Essays · Movies

The New Movies of March 2017, In Order of Anticipation

By  · Published on March 2nd, 2017

Action, horror, and indies share the screen with the first inklings of blockbuster season.

Can you believe it’s already March?! We’re just a couple of months in but so far 2017 has been a fairly forgettable year with nothing much memorable happening on a day to day basis. Thankfully we have movies to liven up our lives right?

The year has already seen some big hits, but March marks the first month to feature film that are *designed* to be blockbusters including the return of a Disney classic, an epic monster movie, and the purported last hurrah of a superhero favorite.

Here’s how we rank the new movies of March 2017, from “Maybe See” to “Must See.”

10. Beauty & the Beast (3/17)

Pros: Disney’s previous live-action update of a beloved animated classic, The Jungle Book, turned out to be a lot of beautifully-crafted fun… and that was with a lead actor far less skilled than this film’s Emma Watson. Director Bill Condon previously delivered visually interesting films as diverse as Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, Gods and Monsters, and Dreamgirls.

Cons: Is there anyone who doesn’t feel like they can recite these story beats by heart already? The trailers look visually appealing enough, but near frame by frame resemblance leaves little room to create some magic of its own. And did I mention this new version of an already overly familiar tale is over two hours long?

9. T2: Trainspotting (3/17)

Pros: Danny Boyle’s 1996 original remains an inventive and fun exploration of addiction, listlessness, and recovery, and this long-awaited sequel brings back all of the main players on both sides of the camera including Boyle, Irvine Walsh, Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, and others.

Cons: Very few sequels arriving more than a decade after their predecessor end up being all that good, and advance word on this one has been fairly indifferent so far.

8. Raw (3/10)

Pros: This is the first of two films on this list I’ve already seen, and it’s one I’m excited for more viewers to experience. The tale of a young woman coming of age while attending a veterinary college offers an atmospheric and at times unsettling look at family secrets, hazing, and cannibalism.

Cons: The festival praise on this one reached some hyperbolic highs despite there being some real issues including an ending that feels a bit more obvious than the filmmakers seem to expect and a vet school that’s the least believable place of higher learning since P.C.U.

7. Suntan (3/10)

Pros: A lonely shlub working in a small Greek town gets caught up in the lives and loves of young, naked tourists, and while it feels at times like your pervy uncle has somehow wandered into 1982’s Summer Lovers the result is a film that manages to be sad, sexy, and suspenseful.

Cons: As brightly-lit as it is the film is still a dark tale of one man’s isolation and obsession, and that combination will not be for everyone.

6. Life (3/24)

Pros: More sci-fi/action/horror is never a bad thing, and director Daniel Espinosa (Safe House) has already proven his genre chops. The cast is also loaded with talent we love to see including Rebecca Ferguson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ryan Reynolds, and others. And speaking of the cast, there are only ten people in the movie, and only two of them are white guys.

Cons: Per the trailer, the plot literally kicks in when the ship’s scientist touches an alien life form. Hopefully the rest of the movie isn’t as dumb.

5. Ghost in the Shell (3/31)

Pros: Scarlett Johnasson has long since proven herself as an action lead, and it’s great to see her anchoring another blockbuster-in-waiting. The trailer suggests one hell of a visual ride too combining stunning imagery and blistering action set-pieces set against an eye-catching future world. And did I mention the score is composed by Clint Mansell?

Cons: Huh, I can’t really think of any cons related to this adaptation of a classic Japanese anime into a feature starring a white woman in the lead. Also, Æon Flux is probably enough to give a little bit of pause here – a wholly different movie I realize, but the familiarity remains.

4. The Blackcoat’s Daughter (3/31)

Pros: Sometimes you’re in the mood for a low-key horror thriller, and if that desire hits you this month this looks to be the film you want. Advance word out of festivals (where it played as February) has been strong, and the two leads at the center of it all are the always watchable Kiernan Shipka and Emma Roberts.

Cons: Writer/director Osgood Perkins also wrote the mostly forgettable Cold Comes the Night and the abysmal The Girl in the Photographs.

3. The Belko Experiment (3/17)

Pros: It’s Battle Royale meets Office Space… written by James Gunn (Slither) and directed by Greg McLean (Rogue)! Tyler Bates (John Wick) is scoring, and the fantastic cast includes Tony Goldwyn, Michael Rooker, John C. McGinley, John Gallagher Jr., Sean Gunn, and more.

Cons: I’d be lying if I said I’d ever grow tired of Battle Royale-like movies, but none have yet to approach the mad genius and glory of Kinji Fukasaku’s classic.

2. Kong: Skull Island (3/10)

Pros: It’s King Kong done as a mash-up of old-school monster movies and Apocalypse Now, and it looks to be one of the most entertaining creature features in years. Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly, and John Goodman add to the near-guaranteed fun.

Cons: Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ only previous feature is an indie about boys being boys, and while that may fit this one thematically it’s yet to be seen if he can handle the monstrous budget and responsibility of a blockbuster.

1. Logan (3/3)

Pros: Wolverine, and more specifically, Hugh Jackman’s performance in the role, has almost always been better than the film he finds himself in, but James Mangold’s second stab at bringing the character to the screen looks spectacular. Replacing the comic book trappings with the atmosphere of a dour western just might be a genius move, and I was sold from the very first teaser. The R-rating helped too of course.

Cons: I missed my screening weeks ago due to bad weather, so the biggest con here is that I haven’t seen it yet. The risk at this point is that the film is now facing a mountain of hyperbolic praise from advance screenings.

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.