2008 Winter Movie Preview: March
With March comes the annual theatrical thaw, away from shitty old leftovers and toward the first of the spring blockbusters. On tap for '08? Why, it's Roland Emmerich! He's already proven he knows how to show New York City being ground to dust by giant lizards and natural disasters; now, with "10,000 B.C.," he makes like Huey Lewis and takes us back in time. March also brings us the first of the year's wide-release prestige pics, in "Snow Angels," and a whole bunch of other stuff in between. Take a look below to find out more!
10,000 B.C. (Warner Bros., March 7)
Starring: Steven Strait, Camilla Belle, Cliff Curtis, Omar Sharif, Tim Barlow, Marco Khan, Reece Ritchie
Director: Roland Emmerich
The Pitch: Emmerich, director of such "I thought
Michael Bay did that" films as "Godzilla," "Independence
Day," and "The Day After Tomorrow," hops into the Wayback
Machine for some prehistoric action. Emphasis on the "action."
The Buzz: Emmerich has already proven his mettle (or not, depending on who you ask) with giant lizards, aliens, and natural disasters, so woolly mammoths and sabertooth tigers are the next natural step, no?
Trailer Highlight: The dialogue. Ha, ha, ha! Just kidding!
Bottom Line: Well, it's bound to be better than "The Flinstones" -- we think -- and it'll probably attract a fair number of people who rushed out to see "300." But the trailer isn't all that impressive, even in terms of sheer spectacle.
Official Site: http://www.10000bcmovie.com/
Accidental Husband (Yari, March 8)
Starring: Uma Thurman, Colin Firth, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Sam Shepard, Isabella Rossellini, Lindsay Sloane, Justina Machado
Director: Griffin Dunne
The Pitch: Thurman plays Emma Lloyd, a talk radio
host whose advice to Machado results in the end of her relationship
with Morgan, who then sets about getting revenge.
The Buzz: Buzz? Maybe ten years ago. But when was the last time a limp rom-com like this made any real money at the box office? And who takes relationship advice from Uma Thurman, anyway? She married Ethan Hawke, for Chrissakes.
Trailer Highlight: What?
Bottom Line: Something tells us Thurman may want to have a talk with her postman -- she seems to be getting Kate Hudson's scripts by mistake.
Official Site: http://www.theaccidentalhusbandmovie.com/
Bank Job (Lionsgate, March 7)
Starring: Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows, Stephen Campbell Moore, Daniel Mays
Director: Roger Donaldson
The Pitch: Statham leads a crew of based-on-a-true-story
bandits who tunneled their way into a British bank vault in 1971, then
used certain...um...connections with the royal family to divert attention
away from their headline-stealing exploits.
The Buzz: Statham has made no bones about his desire to inherit the action-hero throne from Bruce Willis, and even if he tends to choose shittier scripts than Willis, he's got the chops -- and hell, at least this isn't another "Transporter" sequel.
Trailer Highlight: Looks like "Ocean's Eleven" with an adorable British accent. Dig it!
Bottom Line: "The Bank Job" is essentially the only pure action flick being released in March, so if you want your fast-paced rocks, this is where you're going to get 'em.
Official Site: N/A
Seuss' Horton Hears a Who (20th Century Fox, March 14)
Starring: Jim Carrey, Steve Carrell, Carol Burnett, Seth Rogen, Will Arnett, Isla Fisher, Dan Fogler, Amy Poehler, Dane Cook, Jaime Pressly, Jonah Hill
Director: Jimmy Hayward, Steve Martino
The Pitch: Listen, not to be a jerk or anything, but if you need the setup for "Horton Hears a Who," you might want to retroactively report your parents to child protective services. This here is a CGI treatment, with voicework from Carrey (who clearly no longer feels the sting of "The Grinch") and a whole mess o' other stars.
The Buzz: The trailer was released a little under a year before the movie's theatrical debut. You don't know from "buzz" yet.
Trailer Highlight: Actually, just the fact that it doesn't totally suck is a highlight; the studios haven't been particularly kind to Seuss' books in the 21st century, and hopefully this signifies a change.
Bottom Line: Your children will want to see this. You might too.
Official Site: http://www.hortonmovie.com/
Back Down (Summit, March 14)
Starring: Sean Faris, Djimon Hounsou, Cam Gigandet, Amber Heard, Evan Peters, Wyatt Smith
Director: Jeff Wadlow
The Pitch: Jake Tyler (Faris) is the "new kid in town" who just happens to come with baggage -- specifically, his history as a quick-tempered street brawler. He's drawn into a conflict with a Ray Ban-sporting bully (Gigandet), and by extension, pulled into the world of Mixed Martial Arts fighting. They will have a climactic fight...you know the rest.
The Buzz: Kind of like "Karate Kid," only, you know, much worse, and with a crappy suburban-aggro rock soundtrack to boot. Where's Joe "Bean" Esposito when you need him?
Trailer Highlight: Wait, did he just say "Win, lose, it makes no difference -- this is my fight"?
Bottom Line: If you really can't get enough of watching stunt doubles kick other stunt doubles' asses, you may not be able to resist this. Otherwise, you'll probably just see it accidentally on Cinemax sometime after May.
Official Site: http://www.neverbackdownthemovie.com/
and Glory (New Line, March 14)
Starring: Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, Noah Emmerich, Samantha Morton, Lake Bell, Jennifer Ehle, Jon Voight
Director: Gavin O'Connor
The Pitch: Norton and Farrell are two members of a multi-generational family of New York cops whose loyalties to one another are tested when one of them launches an Internal Affairs investigation against his older brother and brother-in-law.
The Buzz: The synopsis describes it as "authentic, gritty, and emotional," but it was co-written by Joe Carnahan, so, you know, caveat emptor and all. Still, there ain't a thing wrong with this cast.
Trailer Highlight: Just seeing Norton, Farrell, and Voight together is cause for excitement. But we were snickering too loudly after hearing "I was a good man once" to pay attention to much else.
Bottom Line: We've seen this story played out on the screen hundreds of times, and we'll be happy to be proven wrong, but we just don't see Carnahan as the guy who can make us care about it again.
Official Site: http://www.prideandglorymovie.com/
(New Line, March 19)
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Paul Bettany, Jim Broadbent, Helen Mirren, Andy Serkis, Rafi Gavron, Sienna Guillory
Director: Iain Softley
The Pitch: Fraser and Guillory play a father and daughter with the power to make characters from books come to life simply by reading the pages aloud -- a power that winds up backfiring when the villainous Inkheart leaps from his printed confines and into the real world.
The Buzz: Fraser has committed far too many crimes against cinema to ever be fully forgiven -- but this still looks like a pleasant enough diversion, and given that the book it's based on is only the first installment in a trilogy, it could even be a nice post-"Mummy" fallback for the actor.
Trailer Highlight: "I love duct tape!"
Bottom Line: Virtually guaranteed to be better than "George of the Jungle." For whatever that's worth.
Official Site: http://www.inkheartmovie.com/
Taylor (Paramount, March 21)
Starring: Owen Wilson, Alex Frost, Casey Boersma, Dylan Boersma, Troy Gentile, Nate Hartley
Director: Steve Brill
The Pitch: A pack of nerds, sick of being pushed around by the school bully, hire a man who claims to be a former mercenary to protect them. Things go (ostensibly hilariously) awry.
The Buzz: It's admittedly difficult to imagine Wilson as a character capable of getting worked up about much besides scoring tail or who's making breakfast, but it's a decent premise (anybody remember "My Bodyguard"?) with plenty of room for humor.
Trailer Highlight: "Sometimes you give a little Mexican judo. As in, 'Judon't know who you're messing with.'"
Bottom Line: The spring movie season generally isn't chock-full of wonderful films. "Drillbit Taylor" could prove to be a worthwhile diversion.
Official Site: http://www.drillbittaylor.com/
Angels (Warner Independent, March 21)
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Kate Beckinsale, Michael Angarano, Griffin Dunne, Amy Sedaris, Olivia Thirlby
Director: David Gordon Green
The Pitch: Stewart O'Nan's acclaimed novel comes to the big screen in the form of David Gordon Green's adaptation of "Snow Angels," in which a pair of stories -- one about a couple confronting tragedy, the other about a young man struggling with deep-seated personal problems -- intertwine.
The Buzz: O'Nan isn't a household name, but if enough critics hop on this movie's bandwagon, that could all change -- and with a cast that includes Sam Rockwell, Amy Sedaris, and Kate Beckinsale, we'd lay better-than-even odds on the author moving up a tax bracket or two this year.
Trailer Highlight: The highlight, really, is the fact that the trailer doesn't give away every single goddamn plot point in two and a half minutes. You might even watch it and come away without understanding what the movie's about, even. Remember when trailers did that?
Bottom Line: Don't go in expecting tons of yuks, but this could be one of the first quarter's finest.
Official Site: http://www.snow-angels.com/
(Columbia, March 28)
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne
Director: Robert Luketic
The Pitch: Spacey plays an unscrupulous professor who heads up an early '90s incarnation of the infamous MIT Blackjack Team -- a group of college kids who descend on Vegas and use below-board methods to rack up big winnings.
The Buzz: It's based on a true story -- Ben Mezrich's "Bringing Down the House," to be specific -- but in reality, most of the team's members were Asian males, none of whom looked anything like Jim Sturgess or Kate Bosworth. Nothing's more Hollywood than fudging facts, of course, but this could be a troublesome indication of what Luketic has done with Mezrich's story.
Trailer Highlight: It's (almost) always a pleasure to see Spacey in action, and Bosworth has never looked so lovely.
Bottom Line: Gambling-themed movies generally tend to suck knot, but with this cast? Anything can happen.
Official Site: http://www.21-movie.com/
Fat Boy, Run (Picturehouse, March 28)
Starring: Simon Pegg, Hank Azaria, Ameet Chana, Dylan Moran, Thandie Newton, Harish Patel
Director: David Schwimmer
The Pitch: Dennis (Pegg) is a layabout who still pines for the woman he left at the altar (Newton). When she takes up with another man (Azaria), he decidees to run a marathon to show her how badly he wants her back.
The Buzz: This thing has been in the pipeline for awhile now, and were it not for the talent involved (Michael Ian Black cowrote the script with Pegg), it might be tempting to crack a few jokes at Schwimmer's expense and wait for it to land at DVD. The funniest thing of all, though? It doesn't look bad.
Trailer Highlight: "You left her at the altar when she was pregnant. Women remember that stuff."
Bottom Line: Fans of Pegg's better-known work (including "Hot Fuzz") may be disappointed in the relatively sedate humor on display here, but they'll get over it.
Official Site: N/A
(Paramount, March 28)
Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Abbie Cornish, Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ciarán Hinds, Timothy Olyphant, Victor Rasuk, Rob Brown
Director: Kimberly Peirce
The Pitch: A decorated veteran of the Iraq war (Phillippe) comes home following his tour of duty, only to discover that he's being ordered back to the front...so he decides that maybe he'll be done with the Army before they're done with him.
The Buzz: Most of the buzz surrounding "Stop-Loss" has had nothing to do with the film itself; an affair between Phillippe and Cornish has long been rumored to be the catalyst for his divorce from Reese Witherspoon. That, and the fact that this movie's been in the can for awhile, don't exactly bode well for its commercial prospects.
Trailer Highlight: Phillippe will have a pouty baby face until he's well into his 80s, but Gordon-Levitt looks like a changed man -- and as he's already proven, he knows how to pick a script.
Bottom Line: Thus far, movies about the Iraq war have proven to be box-office poison. We don't see that trend changing here, no matter how many rumors swirl regarding Phillippe and Cornish's canoodling.
Official Site: http://www.stoplossmovie.com/