The best movies to see this month

Our film critics highlight the 10 best movies released in U.S. theaters for the month of March

1
1/10

Chappie

Why we’re excited?
Neill Blomkamp, the single-minded writer-director who brought you District 9 and Elysium, returns with yet another movie about the collision between humans and technology, this one about a police droid who learns to think for himself. Blomkamp was just signed to do an Alien sequel with Sigourney Weaver, a ringing vote of confidence.

What could go wrong?
This didn't screen in time for weekly critics (always worrisome) and the trailer suggests a sentimentality that might not be this filmmaker's strong suit. We can't all be Spielberg, but we can dare to dream.

Chappie opens Mar 6.

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Now Showing
2
2/10

Faults

Why we’re excited?
Riley Stearns’s “The Cub” is one of our favorite Sundance shorts in years, and his debut feature follows through on that early potential in a big way. It's a clever and contained dark comedy about a mind-control expert (Leland Orser) who’s hired to kidnap his clients’ daughter (Mary-Elizabeth Winstead) from a cult and deprogram her of their cultish ways. Naturally, everything goes according to plan.

What could go wrong?
Success at SXSW (where Faults premiered last year to big buzz) doesn’t always mean that a film will connect with outside audiences, but this one grabs you right from the start.

Faults opens Mar 6.

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3
3/10

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Why we’re excited?
This follow-up to the 2011 hit about older folks abroad reunites the likes of Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy. But we're especially stoked about the addition of Richard Gere to the cast—he's entering an especially rich phase of his career, judging from last year's harrowing NYC homeless drama Time Out of Mind.

What could go wrong?
Cross-cultural food porn gets tiresome after a while and you have to wonder if Second Best actually means second best.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opens Mar 6.

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Now Showing
4
4/10

Cinderella

Why we’re excited?
Another big-budget live-action reimagining of a Disney classic, but the pedigree here is impeccable: Kenneth Branagh directs, Helena Bonham Carter does Fairy Godmother duty, and the effortlessly brilliant Cate Blanchett gets mean as the lady of the house.

What could go wrong?
Non-Downton Abbey fans (who are you people?) might need to be convinced of Lily James in the title role. And there's always that niggling suspicion that it'll never be as good as the animated classic.

Cinderella opens Mar 13.

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Release date: Friday March 13 2015
5
5/10

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter

Why we’re excited?
Fiercely beloved by its fans since it premiered at Sundance in early 2014, this morbidly endearing new film by directors David and Nathan Zellner tells the true-ish story of a Japanese secretary (Rinko Kikuchi) whose life was changed forever when she found a VHS tape of Fargo in a seaside cave. Convinced that the money Steve Buscemi’s character buries is real (and still there), Kumiko ventures to America in order to claim her treasure. Of course, no description of the film is complete without mention of Kumiko’s pet rabbit, Bunzo, already a social-media sensation.

What could go wrong?
Some audiences might not be thrilled with the film’s refusal to diagnose Kumiko’s eccentricities, while others may not be willing to roll with the grim laughs that the Zellners pull from the girl’s fateful journey.

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter opens Mar 13.

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6
6/10

Insurgent

Why we’re excited?
Fresh off her impressive work in The Fault in Our Stars, Shailene Woodley is back for a second stab at Veronica Roth's YA Divergent novels. It's solely because of her that this dystopian series hasn't been dismissed as “the one without Jennifer Lawrence.” Upping the ante a bit, the filmmakers have added Naomi Watts to the mix.

What could go wrong?
We know the literary series is huge, but did the first movie really earn a sequel? Nope. And come on, Veronica—those titles are atrocious.

Insurgent opens Mar 20.

7
7/10

Jauja

Why we’re excited?
The best part about Jauja hitting theaters is that it gives everyone a good excuse to say (or at least try to say) Jauja in conversation. An unspeakably gorgeous WTF journey across the forbidding terrain of 1882 Argentina, Lisandro Alonso’s latest film follows a Danish army captain (Viggo Mortensen) as he roams the barren landscape in search of his recently disappeared young daughter.

What could go wrong?
There are so many things that could go wrong with this one. For instance, you could pronounce it “Jow-jah.” Or “Ja-eww-jay.” Or, worst of all, you could not say it at all, which would be the real shame: It's the kind of movie you have to talk about with your friends as soon as it’s over. For the record, it’s pronounced “How-ha.”

Jauja opens Mar 20.

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8
8/10

Spring

Why we’re excited?
Directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (who previously collaborated on the V/H/S: Viral segment “Bonestorm,” among other projects), Spring has been described as a cross between Before Sunrise and An American Werewolf in London. Hence, excitement.

What could go wrong?
Lou Taylor Pucci is a talented guy, but the actor has a habit of appearing in some truly insufferable stuff—we’re still trying to move on from his last werewolf movie (2012’s Jack & Diane). Hopefully Spring, in which Pucci plays an American kid who travels to Italy and falls for a girl with a dark secret, is enough to break the curse.

Spring opens Mar 20.

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9
9/10

Man From Reno

Why we’re excited?
The winner of last summer’s Los Angeles Film Festival, Dave Boyle’s Man from Reno is a moody, unsparing and brilliantly plotted neo-noir about a Japanese mystery author (the hypercharismatic Ayako Fujitani, Steven Seagal’s daughter) who gets tangled in a murder plot when she slips away from her book tour to spend some time in San Francisco.

What could go wrong?
The stakes are lower than a lot of viewers might expect from this sort of thing, but what Man from Reno lacks in scale it makes up for in scope, the suspenseful story buffeted by an insightful portrait of immigrant identity.

Man from Reno opens Mar 27.

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10
10/10

While We’re Young

Why we’re excited?
Noah Baumbach's latest comedy works terrifically as a generational clash between neurotic Gen-Xer Josh (Ben Stiller), a frustrated indie documentarian, and his millennial new bestie, Jamie (Girls' Adam Driver), who looks to him for guidance. Enlivened by their friendship, Josh starts wearing an ironic fedora and riding a fixie, while Jamie plans something a little more surprising.

What could go wrong?
Hard to say. You might be someone who doesn't like sharp one-liners or witty repartee. Or you're a cold-hearted bastard who doesn't like to laugh. Stranger things have happened.

While We're Young opens Mar 27.

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