy the music of life.
The latest film from director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) is a more joyous Drive, a more bloody La La Land, a riff on Quentin Tarantino and Walter Hill that's a blast of pure adrenaline.
As with Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive, our hero is a man of few words with almost preternatural skills behind the wheel. But like in La La Land, nearly every action is propelled by music, in this case a soundtrack of nonstop beats like "Bellbottoms" by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion or "Brighton Rock" by Queen. Elgort moves like he lives inside a music video, ably accompanied by Lily James' sweet diner waitress Debora, and Wright's camera is as fluid as Vincente Minnelli's in An American in Paris, only cranked up to 120 mph.
And though Hill's The Driver is an obvious influence, the criminal element for whom Baby is forced to work is populated with hyper-articulate nutjobs that QT would adore — the barely simmering bat-crap craziness of Jamie Foxx's Bats, the deceptive friendliness of Jon Hamm's Buddy, the oddly paternal bossman of Kevin Spacey's Doc.
If you get the impression that this is a musical, you're exactly right. The characters don't break out in song (often, at least), but everything is essentially propelled by a varied, thrilling score of familiar hits by favorite bands.
There's virtually nothing as thrilling as watching Baby tear through the streets of Atlanta, thanks to Wright's eschewing of the computer-generated blarney of the Fast and Furious franchise. This is a celebration of real, practical movie effects and insanely talented stunt drivers, and by making the effects so concrete, Wright makes the movie soar. (R for violence and language throughout; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)
All Eyez on Me (AS-14, H-16); The Book of Henry (H-16); The Boss Baby (WM-6); Cars 3 (AS-14, H-16); The Fate of the Furious (WM-6); 47 Meters Down (AS-14, H-16); How to Be a Latin Lover (WM-6); King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (WM-6); Megan Leavey (AS-14); The Mummy (AS-14); Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (AS-14, H-16); Rough Night (H-16); Smurfs: The Lost Village (WM-6); Transformers: The Last Knight (AS-14, H-16 and TDI); and Wonder Woman (AS-14, H-16). (Click on titles for my reviews and on theaters for showtimes.)