March 2016 Movie Preview
The Oscars just took place meaning that 2015 is officially over. Now, 3 months into 2016, the year can actually begin. The U.K. still have a few holdovers that didn’t make an impact during awards-season but we’re now starting to see the big blockbusters arrive as the Summer-Movie-Season starts progressively earlier.
As a result, the U.K. gets a mix of the old and the new meaning March 2016 is an incredibly busy month. With that being said, let’s not waste any time and dive in!
March 3rd 2016
London Has Fallen –
2013 was a popular year for destroying the White House as we were inundated with two movies with the same material; ‘Olympus Has Fallen‘ and ‘White House Down‘. While general consensus supported the latter more, because the former came out first it absorbed a lot of the financial interest from general movie-goers. So much to the extent that it’s warranted a sequel. The plot involves Aaron Eckhart’s President of the United State’s bodyguard, played by Gerald Butler, having to stop a terrorist plot that involves all the world leaders when they gather in London.
The trailers look cheesy and campy and there is some cathartic appeal in seeing my Capital City getting destroyed in the trailers. Though it seems counter intuitive to set an action movie in London with consequences spanning the globe…and ONLY have America be the hero, but as dumb-fun action entertainment, this could actually be an improvement on the decent original.
March 4th 2016
The Choice –
Another year, another trite and dumb romance movie adapted from a Nicholas Sparks novel. Last year’s offering, ‘The Longest Ride‘ was actually one of the better adaptations, but still not particularly good. Thankfully, we don’t have to watch the movie to find out if ‘The Choice‘ is any good, because the trailer gives the entire plot away.
So yeah, the movie looks pretty dumb and pants. Here’s the trailer. You’ve just seen the movie. You’re welcome, I just saved you 2 hours.
Hail, Caesar! –
The Coen Brothers are filmmakers who I just can’t seem to get into. They’re hardly bad directors, but I tend to react to their films with a resounding…meh. But they seem to click with a lot of people, which means they can often get incredibly talented ensemble casts together. With this in mind, we have the star-studded ensemble comedy ‘Hail, Caesar!‘ which brings together Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes, Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson and more to re-create the Golden-Age of Hollywood.
The marketing has given away very little of the film’s plot, other than revealing that it involves the kidnapping of a famous movie star and while I have enjoyed the trailers, the movie was received with mixed-to-mediocre reviews when it came out in America last month. To be honest, the critics received this movie the way that I normally receive the Coen Brothers’ movies so…who knows how I’ll respond to this one. But it could be fun fluff, though it feels like with the on-screen talent it should be more than that.
The Other Side of the Door –
When I first heard about ‘The Other Side of the Door‘, I actually got a bit excited. The story of a mother who loses her son and through her grief goes through desperate measures to just try and talk to him again is ripe with dramatic possibilities. The trailers weren’t too bad either and seemed to rely on unsettling imagery as opposed to obnoxious jump-scares.
But then the reviews came out and it would seem that this is just another lowest-common denominator horror from lame low-budget director Johannes Roberts. I’m willing to give it a chance, but consider my expectations severely lowered.
‘Divergent‘ was a boring, nothing-entity of a movie with the dumb building blocks of a Universe and characters so flatly written and by the numbers that one of them literally IS a number. But ‘The Divergent Series: Insurgent‘ was actually a substantial improvement on the first. It’s still not great, but I did get a kick out of the film and wouldn’t mind following the adventures of Tris and her boring group of solider friends over a wall.
The trailers don’t seem to be showing much, which means they’re either hiding a mystery or there’s not much to see. It’s probably the latter because this is actually the first half of the final book in the series with Part 2 being renamed ‘The Divergent Series: Ascendant‘, so most of the interesting parts will be reserved for that movie. This could go either way, but I’m inclined to give the movie the benefit of the doubt, since the last one really was an improvement and Tris as a character really is growing on me.
March 11th 2016
‘Anomalisa‘ (usually referred to in conversation as “That puppet movie that was nominated at the Oscars with the name I can’t pronounce”) is the first animated movie from Charlie Kaufman with a voice-cast of only three; David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tom Noonan. Using a unique stop-motion art style, expect some surreal images with sparkling and thought-provoking dialogue.
Honestly, I’ve been anticipating this film since I first saw the trailer but I feel like it’s lost some momentum because of its ridiculously staggered release date (a December release in the U.S.). But I’ve heard nothing but good things and from what I hear it probably would have won the “Best Animated Feature” Oscar if ‘Inside Out‘ didn’t exist to dominate the category.
People are telling me this is worse than the movie it’s parodying; ‘Fifty Shades of Grey‘. The fact that ‘Fifty Shades of Grey‘ was the worst movie of 2015 does not bode well here.
Kung Fu Panda 3 –
The “Kung Fu Panda” series from Dreamworks Animation is the epitome of not judging a book by its cover. What sounded like a stupid concept and a one-joke gimmick has evolved into a surprisingly kick ass franchise with two terrific movies, a solid TV series and a third instalment which reunites the titular Panda, Po with his long-lost family. But he must teach his new-found Panda family the ways of Kung Fu to stop the new villain, spirit warrior Kai from taking over the world.
It’ll be hard to top ‘Kung Fu Panda 2‘ but I think we can expect an incredibly fun, action-packed and heartfelt story…as a worst case scenario. With the exception of the third and fourth “Shrek” movies, Dreamworks Animation have a terrific track-record with sequels and thanks to the movie’s January release date in the U.S., we know that this movie does live up to expectations. I know I SHOULD be anticipating the high-brow, artistic and thought-provoking ‘Anomalisa‘ but…I love this franchise, so ‘Kung Fu Panda 3‘ is my most anticipated animated film of the month.
The Witch –
Every year there seems to be one big horror movie that makes a splash on the festival circuit that everyone should be looking forward to if they’re fans of the genre. 2014 had ‘The Babadook‘, 2015 had ‘It Follows‘ and 2016 has ‘The Witch‘. Set in the 17th century, ‘The Witch‘ centres around a family that is being torn apart by an evil entity that utilise black magic and possession. A simple set-up, but it would seem that atmosphere and under-your-skin scares can take you far.
As a lover of horror, I’m looking forward to something that mainly focuses on suspense and scary concepts instead of jump-scares. As a result, I’m more than willing to support ‘The Witch‘. I’ve heard that it’s not for everyone and that it has had a bit of a backlash from the mainstream who were expecting something more intense, but those looking for a slow-burn may find themselves right at home here.
March 18th 2016
10 Cloverfield Lane –
2008’s ‘Cloverfield‘, while making quite a big splash upon its initial release, has mainly been known in retrospect as a found-footage mystery marketing campaign as opposed to the ho-hum monster movie it actually was. There have been rumblings of a sequel for years, but in a world where we know everything about major movies YEARS in advance, we were all very surprised to see a trailer for this “Blood Relative” to ‘Cloverfield‘, ‘10 Cloverfield Lane‘ in January, with a release date for two months later.
A turnaround that quick from announcement to release means that J.J. Abrams’ “Mystery Box” gimmick may actually pay off and not be incredibly frustrating. We have a strong cast and this spin-off/sequel/whatever-it-is will definitely be better than ‘Cloverfield‘ because it’s not a found-footage movie. That’s science. We shall see if this can deliver an intense sci-fi mystery/thriller/drama…yeah, it’s hard to define a movie like this.
The Boy –
Regular readers will know that my kryptonite is creepy puppets in horror films. As a result, I’ve been following ‘The Boy‘ since the first trailer was released with modest anticipation. Director William Brent Bell doesn’t have a good track record, but the trailers have been atmospheric and I think there is something to the premise of parents coping with the loss of their child by treating this doll like their own.
Reviews haven’t been great, but by modern-horror comparisons they’re above the curve. I’m actually holding out hope for this one and I want to support new distributor STX Entertainment (distributor of ‘The Gift‘) to liven up the industry a bit more. So my fingers are crossed for this to be good…and to make sure the titular boy doesn’t get me in my sleep or something.
Based on the 1975 book “High Rise” by J. G. Ballard, ‘High-Rise‘ follows a young doctor, played by Tom Hiddleston, and his life in a luxury tower-block where the lower-class live on the bottom levels with limited power and resources. Already you can see why a story like this is relevant, despite being written 40+ years ago.
Brought to us from director Ben Wheatley and also starring Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller and Luke Evans, ‘High-Rise‘ looks like a high-concept, psychedelic trip of a film. I don’t know much about the story or the source material and the marketing hasn’t done a great job getting the story across, but the talent has me intrigued and I think the concept will carry it very far in this current political climate.
NONE OF THAT.
SHAME ON YOU, SCHNEIDER!
The animation looks terrible, the plot is generic AND stupid, the voice-acting comes across as lazy and that’s just from the trailer!
March 25th 2016
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice –
As Warner Bros. attempts to kick-start their Rube Goldberg Machine of a DC Comics Cinematic Universe after the shaky foundations of ‘Man of Steel‘, Zack Snyder and crew did the only logical thing…bring in the Batman…and have Ben Affleck play him. The second movie to lead into future “Justice League” properties will see the Last Son of Krypton go up against The Dark Knight as a new force grows in the background to set up future stories.
With Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, Doomsday, Aquaman, Flash, Cyborg and more appearing in this movie, ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice‘ has an uphill battle to kick off this new cinematic universe proper. The marketing has been prominent but not for the right reasons (the moment Doomsday appeared you could basically predict the entire last act of the film) and some questionable content in the clips and trailers means that it has a lot to prove. But if WB can pull this off, we may have the spectacle of 2016 on our hands.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 –
Yes, folks. This is happening. In the late 90s, Nia Vardalos wrote and starred in a one-woman play about her Greek family and her experience marrying a non-Greek. The play was a huge success within her local community and was also seen by Hollywood executives, including Rita Wilson who convinced her husband, Tom Hanks, to see it and the couple eventually financed a film version with a $5M budget. It became a sleeper hit and one of the most successful independent movies of all time, grossing $368M.
It’s a fluff movie, but it’s fun and charming and sweet and now it’s getting a sequel with most of the cast returning and the entire creative team back behind the cameras (sans director Joel Zwick, replaced with Kirk Jones) and if you look at the trailer you’ll be getting…more of the same. I know that hardcore fans of the original (which do exist) are really excited for this movie and they’ll probably be very happy with the end result.
Welcome to Me –
I have been looking forward to this film since it hit the festival circuit in late 2014. This black comedy stars Kristen Wiig as a mentally ill single woman who wins $86M through the lottery and uses it to fuel her addiction to reality TV by creating her own TV channel based solely around her.
Oh, this thing is just DRIPPING in social commentary. And I love it already.
The trailer is fascinating, the dark comedy is right up my street, Kristen Wiig is such an underrated dramatic and comedic performer and the trailers actually don’t give all the story away so I’m really curious as to what directions they take this story. ‘Welcome To Me‘ ticks every box for me and I can’t wait to see it. Hopefully it’s worth the wait.
Known in the U.S. as ‘Zootopia‘, ‘Zootropolis‘ is the latest animated movie to come from Disney and takes place in a Universe filled with anthropomorphic animals with their own civilisation using current technology. It’s hardly an original concept despite the tag-line of the movie (“Like nothing you’ve seen be-fur”) and even Disney themselves have tried to go by this angle before in ‘Chicken Little‘, but there’s hope yet. We have the creative team of ‘Bolt‘, ‘Tangled‘, ‘Wreck-It Ralph‘ and ‘Big Hero 6‘ working on ‘Zootropolis‘ and Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman as the two leads, so there’s definitely talent involved.
Then the reviews started coming in. 100% on RottenTomatoes at time of writing.
What initially seemed like a fun animated film is now being heralded as one of the best animated films in recent memory. That has significantly peaked my interest because the trailers, while good, seem to have been selling an entirely different movie than what we actually have. So I’m looking forward to this one quite a lot.
So, there’s a lot to see and a lot to talk about. I didn’t even get to all the movies as we also have films like ‘Risen‘, ‘Rock the Kasbah‘, ‘Truth‘, ‘The Ones Before‘ and more. But my most anticipated movies of March 2016 are (in no particular order);
- ‘Kung Fu Panda 3‘
- ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice‘
- ‘Welcome To Me‘
But that’s just me. What about you? What are you folks looking forward to this March? Are there any other releases that I missed that you can’t wait to see? Be sure to sound off in the comments section below!
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Posted: 1st Mar 16