Major genre films, wildly anticipated indie films from the 2012 festival circuit, a handful of thrillers, multiple comedies AND more than one family drama? March, I'm not made out of money! But I will be giving all the cash I have to you, and seeing everything you have to offer that doesn't star Gerard Butler. He had his chance. Read on to find out which of this eclectic mix of films you'll be checking out this month.
"Jack The Giant Slayer"
Opening four years after initially being developed and almost two years after being shot (including a nine month post-production delay), it hasn't been an easy road for Bryan Singer's fantasy adventure. Referred to by Singer as the most traditional film he's ever done, "Jack the Giant Slayer" is a new and more battle focused telling of the Jack and the Beanstalk tale, continuing the 2010s Fantasy trend of adapted fairy tales (see: "Red Riding Hood", "Snow White & The Huntsman", "Mirror Mirror", etc...). Singer's latest stars Nicholas Hoult -- fresh off the success of "Warm Bodies" -- Ewan McGregor and Ian McShane. Talk is that the film is silly and lightweight, but fun enough if you know what you're in for.
The creepy, kinky family drama from beloved "Old Boy" autuer Park Chan-Wook that everyone's been talking about since Sundance will now be available to us all! Or at least to everyone who lives in NY or LA! This suspense thriller probably isn't for everyone -- although it has a fresh rating on Rotten Tomtoes, the number isn't outstandingly high. Some find it to be all style, but thankfully most of the reviews confirm that the film -- that the film about what happens to a family when a teen girl's father dies and a mysterious uncle comes to live with her remaining family -- is exhilarating, visually breathtaking, intense and (everyone's favorite descriptor), erotic, featuring fantastic performances from Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode and Mia Wasikowska. It's also worth mentioning that the script is by "Prison Break" actor Wentworth Miller, and the score is from fantastic English composer Clint Mansell, best known for his work on "Requiem for a Dream", "Moon" and "Black Swan".
Also Opening: "21 and Over" / "The Last Exorcism Part II" / "Phantom"
"Dead Man Down"
The trailer that took over the internet! This thriller staring Colin Farrell & Noomi Rapace is so hotly anticipated not only because of its strong trailer, but because it's the first American feature from Neils Arden Oplev, the director of the Swedish "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". Fellow Geeks have another reason to rejoice, as the screenplay is from former "Fringe" showrunner J.H. Wyman. The story follows Farrell, as the right hand man to a crime boss, who is seduced by a woman (Rapace) the boss has wronged, and is now planning to enact her revenge. It looks all kinds of badass and sensual.
"Oz The Great and Powerful"
MAN are people hating on this movie sight unseen. Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz and we're complaining? Literally three of my favorite screen ladies. In Oz. Everybody just chill out. At the end of the day, you're either excited for this movie, or the lush visuals and the fact that it's Sam Raimi at the helm send you screaming and running in the opposite direction. Count this lifelong Oz fan in the former category, for better or worse. This prequel was put together by the screenwriter tirelessly going through all of the Oz books to tell the story of the current cad and future wizard (played by James Franco) as he arrives in Oz, the land of second chances. And hey, Raimi fans, be sure to keep an eye out for The Classic, which rumor has it is can be found disguised as part of the Wizard's machinery….
"Beyond The Hills"
This film from "4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days director" Cristian Mungiu follows two young girls at an Orthodox Catholic Monastary in Romania. One of them is a nun in training, and the other is her visiting best friend. The two girls clearly have some sort of intimate past, and the best friend's perfectly reasonable opinion that this place is a little off convinces the other nuns that she must be possessed. What follows is one of the most unorthodox exorcism films ever made, and certainly one of the most terrifying. Mungiu's movie is certainly powerful at times, especially during its final half hour, but the 150-minute running time may be too much for many, including our own Cannes reviewer, who found it to be tedious and dull, among other unfavorable adjectives.
Also Opening: "ABCs of Death"
Halle Berry stars as a 911 operator who takes a call from an abducted teenager and must confront a killer from her past in order to keep the girl alive. From director Brad Anderson ("The Machinist" and "Transsiberian"), and a screenwriting team with no movie over a 22% on Rotten Tomatoes, it's difficult to gauge how worthy of your time this movie will be. Based on the trailer, zzzzz, but the Anderson faithful are holding out hope, so hey, maybe we should too. Maybe.
"The Incredible Burt Wonderstone"
Between this and "Now You See Me", magician movies are having a comeback! Hey there 2008's "The Great Buck Howard", come join us! No? Fine, stay obscure and so five years ago! Anyhoo, this SXSW opener stars Jim Carrey and Steve Carell as rival magicians, has a script by "Horrible Bossess" scribe Jonathan Goldstein and an by John Frances Daley (yes, that John Frances Daley), and was directed by television mainstay Don Scardino (he helmed 38 episodes of "30 Rock," including several stone cold classics). The ingredients are certainly there, plus throw in some Gillian Jacobs, Steve Buschemi and Alan Arkin and you get a whole lot of this shouldn't suck, right?
"Ginger & Rosa"
A coming of age story set in London circa 1962, Sally Potter's latest is focused on two inseparable young girls whose friendship is ultimately tested by the era's paranoid Cold War climate. The film itself has received mixed reviews, but Elle Fanning's performance has been heralded as mesmerizing and incandescent. Further proof that thems Fannings be wizards (or just really talented actors with good genes. Whatever).
Some people hate it, some people love it, everyone will be saying "SPRING BREAK FOREVEERRRRR" for the rest of their lives. Don't bother knowing too much about the movie if you can help it, but do know that James Franco has a pivotal supporting role as a corn-rowed rapper / drug-dealer named "Alien." And he sings Britney Spears. Ballads. Okay, screw it, you need this movie.
Paul Rudd and Tina Fey in a romantic comedy -- even if it's the worst, it's gotta be a little bit the best. Here, they play a high school founder and a college admissions officer, respectively, who used to go school together. When Fey's admissions officer visits the high school, she realizes that one of the students might be the kid she gave up for adoption years ago and suddenly she's kissing Paul Rudd's face? It's directed by Paul Weitz, and if we choose to only remember that he is responsible for "About a Boy", everything's coming up roses.
The next installment in Dreamworks Animation's "passably mediocre" series, this computer-animated spectacle focuses on cavemen, because obviously that's a movie we need. To be fair, it's worth noting that the story and the first few drafts of the screenplay were by John Cleese. To be fair, it's worth noting that the current screenplay is not. Although to be fair, this was originally being developed by Aardman. Although to be fair, it hasn't been in Aardman's hands since 2007. Guys, I'm sensing some strife behind the scenes. But Nicholas Cage is the voice of a character named Grug, so really, we're all winners. This film also features characters named Eep, Ugga and Thunk. So. Point made, I think. Okay, but no really, director Chris Sanders is responsible for "How To Train Your Dragon," and people liked that movie, so maybe this will be okay. Much love, signed Utter Indifference.
"Olympus Has Fallen"
Really? Haven't we learned our lesson about movies with Gerard Butler by now?! In any event, this thriller from "Training Day" director Antoine Fuqua, is about a secret service agent trapped in the White House when its overrun by terrorists who capture The President, so it's up to him to help save the day with all of his knowledge and what not. There's also probably punching involved. Gerard Butler in a leading role pretty much cancels out any positive factors involved here except for Melissa Leo playing the Secretary of Defense. Nothing can ruin that.
"Gimmie The Loot"
This multi-Sprit Award nominated film from director Adam Leon finally hits theaters in limited release. It competed at Cannes and won the coveted Grand Jury Prize at SXSW, so if you claim to be interested in true independent cinema, don't be a jerk -- go see this. It's a comedy about graffiti artists in the Bronx and it has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. You know what to do.
A singing group made up of four Australian Aboriginal girls entertain the forces in Vietnam in 1968. Their good-hearted talent scout is played by none other than Chris O'Dowd. This sweet and charming, if slightly corny dramedy ran the festival circuit last year to plenty of mild acclaim.
Also Opening: "Starbuck"
"G.I. Joe: Retaliation"
FINALLY. I'm kidding. Half kidding. The G.I. Joe franchise has returned, delaying its release just enough for all of us to now understand that Channing Tatum must be obeyed. There are ninjas, Walton Goggins, the Mummy, The Scorpion King, Darth Maul, the kid from Jurassic Park, Bruce Willis and Tyra from Friday Night Lights. And this is all in addition to Channing "go see 'Side Effect's right now" Tatum. WHAT ARE YOU SAYING. There is evidently a plot, something about the G.I. Joe team being disbanded by presidents order after being framed so they have to fight for their justice back, who cares, the first one was the best and this one will be even better, the end.
Stephanie Meyer, author of "Twilight", wrote a more adult novel. This adult(ish) novel is naturally now a movie. It stars Saoirse Ronan, who rules, and is directed by Andrew Niccol ("Gattaca", "In Time"), who is sometimes pretty okay. Roll your eyes if you must, but the concept is actually kind of neat. An alien race, known as Souls, take over Earth, but one of them runs into an oopsies when the human it is trying to host refuses to cooperate because she's all in love and stuff. Also starring Max Irons, best known as the only good part of 2011's "Red Riding Hood". Will this fill that supernatural love story void left by "Twilight" that flicks like "Warm Bodies" and "Beautiful Creatures" are trying to fill? I mean, probably.
"The Place Beyond the Pines"
Ryan Gosling wants to rob banks to provide for his kid. Bradley Cooper is an ambitious cop. Conflict! This may seem on the blandy drama side, but then you realize it's from "Blue Valentine" writer/director Derek Cianfrance and you're all, oh crap, wait, well clearly I need to see that. Exactly. Not to mention Dane DeHaan alert. The film currently holds a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and is being heralded for its sweeping drama, great performances, and frank look at the bond between fathers and sons.
A bunch of Stanley Kubrick obsessed conspiracy theorists share their beliefs in this must be seen to be believed documentary. The result is a wacky ride through the consciousness of dedicated fans who simply won't let anything go. Not everyone's cup of tea, but fascinating and hilarious if you're willing to go along for the ride. This is absolutely worth a watch. Preferably after a recent viewing of "The Shining" and an even more recent viewing of yourself smoking a blunt.
This surreal absurdity from Quentin Dupieux, the director of "Rubber," is the only film slated for release this year that could possibly be weirder than "Room 237" and so of course it is opening on the same day. To start in on what the plot might be would get us nowhere. All you need to know is that this movie is weird, strange, bizarre and at least seven other synonyms for those words, but also ridiculously funny and kind of genius. It also features William Fitchner in the role of his career. If you have a thing for anything in the realm of surreal absurdism, just go see this. Trust.
Also Opening: "Tyler Perry's Temptation"