Perfecting outer space terror with 1979's Alien wasn't enough for director Ridley Scott. Now he's reshaping the franchise into sci-fi theology with Alien: Covenant (R), five years after the sideways prequel Prometheus left many fans scratching their heads.
Alien: Covenant stars Michael Fassbender in dual android roles, one a holdover from Prometheus, the other watching over a colony ship's passengers in suspended animation.
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE LONG HAUL
The trouble with kid flick franchises is that kids grow up, requiring re-castings. Only five years after a trilogy ended well enough, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (PG) hopes nobody notices the differences. A different Rodrick torments his younger brother Greg (Jason Drucker). Alicia Silverstone plays the obligatory clueless mom while Tom Everett Scott steps in as dad.
Everything, Everything (PG-13) is another entry in the sickly teen romance genre. Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) stars as Maddy, whose extreme allergies keep her isolated from the world. Nick Robinson plays the boy next door making possible death worth the risk. After The Fault in Our Stars, If I Stay and this, can healthy teenagers ever find love in movies again?
Debra Winger was Hollywood's face of the 1980s, starring in such touchstones as Terms of Endearment, Urban Cowboy and An Officer and a Gentleman. Then she wasn't. Winger's independence — "being difficult" in studio-speak — preceded her.
After career fits and starts, Winger is back in Azazel Jacobs' brittle dramedy The Lovers (R) opposite actor-playwright Tracy Letts. They skillfully portray Mary and Michael, two halves of a dead marriage, each straying beyond it. Then they begin cheating on the people with whom they're cheating — rekindling romance with each other.
Winger's performance is a gem, funny and heartbreaking at once, one to keep in mind for year-end honors.
"People are responding to something that resonates with them, something that hasn't been said about their lives," Winger, 61, said by phone from New York. "I want to keep doing that. . . . That's my jam."
The Lovers (B+) opens Friday at Tampa Theatre.
For more with Winger, go to tampabay.com/movies.
Richard Gere plays the title role in Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (R). Norman Oppenheimer is a nobody convincing people he's somebody after someone he glad-handed is elected Israel's prime minister. Name-dropping will only take him so far. (Veterans 24 in Tampa, Woodlands 20 in Oldsmar)
A QUIET PASSION
A Quiet Passion (PG-13) presents Cynthia Nixon as reclusive poet Emily Dickinson, a far cry from her more familiar work on Sex and the City. Writer-director Terence Davies (The House of Mirth) assembled an interesting cast, including Keith Carradine as the poet's father and Jennifer Ehle as her sister. (Woodlands 20 in Oldsmar)
In theaters: our Top 5
Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:
1 Alien: Covenant: Can a movie contain too much Michael Fassbender? Not a chance.
2 The Lovers: Married couple (Debra Winger, Tracy Letts) cheat on their lovers with each other.
3 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Marvel's anti-superhero franchise, with a cast that includes Chris Pratt, gets bigger.
4 The Fate of the Furious: It's raining cars, hallelujah, in another lap around the blockbuster track.
5 Snatched: Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn make an underwritten comedy bearable.
(Dates subject to change)
May 26: Baywatch; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
June 2: Wonder Woman; Transformers: The Last Knight
June 9: Megan Leavey
June 16: Rough Night; All Eyez on Me
June 30: The Beguiled; The House