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Spring Movie Preview

Spring is here and with it comes a host of movies aimed right down the middle of the plate in terms of entertainment, broad appeal, and being a conduit into the coveted Summer movie season. It’s an unpredictable time of year filled with many surprises and disappointments but it’s rare that a year goes by where one of these films doesn’t steal the thunder from the movies everyone expects to be the big deal. This is a glorious time of year and here’s what to expect from March and April:

This is a glorious time of year and here’s what to expect from March and April:

March 11th

10 Cloverfield Lane

The Premise: A mystery wrapped inside an enigma wrapped inside a fortune cookie wrapped inside a bomb shelter.

Selling Points:

  • The Cloverfield name we love.
  • John Goodman. Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
  • The unknown.

Danger Zones:

  • It could all be hot air.
  • If it’s just humans, will be care?
  • There’s rumors it’s been squeezed into the Cloverfield name.

The Brothers Grimsby

The Premise: Sascha Baron Cohen and Mark Strong play brothers who are reunited right in the middle of a conspiracy.

Selling Points:

  • The cast is perfect.
  • They filmed it as a legit action flick.
  • Sasha Baron Cohen is a genius.

Danger Zones:

  • Will the blend of action and comedy dampen both?
  • Will a brand new IP work?
  • Is it too British?

March 18th

The Divergent Series: Allegiant

The Premise: The middle-tier YA series is back!

Selling Points:

  • Jeff Daniels is always worth a ticket.
  • Holographic visual effects look clean.
  • Easily accessible Sci-Fi for all teens.

Danger Zones:

  • This setup is overused at this point.
  • Too much greenscreen could overwhelm.
  • Divergent needs better word of mouth.

Midnight Special

The Premise: A boy with potentially special powers is protected by his father from enemies seen and unseen.

Selling Points:

  • Michael Shannon plays the lead role, which is usually enough to get me to buy a ticket.
  • The rest of the cast includes Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton, Sam Shepard, and Sean Bridgers.
  • Jeff Nichols, director of Take Shelter and Mud.

Danger Zones:

  • The film’s smaller sci-fi story could deter viewers looking for a blockbuster.
  • A lot rests on a child actor (Jaeden Lieberher), and we know how that goes.
  • If the trailer is any indication, anyone who’s suffering from lens flare overexposure may want to skip it.

The Program

The Premise: The Lance Armstrong story, warts and all.

Selling Points:

  • Excellent cast of top performers.
  • Well cut and entertaining trailer.
  • Stephen Frears behind the camera.

Danger Zones:

  • Lance Armstrong may be a turn off.
  • Oversaturated past press coverage.
  • Does anyone really care about it?

The Little Prince

The Premise: A stop-motion adaptation of the beloved novella.

Selling Points:

  • Directed by Mark Osborne!
  • Story of childhood discovery.
  • Encourages use of imagination.
  • Unique mix of animation styles.
  • Classic tale on the big screen.
  • Jeff Bridges as wise old mentor.

Danger Zones:

  • Very little, this could be good.

March 25th

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

The Premise: Zack Snyder unleashes a superhero epic and hope to launch a Justice League franchise.

Selling Points:

  • First big screen meeting of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight.
  • The real kickoff to the DC Extended Universe.
  • Batfleck is the most comics-accurate looking Batman ever.

Danger Zones:

  • Trailers have had a hard time selling the tone of this thing. Is it going to be too grim?
  • Man of Steel.
  • DC is trying to reverse engineer their own.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

The Premise: The biggest franchise about big fat Greek weddings is back!

Selling Points:

  • The first film has a lot of fans.
  • Very little CGI.
  • Safe date flick.

Danger Zones:

  • The first film is still My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
  • It’s been a long time since people thought of this “franchise”.

I Saw the Light

The Premise: Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams? Sold.

Selling Points:

  • One of our best actors playing a role no one expected.
  • Elizabeth Olsen? Perfect!
  • A great story that is supremely cinematic.

Danger Zones:

  • Some bipics just don’t work.
  • Marc Abraham as a director isn’t a sure thing.
  • There’s always fear of a sappy execution.

The Invitation

The Premise: A mysterious indie horror film boasting some true pedigree.

Selling Points:

  • Karyn Kusama, director of Jennifer’s Body, is back!
  • Carried by a wave of great festival screenings
  • The film’s pressure cooker drama looks fascinating and mysterious

Danger Zones:

  • Karyn Kusama, director of Aeon Flux, is back.
  • The marketing has been so obtuse that audiences might not engage with it
  • Like other hipster horror darlings, the early hype may fall flat for some viewers

April 1st

Amityville: The Awakening

The Premise: The franchise that will never die comes back with a vengeance.

Selling Points:

  • Gotham‘s Cameron Monaghan and The Hateful Eight‘s Jennifer Jason Leigh.
  • Written and directed by Franck Khalfoun, who did remakes right with his minor masterpiece Maniac.
  • Can’t be as bad as the Ryan Reynolds one, right?

Danger Zones:

  • It’s an Amityville movie. The only other franchise with this many misses is The Howling.
  • This movie has been sitting on a shelf for over a year, and they’ve had to do reshoots recently.
  • Seriously, it’s an Amityville movie. This is a series that features possessed mirrors, clocks, dollhouses, and lamps. LAMPS.

Meet the Blacks

The Premise: An African-American family moves in as the Purge happens.

Selling Points:

  • An African-American family moves in as the Purge happens.

Danger Zones:

  • An African-American family moves in as the Purge happens.

Green Room

The Premise: Jeremy Saulnier, one of the freshest new voices in filmmaking, is back!

Selling Points:

  • Patrick Stewart playing the bad guy.
  • Director Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin).
  • Strong premise that feels dangerous.

Danger Zones:

  • The cast needs to bring their A-game.
  • Could be disappointing/underwhelming.
  • Must be a strong thriller to be good.

Miles Ahead

The Premise: Don Cheadle’s passion project about Miles Davis hits theaters after a run on the festival circuit.

Selling Points:

  • Is Don Cheadle as good a director as he is an actor?
  • Miles Davis had a remarkable life that will make for great drama.
  • Ewan McGregor looks like a lot of fun here.

Danger Zones:

  • What if Don Cheadle isn’t a good director?
  • If this isn’t solid it may spell the end of Miles’ story onscreen.

April 8th

The Boss

The Premise: Melissa McCarthy does what she does best.

Selling Points:

  • Plenty of dirty jokes and foul humor.
  • Fearless and anti-politically correct.
  • Could be a School of Rock style hit.

Danger Zones:

  • You can’t outdo The Bad News Bears.
  • Melissa McCarthy’s weak reputation.
  • Cringeworthy jokes and cheap laughs.

Demolition

The Premise: Jake Gyllenhaal stars it yet another potentially powerful independent film.

Selling Points:

  • From the Dallas Buyers Club team.
  • Guaranteed Gyllenhaal freak out.
  • Could be unintentionally funny.

Danger Zones:

  • “Quirky Indie Drama: The Movie”.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal’s track record.
  • Already poor reception/reviews.

Hardcore Henry

The Premise: A first-person movie from a filmmaker who is electrifying.

Selling Points:

  • Unique action spectacle thanks to the POV gimmick.
  • Looks like unbridled fun, something audiences are craving thanks to Deadpool.
  • Sharlto Copley is always worth watching.

Danger Zones:

  • POV gimmick could get stale really quick.
  • Story looks incredibly thin and flimsy.
  • Might make you just want to play a video game instead.

April 15th

The Jungle Book

The Premise: Jon Favreau puts all his eggs into the Disney basket.

Selling Points:

  • Of all the animated films being adapted to live action, is easily the most stunning.
  • The voice cast is aces. Bill Murray as Baloo? We are sold.
  • He hasn’t shown it in awhile but Jon Favreau can compose some epic action and adventure.

Danger Zones:

  • This is a story we are very familiar with. Will a live action version of an age old story be a bore?
  • There is something weird about seeing very realistic-looking animals with human voices. It’s a bit jarring. How many of us will be creeped out by seeing a talking bear, even if it’s Bill Murray’s voice?
  • If this is a huge hit does it mean Disney will give us a Jungle Book cinematic universe? Oh boy.

Barbershop: The Next Cut

The Premise: Any unanswered questions from the first two Barbershop movies will finally be answered.

Selling Points:

  • Ice Cube, Common, and Cedric the Entertainer together!
  • The first two movies are beloved.
  • Equal fun for men and women.

Danger Zones:

  • If the first two films didn’t appeal to you this won’t change things.
  • Is three films too many?

Everybody Wants Some

The Premise: Richard Linklater returns to his Dazed and Confused roots.

Selling Points:

  • Richard Linklater did the 70’s perfectly, the 80’s should be more of the same.
  • When Richard Linklater unleashes a cast of unknowns they become superstars.
  • Van Halen will reach a new group of youngsters.

Danger Zones:

  • A mostly unknown cast.
  • Nostalgia is always a toss-up for younger fans unfamiliar with the era.

Criminal

The Premise: Kevin Costner tries his hand at the “unstoppable killing machine” subgenre.

Selling Points:

  • Super soldier Kevin Costner.
  • Gary Oldman is always a draw.
  • Great supporting cast overall.

Danger Zones:

  • Could be a Jason Bourne ripoff.
  • Needs to be exciting/engaging.
  • Possibly too sappy & dramatic.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War

The Premise: This is a rare sequel that has every opportunity to outdo the original, taking Snow White and the Huntsman into bold new territory.

Selling Points:

  • Chris Hemsworth is alway reliable.
  • Charlize Theron is always reliable.
  • It looks beautiful.
  • Kristen Stewart was downer.

Danger Zones:

  • Do people care?
  • It’s a crowded year for this kind of movie.

Keanu

The Premise: Key and Peele finally get to the big screen in a vulgar yet cute film.

Selling Points:

  • It’s about time Key and Peele got their own movie. We are ready. America is ready.
  • A comedy centered around an adorable kitty cat? Be still, our beating hearts!
  • A violent, R-rated outrageous comedy sounds perfect to us.

Danger Zones:

  • Key and Peele are great but sometimes their sketches went on a bit too long. Let’s hope this isn’t a movie that outstays its welcome
  • A bad Key and Peele movie could make us way less excited for their future content and that’s a scary thought
  • If anything bad happens to that cat, the internet will revolt.

 

Reporting by Nick Nunziata, Drew Dietsch, Andrew Hawkins, and Brandon Marcus

 


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