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March movies, March films

Bullz-Eye Winter Movie Preview: March
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March: The psychic scars of the last two months may never heal.

It is at this point of the year that we suspect that, thanks to two months of nonstop craptacular films, we will begin to do nothing but grunt and drool like the South Park kids did when Bebe grew boobs. Fortunately for you, there are a slew of other options, like the NCAA Big Dance, the World Baseball Cup, and spring break sexcapades. Go pick up a girl in a bar. By the time you get around to dating, with any luck, these movies will be long gone from the multiplex.

Pulse (Dimension, March 3)
Actors: Kristin Bell, Rick Gonzalez, Ian Somerhalder
Director: Jim Sonzero
Rating: R

The Pitch: When a young man commits suicide, his friends begin receiving strange emails and transmissions, and before you can say “White Noise,” the dead are about to take over the world.
The Buzz: Yet another Japanese horror flick remake, this one seems to be a blend of “The Ring” and “The Grudge,” though the comparisons to “White Noise” cannot be ignored.
Trailer Highlight: The WWII bomber plane falling from the sky. Pity it’s from the original Japanese version.
Bottom Line: They always suck us in, but almost never deliver. Color us skeptical.
Official Web Site: No US site yet, but you can check out the original at http://www.pulsefilm.com/

16 Blocks (Warner Bros., March 3)
Actors: Bruce Willis, Mos Def, David Morse, Alfre Woodard
Director: Richard Donner
Rating: PG-13
Read our review

The Pitch: A cop (Willis) walks a witness (Def) from a police station to the courthouse, and seemingly everyone wants to prevent them from getting there.
The Buzz: Couldn’t tell you. Can’t find a trailer, can’t find a web site.
Trailer Highlight: Trailer not available at press time.
Bottom Line: After four “Lethal Weapon” movies, Donner can do this sort of movie in his sleep. The question is: is he sleeping here?
Official Web Site: N/A

Block Party (Focus, March 3)
Actors: Dave Chappelle, Mos Def, Lauryn Hill, Common, Cody Chestnutt, Wyclef Jean
Director: Michel Gondry
Rating: R
Read our review

The Pitch: In one of the odder pairings we’ve seen lately, Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) records some Dave Chappelle standup routines and even shoots a reunited Fugees.
The Buzz: Two movies out on March 3 with the word ‘block’ in the title, both starring Mos Def? What are the odds? Info on this movie is spotty, as the only reviews on the Web were after seeing a rough cut of the movie on the festival circuit. Still, it looks like the kind of thing that will have Chappelle fans lining up, and having Gondry at the helm is inspired.
Trailer Highlight: Trailer not available at press time.
Bottom Line: It’s Dave Chappelle, bitch! We’re there.
Official Web Site: N/A

The Hills Have Eyes (Fox Searchlight, March 10)
Actors: Ted Levine, Kathleen Quinlan, Dan Byrd, Emilie de Ravin
Director: Alexandre Aja
Rating: R

The Pitch: A family traveling through the desert has an accident, and soon realizes that they are far from alone.
The Buzz: Yet another ‘70s horror remake, though of the two (the other being that insipid looking “When a Stranger Calls”), this looks more promising. Mind you, that doesn’t mean it will be good. Just less bad. That director Aja’s debut, “High Tension,” came and went with a whimper doesn’t bode well, either.
Trailer Highlight: The quick shot of the freak that looks like he has one of those neck braces that they put on paralyzed people.
Bottom Line: Think of it in the same terms as that “Dawn of the Dead” remake, if you think of it at all.
Official Web Site: N/A

The Shaggy Dog (Disney, March 10)
Actors: Tim Allen, Kristin Davis, Jane Curtin, Spencer Breslin, Zana Grey
Director: Brian Robbins
Rating: PG

The Pitch: A hotshot lawyer but careless father (Allen) is bitten by a shaggy dog, and before long, is turning into a shaggy dog, and must learn how to relate to his kids. As a shaggy dog.
The Buzz: These remakes usually have a built-in fan base (“Professor Gadget”), though they’re not infallible (“Herbie: Fully Loaded,” “The Cat from Outer Space”). One, however, must look at all Allen-related projects with suspicion. Outside of the two “Toy Story” movies and “Galaxy Quest,” Allen’s made some successful movies, but not any good ones. And there’s a third “Santa Clause” headed your way this holiday season. Lucky you!
Trailer Highlight: Without a doubt, Allen running over the old lady with the walker while chasing the cat. Mean is funny, people.
Bottom Line: Say it with us: Tim Allen is a dirty, dirty whore.
Official Web Site: http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/shaggydog/index.html

Idlewild (HBO Films, March 10)
Actors: Big Boi, Andre Benjamin, Terrence Howard, Macy Gray, Ving Rhames, Ben Vereen, Cicely Tyson, Patti LaBelle
Director: Bryan Barber
Rating: R

The Pitch: A performer at a speakeasy (Boi) and his piano player (Benjamin) try to keep their club from being taken over by gangsters in the Prohibition-era South. (Yes, we’re paraphrasing IMDb’s description here.)
The Buzz: OutKast’s first foray into film is no small-time affair, netting a who’s who of soul singers (LaBelle, Gray, Vereen) to play supporting characters. However, this was originally on the books for December. Was the movie not finished on time? Did it need some tweaking?
Trailer Highlight: Not available at press time.
Bottom Line: Obviously, we’re dying to see it. But the bump from December has us concerned.
Official Web Site: N/A

The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things (Palm Pictures, March 10)
Actors: Asia Argento, Dylan Sprouse, Cole Sprouse
Director: Asia Argento
Rating: R

The Pitch: Based on the J.T. Elroy novel, the story is about a young boy (the Sprouse twins) being taken away from his foster parents and given back to his birth mother, a teenager with issues (Argento).
The Buzz: Argento, whose name is a punch line on Defamer, shows some moxie here with the whole actor/director thing, but from the looks of the trailer, she needs to work on her directing skills a tad. Blame the trailer editor if you must, but the sequence of the abusive father figure spanking Sprouse, cutting into the shot of Sprouse shouting in an open parking lot and the two crows, was an undergrad art film at its best. Which, of course, means worst. And how on earth was she able to snag Peter Fonda, Winona Ryder, and Marilyn Manson?
Trailer Highlight: The young boy preaching the evils of sin on the street while his mother, who looks like Courtney Love, comes to pick him up.
Bottom Line: Call it morbid curiosity; like a car crash, you just can’t turn away.
Official Web Site: http://www.asiargento.it/FILM/film.html

V for Vendetta (Warner Bros., March 17)
Actors: Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, Rupert Graves, Stephen Rea, John Hurt
Director: James McTeigue
Rating: R

The Pitch: In a totalitarian English society, a lone rebel/terrorist named V (Weaving) rescues a young girl in need of help (Portman), and soon realizes that he has found the protégé that he has been seeking.
The Buzz: Many scoffed when they bumped the movie from late 2005 to now, but hello, London bus bombings, which apparently were eerily similar to what happens in the movie. McTeigue, who has studied under the tutelage of executive producers the Wachowski Brothers (or is that Wachowski Brother and Sister?), has made a movie that surely looks the part…so why is it that Portman raves about working with the Wachowskis, but not McTiegue?
Trailer Highlight: Where to begin? The thing looks sweet from start to finish. But the domino shot has to be the piece de resistance.
Bottom Line: Nothing will keep us away from this. After all, it can’t be worse than “The Matrix Revolutions”…can it?
Official Web Site: http://vforvendetta.warnerbros.com/

She’s the Man (DreamWorks, March 17)
Actors: Amanda Bynes, Laura Ramsey, Channing Tatum, Robert Hoffman, Vinnie Jones, David Cross
Director: Andy Fickman
Rating: PG-13

The Pitch: Bynes poses as her twin brother at a new school for two weeks, where she kicks the boys’ butts at soccer and falls for a boy…dressed like a boy.
The Buzz: Bynes has been pretty quiet since she made that bold, anti-war statement in the artwork for her 2003 movie “What a Girl Wants” (she made a peace sign, the damn Commie). There are some nice touches in the details (David Cross as the principal), but don’t they make this “Twelfth Night” knockoff every ten years or so?
Trailer Highlight: Bynes getting hit in the crotch with a soccer ball, but forgetting to react appropriately. “Oh, right. Auuuuggghhhh, my God!”
Bottom Line: The ‘tweeners will probably dig it, but if they were smart, they’d rent “10 Things I Hate About You” instead.
Official Web Site: http://www.shestheman-themovie.com/

Thank You for Smoking (Fox Searchlight, March 17)
Actors: Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, Adam Brody, Cameron Bright, Sam Elliott, Katie Holmes, William H. Macy, J.K. Simmons, Rob Lowe
Director: Jason Reitman
Rating: R

The Pitch: A tobacco lobbyist (Eckhart) is unbelievably good at his job, though he realizes that it comes at the cost of the respect of his son (Bright).
The Buzz: Man, how many movies is this Cameron Bright kid in? And he’s in the next “X-Men” movie, too? Dakota Fanning’s going to have him killed. This is another festival favorite and the directorial debut of Jason Reitman, son of Ivan (“Ghostbusters,” “Stripes”). Eckhart, who’s no stranger to morally compromised characters (“In the Company of Men”), is practically swaggering onscreen.
Trailer Highlight: Eckhart speaks to a class of school children about cigarettes, and completely humiliates a little girl who dares to stand up to him.
Bottom Line: The trailer’s the bomb. This movie can’t come quickly enough.
Official Web Site: N/A

Inside Man (Universal, March 24)
Actors: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Willem Dafoe, Christopher Plummer
Director: Spike Lee
Rating: N/A

The Pitch: A hostage negotiator (Washington) is dealing with a bank robber (Owen) who may be up to something altogether different than it appears.
The Buzz: Imagine that, an agenda-free movie from Spike Lee. Foster does condescension quite well, too. There’s some big time talent here, so the story should be a good one. But what’s with those “Fight Club”-esque scenes of Owen talking about himself? We’re guessing Lee had nothing to do with shooting those.
Trailer Highlight: Although it probably gives away too much, Washington screaming at Owen through the doors, “This ain’t no bank robbery!”
Bottom Line: We’re hooked. The payoff better be a good one, though.
Official Web Site: http://theinsideman.net/

Stay Alive (March 24)
Actors: Frankie Muniz, Samaire Armstrong, Jon Foster
Director: William Brent Bell
Rating: N/A

The Pitch: A bunch of kids play a video game online, and when their characters are toast, so are they.
The Buzz: Someone is going to find a clever way to turn the Internet into death, but so far, they’ve been basing their plots on Brothers Grimm stories and Japanese horror movies. Hell, why not crib from “Halloween 3: Season of the Witch” for your source material? Don’t let the fact that it’s the worst “Halloween” of all bother you.
Trailer Highlight: Not available at press time, but God help them if they kill Anna from “The O.C.” (Armstrong). She’s too smart and cute to die so young.
Bottom Line: When they force us to see this, we’ll be singing the “Malcolm in the Middle” theme mantra: “Life is unfair.”
Official Web Site: N/A

Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (20th Century Fox, March 31)
Actors: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Jay Leno, Seann William Scott
Director: Carlos Saldanha
Rating: G

The Pitch: Manfred (Romano) is worried that the melting ice will flood his valley home.
The Buzz: Well, that was awfully convenient that the first “Ice Age” movie suddenly took place just before the end of the ice age, wasn’t it? Retro fitting aside, the 2002 original made mad bank, so a sequel was inevitable. However, the original wasn’t that good, and lines like “She completes you” don’t speak well for the sequel.
Trailer Highlight: Scrat, as always. He should get his own Saturday morning cartoon show.
Bottom Line: The mammoth went extinct soon after the last ice age ended, right? There’s hope for us yet.
Official Web Site: http://www.iceage2.com/

Slither (Universal, March 31)
Actors: Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker, Gregg Henry, Tania Saulnier
Director: James Gunn
Rating: R

The Pitch: A town is plagued by a bunch of eel-like alien baddies that turn people into zombies.
The Buzz: Well, even if Universal wasn’t thrilled by the box office of “Serenity,” it looks as though they’re happy with Nathan Fillion, who plays the town sheriff. Rooker, surprise, plays a violent psychopath. Has he ever played a good guy in a movie?
Trailer Highlight: Whether they back it up or not, the opening scene was awfully funny; they list a bunch of the classic horror movies and the years they were released, then the words, “THEY WERE FOR SISSIES.”
Bottom Line: There are few things we love more than a good horror B-movie. It’s got the horror and the B-movie part down; we only hope it’s also good.
Official Web Site: http://www.slithermovie.net/

Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector (Paramount, March 31)
Actors: Larry the Cable Guy, Joe Pantoliano, Lisa Lampanelli, Tony Hale
Director: Trent Cooper
Rating: N/A (we’re guessing PG-13)

The Pitch: A restaurant health inspector (Larry the Cable Guy) tries to discover why a series of poisonings are taking place at all of the fancy restaurants.
The Buzz: You just know his “right to bare arms” joke is going to appear somewhere here. Is the movie just a foray for his existing material, or is he going to explore new ground here? That could be the difference between something worthy of Joey Pants’ inclusion, and something that even Jerry Mathers (he makes a cameo) should have turned down.
Trailer Highlight: No trailer at press time.
Bottom Line: You know what would be really cool? Pitting LTCG against David Cross in a comedy competition. That, we’d see.
Official Web Site: N/A

Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction (Sony, March 31)
Actors: Sharon Stone, David Morrissey, Charlotte Rampling, David Thewlis,
Director: Michael Caton-Jones
Rating: R

The Pitch: Catherine Tramell (Stone) attracts the attention of Scotland Yard, who sends a psychiatrist (Morrissey) to check her out. Before long, he’s playing her reindeer sex games.
The Buzz: In the name of all that’s holy, why? Wasn’t the fact that production was halted – Benjamin Bratt and director Lee Tamahori walked, and Caton-Jones and Morrissey (?) stepped in when production restarted – enough of a sign that no one cares who Catherine Tramell is screwing/killing? Not subtle enough of a message for Stone, it appears.
Trailer Highlight: No trailer at press time.
Bottom Line: A Blur song once sang of a guy “who very keen on Sharon Stone.” That was in 1995. We’re pretty sure that guy is keen on Lindsay Lohan now.
Official Web Site: N/A

A Scanner Darkly (Warner Independent, March 31)
Actors: Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Woody Harrelson, Robert Downey Jr.
Director: Richard Linklater
Rating: R

The Pitch: IMDb said it best: Bob is a dealer of a new drug called "Substance D." Fred is a cop, and is assigned to bring Bob down. However, what they don't know is, due to a personality-splitting side effect of Substance D, Bob and Fred are actually the same person.
The Buzz: In a likely effort to get the taste of his “Bad News Bears” remake out of his mouth, Linklater goes all “Waking Life” on us again, shooting his adaptation of a popular Philip K. Dick story in live action and then animating the whole thing. Is it just us, or is Warner Independent turning into the coolest studio in Hollywood?
Trailer Highlight: It’s gotta be Woody’s line: “What if they came in through the bathroom window, like that famous Beatles song?”
Bottom Line: Beats the hell out of a mammoth, Sharon Stone, and Larry the Cable Guy. Sign us up.
Official Web Site: N/A






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