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The 2017 Film Release Calendar: March

Every January, I preview all the films that are scheduled to come out for the 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

Before I Fall

February 12 is just another day in Sam’s charmed life until it turns out to be her last. Stuck reliving her last day over one inexplicable week, Sam untangles the mystery around her death and discovers everything she’s in danger of losing.

High school Groundhog Day. Essentially.

Okay, sure.

3 stars. Not gonna assume anything more than okay here.

Logan

In the near future, an aging Wolverine and Professor X must protect a young female clone of Wolverine from an evil organization led by Nathanial Essex.

The trailer for this was really good, and I know for a fact they’re doing something way different with this movie, tonally, than they have before. It’s a legit R movie and they put it in March because they’re trying to stand out from the rest of the superhero movies.

This is more about a film about Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine than it is anything else. It’s a drama with other elements to it.

Because of all that, and because I love this character, I’m gonna say 4 stars with this.

I’m very excited for this movie, and I hope it’s a well-deserved send-off for this character.

The Shack

A grieving man receives a mysterious, personal invitation to meet with God at a place called “The Shack.”

Yeah….

That trailer was interesting.

Apparently when I say “interesting” it really means not good. I’m not gonna comment on that. But I will say — this looks interesting.

2.5 stars.

T2: Trainspotting

A continuation of the Trainspotting saga reuniting the original characters.

It’s Trainspotting, a movie I like but don’t love, and Danny Boyle.

Automatic 3.5 stars.

I don’t see how I get less than 3.5 stars out of this. And I assume I won’t be getting much higher either. This feels like a pretty sure thing for me.

Table 19

Ex-maid of honor Eloise – having been relieved of her duties after being unceremoniously dumped by the best man via text- decides to attend the wedding anyway only to find herself seated with 5 “random” guests at the dreaded Table 19.

Here’s a question, before we start — if the maid of honor at a wedding is dating the best man… wouldn’t she still be maid of honor even if they break up? Being maid of honor means you have a pretty solid relationship with the bride. I don’t think they’d just throw you out like that. But anyway…

Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, Lisa Kudrow, June Squibb, Stephen Merchant and the kid from Grand Budapest are all the people stuck at the table.

Those actors, and the fact that it seems to take place entirely during the wedding will allow me to say 3 stars here.

It was also written by the Duplass brothers and directed by the guy who did Rocket Science, so there is that too.

I hope it doesn’t suck.

Kong: Skull Island

In the 1970s, a team of explorers and soldiers travel to an uncharted island in the Pacific, unaware that they are crossing into the domain of monsters, as well as the mythic Kong, the “king” of the island.

Trailer looked awesome, the cast is incredible. Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, John C. Reilly, half the Straight Outta Compton cast. And the director did Kings of Summer, which I loved.

I’m not crazy about King Kong, which is what’s keeping me from going 4 stars here. So I’ll go 3.5 stars and hope we can get to 4. The visuals should keep us above 3, but this could be really generic. I’m banking on the fact that Kong is not iconic/big enough as a franchise to require the producers to keep a hold on the director and prevent him from doing something interesting. But maybe I’m wrong.

If I got another Godzilla out of this, I’d be pretty happy.

The Wall

An American sharpshooter is trapped in a standoff with an Iraqi sniper.

I remember this script.

Doug Liman directed it too. Which is interesting.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson stars with John Cena. Interesting pairing.

I like Doug Liman, but I don’t know what to make of his movies. Edge of Tomorrow was good, albeit compromised. Fair Game was whatever. Jumper was whatever. And I love Mr. and Mrs. Smith and The Bourne Identity.

I’m torn between wanting to go 3 or 3.5 with this.

Something tells me to stick with 3 stars. I’ll be wrong on this. I just want a good movie. And I’m not 100% sold that I’m getting a good movie here.

The Last Word

Harriett is a retired businesswoman who tries to control everything around her. When she decides to write her own obituary, a young journalist takes up the task of finding out the truth resulting in a life-altering friendship.

Shirley MacLaine, Amanda Seyfried. Some interesting character actors sprinkled throughout.

This isn’t for me. But I think it might be okay.

2.5 stars. Not gonna get my hopes up, but it could be fine.

Kidnap

A mother stops at nothing to recover her kidnapped son.

This has been pushed so many times. I’m guessing it will be pushed again, out of this spot.

Halle Berry kidnap thriller. Not overly different from The Call that she did.

2.5 stars.

Relativity keeps pushing this, and generally when they keep pushing things, they are not very good.

Personal Shopper

Revolves around a ghost story that takes place in the fashion underworld of Paris.

Oliver Assayas. Kristen Stewart. So she’ll be all moody again. Or I guess, as usual.

I wasn’t such a huge fan of Sils Maria. Not assuming anything different out of this.

3 stars.

Burning Sands

Deep into Hell Week, a favored pledgee is torn between honoring his code of silence or standing up against the intensifying violence of underground hazing.

Netflix movie.

Not sure what to make of it, but the subject matter doesn’t overly appeal to me. So it’s either 2.5 or 3. Let’s say 2.5 stars.

Have we really had a Netflix “Original” that went above 3 stars since Beasts of No Nation?

Beauty and the Beast

An adaptation of the Disney fairy-tale about a monstrous prince and a young woman who fall in love.

The trailer looks good. It seems like they’re gonna do another safe adaptation.

Since it is Beauty and the Beast, one of the best Disney movies ever made, I’ll say 4 stars.

If I get anything less than 3.5 stars out of this, somebody fucked up big time.

The Belko Experiment

In a twisted social experiment, 80 Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogotá, Colombia and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company’s intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed.

Okay, okay. I’m down for this.

James Gunn wrote it. Which is cool.

Let’s call it 3.5 stars.

Free Fire

Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs turns into a shootout and a game of survival.

4 stars. Don’t even care that High-Rise was underwhelming. I hear this is a 90 minute shootout. I want this to be great. 3.5 stars seems most likely, but I’m aiming high.

This looks like utter mayhem.

Weightless

Two intersecting love triangles. Obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin, Texas.

Somehow I doubt this actually comes out when they say it’s going to come out. Just a hunch.

It’s Terrence Malick so 3.5 stars. We assume good with him and just get disappointed when it isn’t.

Diedra & Laney Rob a Train

After their mother ends up in jail, two sisters turn to train robbery in order to support their family.

Sure.

Netflix movie. So 3 stars.

CHiPs

The adventures of two California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers as they make their rounds on the freeways of Los Angeles.

Dax Shepherd wrote and directed this. His car chase movie was okay.

Currently no trailer for this that I know of, and the cast is okay. Not sure it sticks with this date without even a trailer up to this point.

Gotta go 3 stars and hope for better. Can’t assume better with something like this.

Life

An international space crew discovers life on Mars.

Trailer was interesting enough. And the cast is really solid.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, Rebecca Ferguson, Hiroyuki Sanada.

3.5 stars. Can’t assume higher, but also would like this to be good, though given the date and the fact that the guy who did Safe House made this, I’m thinking 3.5 is the highest I gonna get out of this.

Power Rangers

A group of high-school kids, who are infused with unique superpowers, harness their abilities in order to save the world.

The trailer was the exact wrong thing I wanted out of this.

I’m not excited.

I am very much dreading this.

I would very much like to not have this end up Unforgivable at the end of the year, but I’m not sure if that’s gonna happen.

3 stars.

Please don’t let this suck.

Their Finest

A British film crew attempts to boost morale during World War II by making a propaganda film after the Blitzkrieg.

Lone Scherfig directs, which is nice. The subject matter sounds interesting. I like the cast.

3.5 stars. This sounds sneaky good. This might be a low-key solid film that no one’s gonna know about.

Wilson

A lonely, neurotic and hilariously honest middle-aged man reunites with his estranged wife and meets his teenage daughter for the first time.

Woody Harrelson is Wilson, and I’m all the way in.

3.5 stars.

Have you seen this trailer? Because it looks amazing.

Very excited for this.

The Boss Baby

A suit-wearing briefcase-carrying baby pairs up with his seven-year old brother to stop the dastardly plot of the CEO of Puppy Co.

I know you’re all really excited to see where I shake out on this. Because, that poster, that trailer… this could go wildly in multiple directions.

A) You could see that and go, “Automatic Unforgivable.”

B) You could go, “Maybe not Unforgivable, but… holy shit.”

C) You could go, “It doesn’t look great, but I can see where it could be okay.”

D) You could go, “It looks pretty cute. I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

E) You could go, “Oh, I’m fucking in for this! This looks incredible!”

F) Murray Abraham

Before I disclose my decision, I would like to present, without comment, the fact that this trailer ends with Alec Baldwin, voicing a baby in a business suit, telling another baby not to eat a cookie because, “Cookies are for closers.”

My answer… is C. I see Unforgivable here, I see pretty adorable here, and all around I’m going to assume general “meh.” 2.5 stars. Let’s see what we get.

Ghost in the Shell

A cyborg policewoman attempts to bring down a nefarious computer hacker.

I know nothing about the source material this is based on, so I’m going based purely on what I see. This means about as much to me as the Ender’s Game movie did.

The trailer didn’t look good. The visuals looked fine but the story did not.

3 stars.

If I get 3.5 stars, fine, but I don’t think I’m gonna care for this one at all.

Step Sisters

Jamilah has her whole life figured out. She’s the president of her black sorority, captain of their champion step dance crew, is student liaison to the college dean, and her next move is on to Harvard Law School. She’s got it all, right? But when the hard-partying white girls from Sigma Beta Beta embarrass the school, Jamilah is ordered to come to the rescue. Her mission is to not only teach the rhythmically-challenged girls how to step dance, but to win the Steptacular, the most competitive of dance competitions. With the SBBs reputations and charter on the line, and Jamilah’s dream of attending Harvard in jeopardy, these outcast screw-ups and their unlikely teacher stumble through one hilarious misstep after another. Cultures clash, romance blossoms, and sisterhood prevails as everyone steps out of their comfort zones.

Really? This is a movie? It’s a sorority movie and a step up movie?

I reject all of this.

2 stars.

The Zookeeper’s Wife

Tells the account of keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Antonina and Jan Zabinski, who helped save hundreds of people and animals during the Nazi invasion.

Schindler’s Zoo!

(We Bought a Jew?)

I like Jessica Chastain, but the movie being pushed into this year tells me just about everything I need to know.

3.5 stars. I’ll trust Chastain and the interesting story, but no way do I think this is gonna be a great movie.

I am kind of excited for it, though. I think I could like it.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is April.

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