March Madness:
What To Watch This Month

The award season has finally wrapped up and it seems like as great a time as any to take a look at some of the most interesting films coming to theaters this March. The three that seem surefire bets for the box office will probably be  Captain Marvel, Dumbo, and Us. Us made the 2019 Watchlist and has me optimistic that Jordan Peele has some more tricks up his sleeve.

Looking back at last March we saw the release of films like Death of Stalin and Thoroughbreds, two films that lasted through into the best of the year. So there is definitely hope that some of these will do the same. This is a strange month for film, and much like the weather it comes with its share of ups and downs, but looking over the five choices highlighted below, there’s a feeling it’s going to be a good one.

Climax

(dir. Gasper Noé)

I have a difficult relationship with Gaspar Noé, whose provocations I often find sort of shallow. Yet, I will admit that a film like Enter The Void showed that he has an intensity of talent and original cinematic flair. If only I could ever get behind the ideas that propel him, I think that I could find myself loving a film he makes.

Enter, Climax, the premise of which is a dance troupe drinking a bunch of sangria that unbeknownst to them has been spiked with LSD. Against my better judgment I’m willing to give him another chance based on how alive and gorgeous this trailer is, and the irresistible absurdity of the core idea at play.

Release Date: March 1st
Additional Materials: Watch Trailer

Apollo 11

(dir. Todd Douglas Miller)

The pronounced lack of enthusiasm for Damien Chazelle’s First Man says much more about our attitude to tropey biopics than the Apollo 11 mission itself. No matter how jaded I get, I find it impossible to not be fascinated by the mission to the moon. 

Rather than a dramatization Apollo 11 cuts out the middlemen, sorry Gosling, and presents us with nothing but gorgeously remastered historical footage of this brazen flight. This is heading straight to IMAX for a week which judging by the images in the trailer is probably worth catching while it’s there.

Release Date:  March 1st IMAX / March 8th Everywhere
Additional Materials: Watch Trailer  

Gloria Bell

(dir. Sebastián Lelio)

Sebastian Lelio floored me with his wonderfully vibrant A Fantastic Woman, which I still strongly recommend. This made the drab palette and flat story of his follow-up Disobedience so hard to take.

But based in the trailer for his latest film Gloria Bell, it looks like Lelio is returning to his joyously colorful form. The story follows a woman in her 50s searching for love with Julianne Moore starring and John Torturo supporting, two actors who continue to quietly be some of the very best in Hollywood. 

Release Date: March 8th
Additional Materials: 
Watch Trailer

Us

(dir. Jordan Peele)

Just on the off-chance that you still haven’t seen Get Out, let me reiterate that it is one of the most clever and incisive horror films of the last decade. We are now reaching an incredible moment for director Jordan Peele who is about to launch a brand new Twilight Zone in April, and it’s been a real guessing game as to where Peele takes us next, but now with the trailer out a lot of things have become clear.

The plot revolves around a family vacation to a beach house goes horrifying awry. Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke, who was fantastic in Black Panther, are playing the parents. I love the setting and evocations of Hitchcock the trailer shows off. And while I’m not a fan of how this seems to be more jump scare reliant than Get Out, I have a lot of faith in Peele to deliver a clever, well-executed mystery/horror film.

Release Date: March 22nd
Additional Materials:
 Watch Trailer

The Beach Bum

(dir. Harmony Korine)

I finally got around to Harmony Korine’s, widely loved and widely loathed, Spring Breakers last year and found myself, to my own shock, captivated by it. In fact, I am placing so much faith in Korine right now that I’m even laying aside my exhaustion over the boom and bust that was the McConnaisance.

This feels like a far cry from the atrocious Lincoln Commercial world that McConnaughey had somehow found himself in and instead looks like a joyous return to form. It could be that I’m just summer starved, but I can’t help but be excited about this wild mess of a film.

Release Date:  March 29th  
Additional Materials: Watch Trailer  

Styx: Save Our Souls

A review of the startling Styx (2019). This taut moral thriller explores the costs of inaction in the face of crisis.

Wrestle: America Pinned Down

This under the radar documentary is one of the best of the year, offering a piercing look into the intersections of race and class in America.

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