By Tim Parks
March is primarily associated with St. Patrick’s Day, when green is the “it” color to sport on the 17th. It also marks the auspicious occasion when Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C., which brought the term the Ides of March into our lexicon, courtesy of William Shakespeare’s play about the downfall of the Roman Emperor.
So, whether the films that are coming out in the third month of the year rake in the magical shade of St. Patrick’s favorite color in the form of dollar bills, or die as painful a death as Caesar did remains to be seen.
Here are a few of the celluloid offerings awaiting you at your local Cineplex…
Off with their heads, on with their 3-D glasses
March 5 is a very important date, cinematically speaking, as it will finally settle the question of what will it look like when filmmaker Tim Burton gets his (scissor) hands on the Lewis Carroll classic Alice In Wonderland, and leads viewers done the rabbit hole in 3-D.
The follow-up will also undoubtedly bring up that pesky “Who wore it better?” question, in relation to Johnny Deep as The Mad Hatter or Boy George during his heyday in Culture Club.
Regardless, the-now-19-year-old titular character (Mia Wasikowska) takes another plunge into the magical land, after spying the White Rabbit at her engagement party.
Once again among the fantastic, she transforms into a more empowered version of herself in a quest to defeat the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter).
She also crosses paths with a true assortment of characters in the form of the aforementioned hare and hatter (Michael Sheen and Depp, respectively), the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), the Caterpillar (Alan Rickman), and Little Britain star Matt Lucas playing both Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
Oh, the drama!
Happy Tears, which is in theaters now, stars Demi Moore and Parker Posey as siblings who unite to care for their aging father (Rip Torn). Hopefully, art didn’t imitate life for these actresses on-set, given Torn’s recent alcohol-fueled arrests – talk about being a handful!
Jayne (Posey) and Laura (Moore) return to their childhood domicile, which houses childhood memories that each would prefer to keep locked in the basement of space and time.
The different-as-night-and-day sisters are at odds over which course to take with their parent, while they navigate the crossroads they find themselves standing at in their own lives.
The Runaways explores both the rise-and-fall aspect of the world of rock ’n roll and the trailblazing all-female band, which was initially fronted by Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning), whose memoir Neon Angel serves as the basis for this biopic.
Currie and her hard rockin’ teen-aged band mates Joan Jett (Kristin Stewart), Lita Ford (Scout Taylor-Compton) and Sandy West (Stella Maeve) encounter success with their first single “Cherry Bomb.”
They also fall under the puppet master-like influence of their manager, Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon), and experience the disintegration of their “jailbait rock” group.
Bassist Jackie Fox is not featured as a character in the movie. She actually had a lawsuit filed against her by Jett, who serves as the film’s producer, for attempting to block the March 19 release from being made.
Julianne Moore enlists the services of prostitute Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) to see if screen hubby Liam Neeson is cheating on her on March 26.
Moore’s Catherine character should have opted for a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” approach to her marital woes, as the working girl winds up giving her an around-the-world con job about his faithfulness.
Director Atom Egoyan’s remake of French thriller Nathalie features Seyfried’s second stroll down Sapphic Lane. After locking lips with Megan Fox in Jennifer’s Body, the Mamma Mia! actress reportedly shares some quality screen time with her new co-star.
WTF? title of the year
One has to wonder if Hot Tub Time Machine star John Cusack felt as though his resume, which began with teen comedy roles in the ’80s, was lacking a Back to the Future-type credit – or if he simply lost a bet.
Audiences will find out on March 26, if slipping into a ski resort hot tub has the same type of comedic kick as getting a tricked-out time traveling DeLorean up to 88 miles per hour to go back in time.
A group of disillusioned grown-up friends, including co-stars Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson and Clark Duke, emerges from a night of partying to discover they have waken up in the year 1986.
Naturally, the group seizes the opportunity to alter their futures by dipping their toes back into their pasts.
This article was first published in March 2010.