The spice must flow, and take over most theaters. While Denis Villeneuve’s gargantuan-sized blockbuster will suck up much of the oxygen when it comes to discussions around March’s releases, there’s plenty more to uncover. From adventurous festival favorites to micro-sized productions to a would-be blockbuster relegated to streaming, here are my picks for what to see next month.

15. Road House (Doug Liman; March 21)

While his recent output hasn’t touched the entertainment value of Edge of Tomorrow, The Bourne Identity, or Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Doug Liman seems quite confident in the crowdpleaser appeal of his Jake Gyllenhaal-led Road House remake. While he won’t be getting the theatrical release he believes he deserves, those at SXSW will at least be able to experience it in a crowd before it lands on Prime Video soon after.

14. Yuni (Kamila Andini; March 22)

One of our favorite undistributed films of 2021 is now arriving next month. Film Movement, who released Kamila Andini’s 2022 festival premiere Before, Now & Then in theaters last summer, has picked up the Indonesian director’s prior feature, the coming-of-age tale Yuni, for a digital release on March 22. Reyzando Nawara said in his review, “Kamila Andini further proves herself of Indonesian cinema’s most vital voices with her third solo feature Yuni. Partly inspired by Sapardi Djoko Damono’s love poem “Rain in June,” the movie paints a candid portrait of what it’s like for a teenage girl in Indonesia, where expectations and dated traditional values often prevent one from fully having the freedom to pursue their dreams.”

13. Riddle of Fire (Weston Razooli; March 22)

A selection at Cannes’ Directors Fortnight and TIFF’s Midnight Madness last year, Weston Razooli’s singular debut Riddle of Fire follows a group of mischievous children who embark on a woodland odyssey to deliver a pie, battle a witch, outwit a huntsman, befriend a fairy, and become best friends forever. Ankit Jhunjhunwala said in his review, “Films with child protagonists present a unique tonal challenge. If overly saccharine whimsy can alienate an adult audience, having precocious kids delivering mannered performances can seem too stylized and divorced from reality––what, say, Wes Anderson has a skill for, many others do not possess. With his debut feature Riddle of Fire, director Weston Razooli tries locating the balance between extremes to uneven results. On paper, this is a kids’ fantasy, action-adventure film, yet it’s difficult to discern the precise audience to whom it may appeal.”

12. On the Adamant (Nicolas Philibert; March 29)

For the second in a row, the Berlinale jury has awarded the top prize of Golden Bear to a documentary. Before Mati Diop’s Dahomey this year, Nicolas Philibert’s On the Adamant picked up the prize and now Kino Lorber will release the film in theaters this March. Rory O’Connor said in his review, “A lot of what’s good about On the Adamant can be found in that opening sequence: how François seems to channel his frustration through a creative outlet; how expression seems to focus him, if only for a minute. In another scene, a man with more apparent disabilities than François presents a drawing to the other members of his class, explaining that the two girls pictured are his daughters. When asked why he isn’t included in the scene, he charms the crowd by flipping it over to reveal another sketch of them together at the zoo. Those kinds of moments are what’s on offer in Philibert’s compassionate, calmly observed, at times intermittent film: an invitation to board the Adamant and meet its crew, enjoy their company, get some idea of their vantage, and appreciate the Art Brut energies of their craft.”

11. Problemista (Julio Torres; March 1)

A year after its SXSW debut and a strike-related delay, A24 will finally release Julio Torres’ Problemista. A humorous and imaginative look at still holding onto your dreams while trying to scrape by, Jake Kring-Schreifels said in his SXSW review, “In Problemista, Torres’ feature-length writing and directing debut––loosely based on his own struggles as an immigrant––everything is just slightly off-kilter, too. Consider the single clump of hair that sticks out from his character’s head, or the way he walks, almost bouncing with each step as if gravity’s pull had lessened by a fraction. They’re details that help fill out a magic-realist vision of a Salvadorian’s attempt to keep his green card status and pursue his niche passion in New York City. They also provide a humorous glow to a story about preservation, creativity, and the courage to fight off corporate entities attempting to dismantle those individual concerns.”

10. Lousy Carter (Bob Byington; March 29)

After recently earning acclaim for Oppenheimer and his (sadly now-defunct) Twitter account alike, David Krumholtz has found a new leading role in Bob Byington’s comedy Lousy Carter. Rory O’Connor said in his review, “At turns warm, curmudgeonly, and delightful, Krumholtz holds together an amiable cast. There is fellow Freaks and Geeks alum Martin Starr, typically bone-dry as Herschel Kaminsky, a professor of Russian literature and also Carter’s closest friend. There is Stephen Root laying it on maple thick as a Jungian psychiatrist. There is Jocelyn DeBoer as Kaminsky’s wife, with whom Carter is having an affair. There is Olivia Thirlby as Carter’s wonderfully apathetic ex. Best of all, there is Andrew Bujalski as a half-interested funeral director. The film is at its best when any two or three of these performers are placed together, building the rhythmic wit of Byington’s dialogue into a lively, funny, unpredictable patter.”

9. Club Zero (Jessica Hausner; March 15)

Across her five previous features, Austrian director Jessica Hausner (Amour Fou, Lourdes, Little Joe) has developed a distinctly unique tone––one which carries through her sixth outing Club Zero. Led by Mia Wasikowska, the dark satire follows a nutrition teacher at an elite school whose relationship with five students takes a dangerous turn. While Hausner is perhaps intentionally poking the bear as it relates to eating disorders, one could swap out the subject of her new film to another topic du jour and still retain a cogent, one-of-a-kind look at cult mentality.

8. The Tuba Thieves (Alison O’Daniel; March 15)

A singular viewing (and listening) experience, the documentary The Tuba Thieves explores what it means to listen and how sound––particularly its absence––figures into everyday life. A fascinating counterpart to a fellow recent Sundance premiere, 32 Sounds, Alison O’Daniel’s film opens up the world of the d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing community to invite audiences to see and hear the experience. With a rather radical use of captions and subtitles, it’s among the essential documentaries of 2024 thus far. John Fink said in his Sundance review, “A film that rewards patience, The Tuba Thieves, despite its title, is not a quirky heist picture but rather a meditation on the presence and absence of sound framed by both recent and further-removed history.”

7. The Shadowless Tower (Zhang Lu; March 15)

One of the most-acclaimed films on the festival circuit last year, premiering at Berlinale and stopping by Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, and New York, Zhang Lu’s meditative drama The Shadowless Tower will now get a U.S. theatrical release next month. Leonardo Goi said in his Berlinale review, “Watching over Beijing’s Xicheng district is an enormous white pagoda, a relic of the Kublai Khan rule, so majestic and otherworldly in looks and stature it might as well have been dropped on Earth from a far-flung planet. Legend has it the monument casts no shadow––not in its immediate vicinity, at least––though its silhouette is said to stretch as far as Tibet. No other corner of the megalopolis features as prominently as this one in Zhang Lu’s The Shadowless Tower, a film to which the 13th-century wonder lends its title as well as a metaphor for the kind of permanence its drifters fumble after. And no one among them is as drawn to it as Gu Wentong (Xin Baiqing).”

6. Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus (Neo Sora; March 15)

In a heartbreaking work that feels like a private home movie with which the world is being graced, Ryuichi Sakamoto’s son, filmmaker Neo Sora, captured his father’s final performance. Shot in beautifully austere black-and-white, Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus focuses solely on the music, capturing a man contending with his physical limitations during the last gasp of astounding talent. It’s a treasure.

5. Dune: Part Two (Denis Villeneuve; March 1)

The breathless frenzy to anoint Dune: Part Two one of the best blockbusters of all-time prior to its release has left little room for any critical discussion, though kudos to our own Nick Newman for his compelling, extensive analysis of what’s lacking in Denis Villeneuve’s sequel. While I came away a bit more positive––the sheer scale and momentum of certain setpieces are something to behold, as is the faithful adaptation of what makes Frank Herbert’s text eternally, regrettably relevant––there’s the sense Villeneuve never quite finds the proper storytelling rhythm. While operating at a largely quicker pace than its predecessor, certain passages feel hurried to the point of inscrutability while others suggest they are taking precious time to reflect on the exhaustive production design. Yet even with these qualms, Villeneuve’s command of a massive canvas to tell this hero-turned-villain epic is worth witnessing on the biggest screen one can find, if only for the setpieces and the finale.

4. Love Lies Bleeding (Rose Glass; March 8)

Among the most purely entertaining viewing experiences at this year’s Sundance was Rose Glass’ lesbian bodybuilding neo-noir Love Lies Bleeding, which stars Kristen Stewart, Katy O’Brian, Jena Malone, Anna Baryshnikov, Dave Franco, and Ed Harris, and is quite a level-up in ideas from her debut Saint Maud. Jake Kring-Schreifels said in his Sundance review, “This is a Rose Glass movie, which means it packs a killer, multi-faceted punch and resists easy classification. Her second feature after St. Maud is a stylized neo-noir love story, a drama about addiction, an athletic underdog tale, and a bloody thriller compounding genres and narratives that overlap and blend into each other without any wrinkles.”

3. Free Time (Ryan Martin Brown; March 22)

Few films capture the trials and tribulations of twenty-something waywardness rooted in economic realities of today so eloquently and humorously as Ryan Martin Brown’s feature debut Free Time. Led by Colin Burgess in a beautifully articulated performance of neurotic self-sabotage, this portrait of “the Great Resignation” more than makes up for its small scale with keen observations on what it means to have a creatively satisfying life. Accompanied by the strong supporting cast of Rajat Suresh, Holmes, James Webb, Eric Yates, Jessie Pinnick, and Rebecca Bulnes, Free Time feels the promising beginnings of a new era in NYC indie filmmaking. (For more Burgess, Tynan DeLong’s Dad & Step-Dad will finally get a VOD release on the same date, March 22.)

2. La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher; March 29)

While Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny perhaps garnered more press out of Cannes, another selection involving archaeologists and tomb raiders will have a longer shelf life. Alice Rohrwacher’s latest feature La Chimera (starring Josh O’Connor, Isabella Rossellini, and Alba Rohrwacher) ranked quite highly on our top 50 films of 2023 list for good reason. It’s a dreamy, magical odyssey in which the Italian director whisks viewers away with the kind of transportive vision she’s exuded in all her features thus far.

1. Do Not Expect Too Much From the End of the World (Radu Jude; March 22)

One of the most-acclaimed premieres of last year, so much so that it landed in our top 25 films of 2023 despite not even getting a U.S. release yet, Radu Jude’s radical Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World will now finally arrive in March. Leonardo Goi said of the Locarno winner in his review, “A collage perched between road movie and black comedy, Jude’s latest is another effervescent study of life in the 21st century, a work that’s engineered to both sponge something of our screens-infested zeitgeist and interrogate its textures. Few filmmakers are so reliably able to conjure snapshots of modern capitalism and its neuroses; fewer still can douse those documents with so much playfulness and wonder as Jude.”

More Films to See

  • Amelia’s Children (March 1)
  • Spaceman (March 1)
  • Glitter & Doom (March 8)
  • High & Low: John Galliano (March 8)
  • Space: The Longest Goodbye (March 8)
  • The Animal Kingdom (March 15)
  • Frida (March 15)
  • Knox Goes Away (March 15)
  • One Life (March 15)
  • Remembering Gene Wilder (March 15)
  • Femme (March 22)
  • Limbo (March 22)
  • Art Talent Show (March 22)
  • With Love and a Major Organ (March 29)
  • Asphalt City (March 29)

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