OPENING Thursday: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
No matter what the calendar reads, the Hollywood solstice says it's summertime.
A season of blockbusters that began with The Fate of the Furious finds another gear tonight, unleashing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (PG-13) on an eager public.
Marvel's offbeat space saga doesn't carry an element of surprise this time. Vol. 1 in 2014 caught everyone off-guard except the cosplay crowd. The guardians didn't have Avengers-level name recognition. Chris Pratt wasn't box office gold yet. Bradley Cooper's face wasn't on display. Vin Diesel was a tree (okay, that's not unusual).
But Guardians of the Galaxy's wild-ride approach to comic book heroism clicked when superhero franchises were turning dark. Vol. 2 should be bigger, louder and more irreverent than before.
Pratt returns as Peter Quill, a.k.a. Starlord, whose band of bickering space jockeys are now in demand as planet saviors. One mission leads them to the mysterious Ego (Kurt Russell), a deity in human form claiming to be Starlord's absent father. Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Tampa's Dave Bautista) and Baby Groot (Diesel's voice) aren't convinced.
Check out the B- review here.
Richard Gere, right, keeps aging toward perfection in The Dinner (R), a conversational thriller with a few too many topics on the table.
Gere's knack for crumbling confidence is what his role in Oren Moverman's film is all about. Stan Lohman is a glad-handing gubernatorial candidate whose run is threatened by a horrific act committed by his son and nephews.
Details unfold in clinched-jaw discussions and flashbacks during dinner among the four parents involved, each bringing issues of their own to an absurdly posh restaurant. The heaviest baggage belongs to Stan's brother, Paul (Steve Coogan), whose bluntness is a product of clinical depression. Their wives (Laura Linney, Rebecca Hall) are life accessories bound to eloquently rebel.
All of which distracts from the core issue of what their sons did. Moverman's adaptation of Herman Koch's novel is loaded with lacerating dialogue delivered with conviction. Yet as the narrative widens the drama loses steam and we're left recalling performance moments, Bobby Bukowski's camera work and little else. B-
ABOUT TIME: HOW TO BUILD A TIME MACHINE
Who says movies are a mindless pastime? Sunday afternoon, Tampa Theatre offers lessons in theoretical physics with your popcorn.
Jay Cheel's documentary How to Build a Time Machine will be shown at 3 p.m., followed by a Skype chat with one of the film's subjects, theoretical physicist Ron Mallett. Tickets are $11.
Mallett and animator Rob Niosi were both inspired by George Pal's 1960 hit The Time Machine, based on H.G. Wells' novel. Niosi was later compelled to build a full-sized replica of Pal's prop. Mallett was led to study black holes and other scientific theories hoping to make time travel real.
in theaters: our Top 5
Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:
1 The Fate of the Furious: It's raining cars, hallelujah, in another lap around the blockbuster track.
2 Colossal: Anne Hathaway is a monster, sort of, in a weirdly lovable movie.
3 Get Out: Jordan Peele makes race relations scarier than ever with bold horror satire.
4 Gifted: A math prodigy (Mckenna Grace) tries being a kid. Written by St. Petersburg's Tom Flynn.
5 The Dinner: Richard Gere and Steve Coogan are in top form as back-biting brothers.
(Dates subject to change)
May 12: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword; Snatched; The Wall
May 19: Alien: Covenant; Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
May 26: Baywatch; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
June 2: Wonder Woman; Transformers: The Last Knight
June 9: Megan Leavey
June 16: Rough Night; All Eyez on Me
June 30: The Beguiled; The House