On Mulan, Onward, The Way Back And The Rest Of March 2020’s Top New Releases, Limited Showings And Repertory Screenings Around Dallas.
Update at 5:15 p.m. on March 2, 2020: In light of coronavirus concerns, Hollywood studios are postponing a number of their major releases. We will update this post with that information as it comes.
Original story follows.
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This month, Disney is back to dominate your viewing habits once again. But, hey, at least their latest movies don’t look (entirely) like soulless products!
The same can be said of the rest of many of the rest of the films hitting theaters this month, including some of the best and strangest indie filmmakers around who are returning with new projects that contain all the things that make them wonderful.
Also, as someone who has unexplainable affection that goes beyond mere nostalgia for Pee-Wee Herman, it excites me to tell you that this month also offers Dallasites the chance to see the first film featuring Paul Reubens’ iconic character with the man himself in attendance — an opportunity that’s just too good to pass up.
Here’s what you’ll be watching this month, Dallas.
Wide Release Best Bets.
Director: Dan Scanlon.
Writers: Dan Scanlon, Jason Headley, Keith Bunin.
Cast: Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer.
Opens: Friday, March 6.
Hope you’ve got your tissues packed, because Pixar’s latest is probably going to wreck you just liked it wrecked me — especially if a loved one has recently died. The plot beats are pretty familiar, sure. There’s a dead relative, a dangerous quest and some specific cultural touchstones – but, emotionally, this one hit me the hardest of any Pixar film since Inside Out. Here, Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt) are brothers who have just 24 hours to complete a magical spell that will bring back their dead father back to life for one day. If you’re into fantasy or role-playing games at all, you’ll find plenty to love in this world.
The Way Back.
Director: Gavin O’Connor.
Writers: Gavin O’Connor, Brad Ingelsby.
Cast: Ben Affleck, Janina Gavankar, Michael Watkins, Hayes MacArthur.
Opens: Friday, March 6.
When the trailer came out, I called this “Your dad’s new favorite movie,” and it probably will be! But you might dig it, too. In this one, Ben Affleck leans into his own history with substance abuse, playing a former basketball player whose demons kept him from achieving his all-star potential. When the coach at his alma mater suddenly dies, he returns to whip the failing team into shape and possibly reach sobriety. If any movie is going to get your dad to cry this year, it’ll for sure be this one.
A Quiet Place, Part II.
Director: John Krasinski.
Writer: John Krasinski.
Cast: Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds, Cillian Murphy.
Opens: Friday, March 20.
A Quiet Place was a nifty little thriller whose sound design was essential. Thanks to a weak script, it doesn’t quite hold up on re-watch, but I’m still excited about this sequel, partially because John Krasinski won’t be onscreen that much, replaced instead with Cillian Murphy, who is playing another survivor of the alien invasion.
The above release has been postponed.
Director: Niki Caro.
Writers: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Elizabeth Martin, Lauren Hynek.
Cast: Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Gong Li.
Opens: Friday, March 27.
Hey, it’s the first of Disney’s many live-action remakes that actually looks like a good movie and not merely another product on the assembly line! It would have been nice if they’d actually hired an Asian filmmaker to handle this story, but it looks like they kept the bones of the story in place while jettisoning the more ludicrous parts of the animated film. (Sorry, Mushu fans.)
The above release has been postponed.
Limited Release Best Bets.
[A note about limited releases: Unlike the big movies, which are booked months or years in advance, these ones don’t make it to Dallas on a regular schedule. It’s all up to the distributors and the theaters, which are usually independent. Check out the websites for both Angelikas, the Drafthouses, the Magnolia and the Texas Theatre throughout the month to see what’s showing where.]
Director: Michael Angelo Covino.
Writers: Michael Angelo Covino, Kyle Marvin.
Cast: Michael Angelo Covino, Kyle Marvin, Gayle Rankin, Todd Barry.
One of the big hits of the Sundance, Cannes and Telluride film festivals, this one avoided awards season and now has the spring all to itself. A dark buddy comedy about a friendship that unravels over the years, it’s drawn comparisons to Sideways, which is pretty much all I need to be sold on this movie.
Director: Quentin Dupieux.
Writer: Quentin Dupieux.
Cast: Jean Dujardin, Adѐle Haenel, Albert Delpy, Youssef Hajdi.
Quentin Dupieux has made some of the oddest movies of the last 15 years — especially Rubber, the movie about a killer, sentient tire. His latest is his most star-studded effort to date, featuring Oscar winner Jean Dujardin (The Artist) and Adèle Haenel (Portrait of a Lady on Fire). Here, Dujardin plays a filmmaker who buys a deerskin fringe jacket, then finds himself compelled to add more dangerous scenes to his latest project, resorting to real-life violence if he must. Is his newfound confidence causing him to take bigger risks, or is the jacket controlling him?
Director: Kelly Reichardt.
Writers: Kelly Reichardt, Jonathan Raymond.
Cast: John Magaro, Orion Lee, Rene Auberjonois, Toby Jones.
Kelly Reichardt has become the premiere chronicler of the American West — both past (Meek’s Cutoff) and present (Certain Women). Her latest goes back to the Oregon Trail, where a cook (John Magaro) and an immigrant (Orion Lee) team up to Robin Hood their way to a thriving business. Still, part of me wishes this were the film Rian Johnson has joked that its title implies: a movie about a cow running for president.
Never Rarely Sometimes Always.
Director: Eliza Hittman.
Writer: Eliza Hittman.
Cast: Talia Ryder, Sidney Flanigan, Ryan Eggold, Sharon Van Etten.
This devastating but relevant film won awards at both Sundance and the Berlin International Film Festival. Here, newcomer Sidney Flanigan plays a pregnant rural teen who travels with her best friend (Talia Ryder) to New York City to procure an abortion because it’s the closest city that offers it. But they’re far from what they know, putting them both in danger.
Repertory Screening Best Bets.
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.
Director: Tim Burton
Writers: Phil Hartman, Paul Reubens, Michael Varhol.
Cast: Paul Reubens, Elizabeth Daily, Mark Holton, Diane Salinger.
Playing At: Majestic Theatre.
Showing: Sunday, March 8.
One of my favorite movies for much of my life, this wacky road trip comedy is still hilarious and delightful to this day. Also? Paul Reubens will be on hand at this screening to share stories about the making of Tim Burton’s first feature, including what it was like to collaborate with the late Phil Hartman and how he created his iconic weirdo.
The Brady Bunch Movie.
Director: Betty Thomas.
Writers: Laurice Elehwany, Rick Copp, Bonnie Turner, Terry Turner.
Cast: Gary Cole, Shelley Long, Christine Taylor, Jennifer Elise Cox.
Playing At: Alamo Drafthouse Richardson.
Showing: Sunday, March 15.
Long before 21 and 22 Jump Street, The Brady Bunch Movie adapted the series that inspired it with little to no respect for the original property. In Betty Thomas’s take, the Brady clan still lives in that garish ’70s house, dispensing nonsense wisdom and carrying a sunny disposition in an increasingly cynical world. The whole cast is hilarious, but Jennifer Elise Cox’s unhinged performance as put-upon middle child Jan is next level. The film will also screen Sunday, March 8, at Alamo Drafthouse Cedars.
The Wild Bunch.
Director: Sam Peckinpah.
Writers: Sam Peckinpah, Walon Green.
Cast: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Edmond O’Brien, Robert Ryan.
Playing At: The Magnolia.
Showing: Tuesday, March 24.
One of the most violent American films ever made, Sam Peckinpah’s grim revisionist Western just celebrated its 50th anniversary. This is not a fun, rollicking Western, although there are some amazing action sequences. This is a movie about bad guys and worse guys, where lawbreakers and law enforcement are equally ruthless. Still, it’s a landmark achievement, and one you should probably see on the big screen.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
Director: Robert Wiene.
Writer: Carl Mayer, Hans Janowitz.
Cast: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Freidrich Feher, Lil Dagover.
Playing At: Texas Theatre.
Showing: Tuesday, March 31.
One of the major landmarks of silent cinema, this German Expressionist trailblazer is one of the first horror films ever made. It’s got immense creepy power, and this screening will include a live score by Austin band the Invincible Czars. They’ve leaned on classical compositions in the past, but this is the first time they’ve created all the music themselves.