Films to see in March 2011
March is an improvement on ‘ooh, look at my unusually short length! I’m so quirky!’ February, but not by much – there’s still a lot of long, cold nights ahead before we limp gratefully into April and get ready for a jam-packed month of, like, Easter and stuff. So to pre-empt your “It’s March, what do I do now?” panic we’ve sifted through the massive, mad variety of films being released next month and picked you out a few gems…
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU
Adapted, updated and probably hacked about from the Philip K Dick short story about mysterious forces keeping two people apart for reasons unknown, The Adjustment Bureau (12A) has lots of potential – mostly in the shape of Matt Damon, who’s basically the most reliable thriller lead in Hollywood. We’ll be interested to see how Emily Blunt shapes up in her first big-budget action(ish) film (we’re not counting that rubbish with Rupert Grint, or the werewolf thing), and first-time director George Nolfi has reasonable form as a writer, most notably for The Bourne Ultimatum.
Read our The Adjustment Bureau review
To calm down after all the silent black helicopters nonsense, though, we’re going to need something much more English – namely Joanna Hogg’s Archipelago (15), which is liable to be an absolute treat. Her feature-length debut Unrelated was an extraordinarily vivid portrait of an English family abroad, and Archipelago, shot on location in the Scilly Isles, is on course to be just as illuminating and tightly-scripted. Hogg is cruelly underappreciated – if you’re a Mike Leigh fan, get yourself along and see what you think.
Read our Archipelago review
If you’re a Shakespeare fan, however, you’re probably best off staying away from The Tempest (PG), which looks cracking but isn’t hugely faithful to the original play – most notably in the little detail of turning Prospero into Prospera with the judicious inclusion of Helen Mirren as the marooned Duke/wizard. Julie Taymor has previously served up absolute gold when adapting Shakespeare, and we’re confident that everything Helen Mirren ever does, ever, is blessed by some sort of benevolent deity. (Except for Love Ranch. We don’t talk about that.) Russell Brand and Alfred Molina will be doing their thing too – this looks to be a fresh and tasty adaptation.
Read our The Tempest review
Rango (PG) reunited Johnny Depp with original Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski, except that Depp will be playing not a flamboyant pirate but a chameleon. A bloody chameleon who has to stop some bandits or something. The bandits, for the record, are toads and snakes and things, and Isla Fisher is an iguana and Timothy Olyphant is, heaven help us, something called the Spirit Of The West. Wikipedia claims that Rango undergoes an “existential crisis”, and Best For Film can’t guarantee that the same won’t happen to you – still, it might be good for a giggle.
Read our Rango review
THE COMPANY MEN
Ever since seeing Inside Job and having our sense of detachment from the world of finance blown to glittery shards, we’ve had a bit of a social conscience thing going on. With that in mind, we’re definitely going to keep on seeing films like The Company Men (15), a sort of inverted Up In The Air which tells the story of a white-collar worker (Ben Affleck) who is forced to take a manual labouring job from his brother-in-law (Kevin Costner) when he falls victim to downsizing. First-time director John Wells has a wealth of TV experience which sounds like it’s given this film an authentic common touch.
Read our The Company Men review
Haruki Murakami’s acclaimed novel Norwegian Wood (15) is also transferring to the screen, the first of his books to do so for several years. We’re most excited about this one because of the female lead – when Rinko Kikuchi was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her silent role in 2006’s Babel, she became the first Japanese woman to be so honoured for half a century and remains the only living Japanese person with an Oscar nomination for acting. Brutally critical of the rebellious counter-culture of the 60s, this should be a decent antidote to Brighton Rock.
Read our Norwegian Wood review
YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER
We haven’t even bothered to find out what You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger (12A) is about, because it’s an article of faith now that everyone has to see every Woody Allen film so they can (usually) sigh about the good old days of Annie Hall or (occasionally) observe that Penélope Cruz is fucking mental and Allen has his edge back. We’ll go and see it, you’ll go and see it, it’ll probably be alright but not nearly as good as his films used to be. Job done. EDIT: We saw it. We were right in every particular.
The directorial debut from IT Crowd and Mighty Boosh star Richard Ayoade, Submarine (15) has already received rave reviews in both Toronto and London. It’s basically about a boy in Wales who’s desperately trying to get his end away before he turns sixteen – what else is there to do in Wales? – and it stars Sally Hawkins (Made in Dagenham) along with various other people who we think we saw in an episode of Sherlock or something. The soundtrack’s by Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys, if you like that sort of thing. AND I used to make drinks for Richard Ayoade when I worked in a teashop, so there.
Read our Submarine review
We’ve been pleasantly surprised by Bradley Cooper of late, so it’ll be interesting to see how he gets on opposite Robert ‘I think I left my credibility in Ben Stiller’s trailer’ De Niro in cyber-thriller Limitless (NYR). Based on 2001 novel The Dark Fields, it deals with a failed writer (Cooper) who develops superhuman confidence, intelligence and recall when he takes an experimental drug. Cue a mogul of some description (De Niro) trying to catch him, hitmen spraying bullets around like it ain’t no thing and the prospect of some brutal withdrawal symptoms, and this one might just work.
Read our Limitless review
Like Limitless, The Eagle (12A) might turn out to be utter trash – we’re just keeping our fingers crossed that after several years of relentlessly plundering the classical mythos we might be safer with some no-nonsense sword and sandal fare. Ever-reliable Kevin Macdonald (Touching the Void, The Last King of Scotland) directs Channing Tatum in a period epic based on Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle of the Ninth – it’s the 2nd century AD, and a young Roman officer travels north through Britannia to find out what became of his father’s lost legion. Like Centurion, but hopefully less mental.
Read our The Eagle review
A TURTLE’S TALE
There is literally nothing to dislike about A Turtle’s Tale – Sammy’s Adventure (U), apart from the fact that it was retitled from the even better Sammy’s Adventures: The Secret Passage when the marvellous Belgians who made it brought it to our shores. Essentially, this is going to be like Avatar without the guns and mad blue people – we follow Sammy’s adventures through the waters of the world for fifty whole years, and in some way that manages to be relevant to global warming. Environmentally sound, visually pleasing and with a vague joke about anal just begging to be made out of that other title, this might be our pick of the month.
Read our A Turtle’s Tale review
There we go, that should keep you going! Incidentally, you obviously should not see Chalet Girl under any circumstances. See you in April!