Friday, September 21, 2018
Things To Do

Movie Planner: '20th Century Women' review, 'Xxx: The Return of Xander Cage'

INDIE FLICKS: 20th CENTURY WOMEN

Five characters in search of a plot populate 20th Century Women, Mike Mills' follow-up to Beginners, which won Christopher Plummer an overdue Oscar. Mills may do the same for Annette Bening with a role based on his mother; his father's coming out inspired Beginners.

Bening plays Dorothea Fields, a single Santa Barbara mom in 1979, romanticized by Mills as a last stand of free spiritism — last call before Reagan and AIDS. Dorothea calmly raises her teenage son, Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann), with advice bordering on pessimism, the only wisdom she's learned. Bening hits each regretful note of Mills' characterization, wringing his humor even drier.

Jamie's coming of age unfolds with patently indie-hip economy, orbited by more colorful satellites than anyone could expect in a life at once. Dorothea rents a room to Abbie (Greta Gerwig, wonderful again), a punk-hearted cancer survivor offering a different facet of feminism. Yet another is presented by Julie (Elle Fanning), a tease who sleeps around but only sleeps with Jamie.

The lone male influence is handyman William (Billy Crudup), working on Dorothea's home renovation that, like her life's, isn't happening. Like Jamie, William is at the mercy of diversely dynamic women around him, agreeably so.

These roles are reasonably detailed and finely performed but can't overcome Mills' anecdotal rhythms. Dialogue this sharp deserves a clearer target to hit. Always an expressive listener, Bening leans on that talent through a series of passive aggressions against Dorothea, pointing out flaws the mother knows are real. Everyone takes aim at her, some more than once.

By sheer repetition, 20th Century Women becomes Dorothea's coming of age story 40 years late. Mills' movie is ultimately as aimless as her life has been, messy and marked by fleeting pleasures but not enough. B-

ALSO OPENING:

xXx: THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE

Since Dwayne Johnson effectively snatched the Fast and Furious franchise from under Vin Diesel’s hood, the Vinster needs a new ride. Which just happens to be an old ride retooled.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage (PG-13) says all you need know in the title. If the capitalization doesn't seem odd and you know who the heck Xander Cage is, this movie is for you.

Back in 2002, Diesel rode the sleeper hit momentum of his first F&F gig to a starring role in xXx, which was not the porn movie the title suggested. Diesel played extreme sports athlete Xander Cage, infiltrating the Russian mob.

xXx did business similar to The Fast and the Furious and Diesel seemed like a box office stud for years to come. Then he believed the hype and wanted to be paid as such. Diesel priced himself out of sequels to both hits, giving more work to Paul Walker and Ice Cube.

Diesel made nice with one franchise, now the other. But the Vinster will never make Riddick a thing. Take that to the same bank he's laughing all the way to.

SPLIT

What we need right now is another M. Night Shyamalan joint, something to either love or hate. Split (R) looks like a prime candidate for a passionate response from both camps.

Shyamalan's latest thriller stars James McAvoy, right, as a mentally unstable guy with 24 distinct personalities, one of them a cold-blooded kidnapper. Just ask his latest captives, three teenage girls who'll die if they don't talk the other 23 into helping them escape.

Sounds like a nifty idea. McAvoy gets to flex some of the creepy acting muscles that made Trance such a guilty pleasure. One of the captives is played by Anya Taylor-Joy, whose turn in last year's The Witch still haunts me. It's time for Shyamalan to recover some dignity. A grisly grindhouse yarn could do the trick.

in theaters: our Top 5

Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:

1 A Monster Calls: A grieving boy gets tough love from a tree monster (voice of Liam Neeson).

2 Patriots Day: White-knuckle re-enactment of the Boston Marathon terrorist attack and manhunt.

3 Hidden Figures, above: True story of African-American women making NASA go 'round.

4 Fences: The role that deservedly won Viola Davis a Golden Globe and Denzel Washington a nomination.

5 Lion: An Indian boy is lost, adopted and reunited with his mother by using Google Earth.

UPCOMING RELEASES

(Dates subject to change)

Jan. 27: Gold; A Dog's Purpose; Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Feb. 3: Rings; The Space Between Us; Collide; The Comedian; Julieta

Feb. 10: The Lego Batman Movie; John Wick: Chapter 2; Fifty Shades Darker

   
Comments

Sports on TV/radio for Saturday, September 22

TODAYAutosMonster Energy Cup: Federated Auto Parts 4007:30 p.m.NBCSN; 102.5-FMBaseballGiants at Cardinals1 p.m.FoxRays at Blue Jays4 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMOrioles at Yankees4 p.m.MLBRed Sox at Indians7 p.m.MLBReds at Marlins7 p.m.FSFPadres at Dodgers (i...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Joe and Son's Olive Oils, a legacy Ybor business, finds new roots in Carrollwood

Joe and Son's Olive Oils, a legacy Ybor business, finds new roots in Carrollwood

Andrea Gebbia grew up in Carrollwood, and now she is bringing the family business to the neighborhood of her youth.In late fall, Joe and Son’s Olive Oils is slated to open a second location."I feel so blessed having the ability to grow my...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Chi Chop + Kung Fu Tea looks to succeed where others failed

Chi Chop + Kung Fu Tea looks to succeed where others failed

RIVEVIEW – Amy Lin knows that her newest Chi Chop + Kung Fu Tea store is in a location where previous businesses have not lasted.The short-lived Tap’s Brewhouse & Deli and even shorter-lived Top Shelf Sports Bar and Grill tried to r...
Updated: 6 hours ago
SoundBytes: The Midnight Hour, Dead Prez, Derez De’Shon, nothing,nowhere. and more

SoundBytes: The Midnight Hour, Dead Prez, Derez De’Shon, nothing,nowhere. and more

— Rising emo-rap artist nothing,nowhere., who opened for Fall Out Boy last fall at Amalie Arena, will headline the Orpheum on Nov. 24, alongside Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, Smrtdeath and St. Panther. Tickets are $18 and up. Click here.— ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Watch: A southern white rhinoceros calf just a week after being born at ZooTampa

Watch: A southern white rhinoceros calf just a week after being born at ZooTampa

TAMPA — A southern white rhinoceros gave birth to a calf at ZooTampa on Sept. 12, marking the sixth successful birth of the species in the zoo's history. In a news release, ZooTampa said southern white rhinoceroses are a nearly threatened spec...
Updated: 8 hours ago
At 50, Clearwater's real-life superhero is hanging up his super suit

At 50, Clearwater's real-life superhero is hanging up his super suit

CLEARWATER — For two decades, Dale Pople patrolled the streets feeding the homeless, helping old people carry groceries, extinguishing a car fire. He wore a red, yellow and blue Spandex outfit with an SH emblem: "Super Hero." Now, Clearwater&...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sunday, Sept. 23

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sunday, Sept. 23

Tampa Bay Lightning Fan Fest: The kicks off the hockey season with this free event including player autograph sessions, team scrimmages, selfie stations with players, food and beverage discounts, merchandise specials, hockey equipment sale and activi...
Updated: 9 hours ago
All the celebs arrested, married and sued this week from Plies to Bieber-Baldwin rumors

All the celebs arrested, married and sued this week from Plies to Bieber-Baldwin rumors

Here's a guide to some entertainment news you might've missed this week.ARRESTED: Rapper Plies was arrested at Tampa International Airport on Wednesday after authorities say a gun was found in his carry-on bag. The 42-year-old Wesley Chapel resident ...
Published: 09/21/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Saturday, Sept. 22

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Saturday, Sept. 22

Niall Horan: The One Direction singer-songwriter on his own tour brings along country’s Maren Morris. 7 p.m., MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $29.50-$107. (813) 740-2446.MegaCon Tampa Bay: The multi-genre convention brin...
Published: 09/21/18
Review: Robert Olen Butler’s Paris in the Dark packed with action

Review: Robert Olen Butler’s Paris in the Dark packed with action

On a fall night in 1915, an American reporter sips Chartreuse at a sidewalk table as German Zeppelins patrol the perimeter of Paris. As he plans how to finagle his way to the front lines of World War I, a bomb explodes at another cafe nearby, and he ...
Published: 09/21/18