Tuesday, December 12, 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.

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
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.
Published: 12/11/17
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

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
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
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
Saoirse Ronan in

At the movies: What to see, and avoid, in theaters this week

Headed to the movies this week? Here's what's new, good and bad in theaters post-Thanksgiving.
Updated one month ago
Bleecker Street
Christopher Plummer (center, left) stars as Ebenezer Scrooge and Dan Stevens (center, right) stars as Charles Dickens in director Bharat Nalluriâ\u0080\u0099s THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS, a Bleecker Street release.

If you’re going to see ‘A Christmas Carol’ redo, make it ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

The last thing this world needs is another rendition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, likely the most remade, reimagined and ripped off literary property ever.
Updated one month ago
Denzel Washington stars in

‘Roman J. Israel, Esq.’ is a sad waste of Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington’s labored portrayal of a shambling legal savant named Roman J. Israel, Esq. is the least of the movie’s worries. This is a story of shifting ethics that should be dramatic, but shaky logic prevents that from happening.Dan...
Updated one month ago