stokerThe Oscars may be over, but the quality of cinema is still high as we leave the cold of February behind for the (hopefully) warmer climes of March. This month sees new releases from both Steven Soderbergh and Park Chan-wook (releasing his first English language feature), two of my favorite directors. March also sees the release of Compliance, an independent American production based on a harrowing true story that has had a lot of critical acclaim.

1. Stoker (Dir. Park Chan-wook) – It wasn’t just the director that caught my eye when looking through the write-ups for Stoker, I was also amazed to see it had been written by Wentworth Miller… yes, he of Prison Break fame. Clearly taking inspiration from various sources including Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, Stoker stars Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode & Mia Wasikowska. Wasikowska plays India, a young girl who becomes suspicious of her uncle Charlie, who turns up out of the blue just after the death of her father and moves in with India and her unstable mother. Promising a lurid mixture of thrills and chills, Stoker could well be an early contender for film of the year.

2. The Guilt Trip (Dir. Anne Fletcher) – A road comedy starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogan as mother and son… ignore the fact that Anne Fletcher, whose most notable film to date is the just about average 27 Dresses, directs The Guilt Trip and it begins to look like an appealing prospect. The trailer certainly brings the funny with Rogan and Streisand appearing to have a natural chemistry. Fingers crossed for this one!

3. Side Effects (Dir. Steven Soderbergh) – After the surprise success of Magic Mike last year, Soderbergh returns to the world of pharmaceuticals he last explored in the excellent Contagion. Side Effects follows psychiatrist Dr. Banks, who prescribes his patient Emily to take a drug that has serious side effects, which eventually lead to tragedy. Starring Jude Law as Banks & Rooney Mara as Emily, Side Effects looks to explore the lines between guilt and innocence of those under the influence of a new drug and those who prescribed it to the patient.

4. Welcome to the Punch (Dir. Eran Creevy) – A new Brit thriller starring man of the moment James McAvoy and Mark Strong as cop and robber battling it out on the mean streets of London. Strong plays Jacob Sternwood, who returns to London following the death of his son to find the culprit. McAvoy is cop Max Lewinsky, who failed to capture Sternwood last time and will stop at nothing to do it this time. Promising heart stopping action and stylistically stunning visuals, be sure to catch Welcome to the Punch when it’s released on March 15th.

5. Compliance (Dir. Craig Zobel) – Based on true events, Compliance tells the story of how a prank caller convinces a fast food restaurant manager to interrogate one of her employees on suspicion of robbery. Praised for it’s all round excellent performances, what’s truly terrifying about Compliance is the truth behind it; raising serious questions about the nature of trust between employers and employees.