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10 Films to See in March

Written by on March 2, 2016 

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL

With the 2015 awards season finally wrapped up, we can now genuinely look towards the year ahead. This month brings a handful of long-awaited festival hold-overs from last year, as well as a few promising studio titles. It should also be noted that essential restorations of Late Spring (3/4), River of Grass (3/11), A Brighter Summer Day (3/11), and Fireworks Wednesday (3/16) will be coming to select cities (and some beyond). If you’re in New York City, we’ll also be getting the grand opening of a new arthouse cinema — the Lower East Side’s Metrograph, which is dedicated to a mix of repertory and new releases.

Matinees to See: Songs My Brothers Taught Me (3/2), The Wave (3/4), Boy and the Beast (3/4), Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (3/4), Creative Control (3/11), Eye in the Sky (3/11), Hello, My Name is Doris (3/11), Lolo (3/11), Marguerite (3/11), Remember (3/11), Hyena Road (3/11), The Little Prince (3/18), Too Late (3/18), The Program (3/18), and Born to be Blue (3/25).

10. Take Me to the River (Matt Sobel; March 18th)

Take Me to The River

Synopsis: A Californian teenager’s plan to come out at his Nebraskan family reunion gets derailed when a bloodstain on his young cousin’s dress makes him the unwitting suspect of abuse.

Trailer

Why You Should See It: After premiering at Sundance last year, Matt Sobel‘s debut will finally get a release this month. We were big fans of it, saying in our review, “Aided by the editing of Jacob Secher Schulsinger (Force Majeure), each scene builds a unique rhythm and tension and we’re not quite sure where its going or what has exactly happened. Haunting and brutally honest in its restraint and narrative simplicity at times, Take Me to the River captures above all a unique and unsettling tone: mixing comedy, drama and thriller elements, it’s a dark and exhilarating watch.”

9. Zootopia (Byron Howard Rich Moore, and Jared Bush; March 4th)

Zootopia 2

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

Trailer

Why You Should See It: Although they didn’t have an animation last year, Disney has now returned early this year, and with quite a success. We said in our review, “With creative forces that includes co-directors from Tangled and Wreck-It-Ralph and notable figures from the likes of The Simpsons (Jim Reardon), Zootopia proves a successful amalgamation of disparate influences, much like its eponymous city: a vibrant collection of distinct microclimates like Little Rodentia and the icy Tundratown, all filled to the brim with details and sight gags you’ll probably only ever catch all of via an obsessive fan site. It’s a lot like another Disney project, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, in that way, though Zootopia offers enough inventive merit and different thematic material of its own to avoid coming across like a case of repeating old tricks.”

8. Valley of Love (Guillaume Nicloux; March 25th)

Valley of Love

Synopsis: A couple reunite after many years to travel to Death Valley, Calif., to answer an invitation they received after their son committed suicide.

Trailer

Why You Should See It: Reuniting Isabelle Huppert and Gérard Depardieu, Valley of Love didn’t quite make a big splash at Cannes last year, but we’re still intrigued by the drama, which is finally getting a limited release at the end of the month. As Screen Daily said, “They have the tender complicity of war veterans bound together by old wounds and half-forgotten skirmishes. The affectionate rapport between the actors and their characters is evident in every scene and manages to transport the wary viewer through an odd but not unappealing mixture of mystical road movie and family psychodrama that often threatens to become a Death Valley Don’t Look Now or, heaven forfend, a California Sea of Trees.”

7. Sweet Bean (Naomi Kawase; March 18th)

Sweet Bean

Synopsis: The “manager” of a pancake stall finds himself confronted with an odd but sympathetic elderly lady looking for work. A taste of her home-made bean jelly convinces him, starting a relationship that is about much more than just street food.

Trailer

Why You Should See It: Despite her prolific output, with the films often making their way to Cannes, Naomi Kawase seems to go under-appreciated here in the United States due to a lack of distribution. Thankfully, her latest drama, Sweet Bean (previously titled An and Sweet Red Bean Paste), was picked up by Kino Lorber and will be arriving this month. We said in our review, “Contributing immeasurably to this empathetic tone is Kiki’s soulful, splendidly unaffected performance. Playing someone with a sad secret to guard and a militantly cheerful exterior as defense, this portrayal could have gone off the sappy or the farcical end so easily. Instead, she succeeds in first tricking you into seeing this harmlessly wacky old lady who talks to red beans and greets birds, then smacks you awake with a lucidly unsentimental side free of self-delusion or -pity.”

6. 10 Cloverfield Lane (Dan Trachtenberg; March 11th)

10 Cloverfield Lane

Synopsis: 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.

Trailer

Why You Should See It: Leave it to J.J. Abrams to get us interested in his, er, mystery box yet again. It was only fairly recently revealed to be part of the universe of his 2008 monster invasion thriller, and 10 Cloverfield Lane may not have any actual creatures in it, but we’re still mightily intrigued by what this one might hold. Coming from Dan Trachtenberg in his debut and starring Mary Elizabeth WinsteadJohn Goodman, and John Gallagher Jr., as well as a script co-written by Whiplash‘s Damian Chazelle, we’re simply hoping for an intense, one-room drama. Anything above that is an added bonus.

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