Liam Neeson has a particular set of MTA tickets in The Commuter (PG-13), tickets he acquired over a very long career selling insurance in New York. Tickets making rush hour a nightmare for people like him. This seat is Taken.
The Commuter casts Neeson as Michael MacCauley, another father fighting to protect his family. Michael’s ride home gets exciting when a femme fatale (Vera Farmiga) makes a Hitchcockian offer: Find someone on the train who doesn’t belong and earn $100,000. Fail and Michael’s family dies.
Luckily Michael is also a NYPD veteran, so when push comes to neck-snapping he’ll be ready. Who’s behind the indecent proposal is a mystery often tipped off by which famous co-star shows up in the trailer least. (Looking at you, St. Petersburg’s own Patrick Wilson.)
The Commuter is Neeson’s fourth collaboration with director Jaume Collet-Serra, although the Spaniard’s tidiest work is 2016’s shark thriller The Shallows.
Taraji P. Henson, left, channels Pam Grier’s blaxploitation spirit in Proud Mary (R), playing a hitwoman for a Boston mob. Lock, load and drop the needle on Ike and Tina Turner’s big-wheel radio classic.
Henson’s diva duties on Empire are a warm-up for this role, judging from a sultry, incendiary trailer. Mary’s closet appears well-stocked with form-fitting leather and fetishized firearms. Between explosions, Mary takes a boy (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) under her wing. Or maybe he’s just a human shield.
Proud Mary wasn’t shown to critics for review. e_SClB
After a charming 2014 movie debut, the world’s most beloved bear — sorry, Pooh — returns in Paddington 2 (PG). Break out the marmalade.
This time Paddington, voiced by Ben Whishaw, finds the perfect 100th birthday present for Aunt Lucy (voice of Imelda Staunton), a fanciful pop-up book. Uh, oh: The book gets stolen and Paddington must recover it fast. Lucy is 100, you know.
Who among live-action performers would do such a terrible thing? Certainly not the Browns (Hugh Bonneville, The Shape of Water’s Sally Hawkins) who adopted Paddington in Part 1. Perhaps it’s failed actor Phoenix Buchanan because the name sounds dastardly and he’s played by Hugh Grant.
in theaters: our Top 5
Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:
1 The Shape of Water: Guillermo del Toro’s Cold War fantasy won him a best director Golden Globe.
2 I, Tonya: Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding, above, skating on thin ice.
3 The Greatest Showman: An original musical about P.T. Barnum starring Hugh Jackman.
4 Lady Bird: The Golden Globe winner for best musical or comedy.
5 The Post: Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep defend the First Amendment.
(Dates subject to change)
Jan. 19: Call Me by Your Name; Phantom Thread; Hostiles; 12 Strong; Den of Thieves; Forever My Girl
Jan. 26: White Boy Rick; Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Feb. 2: Winchester; Cloverfield 2017
Feb. 9: Fifty Shades Freed; The 15:17 to Paris; Peter Rabbit
Feb. 16: Black Panther; Early Man
Feb. 23: Annihilation; Game Night, War With Grandpa; Every Day
March 2: Death Wish; Red Sparrow; Alpha
March 9: A Wrinkle in Time; Gringo; The Upside; The Hurricane Heist
March 16: Tomb Raider; Love, Simon
March 23: Isle of Dogs; Pacific Rim: Uprising; Sherlock Gnomes; Midnight Sun
March 30: Ready Player One