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Movie Planner: Keaton talks 'Spotlight'; 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2' and other openings

ACTING JOURNALIST: Michael Keaton talks 'Spotlight'

Michael Keaton spent his 64th birthday at the Telluride Film Festival, where his new movie Spotlight held its North American premiere.

Spotlight marks Keaton's third portrayal of a journalist; in this case playing Walter "Robby" Robinson, real-life lead reporter of the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize expose of sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

During an open-air panel discussion at Telluride, Keaton explained why he enjoys playing journalists.

"I'm a newspaper junkie. I love newspapers physically," Keaton said, rubbing his fingertips as if wiping off ink. "Always, since I was a little kid. One time, I had these rubber stamps with letters on them, and I remember assembling, like, eight pages of literally a newspaper. Now, 90 percent of the newspaper was sports because I was obsessed with sports. But I was always interested in newspapers.

"So, Walter and I are kind of alike. I related to him immediately. He's kind of a sly character; extremely effective but not so you'd know it. It wasn't hard (playing him) because I love that world."

Director and co-writer Tom McCarthy recalled his first meeting with Keaton, who had already spent time with Robinson when the three met for dinner in New York.

"Michael would tell Robby, 'Tell Tom that story about when you were in Iraq.' And Robby would launch into this, like, 15-minute story, which obviously Michael had heard. Okay, I'll go along; Robby's a fascinating guy and a great storyteller.

"Out of the corner of my eye, I can see Michael really twitching and moving around. It was a little weird. Then, I realized he was just aping (Robby). They started doing the same things at the same time. Robby, of course, is oblivious to this because he's into his story. I'm like, okay, Michael's getting into his physical work. He just happens to be doing it in one of the nicest restaurants in Manhattan. By the time he got to the set, that was all very ingrained in his work."

Keaton made it clear that purely imitating Robinson wouldn't be flattering.

"Do you do an impression? Usually, the answer is probably not," Keaton said. "But I do think there's something in the way people move, tiny little things that reflect something about them. The way they hold something, or look at someone else. … Then, you just do what you always do (as an actor). You show up and tell the truth."

Keaton quickly corrected himself: "Well, with the exception of Beetlejuice, you just say what is the absolute truth. The beauty of Beetlejuice was that you never had the question, 'What would my character do?' Whatever you want it to be, I suppose."

For a review of Spotlight, click here.

ALSO OPENING

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2

Katniss Everdeen's rebellion against the Capitol comes to a fiery climax in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 (PG-13), ending one of the most successful movie franchises emerging from the YA literature trend. Since the first movie debuted in 2012, Jennifer Lawrence went from starlet to Oscar winner and three chapters grossed more than $2.3 billion worldwide.

Mockingjay, Part 2 finds Katniss (Lawrence) in her role as reluctant leader calling upon all districts to mass against President Snow (Donald Sutherland). She'll get help along the way from a new character, the feline-obsessive former stylist Tigris, played by St. Petersburg's own Eugenie Bondurant. The odds are in fans' favor Sunday at St. Petersburg's Sundial plaza, where Bondurant will appear at 4 p.m.

Secret in Their Eyes

Julia Roberts risks becoming the next Hollywood favorite shunned at the box office with Secret in Their Eyes (PG-13), remaking 2009's foreign language Oscar winner from Argentina. Recent tankings by Sandra Bullock (Our Brand Is Crisis) and Bradley Cooper (Burnt) suggest being considered America's movie sweethearts isn't what it used to be.

Roberts stars as an FBI agent whose teenage daughter is brutally murdered. Thirteen years later, her partner (Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave) reopens the case with new evidence. Nicole Kidman co-stars as the district attorney, their former FBI colleague. The trailer for writer-director Billy Ray's version appears to alter details of the crime and investigation, leaving the airtight original's admirers to wonder why.

The Night Before

Just for laughs, try The Night Before (R) starring Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie as lifelong pals with an annual tradition of Christmas Eve debauchery. Expect a lot of naughty and very little nice.

By the Sea

Finally, there's By the Sea (R), solemnly written and directed by Angelina Jolie-Pitt, starring her and husband Brad Pitt as a married couple falling apart at the French seaside. Vanity, thy name is hyphenated.

Read reviews at tampabay.com/movies.

in theaters: our Top 5

Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:

1 Spotlight: The finest movie about newspaper reporters doing their jobs since All the President's Men.

2 The Peanuts Movie: Charles M. Schulz's beloved gang makes an overdue return to the screen.

3 Suffragette: Carey Mulligan sacrifices all to gain Englishwomen the right to vote.

4 The Martian: Matt Damon survives outer space through science.

5 Bridge of Spies: Cold War drama starring Tom Hanks.

Read reviews at tampabay.com/movies.

UPCOMING RELEASES

(dates subject to change)

Nov. 25: Creed; Victor Frankenstein; The Good Dinosaur; Brooklyn; Trumbo

Dec. 4: Krampus; Christmas Eve

Dec. 11: In the Heart of the Sea, Macbeth

Dec. 18: Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens; Sisters; Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip

Dec. 23: The Big Short

Dec. 25: Joy; The Hateful Eight; Concussion; Daddy's Home; Point Break

Jan. 8: The Revenant

Movie Planner: Keaton talks 'Spotlight'; 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2' and other openings 11/18/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 11:46am]
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