March 2015 Movie Preview
A few years ago, months like February and March would have been considered barren wastelands with maybe one or two bright spots. But as the pre-conceived notions of Summer and Winter blockbusters are slowly breaking down, we’re getting more high profile movies in what were considered quiet months. While the quality of the following releases have yet to be determined there are some interesting films here covering a broad range of topics. So let’s dive right into March, shall we?
March 6th 2015
South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp has become one of my all-time favourite filmmakers in recent years. No joke. I remember seeing ‘District 9‘ in 2009 and it completely changing my outlook on cinema just how I imagine previous generations reacted to something like ‘Robocop‘ or ‘Star Wars‘. I can’t even find the oxygen to begin to explain the sheer amount of gratitude I have towards Blomkamp for making that movie and following it up with the flawed, but just as admirable ‘Elysium‘ (which made it onto my 2013 Top 10 of the year). However, for his next movie, ‘Chappie‘, the premise and the advertisements have made me rather sceptical.
The subject of artificial intelligence and its portrayal on film is a worthy topic and it’s a great idea to base a movie around…which is why it’s been done a million times before. I’m not just referring to the obvious comparisons of ‘Short Circuit‘ but in 2015 ALONE we’ve had ‘Big Hero 6‘, ‘Ex Machina‘, the upcoming ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron‘ and ‘Terminator: Genisys‘. It’s a crowded year for robots and with its trite concept, bi-polar ad-campaign and the questionable inclusion of Die Antwoord…needless to say that I’m hoping for the best but expecting the worst. I’m sure it’ll be a great visual experience though and Hans Zimmer is doing the music, which is always nice.
Give me Zimmer over Antwoord anyday.
– Still Alice
Sometimes at the Oscars there are times when inviting all the nominees is seen as an obligation. This year, three of the four acting categories were done-deals with Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons and Julianne Moore being sure-fire winners in their respective categories. Julianne Moore, in particular, had the best odds of winning according to the bookies and the film that ultimately won her a long overdue Academy Award has finally made its way to the UK (though in a very limited release which is dumb).
‘Still Alice‘ is based of Lisa Genova’s novel of the same name and follows a woman in her 50s whose brain is starting to degenerate due to early-onset Alzheimers. While the movie itself has ultimately become overshadowed by the central performance, the movie is meant to be a great and emotional watch with a strong supporting cast comprising of Alec Baldwin and Kristen Stewart. If you’re interested in acting and performances in movies, then ‘Still Alice‘ is essential viewing this month.
– Unfinished Business
It seems like only yesterday that Vince Vaughn was considered to be a modern day Bill Murray. With great roles as the “straight-man” in films such as ‘DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story‘, ‘Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy‘ and ‘Wedding Crashers‘, Vaughn did great work by grounding many of the films he was in with his dry wit and almost humble presentation. But now with flops like ‘The Dilemma‘, ‘The Internship‘ and ‘Delivery Man‘ a lot of that credibility has been lost and now ‘Unfinished Business‘…does not look set to change that.
Despite enjoyable trailers, early scathing reviews have confirmed that all the best jokes can be found in them so there’s no need to buy a ticket here. It’s a shame though, because the premise is solid and there are great supporting cast members such as Dave Franco, Sienna Miller and Nick Frost – all of whom should be more famous then they actually are. If you’re a fan of Vaughns inoffensive recent output, then this should offer some laughs. But if you don’t fall into that category, then this is a safe skip.
March 13th 2015
– Run All Night
What’s going on here? I thought ‘Tak3n‘ was released a few months ago? Yes, we have another Liam Neeson action movie in the vein of ‘Taken‘. This comes from the director of similar Neeson vehicles ‘Unknown‘ and ‘Non-Stop‘ which were actually pretty decent movies so I expect the same to some from ‘Run All Night‘. The addition of Ed Harris is what intrigues me most, however. This is an Oscar-nominated actor and if anyone can match Neeson’s sincere, but badass on-screen presence then it’s him.
I doubt this story of a man trying to protect his son over the course of a single night from his former boss will have the smart political edge of ‘Non-Stop‘ or the mystery of ‘Unknown‘ but this should be solid, if unspectacular. Say what you will about Neeson’s recent career, but aside from the ‘Taken‘ sequels he actually has a pretty good track record.
– Suite Française
Based off the Irène Némirovsky novel of the same name, ‘Suite Française‘ is essentially Romeo and Juliet with Nazis. That’s not a joke, by the way. It’s a pretty accurate description as it takes place early in WW2 in Nazi occupied France where a french woman falls in love with a Nazi soldier. Coming from director Saul Dibb (director of 2008’s ‘The Duchess‘) ‘Suite Française‘ looks set to be one of those movies where you can figure out the entire plot from the sentimental trailers.
Honestly, I don’t have much to say here. It looks well put together (it’s a BBC Films production and they’re normally great at period dramas) and could offer some decent counter-programming but I have a sneaking suspicion that people would rather watch Liam Neeson the weekend this movie comes out.
– X + Y
Another piece of Liam Neeson counter-programming coming from BBC Films, ‘X + Y‘ is based off the TV BBC documentary “Beautiful Young Minds”, specifically one of the young contestants Daniel Lightwing. In ‘X +Y‘ Lightwing has been re-named Nathan Ellis and is played by Asa Butterfield (‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas‘, ‘Hugo‘ and ‘Ender’s Game‘). Nathan is a mathematical prodigy but also has a form of aspergers and finds it difficult to socialise with people, including his family, but finds comfort in numbers.
‘X + Y‘ looks like a solid film and its bolstered with an unsung, but always reliable cast and the director, Morgan Matthews, was actually the creator of the “Beautiful Young Minds” documentary so the subject matter is in safe hands. Check out the trailer before and if it seems like it’s for you, then go right ahead. I know I’m looking forward to it.
March 20th 2015
– The Divergent Series: Insurgent
At time of writing, I have yet to watch ‘Divergent‘. It’s one of the few high-profile films that I ended up missing last year so I can’t talk much about expectations when it comes to this sequel based off the young-adult book series by Veronica Roth.
However, the trailers for ‘The Divergent Series: Insurgent‘ (terrible title)…have been terrible. Yet I feel compelled to watch. It looks over the top, incredibly stupid, an insane display of style over substance in a “so-bad-it’s-good” type of way, but it’s actually gotten me a bit excited for this sequel. Before I watch ‘The Divergent Series: Insurgent‘ (the actual title) I’m gonna make sure I watch ‘The Divergent Series: Divergent‘ so I can go into it with an informed understanding of the franchise, but as of right now, I don’t have much to say other than…looks terrible, but I’m excited.
– The Gunman
French cinematographer turned director, Pierre Morel didn’t make much of a splash with his 2004 debut, ‘District 13‘. However, it was 2009’s ‘Taken‘ that really put him on the map, even though he wasn’t able to find further success with ‘From Paris With Love‘ in 2010. Now he’s back with ‘The Gunman‘ and with “From the director of ‘Taken’!” plastered all over the trailers and the posters, it’s clear that the distributors want you to see Oscar-Winning Sean Penn as an alternative to Liam Neeson.
I’ll be interested to see which movie turns out stronger; ‘The Gunman‘ or ‘Run All Night‘ but judging from the trailers we just have a bog-standard action thriller. Honestly, I don’t think there’s a lot to look forward to here, but I could be wrong. We’ll see.
Which is odd, because director Tim Johnson has made good animated films in the past and Dreamsworks, despite their varied track-record, normally don’t fill me with such contempt before a movie’s release. Honestly, ‘Home‘ looks like a legitimate parody of terrible Dreamworks tropes that they were starting to get over after ending the ‘Shrek‘ series and developing compelling franchises such as ‘How To Train Your Dragon‘ and ‘Kung Fu Panda‘. Starring Jim Parsons and Rihanna…
Watch the trailer below at your own risk. ‘Home‘ could turn out good but…my hopes aren’t high.
– The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
While ‘Big Hero 6‘ was the movie to win “Best Animated Feature” at the Academy Awards this year and ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2‘ was considered the favourite, there was one dark horse favourite as well; The only non-English language movie in the category, ‘The Tale of the Princess Kaguya‘. If you listen to just word of mouth, the movie was considered the best film in the category, but because of the Academy’s preference towards English-Speaking movies, it didn’t have much of a shot.
Created by Studio Ghibli (the studio behind ‘Spirited Away‘, ‘Arrietty‘ and ‘The Wind Rises‘), ‘The Tale of the Princess Kaguya‘ seems to stick to what they know best; fairy-tale stories and gorgeous 2D animation. Quality is pretty much guaranteed here, whether you see the Japanese or English dub (Studio Ghibli are famous for their high quality English dubbing) and let’s not forget…anything looks better than ‘Home‘.
– Wild Card
Another year, another low-budget Jason Statham action movie. 2011 was ‘The Mechanic‘, 2012 was ‘Safe‘, 2013 was ‘Parker‘, 2014 was…oh, I guess we didn’t get one last year. But in 2015 we have ‘Wild Card‘ and next month Statham will play the baddie in ‘Furious 7‘, so that makes up for it.
Honestly, all the above Staham-led action films have actually been pretty decent. The guy has a good track record in picking his action roles and if you were into those films, then ‘Wild Card‘ should be a safe bet (GEDDIT!?).
March 27th 2015
Disney’s track record with live-action adaptation to classic properties has been…mixed to say the least. For every brilliant ‘Oz the Great and Powerful‘, there’s a terrible ‘Maleficent‘ just around the corner. And while I have no doubt that director Kenneth Branagh will make something stylish and the great cast will embrace these iconic characters…whenever I watch the trailers I have no idea what will distinguish this version of the Charles Perrault fairy-tale from the 1950 animated version other than the fact that it’ll be live action.
If this movie wants to be good, then it just has to do that – be a live-action version. But if it wants to be EXCEPTIONAL, it’s gonna have to push the boat out. Judging from the way the trailers are structured, it seems like the half-way point of the movie will be the famous Ball sequence, so maybe ‘Cinderella‘ may have a trick or two under its slipper in the third act. But right now, I’m not really hyped for this. I’ve seen it dozens of times before. ‘Oz the Great and Powerful‘ felt like a homage, but also incredibly fresh. I hope ‘Cinderella‘ goes for that approach instead of the ‘Maleficent‘ approach where they missed the point of the source material as much as humanly possible and then even more for good measure.
Not much more to say about it. The trailers made me laugh so let’s see what happens when the reviews come in. Sorry to skimp on the preview but I’m tired and need to get this thing finished so…what do you want from me?
– Seventh Son
Quick digression – in the run-up to the Oscars, there was some media-chatter concerning whether or not Eddie Redmayne would win “Best Actor” for ‘The Theory of Everything‘ due to his terrible performance in the misguided sci-fi blockbuster ‘Jupiter Ascending‘. This is often known as the “Norbit-Effect” which started when Eddie Murphy didn’t win “Best Supporting Actor” for ‘Dreamgirls‘ because the stinker ‘Norbit‘ was not only released around the time the Academy were voting, but apparently there were giant ‘Norbit‘ posters and banners plastered all over L.A. where the voting took place. The “Norbit-Effect” is a myth as was proven by Sandra Bullock, Eddie Redmayne and recently Julianne Moore who won for ‘Still Alice‘…despite appearing in ‘Seventh Son‘.
‘Seventh Son‘ has been known as “that movie” that could have cost Moore the Oscar. Filmed several years ago but delayed due to the closure of Rhythm and Hues, ‘Seventh Son‘ has limped across the finish line and was greeted by a critical mauling. This might be a fun trainwreck to watch, but unless you’re into that type of ironic viewing, it looks like a safe skip.
– Spongebob Movie: Sponge out of Water
It’s basically been an un-written fact that the Nickelodeon cartoon series “Spongebob Squarepants” has gone downhill since the first movie in 2004. With this in mind, fans were sceptical when this new movie was released and it was promoted as being a predominantly 3D/live-action hybrid movie. However, when it was released in the US last month it was actually pretty well received and it turns out that there’s more 2D than 3D (so I hear) which is always refreshing.
If you’re a fan of the franchise or want to take your kids to see an animated movie, this movie spin-off seems a safe bet. Not much more to say about it, but I’m actually looking forward to it. I love seeing 2D on a big cinema screen.
*phew* That was exhausting. And as usual I probably missed a few films as well. So let me know what you guys and girls are looking forward to this month in terms of movies! My Top 3 Most Anticipated for March 2015 are;
– ‘Still Alice‘
– ‘X + Y‘
– ‘The Tale of the Princess Kaguya‘
So we have some films with a lot of potential this month. We have sci-fi, fantasy, drama, true-stories, romance, animation – all tastes will be catered for. It’s a great month to go to the movies!
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Posted: 6th Mar 15