RITA MORENO: An EGOT at GIFF
Rita Moreno is still scooping up awards. She'll be at the Gasparilla International Film Festival, where the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner picks up a career achievement prize Saturday night at Muvico Centro Ybor.
Moreno will accept her Gasparilla award after a 6 p.m. screening of Remember Me. In the comedy, she plays a widow road-tripping with two grandsons on the make.
"It's a sweet movie, and isn't she a marvelous character?" Moreno asked, and who's going to disagree? "I made her profane; it wasn't written that way." Read our full interview with Moreno at tampabay.com/movies.
starstruck: AN EVENING WITH SOPHIA LOREN
If the Internet existed 50 years ago, Sophia Loren might have broken it. Such is her allure, and above all her beauty, inevitably touched by age yet intact at 81.
La Loren is currently stepping out of our dreams onto the stage, reminiscing with audiences during her first U.S. tour.
The Oscar winner visits Ruth Eckerd Hall at 8 p.m. Friday, and I'll have the best seat in the house, next to Loren, moderating the proceedings. An interview and fotoromanzo primer on Loren's life is available at tampabay.com/movies.
Tickets range from $55-$150. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.
INDIE FLICKS: I Saw the Light
Hank Williams was an American original, in country music and biopic tragedy. Another bawdy life and premature death is buffed to an arty sheen that Williams himself would've flipped off in I Saw the Light.
Borrowing from Waylon Jennings' ode to Williams: I don't think Hank done it this way.
Tom Hiddleston is actually very good as Williams, trading his English accent for rural Alabama's, appearing scrawny, stooped and hollowed out like his subject. Hiddleston certainly does a better vocal impression than Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash; the resonating scenes in I Saw the Light are musical, twanging with energy its dramatic parts are missing.
As screenwriter, Marc Abraham doesn't do himself any favors as director. One issue is that Williams was among the first 20th century pop culture tragedies, and among the last to have an honest movie made about it. (No, 1964's tame Your Cheatin' Heart with George Hamilton really doesn't count.) We've seen the sad story before; only the soundtrack changes.
I Saw the Light opens Friday at select Tampa Bay theaters. C+
ALSO OPENING: Eye in the Sky, God's Not Dead 2, Collide
Two days after opening the Gasparilla International Film Festival, Gavin Hood's drone warfare drama Eye in the Sky (R) opens in theaters. Oscar winner Helen Mirren stars as a military officer seeking terrorists in Kenya, faced with the ethical dilemma of collateral death.
Also in theaters Friday is God's Not Dead 2 (PG), aimed at a Christian audience believing there's a war being waged on faith.
After a high school teacher (Melissa Joan Hart) invokes scripture in class, she sparks a community uproar and court battle to prove Jesus existed. Casting is key here: the prosecuting lawyer trying to erase religion is played by Ray Wise, who essayed the devil on TV's Reaper, and Laura Palmer's demonic father in Twin Peaks.
Finally there's Collide (R), starring Nicholas Hoult, shown at right, as an American vacationing in Europe when his girlfriend (Felicity Jones) is hospitalized. Short on money, he does what any tourist would do: Pull off a heist for a mobster (Ben Kingsley, slumming), from a drug kingpin (Anthony Hopkins, ditto).
in theaters: our Top 5
Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:
1 Eye in the Sky: Anti-terrorism military officer (Helen Mirren) conducts drone warfare.
2 10 Cloverfield Lane: Can John Goodman earn his first Oscar nod for a genre flick? Hope so.
3 Deadpool: Gleefully graphic adventures of Marvel's superantihero (Ryan Reynolds).
4 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: Television reporters (Tina Fey and Margot Robbie) cover the war in Afghanistan.
5 Hello, My Name Is Doris/The Bronze: Take your pick of hit-and-miss indie comedies, the former a Sally Field showcase.
(dates subject to change)
April 8: The Boss; Demolition; Everybody Wants Some!!; Hardcore Henry
April 15: The Jungle Book; Barbershop: The Next Cut; Criminal
April 22: The Huntsman: Winter's War; Miles Ahead; Born in China
April 29: Keanu; Mothers Day; Ratchet & Clank; Same Kind of Different As Me
May 6: Captain America: Civil War
May 13: The Darkness; Free State of Jones; Money Monster; Kidnap
May 20: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising; Angry Birds; The Nice Guys
May 27: X-Men: Apocalypse; Alice Through the Looking Glass; The Lobster