Author Jeff VanderMeer told me at last year’s Times Festival of Reading that Annihilation (R) is going to blow everyone’s mind. The Tallahassee author is biased, of course, having written the novel it’s based on, but there’s some reason to believe.
Annihilation is directed by Alex Garland, whose debut film Ex Machina and screenplay for Never Let Me Go are touchstones of modern science fiction. The movie stars Oscar winner Natalie Portman, who seldom makes bad choices, leading a femme-centric cast with Oscar Isaac tossed in, which is never a bad idea.
Portman stars as a biologist on an expedition into a environmental disaster zone where her husband disappeared. Her all-woman crew, including Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson and Gina Rodriguez, discover something deadly — think Alien meets An Inconvenient Truth — and things get messy.
A weekly Game Night (R) among friends turns nasty in a comedy starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams. They’re Max and Annie, rolling the dice in a murder mystery game, dropping the rules when things get real.
Game Night’s cast of unusual suspects includes the always dependable Kyle Chandler, Michael C. Hall (Dexter) and Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad). Trailers suggest co-directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein are working in the same dark vein as their Horrible Bosses screenplay.
Imagine falling in love with someone waking up in a different body Every Day (PG-13). Could be any gender, color or physical type but always the same romantic soul.
That’s what happens between a shy teenager named Rhiannon (Angourie Rice, The Beguiled) and a dreamboat entity known as A, played by over a dozen actors. Rhiannon hopes a cute version shows up for prom photos.
Every Day is based on David Levithan’s novel and directed by Michael Sucsy, who somehow managed to make Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams unromantic in 2012’s The Vow.
in theaters: our Top 5
Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:
1 Black Panther: Marvel’s latest superhero (Chadwick Boseman, above) is a cultural game changer.
2 The Shape of Water: Guillermo del Toro’s Cold War fantasy netted a leading 13 Oscar nominations.
3 Call Me by Your Name: Remember the name Timothée Chalamet, an Oscar nominee for best actor.
4 Lady Bird: Greta Gerwig’s best picture Oscar nominee also earned directing and writing nods.
5 Early Man: Nick Park’s stop-motion clay animation style never gets old.
(Dates subject to change)
March 2: Death Wish; Red Sparrow
March 9: A Wrinkle in Time; The Upside; The Hurricane Heist
March 16: Tomb Raider; Love, Simon
March 23: Isle of Dogs; Pacific Rim: Uprising; Sherlock Gnomes; Midnight Sun