OPENING FRIDAY: DEATH WISH
Charles Bronson’s Death Wish vigilante was the craggy face of urban paranoia in 1974 when movies taught us that’s where all the ugly stuff happened. Bronson’s Paul Kersey did something about it, prowling New York at night for muggers, rapists and spray-painting punks to kill.
Death Wish became an op-ed phenomenon with its shoot-as-a-solution approach and heroic slant, in part because victims only brought knives to Bronson’s gunfight. Audiences were cheering cold-blooded murder, no better than the assailants of Kersey’s wife and daughter who set him off.
Now that we’re painfully aware nowhere is safe, a Death Wish (R) remake starring Bruce Willis as Kersey could rile people again. The setup is the same — don’t expect Elisabeth Shue to stick around long — and trailers suggest bloodier, more sadistic revenge killings than Bronson planned. Bigger and more guns, too.
MGM didn’t offer Death Wish to critics for screening, possibly in consideration of the Parkland shootings. Or maybe it simply isn’t any good.
Check out this cast: Jon Hamm, Ellen Burstyn, Bruce Dern, Amber Tamblyn, Catherine Keener and Nick Offerman. You may not wish to check out the movie they’re in.
Nostalgia (R) is a weaving of tales about loss and life’s artifacts, anchored by Hamm as a collectibles dealer combing through estates. Pretty somber material for director Mark Pellington, known for the thrillers Arlington Road and The Mothman Prophecies.
New York Times reviewer Jeannette Catsoulis deemed Nostalgia: " .?.?. the kind of heartfelt wallow that you feel like a heel for attacking .?.?. front-loaded with major stars and squelching with sentiment. To say it’s depressing, then, is to state the obvious." Pass.
The animated trifle Gnome Alone (PG) must be hoping moviegoers confuse it with Sherlock Gnomes starring the voices of Johnny Depp and Emily Blunt later this month. It’s sneaking onto nearly 1,500 screens, an appropriately small number.
Gnome Alone stars the voices of YouTube singing star Becky G and former Nickelodeon star Josh Peck. She’s Chloe, who discovers the secret lives of her garden gnomes. He’s Liam, who joins Chloe in helping the gnomes fight the Troggs, whoever they are. Jeff Dunham and George Lopez add their comedy stylings to the mix. Pass.e_SClB
Oscars: AWARDS NIGHT AT TAMPA THEATRE
Since 1999, Tampa Theatre has thrown Tampa Bay’s glitziest Academy Awards watch party, so why stop now? Especially with more comfortable seating than ever, including a new party deck section.
Sunday’s soiree begins at 6:30 p.m. with free limo rides around the block to a red-carpet entrance where "paparazzi" and adoring "fans" make you feel like a star. Inside there are games, prizes and a cash bar leading to the 8 p.m. telecast.
Tickets are $20 but it’s Oscars Night, so spring for a reserved mezzanine seat ($50) with two comp beers or wines plus free popcorn and soft drinks. Or go all the way with a party deck ticket ($125) with a buffet dinner, open bar and lounge seating. Visit tampatheatre.org for availability.
in theaters: our Top 5
Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:
1 Black Panther: Marvel’s latest superhero (Chadwick Boseman) is a cultural game changer.
2 Annihilation: Alex Garland’s sci-fi bio-puzzle starring Natalie Portman, above.
3 Red Sparrow: An unapologetically sexist, sadistic spy yarn starring Jennifer Lawrence.
4 The Shape of Water: Guillermo del Toro’s Cold War fantasy netted a leading 13 Oscar nominations.
5 Early Man: Nick Park’s stop-motion clay animation style never gets old.
(Dates subject to change)
March 9: A Wrinkle in Time; The Upside; The Hurricane Heist
March 16: Tomb Raider; Love, Simon
March 23: Isle of Dogs; Pacific Rim: Uprising; Sherlock Gnomes; Midnight Sun; Unsane
March 30: Ready Player One
April 6: A Quiet Place; Blockers; You Were Never really Here; Chappaquiddick
April 13: Overboard; Truth or Dare
April 20: Rampage; Super Troopers 2; Dolphins; Duck Duck Goose
April 27: Animal Crackers; Traffik