Here are the films opening theatrically in the U.S. the week of Friday, March 4. All synopses provided by distributor unless listed otherwise.
London Has Fallen
Director: Babak Najafi
Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Alon Aboutboul, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Jackie Earle Haley, Melissa Leo, Radha Mitchell, Sean O'Bryan, Charlotte Riley, Waleed Zuaiter
Synopsis: "After the British Prime Minister passes away, his funeral becomes a target of a terrorist organization to destroy some of the world’s most powerful leaders, devastate the British capital, and unleash a terrifying vision of the future. The only hope of stopping it rests on the shoulders of the President of the United States and his formidable Secret Service head, and an English MI-6 agent who rightly trusts no one."
Criticwire Grade Average: B- (6 reviews)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Directors: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
Cast: Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Josh Charles, Alfred Molina, Christopher Abbott, Nicholas Braun, Sheila Vand, Evan Jonigkeit, Ava Del Cielo, Lauren Myers, Monique Candelaria, Dylan Kenin, Steve Peacocke
Synopsis: "In 2002, cable news producer Kim Barker decides to shake up her routine by taking a daring new assignment in Kabul, Afghanistan. Dislodged from her comfortable American lifestyle, Barker finds herself in the middle of an out-of-control war zone. She finds some solace after meeting Tanya Vanderpoel, a fellow journalist who takes the shellshocked reporter under her wing. Amid the militants, warlords and nighttime partying, Barker finds the strength she needs to succeed as a correspondent."
Directors: Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Jared Bush
Cast: Jason Bateman, Ginnifer Goodwin, Shakira, Idris Elba, Octavia Spencer, J.K. Simmons, Alan Tudyk, Jenny Slate, Bonnie Hunt, Alan Tudyk, Jenny Slate, Bonnie Hunt, Tommy Lister, Tommy Chong
Synopsis: "In the animal city of Zootopia, a fast-talking fox who's trying to make it big goes on the run when he's framed for a crime he didn't commit. Zootopia's top cop, a self-righteous rabbit, is hot on his tail, but when both become targets of a conspiracy, they're forced to team up and discover even natural enemies can become best friends."
Criticwire Grade Average: B+ (4 reviews)
Director: Jordan Galland
Cast: Louisa Krause, Whitney Able, Deborah Rush, William Sadler, Zachary Booth, Wass Stevens, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, John Ventimiglia, Jemima Kirke, Stella Schnabel, Carol Kane, Dan Fogler, Lou Taylor Pucci
Synopsis: "Ava is recovering from demonic possession. With no memory of the past month, she must attend a Spirit Possessions Anonymous support group to figure out what happened. Ava's life was hijacked by a demon, now it's time to get it back." [SXSW Film Festival]
Criticwire Grade Average: B- (6 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York and Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Francisco and Tampa
Director: Josh C. Waller
Cast: Zoë Bell, Nacho Vigalondo, Sheila Vand, Dominic Rains, Kevin Pollak
Synopsis: "Set in 1985, war photographer Avery Taggert 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,' 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."
Theatrical Release: Limited
Cemetery of Splendor
Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Cast: Jenjira Pongpas, Banlop Lomnoi, Jenjira Widner, Jarinpattra Rueangram
Synopsis: "Soldiers with a mysterious sleeping sickness are transferred to a temporary clinic in a former school. The memory-filled space becomes a revelatory world for housewife and volunteer Jenjira, as she watches over Itt, a handsome soldier with no family visitors. Jen befriends young medium Keng who uses her psychic powers to help loved ones communicate with the comatose men. Doctors explore ways, including coloured light therapy, to ease the mens’ troubled dreams. Jen discovers Itt’s cryptic notebook of strange writings and blueprint sketches. There may be a connection between the soldiers’ enigmatic syndrome and the mythic ancient site that lies beneath the clinic. Magic, healing, romance and dreams are all part of Jen’s tender path to a deeper awareness of herself and the world around her."
Criticwire Grade Average: A- (21 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York (opens in Los Angeles on March 11th; expands across the country through early June)
Directors: Joseph Dorman and Oren Rudavsky
Synopsis: "Few ideas in the modern era have had as momentous an impact on the world as Zionism. Born in the late 19th century, this seemingly utopian dream was meant to solve the age-old problem of anti-Semitism and to allow a place for Jewish life and culture to thrive in the modern world. Few could have envisioned its remarkable and rapid success: the creation in less than a century of a thriving democratic Jewish state. And yet despite its success, the very legitimacy of the Zionist Idea – and the State of Israel – are questioned more today than ever before. The debate over Israel -- triggered by the latest war, or terrorist attack, or national election – is often guided by emotion rather than substance, by fear or anger rather than a thorough understanding of Zionism and its history."
Theatrical Release: New York and Los Angeles
Director: Michael Thelin
Cast: Sarah Bolger, Susan Pourfar, Chris Beetem, Joshua Rush, Carly Adams, Thomas Bair
Synopsis: "After their regular babysitter Maggie can’t make it, the Thompson family turns to her friend Anna to supervise their children while the parents go out to celebrate their anniversary. At first Anna seems like a dream come true to the kids, allowing them to eat extra cookies and play with things that are usually off-limits, but as her behavior becomes increasingly odd, the kids soon find out that her intentions are dark and twisted, and she is not who she seems to be."
Theatrical Release: New York, Los Angeles and Columbus, OH
Knight of Cups
Director: Terrence Malick
Cast: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Isabel Lucas, Natalie Portman
Synopsis: "Writer Rick is on an odyssey through the playgrounds of Los Angeles and Las Vegas as he undertakes a search for love and self. Even as he moves through a desire-laden landscape of mansions, resorts, beaches and clubs, Rick grapples over complicated relationships with his brother and father. His quest to break the spell of his disenchantment takes him on a series of adventures with six alluring women: rebellious Della; his physician ex-wife, Nancy; a serene model Helen; a woman he wronged in the past Elizabeth; a spirited, playful stripper Karen; and an innocent Isabel, who helps him see a way forward. Rick moves in a daze through a strange and overwhelming dreamscape -- but can he wake up to the beauty, humanity and rhythms of life around him? The deeper he searches, the more the journey becomes his destination."
Criticwire Grade Average: B+ (12 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York and Los Angeles (expands nationwide on March 11th)
Men Go to Battle
Director: Zachary Treitz
Cast: Tim Morton, David Maloney, Rachel Korine, Kate Lyn Sheil, Steve Coulter, Emily Cass McDonnell
Synopsis: "Kentucky, 1861. Francis and Henry Mellon depend on each other to keep their unkempt estate afloat as winter encroaches. After Francis takes a casual fight too far, Henry ventures off in the night, leaving each of them to struggle through the wartime on their own."
Criticwire Grade Average: B+ (6 reviews)
Theatrical Release: Seattle
The Other Side of the Door
Director: Johannes Roberts
Cast: Sarah Wayne Callies, Jeremy Sisto, Javier Botet, Sofia Rosinsky, Logan Creran, Jax Malcom
Synopsis: "Grieving over the loss of her son, a mother struggles with her feelings for her daughter and her husband. She seeks out a ritual that allows her say goodbye to her dead child, opening the veil between the world of the dead and the living. Her daughter becomes the focus of terror. She must now protect against the evil that was once her beloved son."
Theatrical Release: Limited
Director: Abner Pastoll
Cast: Andrew Simpson, Joséphine de La Baume, Frédéric Pierrot, Barbara Crampton, Feodor Atkine
Synopsis: "After a disastrous summer trip, Jack finds himself hitchhiking through the sun-drenched rural French countryside with nothing but his British passport. Unaware of dangers that are plaguing the roads, he tries without much success to get home. Along the way, he partners up with another hitchhiker, a beautiful French girl, Véronique. But when they accept a ride from a local oddball, the pair finds themselves thrown in a deadly game of cat and mouse in which nothing is what it seems. Bursting with nonstop twists and turns and an undercurrent of Hitchcockian malice, this riveting psychological thriller is a hell of a ride."
Theatrical Release: New York and Los Angeles
Songs My Brothers Taught Me
Director: Chloé Zhao
Cast: John Reddy, Jashaun St. John, Irene Bedard, Taysha Fuller, Travis Lone Hill, Eléonore Hendricks
Synopsis: "High school senior Johnny is fixing to leave the Pine Ridge Reservation when the unexpected death of his rodeo-cowboy father complicates things. Reluctant to leave behind his 13-year-old sister, Jashaun, with whom he shares a special bond, Johnny must rethink his future. While Jashaun seeks out answers from her older half-brothers, Johnny’s increasing inner conflict stands in the way of his departure, setting both of them on separate paths toward rediscovering the meaning of home." [Sundance Film Festival]
Criticwire Grade Average: B (4 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York
They Will Have to Kill Us First
Director: Johanna Schwartz
Cast: Songhoy Blues, Khaira Arby, Moussa Sidi, Fadimata "Disco" Walet Oumar
Synopsis: "In 2012, jihadists took control of northern Mali. They imposed one of the strictest interpretations of sharia law in history. On August 12th they banned music - radio stations destroyed, instruments burned and musicians facing torture, even death. Overnight, Mali’s most revered members of society – the musicians – were forced into hiding or exile. This film follows Mali’s musicians as they fight to keep music alive in their country. We witness fierce battles between the army and the jihadists, capture life over borders at refugee camps where money and hope are scarce, follow perilous journeys home to war ravaged cities, and for one band, Songhoy Blues, their path to international stardom." [SXSW Film Festival]
Theatrical Release: New York (opens in Los Angeles April 1st; additional cities/screenings here)
Director: Dawn Porter
Synopsis: "From 2011 to 2013, hundreds of regulations were passed restricting access to abortion in America. Reproductive rights advocates refer to these as 'TRAP' laws, or Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers. TRAP laws have swept across the country, especially the South, where most clinics are in a desperate battle for survival. In the trenches of this war on women’s rights are the doctors, clinic owners, and resolute staff who refuse to give up. Trapped interweaves the personal stories of a fearless physician who crisscrosses the country assuring that medical services are available, the stalwart women and men who run the clinics, the lawyers leading the charge to eradicate these laws, and ultimately to the women they are all determined to help." [Sundance Film Festival]
Theatrical Release: New York, Los Angeles and Washington, DC (expands to various cities through early April)
Director: Roar Uthaug
Cast: Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp
Synopsis: "Nestled in Norway's Sunnmøre region, Geiranger is one of the most spectacular tourist draws on the planet. With the mountain Åkerneset overlooking the village — and constantly threatening to collapse into the fjord — it is also a place where cataclysm could strike at any moment. After putting in several years at Geiranger's warning center, geologist Kristian is moving on to a prestigious gig with an oil company. But the very day he's about to drive his family to their new life in the city, Kristian senses something isn't right. The substrata are shifting. No one wants to believe that this could be the big one, especially with tourist season at its peak, but when that mountain begins to crumble, every soul in Geiranger has ten minutes to get to high ground before a tsunami hits, consuming everything in its path."
Criticwire Grade Average: C+ (6 reviews)
Theatrical Release: Various (including New York and Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC)
Missed last week's films? Here are all the releases from February 26th.