March is a serious month for movie releases, with at least sixteen nationwide releases scheduled and a couple more that may land on screens across the country this month. So, we have no time to waste in getting to our monthly Steven James review of the March movie releases!
This weekend has two potential blockbuster movie releases. “Death Wish” dips back in time forty-four years to present a new take on the first movie in the series of the Charles Bronson classics. There is nothing highly complex in terms of plot: it is the ultimate revenge story. If the new movie starring Bruce Willis seeking street justice on the attacker of his wife (Elisabeth Shue) and daughter (Camila Morrone) evokes the same visceral response that the 1974 film did, we may be looking at another franchise. The second film is “Red Sparrow” with the superstar Jennifer Lawrence in the lead. Sparrows are trained seductresses – chosen from exceptional individuals like the former ballet star Lawrence portrays – who are placed squarely in the middle of international espionage. With the current probe of Russian interference in U.S. elections, the movie looks to be as timely as it is thrilling.
There are four more coast-to-coast movie releases on March 9th. “A Wrinkle In Time” is an adaptation of a 1963 sci-fi classic novel by Madeline D’Engle. It has a stellar cast with Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, Chris Pine, Storm Reid, Mindy Kaling, and Zach Galifianakis. Reid’s scientist father disappears, triggering an interplanetary search for him by his children. Disney produces the movie, and it holds great promise. “Gringo” is billed as a dark comedy about an American played by David Oyelowo who crosses the Mexican border and through
a domino effect of events finds himself battling drug lords, the DEA, mercenary soldiers, and an array of others. Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, and Thandie Newton co-star. The third film this weekend is a thrill ride called “Hurricane Heist.” It revolves around thieves who make a daring gambit for a $100 million score from a U.S. Mint on a coastal town. The twist? An unexpected Category 5 hurricane hits the area, making the heist a much more harrowing affair. The final nationwide release this week is a horror slasher that brings back killers from 2008’s “The Strangers.” This 2018 iteration is titled “The Strangers: Prey At Night.”
March 16th will see three more feature films hit the theaters. The biggest blockbuster potential is the video game turned movie “Tomb Raider.” Alicia Vikander will play the lead role as Lara Croft, originally portrayed by Angelina Jolie in the first two “Tomb Raider” films in the early 2000s. This movie is more of an origin story as young Lara defies her missing father’s wishes (dad portrayed by Dominic West) as she searches for a tomb on a mythical island in the Southeastern Pacific Ocean. Why do we suggest mega-hit potential? Any movie based on a game (or book or show for that matter) that has sold 45 million units certainly has the chance to be a huge success at the turnstiles. A second movie this week is a coming of age story for the 21st century. “Love, Simon” is based on the novel by Becky Albertalli. Simon Spier is a 17-year-old who hasn’t come out to his family yet, but he’s fallen in love (he thinks) with someone online. Further complicating things? He doesn’t really know the identity of the person he’s fallen in love with! Nick Robinson plays Simon; his parents are portrayed by Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel. The third nationwide release this week, “Flower,” also focuses on a 17-year-old. Zoey Deutch stars as Erica Vandross. She and her friends patrol the San Fernando Valley as vigilantes. Her world changes drastically when her mom’s boyfriend and his son move in.
March 23rd takes the prize for the week with most March movie releases from coast-to-coast with five. “Pacific Rim: Uprising” is the sequel to 2013 huge hit directed by Guillermo del Toro. GdT was a co-screenwriter on this one, but it’s being helmed by Steven S. DeKnight in his directorial debut. DeKnight is known for his recent success as exec producer and lead writer of Netflix’s “Daredevil.” John Boyega stars, playing the son of the Idris Elba character from the original humans vs. killer creatures story. Next up is “Midnight Sun.” It tells the tale of – can you guess? – a 17-year-old! Katie Price is played by Bella Thorne, a young woman who has dealt with a dangerous aversion to sunlight all her life. She leaves her secluded shelter, risking her very life so she can get a taste of true living. A budding romance ensues with Charlie, played by Patrick Schwarzenegger. Next on the slate is a family animated film, “Sherlock Gnomes.” The second film featuring loveable gnomes – the first was “Gnomeo and Juliet” – returns the couple voiced by James McAvoy and Emily Blunt. They need the services of great detective Sherlock Gnomes to solve the mystery of disappearing lawn gnomes. Sherlock is voiced by Johnny Depp. The fourth release this weekend is another family film, this one featuring stop-motion animation. “Isle of Dogs” stars the voice talent of Edward Norton, Scarlett Johansson, and Bryan Cranston as it follows the plight of a boy searching for his lost dog in Japan. The final movie this week is a psychological thriller, “Unsane.” A woman is committed to a mental institution involuntarily and must confront the source of her sickness. From director Steven Soderbergh, it was shot – get ready for it – completely on an iPhone in just over two weeks. And, yes, it is getting a nationwide release. Young filmmakers, take heed!
The month rounds out with “Ready Player One,” a sci-fi thriller based on the best-selling novel by Ernie Cline. Cline handles screenwriting duties along with Eric Eason and Zak Penn. In a virtual world called Oasis, a teen is pitted against dangerous competitors in a deadly treasure hunt. Be ready for some high-flying filmmaking. It’s a Steven Spielberg directed movie! And, finally, “Acrimony,” a film starring Oscar-nominated actress Tarji P. Henson as a wife who has had enough of standing idly by while her husband cheats on her. Lyriq Bent plays the husband, and we suspect things aren’t going to end well for him because it’s well known that hell hath no fury like a scorned woman!
There are a lot of great movies in March! We hope to see you at the theater! Do you have a story to tell? Call Steven James and we’ll help you tell it!