Monday, November 20, 2017
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Movie Planner: 'Independence Day: Resurgence,' 'The Shallows,' 'Free State of Jones'


OPENING Thursday: Independence Day: Resurgence

Aliens invade Earth again in Independence Day: Resurgence (PG-13), and this time it's a sneak attack.

Not the extraterrestrial assault itself; those ginormous spaceships couldn't sneak past anyone. Incredibly, 20th Century Fox declined to show this sequel to critics until Thursday's screenings nationwide.

For readers new to our game, that's a pretty clear signal that Independence Day: Resurgence stinks. There's no other reason why a studio spends an estimated $200 million on a movie, then about half as much to market it and keeps it hidden. Clearly Fox aims for a huge opening weekend haul from uninformed moviegoers before the bad news spreads.

Even Will Smith is skipping this sci-fi sequel, and he made After Earth.

Smith's character is dead now, so his son (Jessie Usher) takes the fighter jet joystick. Jeff Goldblum returns as a professor of pregnant pauses, while Brent Spiner's eccentric scientist returns from the apparent dead. I wouldn't count on Bill Pullman's president sticking around long.

The Shallows

Another clue of how bad Independence Day: Resurgence could be: Blake Lively smells blood in the water, her shark thriller The Shallows (PG-13) confidently moving up a week.

Lively plays a surfer stranded on a rock close to shore, with a hungry great white swimming around. As the tide gets higher, survival chances get lower. This one could turn out to be a summer sleeper. Sharks have been known to sell movie tickets before.

Free State of Jones

Each trailer for Free State of Jones (R) leaves me imagining Matthew McConaughey drawling: "Well, all wrong, all wrong, all wrong." Not much here feels all right.

McConaughey portrays Mississippi farmer Newton Knight, leading a rebellion of land owners and slaves to secede from the Confederacy. Haven't we agreed yet that movies like this, The Blind Side and Cry Freedom in which black problems are solved by white saviors really aren't good ideas? And no role should allow McConaughey to emote as intensely noble as previews show.


You won't need a golden ticket Sunday to celebrate that it's been 100 years since Roald Dahl was born, when Turner Classic Movies presents special screenings nationwide of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

The 1971 fantasy favorite stars Gene Wilder, above, as a mysterious confectioner teaching hard-candy lessons to brats, except for sweet young Charlie (Peter Ostrum), of course.

Screenings will be at 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday at several Tampa Bay theaters including Sundial 19 in St. Petersburg, Park Place Stadium 16 in Pinellas Park, Centro Ybor 20 in Ybor City, Woodlands 20 in Oldsmar, Citrus Park 20 in Tampa and Regency 20 in Brandon. Encore presentations are scheduled Wednesday, at the same times and locations.

Even though Dahl's actual birthday is Sept. 13, it sounds like a scrumdiddlyumptious warmup for Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Dahl's The BFG, in theaters July 1.

in theaters: our Top 5

Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:

1 Weiner: A political train wreck who's more than a punch line.

2 The Lobster: A wonderfully absurd sort-of romance starring Colin Farrell.

3 Finding Dory: Good sequel to a great movie, and that's okay.

4 Maggie's Plan: Greta Gerwig is a 21st century Carole Lombard.

5 Central Intelligence: Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart make a great comedy team.


(Dates subject to change)

July 1: The BFG; The Legend of Tarzan; Swiss Army Man

July 8: The Secret Life of Pets; Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

July 13: The Infiltrator

July 15: Ghostbusters

July 22: Star Trek Beyond; Ice Age: Collision Course; Lights Out; Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

July 29: Jason Bourne; Bad Moms

Review: Et Cultura festival brings exceptional music, leaves room for growth in St. Petersburg

Review: Et Cultura festival brings exceptional music, leaves room for growth in St. Petersburg

It's a big idea, St. Petersburg's Et Cultura festival. You can't take it all in at once. You probably wouldn't want to.Yet in just two years Et Cultura has positioned itself as a cultural movement to be reckoned with in a city that loves and embraces...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Monday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballMarquette vs. VCU2:30 p.m.ESPN2Wichita State vs. California4:30 p.m.ESPN2Molloy at St. John’s6:30 p.m.FS1UCLA vs. Creighton7 p.m.ESPNUTexas A&M vs. Oklahoma State7 p.m.ESPN2Jackson State at Maryland7 p.m.Big TenWomen: Butler at...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosMonster Energy Cup: Ford EcoBoost 4003 p.m.NBCCFLSaskatchewan at Toronto1 p.m.ESPNewsEdmonton at Calgary4:30 p.m.ESPNewsCollege basketballMonmouth at Virginia1 p.m.FSFWomen: Maryland at Connecticut1:30 p.m.ESPNPuerto Rico Tip-Off, fifth pla...
Published: 11/18/17
Flo Rida coming to Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg

Flo Rida coming to Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg

In 2016, Flo Rida headlined a free postgame concert for the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium.Come January, he'll have the place all to himself.The Carol City hitmaker will top a show at Al Lang on Jan. 14. St. Petersburg. native Macy Kate will al...
Published: 11/18/17

Weekend moviesDollar amounts in millions? Justice League, $96? Wonder, $27.1? Thor: Ragnarok, $21.8 ? Daddy’s Home 2, $14.8? Murder on the Orient Express, $13.8Associated Press

Updated: 5 hours ago
Holiday-themed events dot the East Hillsborough landscape

Holiday-themed events dot the East Hillsborough landscape

East Hillsborough residents will have three holiday-themed events to help brighten the season this year.Christmas Lane, the long-time holiday celebration that started on an area farm, launches another season of festivities at its current spot, the Fl...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/19/17
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 18

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 18

CraftArt Festival: More than 120 fine craft artists from around the country will be on hand for this annual street festival with a children’s activity tent and an artists’ demonstration tent. From ceramic artists throwing on the wheel to glass blowin...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/18/17

Saturday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosXfinity: Ford EcoBoost 300 qualifying11 a.m.CNBCXfinity: Ford EcoBoost 3003:30 p.m.NBCSNCollege basketballMaryland-Eastern Shore at GeorgetownnoonFox SunBucknell at Maryland8:30 p.m.Big TenGolfPGA Europe: Tour Championship2:30 a.m.GolfPGA: ...
Published: 11/17/17
Christmas in downtown Tampa as Winter Village ice rink opens

Christmas in downtown Tampa as Winter Village ice rink opens

TAMPAWhile her teenage daughter and 6-year-old son glided effortlessly across the outdoor ice rink at Curtis Hixon Park on Friday, Danielle Engram, 35, stood nervously on her rented blades.This would be the lifelong Tampa resident’s first time on the...
Published: 11/17/17
Video: Forget Pizza Rat. Meet St. Petersburg’s Pizza Squirrel

Video: Forget Pizza Rat. Meet St. Petersburg’s Pizza Squirrel

New York, it seems, doesn't have a monopoly on pizza-chomping rodents.Around 2:45 p.m. Friday, the Tampa Bay Times spotted a squirrel digging a nearly entire slice of pizza out of a trash can at 146 Second St. N in St. Petersburg. The squirrel hoppe...
Published: 11/17/17