Sunday, December 17, 2017
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What's new in theaters: 'The Nut Job 2,' 'The Glass Castle,' 'Annabelle: Creation'

OPENING FRIDAY:

THE GLASS CASTLE

Celebrities who rub elbows with former gossip columnist Jeannette Walls wouldn't have guessed this sophisticated woman grew up hardscrabble strong. That is, not until 2005, when her best selling memoir The Glass Castle was published.

Walls' parents raised four children without putting down roots anywhere, a nomadic journey leading to an Appalachian shack without utilities. All the while, her father, Rex, distracted his family from poverty by pledging to build his family the magical home Walls used to title her book, now a movie.

The Glass Castle (PG-13) stars Brie Larson as Walls, right, her first serious role since copping an Academy Award last year for Room. (Free Fire was filmed pre-Oscar and Kong: Skull Island? C'mon.)

Woody Harrelson plays Rex, whose wide-eyed, unorthodox parenting lends a Captain Fantastic vibe to trailers while Naomi Watts brings the pain as Walls' alcoholic mother Rose Mary. Perhaps she and Larson compared notes between takes of co-starring with King Kong.

A review of The Glass Castle will be published at tampabay.com/movies.

ANNABELLE: CREATION

Here's a question for astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson: How many movie universes can fit into a multiplex?

The answer increases by one this weekend when Annabelle: Creation (R) takes a deep dive into the origins of what was originally just a prop in an over-achieving horror flick. Now it's a totem of the "Conjuring universe," as fans have dubbed two movies starring St. Pete's own Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as paranormal investigators and 2014's spinoff Annabelle.

Basically, Annabelle is the doll next door to Chucky, demonically possessed and prone to blood letting. Creation is the origins story every movie universe resorts to if some left-field fan favorite pops up.

Turns out Annabelle was crafted by a grieving dollmaker (Anthony LaPaglia, above) after his daughter died. Years later, he and his wife (Miranda Otto) invite a nun (Stephanie Sigman) and several young girls to stay at their crib. Annabelle doesn't like sharing the bathroom.

THE NUT JOB 2: NUTTY BY NATURE

The real nut job is whoever greenlights sequels to movies nobody cares about. 2014's The Nut Job was a case of audience indifference after the first wave of people who'll watch anything animated. It made only $65 million here, even less overseas where anything from the United States sells.

Yet we now have The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (PG) starring Will Arnett's voice as Surly the squirrel, scheming to stop a theme park from overtaking his critter-packed habitat. Katherine Heigl was hired to voice Surly's squirrel friend, tempting the box offices fates even further. Other actors not showing their faces include Jackie Chan, Maya Rudolph and Bobby Cannavale.

PILGRIMAGE

There's another Tom Holland movie in town this weekend, far different from your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

Holland plays a 13th century Irish monk in Pilgrimage (not rated, probably PG-13) escorting a sacred relic through territories under siege by Normans. Joining Holland is another star of a fun summer movie getting serious, Jon Bernthal (Baby Driver) as a mute criminal lending muscle to the monks.

Pilgrimage opens Friday only at Sundial 19 in St. Petersburg.

in theaters: our Top 5

Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:

1 Dunkirk: Christopher Nolan's WWII masterpiece will be chased all awards season.

2 A Ghost Story: A bed sheet spirit (Casey Affleck) haunts his widow (Rooney Mara).

3 War for the Planet of the Apes: Wraps up one of the best movie trilogies ever.

4 The Big Sick: A charmer redefining what romantic comedy means.

5 Detroit: Kathryn Bigelow embeds viewers in Motown's 1967 racial disturbance.

UPCOMING RELEASES

(Dates subject to change)

Aug. 18: The Hitman's Bodyguard; Logan Lucky; Wind River; Brigsby Bear; Step

Aug. 25: Good Time; The Only Living Boy in New York; Leap!

Aug. 31: Patti Cake$

Sept. 8: It; Home Again

Sept. 15: American Assassin; Brad's Status; Mother!; All I See Is You

Sept. 22: Battle of the Sexes; Kingsman: The Golden Circle; Stronger; The Lego Ninjago Movie

Sept. 29: Flatliners; American Made

     
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