Who: Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Penelope Cruz and Rebel Wilson
What: A new assignment forces a top spy to team up with his football hooligan brother.
When: March 11th
Why: It’s been four years since Sacha Baron Cohen’s last starring role (the moderately received “The Dictator”), and in the world of comedy, that’s far too long. It wouldn’t be quite as disastrous if he had spent that time developing something of actual worth, but “The Brothers Grimsby” smacks of a half-baked idea that trades Cohen’s clever satire for childish potty humor. Though the British-born comedian – who has often been compared to the late, great Peter Sellers – is certainly capable of making a good spy parody, it’s going to take much more than a silly costume after Matthew Vaughn’s “Kingsman: The Secret Service” raised the bar so high.
Who: Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton and Adam Driver
What: A family goes on the run after the dad learns that his child has special powers.
When: March 18th
Why: Director Jeff Nichols has slowly been making a name for himself with indies like “Take Shelter” and “Mud,” so it’s no surprise that he’s finally getting a shot at the big leagues with this Amblin-inspired sci-fi thriller that sounds like a mix between “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Starman.” Though Nichols has always been a very character-driven storyteller, it’ll be interesting to see how he handles the seemingly larger scope of a movie like “Midnight Special.” The early buzz is encouraging, and with frequent collaborator Michael Shannon and It Guy Adam Driver among the cast, there’s enough talent to back it up.
Who: Ben Foster, Chris O’Dowd, Jesse Plemons, Lee Pace and Dustin Hoffman
What: An Irish sports journalist tries to prove that Lance Armstrong’s performances during his Tour de France victories were fueled by banned substances.
When: March 18th
Why: Director Stephen Frears’ docudrama about the Lance Armstrong doping scandal received mixed reviews after its premiere at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, but even those that didn’t like the movie have heralded Ben Foster’s performance as the disgraced American cyclist. Though “The Program” sounds like a pretty run-of-the-mill biopic that tries to avoid stepping on anyone’s toes, Foster has been underappreciated as an actor for so long that it’s great to see him in a leading role that showcases his talent. The March release date suggests it won’t be an Oscar contender as some expected, but my hopes are still high for this one.
Who: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot and Amy Adams
What: Fearing the actions of a god-like superhero left unchecked, Batman takes on Superman, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs.
When: March 25th
Why: Warner Bros. may be going about its superhero business a little differently than Marvel, opting to skip the numerous origin stories and jump straight into the team-up movie, but fans don’t seem to mind. Whether or not it actually works remains to be seen, especially with so many moving parts and only one previous film (“Man of Steel”) as the foundation of a suddenly much larger cinematic universe. Director Zack Snyder has done a great job casting the iconic heroes, particularly Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, but none of that will matter if Jesse Eisenberg’s neurotic tech-geek portrayal of Lex Luthor is as awful as it sounds.
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