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Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to March

“DEAD MAN DOWN”

Who: Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Dominic Cooper and Terrence Howard
What: In New York City, a crime lord’s right-hand man is seduced by a woman seeking retribution against his boss.
When: March 8th
Why: Park Chan-wook isn’t the only foreign director making his English-language debut this month, as Niels Arden Oplev follows up his award-winning Swedish version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” with a new film that reunites him with star Noomi Rapace. This is one of those movies that flew completely under my radar until it came time to start planning the preview, but from what I’ve seen so far, “Dead Man Down” has the potential to be the big surprise of March. Colin Farrell is capable of delivering great work with the right material, and Terrence Howard is an excellent choice to play the silky-smooth villain, but more than anything else, this could be Oplev’s coming out party as a director now that he’s no longer stuck in the shadow of Stieg Larsson’s popular novel.

“THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE”

Who: Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde and James Gandolfini
What: After magician Burt Wonderstone splits from his longtime stage partner, he sets out to rediscover what made him love magic in the first place.
When: March 15th
Why: “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” may sound like comedy gold on paper, but it’s hard to get past that terrible trailer, which almost certainly doesn’t do the movie justice. Though pairing Steve Carell and Jim Carrey together in a film would have been a brilliant stroke of casting five years ago, neither actor has done anything of note recently. It’s also a little strange that the movie will be opening South by Southwest this year, because it doesn’t seem to have the type of comic edge I’ve come to expect from the Austin-based film festival. Then again, if it’s good enough for SXSW, then I’m willing to remain cautiously optimistic that it won’t be nearly as bad as the early trailers suggest.

“OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN”

Who: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd and Rick Yune
What: Disgraced Secret Service agent Mike Banning must rescue the President after he’s held hostage by terrorists inside the White House.
When: March 22nd
Why: Over the past 20 years, there has been a bizarre trend of likeminded disaster movies opening within months of each another, so it seems only natural that director Roland Emmerich (who’s no stranger to this phenomenon) is involved in Hollywood’s latest instance of copycat action thrillers. Though his similarly plotted “White House Down” won’t arrive in theaters until June, “Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua has beaten him to the punch. Both movies will probably be pretty interchangeable in terms of plot and action, but while “White House Down” features the more box office-friendly duo of Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx, I’d take Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart any day of the week. For those waiting for a “24” movie, this could be the next best thing.

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