NOW IN THEATERS: THE INFILTRATOR
Not even Tampa Bay locales steal scenes in The Infiltrator (R) from Bryan Cranston, finally getting a Hollywood showcase to match his iconic Breaking Bad role.
Cranston's coiled portrayal of Tampa resident and former federal undercover agent Robert Mazur has the actor in awards discussions, but it's early. Mazur's infiltration of Pablo Escobar's cocaine cartel and money laundering network inspires its share of genre cliches, smoothed by a terrific cast including John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger and Benjamin Bratt.
Our B+ review called The Infiltrator "an evocative crime drama, anchored by Cranston's gift for playing internal conflict with wordless expression and that deep, clinched voice. (Brad) Furman's direction wrestles a screenplay riddled with conformity to other undercover movies. Grown-up entertainment for a silly movie season. The scenery isn't bad, either."
OPENING Thursday: GHOSTBUSTERS
Oh, the reaction when Sony not only announced plans to reboot Ghostbusters (PG-13) but with women strapping on the proton packs. Real wrath of God type stuff, borrowing a phrase from the esteemed Dr. Ray Stantz, a.k.a. Dan Aykroyd.
Thursday the masses learn if the new Ghostbusters is a disaster of biblical proportions or if the ionization rate is constant for all ectoplasmic horror-comedy entities.
The cast is highly promising, featuring four of the funniest people around. Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig already blended hilariously in Bridesmaids, while current SNL cast members Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones are prime candidates for big screen success. In another gender reversal, the team's office assistant is played by Chris Hemsworth.
Word already leaked that Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver give blessing cameos here. Among the notably missing: Harold Ramis died in 2014, and Rick Moranis has doggedly avoided appearing on screen for almost 20 years. If this project couldn't bring him back, perhaps nothing will. Read the review here.
INDIE FLICKS: HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE
New Zealand's Taika Waititi takes a sharp turn from his daring vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows with the follow-up Hunt for the Wilderpeople (PG-13), an old-fashioned outdoors adventure.
Sam Neill (Jurassic Park) makes a welcome return to center stage as Hec, a grizzled grump embarking on a cross-country flight from juvenile authorities with a neglected, overweight teenager named Ricky (Julian Dennison).
Hollywood Reporter reviewer Boyd van Hoeij wrote: "What makes Wilderpeople memorable is how attached audiences become to the characters, and as played by Dennison and Neill, they are two fully realized, full of flaws but nonetheless oh-so lovable human beings."
Hunt for the Wilderpeople opens Friday at Tampa Theatre and Sundial 19 in St. Petersburg.
in theaters: our Top 5
Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:
1 The Infiltrator: Bryan Cranston and Tampa Bay co-star in a true crime drama.
2 The Secret Life of Pets: Toy Story with animals, and nearly as much magic.
3 Swiss Army Man: The heartwarming tale of a man (Paul Dano) and his corpse (Daniel Radcliffe).
4 Central Intelligence: Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart make a great comedy team.
5 The BFG: Mark Rylance's motion-capture performance is awards bait.
(Dates subject to change)
July 22: Star Trek Beyond; Ice Age: Collision Course; Lights Out; Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
July 27: Nerve
July 29: Jason Bourne; Bad Moms; Cafe Society
Aug. 5: The Founder; Suicide Squad; Nine Lives
Aug. 12: Sausage Party; Pete's Dragon; Florence Foster Jenkins
Aug. 19: Ben-Hur; War Dogs; Collide; The Space Between Us; Kubo and the Two Strings
Aug. 26: Mechanic: Resurrection; Don't Breathe
Sept. 2: The Light Between Oceans; Morgan; Solace
Sept. 9: Sully; Before I Wake; When the Bough Breaks; The Wild Life
Sept. 16: Bridget Jones's Baby; Snowden; The Woods