Now that awards season is (mostly) out of the way, the pressure lessens and the entertainment can resume (kind of). March has quite the eclectic mix of genres, from potential blockbusters in the form of the long-anticipated, first female-fronted offering from the MCU, Captain Marvel, and Tim Burton’s live-action version of Disney’s Dumbo, to the more indie but no-less worthy likes of The Kindergarten Teacher and Lords of Chaos. Consider this a month in which to ease yourself into the upcoming summer season of films.
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Director: Peter Farrelly
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini
It’s starting to get repetitive to say that we are in the infant stage of a new era of cinema, one that is learning to embrace gender and race equality. But perhaps it’s that repetitiveness that will keep the motivation going and not allow progress to stall. Green Book is another such film that adds to the growing inclusion of people of an ethnic background other than white Caucasian, specifically African-American in this instance, and their stories, whether fictional, non-fictional or biographical. But are we also at risk of not bringing something new to the table and rehashing themes? Is Green Book a film that deals well with current themes, or just another well-meaning attempt to keep up the equality momentum?
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Director: Lee Chang-dong
Cast: Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun, Jun Jong-seo
The nominees in the Best Foreign Language Film category of this year’s Academy Awards are all very strong contenders, from Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma to Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War. Despite making the short-list, and being the first Korean film to do so, Lee Chang-dong’s Burning couldn’t quite reach the finals. However, it says a lot that it even made the semis, an unsurprising achievement after its success at the Cannes Film Festival last year. At the very least it provides audiences with a good reason to part with their money in order to see this adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s short story Barn Burning. Although it’s been garnering much in the way of critical acclaim over the past year or so, how does Burning really fare from a regular audience perspective?
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Director: Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connolly, Mahershala Ali, Keean Johnson, Ed Skrein
Whenever a film comes along that has some kind of new technological advancement behind many of the effects, you can almost always guarantee that James Cameron is involved. Chances are he’s also been waiting a couple of decades for the technology to catch up with his imagination. Alita: Battle Angel is just one of those films that’s been waiting in the wings since before Titanic (the film, not the actual 1912 sinking, though perhaps it feels that long to Cameron). Having given up directorial duties and handed the reins to fellow top filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and stepping back into a producing role while he works on the abundance of Avatar movies, Cameron has once again pushed the boundaries of visual effects in filmmaking. But have he and Rodriguez created an all-rounder, or does the story lack where the effects triumph?
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Director: Rob Marshall
Cast: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep
In 1964, Walt Disney bestowed upon the world one of his best-loved films of all time that has been a classic for decades since: Mary Poppins. Based on the books by P.L. Travers, it starred the wonderful Julie Andrews as the titular nanny and the ever-entertaining Dick Van Dyke as jack-of-all-trades and friend to Mary, Bert. Fifty-four years later (and now holding the record for the longest amount of time between a film and its sequel) we have Mary Poppins Returns, in which Emily Blunt takes over the role of Mary with Lin-Manuel Miranda as Bert’s somewhat counterpart Jack. With the ’64 film being such a beloved film amongst people of all ages, is the return of Mary Poppins every bit the spoonful of sugar the original was, or is it much less than supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?
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