Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me!

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THIS SHOW IS ALMOST SOLD OUT! Only non-traditional seats are available. Call (813) 229-7827 for assistance purchasing.

Now in its 19th season, Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! is National Public Radio’s Peabody Award-winning quiz show. Host Peter Sagal leads a rotating panel of comedians, humorists and journalists, listener contestants and celebrity guests through a comic review of the week’s news. Contestants vie for the most coveted prize in all of public radio: a custom-recorded greeting by scorekeeper emeritus Carl Kasell for their voicemail.

Screened Out – The Witch

By : Stephen Miller
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Ralph Ineson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw

It’s easy to sense the research and commitment that went into the horror movie The Witch, the debut full-length by NYC stage talent and shorts director Robert Eggers. The flick – set in 17th-century New England – follows a Puritan family thrust out into the wilderness, where they battle evil forces that come from the gnarled woods around them.

Alas, the sum here is more mood than sense. By the end, all the dark foreboding, meticulous academics, commentary on fundamentalism, and self-flagellating religiosity has less witchy magic. It devolves into gory absurdism.

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Screened Out – Pan

By : Stephen Miller
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Hugh Jackman, Levi Miller, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara, Amanda Seyfried

What a mess! This Peter Pan origin story strives to be something whimsical, weird and wonderful for the kids. It instead ends up clueless, confusing and cluttered. If all you’re looking for is stunning visuals, Pan is definitely for you. If you like your movies to have solid, even acting and some sense of tone, this Lost Boy never gets off the ground.

Pan doesn’t believe that characters with heart can carry a children’s movie. It instead overloads oddities, offering only optical onslaught.

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Screened Out – Fantastic Four

By : Stephen Miller
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Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordon, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey

Fantastic Four is false advertising; this is not fantastic. It’s overpriced, joyless crap. The plodding, unentertaining plot is 85 minutes of tedious exposition for 15 minutes of lackluster superhero stuff at the end.

It’s not just that this snore-fest breaks the rules of comic book flicks, which usually concentrate on action and remember to add humor. It also breaks the first rule of good filmmaking, period – tell us upfront why we need to care, why we should be interested.

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Screened Out – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

By : Stephen Miller
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Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Jeffrey Wright, Amanda Plummer, Toby Jones

What started as Brave New World novels for teenagers has morphed into action-packed filmmaking worthy of attention and intellectual comment. This second film is simply a better offering than the first one. Catching Fire takes a good franchise and clears the way for the possibility of a great one.

There are a lot of reasons this works. Everyone now knows what a good actor Jennifer Lawrence is (after her Oscar win for Silver Linings Playbook), so she’s given the chance to shine. The budget is noticeably bigger, so it doesn’t feel like studio Lionsgate attempted to make an opulent blockbuster with green screens, like the last time. The action and pace are tighter. Finally, more time is spent living within the world instead of trying to explain the backstory. More time is also given to the theme of how fascist leaders might attempt to entertain us to death.

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Screened Out – Gravity

By : Stephen Miller
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Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

Utterly mind-blowing: Gravity is one of those rare films that grants two huge wishes: it gives us an experience we’ve never had before, and it makes us feel deeply. Most flicks – even great ones – can only achieve either one goal.

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Screened Out – Don Jon

By : Stephen Miller
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Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlet Johanssen, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, Julianne Moore

Don Jon is a comedy without intellectuals. In fact, it’s populated with the sort of stupid people that American audiences have been overexposed to on Jersey Shore. But in Don Jon, the slick bros and tightly clothed chicks are subtler, more real, funnier, and infinitely more watchable.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt hits it out of the park in his first shot as writer/director. In some ways, he gave himself an easy game, skewering the goombas of the Garden State. In another sense, he has quite a challenge – to make these meatheads charming, comedic, and completely worth our empathy and attention.

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Screened Out: Rush

By : Stephen Miller
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Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara

Ladies and gentlemen, here’s a movie to get your engines revving.

Formula 1 racing makes NASCAR look idiotic. Instead of a bunch of heavy muscle cars constantly running around in circles, Formula 1 has twists and turns, sex appeal, meticulous engineering, lightning-fast strategy, and adult immaturity with a gloss of worldwide chicness.

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Screened Out: Prisoners

By : Stephen Miller
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Hugh Jackman, Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Melissa Leo

On average, audiences pay nine bucks just for a ticket to a flick. No matter how good some aspects are, I cannot imagine the average moviegoer being overjoyed with something this long, this labyrinthine, this tortured.

I also cannot, in good conscience, call Prisoners a bad film – just a painful, troubling one, with some small flaws.

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Screened Out: Riddick

By : Stephen Miller
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Vin Diesel

Riddick is brave, strong, scary, macho and extraordinarily stupid.

This violent sci-fi thriller is fashioned for the subtlety impaired – mostly males who like cracking sexist jokes and talking about each other’s balls. It’s the perfect example of what I call Testosterone Films – gory, demeaning and brainless – films that use machinery, muscle, and mass gore to pump up audience’s adrenaline.

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Screened Out: Excess of Evil

By : Stephen Miller
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THE MONSTERS AND ROBOTS ARE ginormous; the goal here is also big entertainment. Pacific Rim combines Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots with monumental sea monsters in a multi-million-dollar special effects prizefight. If you want to engage your inner 12-year-old, look no further.

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Screened Out: The Script Isn’t The Hero

By : Stephen Miller
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SOTheLoneRanger

THE POSTER SHOULD PROBABLY SAY-in all caps-“Prepare to have your every expectation met,” and then follow it by four or six exclamation points, maybe. This is exactly what you’d get when Disney and the Pirates of the Caribbean crew team up to bring you The Lone Ranger, Tonto, Silver, and the like.

Hammer is a district attorney left for dead out in the Wild, Wild West after a terrible injustice is meted upon his family. This Lone Ranger is brought back to life with the help of the supremely weird Tonto (Depp-he’s brilliant but also quite a bit stereotypically insulting to the entire Native American population). The Lone Ranger and Tonto team up to hunt down an evil desperado (super-creepy Fitchner) and find out his nefarious plan, which has to do with silver mining, the railroad, and Comanche land.

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