We all know that March comes in like a lion. But this year, it's going to keep its roar all month long thanks to a crop of hot new movie releases in theaters and on DVD.
Yes, the dog days of winter are finally behind us, and with all those stuffy award shows in the past, (sorry, Oscars!), film fans can get down to the truly serious business of being entertained. But with things finally ramping up towards the excess of summer, there's a new problem facing the savvy movie buff: deciding just which movies are worth investing their time in.
Which is where we come in.
Yes, don't worry your pretty little head about it, folks, because we've once again poured over every television schedule, movie trailer, DVD release and Netflix queue to provide you with the best options for your entertainment budget. So here it is, your Movie Lover's Guide to March:
The Best of March: Movies in Theaters
Once upon a time, March was just another dead month for movies in the long grind between award season and summer. But thanks to the syndrome known as Blockbuster Creep, summer is getting earlier and earlier around these parts -- and we couldn't be happier about it. Here are some of this March's top picks, any of which would fit right in on a mid-summer schedule:
• March 4 -- 'Rango' isn't just a crowd-pleasing animated film about a lizard who accidentally becomes sheriff of a blighted western town under siege from bad guys; it's also the reunion of star voice actor Johnny Depp with his 'Pirates of the Caribbean' director Gore Verbinski. We're there. Showtimes & Tickets
• March 4 -- 'The Adjustment Bureau' is the latest Hollywood adaptation based on the works of legendary -- and legendarily prolific -- sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick. Matt Damon plays a guy who finds true love only to have it snatched away by a mysterious group claiming to be arbiters of human destiny. But is the future of mankind really worth losing love? Find out now. Showtimes & Tickets
• March 11 -- 'Jane Eyre' has been adapted countless times since the invention of cinema, but the latest version of Charlotte Bronte's classic has a couple things going for it that previous editions lacked -- namely a cast that includes 'Alice in Wonderland's' Mia Wasikowska and 'Inglourious Basterds' star Michael Fassbender. Should be a good one. Showtimes & Tickets
• March 11 -- 'Red Riding Hood,' despite the title, isn't something you probably want to be bringing your kids to. Yourself, on the other hand, is a different story: This edgy, revisionist take on the classic fairy tale has been reworked by 'Twilight' director Catherine Hardwicke into a sexy tale of one medieval town's struggle to save themselves from a werewolf. Sounds juicy. Showtimes & Tickets
• March 18 -- 'The Lincoln Lawyer' may sound like a historical drama about our 16th President's time on the Illinois circuit, but it's actually about a buff crusader for justice (Matthew McConaughey) who dispenses legal advice from the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car. His vanity plate reads 'NTGUILTY'; our ticket stub reads "sold."
• March 18 -- 'Paul' is the latest comedy landmine from the comedy team of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who previously brought the world 'Shawn of the Dead' and 'Hot Fuzz.' This time around they are joined by a good ol' boy alien names Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) who is less interested in world conquest and more interested in securing his next six-pack. That's our kind of alien.
• March 25 -- 'Sucker Punch' can't really be summed up in one little paragraph, but we'll give it our best shot: Created by '300' action auteur Zack Snyder, 'Sucker Punch' tells the story of a group of hot chicks trying to battle their way out of an insane asylum filled with bad guys sprung to life from the minds of the deranged inmates. A good metaphor for Zack Snyder's film style -- and we mean that as a compliment.
The Best of March: Movies on DVD
Hey, remember all those award magnet films you really meant to see in the theater but never got around to, probably because your car was encased in a solid block of ice? Well, now you can watch them in the comfort of your own home thanks to a slew of great new DVD and Blu-ray releases:
• March 1 -- '127 Hours' earned six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor for Oscar host James Franco and Best Director for 'Slumdog Millionaire's' Danny Boyle. Not bad for a movie about a guy who is stuck under a boulder for most of the movie and then hacks his own arm off. Spoilers!
• March 8 -- 'Jackass 3-D' earned zero Academy Award nominations for its series of hijinks that includes skidoo accidents, bungee jumping inside a porta pottie and any number of violations of human dignity. And we wouldn't have it any other way. After all, sometimes your brain needs a good punch to the groin, if you know what we mean.
• March 15 -- 'The Fighter' was one of the most acclaimed movies of the year and it just reaffirmed what we already suspected: uber-producer Mark Wahlberg is pretty much the most powerful man in Hollywood. He's also a darn fine actor, as seen here, and his supporting cast -- who pretty much all earned Oscar nominations -- isn't too shabby either. Victory by knockout.
• March 29 -- 'Tangled' may not have gotten quite the same amount of hype as other animated hits like 'Toy Story 3' or 'How to Train Your Dragon' last year, but this fun fairly tale romp from Disney proves that the Mouse House still has the chops to stay relevant in a more competitive marketplace.
• Other top releases include 'Burlesque' (Mar. 1), 'Hereafter' (Mar. 15), 'How Do You Know' (Mar. 22), 'The Tourist' (Mar. 22) and 'Fair Game' (Mar. 29).
The Best of March: Movies on TV
Somewhere out there, there's still a guy or an old lady who doesn't have a Blu-ray player or On Demand or a way to stream films online. For that person, though, there's always good old fashioned television. Of course, we're not sure how they will read these recommendations, but if you know someone like this, pass these tips along, won't you?
• March 6 -- 'Taxi Driver' and 'Scarface' aren't just two of the great man movies of all time; they also anchor a lineup of hits on AMC beginning at 3PM on March 6.
• March 13 -- There's only one thing better than an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie -- and that's a whole bunch of Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. AMC has over 12 hours of the Governator's greatest hits beginning at 9:15AM on March 13, including 'Predator' and 'Terminator 2.'
• March 20 -- As all baseball fans know, spring training is upon us, with the start of the regular season just a couple short weeks away. So what better way to get ready for a new year of America's Pastime than by checking out one of the great baseball films of all time, 'The Natural'? It airs on TCM at 5:30PM on March 20.
• March 26 -- Not familiar with 'Mildred Pierce'? Don't worry, you soon will be -- HBO is currently in production on a new 'Mildred Pierce' series starring Oscar winner Kate Winslet. At March 26, though, you have a chance to catch the original version, which won Joan Crawford an Oscar of her own back in 1945. TCM does the honors at 8PM.
• Other top picks include a Bruce Willis double-feature (Encore, March 4 at 8PM), 'The Time Traveler's Wife' (Cinemax, March 9 at 8PM), 'Speed' (AMC, March 19 at 8PM) and 'All About Eve' (TCM, March 31 at 8PM).
The Best of March: Movies on Demand
You demanded the best films, available right at your fingertips whenever you choose. You demanded to have control over your own entertainment schedule instead of being controlled by it. And this March, On Demand complies with your wishes like never before. Viva la revolution!
• HBO brings you a mixed bag of goodies with something for every member of your family: 'Robin Hood' for Dad, 'The Blind Side' for Mom, 'Watchmen' for big brother and 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' for little sister.
• Cinemax shines with a lineup of popular films that includes 'Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,' 'Gret Him to the Greek,' 'Adaptation' and 'He's Just Not That into You.'
• Instant Netflix has a bevy of classic movies available, highlighted by 'Fargo,' 'Patton' and 'Thelma & Louise' and complimented by more recent hits like 'Grown Ups,' 'Taking of Pelham 1 2 3' and 'Dumb & Dumber.' And for die-hard film buffs, Netflix is now streaming the 5-hour, critically acclaimed and GoldeN Globe-winning miniseries 'Carlos,' starring Edgar Ramirez.