E: Normally, March isn’t a big month for movies. But every once in a while, they sneak something excellent in, and this year, one of the movies I’m most excited about for the year hits theaters this very month! I can’t wait. I’ve been looking forward to this slate of movies for ages.
E: Though accusations of “greenwashing” has some fans of the book frustrated, this is still the movie my soon-to-be 7-year-old wants to take her friends to for her birthday. It looks bright and charming.
M: As you know, I’m not exactly a tree-hugger, but I have to assume that that’s being wrongly reported. I can’t even begin to imagine that anyone that’s read the book, let alone considers themselves a fan of it, would be complaining that the movie is “greenwashing.” The book is far from subtle. The moral of it, heck the whole point of it, is for us to learn to be better stewards of the environment. It was written at a time when we were dumping waste into rivers, cutting down forests without reseeding, and smog and acid rain were on the rise. Lessons then were needed on sustainability and Dr. Seuss, in his usual whimsical but pointed way (like in The Sneetches, dealing with race relations) made a fable that was fun and entertaining while making that point. Having not seen it yet I can’t say if the movie goes too far, but from the previews I’ve see, it looks like it’s is right in line with the good Doctor’s style and intent. Plus, the cast is great!
E: No, “greenwashing” means that the movie features advertising from companies which aren’t environmentally friendly. The book, clearly, is as tree-huggery as you can get.
C: Well then I’m with M, the made-up term in this case suggests the opposite of what it’s being used to mean. But I’m not with M that they movie looks to be in line with Seuss’s morals. The main character is a dirt bike rider who does tricks on a halfpipe? Yes, because recreational gasoline consumption is so in line with an environmental message…
Controversy aside, the movie also looks like one of those kid pics that relies on loud-mouth characters delivering one-liners and candy-colored objects zooming around, which adult audiences will find a bit wearing.
E: I hope not – I’m already locked into seeing it!
E: Paul Dano and Robert DiNero star in this true story of a young poet who works with the homeless; eventually the father (and itinerant writer) who abandoned him turns up at his shelter. Directed by Paul Weitz of the American Pie movies and About A Boy.
C: The same person directed American Pie and About A Boy? Mind. Blown.
M: How is there a DeNiro movie coming out that I’ve not heard about? Wow.
Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
E: The cult cable show duo gets a flick.
M: I have to say, I don’t get it.
C: And I’ve never heard of it, so let’s move on.
E: The classic adventure series by Edgar Rice Burroughs brought to life; it’s kind of like Gladiators on Mars with Star Wars style creatures.
M: I’m not sure what to think on this one. On one hand, Burroughs is great, and it looks like it could be fantastic. On the other, Taylor Kitsch doesn’t inspire my confidence. I want this to be a great piece of enjoyable entertainment like Prince of Persia, but I don’t have as much confidence for it as I did for PoP. We’ll see…
E: I thought PoP was going to be terrible, based on the previews, but I too would be thrilled if this turned out to be a similarly fun piece of pulpy, pop entertainment.
C: I fell asleep twice before I made it to the end of PoP, so I just don’t think I’ll bother to see this one, since it looks like the characters and story will be even flimsier.
A Thousand Words
E: Convoluted Eddie Murphy comedy in which a slick, fast talking publisher gets cursed (?) with a magical tree; a leaf falls each time he talks, and when they all fall, both he and the tree die. Yikes!
M: Yeah, that sounds kind of disturbing. What’s the moral here, mutes live longer?
C: Little known fact!
E: Indie horror movie starring the newest indie it girl, Elizabeth Olsen. That’s right, younger sister of those Olsens.
C: The Olsen TWINS? Have an actress sister? Wow, I’m learning all kinds of things today.
E: Martha Marcy Mae Marlene? Huge festival buzz? In that Sundance movie with Josh Radner as his totally age inappropriate love interest? I swear we’ve talked about her before.
M: Indie horror, Olsen sister… that’s strikes one and two.
Friends With Kids
E: Jennifer Westveldt of Kissing Jessica Stein directs a fantastic ensemble of comedians (Kristin Wiig, Adam Scott, Chris O’Dowd, Maya Rudolph, etc) and Megan Fox in a film about the way the advent of rug rats changes adult friendships.
C: I like the way you put that. “It had as a lot of great people in it! …and Megan Fox.”
E: Hee. Thanks. Not an accident.
M: You forgot to mention that the catalyst is that the main characters (Westveldt and Scott) are friends that decide to have and raise a baby together, but keep their relationship platonic. Which, seriously? Doesn’t that by definition change your relationship out of the “platonic” category in a whole host of ways?
C: Well, if they adopted then the word “platonic” could still apply, though it would certainly be a complicated relationship. But this is a movie so obviously by the end they will either be in love with each other, or at least one will find someone they do love to raise the kid with.
E: Nicholas Cage fancies himself Chuck Norris, out to avenge a brutal attack against his wife. Do you think there are actually still people out there to whom Nicholas Cage’s name on a movie doesn’t make it an automatic pass? He was always hit and miss, but I can’t come up with anything worth seeing on his resume since Adaptation.
C: Don’t be a snob! I loved National Treasure.
M: The box office results for things like Ghost Rider and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice disagree with you, sis. And taking into consideration both National Treasure movies, which were very enjoyable, I disagree with you. Since the last National Treasure movie was in 2007, though, I think if you go with the last 4+ years you have a strong case.
C: He is definitely more miss than hit.
M: However, one of our favorites, Guy Pearce, is in this, and where he’s been in two of the last three Best Picture winners (the two with dialog), you never know. 😉 Of course, if there’s an upcoming picture of his headed for awards, my money’s on Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, not this one.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
E: Forget about salmon and Yemen. Think Ewan McGregor as an uptight ichthyologist falling in love with sexy publicist Emily Blunt. Cute, right?
C: I sure hope so. From the trailer it looks like it could be adorable, or just awkward.
M: And with McGregor in it, this starts a run of Trainspotting alum movies…
The Decoy Bride
M: …and here we have the other, Kelly MacDonald.
E: Convoluted sounding romcom which might just be saved by the stars – the delightful Scottish lass M mentions above (also of Boardwalk Empire, soon to be heard in Brave) and the tenth Doctor, David Tennant. Oh, and Ugly Betty‘s marvelous Michael Urie has a smaller role as well. Sounds like an absolutely excellent rental.
C: Hold up. Wait just a sec. David Tennant and Kelly MacDonald? In a romantic comedy? Who cares if it looks like the piecemeal of ten other pictures – I’m there!
21 Jump Street
M: Speaking of decent rentals… oh wait, no.
E: No, not really. The newly thin Jonah Hill stars with Channing Tatum, reprising the ’80s TV show about undercover cops in a high school. Sigh.
M: Yeah, the original 21 Jump Street was the show that launched Johnny Depp’s career, but this version looks much more like Paul Blart Mall Cop, but not as funny. And Blart wasn’t all that funny.
E: Seriously, WHAT is the point of comic remakes of old TV shows? Because CHIPS the movie did so well?
C: They’re cheap and make back their money on the strength of the familiar name alone? That’s the only reason I can think of.
Casa Di Mi Padre
E: Mexican set comedy starring Will Ferrell? And Gabriel Garcia Bernal? I don’t even know what to say, honestly.
M: Come on, how could you not see that Will Ferrell has always been destined to end up in a Mexican comedy!
C: Are gringos falling from the sky?
M: Yes El Guapo, they are.
Jeff, Who Lives At Home
E: Family favorite Jason Segel. Susan Sarandon. Ed Helms. Judy Greer. Genius title. This could be funny.
M: Ahh, Jason Segal and Ed Helms teamed together, that should be fun. But ugh, Susan Sarandon. Seriously, I am not a fan. Any good will she built up in me with Dead Man Walking has long since dissipated, leaving only her shrill, annoying, one-note characters behind. Hopefully she’s not on screen a lot.
C: I would never say “Ugh, Susan Sarandon.” But I would say “ugh, Judy Greer” – she’s the shrill one. But watching Marshall Erickson help out his brother Andy Bernard sounds like it could make for fun.
E: Adrien Brody stars as a gifted teacher who can’t commit to a full time job; costars James Caan, Lucy Liu and Marcia Gay Harden.
M: I like the cast, and the concept seems solid, but they have been peppering On Demand with commercials for this for a week now, and it just looks dull. Everyone involved looks like they’re on Valium, the filming looks uninspired, the lighting looks bland and muted. Strange.
E: Beloved french waif Audrey Tatou (Amelie) stars as a successful woman suddenly adrift when her soulmate dies. Which is also the premise for the utterly wonderful Blue from the Tricolor trilogy from the early 90s.
C: Doesn’t that sound perky.
The Hunger Games
E: Drum roll, please! I.Am.So.Freaking.Excited.About.This.Movie.
M: You are hardly alone, either in this family or in general!
C: I think a lot of the teen set and plenty of adults are there with you!
E: True- which is why M and I and our spouses and a huge party of friends already have plans to see it. Our readers may not know, but I am a fool for this trilogy of books (this one particularly). Seriously, I have followed its progress since before Gary Ross was chosen as the director. Star Jennifer Lawrence received an Oscar nomination last year for her work in Winter’s Bone as a Katniss Everdeen-like character. I think they have the capacity to knock this one out of the park. Clearly the other studios know this, because they’re putting absolutely nothing up against it.
M: You have to think, with as huge as the book series has been, the quality of the writer, director (and co-screenwriter) and cast (seriously, Jennifer Lawrence, new it-boys Josh Hutcherson and brother-of-Thor Liam Hemsworth, and veterans like Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, and even Lenny Kravitz) that it has a chance for the March opening weekend record (currently Alice In Wonderland, with $116 mil). The book is soooo good, and every sign so far is that the movie translation will be up to par. Can’t wait!
C: I’m not jazzed about the young male actors cast in the lead roles, but I hope I’m wrong – particularly about Hutcherson, who makes a bad blond and doesn’t manage to convey even a spark of feeling in the trailer clips. But the rest look pretty awesome.
E: Oh, and? All you folks out there, do yourself a favor and read the book. You’ve got three weeks. It won’t remotely take you that long. You’ll thank us for it, we promise.
Wrath of the Titans
E: Sequel to the remake of the 80s cult classic. Probably just as full of questionable effects and bad 3D as you’d expect.
M: I remember three things about its predecessor… that it was one of the first post-Avatar movies that rushed a bunch of 3D crap on top of the finished film before it came out, that everyone I know that saw it didn’t care for it, and that Liam Neeson orders someone to “RELEASE THE KRACKEN” as only he can. None of that makes me want to see this.
E: The more comic of the two Snow White movies headed our way this year.
M: Personally, I’m most interested in the kung fu version Disney’s supposedly making with Hanna star Saoirse Ronan.
C: Did you just make that up? Because it sounds better than either of the others.
M: Not made up, but it’s apparently been kicking around for a long time, and Natalie Portman was once attached instead of Ronan. Check it out here. Um, but let’s get back to the one opening in this month.
E: Lily Collins stars as Snow White, but the big glitz is Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen. Very cool, over-the-top costumes.
M: Seeing Roberts in this reminds me of Hook, in which she was very good as an update Tinkerbell, which makes me think this could well work.
E: I’m still more interested in Snow White and The Huntsman, just based on the commercials, though I’m not entirely sure either is going to be all that wonderful.
C: Ugh, the Kristen Stewart one? I’ve seen her doze through enough films, thanks. Even if this Snow (Collins) does look Mary Sue-ish, Roberts seems to be making things interesting. I just wish she could win in the end. Is that wrong?
M: I don’t know about Snow White and The Huntsman. As much as I like the gothic look and feel, I don’t know if I can suspend disbelief enough for something where the plot centers around Charlize Theron being jealous that Kristen Stewart will be considered more beautiful than her.
E: Okay, I just snarfed up my tea.
M: I mean, if the goal is to attract sparkly fictional vampires or werewolf-Shark Boy without competition in the dismal and dreary clime of the Pacific Northwest, then maybe. But if it’s strictly a beauty contest? Come on now.
C: Indeed. Theron is easily the fairest of all the actresses involved.
This Must Be The Place
E: Sean Penn stars as a faded Goth superstar on a quest to discover the secrets of his newly departed father.
M: Hmmm, nope, doesn’t really sound like the place.
E: Thriller/horror movie about a diving instructor and a great white shark.
The Deep Blue Sea
E: Big screen version of a play about a loving woman who somehow manages to wreck herself and everyone she cares about, starring Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston. Awesomecakes.
M: Yes, because when people in the midst of a recession are looking for a way to get away for two hours, watching someone destroy herself and everyone she loves is just the way to do it. I bet it’s going to be HUGE!