After the dark days of winter and the tuxedo-wearing, award-baiting films released between November and February, after so much serious stuff, March can seem like a fresh breeze. If February had the heavy drama and social commentary, March brings back the popcorn movies. This month we have superheroes, fairy tales, anime-inspired action, a medical horror-thriller and King Kong.
Opening on the 3rd is ‘Logan’. Hugh Jackman, the longest serving of cinema’s superhero actors, is back for the ninth time with his spiky fists and cigar-brown voice. The film sees Logan, years after the break-up of the X-Men, living quietly in the desert on the US/Mexico border. His powers are dwindling and his main concern is taking care of his ageing friend and mentor, Professor X (Patrick Stewart). Logan is brought back into action when the emergence of a young girl with special powers, similar to his own, requires him to leap to her defence. This is said to be Jackman’s last turn as Logan/Wolverine, and the early buzz is that this cracker is one of the best in the series.
The following Friday, 10th March, sees ‘Kong: Skull Island’ on which to feast our eyes and ears. Featuring a great cast, including Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman and Samuel L. Jackson, it’s a tale of a trip to explore the unchartered island of the title, which offers some wonderfully inventive creatures and a Hawaii backdrop, which though often used, looks stunning. At the apex of their discovery is King Kong himself. Expect great special effects and lots of peril as Hiddleston’s foolhardy band trespass on the wild and weird land.
Another well-known tale to get the big budget treatment and a great supporting cast is ‘Beauty and the Beast’, released on 17th March. Emma Watson takes the Beauty role in this classic fairy tale, supported by Luke Evans, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson and Sir Ian McKellen, with Dan Stevens as the Beast. The story’s sense of wonder has been beautifully realised by Disney and the film looks gorgeous and has some great musical numbers too. The mix of live action and CGI as well as the superb cast should make for quite a treat.
Coming on the 24th to Madrid’s screens is ‘A Cure for Wellness’. The plot follows the central character, Lockhart (Dane DeHaan), and his attempts to bring back his boss from an idyllic wellness retreat in the Swiss Alps. With a damp, gothic look and a ‘Shutter Island’-ish feel to its tone, along with its body-medical horror conspiracy vibe, this is receiving high praise and is a welcome addition to original contemporary popcorn horror. Expect cringeworthy moments with syringes, operations, creepy patients, even creepier doctors and antique labs. The movie is rumoured to be a highly effective thriller that will have you squirming in your seats.
Closing March is Scarlett Johansson in the long-awaited Hollywood remake of the Japanese anime classic ‘Ghost in the Shell’. In 2029, in an unnamed East Asian megalopolis, Johansson’s cyborg detective is on the trail of powerful criminals. The film looks terrific and has rendered the future cityscape with brilliant sheen and grime. With themes of identity, AI, security and dystopia, this should be an intriguing stew. With questions of secrecy currently in the public consciousness, the film’s ‘mind-hacking’ seems both like sci-fi hooey and portentous possibility. See it in Madrid’s cinemas from the 31st.
By Andrew James Ball