The Movie Watcher’s Guide to March 2011

We realize that you’re probably sitting at home right now, chewing your own nails off and wondering what movies are coming out this month. Maybe you’re even wondering why no one on the entire internet has said anything about them. Strange, we know.

How will you know what to watch this month?

Fortunately, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius spent the entire month of February drinking tiger’s blood, wandering the Oscar red carpet, and copying by hand every copy of Below The Line in order to keep you informed about what’s coming out in March.

You watch movies, so this guide’s for you.

March 4th

The Adjustment Bureau

Who did it? Directed and written by George Nolfi; Starring Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, Terence Stamp,

What is it? A romantic science fiction film about how Fate is real, and it’s wearing a fedora.

Why should we care? Because unlike most sci-fi films that are so focused on effects and gadgetry that they often forget to include ideas, this one looks smart! Nolfi’s film is based on a story by Philip K Dick, and while adaptations of his work include stinkers like Paycheck and Next they also include entertaining flicks like Blade Runner, Total Recall, and Minority Report. Nolfi’s film looks to lean closer to the latter group with its tale of a man who chooses love and uncertainty over destiny itself. The movie has a beautiful look to it with its clash of early 20th Century fashion and architecture with a sci-fi plot, and you can rarely go wrong with Damon and Blunt. -RH

Watch the trailer:

I Saw the Devil

Who did it? Directed by Jee-woon Kim; Written by Hoon-jung Park; Starring Byung-hun Lee and Min-sik Choi

What is it? A cop goes outside the law to take revenge on a serial killer, to rescue his wife, to take revenge on a serial killer, and to take more revenge on a serial killer.

Why should we care? What’s better than a movie where good triumphs over evil by seeking bloody retribution? A movie where a man gets that retribution and lets the bad guy go so he can track him down all over again and kick his ass some more. Those fortunate enough to see it at Fantastic Fest (like me) reveled in the amount of red stuff and schadenfreude being spilled when Oldboy star Min-sik Choi gets tormented simply because he liked to kill people for fun. Plus, The Good, The Bad, The Weird director Jee-woon Kim sure does know how to make a beautiful flick. -CA

Watch the trailer:


Who did it? Directed by Gore Verbinski; Written by John Logan; Starring the vocal stylings of Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Harry Dean Stanton, Timothy Olyphant, Ray Winstone

What is it? An animated film about a pet chameleon forced out into the real world where he discovers it’s never too late to be a hero and run for public office.

Why should we care? Because the movie looks like a lot of fun in the guise of a Western themed, beautifully animated kids movie! Logan is the writer behind such manly epics as Gladiator, The Last Samurai, and Bats so the presence of his talents is an exciting change-up. And Verbinski has always been a visual director, so his take on an animated film is equally interesting. In addition to the talent involved the concept of an animated western is quite cool and holds lots of promise. -RH

Watch the trailer:

Take Me Home Tonight

Who did it? Directed by Michael Dowse; Written by Jackie Filgo and Jeff Filgo; Starring Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, and Teresa Palmer

What is it? A scrawny video store clerk rips off the alien symbiote infecting his psyche and finally gets the balls to ask out the girl of his dreams.

Why should we care? There are plenty of One Night That Changed Our Lives movies for the high school and college set, and this one looks no more harmful than the others. The 80s seem to be annoyingly coming back into fashion, but this appears not to use it solely for gags (unless you’re a teenager giggling at how primitive times were back then). Topher Grace has done good work in lead roles like this before, specifically with In Good Company, Director Michael Dowse’s Fubar films were off-kilter comedy goodness, and the blonde Australian Kristen Stewart seems to be a commodity on the rise. Plus, you get to see Chris Pratt propose to real-life wife Anna Faris. That’s heartwarming, right? -CA

Watch the trailer:

There are even more days in March, and even more movies. Check out what the next week’s have to offer…

March 11th

Battle: Los Angeles

Who did it? Directed by Jonathan Liebesman; Written by Christopher Bertolini; Starring Aaron Eckhart, Bridget Moynahan, Michael Peña, Michelle Rodriguez

What is it? An action/sci-fi film about an alien invasion seen through the eyes of the folks on the ground instead of some hoity toity President Bill Pullman.

Why should we care? Because the trailers look like the best parts of Black Hawk Down and Independence Day combined! At the surface level (i.e. the trailers), this flick looks absolutely amazing with its mix of gritty action, fantastic special effects, and large-scale action. The only pause comes from Liebesman’s presence as director seeing as until now his resume consists mostly of mediocre (at best) horror flicks like Darkness Falls and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. But all that seems to wash away as the trailer plays out before our eyes. -RH

Watch the trailer:

Elektra Luxx

Who did it? Directed and written by Sebastian Gutierrez; Starring Carla Gugino, Timothy Olyphant, Adrianne Palicki, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and a cast of dozens

What is it? The sequel in the inter-weaving saga of soap opera-like happenings that see porn star-cum-mother-to-be Elektra Luxx at its center.

Why should we care? Women in Trouble was a great flick because it took the ridiculous and delivered it in a package wrapped in a thong and the best canine cunnilingus-based comedy out there. Elektra Luxx continues giving, and adds Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a Mexican porn blogger. Oh, that sold you? Figures. I didn’t even get to mention the stylized strip tease that…you know, you can go see it for yourself. You don’t need me boring you. -CA

Watch the trailer:

Jane Eyre

Who did it? Directed by Cary Fukunaga; Written by Moira Buffini; Starring Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Sally Hawkins, Imogen Poots

What is it? A long overdue adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel about a nosy servant who grows to despise and love her employer in equal measure until she discovers his terrible secret.

Why should we care? Because this is a follow-up to Fukunaga’s beautiful and brilliant debut, Sin Nombre! Kudos go to the marketer who decided to pair Goblin’s score from Suspiria against the trailer for this film, but the real draw here is the film’s visual appeal and its incredibly strong cast. Wasikowska stood out from the far more veteran actors in The Kids Are All Right as well as from the abundant special effects in Alice In Wonderland, and it’s good to see her tackling a classic character like Jane Eyre. At the very least it will be fun to spot the anachronistic Gordon & the Whale sticker hidden in the film somewhere. -RH

Watch the trailer:

Mars Needs Moms

Who did it? Directed and co-written by Simon Wells; Co-written by Wendy Wells; Starring the motion capture talents of Seth Green and the vocal stylings of Seth Dusky, Joan Cusack, and Dan Fogler

What is it? Another planet takes it upon itself to steal the Earth’s mothers, and one soon accidentally goes to save his.

Why should we care? Children’s movies are hit or miss these days, but this one looks genuinely good – with a mix of flashy images to grab the attention span and jokes to keep the older fans interested. Plus, the premise is sort of adorable. Hopefully the fart jokes won’t get in the way and we’ll be able to set up some sort of Martian welfare system to get them some maternal figures that aren’t currently in use. -CA

Watch the trailer:

Red Riding Hood

Who did it? Directed by Catherine Hardwicke; written by David Johnson; starring Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Virginia Madsen, Lukas Haas, Julie Christie

What is it? A stylish and MTV-friendly adaptation of the classic fairy tale about a teenage whore.

Why should we care? Because Seyfried has big beautiful eyes! There are probably other reasons for folks to be excited for this one, but I can’t imagine what they might be. Hardwicke (Twilight) has hardly proven herself as a director of note, and the trailer does little to show anything aside from her continued fascination with young women attracted to abnormally hairy men. Seyfried aside, the cast is filled with folks just happy to have work and Oldman… who is incapable of saying “no” to anything. -RH

Watch the trailer:

March 18th


Who did it? Directed by Neil Burger; Written by Leslie Dixon; Starring Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, and Abbie Cornish

What is it? A handsome guy takes a pill that unlocks his full brain potential, gets a haircut, and makes a ton of money.

Why should we care? It’s sort of masochistic to want to see Bradley Cooper make a better version of himself, but Limitless takes a completely incorrect misconception about the brain and science fictionalizes it into oblivion. After all, who wouldn’t want to see the best possible version of themselves just by popping some meds. Wait, this is going to turn out to be a commentary on current American culture isn’t it? The generic action thriller tone of the trailer makes it looks like it could range from Devil’s Advocate good to Paycheck bad, and yes, you’re welcome for two Paycheck references in one article. -CA

Watch the trailer:

The Lincoln Lawyer

Who did it? Directed by Brad Furman; Written by John Romano; Starring Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillippe, Josh Lucas, Marisa Tomei, John Leguizamo, William H. Macy, Bryan Cranston, Michael Peña (again!), Michael Paré, Trace Adkins

What is it? A legal thriller about a lawyer defending a high profile client who just might be guilty… so basically Criminal Law meets Southern drawl.

Why should we care? Because McConaughey is a rising star, and this could be the film to push him onto the A-list! I kid the shirtless bongo player, but he is actually an engaging and charismatic actor when he wants to be (A Time To Kill, Contact, Frailty) and the trailer teases that he may be back on his game here. Phillippe’s character is clearly guilty, but the movie looks to have more than just suspense in its favor including a great supporting cast and strong source material (based on novel by Michael Connelly). -RH

Watch the trailer:


Who did it? Directed by Greg Mottola; Written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost; Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, and the vocal stylings of Seth Rogen as an E.T.

What is it? Two road-tripping blokes find an alien out in the desert, and they all go on a wacky adventure.

Why should we care? That synopsis is unfair, but it seems like Paul has all the elements of the typical found alien movie: the law chasing them, a host of random caricatures to run into, main characters with child-like wonder, and a quest to get an outside off this planet. Those elements are ripe for the parody picking, and the Frost/Pegg team has been consistently funny (even moreso than Frost/Nixon). Just watch out for its obvious, self-evident, totally clear, not-at-all imagined liberal bias. -CA

Watch the trailer:

Win Win

Who did it? Directed and written by Thomas McCarthy; Starring Paul Giamatti, Melanie Lynskey, Amy Ryan, Jeffrey Tambor, Burt Young

What is it? A dramedy about a shlubby lawyer who moonlights as a shlubby high-school basketball coach.

Why should we care? Because it was a hit at Sundance! Take that praise for what it’s worth, but McCarthy’s two previous films as director (The Visitor, The Station Agent) are minor gems, and by all accounts he’s continuing that trend here. Giamatti is an odd actor in that he’s brilliant just as often as he’s obnoxious, but thankfully this performance looks to belong to the former category. And if nothing else Lynskey is always a joy to watch. -RH

Watch the trailer:

March 25th


Who did it? Directed by Julian Schnabel; Written by Rula Jebreal; Starring Frieda Pinto, Hiam Abbass, Yasmine Al Massri, Vanessa Redgrave, and Willem Dafoe

What is it? A Palestinian orphan comes of age and finds herself in the chaos of the first Arab-Israeli War.

Why should we care? Schnabel directed the gorgeous The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which lands him squarely in the category of directors to watch. Pinto stood out in Slumdog Millionaire even as the damsel in distress, and this represents a chance to see her before she goes full ape in that Planet of the Apes prequel. The story and the visuals here look compelling and severe with the kind of inherent drama that allows filmmakers to play around with convention – a situation Schnabel is skilled enough to take advantage of. -CA

Watch the trailer:

Sucker Punch

Who did it? Directed by Zack Snyder; Written by Snyder and Steve Shibuya; Starring Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Carla Gugino, Scott Glenn, Jon Hamm

What is it? An ode to CGI and slo-mo action scenes that crosses The Wizard of Oz with a game of Zork.

Why should we care? Because it features a gaggle of cute girls hitting, shooting, and kicking the shit out of soldiers, robots, dragons, and anything else that stands in their way! While Dawn of the Dead remains Snyder’s most consistent narrative feature his follow-ups (300, Watchmen) have seemed more concerned with visual style than actual content. There’s no denying his latest looks to be an incredible ride, but the possibility of the film being little more than a “find these five items” quest with pretty pictures is worrying. But who am I kidding. I look forward to anything with Jamie Chung in it. -RH

Watch the trailer:

What are you watching in March?

The FSR Staff is an author similar to Hydra. Its articles have many authors. It has many heads. Please don't cut off any of its heads, we're trying to work here.

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