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Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to March

“ADMISSION”

Who: Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Nat Wolff, Michael Sheen and Gloria Reuben
What: A Princeton admissions officer takes a professional risk after she meets a college-bound alternative school kid who might be the son she gave up years ago.
When: March 22nd
Why: Despite its sitcomy premise, “Admission” has one thing going for it that most romantic comedies don’t: Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. The two stars are not only some of Hollywood’s most likeable comic actors, but they tend to make everything they’re in more enjoyable. Fey hasn’t appeared on the big screen since 2010’s “Date Night,” but now that “30 Rock” is over, here’s hoping that audiences will see more of her in the future, because she’s the kind of leading lady that could reinvigorate the rom-com genre. Director Paul Weitz has had his share of flops in recent years, but he’s proven with “About a Boy” and “In Good Company” that he’s capable of making a great movie.

“SPRING BREAKERS”

Who: Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and James Franco
What: Four college girls who land in jail after robbing a restaurant to fund their spring break vacation find themselves in the debt of a drug and arms dealer.
When: March 22nd
Why: Guaranteed to be one of the most controversial films released all year, Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers” is the kind of movie that people are either going to really love or really hate. I’m not sure which group I’ll end up in, but Korine has definitely perked my interest with his sumptuous visuals and timely social satire. The big story, however, is the cast, which includes former Disney stars Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez trying to break free from their squeaky clean images with more adult roles, and James Franco continuing his bizarre acting career with a turn as a cornrowed, gold-toothed wannabe gangster that should make the movie worth seeing whether it’s good or not.

“G.I. JOE: RETALIATION”

Who: Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum, Ray Park and Adrianne Palicki
What: The G.I. Joes are not only fighting their mortal enemy Cobra; they are forced to contend with threats from within the government that jeopardize their very existence.
When: March 29th
Why: The quasi-sequel to 2009’s ill-fated “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” has had a pretty bump road on its way to theaters after its initial summer 2012 release date was pushed back nearly a year amid reports that Paramount wanted to convert the film to 3D. Of course, the real reason for the delay was some not-so-secret reshoots with Channing Tatum, whose reported death in the beginning of the movie didn’t go down well with test audiences. Regardless of what the finished product looks like now, it would be pretty hard to do any worse than Steven Sommers’ first film. And between the addition of guys like Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis and director John M. Chu’s professed love for the property, “Retaliation” could be just what the franchise needs to get it back on track.

“THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES”

Who: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes and Rose Byrne
What: A motorcycle stunt rider turns to robbing banks to provide for his lover and new child, a decision that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious rookie cop.
When: March 29th
Why: I wasn’t crazy about Derek Cianfrance’s anti-rom-com “Blue Valentine,” but his second outing with Ryan Gosling looks much better, despite the fact that some people are already lazily comparing it to “Drive.” The movie premiered last year at the Toronto International Film Festival to glowing reviews, and there’s a good chance that Gosling and Bradley Cooper will earn Oscar nominations for their work here. Both men have proven themselves capable of delivering excellent performances, and it’s only a matter of time before they win the big prize. What really makes the film stand out, though, is that it doesn’t seem to be your average crime thriller. There’s something smarter and more emotional about the story being told, and that’s usually the sign of a great movie.

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