Not only does March herald the arrival of Hollywood big movie night in the form of the Academy Awards, in 2023, it’s also a blockbuster month for film lovers.
Ahead of the handing out of the Oscars, there’s a chance for Kiwis to finally see Best Picture nominee Triangle of Sadness (March 9) at a screen near you, as well as fellow New Zealand International Film Festival returnees Corsage and Meet Me in the Bathroom (both March 16). Those keen for an in-theatre experience also have Woody Harrleson basketball comedy Champions (March 9), Irish black comedy Redemption of a Rogue (March 23) and Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s latest Korean drama Broker (March 9).
Meanwhile, streaming options include Disney+ documentary Finding Michael (March 3), Prime Video duo You Won’t Be Alone (March 23) and Perfect Addiction (March 24) and Netflix’s re-teaming of Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sander for Murder Mystery 2 (March 31).
However, after looking through the schedules, Stuff to Watch has come up with this list of the 12 movies we believe are most worth checking out (and where you can watch them), as well as one so bad, it might have to be seen to be believed.
* Empire of Light: Olivia Colman shines in Sam Mendes’ evocative celebration of cinema
* Missing: Exciting, cutting-edge, screen-led thriller falls into old-school formula
* All Quiet on the Western Front: The surprise Bafta-winner that could now shock the Oscars
* Sharper: Succession-meets-’90s thriller in Apple’s smart, slick suspense flick
Boston Strangler (March 17, Disney+)
Keira Knightley headlines this 1960s true-crime drama which focuses on Loretta McLaughlin – the reporter who first connected the murders and broke the story of the Boston Strangler.
She and fellow Record American writer Jean Cole (The Golden Age’s Carrie Coon) battled sexism and cronyism to first inform the public about the city’s notorious serial killer and then uncover conspiracy and corruption.
Creed III (March 2, Cinemas)
Michael B. Jordan directs and stars in this threequel which sees his champion boxer Adonis Creed rocked when his old childhood friend and former boxing prodigy Damian Anderson (Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’s Jonathan Majors) resurfaces after serving a long sentence in prison. Having very much stayed in shape, Anderson is eager to prove that he deserves his shot in the ring.
“A fascinating film from a new director who seems unafraid of moments of teary defeat that manifest into something far more introspective and self-nourishing – even when that’s between two brawny Black men at odds with each other and themselves,” wrote Huffington Post’s Candice Frederick.
Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (March 30, Cinemas)
Attempting to cash in on the renewed interest in the dice-based role-playing game, this big-budget action-adventure stars Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Rege-Jean Page and Hugh Grant.
The plot apparently revolves around an epic quest that goes spectacularly awry.
John Wick: Chapter 4 (March 23, Cinemas)
Hiroyuki Sanada, Donnie Yen and Bill Skarsgard join the action for this latest installment of the action franchise.
This time around, Keanu Reeves’ eponymous professional hitman believes he has found a way to defeat the High Table, but to do so, he’ll have to face a powerful new enemy.
Living (March 16, Cinemas)
Bill Nighy is at his stunning, tightly-wound best in this poignant and powerful English-language “reimagining” of Akira Kurosawa’s much-loved 1952 movie Ikiru (To Live). He plays a respected, no-nonsense civil servant who is forced to re-evaluate his priorities when faced with a personal crisis.
”Like the best of novels – one of [screenwriter Kazuo] Ishiguro’s, for example – it creates a tiny world to get lost in, one whose faces and shadows and sunlight linger with you, ever after you’ve returned to your own,” wrote Seattle Times’ Moira MacDonald.
The Magician’s Elephant (March 17, Netflix)
Based on Kate DiCamillo’s 2009 novel of the same name, this animated feature’s impressive vocal ensemble includes Noah Jupe, Mandy Patinkin, Natasia Demetriou, Benedict Wong and Miranda Richardson.
It’s the story of a orphaned boy who enlists the advice of a fortune teller to help him find his long-lost sister.
The Portable Door (March 30, Cinemas)
New Zealand’s own Sam Neill and Rachel House star opposite Christoph Waltz and Miranda Otto in this Australian fantasy film.
Based on British novelist Tom Holt’s seven-book series that first began publishing in 2003, it weaves a tale around two interns at mysterious London firm J.W. Wells & Co. who become increasingly aware that their employers are anything but conventional.
Red, White and Brass (March 23, Cinemas)
Wellington-set Kiwi comedy which brings to life the true tale of a Tongan church group who formed a brass band in order to be the pre-match entertainment for their beloved country’s match against France at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Starring former TVNZ Popstars contestant John-Paul Foliaki and The Panthers’ Dimitrius Schuster-Koloamantangi, it marks director and co-writer Damon Fepulea’i’s feature debut.
Scream VI (March 9, Cinemas)
In this latest instalment of the revitalised horror franchise, the survivors of the most recent Ghostface killings leave Woodsboro behind in order to start a fresh chapter in New York City.
As well as Courtney Cox returning as Gale Weathers, this also sees the return of Hayden Panettiere’s Scream IV heroine Kirby Reed.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods (March 16, Cinemas)
Zachary Levi returns as Billy Baston for this DC Extended Universe sequel which sees him and his superpowered foster siblings up against the Daughters of Atlas.
The latter are played by Lucy Liu, West Side Story’s Rachel Zegler and one Dame Helen Mirren.
65 (March 9, Cinemas)
A greatly anticipated fantasy thriller from the writers of A Quiet Place (Scott Beck and Bryan Woods).
After a catastrophic crash on an unknown planet, pilot Mills (Adam Driver) quickly discovers he’s actually stranded on Earth…65 million years ago. Now, with only one chance at rescue, Mills and the only other survivor, Koa (Ariana Greenblatt), must make their way across an unknown terrain riddled with dangerous prehistoric creatures in an epic fight to survive.
Tetris (March 31, Apple TV+)
Filth and Stan and Ollie director Jon S. Baird attempts to tell the unbelievable story of how one of the world’s most popular video games found its way to avid players around the globe.
Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton) discovered Tetris in 1988 and then risked everything by traveling to the Soviet Union to join forces with inventor Alexey Pajitnov (Nikita Efremov) to bring the game to the masses.
The One to Avoid
White Elephant will debut on Prime Video on March 5.
White Elephant (March 5, Prime Video)
John Malkovich, Bruce Willis, Olga Kurylenko and Michael Rooker team up for this action-thriller about an ex-marine enforcer who must battle his conscience and code of honour when he is forced to do things for the mob.
“Judging from the inane script, the unhurried direction…and by the destruction wrought when machine guns tear up cars, houses and people, it’s obvious that the budget here went to actors and ordinance,” wrote Movie Nation’s Roger Moore.