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Watani: My Homeland is the story of one family’s escape from war-torn Syria.ITN Productions

Movie Planner: Oscar shorts at Tampa Theatre, Young Directors Film Festival

SHORT AND SWEET: OSCAR SHORTS Next week's Academy Awards show is shaping up as the most political Oscars telecast ever, for obvious reasons. Even the academy's short film categories seem more topical than usual. Silent Nights and Ennemis Interieurs are live action front-runners dealing fictionally with questions of …


  1. Review: 'The Great Wall' is not-so-great, but full of wonderfully wacky visuals


    The Great Wall is a so-so movie with eye-popping images: giant ill-tempered iguanas munching medieval warriors, bungee-jumping China dolls spearing them, Matt Damon's man bun. Sights you can't forget.

    Matt Damon is a Hollywood face to place on the poster despite being totally wrong for the part of William, a mercenary searching China for gunpowder. Important guest appearance: Damon’s man bun.
  2. Take the Cross-Bay Ferry for free to these events in Tampa and St. Petersburg on Sunday


    “Are you driving, or am I?"

    You know the refrain. You and your partner swap it every time you head out on the weekend, to dinner, to a concert, to a parade. Someone has to bear the brunt of the steering wheel work.

    But what if you didn't?

    The Cross-Bay Ferry in port on the Seddon Channel near the Tampa Convention Center. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  3. Here's the lineup for Tampa's Gasparilla International Film Festival


    Well, it's Academy Awards time, so moviegoers know what that means:

    Among the Gasparilla International Film Festival’s ticket options is $1,510 for VIP red carpet treatment for two throughout the festival.
  4. Review: 'A Cure for Wellness' so over the top, it's repellent


    Growing up with Hammer Films and Poe a la Roger Corman makes me appreciate economy in gothic terror, a quality sorely missing from A Cure for Wellness. Alleged "visionary" director Gore Verbinski — earning that title in ads after The Lone Ranger — ignores their lessons at double feature …

    Dane DeHaan plays Lockhart, a businessman sent to retrieve his company’s executive from a mysterious “wellness center” in the Swiss Alps. Lockhart then learns why people don’t trust the resort.
  5. The top 10 Batman actors ever, from Adam West and George Clooney to Will Arnett and Michael Keaton


    So many men have inherited Gotham's dark cape and cowl that The Lego Batman Movie doesn't even have the most well-known plastic incarnation of the character.

    Will Arnett's Caped Crusader -- here with Channing Tatum's Superman in the new "Lego Batman Movie" -- is one winning tough guy. [Warner Bros. - DC 2017]
  6. Exhibit of 'Star Wars' costumes and drawings coming to the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg

    Visual Arts

    A glamorous component of that famous galaxy far, far away is landing in St. Petersburg.

    Queen Amidala, Throne Room Gown from 'Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.' Copyright 2015, Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. Used under authorization.
  7. Review: '50 Shades Darker' light on plotty, heavy on naughty


    Fifty Shades Darker is what you'd expect from encoring a regrettable one-night stand. Not a keeper, but nothing to gnaw off your arm about.

    Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey, left, and Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele in "Fifty Shades Darker." (Doane Gregory/Universal Pictures via AP)
  8. Review: 'John Wick: Chapter 2' a brilliantly-staged action ride for Keanu Reeves


    When it comes to choreography, the spunky dreamers of La La Land have nothing on the death dances Keanu Reeves leads in John Wick: Chapter 2. This movie's balletic brutality, its relentless pacing and practical stunt work are breathtaking. Or maybe that's just a No. 2 pencil shoved in my throat.

    Keanu Reeves in a scene from, "John Wick: Chapter 2." (Niko Tavernise/Lionsgate via AP)
  9. Movie Planner: '50 Shades Darker' and the sexy movies that went before it



    Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson are back as Christian and Anastasia in Fifty Shades Darker, the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey.
  10. Review: 'The LEGO Batman Movie' proves the Dark Knight is even better light


    Everything isn't quite as awesome about The LEGO Batman Movie, after the first interlocking brick flick set a soaring standard. But Joker has a point: Batman is better when he isn't so serious.

    Robin is voiced by Michael Cera, and Batman by Will Arnett in The LEGO Batman Movie, opening Friday.
  11. From fancy to thrifty, Tampa Bay date ideas that will cause heart eyes


    Private booths with curtains provide customers with privacy while at Ciro's Speakeasy. That's pretty fancy.
  12. Review: 'The Space Between Us' is remedial sci-fi romance at best


    The Space Between Us is romantic science fiction with zero gravity and less to recommend. Its space is between its ears, a YA fantasy cribbed from alien fish-out-of-water flicks by the guy who wrote Collateral Beauty. Yeah, him again.

    Born in space and living on Mars, Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield, right) longs to experience Earth even though the journey and change in atmosphere could kill him.  
STX Productions
  13. Movie Planner: 'Julieta,' 'The Space Between Us,' 'Rings,' 'Collide'



    Adriana Ugarte, right, plays a younger version of the titular Julieta in Pedro Almodóvar’s new film. Inma Cuesta, left, also stars.
  14. Tampa Theatre revives Oscar shorts showcases to help your ballots


    They're the land mines in your Academy Awards office pool, hardly seen and blowing up in your face.

    "Piper" is among the Oscar nominated animated shorts coming to Tampa Theatre. [Pixar]
  15. Review: 'The Comedian' is an unfunny waste of time for Robert De Niro


    The Comedian is a phony movie about funny people, starring a great actor understanding next to nothing about stand-up comedy.

    Robert De Niro plays Jackie Burke, a has-been comedian forced to do community service for accosting an audience member.