With the Oscars done and dusted in a manner as underwhelming as ever (seriously, Green Book as Best Picture…??) we are well and truly into the cycle of cinema that is 2019. With a huge Marvel flick, a Disney live adaptation and a new effort from one of the most exciting contemporary filmmakers around right now, March seems to be setting the bar high for the rest of the year. Let’s take a look:
Captain Marvel, dir. by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Starring: Brie Larson, Gemma Chan, Ben Mendelsohn, Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law
Release Date: 8th March
We’ve all seen Avengers: Infinity War by now, and if you haven’t, skip to the next section. As the Avengers slowly disintegrated into dust, each and every one of us sunk into our cinema seats wondering what was next. The film’s after credits scene seemed to answer some of these worries, with the much-loved Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) urgently sending a distress signal to none other than Captain Marvel. It has somehow taken until 2019 for Marvel to release a film led by a woman (even DC managed to trump them on this one), but hopefully Captain Marvel will make it worth the wait. With Brie Larson in the titular role as a former Air Force pilot, the heroine’s first solo outing will be a classic origin story. Plot details are relatively sparse, but from what we can gather, this will be an alien battle story set to the backdrop of some wonderful 1990s nostalgia (hello to a 90s inspired score). One thing is very much certain though, Captain Marvel is just the beginning. Not only will it pave the way for the events of the much anticipated Avengers: Endgame, we can also hope that it will have a much-needed impact in de-throning the male-dominated nature of the superhero film genre. With Captain Marvel finally getting her own film, it surely can’t be long until we see solo outings of Black Widow, Gamora and Pepper Potts.
Dumbo, dir. by Tim Burton
Starring: Eva Green, Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito
Release Date: 29th March
Everyone seems to shiver at the very mention of a live-action Dumbo remake; not because they hate Dumbo with every inch of their soul, but because of the extraordinary impact the original had on them as a child. In the driving seat is well-known director Tim Burton, his trademark style appearing a perfect fit for the darker side to Disney unleashed in Dumbo. He’s yet to have a film reach the heights of Edward Scissorhands in the present decade, but with the weight of the Disney studio behind him, this could most certainly be that hit. As always with these remakes, Dumbo is already being discussed in relation to it’s animation predecessor, but a question of whether or not this remake will live up to the original is a bit of an unproductive question. With Tim Burton at the helm it’s bound to pack an emotional punch in one way or another, and as we have seen with the success of live-action versions of The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast, the very merit in these films is that they tell such classic stories in a new, exciting and refreshing way. Dumbo looks set to follow suit.
EDITOR’S PICK: Us, dir. by Jordan Peele
Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke
Release Date: 22nd March
If you haven’t been talking about Jordan Peele for the last year, what planet have you been living on? The 40 year old has burst onto the scene in a startling manner, his directorial debut Get Out being the most talked about film of the last awards cycle and his name appearing this year as a producer on the likes of BlacKkKlansman. Get Out was intriguing, mind-boggling and most importantly, utterly terrifying. Us looks to ramp everything that made Get Out so deservedly acclaimed up to new levels. Let’s talk about *that* trailer: possibly the most spine-tingling without being too overt in its manner introduction to a horror that I have ever seen. This is a trailer that certainly isn’t desperate to hold back, immediately plunging us into a pretty dark place with its chilling use of Hip-Hop classic ‘I Got 5 On It’. There are already numerous theories circulating that suggest Us is someway linked to the Get Out universe and the notion of the ‘sunken place’, and it is understandable where these have come from given the mood of the trailer. Whilst I think Peele is too much of a unique and creative filmmaker to jump straight into a cinematic universe with his sophomore effort, the very fact that people are talking about his next venture in this way illustrates just how much of an impact he has made. We can hope and dream that Us will be even more successful, and more importantly, be the film that truly capitulates Peele to superstardom (which, quite frankly, is the least he deserves).