Movie Watch: Amarillo film options for May 11 and beyond
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By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
In Amarillo theaters this week: A fighting king, some comedy queens and princes of the battlefield, plus special screenings. Read on for the movie news you won't get anywhere else.
New in theaters
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Director Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes) tackles the iconic king's legendary life by picking and choosing elements of Arthurian legend (the sword in the stone stays, Merlin's out) and tossing them into this streetwise milieu. Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy, The Lost City of Z) stars as the potential king, who was raised in a brothel after being kept off the throne by his evil uncle (Jude Law). Reviews are none too kind. The Village Voice's Bilge Ebiri writes that "the real problem is that Ritchie doesn’t go far enough with the reinvention. In trying to breathe new life into King Arthur, he and his writers merely make the story more predictable and derivative, more in line with any number of other recent action movies and fantasy epics." Variety's Peter Debruge agrees: "It’s epic, in the sense that it features elaborate CG backdrops swarming with thousands of virtual extras, and it’s extravagant, to the extent that Warner Bros. flushed away millions of dollars to produce this gaudy eyesore. But ultimately, King Arthur is just a loud, obnoxious parade of flashy set pieces." (PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some suggestive content 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)
"King Arthur: Legend of the Sword" trailer
A young street artist (Gabriel Chavarria) feels torn between his father (Demian Bichir) and ex-con brother (Theo Rossi) in the middle of a lowrider battle in this family drama from director Ricardo de Montreuil. "The actors find the emotional weight in often overwritten material, but what sets the film apart is its deeply felt celebration of the lowrider tradition — the loving customization and display of vintage cars — that thrives in the predominantly Latino Eastside of Los Angeles," writes The Hollywood Reporter's Sheri Linden. (PG-13 for language, some violence, sensuality, thematic elements and brief drug use; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14)
The Sense of an Ending
Jim Broadbent stars as an older British man whose life is upended by the surprising reemergence of an event from his past in this adaptation of Julian Barnes' Man Booker Prize-winning novel. Flashbacks show the relationship between Tony (played as a young man by Billy Howle) and Veronica (Freya Mavor) and what happened when another friend (Joe Alwyn) came between them. In the present, Tony is surprised to learn he has been bequeathed something by Veronica's mother and that Veronica (now played by Charlotte Rampling) refuses to hand it over. "(T)his thoughtful adaptation by Indian director Ritesh Batra (The Lunchbox) and British playwright Nick Payne (Constellations) does a compelling job of bringing the novel’s first-person, interior musings to life," writes Time Out's Dave Calhoun. "It’s a bit of a cliché to say that the book is better than the movie, but in this case it seems necessary: Barnes’ novel ... is elevated in a way the movie can’t reach; it has a jewellike perfection to it, while the movie’s simply quite good," writes Seattle Times' Moira Macdonald. (PG-13 for thematic elements, a violent image, sexuality and brief strong language; click here for showtimes at Premiere Cinemas Westgate Mall 6, 7701 W. Interstate 40)
"The Sense of an Ending" trailer
Amy Schumer follows up Trainwrecked with another film about a directionless 30-something, this time going in more of the action-comedy route, and Goldie Hawn returns to the screen after a 15-year absence as her mother. So far, reviews are not too hot. "Schumer and Hawn know what funny looks and sounds like, and they lend their dialogue and gags — no matter how tepid — enough snap and personality to distract you, at least some of the time, from the utter laziness of the material. To put it bluntly: They're worth watching even in junk like this," writes the Hollywood Reporter's Jon Frosch. (R for crude sexual content, brief nudity, and language throughout; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals) and John Cena (Trainwrecked) star as a pair of soldiers hiding behind the eponymous barrier to avoid an Iraqi sniper's bullets in this film from director Doug Liman. "It’s a war sniper thriller, wrapped in a survival horror film, wrapped in a political message. The result is a mostly satisfying genre soufflé, guided by a skilled director who seems to be all in on this minimalist filmmaking opportunity," writes San Francisco Chronicle's Peter Hartlaub. (R for language throughout and some war violence; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)
"The Wall" trailer
"Mother's Day" trailer
This 2016 ensemble comedy — filmmaker Garry Marshall's final movie — returns to theaters for a few screenings around the holiday. It'll screen a couple of times a day at the Hollywood 16 and just on Sunday at Amarillo Star 14. (PG-13 for language and some suggestive material; click here for showtimes)
"Der Rosenkavalier" trailer
The Met: Live in HD series continues with a streaming broadcast of this Strauss opera, featuring Renée Fleming in the last performance of one of her signature roles. It'll screen at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Hollywood 16. (NR)
The Fifth Element
"The Fifth Element" trailer
Ahead of director Luc Besson's new sci-fi epic Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets comes this 20th-anniversary screening of his cult classic. Bruce Willis stars as a 23rd-century cab driver helping an alien (Milla Jovovich) save the world from apocalypse. (PG-13 for intense sci-fi violence, some sexuality and brief nudity; click here for showtimes at Hollywood 16)
Still in theaters
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
Summer movie season is off to a strong start with this candy-colored explosion of fun. If this is the way forward for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I'm definitely along for the ride.
Guardians picks up shortly after the events of the surprise hit 2014 blockbuster, with Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) meeting his long-lost father, Ego (played deliciously by Kurt Russell). Peter (and we) meet Ego when he's seen flying through the cosmos atop a giant egg, so right away, director James Gunn is having a blast delving into the goofy, more esoteric side of Marvel Comics.
Gunn pulled together the disparate Guardians — Pratt, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax and the voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel as Rocket and Groot, respectively — in the first film, and in this one, he makes them reckon with the consequences of becoming a family. In particular, Rocket tries to push his newfound comrades away, while Gamora struggles to be generous with her damaged sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), who's forced to tag along. Quill, meanwhile, is thrilled to meet his father and learn of his powerful heritage, while also grappling with his raising by surrogate father and space pirate Yondu (Michael Rooker). And Ego's servant Mantis (Pom Klementieff, who's pretty delightful playing a character I never cared for in the comics) finds a kindred spirit in Drax.
The script pounds a little too hard on its themes, but any time it threatens to get too heavy, Gunn distracts us with a fizzy concoction of dazzling visuals, sardonic laughs and unexpected references (both from the comics and a broad swath of pop culture, including the '70s-heavy soundtrack). And then, of course, there's Baby Groot, who's almost too precious to take, but is still so stinking cute that you don't care. Even the bad guys are engaging, like the golden-skinned Sovereign, who engage in space battles like they're playing a video game; it's a really clever touch.
Finding those smart details is Gunn's greatest strength here: Nothing works on just one level; there's always another joke or another telling character detail to add depth and enjoyment. That's smart filmmaking, and it works like gangbusters here. (PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive content; click here for showtimes at United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd., and Hollywood 16, and here for Tascosa Drive-In, 1999 Dumas Drive)
Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (H-16); Beauty and the Beast (AS-14, H-16); Born in China (H-16); The Boss Baby (AS-14, H-16); The Circle (H-16); The Fate of the Furious (AS-14, H-16); Get Out (Tascosa Drive-In, 1999 Tascosa Drive); Gifted (H-16); Ghost in the Shell (WM-6); Going in Style (AS-14); Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (AS-14, H-16, TDI); How to Be a Latin Lover (AS-14, H-16); John Wick: Chapter 2 (WM-6); The Lego Batman Movie (WM-6); Life (WM-6); The Shack (WM-6); and Split (WM-6). (Click on titles for my reviews and on theaters for showtimes)