Saturday, February 24, 2018


Steve Persall

Steve Persall

Steve Persall's movie reviews usually appear in Thursday's Weekend section but — like his columns, features and interviews — can pop up anywhere in the Tampa Bay Times, any day of the week. Persall was conceived behind a Tarpon Springs drive-in theater his father managed, making him practically born for this job. He lives in Clearwater with his wife, Dianne (a.k.a. the right side of his brain), and trusty dog, Mojo.

Natalie Portman in a scene from

‘Annihilation’ is strange, beautiful biological mystery

Alex Garland’s Annihilation is a bracing blend of cerebral sci-fi and grindhouse terror, a genre movie that’s more, maybe too much for some viewers.Based on Tallahassee author Jeff VanderMeer’s novel, Annihilation on the...
Published: 02/22/18
Rachel McAdams, left, and Jason Bateman in a scene from

Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams comedy ‘Game Night’ is more fun than it deserves to be

Good movie comedies are in short supply these days, making Game Night more fun than it deserves to be.There are laughs, a couple from the belly, and none of the lazy scatological, narcotic or pubic humor Seth Rogen’s crowd prefers. The...
Published: 02/21/18

Toga! Toga! 40th anniversary celebration of ‘National Lampoon’s Animal House’ in Tampa this week

In the immortal words of Flounder at Faber College’s homecoming parade: Oh boy, this is gonna be great!A 40th anniversary celebration of National Lampoon’s Animal House featuring appearances by two stars of the...
Published: 02/21/18
Alex Garland has been accused of white-washing the characters in â\u0088\u009A¢â\u0080\u009A\u0082 \u0308â\u0089\u0088\u0093Annihilation.â\u0088\u009A¢â\u0080\u009A\u0082 \u0308¬\u009D (Paramount Pictures)  1223783

In theaters this week: ‘Annihilation’ based on Florida author Jeff VanderMeer’s book, ‘Game Night,’ ‘Every Day’

ANNIHILATIONAuthor Jeff VanderMeer told me at last year’s Times Festival of Reading that Annihilation (R) is going to blow everyone’s mind. The Tallahassee...
Published: 02/21/18
This image released by Disney and Marvel Studios' shows Chadwick Boseman in a scene from

What’s in theaters this week: ‘Black Panther,’ ‘Early Man,’ ‘Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool’

OPENING THURSDAY: BLACK PANTHERLike its real-life radical namesakes, Black Panther (PG-13) promises to be truly revolutionary. Marvel Comics’ landmark African-American superhero comes to life with its...
Published: 02/14/18
This image released by Disney shows Chadwick Boseman in a scene from Marvel Studios'

Why ‘Black Panther’ is revolutionary — and an excellent movie

Like its real-life radical namesakes, Black Panther is revolutionary and Afrocentric, a black cultural fantasy made real in a medium taking too long. Children of any color except white haven’t seen blockbuster movie...
Published: 02/13/18
Updated: 02/14/18
Aardman Animations star Nick Park, the brilliant mind behind the adventures of

‘Early Man’ is a throwback in both story and Aardman Studios claymation style

Nick Park’s stop-motion clay animation made famous with Wallace & Gromit seems prehistoric in a digital age. That makes it perfectly suited for Early Man, a throwback in both story and Aardman Studios...
Published: 02/13/18
Universal Pictures
DAKOTA JOHNSON and JAMIE DORNAN return as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in

‘Fifty Shades Freed’ is as stupid-sexy as ever

Is it good for you? Do you see fireworks or a Freudian train entering a tunnel? Because Fifty Shades Freed is all up in your libido, finishing the job this softcore trilogy set out to do, stupid-sexier than ever.After an...
Updated one month ago
Spencer Stone, from left, Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos in a scene from

Trio who stopped a train attack star as themselves in Clint Eastwood’s dull ‘The 15:17 to Paris’

Clint Eastwood admires flashpoint heroism, those spontaneous acts in crisis making a difference, saving lives. Sully landing a crippled airliner on the Hudson River, three impromptu heroes taking down a terrorist on The 15:17 to...
Updated one month ago
Disney Pixar
Oscar Shortlist for Best Animated Short Film Includes Pixar's

What’s in theaters this week: Oscar shorts at Tampa Theatre, ‘50 Shades Freed,’ ‘Peter Rabbit’

Let’s keep the intro short. Tampa Theatre is again presenting the Academy Awards-nominated short subjects divided in three rotating sessions: animated, live action and documentary. Here’s an overview of what to expect and...
Updated one month ago