Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to March

“Cinderella”

Who: Lily James, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter and Cate Blanchett
What: A live-action retelling of the classic fairy tale about a servant step-daughter who wins the heart of a prince.
When: March 13th
Why: While the latest film in Hollywood’s fairy tale craze appears to have taken some liberties with its source material, there’s not much you can do to make a vanilla character like Cinderella more interesting without committing to wholesale changes. With that said, this live-action adaptation does have a few things working in its favor, including director Kenneth Branagh, whose cinematic sensibilities are tailor-made for the fairy tale genre, and Cate Blanchett as the evil stepmother. I’m still not entirely sold on Lily James in the title role, but after Branagh struck gold with Chris Hemsworth in “Thor,” I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

“The Divergent Series: Insurgent”

Who: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller and Kate Winslet
What: Beatrice Prior continues her fight against a powerful alliance which threatens to tear her society apart with the help from others on her side.
When: March 20th
Why: One of the biggest problems with Neil Burger’s “Divergent” was that it failed to make you care enough about the characters to want to see any future installments, so director Robert Schwentke is already fighting somewhat of an uphill battle with the film’s sequel. Without the baggage of the first movie’s mind-numbing exposition, however, “Insurgent” should have a lot more freedom to explore Veronica Roth’s dystopian world without having to stop and explain something every five minutes. That means better character development, more action, and hopefully an improved role for Kate Winslet, who was wasted as the villain in the first film.

“The Gunman”

Who: Sean Penn, Idris Elba, Javier Bardem and Ray Winstone
What: An international operative who wants out of the game is forced to go on the run across Europe when the organization he works for kidnaps his longtime lover.
When: March 20th
Why: It seems like everyone wants to be an action hero these days, especially after Liam Neeson proved just how lucrative it could be with the “Taken” series. The latest actor to throw his hat into the ring is Sean Penn, and the fact that he’s teaming up with Pierre Morel (the director of the first “Taken”) shows that he means business. While Penn is an interesting choice to headline an action movie, what really makes “The Gunman” so promising is the excellent supporting cast. It might be asking too much with Neeson’s own film opening one week earlier, but this could be the surprise hit of the month.

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