I think the movie industry confused the month March with the Bataan Death March or the Trail of Tears, because the major release list for March is agony as far as the eye can see. I chose to highlight Disney’s The Great and Powerful Oz because it seems to incorporate all the horrible trends in Hollywood today. Along with Jack the Giant Slayer (March 1) and last year’s Snow White and the Huntsman, Oz taps the vein of a familiar story, then overdoses on an injection of Lord of the Rings-scale epic fantasy. The trailer seems woefully similar to Disney and Tim Burton’s abortive Alice in Wonderland (which has an undeserved sequel reportedly in the works) with an overreliance on computer generated landscapes that, while impressive in their own right, never meld with the footage of the live actors. Though the cast looks OK on paper, don't underestimate director Sam Raimi’s recent ability to snuff any life out of a competent actor's performance (here’s looking at you, Spiderman trilogy). Flee this faster than a falling house.
Releases March 8
The Last Exorcism Part 2 (Movie) – Flee
Hollywood is dishing out more diluted formula than Octomom this month. If you think the Catholic Church is ineffectual in real life, you should see them try to earn their daily bread casting out demons in movies. I’m not even going to go in depth about why to flee this movie, but I do want to point out the stupidity of its oxymoronic title. The LAST Exorcism PART 2. So Part 1 didn't take or what? I hate when people trick me into watching shit I never normally would just because it's supposedly the last one of its kind ever. Run farther than you would from Gene Simmons’ ninth “retirement” tour.
Releases: March 1
Stoker (Movie) – See
This is one of those limited release films that warrants a trek from the suburbs to your nearest major metropolis. South Korean director Park Chan-Wook’s first feature-length English outing looks like an incredible decoction of Hitchcockian thriller, verboten love story, and glossy Korean horror film. The plot is tightly focused on a grieving mother (Nicole Kidman) and daughter (Mia Wasikowska) who are manipulated by the alluring and secretive brother (Matthew Goode) of the family's deceased father. Park Chan-Wook continues to deploy masterful and macabre visual poetry that captures the psychology of confinement, a technique he refined in his excellent Vengeance Trilogy, but this time around accompanied by eerie numbers composed by Phillip Glass. You should be stoked to see this movie.
Releases March 1 (Limited Release)
Chelsea Lights Moving – Chelsea Lights Moving (Album) – See
OK, you’ll have to see this one with your ears, but feast your eyes on – I mean, lend me your ear sockets (shit)… So my metaphors for this album may be mixed, but my praise for it isn’t. Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore launched Chelsea Lights Moving during the legendary No Wave band’s much-deserved hiatus. Chelsea Lights Moving’s sound, like Moore’s other side projects, has his magical discordant fingerprints all over it, but the album chugs forward with a punk animus that Sonic Youth’s Rather Ripped and The Eternal eschewed. Moore gets back to the basics that made Sonic Youth a wild success, including the weird contrast of his slackly delivered poetry which waxes intellectual (“Frank O’Hara Hit” describes the New York poet’s dune buggy demise) and rebellious (“Get fuckin’ mad / Too fuckin’ bad” is the chant-along refrain to the track “Lip”). Any fan of noise rock will be begging for Moore.
Releases March 5 (March 4 in Europe)
Bioshock Infinite (Game) – See
Infinite indeed is the hype for this game, and how long the wait has seemed since gamers were swept up in its incredible gameplay trailer at E3 2011. Bioshock’s hallmark of a "genetically engineered" first person shooter set in an immersive alternate history seem pushed to their limits here. Irrational Games has always managed to cram the Bioshock games with inventive and customizable weaponry and magic while preserving a fluid and uncluttered control scheme. By all accounts, they pull this off and more while adding the eye-popping new skyhook mechanic, a high velocity, physics-based transport system that takes advantage of Infinite’s new wide-open world, the floating city of Columbia. The lofty heights of the game’s design also serve as a stage to address lofty topics of ethics, scientific advancement, and social organization in America with a nuance and style that makes most other games with ambitious plotlines look clumsy in comparison. The Unreal Engine will keep your trigger finger pumping, while the modifications made by Irrational made to the engine deliver velocities and AI pathing above and beyond what any other FPS to date. I’d be shocked if this isn’t a must see – and possibly the must-play game of the year.
Releases March 26
Written by: Mark Dillman