By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
In Amarillo theaters this week: Black Panther dominates. Plus, details on renovations at Premiere Cinemas Westgate Mall 6.
Up first: The second-run theater at the mall will soon be getting some new premium seating.
Westgate Mall 6 will close for two weeks beginning Feb. 23 for the installation of about 1,200 stadium rocking chairs, said assistant manager Leo Gutierrez.
This comes about two years after the theater upgraded its projectors to an all-digital fleet and added two 3-D screens.
"I know there's more in the works, but they're being quiet about it for now," Gutierrez said.
And before you ask: No, it's not because of the false rumors of a bedbug infestation at the theater, a problem that has been, well, bugging the theater since allegations began flying on Facebook in October.
The AMC Westgate 20 in Glendale, Ariz., was infested, but panicked people saw only "Westgate" and "bedbugs" and jumped to the wrong conclusion, not stopping to think that 1) Amarillo doesn't have any AMC theaters, 2) Westgate Mall 6 is a Premiere Cinemas property, 3) it's not a 20-screen theater, 4) its seats aren't that color and 5) a newspaper in Arizona wouldn't be writing about an alleged infestation in Amarillo.
"It's been a major problem for us," Gutierrez said. "It was chaos here with the phones ringing all the time and ticket sales going down. It affected our budget."
When the theater reopens in early March, audiences can expect to find Bomb City still playing, Gutierrez said. (Here's my review.)
"It's selling great," he said. "We've sold about 2,000 tickets altogether. ... That's a lot of tickets (here) for just one movie."
New in theaters
T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), who was introduced in Captain America: Civil War, learns how to be both a king and a hero in this hotly anticipated Marvel film. His African homeland, Wakanda, was never colonized, and though the outside world views it as backwards, it's actually a technologically advanced paradise. But that paradise is spoiled by the arrival of Klaue (Andy Serkis) and the return of exiled Wakandan Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). Director/co-writer Ryan Coogler's film is getting rave reviews. "Like Wonder Woman last year, it’s thrilling to see a superhero movie populated with people generally on the sidelines in such films. A lot of us haven’t seen much of ourselves as heroes on screen; movies like these are part of a step forward," writes Seattle Times' Moira Macdonald. (PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action violence, and a brief rude gesture; click here for showtimes at United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd., and Cinemark Hollywood 16, 9100 Canyon Drive)
A pair of cavemen (voiced by Eddie Redmayne and director Nick Park) try to save their hometown from Bronze Age-sped progress in the latest stop-motion animated film from Aardman Studios (Wallace & Gromit). To get his home back, Dug and friends must challenge Lord Nooth's (Tom Hiddleston) champion soccer team to a match. (Sorry, I guess it's football, since these are British cavemen.) Reviews aren't as stellar as they are for most Aardman films: "There’s a mild chuckle every so often ... but overall the movie collapses in a heap of familiarity and lackadaisicalness. Park is an animation legend, but even the greats occasionally whiff it," writes The Wrap's Alonso Duralde. (PG for rude humor and some action; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)
This biblical epic retells the story of Samson (Taylor James) and Delilah (Caitlin Leahy), with what's sure to be a scenery-chewing turn from Billy Zane as King Balek. No reviews have been released yet. UPDATE: Turns out, the screenwriter, Jason Baumgardner, is an Amarillo native. (PG-13 for violence and battle sequences; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)
We're down to only two Oscar nominees still screening in Amarillo:
- Coco — nominated for two Oscars (best animated feature and best original song) — returns for screenings at Westgate Mall 6. Here's my review.
- The Greatest Showman — nominated for Best Song ("This Is Me") — continues screening several times a day at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16. Here's my review.
- And, looking ahead, all nine Best Picture nominees will screen in marathons from Feb. 23 to March 4 at Amarillo Star 14 and from Feb. 25 to March 4 at Hollywood 16 (which also will screen the 10 live-action and animated short films nominated this year).
The Philadelphia Story
TCM's Big Screen Classics series will continue with this sparkling romantic comedy starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart. It'll screen at 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday and Wednesday at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
Is Genesis History?
Fathom Events will screen this biblically-based documentary exploring Christian creationism at 7 p.m. Feb. 22 at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
Feb. 22: Both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16 hav advance tickets on sale for sci-fi thriller Annihilation and raunchy comedy Game Night. Plus, Hollywood 16 has advance tickets on sale for teen romantic fantasy Every Day.
Feb. 23 to March 4: For the first time, the United Artists Amarillo Star 14 will take part in the 10-day Regal Best Picture Film Festival, which will offer several screenings of each of the nine films nominated for Best Picture in the 90th Academy Awards. Click here for the full schedule.
Feb. 24: The Met: Live in HD series screens Franco Zeffirelli's production of La Boheme, the classic Puccini opera starring Sonya Yoncheva and Michael Fabiano, at the Hollywood 16. Plus, anime fantasy Mary and the Witch's Flower will return for a pair of additional screenings Feb. 24 and 26 at the Amarillo Star 14. Here's my review.
Feb. 25: Equality Texas and ACLU of Texas will team for a screening of the documentary Growing Up Coy about a young transgender girl and her family's fight over bathroom rights. It'll screen at 3 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Amarillo Public Library downtown branch, 413 S.E. Fourth Ave. Admission is free.
Feb. 26 to March 4: The Cinemark Hollywood 16 will bring back Oscar Movie Week and screen each of the nine films nominated for Best Picture in the 90th Academy Awards in this week-long festival, culminating in block screenings of the Oscar-nominated live-action and animated short films March 2 to 4. Click here for the full schedule.
Feb. 27: The Christian-themed parenting guide Kirk Cameron: Connect, screening Feb. 27 and March 1 at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16, features the actor-turned-evangelist discussing social media and children.
Feb. 27: Horror film Primal Rage: Bigfoot Reborn gets a one-night only screening at Amarillo Star 14.
March 2: Advance tickets are on sale now for spy thriller Red Sparrow starring Jennifer Lawrence. Showtimes are currently only available at Hollywood 16. Death Wish, the Bruce Willis-starring remake of the revenge drama, is scheduled to open wide, but advance tickets are not yet on sale.
March 10: The Met: Live in HD series screens Semiramide, a lesser-known Rossini opera starring Angela Meade as murderous Queen of Babylon, at the Hollywood 16.
March 11: A digitally remastered version of 2004's Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie returns to Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16 for screenings on March 11 and 12.
March 16: Advance tickets are on sale now for Christian biopic I Can Only Imagine, which tells the story of MercyMe lead singer Bart Millard. Showtimes, which are subject to change, are currently only available at Hollywood 16. Love, Simon and Tomb Raider also are scheduled to open wide, but advance tickets are not yet on sale. Dates are subject to change.
March 18 and 21: TCM's Big Screen Classics series will continue a 60th anniversary screening of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak. It'll screen at 2 and 7 p.m. both days at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
March 19: Faith-based nature documentary The Riot and the Dance will screen at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
March 22: Amarillo Star 14 will screen the National Theatre Live's Julius Caesar starring David Calder, Game of Thrones' Michelle Fairley, Ben Whishaw and David Morrissey. Many NTL screenings aren't picked up by Amarillo theaters, so this is a rare opportunity.
March 24: Animated fantasy Ice Dragon: Legend of the Blue Daisies will screen at Amarillo Star 14 on March 24 and 26.
March 25: The Studio Ghibli Fest 2018 kicks off with the heartwarming adventure Ponyo at both the Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16. An English-dubbed version will screen March 25 and 28, with a subtitled version screening March 26. The nine-film series also will include The Cat Returns on April 22 to 25, Porco Rosso on May 20 to 23, Pom Poko on June 17 to 20, Princess Mononoke on July 22 to 25, Grave of the Fireflies on Aug. 12 to 15, My Neighbor Totoro on Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, Spirited Away on Oct. 28 to 30, and Castle in the Sky on Nov. 18 to 20.
March 30: The Room's Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero re-team for Best F(r)iends, a two-film comedy about a drifter (Sestero) who befriends a mortician (Wiseau), then betrays him and runs away. Part 1 will screen March 30 and April 2, with Part 2 to follow on June 1 and 4. Advance tickets are on sale now at Amarillo Star 14.
Listings at a glance
Click on titles for my reviews and on theaters for showtimes.
Black Panther(AS-14, H-16); La Boda de Valentina (AS-14); Bomb City (WM-6); Coco (WM-6); Daddy's Home 2 (WM-6); Early Man (AS-14, H-16); The 15:17 to Paris (AS-14, H-16); Fifty Shades Freed (AS-14, H-16); The Greatest Showman (AS-14, H-16); Hostiles (H-16); Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (AS-14, H-16); Justice League (WM-6); Maze Runner: The Death Cure (AS-14, H-16); Peter Rabbit (AS-14, H-16); Samson (AS-14, H-16); Thor: Ragnarok (WM-6); 12 Strong (AS-14) and Winchester (AS-14).