Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Things To Do

Movie Planner: Steve Persall takes a break at Telluride Film Festival


Here's a confession: I spent four days at the Telluride Film Festival and only watched one movie.

Feeling pretty good about that, too.

Someday I'll get psychoanalyzed to determine why I annually choose to spend precious vacation time in a setting that otherwise calls for work. Some kind of subconscious pushback to a job largely built upon other people deciding what I can do, and when.

These vacation times, it's personal. My time, my dime, my choice.

But that doesn't mean I'll totally resist the urge to stash material for later sharing.

My trusty audio recorder collected knowledge dropped by Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart (Sully), Bryan Cranston (Wakefield) and Lecanto High graduate Miles Teller (Bleed for This) during an open-air panel discussion on heroism in movies. Festival honoree Casey Affleck and writer-director Kenneth Lonergan discussed the cinematic concept of home, in conjunction with their well-received domestic drama Manchester by the Sea.

Another interesting panel was devoted to Moonlight, a drama set in Miami's Liberty City district, written and directed by Florida State University graduate Barry Jenkins. Moonlight can be easily pegged as an African-American Boyhood, tracing a maturation from child to man, though the character is played by three actors at different stages.

The cast includes Naomie Harris (Spectre) as the boy's crack addict mother, with Andre Holland (Selma) and recording artist Janelle Monáe, making her movie debut, as streetwise mentors. Moonlight appears poised for major awards consideration, a year after the #OscarsSoWhite movement called out the academy's lack of diverse thinking.

The lone movie I saw was Bleed for This (opening Nov. 23), with Teller crushing it as boxer Vinny Pazienza, who survived a head-on car accident and broken neck to become a champion in three weight classes. You will never look at a socket wrench the same way again.

Movies with the loudest awards buzz coming out of Telluride: Amy Adams' close encounter with aliens in Arrival (Nov. 11); Moonlight (Oct. 21, limited); Manchester by the Sea (Nov. 18, limited); and Damien Chazelle's musical La La Land (Dec. 16). The festival's awards season dark horse: Richard Gere's portrayal in Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, continuing his late-career bloom.

Seems like a good time to get back to work.


Sequel ideas should carry expiration dates. This weekend, followups to movies from the turn of the century, including a milestone horror flick, hope viewers have long memories.


Fifteen years have passed since Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) opened her diary to the world, and a dozen after The Edge of Reason seemed to tie up her fussy love life with a neat bow. Now we have Bridget Jones's Baby (R), which forgets the happy ending the previous movie left behind.

Bridget is preggers, as they say in England, but Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), who proposed marriage to cheerfully end Chapter 2, may not be the father. At least Mark is alive, which he wasn't in Helen Fielding's third novel, with which this movie has little in common.

Dad could be Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey), an American in London who's sexier than his surname. Bridget must sort out the child's paternity while remaining true to herself.

But that isn't the scary movie.


A first viewing of 1999's The Blair Witch Project left me with an aching jaw from clenched teeth, so intense and then-unique was its terror. The movie's revolutionary found-footage conceit has since been done to death and dismemberment, while its online marketing scheme pioneered that practice.

After an underwhelming 2000 sequel, the bogus legend appeared to be played out. Then, at July's Comic Con in San Diego, director Adam Wingard surprised geeks by announcing his new movie — then titled The Woods — is actually another Blair Witch (R) sequel.

In this chapter, James (James McCune) discovers the pseudo-documentary footage shot in the original, recognizing his missing sister among the assumed victims of a supernatural entity. James and five friends trek into the Maryland woods to find her. It's safe bet they'll find something, and even safer to guess it won't be the sister.

Bridget Jones's Baby and Blair Witch were screened too late for Weekend. Reviews will be published at tampabay.com/movies.

in theaters: our Top 5

Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:

1 Hell or High Water: Gritty, modern-day western starring Jeff Bridges, above, and Chris Pine.

2 Snowden: Oliver Stone presents his most politically vital movie in decades. (Review, Page 18)

3 Southside With You: Barack and Michelle Obama's first date might even charm Republicans.

4 War Dogs: Miles Teller and Jonah Hill as stoned arms dealers.

5 Don't Breathe: A home invasion goes horribly wrong for the invaders.


(Dates subject to change)

Sept. 23: The Magnificent Seven; Storks; The Dressmaker; The Hollars

Sept. 30: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children; Deepwater Horizon; Queen of Katwe; Masterminds

Oct. 7: The Birth of a Nation; The Girl on the Train

Oct. 14: The Accountant; Denial

Oct. 21: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back; Keeping Up With the Joneses; Tyler Perry's Boo!

Oct. 28: Inferno

Mary J. Blige coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

Mary J. Blige coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

An icon of modern R&B is coming to town to warm your winter right up.Mary J. Blige, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, is coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa on Feb. 21, part of her ongoing Strength of a Woman Tour. Tickets start at $47.25 and go on sale at 10 a...
Updated: 3 hours ago
13 new movies you have to see over the holiday season

13 new movies you have to see over the holiday season

Hollywood has enough movies left to get everyone through the holidays plus any New Year’s hangover. Many are aiming for awards glory, a few are just here for the party. The really serious contenders won’t open nationwide until early 2018...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Dec. 13

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Dec. 13

The Little Prince: Based on Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s novella, an aviator who crashed in the Sahara Desert meets a little prince who has left his home on Asteroid B-612, leaving behind its only inhabitant, a single rose. Through Dec. 24. 2 and 7 p.m...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hotly anticipated Ichicoro Ane is now open in St. Petersburg

Hotly anticipated Ichicoro Ane is now open in St. Petersburg

Noel Cruz seemed remarkably chill. As did his partner Kerem Koca. All around them in the Station House building in St. Petersburg, workers pounded the last nails, bartenders unpacked boxes of glassware and jewel-toned bottles of Amari, and the kitche...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Video: Jimmy Kimmel holds his baby son, post-heart surgery, in emotional health-care monologue

Video: Jimmy Kimmel holds his baby son, post-heart surgery, in emotional health-care monologue

Jimmy Kimmel was absent from his ABC late-night show last week while his 8-month-old son, Billy, recovered from his second heart surgery. Ever since Billy was born with a heart defect and required immediate surgery, Kimmel has become an outspoken adv...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Party like it’s Christmas in Narnia with these recipes perfect for tea time

Party like it’s Christmas in Narnia with these recipes perfect for tea time

As a kid, I always looked for doors into other worlds. I blame Narnia. In C.S. Lewis’ classic novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, four British children step through a magic wardrobe into Narnia, a world filled with talking animals and plenty ...
Published: 12/12/17

From the food editor: How to make perfect, hot Crispy Roasted Potatoes

Sometimes, you just want a hot, crispy potato.I didn’t get home from work the other night craving a full dinner; I arrived at my house with cartoon visions of potatoes in my head, and knew I had to make it happen.I wasn’t looking for a fast food fren...
Published: 12/12/17
Cooking challenge: Making homemade edible Christmas gifts

Cooking challenge: Making homemade edible Christmas gifts

Should I infuse this vodka with bacon?That’s not a question I expected to ask myself on a Sunday morning, but here we are. This Christmas, I’m giving homemade gifts: infused liquor and chocolate fudge. But I didn’t realize it would be so hard to find...
Published: 12/12/17

Tuesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballMississippi State vs. Cincinnati7 p.m.ESPN2Fordham at Rutgers7 p.m.ESPNUSt. Peter’s at Seton Hall7 p.m.FS1Michigan at Texas9 p.m.ESPN2Albany at Memphis9 p.m.ESPNUNBALakers at Knicks7 p.m.ESPN76ers at Timberwolves9:30 p.m.ESPNNH...
Published: 12/11/17
‘80s Holiday Gift Guide: Here’s what to buy your friends this season

‘80s Holiday Gift Guide: Here’s what to buy your friends this season

The holidays are almost here, and as a proud fan of the '80s, you no doubt want to represent the decade in your gift-giving again this year. But how many A Christmas Story leg lamp ornaments can you really give out? Here are some fresh ideas to ...
Published: 12/11/17