Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
In the biopic parody tradition of Spinal Tap and Dewey Cox comes Conner4Real, a Bieber-ish twit at center stage in Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (R). Andy Samberg plays him, in a comedy mocking teen dream phenoms, so there's plenty of material to draw from.
Conner4Real is lead heartthrob for the homogenized rap group the Style Boyz, who takes a new direction to a solo career. Faster than you can say Zayn Malik, Conner is struggling, for real. He'll do anything to recapture his former celebrity, except reunite with his former boy bandmates.
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is the first feature-length project from the Lonely Island, Samberg's comedy trio formed with co-directors Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer. Previously, they squeezed more laughs into three-minute Saturday Night Live videos like D--- in a Box than some entire comedies.
Movies are a different ball game, as Taccone must realize after inflicting MacGruber on viewers. Schaffer should have learned his lesson after directing the unwatchable The Watch, and Hot Rod, which nearly ended Samberg's movie career before it began.
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping was screened too late for Weekend. A review will be published at tampabay.com/movies.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
This week's critic-proof new release is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (PG-13), and I put more effort into typing this sentence than I'll spend thinking about the movie.
The shell-backed superheroes face off with villainous scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry), assigned by the Turtles' nemesis Shredder (Brian Tee) to create his own mutants for battle. Those turn out to be Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Stephen Farrelly), apparently popular characters in the TMNT puny-verse.
The only movie I'd be less inclined to see this weekend would be some schmaltzy yarn in which a wallflower blossoms while romancing a disabled hottie. Which brings us to …
Me Before You
Me Before You (PG-13) features Game of Thrones breakout star Emilia Clarke as Lou Clark, a small-town girl who gets hired as a caretaker for Will Traynor (Sam Claflin, the Hunger Games series). Will is a suicidal quadriplegic after a motorcycle accident, but you can bet Lou's spunk will give him the will to live.
TAMPA THEATRE CLASSIC: Fargo
Twenty years ago, Joel and Ethan Coen's brilliant snow-noir Fargo opened on only one Tampa Bay movie screen.
That was at Tampa Theatre, where Fargo returns Sunday as part of the historic movie palace's Summer Classic Movie Series. Show time is 3 p.m. Tickets are $10, available at tampatheatre.org and the box office.
In 1996, the Coen brothers' genius was still an acquired art house taste, despite Fargo's buzz after winning best director honors at Cannes. The Coens' screenplay and Frances McDormand, below, eventually won Academy Awards, in the brothers' first swing through awards season.
Fargo is now reborn as a popular FX series starring, among others, St. Petersburg's Patrick Wilson. The movie takes viewers back to the malevolent source of this richly detailed Midwestern crimescape, featuring high-watermark performances by McDormand, William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi.
University of South Florida professor Harriet Deer will lead a postshow discussion, hopefully with a Minnesota accent, dontcha know?
in theaters: our Top 5
Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times.
1 The Lobster: A wonderfully absurd sort-of romance starring Colin Farrell.
2 Sing Street: Dublin lads form an '80s pop band, from the creator of Once.
3 Money Monster: George Clooney leverages his star power in a Dog Day Afternoon-ish thriller.
4 The Nice Guys: Russell Crowe is the brawn, Ryan Gosling the birdbrain.
5 A Bigger Splash: Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton play erotic head games.
(Dates subject to change)
June 10: Warcraft; Now You See Me 2; The Conjuring 2: The Endfield Experiment
June 17: Finding Dory; Central Intelligence
June 24: Independence Day: Resurgence; Free State of Jones
June 29: The Shallows
July 1: The BFG; The Legend of Tarzan; Swiss Army Man