Better late than never. Now that we’ve put the 90th Academy Awards in the rearview mirror, let us focus on 2018 releases (and celebrate my birthday today). Yes, we now officially move on to March releases, a month where we essentially get a preview of the summer movie season. Awards type fare will more or less fade away for a few months, so blockbusters are on the horizon there. Sometimes that means a big downturn in quality, but I can vouch for some of these March releases being really solid. You never know, one or two might just be an Academy contender next year. Anything is possible, after all, and obviously look for more coverage on these films during the weeks to come.
Here now are the ten best bets for March viewing:
10. Ismael’s Ghosts – A French flick starring Marion Cotillard that I saw last year at the New York Film Festival, this is an odd duck. Tonally all over the place, it’s unlike anything else out there right now. For the quirkiness of it alone, it’s worth checking out.
9. Pacific Rim: Uprising – The first installment somewhat underwhelmed, so expectations are decidedly low here, especially without the presence of Guillermo del Toro. Still, if this sequel does embrace its inherent goofiness and bombast, some fun could be had. I see it next week, so stay tuned…
8. Gemini – As a fan of Lola Kirke, this noir type film has me intrigued. It has been gaining positive notices on the festival circuit, so while it’s not going to end up an awards player or anything of the sort, it has my attention. Kirke is good in everything, and this looks like a juicy role. Count me in.
7. Love, Simon – It shouldn’t be newsworthy in 2018 that a mainstream studio romantic comedy has a gay protagonist, but here we are. Reviews so far have been pretty strong for this one from filmmaker Greg Berlanti, with star Nick Robinson continuing to cement his future A-list status in Hollywood. Look out for this one to possibly be an under the radar hit with audiences.
6. Tomb Raider – The latest video game adaptation is also a remake. Here, in an origin story, one Oscar winner in Alicia Vikander replaces another one in Angelina Jolie. I see the flick tomorrow, so hopefully it’s a fun adventure, as opposed to the slog that most video game movies are. Fingers crossed, right?
5. Lean on Pete – I saw this drama last week and found it oppressively sad, but impeccably made. Andrew Haigh also gets a star making turn from Charlie Plummer, making the protagonist incredibly compelling. Animal lovers might have a hard time with the unsentimental nature of this, so fair warning. Last year, it seemed like an Academy Award hopeful. Bumped to 2018, it appears likely to get lost in the shuffle, but anything is possible…
4. Unsane – The return of Steven Soderbergh from feature film retirement last year was welcomed by many, even if his crime caper Logan Lucky was criminally undersign (no pun intended). Now, he again goes back to his independent roots with this small scale paranoid thriller starring Claire Foy. I see it next week, so if it’s noteworthy, you’ll certainly read about it here!
3. Isle of Dogs – Depending on when in the day you read this, I’ll have already seen Wes Anderson’s latest stop motion animated lark. I often struggle with Anderson, though love his prior animated effort, so that bodes well for this one. Plus, yours truly is a dog lover and owner, which certainly doesn’t hurt. Fans of the filmmaker will almost certainly be delighted by this one.
2. Flower – You’ll read more tomorrow about how amazing Zoey Deutch is in this little film, but hopefully it’s already on your radar due to my raving over the last year or so. It’s a biting movie, anchored by the best performance of 2018 so far by Deutch, who is going to be a star, mark my words. Don’t miss this one!
1. Ready Player One – Steven Spielberg making a blockbuster ode to pop culture? As someone who dug the book, I was already really looking forward to this one, but a sneak preview at the South By Southwest Film Festival confirmed that this should be a lot of fun. Whether or not a SXSW audience translates to general audiences is one thing, but the movie is the cream of the March crop, for sure.
Honorable Mentions: The Death of Stalin, Strangers: Prey at Night, and A Wrinkle in Time (all currently in theaters)
Be sure to check out these movies throughout the month of March!