Release the Kraken! Spring Movie Preview

a time-honored tradition of previewing movies is brought back by bill bodkin

The month of March is a major turning point in the movie season. We’re finally freed of the doldrums that is the post-Christmas movie season. After wallowing for two months in a turgid sea of slasher pics and big budget disasters studios are unloading, we are finally given a glimmer of cinematic hope.

For me March became an important movie month in 1999. That year The Matrix was unleashed upon the normally dull and depressing post-holiday/pre-summer movie season. Films like 300, Hot Fuzz and many others have made the spring their time to shine and made the months of March and April excellent times to catch excellent films.

1. Clash of the Titans
Release Date: April 2
Starring: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Atherton
Director: Louis Leterrier (Incredible Hulk)
Bill Says: If this is anything like the classic 80s film with Harry Hamlin, then this version of Clash is going to be off the chain. Sam Worthington has proved he can carry an effects-laden epic (Avatar and Terminator Salvation) and the mere sight of Liam Neeson bellow “Release the Kraken!” makes me smile. All-and-all, this should be a fun, exciting popcorn sword & sandal epic.

2. Alice in Wonderland
Release Date: March 5
Starring: Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham-Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Alan Rickman
Director: Tim Burton (Big Fish)
Bill Says: This looks deliciously strange and trippy. The subject matter is absolutely in the right hands as Tim Burton will no doubt put his wickedly macabre sense of humor and lavish sense of visual design into the famed children’s fairy tale. The cast looks amazing and outside of the obvious (Depp, Carter, Hathaway), the vocal work by some of my favorite Brits — Little Britain’s Matt Lucas, Underworld’s Michael Sheen, V for Vendetta’s Stephen Fry and the crankiest wizard alive, Alan Rickman, make this film even more intriguing.

3. Green Zone
Release Date: March 12
Starring: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson, Amy Ryan, Jason Isaacs
Director: Paul Greengrass (Bourne Supremacy, Bourne Ultimatum)
Bill Says: This is the closest thing we may see to a fourth Bourne movie. I have a feeling it’s going to lack the wit and suspense of Bourne, but the brusque action and political intrigue along with two of my favorite supporting actors, Brendan Gleeson and Amy Ryan in tow, will more than make up for it.

4. Date Night
Release Date: April 9
Starring: Steve Carrell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, Mark Ruffalo, Mila Kunis, Ray Liotta, Tajari Henson, Kristen Wiig, Common, Leighton Meester, James Franco
Director: Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum)
Bill Says: This just looks like a lot of fun. Fey and Carrell as a duo is going to be comic gold and the massive ensemble cast will no doubt provide a lot of laughs.

5. Kick-Ass
Release Date: April 16
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Aaron Johnson, Mark Strong, Jason Fleyming, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Director: Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake)
Bill Says: This film always seemed like a “I”ll rent that” film, but when I found out Matthew Vaughn, director of Layer Cake and producer of Snatch, was behind the helm it made me want to buy a ticket. Clever camera work along with what seems to be a quirky, slightly off-center cast of heroes, will make this a memorable film.

6. Brooklyn’s Finest
Release Date: March 5
Starring: Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, Don Cheadle, Wesley Snipes
Director: Antoine Fuqua (Training Day)
Bill Says: Brooklyn! Brooklyn! A Training Day re-tread that still looks like it could be a good film. Fuqua is a strong director and I really think you’ll see two fine performances out of Gere and Snipes, both of whom are due for a good film.

7. The Runaways
Release Date: March 19
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Scout Taylor-Compton, Michael Shannon
Director: Floria Sigismondi (Postmortem Bliss)
Bill Says: The three lead actresses rank as some of my least favorites going right now. However, the trailer and advanced reviews really hooked me. This could be a really well-made rock ‘n’ roll drama about one of the more unique all-girl bands from the late 70s.

8. The Losers
Release Date: April 23
Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Jason Patric
Director: Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard)
Bill Says: This one probably won’t do that much damage at the box office, but it looks like a real good sleeper. A cast of slightly under-the-radar supporting actors are thrust into the lead roles of government operatives who were just given their burn notice and decide to fight back. This one could be one of those movies people will be discovering, and loving on DVD.

9. Repo Men
Release Date: March 19
Starring: Jude Law, Liev Schrieber, Forrest Whitaker, Alice Braga, RZA
Director: Miguel Sapochnik (The Dreamer)
Bill Says: Jude Law is hell-bent on shedding his wanky, pretty boy look. First Sherlock Holmes, now Repo Men. I’m a sucker from any sort of sci-fi thriller and this looks to have no shortage of high-end effects work and futuristic big brother implications. This reminds me a lot of the Christian Bale film Equilibrium, which isn’t a bad thing.

10. MacGruber
Release Date: April 23
Starring: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, Val Kilmer, Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph
Director: Jorma Taccone (Saturday Night Live)
Bill Says: And now we get silly. Most SNL-based films, save Tommy Boy, are usually the worst. However, advanced reviews of the film, a funny trailer and the fact Val Kilmer is the bad guy lead me to believe this could be a fun flick. I’m also interested to see all the cameos from WWE superstars. Yes, complete nerd.

10a. Hot Tub Time Machine
Release Date: March 26
Starring: John Cusack, Craig Simpson, Rob Corddry, Clark Duke, Crispin Glover
Director: Steve Pink (Speechless)
Bill Says: I know, I know — all my film snob sensibilities tell me to run to the hills on this one. But when Craig Simpson knowingly looks into the camera and mentions the “hot tub time machine” in the trailer it seems like everyone’s in on the joke. If they are, this could be a film that hits Super Troopers-esque absurdity. If they’re not, then this is one John Cusack will be hanging his head in shame about.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast.Β He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

1 COMMENT

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