What a fast February that was. Here we are, with pre-summer blockbuster season just about to kick off, and I feel like I’ve still got a pile *this high* of new releases I missed.
But anyway, yes: March, the new home of popcorn season movies that couldn’t be fit into summer like decent people do. I always harbor this little hope that it will go back to the way things were as recently as just six or seven years ago, and every year it gets more entrenched. Last year’s super-mondo blockbuster The Hunger Games certainly didn’t help matters. Of course, we don’t have one of those coming along this year, but that’s not going to stop them from trying.
And even if we did have one coming, it would surely not be Jack the Giant Slayer, the year’s very first Great Big CGI Epic, and a grittified fairy tale of the most uncommonly idiotic appearance. Bryan Singer is a fine director and all, but it’s telling that we’re hearing more about his 2014 X-Men film than the movie he as coming out right now, because it looks ugly, stupid, and it has been given the rudest treatment with release dates.
In other wide releases, we get 21 and Over, which is literally being sold as “so, you though The Hangover was too grown-up, eh?” Also something called Phantom, about which I know not a damn thing, and The Last Exorcism Part II, and if you don’t know why that’s a hilarious title, then I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do to help you.
Stoker is not, meanwhile, a wide release, but one of its seven locations does happen to be in my metro area, and that pleases me, because Park Chan-Wook + Nicole Kidman = Yes, please.
Surely, Oz the Great and Powerful will be better than I think it is, right? Sam Raimi is making it, and he’s a talented man. Somebody, please tell me anything that will make me think that this isn’t going to be a giant steaming pile of candy-colored dogshit. Or at least that it will be better than Ugly Alice.
Dead Man Down reteams Noomi Rapace with the director of the first Dragon Tattoo, and that’s at least nominally exciting, though it probably didn’t need to happen with a plot that sounds like it has been in mothballs since 1983.
Halle Berry is starring in a movie about a 911 dispatcher hunting a serial killer who has a young woman in his trunk. The whole time I saw the trailer, I kept thinking, “this is going to be called Dispatch, and that’s absolutely the worst title ever”. In fact, it ends up that its title is The Call. The worst is not, so long as we can say, “this is the worst”.
But hey, director Brad Anderson made a good movie a decade ago, so that’s something.
You know how to tell that I can be really dumb sometimes? I heard tell of a movie starring Steve Carrell and Jim Carrey, and I thought, “well, that could be funny”, and I continue to think that even after having seen the dispiritingly broad The Incredible Burt Wonderstone Trailer. Watch me be unreasonably disappointed in just two weeks’ time!
The first thing that I love: we’re getting two competing “terrorists attacking the White House” movies in one year. The second thing I love, that Roland Emmerich is the man behind the respectable won. Unless you consider a rushed-into-production Gerard Butler vehicle “respectable”, in which case I hope you have Olympus Has Fallen inked onto your calendar. I have to admit, the unapologetic crassness charms me a bit.
The year’s first proper animated feature – Escape from Planet Earth being more like a parody of a fever dream – is DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods, a caveman adventure that, like most DWA projects, has vaguely disgusting-looking human character designs. But, it is also co-directed by Chris Sanders, who has as good a track record as any animation director this side of Brad Bird, and that alone is enough for me to confidently and enthusiastically anoint this as my most anticipated of the month, by a huge margin.
Tina Fey and Paul Rudd team up for Admission, which is shaping up to be rather unfortunately heartwarming-in-concept for a comedy starring those two people.
Remember how G.I. Joe: Retaliation was all set for last June, and then they pulled it either because a) the studio wanted more Channing Tatum, b) there wasn’t time to finish the 3-D conversion, or c) it was a dog, and Paramount wanted to dump it. The fact that it landed in March, instead of, say, the Fast Five April slot, tells me all I need to know on that front, but I will not try to convince anybody not to be excited for this one if they have somehow managed to find it within them to feel good about it at any point in its development.
The Stephenie Meyer book that doesn’t have nonthreatening vampires, The Host, has been turned into a movie, and that is surely not good; it stars Saoirse Ronan, and was adapted by Andrew Niccol, and that’s at least potentially good (the question is, is it Gattaca Niccol or S1m0ne Niccol who showed up on set?). I mean, best-case scenario is still not very exciting, but there’s a pretty wide range between best- and worst-case here.
Lastly, Tyler Perry has a new melodrama. It’s not clear to me at this point if its given name is Tyler Perry’s Temptation, or Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor, and damn me, but I am far more excited for the second of those possibilities than the first. Instead of Perry’s usual cast of underused, terrifically gifted African-American actresses given a chance to show off, it has Kim Kardashian. I might actually be more excited to see how this turns out than I am for The Croods.