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March 2022 movie preview: The Batman returns

After reigning at the box office for nearly three months thanks to Spider-Man: No Way Home and Uncharted, Tom Holland will encounter a foe that even he can’t beat in March: Batman. Warner Bros. will unleash the latest iteration of one of their most valuable characters with Matt Reeves’ The Batman on March 4. In a rare move, no rival studio is set to launch a wide-release movie that weekend or the next, with all of Hollywood anticipating (and hoping) the Dark Knight can pump as much cash into the industry as his Marvel counterpart did last December.

Besides Batman, there are other movies being released in theaters that target different audiences. From a thoughtful indie drama about death (After Yang) to an escapist romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock (The Lost City), studios are cautiously releasing more movies in theaters that won’t cannibalize each other. It’s all part of an ongoing process that Hollywood hopes will get the box office back to where it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Batman (March 4) new

The Batman (March 4)
pg-13 176m
Genre Action, Crime, Drama
Stars Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano
Directed by Matt Reeves

What’s it about: Batman encounters a mysterious burglar (Catwoman) while trying to save Gotham City from the Penguin and the Riddler.

Who will love it: Comic book fans; action film enthusiasts; almost everyone.

Preview: It’s been a decade since the last solo Batman film, and after Ben Affleck’s aborted attempt at a Dark Knight Returns-type hero in the DCEU, fans are hungry for a new installment in the Caped Crusader’s cinematic oeuvre. Robert Pattinson is the latest to take the cowl, and he’s sure to bring the same intensity he showed in indie projects like Good Time and The Lighthouse to this film. Following in the footsteps (or pawprints?) of Michelle Pfeiffer, Halle Berry, and Anne Hathaway, Zoe Kravitz is poised to finally break out as Catwoman, who is suitably mysterious, inscrutable, and very, very lethal. In addition to the impressive cast, the film has a solid creative team, with Michael Giacchino (Spider-Man No Way Home) composing the score, Greig Fraser (Dune) as cinematographer, and Matt Reeves (the modern Apes films) in the director’s chair. The Batman’s emphasis on the titular character’s detective skills makes this iteration stand out, and the advanced word has been positive.

After Yang (March 4) new

After Yang (March 4)
84 %
7.4/10
pg 96m
Genre Drama, Science Fiction
Stars Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja
Directed by Kogonada

What’s it about: In the near future, a family tries to save the life of one of their own, who just happens to be a robot.

Who will love it: Emo kids, indie film lovers; people who wanted a sequel to Spike Jonez’s Her

Preview: Colin Farrell’s busy March continues with a supporting role as the Penguin (under heavy makeup) in The Batman and a starring turn in this film, which won raves when it was screened at Sundance earlier this year. Farrell is one of the most underrated actors currently working, with a resume that includes In Bruges, The Lobster, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer. He’s earned some of his best notices for his work as a grieving father in After Yang, and if the film is remembered later in the year, he could finally be due for some award recognition.

The Outfit (March 18) new

The Outfit (March 18)
63 %
7.8/10
r 106m
Genre Drama, Crime, Thriller
Stars Mark Rylance, Zoey Deutch, Dylan O'Brien
Directed by Graham Moore

What’s it about: An English tailor living in Chicago gets drawn into the lives of his clients, who just happen to be part of the Mafia.

Who will love it: John Le Carre fans; gangster film enthusiasts; British tailors with too much time to kill.

Preview: It’s no surprise the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game is making his directorial debut with The Outfit, which shares the coolly elegant period trappings and suspense plot of the former. When this film was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, critics praised the screenplay, score, and production design. What makes this film worth a look is due to Rylance, who gets a rare leading role in a genre (a mob crime film) he normally doesn’t appear in. The actor, who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Bridge of Spies six years ago, appears to be having a ball sinking his teeth into the material. The film itself promises to be an elegant if bloody adventure, with guns, shady ladies, and a climactic showdown involving last-act revelations that echo both David Mamet and James Ivory.

X (March 18) new

X (March 18)
r 140m
Genre Horror, Thriller, Mystery
Stars Mia Goth, Martin Henderson, Jenna Ortega
Directed by Ti West

What’s it about: An adult film crew in 1970s Texas are terrorized by elderly farm owners.

Who will love it: Horror movie aficionados: A24 devotees.

Preview: Ti West hasn’t helmed a horror film in nearly a decade, so it’s cause for celebration when the director returns to the genre that helped make him famous with 2009’s The House of the Devil. While X, with its bucolic Texas countryside setting and menacing locals, looks and acts very similar to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (the original, not any of the disappointing remakes or sequels), the film’s trailer promises the same blend of horror, comedy, and suspense that the director is known for. In addition, the electric cast, comprised of horror genre stars Mia Goth (2017’s Suspiria) and Jenna Ortega (2022’s Scream), indie film journeyman Martin Henderson (The Portrait of a Lady), and the musician Kid Cudi, is oddly compelling, and the film makes great use of its New Zealand shooting location. Who knew the land of Kiwis could double for the Lone Star state so well?

The Lost City (March 25) new

The Lost City (March 25)
pg-13 92m
Genre Comedy, Action, Romance, Adventure
Stars Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe
Directed by Aaron Nee

What’s it about: A romance novelist and her cover model try to find a mythological lost city (hence the title) while trying to avoid a megalomaniacal British billionaire.

Who will love it: Hope Floats fans; Magic Mike lovers; moviegoers tired of watching Marry Me on Peacock.

Preview: Do you like Romancing the Stone? So does this film’s writers and screenwriters, the Nee brothers, who shamelessly rip off the central conceit of that ‘80s rom-com classic and give a modern update. The film’s trailers don’t hold much promise, with Bullock playing a role she grew out of a decade ago and Tatum regressing to his himbo status of the Step Up era. The presence of Radcliffe, playing against type as the film’s heavy, and Pitt, lampooning his Legends of the Fall hunk image, gives us some hope the film isn’t as generic as it sounds, but we won’t hold our breath it will pull a 21 Jump Street-like surprise.

Everything Everywhere All at Once (March 25) new

Everything Everywhere All at Once (March 25)
139m
Genre Action, Comedy, Science Fiction
Stars Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, James Hong
Directed by Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan

What’s it about: A Los Angeles laundromat owner is recruited to stop an evil menace that threatens multiple realities.

Who will love it: Marvel movie fans; action film lovers

Preview: Finally, an English-language movie with Michelle Yeoh in the lead. Nearly 40 years after her debut in 1984’s The Owl vs Bombo, Yeoh gets a chance to shine in a gonzo action film that combines the madness of Marvel’s multiverse with the modern fight choreography of The Raid with a dose of The Farewell’s family drama thrown in. The film’s mash-up of genres is no surprise as the film’s directors preview outing, Swiss Army Man, similarly combined clashing elements to construct its oddly touching narrative.  Along for the ride is an eclectic cast that includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Jenny Slate, James Hong (appearing in his 445th movie, give or take a few), and Ke Huy Quan, who is mostly known for his ’80s work in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies. Everything promises to deliver something different to the multiplex: a meditative action movie with an empowered older female lead. Who wouldn’t want to see that?

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