March is all about variety. Fantasy films, cop dramas, murder mysteries, and documentaries-it’s got it all. Both big budget Hollywood extravaganzas and off-the-grid indie productions are coming our way, with a multitude of genres well represented. Oh, how frustrating! So many movies…so little time.
Alice in Wonderland (March 5)
58 years after their 1951 release of Alice in Wonderland, Disney is issuing a live-action version of the classic tale by author Lewis Carroll. The Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, and the Red Queen are all back, and this time in 3D.
Springing from the imaginative (and possibly mildly unstable) mind of Tim Burton, there will undoubtedly be new twists on the familiar story. And with a rumored $250 million budget, the very best in visual effects is a given. The excellent cast is the icing on the cake, including Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and the relatively unknown, but promising Mia Wasikowska as Alice. This one should be a box office destroyer.
Rated PG for fantasy action/violence involving scary images and situations, and for a smoking caterpillar.
Brooklyn’s Finest (March 5)
Training Day‘s Antoine Fuqua is back to direct this cop drama of intertwining stories about one officer nearing retirement, another facing a moral crossroad who has to determine how far he’ll go to provide for his family, and a third whose loyalties are shaken after dissolving into the double-life of the undercover agent.
Fuqua proved with Training Day that he knows how to dramatize the cop life and tell a compelling story about the dangers and temptations these men face in the line of duty. Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, Don Cheadle, and Wesley Snipes have all shown up for this one. Now Fuqua has to prove that he’s not a one-note director and that he can tell a familiar story with a fresh spin.
Rated R for bloody violence throughout, strong sexuality, nudity, drug content, and pervasive language.
The Red Riding Trilogy (March 19)
Adapted from English author David Peace’s Red Riding Quartet, The Red Riding Trilogy is a series of fictional films that draws together a whole host of characters, all of whom have been affected in one way or another by the “Yorkshire Ripper,” the real-life serial killer whose reign of terror held England in its grip in the 1970s and 1980s.
The three films-1974, 1980, and 1983-are directed by Julian Jerrold, James Marsh, and Anand Tucker, respectively, and with the exception of Sean Bean, feature a mostly unknown but talented cast. Early reviews are mixed, but enough critics are raving about the production-including Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News who calls it a “towering and emotionally complex achievement”-that it should be well worth a look.
This film has not been rated by the MPAA.
Repo Men (March 19)
Jude Law and Forest Whitaker are armed, dangerous, and ready to take your spleen. Literally.
In an advanced future, a company called The Union has made the medical breakthrough of synthetic mechanical organs and has made them available to the public . . . for a high price. Miss a payment and they’ll send their repo men after you to reclaim their property. However, when Jude Law’s Remy wakes up with a Union-created heart after suffering cardiac arrest, he has to take a hard look at his line of work. When he arrives at the wrong conclusions, he finds himself on the run and being hunted by his former partner Jake (Whitaker).
If the trailer is any indication, Director Miguel Sapochnik’s first major feature appears to be a winner. Sci-fi and action fans should put this one at the top of their list.
Rated R for strong bloody violence, grisly images, language, and some sexuality/nudity.
The Art of the Steal (March 26)
What is one to do with $25 billion worth of Post-Impressionist and Modern art?
If you’re Dr. Albert C. Barnes, you apparently hide it away 5 miles outside of Philadelphia and tell the elitist art community that they will never, ever get their hands on it. In 1922, he created The Barnes Foundation as an educational foundation and as the repository for his massive collection which contains pieces from some of the best known artists in history, including Picasso and Matisse. After his death in 1951, the collection passed into the hands of the diminutive Lincoln University. Now a handful of powerful entities who want to bring the collection to a new museum in Philadelphia have gone to court to have their will done. However, a group of students hoping to stop the move stands in their way.
No film is more interesting than a well-done documentary on a compelling subject, and this story of “will they or won’t they” looks very well-done indeed.
This film has not been rated by the MPAA.