AND THE WINNER IS: WONDER WOMAN? BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE
A schoolyard argument as old as comic books will be settled this weekend.
Who would win a fight between Superman and Batman?
Don't be surprised if the answer is Wonder Woman.
The Amazon princess isn't mentioned in the title Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (PG-13) but all signs (and Internet spoilers) point to her importance in director Zack Snyder's superhero fantasy.
It's about time. Anyone believing women actually do get fair shakes in Hollywood should ask themselves why one of the most dynamic female heroes in pop culture never got a theatrical showcase before.
Think about it: Snyder's movie is the 11th feature-length movie starring Batman, with Ben Affleck becoming the eighth actor under the cowl. Superman has toplined seven features, with Henry Cavill as the third actor to ever play the Man of Steel on the big screen. Wonder Woman? All she ever got from Hollywood was Cathy Lee Crosby in a bad made-for-TV movie, and Lynda Carter's 1970s television series.
Israeli actor/model Gal Gadot gets the honor of playing Wonder Woman, swapping the character's star-spangled (and patently sexist) uniform for a more gladiator look.
INDIE FLICKS: KNIGHT OF CUPS
Director Terrence Malick's output dramatically increased in recent years, along with the wonderment/befuddlement his films typically inspire. There is no middle road on Malick, making him one of cinema's most divisive filmmakers.
His latest work is Knight of Cups (R), opening Friday at Tampa Theatre. Christian Bale stars as a Los Angeles screenwriter having one of Malick's signature personal crises, looking for love in all the wrong, debauched places. As usual, a platoon of fine actors lined up to work with Malick including Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Brian Dennehy and Antonio Banderas.
Knight of Cups was unavailable for review. Variety critic Justin Chang opined:
"Those who have had their fill of the director's impressionistic musings will find his seventh feature as empty as the lifestyle it puts on display. For the rest of us, there's no denying this star-studded, never-a-dull-moment cinematic oddity represents another flawed but fascinating reframing of man's place in the modern world."
COMING WEDNESDAY: GASPARILLA FILM FEST
Celebrating a decade of showcasing cinema, the Gasparilla International Film Festival begins Wednesday with a red carpet reception, an intriguing movie, and lots of rum.
The festival opens at Tampa Theatre with the drone warfare drama Eye in the Sky, starring Oscar winner Helen Mirren and Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul. Neither actor is attending Gasparilla, but director Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ender's Game) will accompany his film.
Tickets are $15 for the 7:30 p.m. screening only. Another $50 also gets you into a catered preshow reception at 5 p.m., inside the historic theater. After the movie, stick around for complimentary signature Carmelita's rum drinks and live entertainment. Admission is included in the movie ticket. And that's just the beginning.
The remainder of this year's lineup includes 114 shorts, features and documentaries, shown at Centro Ybor 20 in Ybor City. Gasparilla's schedule includes after-parties, industry panels and receptions at various local venues. The festival continues through April 3. Visit gasparillafilmfestival.com for a complete listing of movie times and locations. Single event prices range from free to $15, and multiaccess passes are available ($25-$250).
In theaters: our Top 5
Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:
1 10 Cloverfield Lane: Can John Goodman earn his first Oscar nod for a genre flick? Hope so.
2 Deadpool: Gleefully graphic adventures of Marvel's superantihero (Ryan Reynolds).
3 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: Television reporters (Tina Fey and Margot Robbie) cover the war in Afghanistan.
4 Hello, My Name Is Doris/The Bronze: Take your pick of hit-and-miss indie comedies, the former a Sally Field showcase.
5 The Revenant: Three Academy Awards, including best actor Leonardo DiCaprio and best director Alejandro G. Iñárritu.
(dates subject to change)
April 1: Eye in the Sky; Collide; I Saw the Light; God's Not Dead 2
April 8: The Boss; Demolition; Hardcore Henry
April 15: The Jungle Book; Barbershop: The Next Cut; Everybody Wants Some; Criminal
April 22: The Huntsman: Winter's War; Miles Ahead; Born in China
April 29: Keanu; Mothers Day; Ratchet & Clank; Same Kind of Different As Me
May 6: Captain America: Civil War