OPENING FRIDAY: TWO KINDS OF MONSTERS MONEY MONSTER
After The Big Short nailed the whys and hows of 2008's Wall Street meltdown, Jodie Foster's Money Monster (R) focuses on who was hurt most: America's middle class.
Jack O'Connell (Unbroken) plays Kyle Budwell, a working stiff who lost everything in the stock market crash and wants answers. His anger is targeted at Lee Gates (George Clooney), a flashy investments guru clearly inspired by CNBC commentator Jim Cramer. Kyle takes Lee hostage on live television and straps him into a bomb vest, igniting a media circus and an investigation bad guys want stopped.
Julia Roberts rejoins her Ocean's Eleven and Twelve pal Clooney, playing Lee's producer Patty Fenn, helping to negotiate a peaceful resolution.
Foster's short but impressive directing resume (Little Man Tate, Home for the Holidays, The Beaver) hasn't included a thriller like this, although after winning an Oscar for The Silence of the Lambs she knows well how they operate.
Hollywood can't let a Friday the 13th slip by without releasing a horror flick. Since Jason Voorhees is retired from the stalking biz, the honor goes to The Darkness (PG-13), another degree of separation for Kevin Bacon, right, from the star he used to be.
The Darkness sets up Bacon as a father who takes his family on a Grand Canyon vacation and brings back supernatural souvenirs. There's a reason for laws against disturbing national parks, you know. Anyway, the smuggled ritual rocks are possessed by Native American spirits who, according to the trailer, terrify by finger painting on walls and faces.
Since Bacon was among the first victims at Camp Crystal Lake in 1980, taking an arrow in his throat, it's fitting that he's here. The Darkness wasn't screened for critics.
INDIE FLICKS: The Man Who Knew Infinity
Another beautiful mind gets a classy movie treatment in The Man Who Knew Infinity (PG-13), based on the career of mathematics pioneer Srinivasa Ramanujan. Every biopic subject requires a burden; Ramanujan's was racial and intellectual prejudice at Cambridge, due to his impoverished Indian upbringing and instinctual genius.
Dev Patel (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) plays Ramanujan, while Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons portrays his contentious mentor G.H. Hardy, an atheist scoffing at the young man's claims that his formulas come from God.
"The arguments between Ramanujan and Hardy form easily the most absorbing aspect of (the film) …," wrote Variety film critic Justin Chang. "But even their largely absorbing rapport can't ward off the movie's slow descent into a rhythmically and dramatically plodding cycle of misfortune."
The Man Who Knew Infinity opens Friday at Tampa Theatre and Veterans 24 in Tampa.
in theaters: our Top 5
Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:
1 Captain America: Civil War: Marvel's superhero family in smart disarray.
2 The Jungle Book: Astonishing CGI visuals, and Bill Murray's voice to boot.
3 Green Room: Punk rockers chased by skinheads, in a gut-twisting thriller.
4 Midnight Special: Three-quarters great, the rest merely gripping.
5 Barbershop: The Next Cut: Still funny, yet with a serious message about gang culture.
(dates subject to change)
May 20: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising; Angry Birds; The Nice Guys
May 27: X-Men: Apocalypse; Alice Through the Looking Glass; The Lobster; The Meddler; Love & Friendship
June 3: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows; Me Before You
June 10: Warcraft; Now You See Me 2; The Conjuring 2: The Endfield Experiment
June 17: Finding Dory; Central Intelligence
June 24: Independence Day: Resurgence; Free State of Jones
June 29: The Shallows
July 1: The BFG; The Legend of Tarzan; Swiss Army Man