With the Awards Season now finally at an end for another year, it’s time to properly take stock and look forward to all the cinematic delights that await us in 2015. Sure, we may be in the middle of that annual lull of waiting for the big summer blockbusters, but there’s still more than enough on offer in the cinemas this March. There’s everything from a Transformers-esc sci-fi set in a small British coastal town (Robot Overlords, leading our Blockbuster section), to Ryan Reynolds as a serial killer who talks to his cats (The Voices, our comedic highlight of the month)… And they say there are no new ideas left in cinema!
March’s Top Pick
Still Alice (Dir. Richard Glatzer & Wash Westmoreland) – Released March 6th
If you still don’t feel like you’ve had your fill of Awards contenders for this year then, quite frankly, there’s something wrong with you. But nevertheless we’re not ones to judge, and if it’s Oscar-worthy cinema that you’re after then look no further than the compelling and powerful Still Alice.
An Oscar-winning Julianne Moore stars as Alice Howland, a linguistics professor at Columbia who’s happily married with three grown kids. Her life however, takes a turn for the worst when she is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Faced with the harrowing realties of this degenerative terminal ailment, Alice looks for a way to fight the decaying of her mind while also ensuring that she makes the most of the remaining time she has with her loving family.
So often do such films simply scream the words “Oscar bait”, but like Michael Haneke’s Amour, Sill Alice is worthy of far greater respect. In contrast to Haneke’s masterpiece, Glatzer and Westmoreland’s story observes the effects of Alzheimer’s disease from the perspective of the victim, focusing on Alice as she grapples with her own thoughts and feelings. Rarely is a film likely to show such bravery when dealing with a topic so close to people’s hearts. And with Moore’s performance receiving plaudits from many of the major academies and guilds, Still Alice is simply a film that’s not to be missed.
This month sees a melange of magnificent indie dramas from all over the world coming to a screen near you. Fresh from the French shores is Mommy (Mar. 20th), the latest work from Canadian auteur Xavier Dolan, which follows a feisty widow named Die as she struggles to keep control of her son who has extreme ADHD. While Norway offers us Blind (Mar. 27th). Similarly to Still Alice, Eskil Vogt’s film is a touching tale that reflects upon a terminal disability from the perspective of those who must deal with the consequences that come with it.
A homegrown alternative that you may wish to seek out is X+Y (Mar. 13th), which tells the story of a young boy on the autistic spectrum who is offered the chance to travel to Taiwan and compete in a junior maths contest.
Fans of American indie meanwhile should be certain to check out White Bird In A Blizzard (Mar. 6th), a moody excursion into small town scandal that stars Shailene Woodley as a teenager whose life is thrown into turmoil after her mother disappears.
Those of you out there with a love for mechanical marvels are in for a treat this month with the releases of Chappie (Mar. 6th) and Robot Overlords (Mar. 27th). The latter is a glorious homegrown homage to 80s action cinema that finds Gillian Anderson fighting against an invading robot alien race on the English coast. While the former is the latest film from visionary sci-fi director Neil Blomkamp and tells the tale of a mechanised police droid who is given the ability to think and feel for himself after thieves install a new program on his hard drive.
For those in need of a YA fix do not fret, for this month also sees the release of the second part in the Divergent series. Insurgent (Mar. 20th) sees Shailene Woodley’s Beatrice Prior confronting her own inner demons while continuing to fight the powerful alliance who are threatening to tear her society apart.
If it’s an all-out-actioner that gets your engine running, then we have a trio of Hollywood hard men with their finger on the ignition this month. Liam Neeson proves that even trash like Taken 3 can keep his career afloat as he prepares to Run All Night (Mar. 13th). Here Neeson plays an ageing hitman with a gruff attitude (naturally), who is forced to face-off against his former mob boss in order to protect his estranged son.
Also fighting the mob this month is Jason Statham, who finds himself at the mercy of the Mafia because of his gambling problems in Simon West’s Wild Card (Mar. 20th). Sean Penn’s Special Operative on the other hand would probably prefer to be up against the mob, but instead finds himself fleeing across Europe from the very agency that once employed him in The Gunman (Mar. 20th)
It’s been a long time since one considered Ryan Reynolds to be any sort of tolerable screen presence, which makes my anticipation for forthcoming black comedy The Voices (Mar 20th) initially kind of surprising. This screwball sounding story sees Reynolds play a man who finds his thoughts turning towards the murderous after he’s stood up on a date. Soon he finds himself torn between two paths in life, guided by the voices of his evil talking cat and benevolent talking dog.
Those who fancy something more…appropriate let’s say, should look out for Appropriate Behaviour (Mar. 6th), the new film from Desiree Akhavan, which takes its cues from Woody Allen as it tells the story of a bi-sexual Persian girl struggling to come to terms with her own identity while living in New York.
Best Of The Rest
Of all the trailers on offer for this month’s films, surely none look to be as sensational as Wild Tales (Mar 27th). Produced by Pedro Almodovar, this promises to be every bit as crazy as it looks and sounds, weaving together stories of love and deception, tragedy and violence, and the undeniable pleasure of loosing control. We really cannot wait for this one!
For the youngsters meanwhile, there’s a chance to see the tale of Prince Charming and the Glass Slipper retold in Kenneth Branagh’s live-action adaptation of Cinderella (Mar. 27th). While those who are fans of anime will finally have the chance to feast their eyes on the Oscar nominated Tales of Princess Kaguya when it’s released in cinemas on March 20th.
Finally, for those excited about the forthcoming remake of Far From the Madding Crowd, make sure you take the opportunity to rewatch the original when it’s re-released on March 13th and bask in the brilliance of John Schlesinger’s astonishing adaptation that stars the truly iconic Julie Christie as Bathsheba. For all fans of film, this will be a sumptuous cinematic treat!