OPENING THURSDAY: COLLATERAL BEAUTY
Collateral Beauty (PG-13) draws the short straw this weekend, opening head-to-space- helmet with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Pitting Hollywood's most celebrated fantasy franchise ever against a touchy-feely Will Smith weeper seems like the old knife-at-a-gunfight routine. Smith isn't the box office draw he was a decade ago, and if Seven Pounds taught any life lesson it's that audiences won't pay to watch him mope.
Now the former king of summer blockbusters is struggling to be noticed in a December storm of shiny new cinema objects. Collateral Beauty has an uphill battle to fight.
Smith stars as Howard, an advertising executive — we never see enough of them in movies — whose daughter dies, plunging him into depression. Howard begins writing letters to ideas: Love, Time and Death, three concepts linking the human race. Then those concepts materialize in human form: Love is Keira Knightley, Time is Jacob Latimore while Death gets the A-list casting of Oscar winner Helen Mirren. Like Scrooge's Christmas ghosts, they lead Howard on a path to happiness (or happyness, like another of Smith's tearjerkers).
Howard's concerned friends are a starry bunch: Kate Winslet, Edward Norton, Michael Pena, Naomie Harris. Each character has their own personal issues to solve, so whatever Howard learns from Love, Time and Death will enable him to help while realizing his worth. It's a wonderful life, you know.
Read a review of Collateral Beauty at tampabay.com/movies.
in theaters: our Top 5
Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:
1 Manchester by the Sea: Meet your likely best actor Oscar winner, Casey Affleck.
2 Moonlight: Barry Jenkins' Miami story, one of 2016's finest films.
3 Arrival: Unique science fiction movie, with Amy Adams in top form.
4 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: The first Skywalker saga spinoff, dark as Darth Vader's helmet.
5 Loving: True story — starring Golden Globe nominees Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton — of a 1967 court case over interracial marriage.
(Dates subject to change)
Dec. 21: La La Land; Jackie; Passengers; Lion; Assassin's Creed; Sing
Dec. 23: Why Him?
Dec. 25: Fences
Jan. 6: Hidden Figures; A Monster Calls; Underworld: Blood Wars; Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Jan. 13: Patriots Day; The Bye Bye Man
Jan. 20: 20th Century Women