Theatrical releases are still a bit of a rarity due to the impact of the pandemic, which means that it can be difficult to learn which films are coming out soon as they’re now delivered through various different platforms. So we’re casting our eyes further afield than just your traditional cinema to find five upcoming new releases for the month. Some will still find their way to the silver screen, but others will be available from the comfort of your home. Our job will be to make wild guesses based on their synopsis and trailer as to whether they’ll worth your time, separating them into one of three categories:
Buy: This film is worth multiple viewings and maybe even a purchase of a hardcopy!
Rent: A movie in this category will be worth the cost of admission, whether that’s an actual ticket or a few dollars as a video on demand.
Wait: This means the film isn’t really worth any additional effort on your part. If you happen to catch it on broadcast television or on a streaming service you’re already paying, then maybe it’ll be worth your time. Or maybe not even that!
So let’s see what March 2021 has to offer!
Last Month’s Results
Before we get to our film predictions, let us take a look at the outcome of our February predictions!
1. Earwig and the Witch
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 33%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 68%
IMDB Score: 4.7
Budget: Unclear, but usually Studio Ghibli allocates $20-30 million.
As the studio’s first foray into CGI animation, it was always going to be review bombed, however it seems this film was genuinely a catastrophic misfire on all fronts.
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 88%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 42%
IMDB Score: 5.1
As feared in my review, Sator isn’t as popular amongst general audiences due to its slow pacing and unique approach to storytelling, though it will greatly impress the right crowds—horror fans that revel in atmospheric terror.
3. To All the Boys: Always and Forever
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 78%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 62%
IMDB Score: 6.3
Despite featuring the shallowest plot in the series thus far, it seems the cuteness of Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship still manages to win over audiences and critics alike.
4. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 78%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 77%
IMDB Score: 6.8
The most overlooked film of last month’s list, The Map of Tiny Perfect Things offers an innocently juvenile romantic rendition of the Groundhog Day format, where its sweet charm manages to override the story’s light-hearted faults.
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 94%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 79%
IMDB Score: 7.6
Budget: $4-6 million
Worldwide: $1 million
Considering Nomadland is the frontrunner for Best Picture this year, one would hope this film was the winner for the month. It might be too slow for some, but many have been impressed by its balanced portrayal of a nomadic life across the United States of America.
And now for the films releasing this month!
Raya and the Last Dragon
Release Date: March 4, 2021
Distribution: Disney+ and cinemas
Synopsis: In a realm known as Kumandra, a re-imagined Earth inhabited by an ancient civilization, a warrior named Raya is determined to find the last dragon. (IMDB).
Directors: Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada, Paul Briggs, John Ripa
Starring: Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Izaac Wang
Maybe I haven’t been paying attention, but I feel like Raya and the Last Dragon has flown under the radar in comparison to a lot of Disney’s other recent releases, particularly its live-action remakes. Mulan had the luxury of a full advertising campaign where trailers were shown in cinemas, and while it was delayed by the pandemic, it still managed to maintain its hype, whereas Raya’s lead up seems drastically restrained. It should be exciting—Disney doesn’t create an original tale all too often these days, although it’s clear they’re still building upon their successful past formulas, as though they need to keep pumping out these Princess flicks for branding purposes, especially when it isn’t too long now till they lose their iconic Steamboat Mickey and Snow White characters to the public domain. Once viewed as a wholesome, family-friendly company, society’s perception of Disney has shifted to one that’s more cold, calculating and corporate. Raya and the Last Dragon feels like a turning point; either it’s going to be seen as yet another mistaken effort to blatantly pander towards other cultures purely for financial gain, or it’s going to regain some of its clout for the company’s ability to craft classic stories in a timeless way. It’ll still flop in China, but many parents will be keen to present new content to their children. It’ll be worth renting for that fact alone.
Coming 2 America
Release Date: March 5, 2021
Distribution: Amazon Prime Video
Synopsis: The African monarch Akeem learns he has a long-lost son in the United States and must return to America to meet this unexpected heir and build a relationship with his son. (IMDB).
Director: Craig Brewer
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Shari Headley, James Earl Jones, Wesley Snipes, Arsenio Hall
Considering the latest ideological trends in Hollywood, it’s genuinely surprising that a sequel to Coming to America could not only be conceptualized but also made. Admittedly there’s a lot I love about the original film, as a number of its jokes entered the cultural lexicon from McDowell’s to Sexual Chocolate, but the film’s premise is surrounded by out-dated viewpoints on African culture. Granted, Coming 2 America has two things working in its favour: firstly, it’s based in a fictional African nation which smooths over any direct offense, and being a sequel a number of the original cast will be reprising their roles, making the casting of Black Americans in roles that really should be for Central, West and East Africans somewhat forgivable. It’s ultimately going to come down to tone. Coming 2 America has the capacity to deliver playful jabs while also exploring the underlying nuances of the cultural divide in an attempt to reconcile the African diaspora, or it could be one of the most awkwardly racist entries in cinema to rear its head in the past five years. Personally I’d wait to find out which category this sequel belongs.
Release Date: March 5, 2021
Synopsis: A retired special forces officer is trapped in a never ending time loop on the day of his death. (IMDB).
Director: Joe Carnahan
Starring: Frank Grillo, Mel Gibson, Naomi Watts, Michelle Yeoh
It’s official. Groundhog Day has become a genre in itself. It’s become all the more obvious considering the recent spate of films utilizing this style of narrative: Palm Springs, the Happy Death Day films, last month’s The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, and even this month Shudder is releasing a horror involving time loops; Lucky. Like Edge of Tomorrow, Boss Level is mixing this story with the action genre. Edge of Tomorrow was frequently compared to a video game in terms of how the repetition appeared on screen, and it seems Boss Level has taken that aspect and run with it. Edge of Tomorrow will no doubt have more finesse than Boss Level, though this film will no doubt still be a bundle of fun as it doesn’t appear to take itself as seriously. I’m not expecting anything too special here, but it’ll still be worth a few dollars for entertainment purposes alone.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Release Date: March 18, 2021
Distribution: HBO Max
Synopsis: Zack Snyder’s definitive director’s cut of Justice League. Determined to ensure Superman’s ultimate sacrifice was not in vain, Bruce Wayne aligns forces with Diana Prince with plans to recruit a team of metahumans to protect the world from an approaching threat of catastrophic proportions. (IMDB).
Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Henry Cavill, Jared Leto, Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher
Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be a part of film history no matter how it turns out, simply because it’s such a rare occurrence to see a director leave a project, only to be able to revisit the property and salvage their original vision years after its distribution. I feel like I’m one of the few geeks out there that actually enjoys Zack Snyder’s directorial style, with his gritty visuals and grandiose cinematic flair. Yet it will be interesting to see how much of his input will affect the story—at the end of the day, will this simply be an alternate retelling of a banal fetch quest? The original Justice League was plagued with pacing issues, a lack of stakes, and featured a generic villain. If the story remains relatively the same, no amount of directorial sculpting and crafting will cover the fractures in the narrative’s skeletal core (although one hopes its staggering four-hour runtime will help to flesh it out). Yet I think it’s safe to say that most DC fans will be too curious to look away, with many people keen to compare the two films. I’m not predicting brilliance, but I can safely say this will be worth a rent (and at four hours you will get your money’s worth at least in quantity).
Godzilla vs. Kong
Release Date: March 31, 2021
Distribution: In cinemas and HBO Max
Synopsis: The epic next chapter in the cinematic Monsterverse pits two of the greatest icons in motion picture history against one another – the fearsome Godzilla and the mighty Kong – with humanity caught in the balance. (IMDB).
Director: Adam Wingard
Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry
It’s the battle everyone’s been waiting for; a giant radioactive lizard will fight a giant ape. What else is there to say? You’re either up for the ridiculous experience or not! The previous three films in this series had their flaws, but they have taken their time to build up to this glorious moment of two iconic monster legends coming together to duke it out. I’m excited for it. It’ll be incredibly dumb, but hey, I still want to see it! My hope is that it’s going to be one of those easily digestible action extravaganzas that you’ll find yourself revisiting once or twice a year. Sometimes it’s the dumb films that are worth buying because it’s pure fun and requires no cerebral or emotional investment. It’s certainly not for everyone, but you know if you’re the type of geek to just go ahead and buy this one.
Thanks for joining us for Buy, Rent, or Wait! Let us know your predictions in the comment section. Join us in April for our next edition!