Unlike Frosty, The Snowman (R) isn’t a jolly, happy soul. He’s a serial killer who murders after snowfalls, keeping him busy in Norway where an alcoholic detective (Michael Fassbender) specializes in — wait for it — cold cases.
Fassbender leads an intriguing cast: Oscar winner J.K. Simmons makes anything better, Chloe Sevigny gets two roles and the chance to see Val Kilmer playing someone named Gert Rafto is tough to pass up. The Snowman is directed by Tomas Alfredson, whose Let the Right One In showed his thrill-chill chops.
Read a review of The Snowman at tampabay.com/movies.
ONLY THE BRAVE
California’s wildfire devastation makes Only the Brave (PG-13) tragically topical. It’s the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a forest firefighting crew that lost 19 members in a 2013 blaze.
Miles Teller stars as the lone survivor, Brendan McDonough, in the first of back-to-back openings for the Lecanto High School graduate. Next week, Teller portrays a troubled Iraq War veteran in Thank You for Your Service.
Only the Brave surrounds Teller with undisputed talent: Oscar winners Jeff Bridges and Jennifer Connolly, dependable Josh Brolin and cool character actor James Badge Dale.
Gerard Butler stars in a disaster flick but you knew that because every flick Butler’s in turns out disastrous. This time it’s Geostorm (PG-13), directed by Dean Devlin, who wrote Stargate, Independence Day and its trash-bin sequel, and the worst Godzilla remake ever.
In the future, Earth’s climate is controlled by a global satellite system that suddenly goes haywire. Butler and Jim Sturgess play estranged brothers getting to the bottom of the problem. Any world that would elect Andy Garcia to the Oval Office is worth saving.
TYLER PERRY’S BOO 2! A MADEA HALLOWEEN
Correction: It’s actually another Madea Halloween. Tyler Perry took viewers trick or treating with his drag character last year. She’s back like candy corn, stale with no discernible taste.
Boo 2! A Madea Halloween (PG-13) sends Madea, Bam (Cassi Davis) and Hattie (Patrice Lovely) camping on haunted grounds, shrieking at pop-up monsters and running away. Just what we need: Tyler Perry’s Ernest Scared Stupid.
SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME
Greg Kinnear returns as the sincere face of inspirational cinema in Same Kind of Different As Me (PG-13), another slice of true-life uplift after 2014’s Heaven is For Real.
Kinnear plays Ron Hall, an art dealer whose path crosses with a homeless man named Denver Moore (Djimon Hounsou), a former sharecropper. Together they continue the ministry started by Ron’s wife, Deborah (Renée Zellweger), who’s dying of cancer.
Camille Thoman won a 2014 Gasparilla Film Festival prize for her paddle tennis documentary The Longest Game. Thoman makes a solid feature debut with Never Here (R), a dream-state mystery featuring the late Sam Shepard’s final performance.
Shepard’s aura graces Thoman’s tale of a photographer (The Killing’s Mireille Enos) whose invasion of privacy for art’s sake leads to losing her own, and perhaps her sanity. Never Here is a moody inversion of the stalker genre, less of a thriller than a Lynchian thinker. Thoman has a bright future and we’ll say we knew her when. B
In theaters: our Top 5
Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:
1 Blade Runner 2049: Ryan Gosling stars in a cerebral sequel to a sci-fi classic.
2 Battle of the Sexes: Emma Stone and Steve Carell star as Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.
3 Professor Marston & the Wonder Women: The erotic roots of a comic book icon.
4 Victoria & Abdul: Judi Dench wins her Queen-off with Helen Mirren, 3-1.
5 Breathe: Andrew Garfield stars as disability-rights pioneer Robin Cavendish. Read a review at tampabay.com/movies.
(Dates subject to change)
Oct. 27: The Florida Project; Suburbicon; Thank You for Your Service; Jigsaw
Nov. 3: Thor: Ragnarok; A Bad Moms Christmas; The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Nov. 10: Murder on the Orient Express; Wonderstruck; Daddy’s Home 2
Nov. 17: Justice League; Roman J. Israel Esq.; Wonder; The Star
Nov. 22: Coco; Chappaquiddick; Polaroid
Dec. 1: He’s Out There
Dec. 8: The Shape of Water; The Disaster Artist; All the Money in the World