Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Films to See in 2012: March

After two consecutive months of having nothing worth anticipating, we finally get around to March, which is always the point where the year actually arrives to some degree. The Academy Awards have been put to bed, and we can now actively move on to films that we may even remember by the end of the year. Of course the month starts out rather unassumingly, with whatever "Project X" is (cause I still don't know), and the animated adaptation of "The Lorax". This was the frame that "Rango" landed in last year, but I do not at all think that Dr. Seuss is quite going to give off the same vibe of nicely dialed insanity. In limited release that weekend is "Being Flynn", starring Paul Dano and Robert Deniro. It's fantastic to see Dano taking on bigger roles, but that film just looks way too simple-minded. I will say that it's better than whatever else Deniro is doing.

The following week we get around to Eddie Murphy's latest film, "A Thousand Words", which I have no idea about one way or the other. The guy's biggest prospect for this year was hosting the Oscars, and that fell through. It's also worth noting that "Friends with Kids", starring Adam Scott, Kirsten Wiig, Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph, and Chris O'Dowd, is coming into limited release. I know, it's like a huge "Bridesmaids" reunion, and as somebody who really enjoyed that film, this sounds like it could be an interesting mix. And there's also "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen", which has some interesting people attached to it, but there isn't much in the way of actual story to be told there, so I'm not that sure about it. Lest I forget, there is also Elizabeth Olsen's year-old thriller "Silent House" finally getting release, so that may well be worth checking out.

The following week we get "21 Jump Street", which I honestly don't expect I'll see, but I expect that quite a few others definitely will. The trailer was kind of funny, so there's that. And then two weeks later there's "Mirror, Mirror", directed by Tarsem Singh, who actually surprised me with how solid and entertaining "Immortals" one. There's nothing to convince me on this film. It looks really quite horrible. We round out the month with "Wrath of the Titans", which my brother thinks looks "extremely cool", but I just think it looks horribly clunky and annoying. What came in the week before that caused me to skip over it?

3. "The Hunger Games"

FULL DISCLOSURE: I have not read any of Suzanne Collins' novels which this film series is based on, so you don't have to worry about a repeat of what happened with "Harry Potter". Quite the contrary, this film actually looks rather interesting and possibly entertaining. I'm not just speaking on a basis of the fact that Jennifer Lawrence is in it. There are a lot of strong players here, without a doubt, but this film clearly isn't a phoned in adaptation of the book. There's a liveliness to it that I don't think you'd get in most novels, if any. That's the thing that got me about the "Harry Potter" films. For all the integrity that's put into some of them, there is rarely a pulse to what's going on. The visuals on this piece are at the very least colorful, so count me in.

2. "Wuthering Heights"

If the blockbusters do end up disappointing me, I'll at least have this piece of beauty to fall back on. Being the massive fan of Andrea Arnold's previous film, "Fish Tank", that I am, it's no surprise that I don't even need to ask questions in order to be attached to the neck to this piece. I don't even care that it's an adaptation of an Emily Bronte novel. The fact that it's done by a director as sensually vivid as Arnold means that I can cast aside any doubts I may have. I expect something dire and drastic, but always something unconditionally beautiful. And I always turn my attention when a director decides to film in the Academy format. It's an unusual choice, but is undeniably a choice.

1. "John Carter"

Surprised? Same here. I didn't think I was looking forward to this film, but I took the time to consider it, and I ultimately came to a conclusion. What have we seen of "John Carter" that doesn't look like an Andrew Stanton film. The man has established a style across the two past films he has done, "Finding Nemo" and "WALL-E". It's high on emotion and flair, though not always the most subtle of works. If you're still trying to drill subtlety, I'm sorry to inform you that you've been misinformed. I still don't really know what "John Carter" is going to be like. The marketing for the film has been elusive at best, and disastrous at worst. This could go horribly wrong, but I have loved Stanton's work in the past too much to not even give him my consideration. But as my brother recently reminded me, any Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptation that doesn't have rape, fucking, and blood isn't done right. Let's hope he's wrong.

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