The 9 Must See Movies of March 2014

By  · Published on March 4th, 2014

March may not be the most wonderful time of the year, but this year it’s a pretty wonderful 31-day span. There’s a Wes Anderson movie, Muppets, a biblical epic, and the return of one of TV’s most charming characters. This month is overwhelming with quality, so much so that I had to exclude Eva Green’s performance in 300: Rise of an Empire from this list. Not only is that semi-sequel more fun, self-aware, and bonkers than the original, but Green chews up every bit of CG scenery in her sight. I already feel shame for scratching it off.

Make sure to experience Green’s performance in 3D. Never before has a woman kissing a decapitated head been portrayed with such grace, but somehow Green and the power of a third dimension makes the romantic act more beautiful and visceral than ever.

None of the 10 films featured below has the actress killing it in the third dimension, but they all have their own things going for them. Again, it’s an excellent month to look forward to.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Opens in theaters March 7th

Wes Anderson’s new film, set in the fictionalized Republic of Zubrowka, is a total blast. Not only because of Anderson’s breathless script and direction, but also due to a helluva a cast, namely Ralph Fiennes playing the hotel concierge on the run, Monsieur Gustave H. In the film Gustave is loved by all, and nobody in the audience will doubt why that is after they see Gustave in action. Fiennes is charming, cunning, and hilarious in this 1920s crime film.

Enemy

Opens in theaters March 14th

It would be best for all of us if Denis Villeneuve and Jake Gyllenhaal continued their partnership. In Enemy, Gyllenhaal follows up Prisoners with an exciting performance that’ll stick with you. Gyllenhaal plays a professor who finds a copy of himself, an actor that shouldn’t be trusted from frame one. What follows that discovery is a tense, fully-realized vision crafted with precision by Villeneuve. Not once does the film have you marveling at the trickery behind the two Gyllenhaals, but rather has you transfixed by this nightmarish vision from start to finish.

Veronica Mars

Opens in theaters March 14th

The return of Veronica Mars always felt like more of a dream than a reality. Never say never, though, since Rob Thomas’s beloved character finally got her own movie. Will non-Veronica Mars fans show up to watch the young detective (Kristen Bell) in theaters? Likely not, but who cares? This Kickstarted project, which you could’ve paid a measly $2,5000 to work on as an extra, is clearly a movie made by fans for fans. The trailers don’t show much promise, but Mars is a character that could easily provide 2 hours worth of entertainment.

Bad Words

Opens in theaters March 14th

Andrew Dodge’s quick-witted script went on to become an impressive directorial debut from actor Jason Bateman. Bateman also stars in his film, a 40-year-old man who finds a loophole to participate in the National Spelling Bee Contest. It’s a dark comedy that finds the right balance between cruelty and humanity, to the point where Bateman’s empathy for his lead almost makes you root for the genius manchild to win at the end. Win or lose, he’s still a character you fall in love with.

Muppets Most Wanted

Opens in theaters March 21st

James Bobin’s The Muppets was a major surprise in 2011. The reboot showed that none of Jim Henson’s characters had lost their magic, thanks to screenwriters Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segal. What Stoller, Segal, and Bobin crafted was pure delight, in every way imaginable. Even the human characters were a joy to watch. With the actors they’ve brought in for the sequel, including Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey, we should expect the similar results with Bobin’s sequel.

Nymphomaniac: Volume I

Opens in theaters March 21st

This almost didn’t make the list, because in no way is this a finished story. Nymphomaniac: Volume I isn’t completely fulfilling until Volume II is seen. However, if Volume II of Joe’s journey is as entertaining as Volume I, then Lars von Trier’s latest will make for an unforgettable experience. The first half covers the nymphomaniac’s younger life, told by an ashamed Older Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and it leaves you wanting more. Still, Volume I is tremendously imaginative and, no kidding, really funny, which should make Joe’s downfall in Volume II all the harder to watch.

Cheap Thrills

Opens in limited release March 21st

A tough, dark comedy whose edge doesn’t come from its violence but from strong performances, E.L. Katz’s film pits two buddies played by Pat Healy and Ethan Embry against each other over plenty of cash. They, alongside David Koechner and Sarah Paxton, anchor an unbelievable story by making it believable. With a high concept of poor people doing increasingly insane stunts for money, they’re all human enough to make the punches, cuts, and betrayals have real impact.

The Raid 2

Opens in theaters March 28th

“Let’s just dispense with the hyperbole right now. Yes, The Raid 2 will in fact cure any and all ailments, make you irresistible to the opposite sex, give you the winning lottery numbers, do your math homework for you, wash the dishes, and happily go down on you without expecting the same in return,” was Rob Hunter’s faint praise from Sundance. Based on all the hype from that festival, Hunter was showing restraint in his praise for this epic bone-crunching sequel. Let’s just hope he’s right for once…

Noah

Opens in theaters March 28th

Another long-gestating passion project from Darren Aronofsky. Although the Black Swan director spent more time with Noah on his mind, the last story he carried with him for years, The Fountain, turned out to be his most emotional (and arguably best) film. After hearing glowing responses from test screenings, apparently Noah is another rewarding dream project from Aronofsky. Taking on Noah and his ark was not a smooth journey for the filmmaker, but it looks as if Aronofsky’s passion will payoff with this personal tale told on a grand canvas.

Honorable Mentions: 300: Rise of an Empire, Sabotage, Blood Ties, The Art of the Steal, Breathe In, and Jordowsky’s Dune.

What March movies are you looking forward to the most?

Longtime FSR contributor Jack Giroux likes movies. He thinks they're swell.