By Chip Chandler — Producer
In Amarillo theaters this week: a vicious reboot, some devious moms, a precocious (and drug-dealing) teen and more.
New in theaters
Writer-director Shane Black goes retro with this reboot of the '80s action-thriller, starring Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn and Jacob Tremblay. Buzz on the film has been subsumed lately by news that Black cast a sex offender in a cameo role opposity Munn; when she learned of the actor's past, she asked 20th Century Fox to cut the scene, and she has since been asked more about the controversy than the film in press appearances. Reviews are mostly mixed. "Thirty years ago, The Predator might have looked like a truly disappointing sequel. Today it’s kind of refreshing, benefiting from some franchise version of déjà vu: The first watch feels like a nostalgic rewatch," writes The A.V. Club's A.A. Dowd. (R for strong bloody violence, language throughout, and crude sexual references; click here for showtimes at United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd., and Cinemark Hollywood 16, 9100 Canyon Drive.)
A unfulfilled mom (Kelly Macdonald) finds a new life when she starts taking part in jigsaw puzzle competitions with a new friend (Irrfan Khan). It sounds modest, but the reviews are quite solid. "Macdonald has finally found a movie that she doesn’t need to steal, because it belongs to her completely. (I)t’s nothing less than a simple, humane and tenderhearted triumph," writes the Washington Post's Ann Hornaday. (R for language; click here for showtimes at Premiere Cinemas Westgate Mall 6, 7701 W. Interstate 40)
A Simple Favor
Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) is a mommy vlogger who's helplessly drawn to Cool Girl Emily (Blake Lively) — then can't resist trying to solve a mystery when Emily disappears. The thriller is based on Darcey Bell's popular novel, given a new spin by director Paul Feig (Spy) and screenwriter Jessica Sharzer. Reviews are generally positive, though many critics note that the plot gets away from the film in the end. "Caught up in the various threads it tugs at, A Simple Favor never quite sticks its landing, instead luxuriating in suspense for suspense’s sake. That still makes for a taut, absorbing, divinely chic ride, a tantalizing morsel with the unrealized promise of a more satisfying meal," writes Entertainment Weekly's Maureen Lee Lenker. (R for sexual content and language throughout, some graphic nude images, drug use and violence; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)
Unbroken: Path to Redemption
Louis Zamperini lived a huge life — clearly enough for two movies. Angelina Jolie's 2014 film Unbroken followed his life story from his 1936 appearance at the Berlin Olympics to the 47 days he spent lost at sea after his fighter plane was shot down to the two years he spent in torturous captivity by the Japanese. But his post-war troubles and eventual turn to Christianity is in the spotlight in this sequel, directed by Harold Cronk (God's Not Dead). Reviews aren't quite as positive for the new film: "For the most part, though, the script hews to the typical dramatic contours of a marriage troubled by unemployment, unresolved anger, and alcoholism—pro forma stuff, too blandly treated to inspire much more than indifference," writes The A.V. Club's Lawrence Garcia. (PG-13 for thematic content and related disturbing images; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)
White Boy Rick
Teen Richard Wershe Jr. (Richie Merritt) first found success dealing guns at the tender age of 14. Soon, he was recruited by the FBI to infiltrate a gang, which led to his making a fortune selling cocaine — and, eventually, to getting a life sentence for a nonviolent drug charge. His true story is told in this film from director Yann Demange and writers Andy Weiss, Logan Miller and Noah Miller, and with a cast including Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bel Powley, Bruce Dern, RJ Cuyler and Piper Laurie. Reviews are pretty mixed: "Though it's a well-done family drama, White Boy Rick is a half-told story that only lightly incorporates the deeper issues of systemic injustice," writes RogerEbert.com's Monica Castillo. (R for language throughout, drug content, violence, some sexual references, and brief nudity; click here for showtimes at Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16)
Smokey & The Bandit
The Bandit has sped back into movie theaters. Following last week's death of star Burt Reynolds, this 1977 action favorite has zoomed back into theaters for a limited run, with daily screenings at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16. (PG)
Nicolas Cage stars in this trippy, bloody film as a man seeking revenge against a mountain cult that has kidnapped his lover (Andrea Riseborough). It appears to only be screening at 7 p.m. Sept. 13 at Amarillo Star 14, but that is subject to change. Though Cage has certainly had plenty of low moments in his career of late, reviews for this one are quite good. "Cage ... more than delivers here, offering a mad-dog performance that has everything you’d want from the downfall phase of his career but works precisely because there is a great actor underneath it all and because he does tap into something so ferocious that other people wouldn’t dare to touch," writes Vulture's Kyle Buchanan. (NR)
Canelo vs. GGG 2
Dragon Ball Z: Broly — The Legendary Super Saiyan
The 1993 anime feature introducing the ultra-powerful bad guy will get the big-screen treatment with English-dubbed dialogue at 12:55 p.m. Sept. 15 and 7 p.m. Sept. 17 at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16. (NR)
Dinosaurs come roaring back to theaters with 25th anniversary screenings of the original sci-fi classic at 2 and 7 p.m. Sept. 16 and 7 p.m. Sept. 18 and 19 at Hollywood 16. (PG-13 for intense science fiction terror)
The Dawn Wall
Rock climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson scaled a sheer vertical rock formation (the titular wall, part of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park) in a 19-day demonstration of grit and determination. Their achievement is celebrated in this feature-length documentary, screening at 7 p.m. Sept. 19 at Amarillo Star 14. (NR)
Digimon Adventure tri: Future
The DigiDestined face a climactic battle to save the real world from being swallowed whole by the digital realm in this English-dubbed special screening at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16. (NR)
Sept. 23 and 26: The TCM Big Screen Classics series continues with a presentation of the seminal teen angst drama Rebel Without a Cause at 2 and 7 p.m. Sept. 23 and 26 at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
Sept. 28: Horror film Hell Fest, a modern-day retelling of Little Women and comedy Night School are scheduled to open nationally, but advance tickets are not yet on sale. Additionally, the Glenn Close drama The Wife, about a writer's spouse who questions her life choices when her husband wins the Nobel Prize, is scheduled to open at Westgate Mall 6.
Sept. 30 to Oct. 3: The Studio Ghibli Fest 2018 continues with fantasy adventure My Neighbor Totoro at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16. An English-dubbed version will screen at 12:55 p.m. Sept. 30 and 7 p.m. Oct. 3, with a subtitled version screening at 7 p.m. Oct. 1.
Oct. 2: Amarillo's newest multiplex, Cinergy Amarillo, is scheduled to open at 9201 Cinergy Square near Town Square Village.
Oct. 5: Horror-filled comic adaptation Venom is scheduled to open nationally, but advance tickets are not yet on sale.
Oct. 6 and 10: The Met: Live in HD series continues with Anna Netrebko's first Met performance of Aida. It'll screen live at 11:55 a.m. Oct. 6 and 1 and encore at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at Hollywood 16.
Oct. 11 and 16: The genre-bending anime film MFKZ — a collaboration between French comic artist Guillaume “Run” Renard and Japanese animation house Studio 4°C — will screen at 7 p.m. Oct. 11 (English-dubbed) and Oct. 16 (subtitled) at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
Oct. 14 and 17: The TCM Big Screen Classics series continues with a timely revival of the political classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington at 2 and 7 p.m. Oct. 14 and 17 at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16.
Oct. 20 and 24: The Met: Live in HD series continues with Saint-Saëns’s biblical epic Samson et Dalila, starring Elina Garanca and Roberto Alagna. It'll screen live at 11:55 a.m. Oct. 20 and 1 and encore at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at Hollywood 16.
Oct. 22 and 29: The National Theatre production of Frankenstein starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller will return to theaters. The actors famously swapped roles throughout the production, and the 7 p.m. Oct. 22 screening will feature Cumberbatch as the Creature, with the 7 p.m. Oct. 29 screening featuring Miller as the Crature.
Oct. 27 and 31: The Met: Live in HD series continues with Puccini's Wild West drama La Fanciulla del West, starring Eva-Maria Westbroek and Jonas Kaufmann. It'll screen live at 11:55 a.m. Oct. 27 and encore at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 31 at Hollywood 16.
Oct. 28 to 30: The Studio Ghibli Fest 2018 continues with the all-time classic Spirited Away at both Amarillo Star 14 and Hollywood 16. An English-dubbed version will screen at 12:55 p.m. Oct. 28 and 7 p.m. Oct. 30, with a subtitled version screening at 7 p.m. Oct. 29.
Listings at a glance
Click on theaters for showtimes.
Alpha (AS-14, H-16); Ant-Man and the Wasp (WM-6); Blaze (AS-14); Christopher Robin (AS-14; H-16); Crazy Rich Asians (AS-14, H-16); The First Purge (WM-6); God Bless the Broken Road (AS-14, H-16); Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (WM-6); Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (WM-6); The Meg (AS-14, H-16); Mission: Impossible — Fallout (H-16); The Nun (AS-14, H-16 and Tascosa Drive-In, 1999 Dumas Drive); Operation Finale (H-16); Peppermint (AS-14, H-16); The Predator (AS-14, H-16); Puzzle (WM-6); Searching (H-16); A Simple Favor (AS-14, H-16); Skyscraper (WM-6); Slender Man (Tascosa); Teen Titans GO! to the Movies (WM-6); Unbroken: Path to Redemption (AS-14, H-16); White Boy Rick (AS-14, H-16); and Ya Veremos (H-16).