The first major month of 2018, let’s begin . . .
FOXTROT – March 2
The foreign film winners from last year continue their slow voyage over with the best film at the Venice Film Festival finally reaching our shores, but not into the Oscars after the Israeli entry was cut during final selections. [Check out the full list of 92 countries and their submissions]
The film opens with an affluent Tel Aviv couple learning that their son, a soldier, has died in the line of duty. The film initially follows the parents in the hours after they learn of his death. It then follows their son’s experiences during his military service as one of four soldiers manning a checkpoint. Finally, the film follows the parents six months after his death.
A WRINKLE IN TIME – March 9
The great Ava DuVernay (Selma, 13th) brings this new Disney science fiction, action-adventure based on the novel by Madeleine L’Engle. The film brings to life the story of Meg Murry, a gangly adolescent who travels across dimensions to rescue her scientist father, guided by a trio of guardian angels collectively called “the Mrs.” The book, and the movie, is about what it means to be a source of light in a world in which darkness seems only to proliferate. It also makes the case for thinking independently when conformity is the norm.
THOROUGHBREDS – March 9
Written and directed by newcomers Cory Finley, the film has fallen largely under-the-radar through the award season after being screened at Sundance in 2017. The film is about two upper-class teenage girls in suburban Connecticut who rekindle their unlikely friendship after years of growing apart. Together, they hatch a plan to solve both of their problems-no matter what the cost. For what its worth, seeing Anton Yelchin one last time may be worth it.
DEATH OF STALIN – March 9
This controversial comedy film banned in Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan is a political satire from director and co-writer Armando Iannucci (Veep) is based on the French graphic novel and depicts the Soviet power struggles following the death of dictator Joseph Stalin in 1953. Nadezhda Usmanova, head of the Russian Military-Historical Society’s department of information, told Reuters that the film was “despicable.”
“It’s a bad film, it’s a boring film, and it’s vile, repugnant and insulting,” Usmanova said.
Anything that pisses off the Russians should be worth watching.
THE FORGIVEN – March 9
New Roland Joffé (The Mission, The Killing Fields) installment is hard to ignore given his two best directing nomination Oscars and his Palme d’Or at Cannes. The plot is simple: during his life sentence in post-apartheid South Africa, brutal murderer Piet Blomfield seeks redemption through meetings with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
MAINELAND – March 16
This documentary from Miao Wang tells the story of two affluent, cosmopolitan teenagers who are part of the enormous wave of “parachute students” from Mainland China enrolling in U.S. private schools. Shot over three years in China and the U.S., the film tells a multi-layered coming-of-age tale, following this buoyant, fun-loving girl and introspective boy as they settle into a boarding school in blue-collar small-town rural Maine.
THE ENDLESS – March 23
The science-fiction horror film from filmmakers Moorhead and Benson follows two brothers who receive a cryptic video message inspiring them to revisit the UFO death cult they escaped a decade earlier. Hoping to find the closure that they couldn’t as young men, they’re forced to reconsider the cult’s beliefs when confronted with unexplainable phenomena surrounding the camp.
ISLE OF DOGS – March 23
Needless to say, after winning Best Director in Berlin, this next installment from Wes Anderson about a boy’s odyssey in search of his dog is a must see.
READY PLAYER ONE – March 30
Spielberg’s new film is a sci-fi action flick set in the near future, where gamers compete inside a massive video game universe to find an “Easter egg” hidden by the network’s recently deceased creator which promises real life riches.
Yes, a new Steven Soderbergh film, UNSANE, is also coming out, but I can’t generate any level of excitement given Soderbergh’s record of selling interesting concepts that turn into average films. Trailer.