Welcome to the latest installment of DVDevelopments; make yourself comfortable. As I write this, The Invisible Man has just opened in theaters, and I’m morbidly wondering how packed those theaters are going to be. Does this strike you as a time when you want to sit in a room with a bunch of coughing strangers? By the time you read this, we will have seen how the coronavirus scare affected (or didn’t) the box office. For those who’ve fallen out of the theatrical habit anyway, there’s always physical and streaming home media…
MAY THE FORCE GO AWAY
The big kahuna of March releases is probably Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (March 31), which I missed in theaters. The past two “Skywalker Saga” films have been finer than frog hair, and I expect to enjoy this one, too. But I will have less than no interest in any Star Wars films after this, since the Saga has now ended and we’ll be getting all new characters who may or may not pack the iconic power of Luke, Leia, Han, or Darth Vader. Who am I kidding — of course I’ll watch new Star Wars films. Heck, I even watched Solo.
When the mediocre original Jumanji film came out in 1995, I never expected that twenty years later it would be revived into a major going concern for Sony, but here we are. The rebooted series starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black and Kevin Hart just keeps getting bigger, and the latest segment, Jumanji: The Next Level, hits disc March 17. I’ll probably give the franchise a shot at some point, especially now that it’s picked up Awkwafina.
Other kids’ stuff this month: Playmobil: The Movie (Mar. 3), Spies in Disguise (Mar. 10), Lego Jurassic World: Legend of Isla Nublar (Mar. 31).
YOU CAN’T HAVE THE BIRTH OF CINEMA WITHOUT A WOMAN
The film studio and home-video outlet Kino Lorber has done some solid work restoring classics, and they also shed new light on movie history. On March 17, KL continues its reverence for early female filmmakers with a few collections. The two-volume Alice Guy Blaché contains a variety of short films by the turn-of-the-century trailblazer, who made such successful movies for her studio that she became its head of production. Then there’s The Intrigue: The Films of Julia Crawford Ivers, which assembles works or fragments that Ivers wrote and/or directed back in the World War I era. If it’s more modern woman-directed cinema you’re looking for, this month also offers Melina Matsoukas’ acclaimed lovers-on-the-run drama Queen & Slim (Mar. 3) and Elizabeth Banks’ Charlie’s Angels reboot (Mar. 10).
EIGHT CRAZY NIGHTS
Think hard: which holiday is one of the few not to inspire a slasher film? New Year’s Eve? Thanksgiving? Nope and nope. Until recently, no horror movie had visited the Festival of Lights…until now. Hanukkah (Mar. 17) seems to be somewhat campy psycho-killer fare, with a cast picked to please the fans: P.J. Soles (Halloween), Caroline Williams (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2), Charles Fleischer (Roger Rabbit), and two cult favorites who appeared in the movie and then died before it could come out (Sid Haig and Dick Miller). Sounds like a decent Tuesday time-waster. If that isn’t your bag, we also have the second reboot of Black Christmas (Mar. 17; intentionally in competition with Hanukkah?) and the latest attempt to squeeze every last drop out of The Grudge (Mar. 24).
If you’re too wary of infection even to hit up a Redbox or the library for your movie fix, we got you covered, and so do the major streaming services. Netflix, for instance, hopes you’ll binge their Spenser Confidential (Mar. 6) and — one I’ve been waiting for — Castlevania season 3 (Mar. 5). Not to be outdone, HBO brings the sure-to-be-discussed The Plot Against America (Mar. 16) and the return of Westworld (Mar. 15) to the table. Hulu has the already-buzzed-about “docuseries” Hillary (Mar 6) and Reese Witherspoon’s Little Fires Everywhere (Mar. 18). And Amazon Prime touts Agatha Christie’s The Pale Horse (Mar. 13).
Stay safe, and see you next month.
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