Thursday, December 14, 2017


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.

Kate Winslet channels Blanche DuBois in

Now isn’t a good time for Woody Allen to make a bad movie but ‘Wonder Wheel’ is awful

Now isn’t a good time for Woody Allen to make a bad movie, while broken silence resurrects whispers of his own alleged sexual misconduct.Wonder Wheel (PG-13) is exactly what the 82-year-old Oscar winner doesn’t need, a reason beyond social...
Published: 12/13/17
Daisy Ridley as Rey in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Lucasfilm via AP

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has everything The Force Awakens was missing

When The Force Awakens landed two years ago, it was everything Star Wars fans wanted yet not entirely what we needed. It was a rousing tribute missing its own vision, introducing new characters and crises hinting at old ones.
Published: 12/12/17
Hugh Jackman in a scene from

13 new movies you have to see over the holiday season

Hollywood has enough movies left to get everyone through the holidays plus any New Year’s hangover.
Published: 12/12/17
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 06:  Comedian Gilbert Gottfried  attends The New York Comedy Festival Annual Kick-Off Party on November 6, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Comedy Central)

Is Gilbert Gottfried really that annoying in real life?

A new documentary about comedian Gilbert Gottfried reveals someone more mild-mannered than his stage persona, married with children, verging on dull.His voice doesn’t grate, dropping half its nasal quality and all of its foul-mouthed bluster.
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Michael Shannon, from left, Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer in a scene from the film,

Golden Globe-nominated movies and when to see them in Tampa Bay

Guillermo Del Toro’s romantic creature feature The Shape of Water soaked up seven Golden Globes nominations Monday, kicking off another marathon awards season.
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17
Greg Sestero, left, and Tommy Wiseau in the 2003 movie

Five offbeat movie choices to get you away from the multiplex this week

Hollywood is backloading December, waiting for Star Wars: The Last Jedi to bring moviegoers back to multiplexes. After no major releases last week, only James Franco’s The Disaster Artist is making any new impression at box offices this weekend. (
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Olaf is being let go: Olaf short is being dropped from Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’

Winter is still weeks away but everyone’s favorite snowman is already melting from view.In a cruel twist on Frozen’s showstopper, Olaf is being let go.Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, the 21-minute animated "short" preceding Disney-Pixar’s Coco...
Published: 12/05/17
Dave Franco and James Franco in the film,

‘The Disaster Artist’ takes us inside ‘The Room’ as it notoriously happened

James Franco found a kooky, kindred spirit in Tommy Wiseau, The Disaster Artist whose 2003 cine-trocity The Room is hailed as one of the worst movies ever.Like Wiseau, Franco can be accused of stretching his talent way too far. Unlike Wiseau,...
Published: 12/04/17
Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival
Movie still from Garage Rocking Craze.

That time Shia LaBeouf tried to join a Tampa Bay Undeground Film Festival ...

For a few bewildering days, R. Presley Stephens thought his Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival would welcome a notorious celebrity.The fourth annual shoestring cinema showcase runs Thursday through Sunday at Britton 8 Theater, 3938 S Dale...
Published: 11/29/17
Updated: 12/12/17
Frank Sinatra, left, and Eliot Weisman in 1995. Ruth Eckerd Hall

Meet Frank Sinatra's right-hand man at Ruth Eckerd Hall

For 17 years, Eliot Weisman did things Frank Sinatra’s way.
Published: 11/29/17