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Movie Planner: 'Moana,' 'Rules Don't Apply,' 'Bad Santa 2'; plus Tampa Theatre brings Santa




Tampa Theatre kicks off its annual Holiday Classics series Sunday with a visit from Santa Claus and a screening of his greatest movie hit.

Miracle on 34th Street — the 1947 version, not 1994's needless remake — begins at 3 p.m., after introductory remarks and a Christmas story from Santa on stage. Santa will arrive at 2 p.m., posing for photographs in the historic movie palace's lobby.

Tickets are $10 at the box office or, where a service charge applies.

No word on whether St. Nick can stick around to watch Miracle on 34th Street or if he's hustling back to his North Pole toy shop. He'd probably enjoy seeing Edmund Gwenn play Santa, a performance that earned him a best supporting actor Academy Award. Miracle on 34th Street also offers Natalie Wood's breakthrough role as a child believing in Santa Claus more than grownups do.

Sunday's screening kicks off a month at Tampa Theatre largely devoted to holiday movies. Upcoming shows include Holiday Inn (Dec. 4), White Christmas (Dec. 11) and an entire week of It's a Wonderful Life beginning Dec. 16. The series concludes Dec. 23 with Love Actually.




After Black Friday comes Sing Saturday, another chance to wait in line and possibly not obtain what you hope for.

The first 200 moviegoers queued at participating AMC Theatres at 10 a.m. Saturday will get a free early screening of Sing, an animated musical/comedy from the creators of Despicable Me (which is promising) and Minions (which isn't).

Three Tampa Bay AMC theaters are offering the deal: West Shore 14 in Tampa, Woodlands Square 20 in Oldsmar and the Regency 20 in Brandon. Early arrival is strongly suggested.

Sing features the voices of Oscar winners Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, in a story that could be described as Zootopia meets American Idol.

Sing opens in wide release on Dec. 21. That line will start forming soon enough.





Last week, Dwayne Johnson was named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive. Now, he's the world's sexiest cartoon in Moana (PG), a South Pacific adventure as only Disney draws them. Johnson voices the demigod Maui, who accompanies princess Moana Waialiki (newcomer Auli'i Cravalho) on a treacherous voyage to locate a legendary island. Moana is co-directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, who previously collaborated on Aladdin and The Little Mermaid.

click here to read a review of Moana (Grade B).




As an actor, Warren Beatty, right, covers up his poor choices writing and directing Rules Don't Apply (PG-13), with a madcap turn as Hollywood and aviation tycoon Howard Hughes.

Beatty's performance could carry the movie, if it paid less attention to a lackluster nonromance between fictional hangers-on (Lily Collins, Alden Ehrenreich). A parade of Beatty buddies march through the movie: Candice Bergen, Matthew Broderick, Alec Baldwin, and, of course, Annette Bening to name a few misused talents.

click here to read a review of Rules Don't Apply (Grade C).




Another new release is Bad Santa 2 (R), bringing back Billy Bob Thornton as Willie Soke, a small-time crook and big-time jerk.

Thirteen years ago, Willie posed as St. Nick to rob department stores, assisted by a hateful elf (Tony Cox) and hindered by a dim kid (Brett Kelly), both back for the sequel. Now Willie's ripping off a Christmas charity, with his ex-con mother (Kathy Bates) as an accomplice. Expect even darker, dirtier high jinks than before.

click here to read a review of Bad Santa 2.


In theaters: our Top 5


Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:

1 Moonlight: Barry Jenkins' Miami story, one of 2016's finest films.

2 Arrival: Unique science fiction movie, with Amy Adams in top form.

3 Loving: True story of a 1967 court case over interracial marriage.

4 Bleed for This: Miles Teller moves up a weight class in solid boxing pic.

5 The Edge of Seventeen: Hailee Steinfeld gracefully plays awkward.


(Dates subject to change)

Dec. 2: Incarnate

Dec. 9: Miss Sloane; Manchester by the Sea; Office Christmas Party

Dec. 16: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story; Collateral Beauty; The Space Between Us

Dec. 21: Jackie; Nocturnal Animals; Passengers; Lion; Assassin's Creed; Sing

Dec. 23: Why Him?

Movie Planner: 'Moana,' 'Rules Don't Apply,' 'Bad Santa 2'; plus Tampa Theatre brings Santa 11/23/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 11:24am]
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