OPENING Thursday: DEEPWATER HORIZON
Gina Rodriguez's movie career is just getting revved up, and she already has EGOT-winning fan.
Rodriguez, 32 and a Golden Globe winner for the CW's Jane the Virgin, makes her major motion picture debut in Deepwater Horizon, dramatizing the oil rig explosion that ignited an eco-catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.
One person pulling for Rodriguez is Rita Moreno, a groundbreaking performer sharing her Puerto Rican heritage. Rodriguez paid tribute at last year's Kennedy Center Honors to the woman who played her grandmother on Jane the Virgin. Moreno returned the compliment for a magazine profiling the young actor.
"I was asked to write something about her and, boy, that was easy," Moreno said by telephone, prior to her April appearance at the Gasparilla International Film Festival. "Gina is just a remarkable young woman. She has become, as far as I'm concerned, the role model. She has gravitas, she has intelligence, she has a great self-image. Just an amazing young woman."
Rodriguez also has a history with the Gasparilla festival. She accepted a 2013 jury prize for acting in Filly Brown, playing a rapper seeking stardom.
Deepwater Horizon is Rodriguez's first major studio movie, playing Andrea Fleytas, a navigator on the oil rig and its only female employee.
"It couldn't be more exciting to play such a courageous woman," Rodriguez said, on the Deepwater Horizon set near New Orleans. "Twenty-two years old during this catastrophe, and one of the last people off the rig. I probably would've been one of the first."
At that time in July 2015, Rodriguez hadn't spoken to Fleytas to get a feel for her character.
"Everything told to me is that she's very strong, down to earth," Rodriguez said. "It is a responsibility to play a part of American history. She was Latina from San Diego, so there's a lot of pride in that. There's a lot of pride in representing our community, along with the community as women. You keep your head down and your prayers up, and hope you're doing them justice."
ALSO OPENING: QUEEN OF KATWE
You can catch more true-life drama with Queen of Katwe (PG), about a Ugandan girl (newcomer Madina Nalwanga) whose life is changed by her interest in chess. Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o and Selma star David Oyelowo co-star.
Read a Grade B review at tbtim.es/16wd.
Then there's Masterminds (PG-13), a well-pedigreed comedy that fell between the cracks of a then-crumbling Hollywood studio. A bankruptcy filing by Relativity Media led to the movie's shelving for a year, despite starring several of Saturday Night Live's funniest over the past decade (Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Jason Sudeikis, Leslie Jones) plus two solid guests (Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson).
Masterminds, an armored car heist comedy loosely based on a true crime event, wasn't screened for Weekend review.
FESTIVAL TIME: TAMPA INT'L GAY AND LESBIAN FILMS
Friday marks the opening of the 27th annual Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, with a free 7:30 p.m. screening at the historic Tampa Theatre.
The opening film selection is The Freedom to Marry, a documentary account of the landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. Director Eddie Rosenstein and activists Evan Wolfson and Mary Bonauto will attend.
The festival continues through Oct. 8, at various venues in Tampa and St. Petersburg. Visit tiglff.com for complete schedule information. Tickets are $15 per screening session, packages available $50-$5,000.
Find highlights of this year's lineup at tbtim.es/16wr.
in theaters: our Top 5
Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:
1 The Magnificent Seven: Rousing, old-fashioned western proving Chris Pratt, above, is a genuine movie star.
2 Deepwater Horizon: Mark Wahlberg pays respect to victims of 2010's oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
3 Queen of Katwe: True story of a Ugandan chess prodigy, starring Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o.
4 Snowden: Oliver Stone presents his most politically vital movie in decades.
5 Bridget Jones's Baby: Renée Zellweger must choose between Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey. Decisions, decisions.
(Dates subject to change)
Oct. 7: The Birth of a Nation; The Girl on the Train
Oct. 14: The Accountant; American Honey; Denial
Oct. 21: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back; Keeping Up With the Joneses; Tyler Perry's Boo! A Madea Halloween
Oct. 28: Inferno
Nov. 4: Doctor Strange; Trolls; Hacksaw Ridge
Nov. 11: Arrival; Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk; Almost Christmas
Nov. 18: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; The Edge of Seventeen
Nov. 23: Moana; Bad Santa 2; Allied; Rules Don't Apply