Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Things To Do

Movie planner: Handicapping the Oscars; 'Hail, Caesar!,' 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' open

OSCARS HANDICAPPING: Directors Guild of America edition

Continuing our assembly of awards show jigsaw pieces, the final Academy Awards picture is getting clearer. The key group weighing in before Oscar voters' final deadline on Feb. 23 is the Directors Guild of America, announcing winners Saturday night in film and television categories.

The only one mattering for our purposes is direction of a feature film, in another case of domino logic.

Four of five DGA nominees — Alejandro G. Iñárritu (The Revenant), George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), Adam McKay (The Big Short) — were also nominated by the academy. DGA finalist Ridley Scott (The Martian) was snubbed by Oscar in favor of Lenny Abrahamson (Room).

Created in 1948, The DGA feature film prize has foreshadowed the best director Oscar winner all but seven times over those 66 years. On Oscar night, the best director choice has guided the eventual best picture winner 73 percent of the time. Odds are good that the DGA's choice Saturday will lock down two important Oscar races.

If the DGA goes with McKay, added to its recent Producers Guild of America prize, that makes The Big Short tough for Oscar poolers to pick against (even critics who aren't crazy about it). Iñárritu and Miller are solidly in the DGA mix, while their movies have different issues in Oscar voting.

Producers guild winners have also claimed the best picture Oscar for eight consecutive years. Since 2010, both organizations expanded their best picture nominations limit, and have used a similar voting system, a "preferential ballot" measuring consensus.

Should McKay and John Randolph's adapted screenplay also pick up a Writers Guild of America honor on Feb. 13, all bets are off.

OPENING FRIDAYHail, Caesar!

The arrival of a new movie from Joel and Ethan Coen is always something to celebrate, unless it turns out being Intolerable Cruelty or The Ladykillers.

Hail, Caesar! (PG-13) doesn't appear so avoidable. In fact, it looks like a collage of the Academy Award-winning brothers' greatest hits: a little Big Lebowski, a dash of Barton Fink, the cockeyed period design of The Hudsucker Proxy and Fargo's fumbling kidnappers.

George Clooney stars as the kidnappee, a dim-witted 1950s movie star named Baird Whitlock, whose disappearance sends the studio's private eye (Josh Brolin) on a search to find him.

Previews emphasize the Coens' screwball tone this time around, and their continuing success in attracting fine actors: Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Jonah Hill and Frances McDormand. A review is available at tampabay.com/movies.

The Choice

It's February, a romantic month, so we're due for a Nicholas Sparks novel adaptation. Something about a newcomer to a cozy village, often located on drowning waters or unsafe roads, whose past secret/present tragedy requires an improbably perfect member of the opposite sex to repair.

The Choice (PG-13) will do.

The new arrival is Gabby Holland (Teresa Palmer), moving in next door to the equally beautiful Travis Parker (Benjamin Walker, far from hunting vampires as Abe Lincoln). Gabby and Travis fall in love and everything's perfect, but not for long. Love conquers all. The end.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Another not-previewed release sounding more fun by default is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (PG-13), in which last year's Cinderella (Lily James) is this year's Elizabeth Bennet, hesitantly attracting Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) while the flesh-eating undead roam the English countryside.

Jane Austen's tale of class-crossed romance is usually performed straight, so a Downton Abbey and Walking Dead mashup might be interesting. Or not.

in theaters: our Top 5

Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:

1 The Revenant: Twelve Academy Award nominations, including best picture, actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and supporting actor (Tom Hardy).

2 Anomalisa: Stop-motion animated ennui from the creator of Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In other words, a strange and beautiful film.

3 Kung Fu Panda 3: The anti-Anomalisa. Not as strange but funnier and differently beautiful.

4 Room: Nominated for four Oscars, including best picture, actress (Brie Larson), director and adapted screenplay.

5 Academy Awards short films: Tampa Theatre presents animated and live-action Oscar nominees in separate showcases.

UPCOMING RELEASES

(dates subject to change)

Feb. 12: Deadpool; How to Be Single; Zoolander 2; Where to Invade Next

Feb. 19: Risen; Race; Viral

Feb. 26: Eddie the Eagle; Gods of Egypt; The Witch; Triple 9

Mar. 4: Zootopia, London Has Fallen, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

   
Comments

Thursday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBoxingSuper Bantamweights: Salgado vs. Diego De La Hoya10:30 p.m.ESPN2College basketballBethune-Cookman at USF7 p.m.820-AMValparaiso at Northwestern8 p.m.Big TenSouthern at Baylor8:30 p.m.ESPN2College volleyball, NCAA semifinalsNebraska vs. Penn...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Mason Ruffner’s career reached ‘Crossroads’ with this memorable tune

Mason Ruffner’s career reached ‘Crossroads’ with this memorable tune

Our '80s historian Kevin Wuench goes to the Deep South today with his music lesson: Like your AOR with a touch of Texas/Louisiana blues swamp? Then you should try some Mason Ruffner with his sweltering Gypsy Blood.Mason Ruffner grew up in Texas ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Plan your weekend Dec. 15-17: Katy Perry, boat parades, Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

Plan your weekend Dec. 15-17: Katy Perry, boat parades, Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

Plan your weekendSuperstarKaty Perry: In the ever-escalating arms race to be the most eye-popping pop star on the planet, sometimes you have to call in for backup. Even if you’re Katy Perry. When plotting her lavishly spectacular Witness Tour, which ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Pat DiNizio of The Smithereens dies at age 62

Pat DiNizio of The Smithereens dies at age 62

Pat DiNizio, the lead singer/guitarist for '80s power rockers The Smithereens, passed away Tuesday, the band announced overnight. He was 62."It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Pat DiNizio, lead singer and songwriter of the influ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
2018 Gasparilla Music Festival lineup: The Roots, Spoon, Father John Misty and more

2018 Gasparilla Music Festival lineup: The Roots, Spoon, Father John Misty and more

Got your tickets to the Gasparilla Music Festival yet? No? You better hurry up, because after today's initial lineup announcement, they might go fast.Tonight Show house band the Roots and indie rock heroes Father John Misty and Spoon top the initial ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
This week’s best Tampa Bay concerts: Katy Perry, Jingle Ball, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and more

This week’s best Tampa Bay concerts: Katy Perry, Jingle Ball, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and more

WHERE’S THE PURPOSE? Katy PerryYou can pinpoint the exact moment when things started to unravel for Katy Perry’s Witness. It was 12:23 a.m. on Feb. 10, when she tweeted of her latest musical direction: "We gonna call this era Purposeful Pop." You kin...
Updated: 9 hours ago
The Phantom never dies, orchestra doings this week

The Phantom never dies, orchestra doings this week

PHANTOM REDUX: LOVE NEVER DIESTurns out, the Phantom survived that angry mob. We know that because the antihero of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1986 musical The Phantom of the Opera re-emerges in the 2010 sequel, Love Never Dies.It opens in 1907 New York, w...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Top things to do this week: Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

Top things to do this week: Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

NEW HOPE: Star Wars partiesWith the opening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the force of fan excitement is strong, so of course there are Star Wars parties this weekend. The giant movie complex Riverview 14 GDX is having celebration with characters from...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Dec. 14

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Dec. 14

Santa and Ice Skating in St. Petersburg: Santa and his sleigh will be appearing on select nights in St. Petersburg for visits with area children. After visiting Santa, stick around for "glice" skating on a simulated ice rink. 6 p.m., North Straub Par...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Sounds of the Season opening act for Hernando Symphony Orchestra in 2017-18

Sounds of the Season opening act for Hernando Symphony Orchestra in 2017-18

BROOKSVILLE — Impressive guest performances, student nights and 25 new pieces of music are just a few of the exciting additions to the Hernando Symphony Orchestra’s 2017-18 season.And when the orchestra opens the season with the Sounds of the Season ...
Published: 12/13/17