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Movie planner: Margot Robbie talks upcoming films, including ‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot'

MARGOT ROBBIE: BIG YEAR AHEAD

Since her breakthrough as Leonardo DiCaprio's conniving wife in The Wolf of Wall Street, Margot Robbie hasn't slowed her roll. In just over two years, the Australian actor likewise turned the tables on Will Smith in Focus, highlighted an Academy Award winning movie, and talked to the Times about three movies coming out in 2016.

First up for Robbie: the Afghanistan war satire Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (R). Robbie, 25, co-stars with Tina Fey, playing cable news competitors striking up a friendship of necessity, as two of the few civilian women near combat.

Working with Fey was a blue eye-opener for Robbie. "I worry that if I'm trying to be funny it seems forced," Robbie said by telephone from New York. "But that kind of witty, intelligent humor comes to Tina naturally. … Even the dramatic aspects to her character are very natural, very genuine, not over the top. It felt very real."

Robbie is poised for even bigger things later in 2016 with the summertime tag team of The Legend of Tarzan and the DC Comics adventure Suicide Squad, where she'll melt fanboys' (and girls') hearts as sexy, psychotic Harley Quinn.

I couldn't resist looking back with Robbie at one of 2015's signature moments in cinema. Likely no other scene from a film last year was referenced as often in reviews as her cameo in the Oscar-winning satire The Big Short. Robbie immediately grabbed attention, sipping champagne in a bubble bath while explaining the risks of subprime mortgages.

As someone who didn't, I asked if Robbie understood what she spoke about.

"I did," she affirmed. "I had to read the script very slowly about three times over and then do a little research online to be sure I did know what I was talking about. … (It is) a topic that might as well be in Swahili because I understand nothing about the financial world. It was very cheeky move on Adam's (director Adam McKay's) part. I don't think anyone saw it coming. I didn't."

To read more of our interview with Robbie click here.

ALSO OPENING: London Has Fallen

Did I miss the memo regarding Olympus Has Fallen reaching sequel-worthy status? Break-even box office results aside, the number of times anyone told me anything nice about the 2013 release is exactly zero. Or perhaps viewers confuse it with the similarly themed, equally disappointing White House Down that hit theaters a few weeks later. Then again, nobody could really confuse Gerard Butler with Channing Tatum, could they?

In any case, we now have London Has Fallen (R), which really could use the words "bridge" and "down" in its title. Butler's expert in Secret Service ballistics is Mike Banning, who regained his position in White House security by destroying a chunk of it in the first movie. Aaron Eckhart's Benjamin Asher parlayed being kidnapped into re-election, while Morgan Freeman is a statesman for life based on voice alone.

Asher is attending the British prime minister's funeral in London when Banning uncovers a terrorist plot to assassinate all visiting world leaders. The scenario puts Butler in a more precarious situation than his character: The actor may topline movie turkeys two weeks in a row, after Gods of Egypt tanked. London Has Fallen wasn't screened for review.

The Other Side of the Door

Familiar horror elements (ghoulies and ghosties) are transported to India in The Other Side of the Door (R). Jeremy Sisto and Sarah Wayne Callies play Michael and Maria, whose son is drowned after a car accident during monsoon season. Maria learns of a temple in which a ritual can bring back the child to say goodbye, unseen behind a vault door. "No matter what you do," the mother is warned, "you must not open the door."

Guess what Mom does? The Other Side of the Door wasn't screened for review.

in theaters: our Top 5

Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:

1 The Revenant: Three Academy Awards, including best actor Leonardo DiCaprio and best director Alejandro G. Iñárritu.

2 The Witch: An exercise in slow fuse occult horror, like watching something forbidden.

3 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: Television reporters (Tina Fey, Margot Robbie) cover the Afghanistan war.

4 Deadpool: Gleefully graphic adventures of Marvel's superantihero (Ryan Reynolds).

5 Son of Saul: Holocaust grimness, and this week's winner of the best foreign language film Oscar.

UPCOMING RELEASES

(dates subject to change)

March 11: 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Brothers Grimsby, The Perfect Match, The Young Messiah

March 16: Miracles from Heaven

March 18: The Divergent Series: Allegiant; Hello, My Name is Doris

March 25: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, The Disappointments Room

April 1: Amityville: The Awakening; Collide; God's Not Dead

April 8: Before I Wake; The Boss; Hardcore Henry

April 15: The Jungle Book; Barbershop: The Next Cut; Criminal

Movie planner: Margot Robbie talks upcoming films, including ‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot' 03/02/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 11:18am]
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