OPENING FRIDAY: HANDS OF STONE
Robert De Niro is starring in another boxing movie, so the immediate question is: How does it measure up to the Oscar winner's previous boxing flick?
I'm referring, of course, to 2013's Grudge Match with Sylvester Stallone.
There's no way the Roberto Durán biopic Hands of Stone (R) can go toe-to-toe with Raging Bull.
De Niro's too old and white to play Panamanian Durán, so the role goes to Édgar Ramírez (Joy, Point Break), while the wily veteran plays legendary trainer Ray Arcel. The trailer looks fairly conventional, although Durán's 1980 "No Mas" rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard (Usher) is a sports touchstone that appears to be thrillingly re-enacted.
Meanwhile, Jason Statham reprises one of his interchangeable action roles in Mechanic Resurrection (R), which sounds more like a car repair plan than a movie. It's a sequel to The Mechanic, which was a reboot of an old Charles Bronson movie, so originality isn't likely.
Jessica Alba co-stars as Statham's retired assassin's girlfriend, who's kidnapped by a rival. The only way to save her is for the hit man to commit three murders, with his signature gift for making them appear to be accidents. One of the targets is played by Tommy Lee Jones, with a soul patch and rose-colored John Lennon glasses. Not a good look for him.
Finally, there's a new horror movie — naturally — but with a difference. Don't Breathe (R) is actually getting positive buzz from semireputable critics, so we'll take a look.
Don't Breathe is a home invasion thriller in which the victim, Stephen Lang, right, is a blind war veteran with a big surprise for his attackers: He's a serial killer. Whoops.
HORRORAMA: TAMPA BAY SCREAMS, SLIME CITY BENEFIT
Not all movies this weekend are multiplex material. A pair of events for audiences with, shall we say, offbeat tastes will be held in a hotel and a fading cinema draft house.
On Saturday, purveyors of shock-schlock exploitation will flock to Tampa Bay Screams, an underground horror convention at the Clarion Inn, 9331 E Adamo Drive, Tampa. Admission is $7 at grindhousevideo.com or $10 at the door. The event runs from noon to 8 p.m. and features appearances by Rhonda Shear, top right, former host of USA's Up All Night, and scream queens Forbes Riley, bottom right, (Splatter University) and Patty Mullen (Frankenhooker). Ten more exploitation and burlesque stars are slated to attend, some with movie titles (Death-Scort Service, Crackbaby Billionaire, Amerikan Holokaust) more memorable than their names.
Vendors will sell videos, posters and collectibles. Early arrivals earn a free horror DVD, and a raffle winner gets the chance to appear in a locally produced horror flick.
Then on Sunday, Tampa Pitcher Show, 14416 N Dale Mabry Highway, hosts a double feature of 1998's Slime City and its 2010 sequel Slime City Massacre. Doors open at noon.
Admission is $5, with proceeds going to the Save the Pitcher Show fund, rasing money for a digital projection installation.
Slime City's writer-director Gregory Lamberson and actor Lee Perkins will introduce the films and join a Q&A session.
As Dr. Paul Bearer would say: They'll be lurking for you.
in theaters: our Top 5
Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:
1Hell and High Water: Gritty, modern-day western starring Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine.
2 Southside With You: Barack and Michelle Obama's first date might even charm Republicans.
3War Dogs: Miles Teller and Jonah Hill as stoned arms dealers.
4 Indignation: Logan Lerman shines in a classy adaptation of Philip Roth's novel.
5 Florence Foster Jenkins: Meryl Streep bids for her 20th Oscar nod, as the worst opera singer ever.
(Dates subject to change)
Sept. 2: The Light Between Oceans; Morgan; Equity; Solace
Sept. 9: Sully; Before I Wake; When the Bough Breaks; The Disappointments Room; The Wild Life
Sept. 16: Bridget Jones's Baby; Snowden; Blair Witch
Sept. 23: The Magnificent Seven; Queen of Katwe; Storks; The Dressmaker; The Hollars
Sept. 30: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children; Deepwater Horizon; Masterminds