OPENING Thursday: THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN
Maybe now, we can all finally agree Emily Blunt is the most versatile female movie actor who isn't named Meryl Streep.
Not that Blunt's performance in The Girl on the Train (R) will satisfy fans more than anything she's done over the decade since her breakout role opposite Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. But the next Hollywood status step is carrying a box office hit on her shoulders, and this is Blunt's first legitimate shot at doing so.
Based on Paula Hawkins' bestselling novel, The Girl on the Train casts Blunt as Rachel Watson, long divorced and still drinking to forget it. Each weekday Rachel takes a commuter train to work, enabling peeks at hundreds of suburban homes including one shared by her ex-husband (Justin Theroux), his new wife (Rebecca Ferguson) and their child. Another belongs to Megan and Scott Hipwell (Haley Bennett, Luke Evans), a young, sexy couple; everything else that Rachel's life is missing.
One day, Rachel spies something disturbing at the Hipwells' home. She proceeds to get drunk, awakening the next day to a hangover, minor wounds and bruises, with no memory of what happened. That's a problem when Megan is reported missing, and Rachel falls under suspicion.
That's just the start of a licorice-twisty mystery that readers embraced like Gillian Flynn's comparably femme-centric thriller Gone Girl three years earlier. Let's hope The Girl on the Train turns out as entertaining as David Fincher's take on Flynn. Dreamworks suggests the comparison by opening director Tate Taylor's movie on practically the same day Gone Girl hit movie screens in 2014.
FINALE: TAMPA INT'L GAY AND LESBIAN FILM FEST
Despite its title, everything about the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival happens in St. Petersburg this weekend. Freefall Theatre, 6099 Central Ave., is the sole venue for screenings from Thursday until Saturday evening, when Sundial 19 hosts two closing-night features. Tickets are $15 per session.
Thursday's selections at Freefall are The Firefly (7 p.m.), a Spanish language lesbian drama, and Do You Take This Man?, above, at 9:15 p.m. Friday's late-night highlight is Will Zang's documentary Real Kink (10:45 p.m.), with the director attending. Saturday's slate begins at 10:30 a.m., including a pair of short film collections, one serious (2:15 p.m.), the other silly (4:15).
At 7 p.m. Saturday, Sundial 19 screens two closers simultaneously: Bear City 3 completes Doug Langway's burly-man trilogy, while Women Who Kill traces a darkly comical lesbian murder mystery.
Find festival information and tickets at tiglff.com.
LIGHTS OUT, FOR NOW: TAMPA THEATRE
After hosting the first week of Tampa's gay and lesbian film festival, historic Tampa Theatre is taking a nine-day break for a little electrical system touch-up, starting Thursday.
The grand dame needs to look her sparkliest for that 90th birthday celebration coming Oct. 15.
That's when Tampa Theatre rolls back admission to 1926 prices — a cool 25 cents each — for a quartet of movies about movies, including Martin Scorsese's Hugo, Oscar winners The Artist and Cinema Paradiso, and Buster Keaton's silent classic The Cameraman, with live musical accompaniment on the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ.
Sleep well, madam. See you next weekend.
in theaters: our Top 5
Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:
1 The Birth of a Nation: Nate Parker's incendiary history lesson, still relevant today.
2 The Magnificent Seven: Rousing, old-fashioned western proving Chris Pratt is a genuine movie star.
3 Deepwater Horizon: Mark Wahlberg pays respect to victims of 2010's oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
4 Queen of Katwe: True story of a Ugandan chess prodigy, starring Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o.
5 Snowden: Oliver Stone presents his most politically vital movie in decades.
(Dates subject to change)
Oct. 14: The Accountant; Kevin Hart: What Now?; 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; American Honey; Trolls; Hacksaw Ridge
Nov. 11: Arrival; Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk; Almost Christmas
Nov. 18: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Moonlight; Bleed for This; The Edge of Seventeen
Nov. 23: Moana; Bad Santa 2; Allied; Rules Don't Apply