Movie Watch: Amarillo film options for the weekend of Sept. 16

Posted by Chip Chandler on
Renee Zellweger stars in "Bridget Jones's Diary."
Courtesy Universal Pictures

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

A charming Brit, a chilling ghost and a controversial NSA leaker: All these and more hit Amarillo theaters this weekend.

 

Blair Witch

"Blair Witch" revisits "The Blair Witch Project" with new (kinda) scares."Blair Witch" revisits "The Blair Witch Project" with new (kinda) scares.Courtesy Lionsgate Pictures

Remember Heather from The Blair Witch Project? The one who, dripping snot and tears, shot an apology with a video camera pointed straight up her nose? Here, watch this:

"Blair Witch Project": Heather's monologue

Now, her brother (played by James Allen McCune), suspecting that she may be alive — umm, did he watch the movie? — heads into the woods with more camera people (and a drone!) in this reboot/remake of the modern-day horror touchstone. As promising as the trailer is (see below), reviews aren't great. "Blair Witch does manage to generate occasional moments of tension, particularly when it strays from the first film’s narrative and peeks into some new dark corners," Alonso Duralde writes for The Wrap. "But familiarity is the enemy of fright, and as these meat puppets venture further and further into the haunted woods, they hit all the same beats as their 1999 predecessors, from getting lost (GPS is no match for the Blair Witch) to finding those creepy stick-figure men hanging in the trees." (R for language, terror and some disturbing images; United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd.; Cinemark Hollywood 16, 9100 Canyon Drive)

"Blair Witch" trailer (2016)

 

Bridget Jones's Baby

Renee Zellweger, Patrick Dempsey and Colin Firth star in "Bridget Jones's Diary."Renee Zellweger, Patrick Dempsey and Colin Firth star in "Bridget Jones's Diary."Courtesy Universal

The plucky British heroine (played by plucky American actress Renee Zellweger in a welcome return to the screen) finds herself pregnant after back-to-back encounters with a handsome American (Patrick Dempsey) and her ex (Colin Firth) in this belated sequel to the popular Bridget Jones's Diary (and the second, less popular Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason). "Though the premise of Bridget Jones’s Baby makes it all seem like it’s all about the guy again, it’s never felt so much like Bridget’s story. The man is just gravy. This movie, for all its comedic ridiculousness and wild circumstance of the paternity crisis, is a jubilant celebration of women," writes the Associated Press' Lindsey Bahr. "The verdict, in a Bridget Jones-ian nutshell: not v. good, but v. enjoyable," writes The Seattle Times' Moira Macdonald. (R for language, sex references and some nudity; AS-14, H-16)

"Bridget Jones's Baby" trailer

 

Hillsong — Let Hope Rise

"Hillsong — Let Hope Rise" documents the popular Christian band."Hillsong — Let Hope Rise" documents the popular Christian band.

Praise band Hillsong United gets the concert documentary treatment in this new film from Michael John Warren (Jay-Z: Fade to Black). They're massive on the Christian charts — their hit single "Oceans" spent an amazing 48 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Christian music chart — but they haven't had too much crossover yet. “Hillsong — Let Hope Rise stands out against that harsh tone of much recent Christian indie cinema by being a winning, friendly, and at times moving film. It may even be the one that properly reaches out beyond its built-in audience, accomplishing the goal of Evangelicals everywhere: actual Evangelism," writes The Wrap's Dave Wright. (PG for some thematic elements; AS-14, H-16)

"Hillsong — Let Hope Rise" trailer

 

Snowden

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Edward Snowden in Oliver Stone's "Snowden."Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Edward Snowden in Oliver Stone's "Snowden."Courtesy Open Road Films

Polarizing filmmaker Oliver Stone tackles polarizing figure Edward Snowden, whose leaks to the media revealed the domestic spying capabilities of the National Security Agency. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Snowden in Stone's return to the realm of controversial political dramas, a retelling of the story memorably told in the Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour. Reviews, unsurprisingly, are mixed. Some find it tedious: "The old Stone wouldn’t let us forget how today’s spycraft has evolved into a scary playground for ethics-free nerds. He’d make us feel that. He would have turned his hero into someone shoutier, more outraged, more righteous. That’s the main problem with Snowden, Stone’s timid and uninspired take on the leaker’s saga. The director is playing it safe," writes Time Out's Joshua Rothkopf. But others find it a return to form: "Just know that he has a subject he cares about, a budget to execute his vision, and the kinetic scriptwriting matched with narrative momentum that made films such as SalvadorPlatoon and JFK so memorable. Snowden is not quite as excellent as that holy trinity, but it comes very close," writes the San Francisco Gate's Peter Hartlaub. Pro tip: Go see this one fast; it seems unlikely to stay here long. (R for language and some sexuality/nudity; AS-14)

"Snowden" trailer

 

Special engagements

 

Dr. Strangelove: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

"Dr. Strangelove..." trailer

Turner Classic Movies and Fathom team to bring back this pitch-black Cold War comedy for screenings at 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday and Wednesday at the Amarillo Star 14.

 

To Joey, With Love: A Story of Life, Love & Hope That Never Dies

"To Joey, with Love" trailer

Married country duo Joey + Rory captivated social media with Joey Feek's 2 1/2-year-long, ultimately unsuccessful, battle with cancer. Their story is told in this documentary, screening at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Oct. 6 at the Amarillo Star 14. Rory Feek edited together his own home movies to make the film, so bring your tissues.

 

Still playing

Ben-Hur (Tascosa Drive-In, 1999 Dumas Drive); The BFG (Premiere Cinemas Westgate Mall 6, 7701 W. Interstate 40); Central Intelligence (WM-6); The Disappointments Room (AS-14); Don't Breathe (AS-14, H-16, TDI); Hell or High Water (AS-14); Hunt for the Wilderpeople (WM-6); The Legend of Tarzan (WM-6); Lights Out (WM-6); Nerve (WM-6); No Manches Frida (H-16); Pete's Dragon (AS-14); Suicide Squad (AS-14, H-16); Sully (AS-14, H-16); When the Bough Breaks (AS-14, H-16); and The Wild Life (AS-14, H-16).

 

 

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

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