With the dust now settled on awards season, the studios have a bevy of popcorn-friendly blockbusters heading your way. With summer just around the corner, here are the upcoming cinematic treats for your viewing pleasure in March.
Perhaps Wes Anderson’s most ‘Wes Anderson’ film to date; The Grand Budapest Hotel is an utter delight from start to finish. Ralph Fiennes shines as Monsieur Gustave, a legendary concierge at the prestigious hotel who begins a hapless adventure accompanied by his lobby boy Zero (newcomer Tony Revolori). Covering everything from murder, intrigue, wealth and theft, this is a celebration of comedy and quirk with a collective cast to die for including Jude Law, Tom Wilkinson, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe and Saoirse Ronan. The unmistakable visual style looks sumptuous throughout but it’s the biting script and wonderful characterisation that keeps you completely hooked. A hilarious and gloriously beautiful fable that’s unique in every sense of the word.
This big-screen version of this popular video games franchise manages to hit every speed bump along the road. After being released from prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Tobey Marshall (Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul) enters a high stakes street race to reclaim his honour and readdress a few wrongs. Fleming’s Dominic Cooper plays the boo-hiss villain with suitable aplomb but the blatant stupidity of the script means that this is all for nothing. In a time when the Fast & Furious franchise continually ups the ante and delivers excitement, it’s even more perplexing that Need for Speed crosses the finish line as a huge disappointment. And the biggest irony is that the story-arcs featured in the various video games are far more involving than this half-baked narrative.
After dividing audiences at Frightfest last year, this peculiar horror remake finally finds its way to UK cinemas. The Parker family lose their mother after she succumbs to a brain injury during a rain storm. Grieving heavily, the family still adhere to a religious ceremony that they have been following for generations. But as the rain falls harder, it washes some secrets back into the lives of The Parkers… secrets that will shine a telling light onto their shocking way of life. A strong start culminates in a disappointing finale but that shouldn’t take away from the strong performances, especially Ambyr Childers as a conflicted family member struggling to come of age.
An unrecognisable performance from the stunning Scarlett Johansson gives Jonathan Glazer’s effective sci-fi thriller the upper hand. Laura (Johansson) is an alien who arrives in Scotland, using her sexuality to prey on unsuspecting men. This offbeat story keeps a steady dread tapping on your head throughout. The imposing soundtrack adds great effect as do the supporting players but this is a visual treat foremost – and one that leaves a telling mark on the psyche. Bleak, terrifying and completely captivating, Under The Skin proves that even Hollywood’s golden girl can scare the hell out of you when required.
Ice Cube and Kevin Hart team up to take on the bad guys in this forgettable but enjoyable caper. Hardened cop James (Ice Cube) reluctantly takes his soon to be brother-in-law Ben (Hart) on a ride along to scare him off becoming a police officer. But soon the two uncover an illegal crime syndicate that unwittingly brings the polar opposites together. It’s a decent enough comedy but the buddy-cop genre has never managed to reach the highs of 1995’s Bad Boys. At least Ride Along is a step in the right direction – but there’s still plenty of work to be done before we’ll get another classic like that on our hands.
Liam Neeson continues to enjoy his renaissance as an action man in this ridiculous but very entertaining blockbuster. Air Marshall Bill Marks mysteriously receives text messages during a flight saying that passengers will die every 20mins unless $150million in ransom is paid. With Julianne Moore and Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery in tow, there’s plenty of acting quality onboard but it’s Neeson’s gun-toting charisma that gets you through the flight. In the same model as Speed and Die Hard, Non-Stop keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. The end may be bonkers but by that point you’ll just be having too much fun to care.
Four people’s lives are randomly entwined on New Year’s Eve after they all attempt suicide off the same building. They then reluctantly form a dysfunctional surrogate family to help one another out with life’s difficulties. Adapted from the Nick Hornby book, this has plenty of good ideas and intentions but it just doesn’t come together. Pierce Brosnan steals his scenes as a disgraced breakfast TV personality but Aaron Paul once again gets a rough deal with a thin character. He deserves a much tighter script as does his Need For Speed co-star Imogen Poots but Toni Collette always delights onscreen. There are good moments but something’s distinctly lacking in this emotional dramedy.
Follow me on Twitter @Jason_EntFocus