March can appear to be a movie wilderness. Apart from the odd Oscar straggler, awards season has been and gone, taking the celebrity fairy dust and heavy movie big-hitters with it. It’s still a few months till the summer blockbusters, so best curl up with a TV box set, right? Wrong. March sees a slew of films heavy with local London talent that would normally be lost among the shouty Hollywood releases. Seek out a little gem, you won’t be disappointed.
The Face Of An Angel
Release date: 27 March / Certificate: TBC / Director: Michael Winterbottom
Stars: Daniel Bruhl, Kate Beckinsale, Cara Delevingne
How Londoner-about-town Cara Delevingne found a break in her party schedule to film Face Of An Angel is anyone’s guess, but clearly it paid dividends as she received a Most Promising Newcomer nomination at the British Independent Film awards. Acclaimed Brit director Michael Winterbottom presents a confounding take on the Amanda Knox case whereby a young filmmaker (possibly based on Winterbottom) sent to shoot a documentary about the trial becomes more interested in the other journalists reporting on the case than the trial itself. Along the way he meets the effervescent Melanie (possibly based on Meredith Kercher), played by Delevingne. Confused? You will be.
Release date: 13 March / Certificate: TBC / Director: Morgan Matthews
Stars: Asa Butterfield, Rafe Spall, Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan
How many more cracking London actors can they squeeze into a film? Bursting at the seams with local talent, X+Y follows the life of Nathan, a young, autistic maths prodigy. With the support of an irreverent teacher, Nathan finds himself on the British team of the international Maths Olympiad and starts learning to deal with his condition and form wider friendships. Nominated for five British Independent Film Awards this comes with a strong, festival pedigree and is not to be missed.
Release date: 20 March / Certificate: 15 / Director: Pierre Morel
Stars: Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance
We’ve sprouted a chest wig just typing that cast list. If grizzly Cockney Ray and man-about-Hackney Idris weren’t sufficient testosterone, everyone’s favourite London stage thesp Mark Rylance makes a rare big screen appearance in this full-on action-fest. Penn stars as a spy keen to quit the game in favour of a normal life, but finds himself forced to flee across Europe from his former employers. Keep an eye out for some spectacular set piece stunt scenes filmed on Tower Bridge.
Release date: 13 March / Certificate: 15 / Director: Saul Dibb
Stars: Margot Robbie, Michelle Williams, Matthias Schoenaerts, Kristin Scott Thomas
London director and writer Saul Dibb burst onto the scene with the in-yer-face Bullet Boy, a gritty portrait of a volatile Hackney. Having then thrown an unexpected U-turn with corseted costume drama The Duchess, he’s now backed up to somewhere around the historical middle. Suite Française, set in the Second World War, chronicles the romance between a French villager and a German soldier. Oh, and it features Kristin Scott-Thomas as, by law, she has to be in everything even vaguely French.
Release date: 6 March/ Certificate: 15 / Director: Neil Blomkampf
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Dev Patel
We love a local lad done good and smiley Harrow boy Dev Patel is currently on a roll. No sooner has his Second Best Exotic Hotel opened for business than he’s appearing in Neil ‘District 9’ Blomkampf’s latest sci-fi adventure alongside Hollywood A-listers. Something of a mash-up of AI and Robocop, Chappie explores a future world policed by oppressive mechanised droids, until one is captured and reprogrammed to embrace a more human outlook.
Release date: 20 March / Certificate: 15 / Director: Marjane Satrapi
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver
Get your head round this: Ryan Reynolds plays Jerry, an apparently amiable guy who talks to his pet cat and dog who, rather marvellously, talk back (both voiced by Ryan who randomly makes the cat Scottish). Eccentric, but fair enough, you may think. Except his cat urges him to kill hot girls and keep their heads in the fridge. Which he does. As you do. RADA alumna Gemma Arterton, currently treading the boards in musical Made In Dagenham, stars as one of the aforementioned hot girls unlucky enough to attract Jerry’s attention. Darkly humorous and more than a bit off the wall.
Release date: 6 March / Certificate: 12A / Director: Richard Glatzer
Stars: Julianne Moore, Alex Baldwin, Kristen Stewart
The amazing Julianne Moore cleaned up for Still Alice, winning Best Actress at the BAFTAs, Golden Globes and Oscars. Finally, we get the chance to see what the fuss was all about and she doesn’t disappoint, giving a sublime, emotionally raw performance as a professor of linguistics devastated to be diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. If you know someone with the condition you may find this a challenging watch, such is the accuracy of her portrayal.
Release date: 20 March / Certificate: 15 / Director: Simon West
Stars: Jason Statham, Sofia Vergara, Stanley Tucci, Jason Alexander, Hope Davis
Grrrr, it’s The Stath! Wild Card dishes up more of the grunting, eye-rolling, droll one-liners he does best, this time set in Las Vegas — like it matters. If you’re a fan of The Stath you’ll be champing at the bit to go see. If you’re not, you won’t.
Release date: 27 March / Director: Jon Wright / Certificate: TBC
Stars: Ben Kingsley, Gillian Anderson, Callan McAliffe, Milo Parker
Got mini-Londoners to entertain over Easter? No problem. Just in time for the holidays lands a very British family sci-fi — think Doctor Who goes big-screen, complete with slightly ropey special effects. Sir Ben of Kingsley mugs it up for the camera and honorary Londoner Gillian Anderson dials down the Stella Gibson sexiness to kiddy-appropriate levels in this tale of robots taking over suburbia.
By Ruth Sloss