Pick of the Litter – March 2016


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Batman v. Superman Dawn of Justice

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

(Warner Brothers) Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams. For years DC had the upper hand when it came to cinematic comic book adaptations thanks largely to the Batman franchise, but Marvel has since overtaken the venerable comic publisher for superiority at the box office. Now, DC is set to fire a salvo of their own back as they kickstart their own cinematic universe here as the two most iconic superheroes in the DC universe – and arguably in all of comic books – face off as the destruction that was rained down on Metropolis by Superman’s battle with General Zod affects the Caped Crusader in a personal way, leading to a conflict of philosophies between the two heroes, gleefully orchestrated by Lex Luthor. However, what Luthor doesn’t get is that these two titans aren’t the only superheroes in town. March 25

INDEPENDENT PICKS

Knight of Cups

Knight of Cups

(Broad Green) Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Antonio Banderas. A Hollywood screenwriter finds himself in a surreal environment that try as he might, he just can’t make any sense of. With his relationships crumbling, he sets out to find love in all the wrong places and just might – might, mind you – find redemption. I know that director Terrance Malick is an acquired taste and I’m also painfully aware that he hasn’t delivered what I’d consider an outstanding film in nearly 30 years but I hold out hope that he still has another masterpiece in him; certainly he is one of the most visual directors in the medium and his films always inspire at least some degree of thought. March 4

The Boy and the Beast

The Boy and the Beast

(FUNimation) Starring the voices of Eric Vale, John Swasey, Monica Rial, Chuck Huber. Not all the great anime in Japan comes from Studio Ghibli. A young street orphan is taken as an apprentice by a warrior beast who shows him a world of beasts that coexists with our own. Although their relationship is tempestuous, the two slowly begin forming a bond. That bond is threatened by a dark force that threatens both the human and beast worlds; master and apprentice must work together to defeat this evil or lose everything that matters. March 4

Cemetery of Splendor

Cemetery of Splendor

(Strand) Jenjira Pongpas Widner, Banlop Lomnoi, Jarinpattra Rueangram, Petcharat Chaiburi. A lonesome housewife tends to soldiers with a mysterious sleeping sickness. She herself begins to have strange dreams and hallucinations, the line between reality and dreams growing ever more vague. She begins to see strange phantoms and portents…and as she does she begins to fall in love with the young soldier in her charge. This is the latest film from acclaimed Thai director Apitchatpong Weerasethakul.  March 4

Marguerite

Marguerite

(Cohen Media Group) Catherine Frot, André Marcon, Michel Fau, Christa Théret. In Paris of the 1920s, Marguerite Dumont is a wealthy woman, a patron of the arts and well-loved by her friends and Paris in general. She loves opera and even more, she loves to sing and often sings for her friends; the problem is that she is a terrible singer. Her husband and devoted friends have kept this simple fact from her but now she has determined that she is going to sing for an audience. March 11

The Confirmation

The Confirmation

(Saban) Clive Owen, Jaeden Lieberher, Maria Bello, Patton Oswalt. A young boy is forced to spend the weekend with his alcoholic dad when his mom heads out to a Catholic retreat with her new husband. The boy has an uneasy relationship with his dad, and a series of events, including the breakdown of his truck, his landlord locking him out of his apartment and worst yet, his prized set of tools, which he desperately needs for an upcoming job, are stolen. He goes on a search for those tools along with his son and an assortment of oddball friends and in doing so, finds a place where he can be the father his son always wanted. March 18

Fastball

Fastball

(Gravitas) Kevin Costner (narrator), Derek Jeter, Nolan Ryan, Yasiel Puig. One of the great appeals of baseball is the mano-a-mano aspect – one pitcher, armed with a ball throws at a batter, armed with a stick, and tries to throw the ball by him. It is the essence of baseball, the pitcher throwing as hard as he can and the batter trying to connect with the ball and drive it as hard as he can. This documentary, produced under the auspices of Major League Baseball, takes a look at the most popular pitch among baseball fans – the fastball, and those who threw it well. March 25

 

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New Releases for the Week of March 4, 2016


ZootopiaZOOTOPIA

(Disney) Starring the voices of Jason Bateman, Ginnfer Goodwin, Idris Elba, Bonnie Hunt, J.K Simmons, Shakira, Alan Tudyk, Octavia Spencer. Directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Jared Bush

In a city populated by anthropomorphic mammals, a determined bunny means to prove herself on a police force of tougher, stronger animals. Her partner, a fast-talking scam artist who wants nothing more than to fly under the radar, is not amused by her ambitions. When she takes on a high-profile case, she drags her reluctant partner into the seedier side of Zootopia.

See the trailer, clips, interviews and B-roll video here.
For more on the movie this is the website.

Release Formats: Standard, 3D
Genre: Animated Feature
Now Playing: Wide Release

Rating: PG (for some thematic elements, rude humor and action)

45 Years

(Sundance Selects) Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine James, Dolly Wells. An English couple planning a big celebration for their 45th wedding anniversary is devastated when a secret from the husband’s past resurfaces. The revelation opens up old wounds that have been festering over time and creates a new dynamic within the couple that threaten the harmony they’ve worked all their lives to build. Rampling was nominated for an Oscar for her performance here; read the review for this tomorrow.

See the trailer here.
For more on the movie this is the website.

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Drama
Now Playing: Enzian Theater

Rating: R (for language and brief sexuality)

The Boy and the Beast

(FUNimation) Starring the voices of Eric Vale, John Swasey, Monica Rial, Bryn Apprill. A young orphan discovers an entire world of sentient beasts whose world co-exists next to ours. He is discovered by the enigmatic and somewhat eccentric Kumatetsu, who takes the young human child on as an apprentice. The unlikely pair grow to respect each other, learn from each other and eventually become friends. However when an evil threatens both worlds, the two will have to fight side by side to save both of their worlds…or die side by side.

See the trailer here.
For more on the movie this is the website.

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Anime
Now Playing: AMC Disney Springs, AMC Loew’s Universal Cineplex

Rating: PG-13 (for some violence and language)

Boy and the World

(GKIDS) Starring the voices of Vinicius Garcia, Felipe Zilse, Alé Abreu, Lu Horta. A young boy in rural Brazil finds his life shattered when his father leaves for the big city. Determined to find him and reunite his family, the boy sets out into a world much bigger than the one he’s known all his life. This Brazilian film was nominated for a Best Animated Feature Oscar.

See the trailer here.
For more on the movie this is the website.

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Animated Feature
Now Playing: AMC Disney Springs

Rating: PG (for thematic material and images)

London Has Fallen

(Focus) Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett. In London for the funeral of the Prime Minister, the leaders of the western world are ambushed by a well-coordinated, well-financed terrorist group which aims to bring the West to its knees, particularly the United States. However, they didn’t reckon on a Secret Service agent who knows how to protect the president when the odds are against them.

See the trailer, clips, interviews and B-roll video here.
For more on the movie this is the website.

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Action
Now Playing: Wide Release

Rating: R (for strong violence and language throughout)

The Mermaid

(Sony/Momentum) Chao Deng, Jelly Lin, Show Luo, Yuqi Zhang. When a developer’s project threatens to destroy the civilization of mermaids and incidentally all marine life, one of the mermaids is dispatched to kill him. In fine Chinese film fashion, she falls in love with him instead which exposes a secret organization dedicating to destroying all mermaids. The two lovers will have to unite to save the day. The latest from Stephen Chow broke all Chinese box office records last year.

See the trailer here.
For more on the movie this is the website.

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Martial Arts Fantasy
Now Playing: Regal Pointe Orlando, Regal Waterford Lakes

Rating: R (for some violence)

The Other Side of the Door

(20th Century Fox) Sarah Wayne Callies, Jeremy Sisto, Sofia Rosinsky, Javier Botet. A grief-stricken young mother mourns the loss of her son in a tragic accident on an idyllic Greek island. However, when she learns of a temple which may be a place where life and the afterlife meet, she goes there and against the warnings of others opens the door, releasing things into our world which shouldn’t be here and threatening the balance between life and death.

See the trailer here.
For more on the movie this is the website.

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Horror
Now Playing: Wide Release

Rating: R (for some bloody violence)

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

(Paramount) Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina. Kim Barker is a woman trying to make it in journalism, which remains in many ways a man’s world. So when the opportunity to go to Afghanistan to cover the war comes up, she takes it despite being advised not to. This true story shows what it’s like to be a woman in a man’s world doing a job that most men would be terrified to do.

See the trailer, clips, interviews and B-roll video here.
For more on the movie this is the website.

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Biographical Dramedy
Now Playing: Wide Release

Rating: R (for pervasive language, some sexual content, drug use and violent war images)