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March 2016 Film Preview

March 2016 Film Preview

March’s female-centric and/or women-directed films spread wide across all genres, ranging from comedies and the return of a cult favorite to suspenseful action flicks by and about women. First to release in March is the Tina Fey comedy “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” which follows an American reporter (Fey) as she goes on assignment in Afghanistan — and shenanigans ensue.

Kids and adults alike have something to be excited about this month in the latest from Disney Animation Studios: “Zootopia,” a satirical imagining of a utopia where all types of animals are equal and free, but soon the bunny-eared protagonist (Ginnifer Goodwin) finds that things are not as they appear. In a probable allegory for the experience of women working in male dominated fields, the bunny attempts to prove that she can be a police officer in a precinct with much larger (and male) animals. 

Fans of the “Divergent” series will get a new installment of the successful franchise in “Allegiant,” as Tris (Shailene Woodley) takes on a new challenge and must save the world with heroic flair. A romantic-comedy classic gets a reboot in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” with Nia Vardalos returning as writer and star of the new film, which catches up with the family as they encounter new problems and yet another wedding.

The French romantic comedy “Lolo,” which premieres this month in New York, follows the adventures of best friends Violette (Delpy) and Ariane (Karin Viard) as they try to navigate the chaos of love, friendship and family. 

Zoë Bell plays a photojournalist who stumbles upon some unexpectedly gruesome details while on assignment abroad in the intense action thriller “Camino,” also set for release in March. Last, but certainly not least to premiere is director Karyn Kusama’s “The Invitation,” a high-stakes thriller that takes place at a dinner party, where the guests at a luxury abode seem to be in for more than what they bargained for. 

Here is a more comprehensive list of women-directed and women-centric films releasing in March. All descriptions are from press releases, unless stated otherwise.

March 4

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

When reporter Kim Baker’s (Tina Fey) life needs something more, she decides to shake it all up by taking an assignment in a war zone. There, in the midst of chaos, she finds the strength she never knew she had.

Zootopia

The modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together — a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. But when optimistic Officer Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), to solve the mystery.

Camino

Set in 1985, war photographer Avery Taggert (Zoë Bell) has built a solid career with her stark and honest imagery, all the while remaining emotionally distant from her subjects. When she embeds in the jungles of Colombia with a squad of missionaries led by a beloved and charismatic Spaniard known as “El Guero” (Nacho Vigalondo), she finds herself in the middle of a conflict as violent as any she’s photographed. One night, she happens upon El Guero committing a heinous atrocity, capturing the vile act on film, an image with the potential to discredit and destroy El Guero. Knowing this brilliant psychopath will employ every tactic at his disposal to destroy that photograph — and the photographer who took it — Avery flees into the harsh jungle with nothing but the camera hanging around her neck to escape from missionaries twisted into violent guerrillas by the madman intent on destroying all enemies.

Emelie

On the eve of their thirteenth wedding anniversary, Dan and Joyce (Chris Beetem and Susan Pourfar) head into the city to celebrate, leaving their three children — adorable Christopher (Thomas Bair), curious middle-child Sally (Carly Adams) and big brother Jacob (Joshua Rush) — at home. However, when Maggie (Elizabeth Jayne), their usual babysitter has to cancel, the Thompsons call upon a new girl, Anna (Sarah Bolger). As the night creeps along, the kids slowly realize that Anna is not exactly who she claims to be.

The Other Side of the Door

A family lives an idyllic existence abroad until a tragic accident takes the life of their young son. The inconsolable mother (Sarah Wayne Callies) learns of an ancient ritual that will bring him back to say a final goodbye. She travels to an ancient temple, where a door serves as a mysterious portal between two worlds. But when she disobeys a sacred warning to never open that door, she upsets the balance between life and death.

Trapped (Documentary) – Directed by Dawn Porter (Opens in NYC, LA, and Washington D.C.)

U.S. reproductive health clinics are fighting to remain open. Since 2010, 288 TRAP (Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers) laws have been passed by conservative state legislatures. Unable to comply with these far-reaching and medically unnecessary measures, clinics have taken their fight to the courts. As the U.S. Supreme Court decides in 2016 whether individual states may essentially outlaw abortion (Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt), “Trapped” follows the struggles of the clinic workers and lawyers who are on the front lines of a battle to keep abortion safe and legal for millions of American women.

They Will Have To Kill Us First (Documentary) – Co-Written and Directed by Johanna Schwartz (Opens in NYC and Westchester County)

“They Will Have To Kill Us First: Malian Music In Exile” is a feature-length documentary following musicians in Mali in the wake of a jihadist takeover and subsequent banning of music. Music, one of the most important forms of communication in Mali, disappeared overnight in 2012 when Islamic extremists groups rose up to capture an area the size of the UK and France combined. But rather than lay down their instruments, Mali’s musicians fought back.

Ava’s Possessions (Also available on VOD)

Ava (Louisa Krause) is recovering from demonic possession. With no memory of the past month, she is forced to attend a Spirit Possessions Anonymous support group. As Ava struggles to reconnect with her friends, get her job back and figure out where the huge blood stain in her apartment came from, she is plagued by nightmarish visions — the demon is trying to come back.

March 9

Here Come the Videofreex! (Documentary) – Co-Directed by Jenny Raskin

“Here Come the Videofreex!” tells the story of the most radical video collective of the 1960’s and 70s.  It is the quirky tale of ten people’s optimism and creativity, and their vision of what television could have become at a time when the three big networks ruled the TV airwaves.

March 11

10 Cloverfield Lane

Waking up from a car accident, a young woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) finds herself in the basement of a man (John Goodman) who says he’s saved her life from a chemical attack that has left the outside uninhabitable. (IMDb)

Hello, My Name is Doris – Co-Written by Laura Terruso

After a lifetime of being overlooked and ignored, a woman of a certain age (Sally Field) finds her world turned upside down by a handsome new co-worker (Max Greenfield) and a self-help seminar that inspires her to take a chance on love in “Hello, My Name is Doris,” a witty and compassionate late-life coming-of-age-story.

Lolo – Directed by Julie Delpy; Written by Julie Delpy and Eugenie Grandval (Opens in NYC)

On holiday in the south of France, anxious Parisian Violette (Delpy) and her best friend Ariane (Karin Viard) obsess about love and sex while, at the same time, ridiculing them mercilessly. When Violette meets awkward small-towner Jean-René (Dany Boon), she first keeps him at arm’s length. But there’s no denying his charm. “I’m sick of smartass Parisian guys messing with my head,” she realizes. And off they go. When she brings Jean-René back to Paris, things get more complicated. Violette’s son, Lolo (Vincent Lacoste), has gotten used to being the only man in his mother’s life. He launches an effective stealth campaign against Jean-René, undermining his mother’s lover at every turn. (Toronto International Film Festival)

Marguerite – Co-Written by Marcia Romano

Paris, 1920s. Marguerite Dumont (Catherine Frot) is a wealthy woman, lover of the music and the opera. She loves to sing for her friends, although she’s not a good singer. Both her friends and her husband (André Marcon) have kept her fantasy. The problem begins when she decides to perform in front of a real audience. (IMDb)

Yalom’s Cure (Documentary) – Written and Directed by Sabine Gisiger (Open in Los Angeles)

Bestselling author, popular scholar and existentialist Irvin D. Yalom is one of the most influential living psychotherapists. This cinematic feature is more than a classic biography. Together with Dr. Yalom we travel in an existential journey through the many layers of the human mind while he shares his fundamental insights and wisdom. Dr. Yalom’s books sold millions of copies worldwide and critics describe him as: mind-bending, stunning, inspiring, haunting, life-changing.

City of Gold (Documentary) – Directed by Laura Gabbert

Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Jonathan Gold casts his light upon a vibrant and growing cultural movement in which he plays the dual roles of high-low priest and culinary geographer of his beloved Los Angeles.

Eye in the Sky – (Opens in NYC and LA)

“Eye in the Sky” stars Helen Mirren as Colonel Katherine Powell, a UK-based military officer in command of a top secret drone operation to capture terrorists in Kenya. Through remote surveillance and on-the-ground intel, Powell discovers the targets are planning a suicide bombing and the mission escalates from “capture” to “kill.” But as American pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) is about to engage, a nine-year old girl enters the kill zone, triggering an international dispute reaching the highest levels of US and British government over the moral, political and personal implications of modern warfare.

River of Grass – Written and Directed by Kelly Reichardt (Opens in NYC) 

“River of Grass,” Kelly Reichardt’s darkly funny 1994 debut feature, brought the writer-director back to the setting of her adolescence, the suburban landscape of southern Florida, where she grew up with her detective father and narcotics agent mother. Shot on 16mm, the story follows the misadventures of disaffected house-wife Cozy, played by Lisa Bowman, and the aimless layabout Lee, played by up-and-comer Larry Fessenden, who also acted as a producer and the film’s editor. Described by Reichardt as “a road movie without the road, a love story without the love, and a crime story without the crime,” “River of Grass” introduces viewers to a director already in command of her craft and defining her signature style.  

March 18

The Divergent Series: Allegiant

The third installment of the blockbuster Divergent series franchise, “Allegiant” takes Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) into a new world, far more dangerous than ever before. After the earth-shattering revelations of “Insurgent,” Tris must escape with Four and go beyond the wall enclosing Chicago. For the first time ever, they will leave the only city and family they have ever known. Once outside, old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless with the revelation of shocking new truths. Tris and Four must quickly decide who they can trust as a ruthless battle ignites beyond the walls of Chicago which threatens all of humanity. In order to survive, Tris will be forced to make impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.

The Little Prince – Co-Written by Irena Brignull

A little girl (voiced by Mackenzie Foy) lives in a very grown-up world with her mother (Rachel McAdams), who tries to make sure she’s prepared for it. Her neighbor, The Aviator (Jeff Bridges), introduces the girl to an extraordinary world where anything is possible — the world of The Little Prince (Riley Osborne). (IMDb)

The Bronze – Co-Written by Melissa Rauch

A foul-mouthed former gymnastics bronze medalist (Melissa Rauch) must fight for her local celebrity status when a new young athlete’s star rises in town.

Miracles From Heaven – Directed by Patricia Riggen

“Miracles From Heaven” is based on the incredible true story of the Beam family. When Christy (Jennifer Garner) discovers her 10-year-old daughter Anna (Kylie Rogers) has a rare, incurable disease, she becomes a ferocious advocate for her daughter’s healing as she searches for a solution. After Anna has a freak accident and falls three stories, a miracle unfolds in the wake of her dramatic rescue that leaves medical specialists mystified, her family restored and their community inspired.

Thank You For Playing (Documentary) – Co-Directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall

When Ryan, a video game designer, learns that his young son Joel has cancer, he and his wife begin documenting their emotional journey in the form of an unusual and poetic video game. The result is a game called “That Dragon, Cancer” — an astoundingly honest and innovative work of art about the universal complexity of grief. “Thank You For Playing” follows Ryan and his family over two years, offering an intimate, revolutionary glimpse into how the fusion of art and technology — in this case, a video game — can document profound human experiences in the modern age.

Sweet Bean – Written and Directed by Naomi Kawase (Opens in NYC)

The “manager” of a pancake stall (Masatoshi Nagase) finds himself confronted with an odd but sympathetic elderly lady looking for work (Kirin Kiki). A taste of her home-made bean jelly convinces him, starting a relationship that is about much more than just street food.

Krisha

When Krisha (Krisha Fairchild) shows up at her sister’s (Robyn Fairchild) Texas home on Thanksgiving morning, her close and extended family greet her with a mixture of warmth and wariness. Almost immediately, a palpable unease permeates the air, one which only grows in force as Krisha gets to work cooking the turkey and trying to make up for lost time by catching up with her various relatives, chief among them her nephew, Trey (Trey Edward Shults). As Krisha’s attempts at reconciliation become increasingly rebuffed, tension and suspicion reach their peak, with long-buried secrets and deep-seated resentments coming to the fore as everyone becomes immersed in an emotionally charged familial reckoning.

March 25

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 – Written by Nia Vardalos

Written by Academy Award nominee Nia Vardalos, who stars alongside the entire returning cast of favorites, the film reveals a Portokalos family secret that will bring the beloved characters back together for an even bigger and Greeker wedding.

The Invitation – Directed by Karyn Kusama

A haunted man (Logan Marshall-Green) attending a dinner party at the house he once called home becomes gripped with paranoia that his ex-wife (Tammy Blanchard) and her new husband (Michiel Huisman) are harboring an insidious agenda.

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