The 2016 Film Release Calendar: March

Every January, I preview all the films that are scheduled to come out for that year. I go through the existing release calendar, month by month, and guess how much or how little I’m going to like each of the films.

The major benefit is that it allows me, come the end of the year, to see which movies ended up surprising me for better or for worse, or which ones I had wildly disproportionate expectations for. It also gives me a chance to know what’s coming out and what to look forward to.

I also take all the films that are filming or in post and theoretically able to come out that year and preview those too, along with all the films from the previous year(s) that have yet to come out that I’ve been tracking. In all, I end up previewing more films than pretty much anyone else, I’ve been told.

March

Desierto

A group of people trying to cross the border from Mexico into the United States encounter a man who has taken up border patrol duties in his own racist hands.

Timely. Directed and co-written by Jonas Cuaron, Alfonso’s son. Gael Garcia Bernal is one of the members of the group and Jeffrey Dean Morgan is the racist.

I’m interested in seeing anything the son of Alfonso Cuaron wants to do. (Remember, he also did that Gravity short, about the guy who ends up talking to Sandra Bullock on the radio.

3 stars. I’ll figure this will be worthwhile.

London Has Fallen

In London for the Prime Minister’s funeral, Mike Banning discovers a plot to assassinate all the attending world leaders.

Gerard Butler gets to stab more people in the face. This went through a bunch of different directors. Everyone kept quitting. I’m not even sure who the guy they got is. Hasn’t really done anything in English except a couple episodes of Banshee, which I hear is actually good.

I honestly don’t even need a synopsis or anything for this. 3 stars. It’s mindless action. We know what we’re getting here.

Me Before You

A girl in a small town forms an unlikely bond with a recently-paralyzed man she’s taking care of.

Oh boy.

Director’s never done anything, the writer adapted their own novel.

Starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin. Interesting. It’s British failed Oscar bait.

I kinda want to assume 3 stars because it’s British and I just assume it’ll be classier that way and not fall into all the same traps as American failed Oscar bait, but I can’t even do that.

2.5 stars. Has to prove itself to me. Being held over a year doesn’t inspire much confidence.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

A journalist recounts her wartime coverage in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This used to be called Taliban Shuffle.

Not a very good title now, if you have to explain it.

This is by Ficarra and Requa, who did Crazy Stupid Love, which I hated, and Focus, which was forgettable, but decent.

They didn’t write this, so there’s that. A war comedy being dumped in March isn’t exactly filling me with optimism.

Margot Robbie, Tina Fey, Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Josh Charles, Alfred Molina.

Trailer doesn’t look overly promising.

3 stars.

Zootopia

In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a fugitive fox con artist and a rookie rabbit cop must work together to uncover a conspiracy.

The trailer was funny, but that’s because the scene they put in it was funny. Will the movie end up being that good? Hard to say.

But, it’s Disney, and I’ll give Disney the benefit of the doubt for two reasons. One, they have two movies coming out this year, so they had to put it this early. And two — they’ve been on a relative roll lately. Even though I didn’t like Big Hero 6, that was a solid effort in terms of pure entertainment.

They have a nice cast here — Jason Bateman, Ginnifer Goodwin, Idris Elba, Alan Tudyk (who is Disney’s new go-to guy), J.K. Simmons, Jenny Slate, Bonnie Hunt, Octavia Spencer, Shakira, Tiny Lister, John DiMaggio, Tommy Chong.

I have to go 3.5 stars here, despite my gut telling me to go 3.

Knight of Cups

A screenwriter living in LA tries to make sense of the strange events occurring around him.

Terrence Malick. He’s earned 3.5 stars, even though To the Wonder wasn’t great.

The cast doesn’t matter. This has been almost coming out for two years now. Based purely on Malick, you have to give him a blanket rating and let the film decide where it’s gonna land.

The Brothers Grimsby

A new assignment forces a top spy to team up with his football hooligan brother.

The movie got pushed from June, went through a bunch of reshoots and was overly tested for audiences over the past year. Not a good sign. Mostly the first part. Being tested a lot makes sense, even if I think it’s a sign of desperation.

I think I’m gonna go 3 stars here, since even The Dictator, which was borderline incoherent, managed to go 3 for me.

Coco

An aspiring hip-hop artist discovers the world of slam poetry.

RZA directed this by the way.

Kinda wanna see this just because of that.

I hope it’s good, but I’m not guessing anything more than 2.5 stars.

Show me something, RZA.

Valencia

Waking up from a car accident, a young woman finds herself in the basement of a man who says he’s saved her life from a chemical attack that has left the outside uninhabitable.

I hope this is one of those movies where you think he’s lying but he’s actually not. Though clearly, Stockholm Syndrome.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr star. And John Goodman is in it. So how bad can it be?

I’m sure it’ll end up being 2.5, but I’m going 3 stars. I typically like Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s choices.

The Young Messiah

Tells the story of Jesus Christ at age seven as he and his family depart Egypt to return home to Nazareth. Told from his childhood perspective, it follows young Jesus as he grows into his religious identity.

I was originally going to ignore this, but Anne Rice wrote the book this is based on. And Sean Bean is in it. So this actually seems legitimate and not one of those bullshit religious movies they throw out there that I ignore like the nature documentaries.

2.5 stars.

Don’t think I’m gonna give a shit, but I will probably see it.

Eye in the Sky

A military officer in command of a drone operation to capture terrorists in Kenya sees her mission escalate from “capture” to “kill” just as a nine-year old girl enters the kill zone.

Directed by Gavin Hood. Man, remember when he was someone to look out for? Then he did Rendition, the Wolverine movie and Ender’s Game. Now he’s basically director for hire.

Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman, Barkhad Abdi.

This seems more like a talky thriller than an action thriller. So for that, I won’t go full downgrade and will give them the benefit of the doubt.

3 stars.

Hello, My Name Is Doris

A self-help seminar inspires a sixty-something woman to romantically pursue her younger co-worker.

I saw a trailer for this pretty randomly. It looked okay. Michael Showalter is directing. People seem to like his other movie, The Baxter.

Sally Field is back doing comedy, too. That’s nice.

3 stars. I’m sure this will be one of those movies they push for a Best Actress nomination next year, even though no one will actually see the movie.

Allegiant

Beatrice Prior and Tobias Eaton venture into the world outside of the fence and are taken into protective custody by a mysterious agency known as the Bureau of Genetic Welfare.

Oh good, another Divergent movie for me to not give a shit about.

2.5 stars.

And they’re really making me watch another one after this? Fuck.

Miracles from Heaven

A young girl suffering from a rare digestive disorder finds herself miraculously cured after surviving a terrible accident. Based on the book ‘Three Miracles From Heaven’ by Christy Beam.

“From the producers of Heaven Is For Real,” they said, as though it were a boast.

Starring Jennifer Garner! Oh boy! That’s always the sign of a good movie.

Do I smell another Unforgivable?

Directed by the woman who did the Chilean miners movie.

Yeah, no faith in this to be watchable at all. I mean, did you see the trailer?

1.5 stars.

I’m being nice.

The Bronze

A foul-mouthed former gymnastics bronze medalist must fight for her local celebrity status when a new young athlete’s star rises in town.

I’ve been excited for this for a year now. I can’t wait to see this.

I don’t remember what I guessed for it last year. Right now, I almost want to go 4, but I think I have to stick with 3.5 stars. I don’t want to get my hopes too high. But I also really want this to be good.

Midnight Special

A father and son go on the run after the dad learns his child possesses special powers.

I was excited for this. I think I might have even guessed 4 stars. Jeff Nichols has made 3 movies so far, I’ve seen 2 of them. Take Shelter was 4 and Mud was a solid 3.5. So we’re dealing in that range.

The trailer looks really solid, so I’m gonna stick with 4 stars. I won’t be disappointed with 3.5, but I think this can hit 4.

The cast is really solid. Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Sam Shepard. I think this is gonna be really solid and that they pushed it to find an audience and not for quality reasons.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Fearing the actions of Superman left unchecked, Batman takes on Superman, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero the world really needs. With Batman and Superman fighting each other, a new threat Doomsday created by Lex Luthor. Its up to Superman and Batman to set aside their difference along with Wonder Woman to stop Lex Luthor and Doomsday from destroying Metropolis.

Yeah…

Yeah.

I saw that trailer.

I had no faith in this to be good the minute Zack Snyder was directing.

I have no faith in this to be good now that I’ve seen that trailer.

I have no faith in this to be good now that I know what the full plot is.

3 stars.

Has to prove it can be more than that. Man of Steel didn’t. It looks like they’re throwing too much into this movie for it to be even remotely coherent.

We’ll see.

The Disappointments Room

A mother and her young son release unimaginable horrors from the attic of their rural dream home.

This will probably live up to its title.

Wentworth Miller wrote this. He also wrote Stoker. But Chan-Wook Park is not directing this. D.J. Caruso is directing this. He made Eagle Eye.

2.5 stars.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

After spending most of their time focusing on their troubling teenage daughter, Toula and Ian are facing marital problems while also having to deal with yet another Greek wedding – this time, even bigger and fatter.

I still haven’t really seen the first one.

Based on that alone, 2.5 stars.

The director makes bland movies. The first one I’m sure is just okay. So I’ll assuming I really won’t care at all about this.

I Saw the Light

The story of the country-western singer Hank Williams, who in his brief life created one of the greatest bodies of work in American music. The film chronicles his rise to fame and its tragic effect on his health and personal life.

They pushed this out of Oscar season. Which can’t be a good sign.

I’m sure Hiddleston is good, though. And Elizabeth Olsen is in it.

The question is whether to go 3 or 3.5. Let’s go 3.5 stars and see if this is really disappointing or is just not the kind of movie that should have gotten an Oscar push. Because 42 was 3.5 stars, and that wasn’t an Oscar movie. And that benefitted from the same type of date this is getting. So maybe it can be pretty good.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is April.

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3 responses

  1. I’m willing to make a bet right now that Batman v. Superman will be on the Unforgivables list for 2016.

    January 9, 2016 at 9:29 am

    • But who’d bet that it won’t?

      January 9, 2016 at 9:41 am

      • Well, considering how much of a trainwreck Man of Steel was. And if Zack Snyder is still involved.

        January 17, 2016 at 2:22 am

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