So far, 2023 has been excellent for movie fans. M3GAN was a crowd-pleasing horror comedy, while Infinity Pool was a rare hybrid of cerebral sci-fi and existential horror. While the latest MCU and DCEU movies were duds, overall, it’s been a great start for the movie industry.
March will continue that winning streak with an exciting assortment of action movies, thrillers, and a movie that pits Chris Pine against a horde of ogres and, well, dragons. All that, plus a dramatic envisioning of the creation of Tetris promises to make for the best moviegoing month yet in 2023.
Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre (now playing)
Even though no one has seen it yet, Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre has already taken the crown for the “Worst Movie Title of 2023.” Yet what sounds like a direct-to-VOD Jean Claude Van Damme movie from 2010 is actually Guy Ritchie’s latest “lads with guns” action movie. Jason Statham stars as Orson Fortune, a British super spy who must stop an international arms dealer (Hugh Grant) from selling deadly weapons to the wrong people.
What elevates Operation Fortune‘s pedestrian plot is the eclectic cast Ritchie has enlisted in his latest movie. In addition to Statham, Aubrey Plaza (the last person you’d think would end up in a film like this) stars as Fortune’s fellow spy Sarah Fidel, Josh Hartnett appears as vain Hollywood heartthrob Danny Francesco, and Cary Elwes is Fortune’s employer Nathan Jasmine. Most thrilling of all is Grant as Statham’s flamboyant nemesis Greg Simmonds. In such recent work as A Very British Scandal and Paddington 2, Grant’s been having a ball playing larger-than-life characters, and his antagonist appears to be another addition to his rogue’s gallery of characters you love to hate.
Scream VI (now playing)
Last year’s Scream brought the Ghostface franchise back to life with a reboot/sequel that mixed some veterans (Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette) with some fresh blood (Jenna Ortega, who is a much bigger star now thanks to Wednesday) to great results. It’s no surprise that a sequel should follow, and like the criminally underrated Scream 3, the bloodshed moves away from Woodsboro and to a new location: New York City.
Like Jason Voorhees before him, Ghostface will slice and dice in the Big Apple, with some new bodies to maim and the return of a franchise fan favorite to menace once again: Hayden Panettiere’s Kirby from Scream 4. The trailers show this sequel has promise, and the new location (Subways! Fire escapes! Subsidized rent!), coupled with Ortega’s increased role, indicate this Scream will be one to remember.
Interested? Read what DT had to say about in our Scream 6 review.
65 (now playing)
There’s no doubt that 65 has the best hook of any 2023 movie: Adam Driver battles dinosaurs … with guns. How is this possible? Does it matter? The 65 in the title refers to 65 million years BC, which is the era spaceman Driver mistakenly travels in time to when he crash lands his ship full of passengers on a deserted planet, which he quickly finds out is Earth (cue the Planet of the Apes theme). To return home, Driver must protect the other survivor of the crash, a child named Koa, and battle all sorts of prehistoric monsters.
If the premise isn’t enough to sell you on this film, maybe some of the creative team involved will. The movie is written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, who wrote the original A Quiet Place — so they know a thing or two about creating character-driven stories and generating effective suspense. Joining them is legendary composer Danny Elfman, whose scores for Batman and The Nightmare Before Christmas prove he can craft a memorable tune or two. The film’s main appeal, however, comes down to this: Kylo Ren runs amok in Jurassic Park. If that’s not enough to get you to watch this, I don’t know what can.
Interested? Read what DT had to say about it in our 65 review.
Inside (now playing)
You know that old saying that an actor is so good, you can watch them read the telephone book and still be entertained? Well, Willem Dafoe is going to test that, and succeed, with the new psychological thriller Inside, which puts the ex-Green Goblin in a room and lets him chew the scenery … or, at the very least, tear some in two with his bare hands.
Dafoe stars as an art thief who is stuck inside a New York penthouse after a heist he was pulling goes terribly wrong. Alone and unable to call for help (because, you know, he’s a criminal who is trying to steal millions of dollars worth of art), he has to find a way to escape or die trying. This kind of high-concept movie can only work with the right actor, and Dafoe fits the bill. In movies as diverse as Light Sleeper, Shadow of the Vampire, and The Florida Project, he’s proven to be one of the best actors around, and I can’t wait to see what he does in this pressure cooker of a film.
Interested? Read what DT had to say about in our Inside review.
John Wick: Chapter 4 (March 24)
Who says the third time is the charm? Lionsgate is banking on the number 4 with its popular franchise built around John Wick, who is still mourning that damn dog! The fourth installment, er, chapter promises more guns, bullets, double-crosses, and cool-looking action cinematography, and it will have the time to pull all that off. John Wick: Chapter 4 will clock in at around two hours and 49 minutes, which seems way too long to me, but what do I know? I’m just an entertainment reporter.
Returning with Reeves is his Matrix co-star Laurence Fishburne as The Bowery King, alongside an impressive roster of John Wick vets and new additions to the franchise that includes martial arts master Donnie Yen as a blind assassin, It actor Bill Skarsgård as the main antagonist, Ian McShane as Wick’s friend Winston Scott, and rock musician Rina Sawayama as the mysterious Akira. Filmed in Paris, Berlin, Japan, and New York City, John Wick: Chapter 4 promises a globe-spanning journey, with blood being splattered on famous monuments. The director, Chad Stahelski, helmed the previous three John Wicks, so if you liked those movies (and chances are you did), then you will probably like this one.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (March 31)
At the end of this month, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves will bring the storied RPG franchise back to the big screen for the first time in 23 years (not counting the two direct-to-video D&D movies, of course). And from the ample preview footage and ecstatic critical and fan reaction to an early screening at SXSW, it looks like Honor Among Thieves is striking the right tone between fantasy action and a touch of comedy.
So what makes Honor Among Thieves so good? First, the cast is oddball in all the right ways, with Chris Pine, Bridgerton‘s Regé-Jean Page, Michelle Rodriguez, Justice Smith, It‘s Sophia Ellis, and Hugh Grant all seeming to have a ball in the film’s recently released trailer. Second, and most importantly, the movie is written and directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, the duo behind the comedies Horrible Bosses and Game Night. D & D die-hards are probably upset about the comedic, somewhat campy tone the movie has, but they can whine to their Gamemaster about it. It’s been a long time since we’ve had an enjoyable action-fantasy movie that isn’t bogged down with seriousness and trauma, and Honor Among Thieves seems to fit the bill for lightweight fun.
Tetris (March 31)
What’s the most popular video game of all time? For a long period, the answer was Tetris. (It’s been overtaken by Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto.) Everybody who had a Game Boy and a pulse played Tetris. The game is still played today on computers, mobile phones, and next-gen systems. There’s even a cool reboot game called Tetris Effect that marries good old-fashioned Tetris gameplay with a terrific soundtrack and psychedelic visuals.
After all these years, the video game is still relevant, and thanks to Apple TV+, everyone will find out just how such an addictive video game came to be. Black Bird‘s Taron Edgerton stars as Henk Rogers, the Dutch entrepreneur who secured the rights to distribute Tetris and, in the process, helped create a global phenomenon. I know that sounds dry, but the trailer promises all sorts of action including thick Russian accents, spying (?!?), dudes playing tennis with thick mustaches, and tanks rumbling down a snowy Moscow street. There’s a lot more to this tale than meets the eye, and Tetris will help fill in those blanks.
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