Steven Spielberg's second childhood in movies is proceeding like many do in real life. Serious stuff keeps getting in the way of acting (or directing) like a kid again. It's likely you'll appear old-fashioned when you do.
The BFG is one of Spielberg's rare excursions in childish whimsy these days, as sweet and big-hearted as you'd expect from the maker of E.T.: The Extraterrestrial. Technically speaking, it's a motion capture marvel, with Academy Award winner Mark Rylance in line for another nomination, in the title role of Big Friendly Giant....
Filmed like the sexiest dolphin alive, Blake Lively is shark bait in The Shallows, an efficiently preposterous thriller. The predator may not be hungry; he just wants a closer look.
Lively plays Nancy Adams, an adventurous medical school dropout after her mother's death by cancer. Nancy is grieving by visiting a secret Mexican beach where they surfed. She's gonna need a bigger board....
Academy Award nominee Bryan Cranston returns to Tampa Bay on July 6 for an invitation-only screening of The Infiltrator, filmed locally in 2015.
Anyone who isn't among the VIPs scoring those invites will wait another week until The Infiltrator opens in theaters nationwide.
However, you may get a glimpse of Cranston, co-star Benjamin Bratt and director Brad Furman on the red carpet outside Tampa Theatre. The red carpet opens at 5 p.m., and the screening begins at 7:30....
OPENING Thursday: Independence Day: Resurgence
Aliens invade Earth again in Independence Day: Resurgence (PG-13), and this time it's a sneak attack.
Not the extraterrestrial assault itself; those ginormous spaceships couldn't sneak past anyone. Incredibly, 20th Century Fox declined to show this sequel to critics until Thursday's screenings nationwide....
Equal parts lurid and ludicrous, Nicolas Winding Refn's The Neon Demon chased more moviegoers from Monday's screening than any movie I've seen lately.
For some, lesbian necrophilia was too much to handle. For others, the cannibalism and regurgitation took things over the edge. A nonexistent plot and vapid dialogue certainly didn't help viewers remain seated.
Once again, Refn is an overeager provocateur, after 2013's reviled Only God Forgives took all the fun out of Ryan Gosling and Bangkok kink. The Neon Demon returns Refn to Los Angeles where Drive and Gosling made him a filmmaker to watch. Nobody guessed it would be through your fingers, in disgust....
ST. PETERSBURG — Will Packer heard "no" plenty of times on his unlikely path from St. Petersburg to Hollywood. He just never listened.
The producer of Straight Outta Compton, Ride Along and the recent remake of Roots urged other dreamers to do the same at Thursday's inaugural BurgBorn, showcasing a dozen homegrown businesses known far outside city limits.
Packer, 42, revisited his birthplace to deliver BurgBorn's keynote address, setting an inspiring tone for the day's panel discussions of grass roots success stories....
Central Intelligence is a welcome intrusion on reality, a comedy sorely needed after Orlando's tragedy. It's a buddy action flick so amiable that even gunfire sprayed for entertainment on a day when the last victims were identified didn't faze me. Much.
What makes Central Intelligence appealing in appalling times is volcanic chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. Ignore the generic caper at hand, involving stolen computer codes threatening national security, blah, blah. Focus on this genius teaming, classically mismatched in size but not charisma....
Like its memory-challenged hero, Finding Dory just keeps swimming, swimming, swimming, losing track of why it's here. This is a dimmer adventure than its beloved predecessor Finding Nemo in theme, pacing and palette. A teachable moment kneaded to feature length.
Finding Dory is a good sequel to a great film, and perhaps that's all fans could hope for. The year 2003 is an eternity ago in Disney-Pixar's relationship, in technology and profit motive. After the past decade's animation glut, Finding Dory feels packaged like the rest, unavoidably absent the original's freshness....
INDIE FLICKS: Weiner
"Why have you let me film this?" a voice behind the camera asks disgraced politician Anthony Weiner, who for a change can't spin an answer. It's a question the jaw-dropping documentary Weiner (R) raises repeatedly.
Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg initially planned to cover Weiner's comeback from a sexting scandal that forced the seven-term congressman to resign. Then Weiner's 2013 run for mayor of New York was derailed when other women came forward with sexting details. His marriage to Huma Abedin, longtime right-hand woman to Hillary Clinton, was shaken. The cameras kept rolling....
For their next act, the illusionist con artists from Now You See Me will make every ounce of goodwill that movie earned disappear.
Now You See Me 2 is everything its opening act avoided, a frenetic procession of willfully impossible fakeouts. We seek more cleverly executed stings from the Four Horsemen and wind up stung.
The first movie worked because it offered explanations of what amazed. Even if an explanation was baloney, a layer of possibility was established for anything the movie and its characters wanted to do. Now You See Me operated like its heroes: genial, and so open about its intent to deceive that viewers like me bought into it. Now You See Me was like watching Penn and Teller embrace and expose the illusionary arts. The sequel is an America's Got Talent washout waving a cape....
INDIE FLICKS: MAGGIE'S PLAN
Greta Gerwig excels at playing irresistibly selfish women, the flame moths can't stop circling until burned. Characters like hers in Maggie's Plan (R) don't intend to hurt but invariably do, with a bittersweet charm that helps. Maggie's Plan is Gerwig at the top of her neo-screwball game.
Maggie's original plan is to be artificially inseminated by a dim, sweet donor (Travis Fimmel) and raise her child alone. That changes when Maggie meets John (Ethan Hawke), an erudite professor and author married to the icy intellectual Georgette (Julianne Moore, with a Baba Wawa speech impediment). Now Maggie's plan is to steal away John, and have a child with him....
Past is prologue in The Conjuring 2, and it's the most effective sequence in James Wan's movie. The sequel to 2013's surprise hit opens with the infamous paranormal investigation that made Ed and Lorraine Warren household names, if those households subscribed to the National Enquirer.
The name says it all: Amityville, in an allegedly haunted house that spawned 14 horror flicks, mostly rubbish. Wan stages a chilling re-enactment of the house's factual mojo-spoiling event, in the context of a seance shaking the Warrens' resolve to bust ghosts. The passage thumps with dread, and suddenly a 15th version of Amityville's horror would be just fine....
Independence Day and Finding Nemo are returning to select multiplexes for one night only, setting the table for their sequels.
Each is being paired in double features with their cinematic successors, Independence Day: Resurgence and Finding Dory, a day before the "official" release dates. One ticket, two movies.
The double feature tactic worked well before, in grander marathons with multi-chapter franchises and ravenous fan bases, like Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Twilight....
In 2012, Kate Ranta was dealing with a contentious divorce when her estranged husband Thomas Maffei arrived at her apartment, demanding to be admitted. She refused, struggling to hold the door shut.
Maffei was armed. He fired a gun through the door, striking Ranta in her right hand and left breast. Maffei kept firing, Ranta's visiting father took two bullets. Both victims survived, and Maffei was arrested at the scene....
Graphically thinking outside the box, the Lonely Island comedy team makes a decent splash with Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, an SNL spinoff that generally works.
The Lonely Island is Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer, whose SNL digital shorts like D--- in a Box and I'm on a Boat went viral faster than bird flu. Popstar offers a proper format to string together such infectious raunch-pop riffs, swirling around a Spotify star (Samberg) on the schneid....