The following is one of my monthly columns for Culture Fly
Have you recovered from the Oscar bloodbath yet? The savage awkwardness ending the 89th Oscars will always be funny — you can always count on human error to create the best drama. Now the annual ceremony is over, Hollywood can celebrate itself in the only other way it knows how — by releasing films filled with nostalgia. March features franchises being reimagined, continued or just straight up being remade.
First up is Logan (1st March). After 17 years Hugh Jackman gives his final performance as Wolverine. The actor isWolverine, and it will be sad watching him go berserk one last time. The character hasn’t had success in his two previous solo outings, but director James Mangold has stripped everything back so all Wolverine has is his adamantium bones. Logan looks like it will finally be a Wolverine movie worthy of Jackson’s endless dedication and talent.
If superhero thrills are not enough, then the return of King Kong should do the trick. In Kong: Skull Island (10th March) Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and Samuel L Jackson tussle with the mythical ape as they visit Skull Island during the Vietnam War. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts is taking Kong in a new direction, one that hopefully has Godzilla as an obstacle. This is a Kong for the modern era, so let’s see if he can remain as king of the jungle.
Also returning after a long hiatus is Paul Verhoeven. His new film, Elle (10th March), is the director getting his verve back. The film has unsurprisingly been controversial for the way Michèle, played by Isabelle Huppert in an Academy-Award nominated performance, deals with her rape. This drama offers a profound look at how men and women interact, with a dose a satire examining how your gender impacts your place in society.
If social critiques hidden in genre movies is your thing, then Get Out (17th March) is the film for you. This Orwellian film criticises liberals from within, imploring them that they must do better than just meaning well. Don’t let Jordan Peele’s comedy background put you off. He may be funny as one-half of the hilarious comedy duo Key and Peele, but he’s gone full-horror-movie maestro with Get Out, a film whose frightening scares may not be as scary as its social commentary.
All stories are in some way political. Even fairytales. This month, Disney remakes one of its treasured and most successful animated movies with Beauty and the Beast (17th March). Whereas Disney’s previous remakes have revised their source material, Bill Condon decided on a more devout take. There is a new song, and the casting of Emma Watson as Belle is almost too perfect. Hopefully, this film will continue the trend of good Disney remakes.
‘Remake’ is a dirty word in Hollywood, and whilst The Lost City of Z (24th March) isn’t a remake, it does replicate the epic adventures of the 1950s and 1960s. Based on David Grann’s best-selling book, the film charts the story of Percy Fawcett and his doomed search for Z, commonly known as El Dorado. The famous explorer is played by Charlie Hunnam, with Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller and Tom Holland in supporting roles. Director James Gray went full Herzog, marching his actors into the Amazon and fighting the Zika virus. If dedication wins Oscars, look out for The Lost City of Z at the 90th ceremony.
Like most good things, March climaxes with a bang, or in the case of Free Fire (31st March) multiple. British director Ben Wheatley makes a genre effort that turns a shoot out into the whole movie. The only problem is, nobody knows how to shoot. A darkly comedic action film that is soaked in 1970s nostalgia and the B-movies of the era, stars dirty their rags with Brie Larson, the on-a-roll Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy and a whole lot more try to escape this arms deal gone wrong.
If you have the time, make sure you catch The Love Witch (10th March), a feminist witchcraft movie whose visual flair harks back to the glorious days of technicolour.