I was kicking around a tortured “spring thaw at the multiplex” lede, but decided against in the name of taste. The point stands, though: March is usually the month where the first little green shoots of decent filmmaking start to poke up from the snow of hastily-dumped genre fare, with the occasional early-blooming crocus of a Ghost Writer or Duplicity to perfume the air with the scent of top-shelf cinematic entertainment.
[Immediately after writing the above paragraph, the author laid down for several hours to nurse a martini and a pounding sense of a shame].
What was I saying? Ah, yes, it’s the month when good movies start to trickle out. Let’s get to em!
I, at least, think there’s a good chance that the first one of those good movies happens to be coming right out of the gate; and surely I am not alone in thinking that the trailer for Rango promises something a bit subtler and more refined than the ordinary animated family flick? At the very least, more visually attractive? After three increasingly degraded Pirates of the Caribbeans, I’m happy to see Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp collaborating on something fresh: the results were awfully good the first time.
Surely we can all agree, at least, that it’s very possibly going to be the highlight of a weekend including the years-delayed Topher Grace comedy Take Me Home Tonight, whose working title was presumably That ’80s Movie; the somewhat less-delayed The Adjustment Bureau, a Phillip K. Dick adaptation with the not-inconsiderable merit of Matt Damon in the cast – he has a sort of sixth sense for choosing scripts, I deem, though every time I see the omnipresent ad, I get a little bit less convinced that there’s any “there”.
And Beastly. Mustn’t forget Beastly. AKA Beauty and the Beast done up Twilight style. Starring that Alex Pettyfer kid who seems to have suddenly coalesced into movie stardom out of absolutely nowhere whatsover.
Jesus, it’s like the month of fucking “Twilight plus a classic fairy tale” movies. For here comes Red Riding Hood, directed by Catherine Hardwicke no less, who gets further and further from the estimable title of The Woman Who Directed Thirteen with every year. Starring, as the young woman in red torn between the love of two werewolves (Christ…), Amanda Seyfried, in the latest salvo in her stealth campaign to make us all regret ever thinking she was the next big thing in young actresses.
Looking to be a bit better, at least: Battle: Los Angeles, with a trailer that seems remarkably anti-fun for an alien invasion movie, but the spectacle of Aaron Eckhart in a lead action role ought to be good for some weirdness, at the very least. Looking to be considerably better: a new Jane Eyre, which is mostly exciting for a really fantastic cast, including the fucking brilliant pairing of Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska. Whether the movie will be any good… but Fassbender hasn’t yet picked a bad project.
Looking to be much, much worse than all of it: Mars Needs Moms, the latest in the line of immorally ugly mo-cap films made by Robert Zemeckis’s now-deceased ImageMovers Digital – and this one isn’t even directed by Zemeckis, but by Simon Wells, who I for one recall best as the perpetrator of the singularly unnecessary 2002 remake of The Time Machine.
And now I’ll confess to not being able to find anything appealing in the whole weekend slate; nor anything about which I have much of an opinion at all. Which breaks my heart a little bit in the case of Paul, a comedy about two geeks road-tripping with an alien, and more importantly the latest film co-starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost; and though I adore those men, the trailer is just sort of irritating. Or maybe it’s the presence of Seth Rogen’s voice in the trailer. Have I mentioned that I’m ready for Seth Rogen to stop making movies? Because I am very much ready for that.
Otherwise: Bradley Cooper takes smart pills and fights Robert De Niro in Limitless, and Matthew McConaughey plays a lawyer who drives a Lincoln and gets involved in a thriller, in The Lincoln Lawyer. The year is young, but I’ll be staggered if we don’t already have a winner for the Worst Title of 2011.
The “March Tentpole Movie” wasn’t exactly invented by 300 back in 2007, but certainly that movie did a hell of a lot to validate the extension of cinema’s summer season into the first quarter of the calendar year. And now that film’s director, the infamous Zack Snyder, is back for the second time (following 2009’s lumpy Watchmen), with Sucker Punch, his first ever original screenplay. Are you scared? Well how about now: it involves a team of young women in schoolgirl outfits battling fantastic creatures in a stylised version of what I think is World War II, in slow motion. With swords. And for some godforsaken reason, Scott Glenn is involved. I must give Snyder credit for making himself absolutely impossible to parody.
There is a single other wide release, and it is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, because apparently people who are actual children didn’t completely forget about the first one by the end of its opening weekend. I am not one of those people.