By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
In Amarillo theaters this week: Brave soldiers, country lovers, deadly cops and the most acclaimed romance of 2017.
New in theaters
Call Me By Your Name
From the acclaimed novel by André Aciman comes this sumptuous, heartbreaking romantic drama by director Luca Guadagnino starring Timothée Chalamet as a young man in Italy who falls madly in love with his father's research assistant (Armie Hammer). It has won rave reviews since it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival almost a year ago, and it's considered a lock for several Oscar nominations next week. In my review, I praised Guadagnino's patient but sensuous adaptation, as well as the work of the two lead actors: "It's an intricate dance they perform — two men coming to realize, together, just how much a passion can overwhelm them, can subsume them, can even — as Oliver suggests in an exchange that provides the film its name — make them forget where one ends and the other begins." (R for sexual content, nudity and some language; click here for showtimes at United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd.)
Den of Thieves
A team of renegade cops, including Gerard Butler, faces off with a crew of clever crooks, led by Paolo Schreiber, in this neo-noir heist film from director Christian Gudegast. The thieves plan a massive robbery, but they're facing a police squad that has no compunction about breaking the law themselves. The set-up is pretty familiar, in other words, and Variety's Owen Gleiberman says that first-time director Gudegast doesn't take it far enough: "The movie is clever enough, until it cheats. It tries to fill in its characters, until reducing them to plot devices." (R for violence, language and some sexuality/nudity; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Cinemark Hollywood 16, 9100 Canyon Drive)
Forever My Girl
A Nashville star (Alex Roe) comes home to Louisiana for a childhood friend's funeral, encountering the woman (Jessica Rothe) he left at the altar eight years before — and her precocious 7-year-old daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson). Writer-director Bethany Ashton Wolf adapted the script from a romance novel by Heidi McLaughlin, and critics aren't warming up to it at all. "(A Hallmark movie) would have at least given the female lead something of a personality and a plot arc; this movie’s all about the celebrity and his emotional journey, while the woman stands around like a prize waiting to be won," writes The Wrap's Alonso Duralde. (PG for thematic elements including drinking, and for language; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)
Chris Hemsworth sets down his hammer to star in this film based on the true story of a small U.S. Special Forces unit who battled the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks. Their story, long classified, was first told in the 2009 book Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan by Doug Stanton, and is adapted here by director Nicolai Fuglsig and screenwriters Ted Tally and Peter Craig. Hemsworth's fellow soldiers include Michael Shannon, Michael Pena, Trevante Rhodes and others. Reviews are fairly good: "(S)tirring and solid, 12 Strong is the kind of film that might make you think twice about January releases, and spotlights a riveting story in our recent history that many Americans might not know," writes the Associated Press' Lindsey Bahr. (R for war violence and language throughout; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)
Mary and the Witch's Flower
Based on The Little Broomstick, this all-ages fantasy anime film features voice talents of Kate Winslet, Jim Broadbent and others. It's from Ponoc, a successor to the beloved Studio Ghibli that produced such classics as Spirited Away, and it's in contention for an Oscar nomination. It'll screen at 7 p.m. (English-dubbed) and 8 p.m. (subtitled) Thursday at the Amarillo Star 14. You can check out my review here. (PG for some action and thematic elements)
This feature film by by Amarillo natives Jameson Brooks, Sheldon R. Chick and Cody Chick recounts the 1997 death of 19-year-old Brian Deneke, a punk rocker who was mowed down by 17-year-old Dustin Camp in a parking-lot brawl. A special advance screening is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Buchanan St., before its national release Feb. 9 in select theaters and on demand. Tuesday's screening will include a Q&A session with cast and crew, hosted by C.J. Ramone, former bassist and singer for The Ramones. Limited tickets remain at $20 each; a portion of proceeds will benefit Family Support Services. Here's my interview with the filmmakers and Deneke's brother.
Jan. 25: Advance tickets are on sale now for Maze Runner: The Death Cure at the Hollywood 16, the final chapter of the dystopian YA tale that was delayed by star Dylan O'Brien's serious on-set injuries.
Feb. 8: The BDSM-lite Fifty Shades franchise wraps up with Fifty Shades Freed, for which advance tickets are on sale now at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16 — the latter of which also will screen a Fifty Shades marathon.
Feb. 15: Advance tickets are on sale now for the highly anticipated Black Panther, featuring the first black superhero carrying a major motion picture.
Still in theaters
A Bad Moms Christmas (Premiere Cinemas Westgate Mall 6, 7701 W. Interstate 40); Blade Runner 2049 (WM-6); Coco (H-16); The Commuter (AS-14, H-16); Darkest Hour (AS-14); Daddy's Home 2 (WM-6); Despicable Me 3 (WM-6); Ferdinand (AS-14, H-16); The Greatest Showman (AS-14, H-16); Insidious: The Last Key (AS-14, H-16); Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (AS-14, H-16); Last Flag Flying (WM-6); Molly's Game (H-16); Pitch Perfect 3 (AS-14, H-16); Paddington 2 (AS-14, H-16); The Post (AS-14, H-16); Proud Mary (AS-14, H-16); The Star (WM-6); Star Wars: The Last Jedi (AS-14, H-16); Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (H-16). (Click on titles for my reviews and on theaters for showtimes.)