You know what they say about March, right? It comes in like a Red Sparrow and out like a lamb. And in between the loopy Jennifer Lawrence-as-a-sex-weapon thriller and April Fool’s Day is an array of promising films just waiting to be devoured and discussed. Here are five reasons to be excited about this month’s lineup.
1. One word: Oprah
In her spare time, Oprah Winfrey likes to act. Now the onetime Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee — for the 1985 drama The Color Purple — returns to the big screen in the much-anticipated adaptation of the classic A Wrinkle of Time. In case you forgot about the story (fifth grade was a long time ago!), two siblings and a classmate travel to a dangerous new planet to track down their missing scientist father (Chris Pine). Three celestial guides, Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Which (Winfrey), join them for the transportive and transformative ride. Ava DuVernay (Selma) is behind the camera. Surely Winfrey, a one-woman industry, would only say yes to a worthwhile, high-quality project . . . right? (In theaters Friday, March 9)
2. Lara Croft 2.0
Bye, bye, Angelina Jolie and her pretty-decent British accent. Now Alicia Vikander is stepping into the boots of that vintage 21st century video game bad-ass Lara Croft. Tomb Raider details the first expedition of the young heroine as she embarks on a treacherous journey to help crack the mystery of her dad’s disappearance. (Wait, maybe Lara’s dad is hanging out with the A Wrinkle in Time patriarch? I smell sequel!) Vikander won an Oscar for playing the demure wife in The Danish Girl but anyone that saw Ex Machina is well-aware of her physical and intellectual prowess. This actress can let it fly. (In theaters Friday, March 16)
3. Spielberg Is Game
Steven Spielberg directs a dystopian-set sci-fi thriller that pays homage to retro pop culture. Do I seriously need to continue selling this? Based on Ernest Cline’s 2011 bestseller, Ready Player One focuses on a teen (Tye Sheridan, X-Men: Dark Universe) with encyclopedic knowledge of 80s movies, music and games. He faces off against a powerful corporation in a race to find the key to a vast virtual space universe known as OASIS. If he wins, he gets $500 billion and full ownership of the VR world. Great Scott! (In theaters Thursday, March 29)
4. A Coming-of-Age Film to Love
Love, Simon is the next great onscreen romance, and it’s between a 17-year-old boy and an anonymous classmate. An anonymous male classmate. Simon (Nick Robinson, the jerk brother in Jurassic World) hasn’t told his close-knit suburban family or his group of friends that he’s gay. But after he opens his heart out in emails to a mysterious suitor, he’s inspired to go big or go home. The touching, sweet and often-funny film — directed by the great TV producer Greg Berlanti (Arrow, Supergirl, Everwood) — earned raucous applause during a recent public screening. Wait until you see it and love it for yourself. (In theaters Friday, March 16)
5. Your Faves Get Animated
Frances McDormand, Greta Gerwig, Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Courtney B. Vance. Some of those actors will turn up at the Oscars on March 4 — and they all lend their vocal talents to Isle of Dogs. Pay attention because the stop-motion animated film is the latest project from writer-director Wes Anderson (The Fantastic Mr. Fox). In dystopian Japan, dogs have been quarantined on a remote island due to a “canine flu.” A boy ventures to the island to search for his canines, and possibly find his long-lost father. (Kidding about the last part!) The movie just earned solid reviews out of the prestigious Berlin Film Festival. (In theaters Friday, March 23)
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