By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
One of the year's best films and an acclaimed sports documentary share Amarillo screens this weekend with boxers, home invaders and a globetrotting assassin.
While trying to start a new life for herself and her sister, a young woman (Jane Levy) agrees to take part in the home-invasion robbery of a wealthy blind man. Turns out, the blind guy is actually a serial killer who traps the would-be thieves in his house. Initial reviews are positive. “This elegant and surprisingly fast-paced blend of horror and suspense overcomes some of its more ridiculous ingredients thanks to endless invention,” writes Eric Kohn for IndieWire. “(Director Fede) Alvarez makes the terror of locked doors and dark rooms more unsettling than the terrible things they entail.” (R for terror, violence, disturbing content, and language including sexual references; United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8257 W. Amarillo Blvd., and Cinemark Hollywood 16, 9100 Canyon Drive)
Former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason was diagnosed with ALS at age 34 and given only a few years to live, shortly before his wife, Michel, was expecting their first child. This documentary, which played to raves at this year's Sundance Film Festival, uses Gleason's video diary that he made for his unborn son to chart both his illness and his work to help fellow patients with the disease. It's supposed to be a major tear-jerker, too. "The whole movie is as unaffected and direct as a documentary can be. Nothing is off-limits here: moments of doubt and fear, disgust at failures of the body, the challenges that a debilitating illness poses to marriage and parenting," writes Matt Zoller Seitz for RogerEbert.com. IndieWire's Eric Kohn writes that while the film isn't subtle, "the movie’s sentimental qualities are genuine. ... Gleason manages to generate an intense form of excitement around winning against seemingly impossible odds." (R for language; Premiere Cinemas Westgate Mall 6, 7701 W. Interstate 40.)
Hands of Stone
Edgar Ramirez stars in this biopic about Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran, whose aggressive fighting style — and training by Ray Arcel (played by Robert De Niro) — helped him take down Sugar Ray Leonard in a 1980 championship bout. Duran’s equally well known for dropping out in the middle of a rematch with the former champ (played here by R&B star Usher). “No one quite knew why, but it should be the job of a biopic to take a legendary event like that and reconfigure it into a dramatic experience, letting us see it from the inside,” Owen Glieberman writes for Variety. “But in Hands of Stone, it is just one more incident served up with explosive yet rather unexciting neutrality.” (R for language throughout and some sexuality/nudity; AS-14)
Hell or High Water
Reviews are stellar for this modern-day Western, starring Ben Foster and Chris Pine as brothers who start robbing branches of a bank that's foreclosing on the family farm. Jeff Bridges costars as a Texas Ranger looking to make the brothers his last arrest before retirement. "Hell or High Water works because (director David) Mackenzie and cinematographer Giles Nuttgens are so alive to the desolate bloom of the West Texas landscape, to the way its heat can seem devil red hot, dust yellow or completely colorless depending on the time of day and the direction of the wind," writes Time's Stephanie Zacharek. The cast is superlative, writes The Detroit News' Adam Graham, "but it’s Pine who steals the movie. He does everything he can to bury the natural twinkle in his eyes, and it’s that glimmer of magic underneath wells of sadness that is the heart of this special, special film." (R for some strong violence, language throughout and brief sexuality; AS-14)
Jason Statham returns as Arthur Bishop in this sequel to the 2011 action flick, finding himself drawn back into the killing life by the machinations of the cunning Gina (Jessica Alba). Statham, who did a bang-up job of sending himself up in Spy, must complete an impossible list of assassinations of the most dangerous men in the world. The film didn’t screen in advance for critics. (R for violence throughout and language; AS-14, H-16)
Remember the Goal
This faith-based film, directed by Dave Christiano, charts the fortunes of a cross-country team at a private Christian high school that's under the leadership of a new coach. The movie, which stars mostly newcomers, is only opening in a limited number of theaters across the Southeast and wasn't screened in advance for critics. (PG for some thematic elements including drug references; AS-14)
The King and I
Celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Rodgers & Hammerstein film starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr with screenings at 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday and Wednesday. Though the film has a definite undercurrent of colonial patronizing, it still offers some thrills, particularly in the “Shall We Dance?” scene as British tutor Anna Leonowens and the King of Siam twirl around a ballroom floor. (NR; AS-14)
The Insanity of God with David Platt
This faith-based film, based on the book of the same name, tells the story of Nik and Ruth Ripkin, a couple from rural Kentucky, who traveled to Somalia as Christian missionaries. It’ll screen at 7 p.m. Tuesday. (NR; AS-14)
Bad Moms (AS-14, Tascosa Drive-In, 1999 Dumas Drive); Ben-Hur (AS-14, H-16); The BFG (WM-6); Central Intelligence (WM-6); Jason Bourne (AS-14); Kubo and the Two Strings (AS-14, H-16); The Legend of Tarzan (WM-6); Now You See Me 2 (WM-6); Pete's Dragon (AS-14, H-16); The Secret Lives of Pets (AS-14); The Shallows (WM-6); Sausage Party (AS-14, H-16); Suicide Squad (AS-14, H-16);Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (WM-6); and War Dogs (AS-14, H-16, TDI).