The 2021 Film Release Calendar (March)

March 4th, March Release Calendar. I’ve never had an entire release calendar be posted later than February. This is crazy. But this is the hand we’ve been dealt this year.

So, you know what it is. Let’s go over what’s coming out this month (which hopefully I will end up being able to watch before April):

Moxie

Fed up with the sexist and toxic status quo at her high school, a shy 16-year-old finds inspiration from her mother’s rebellious past and anonymously publishes a zine that sparks a school-wide, coming-of-rage revolution.

Directed by Amy Poehler. Which — mixed bag for me. I was not a fan of her first film, but that was her first film and felt a lot like an excuse for her and her friends to make a movie. This one feels much more structured and actually on the page. But also — YA type story. Not really my thing either. So I’m pretty much gonna have to let a trailer decide.

Yeah… 2.5 stars. Very much obvious and the exact kind of movie I can guarantee I will not care for, even if the message is a good one.

Raya and the Last Dragon

In a realm known as Kumandra, a re-imagined Earth inhabited by an ancient civilization, a warrior named Raya is determined to find the last dragon.

Slightly concerning to me that the four (4) people credited as directors on this (two directors and two co-directors) are all men. Couldn’t have thrown one woman in there? I know the co-directors are just there to try to elevate them, which is a very admirable thing Pixar (and now Disney) do. But still. Seems kinda weird in 2021 that not even a female co-director is in there. But getting past that — the two primary directors… one did Winnie the Pooh and Big Hero 6, and the other made Blindspotting, which I loved.

I don’t really care what the plot is (though now that I know it, I have ‘How to Train Your Dragon similarity’ concerns) because it’s Disney, but I will need to see a trailer. Since Disney became the Evil Empire, owning everything and not really caring about quality, I can’t really guess 4 stars on them anymore, but occasionally something will make me think it could be very good. So we’ll let the trailer decide, even though I’m pretty sure I already know where I’m going with this.

Yeah. 3.5 stars. It looks solid, but it also look like it could end up at 3 as much as, if not more so, it could end up at 4. One of my biggest pet peeves in animation is topical over timeless writing and this seems to have loads of that. But we’ll keep the 3.5 and assume Disney still knows what they’re doing (even if they don’t care to do it anymore).

Coming 2 America

The African monarch Akeem learns he has a long-lost son in the United States and must return to America to meet this unexpected heir and build a relationship with his son.

So Coming to America is one of my absolute, all-time favorite movies. Full stop. I love that movie. I can basically quote the whole thing. It’s a masterpiece. I’m torn about this one. Part of me feels like it’s gonna feel a bit stale with them repeating certain bits and trying to fit into the mold of 2020 and do some topical stuff. It’s not like Eddie Murphy’s really been at the forefront of comedy the past fifteen-to-twenty years. But, I love the characters, I’m perfectly willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and the fact that Craig Brewer is directing it gives me a lot of hope for it. Dolemite Is My Name was wonderful, and I loved Hustle and Flow and Black Snake Moan (we’ll forget about Footloose).

I’m gonna say 3.5 stars just because I don’t want my hopes to get too high on this. For me to be fine with this, I’m gonna need to get 3.5 out of it. And I think even if it’s just 3 stars my love of the characters will probably pull this to 3.5. I really want to get 4 out of this. So badly. I don’t know if I can, which is why I’m not gonna assume it, but I really want to. But I’ll play it safe and go with what seems to be the most likely outcome (which, all things considered, should leave me to be okay with this existing).

Chaos Walking

A dystopian world where there are no women and all living creatures can hear each other’s thoughts in a stream of images, words, and sounds called Noise.

So I think this has been labeled a mess for quite a few years now. This was meant to have come out almost three years ago now. And while lots of reshoots and the air of a mess is not something new for Doug Liman (this sort of process gave us both The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow)… the fact that this is a YA type story does not give me hope for how good this’ll end up being.

Sight unseen, the guess has to be 3 stars, because I know 3.5 is the absolute ceiling on this. And I say that knowing who the director is (though also… he made Jumper) and that Charlie Kaufman worked on the script at one point and that Patrick Ness, who wrote A Monster Calls, wrote the book and script and that it stars Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley and Demian Bichir and David Oyelowo and Cynthia Erivo and Mads Mikkelsen. I should be guessing 3.5 here, but almost three years on the shelf and lots of reshoots pretty much levels that playing field.

And, having seen a trailer, it’s funny that they shout out those two exact other movies. But yeah, this is 3 stars. This just feels like one of those expensive, middle-of-the-road messes that we pretty much get every year. Though this coming out in March will make people talk more about it, even though had this come out in June like a lot of the other ones, no one would blink an eye.

Pixie

To avenge her mother’s death, Pixie masterminds a heist but must flee across Ireland from gangsters, take on the patriarchy, and choose her own destiny.

The main reason I’m interested in this is Olivia Cooke. I was not aware she was gonna be doing an Irish accent, and I’m very much here for that.

Though, having seen a trailer, the tone makes me think 3 stars. That feels pretty standard. I hope to be able to get 3.5 out of this, but 3 feels right.

Boogie

Coming-of-age story of Alfred “Boogie” Chin, a basketball phenom living in Queens, New York, who dreams of one day playing in the NBA. While his parents pressure him to focus on earning a scholarship to an elite college, Boogie must find a way to navigate a new girlfriend, high school, on-court rivals and the burden of expectation.

So this is written and directed by the guy who created Fresh Off the Boat, which, by all accounts, is a fine show. Though, TV writer making a first feature, I need to see a trailer to see if I think he can overcome the usual narrative trappings that face people in that situation.

Yeah. Trailer says 3 stars, but maybe it’ll overachieve.

Cosmic Sin

Seven rogue soldiers launch a preemptive strike against a newly discovered alien civilization in the hopes of ending an interstellar war before it starts.

Bruce Willis, not only cashing paychecks, but literally acting in the exact same movie over and over. Cage at least tries to vary it up when he takes his paychecks (though admittedly he does have a fondness for ‘my child is missing and I need to find them’ movies. But at least he varies it up. Sometimes there are ghosts and shit in there). Bruce literally just did a space alien movie last year. And all his other paycheck movies are usually either ‘heist gone wrong’ or ‘trapped in a single location with bad guys’.

Man, does this look cheap. 2.5 stars.

Yes Day

Allison and Carlos decide to give their three kids a “yes day”, where for 24 hours the kids make the rules.

Does Jennifer Garner just exclusively make dumb family movies now? It feels like that’s all she ever makes. Plus now she reunites with Miguel Arteta, who directed her in the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Bad Day movie.

I can tell you even before seeing the trailer that this is going to be absolutely inoffensive and generic in every way. And for most people, that would be 3 stars, but for me, is 2.5. I’ll confirm with a trailer, but this is one of those situations where I already know and don’t even have to look.

2.5 stars.

I tried a trailer and turned it off within five seconds because I knew I was right.

Happily

A dark romantic comedy. Tom and Janet have been happily married for years. But a visit from a mysterious stranger leads to a dead body, a lot of questions, and a tense couples’ trip with friends who may not actually be friends at all.

You literally led with ‘dark romantic comedy’. Okay then.

First time director whose previous credit is writing the movie Skiptrace which almost no one can remember (that’s Johnny Knoxville and Jackie Chan, in case you need the refresher) and developing the reboot of Are You Afraid of the Dark. Okay then.

Another one I know where it’s going but I’ll watch a trailer anyway.

Yeah, 3 stars. This is literally an alt-comedy Sundance indie with slightly more money and a more mainstream tone.

The Courier

Cold War spy Greville Wynne and his Russian source try to put an end to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Wow. I liked this movie a lot better when it was called The Coldest Game and had Bill Pullman as an alcoholic chess champion having to be a spy during the Cold War instead of Benedict Cumberbatch as a milquetoast salesman having to be a spy during the Cold War.

Director did On Chesil Beach, which was decent. Trailer is standard. Feels like a generic 3 stars. I’m also curious if this is gonna follow the same broad structure as The Coldest Game does, because it sure feels like it might.

Nobody

A bystander who intervenes to help a woman being harassed by a group of men becomes the target of a vengeful drug lord.

This seems fun. Bob Odenkirk as an action hero. Action-comedy version of A History of Violence. Director did Hardcore Henry.

How can this not be 3.5 stars? Seems too generically written to go higher than that. But fun is fun.

A Week Away

Nowhere left to go, Will Hawkins finds himself at camp for the first time. His instinct is to run, but he finds a friend, a father figure and even a girl who awakens his heart. Most of all, he finally finds a home.

Netflix. Director has only done music videos. Feels like YA. There’s only about three options for tone and none of them turns out to be a good movie. I don’t see why, sight unseen, this isn’t a 2.5 star movie.

Saw the trailer. It’s worse. It’s faith-based.

I really wanna go down to 2 based on that alone, but being a musical and given my proclivity in recent years to not care rather than actively get mad I will maintain the 2.5. But man, am I almost guaranteed to not like this one.

The Seventh Day

A renowned exorcist who teams up with a rookie priest for his first day of training. As they plunge deeper into hell on earth, the lines between good and evil blur, and their own demons emerge.

The only reason I’ll watch this is because it has Guy Pearce, Keith David and Stephen Lang. Otherwise, I do not care about these types of movies at all.

2.5 stars.

Though to their credit, this does sound a bit like Training Day but with exorcists. So I guess good on them for coming up with that concept.

Monster

A smart, likable, 17-year-old film student from Harlem sees his world turned upside down when he’s charged with a murder. We follow his dramatic journey through a complex legal battle.

This has been on the shelf for like three years, it feels like. I’ve been tracking this forever. And finally Netflix bought it and are dumping it this month. I’m assuming that’s because it has John David Washington, Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Ehle, Tim Blake Nelson, Jennifer Hudson, Kelvin Harrison Jr, Jharrel Jerome and ASAP Rocky in it. Fits what they look for in movies.

HOWEVER…. three year holdover means I can’t guess higher than 3 stars. Despite the cast. Holdovers are usually indicative of a middling movie.

Godzilla vs. Kong

The epic next chapter in the cinematic Monsterverse pits two of the greatest icons in motion picture history against one another – the fearsome Godzilla and the mighty Kong – with humanity caught in the balance.

What an awful logline that is. You might as well attribute it to the studio while you’re at it.

I don’t care about this. I’ve never cared about this. I liked the first Godzilla, but the minute they tried to start this shared universe deal, I was out. King of the Monsters felt like Spider-Man 3, the way they shoehorned every single goddamn other monster in there. Now, with Kong? Don’t care.

I don’t even need to talk about the cast or who directed it because I know the top-down studio filmmaking is going to prevent this from being anything other than 3 stars for me.

Yeah. Saw the trailer. This actually loose worse than I imagined. And believe me… what I imagined was pretty bad. They’re literally just doing Batman v. Superman. And we won’t even have the benefit of a ‘Martha’ to laugh at. They’re just gonna do some shit of, “Oh, the evil corporation is sending some sort of signal in the air that makes them fight each other,” and then by the end of the movie they’re gonna team up against the bad monsters and there’s gonna be some bullshit giant monster Avengers shit against kaiju or whatever.

I can’t even begin to tell you how little I care about any of this.

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