By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
In Amarillo theaters this week: Marvel's master of mysticism, Mel Gibson's violent tribute to pacifism and a wild-haired animated film.
New in theaters
Marvel starts to let its freak flag fly more with this expansion into the comic universe's more mystical realms, and reviewers are gaga over the special effects. In the film, Benedict Cumberbatch plays a House-like surgeon whose hands are crippled in an accident. He discovers, under the tutelage of the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), that there are realms far beyond his ken, and in an explosion of hubris, decides he can become a Sorcerer Supreme. "The 14th installment in the ever-expanding MCU is the first to really exploit the possibilities of CGI—to use state-of-the-art technology to its full, jaw-dropping advantage," writes The A.V. Club's A.A. Dowd in a review that simultaneously bemoans the film's character development. "(I)f Doctor Strange can be dispiritingly safe, it can also be just as impressively bold — an hallucinogenic trip along a very familiar path, watching the film is like adding a large dose of LSD to your morning commute," writes IndieWire's David Ehrlich. (PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action throughout, and an intense crash sequence; United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd., and Cinemark Hollywood 16, 9100 Canyon Drive)
Director Mel Gibson, whose film career (setting aside his troubled personal life) has largely been one long treatise on violence, examines the true story of conscientious objector Desmond Doss, who saved the lives of 75 fellow American soldiers in Okinawa during World War II — while never carrying or firing a gun himself. Andrew Garfield, late of the Spider-Man franchise, stars as the soldier, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery. "Hacksaw Ridge, like most of Gibson’s other films, is a fairly simplistic work," writes The Atlantic's David Sims. "But it’s undeniably effective, a movie about the power of religious conviction that batters viewers with depictions of horrific violence and chaos. Like the lead characters of The Passion of the Christ or Braveheart, Doss represents Gibson’s admiration for rigidity and sheer force of will." "Gibson doesn’t soften the horrors," writes Time's Stephanie Zacherek. "But I don’t think you could tell this story properly or honestly without being forthright about the horrors of the Pacific Theater, and as Gibson dramatizes them, they put Doss’ actions in jaggedly sharp perspective." (R for intense prolonged realistically graphic sequences of war violence including grisly bloody images; AS-14, H-16)
Reviews are fairly solid for this DreamWorks animated take on the ever-popular dolls with wonky hair. In the film, the perpetually postive Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick) wants to save her friends from being eaten by monsters (who believe that the only way to be happy is to chomp down on trolls, which, ew) and must team up with far-more cynical troll Branch (Justin Timberlake). "There's something about the neon-tinted, sugar-smacked highs of Trolls that can be bizarrely infectious. When it's weirder, it's better," writes Tribune News Service's Katie Walsh. Not everyone is similarly enthused: "The message of Trolls, delivered with no subtlety whatsoever, is that happiness comes from within and can’t be consumed, which is hilarious for a movie that is literally built to sell troll toys," writes The Wrap's Alonso Duralde. (PG for some mild rude humor; AS-14, H-16)
Stephanie Miller's Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour
Coming the night before Election Day is this stand-up special featuring comics Miller, John Fugelsang and duo Frangela (Frances Callier and Angela V. Shelton), scheduled to screen at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Amarillo Star 14. This week's screening of Newtown Live, also promised on Fathom's website, didn't actually screen as scheduled, so make sure to check listings before you go. This one ... doesn't seem likely to draw a huge crowd here.
The Accountant (AS-14, H-16); Boo! A Madea Halloween (AS-14, H-16); Finding Dory (Premiere Cinemas Westgate Mall 6, 7701 W. Interstate 40); Hell or High Water (WM-6); Inferno (AS-14, H-16); Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (AS-14, H-16); Jason Bourne (WM-6); Ouija: Origin of Evil (AS-14); The Secret Lives of Pets (WM-6); Storks (AS-14); Suicide Squad (WM-6) and When the Bough Breaks (WM-6).