Monthly Preview: March 2015

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For awhile now, March has always been an interesting month on the calendar, full of movies that fall just outside Hollywood’s pre-established categories. This time of year you usually get blockbusters that are too geeky, dramas that are too off-putting to be awards contenders, and comedies for niche audiences. But this year, there seems to have been a marked shift, with almost every enticing movie being a small-scale indie film. I guess it’s not too surprising; the sorts of blockbusters that would usually come out in March either got released in February (Jupiter Ascending, Kingsmen) or they’re being treated as major summer releases in this increasingly geek-friendly environment. Not that I’m complaining though, because that just means that some of these smaller films get a better chance to shine. Even though the majority of the releases this month fall under the category of “curiosity” more than anything else, I’m still excited to see such an eclectic mix of styles and stories on display.

Chappie: This is the only “big” release this month that I’m remotely excited for. And even then, there are a lot of caveats to navigate here. While Neill Blomkamp really knocked it out of the park with District 9, his sophomore feature Elysium was much less successful. And the trailers make the film look more than a little treacly in a way that could undercut any potential for real impact. BUT, I do still believe in Blomkamp’s talents as a filmmaker, and after over a year of him describing Chappie as a black comedy makes me wonder if the trailers are just completely misrepresenting the film. Whether Chappie is a full return to form for Blomkamp or not, it looks like it should have some more badass robot action, bolstered by a great cast. In this year of terrific science-fiction offerings, I certainly hope Chappie isn’t one that’s left out in the cold.

It Follows: Last year was a great one when it came to smarter-than-average genre fare, with films like Housebound and Starry Eyes delivering the thrills and chills wrapped around a thoughtful and compelling core. By all accounts, It Follows fits right in with those films, a smart and intense horror film that does some unique things within the “confines” of genre. The premise- a girl essentially catches a sexually-transmitted demon and must pass it on- is wicked and blunt in all the right ways, that even without the thematic subtext would still be a compelling concept. Furthermore, the imagery I’ve seen in the trailers is beautiful and trippy, and very distinctive.  I quite liked star Maika Monroe’s work in The Guest last year, and I’m glad to see her getting a starring role as well. Overall this looks to be a great, fun little package, and it might ultimately be my most anticipated movie of the month.

Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter: I had heard good things about Kumiko for awhile, and the premise- a Japanese woman thinks that Fargo really is a true story and decides to find the missing money- sounded meta and fun. But I was very much unprepared for the moody, unsettling tone of the first teaser trailer, which both intrigued me and put me off at the same time. However, after watching the full trailer I’ve included here I was back to being interested, as this shows a film with a very dry sense of humor and a very relatable emotional arc for our eponymous protagonist. While the resulting film might not be my cup of tea in the end, it definitely seems like something worth giving a chance. Plus, Rinko Kikuchi is nothing short of awesome, and that goes a long way.

The Riot Club: The line between this film and the 3 films I’ve listed as Also-Rans this month is razor-thin, I’ll admit it. While this month is full of interesting films, most of them have not grabbed my attention with too much force. As far as Riot Club goes, I wonder if my being a straight white male from an upper-middle-class family makes me more susceptible to the “fantasy” of being part of a posh British collegiate club. The movie has only gotten mediocre reviews, and it could easily end up being something well-worn and basic, but I do like the visual aesthetic on display in the trailer, and the cast is full of good up-and-comers (I’d guess at least two of these guys will be on a James Bond shortlist at sometime in their lives). It might not be anything surprising, but in this post-Recession world I can always go for seeing a bunch of entitled douchebags getting their comeuppance… or a poetic examination of how they don’t.

I had completely forgot that I was interested in Man From Reno, but after looking at the trailer I would definitely consider checking out what looks like a great fish-out-of-water noir; White God sounds like a really great idea with some incredible animal work, but early reviews have been mixed; and Drafthouse Films’ latest release, Spring, looks really trippy and bizarre, and could be a sleeper this month, but could easily slip right by me altogether.

So… March! Movies! Yay! Bye.

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