It’s only been two months, but so far, 2023 has been pretty awesome for movie lovers. M3GAN was an entertaining horror comedy, while Infinity Pool made everyone think about the nature of existence while also grossing them out with copious amounts of bodily fluids. Sure, the latest Marvel movie was a dud, but not every movie can be a winner.
March promises to carry that win streak with an eclectic assortment of sequels, indies, and a movie that pits a gun-toting Adam Driver against prehistoric dinosaurs in the distant past. All that, plus a surprisingly suspenseful movie about the creation of Tetris. promises to make for the best moviegoing month yet in 2023.
Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre (March 3)
Even though no one has seen it yet, Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre has already taken the crown for the “Worst Movie Title of 2023.” Yet what sounds like a direct-to-VOD Jean Claude Van Damme movie from 2010 is actually Guy Ritchie’s latest “lads with guns” action movie. Jason Statham stars as Orson Fortune, a British super spy who must stop an international arms dealer (Hugh Grant) from selling deadly weapons to the wrong people.
What elevates Operation Fortune‘s pedestrian plot is the eclectic cast Ritchie has enlisted in his latest movie. In addition to Statham, Aubrey Plaza (the last person you’d think would end up in a film like this) stars as Fortune’s fellow spy Sarah Fidel, Josh Hartnett appears as vain Hollywood heartthrob Danny Francesco, and Cary Elwes is Fortune’s employer Nathan Jasmine. Most thrilling of all is Grant as Statham’s flamboyant nemesis Greg Simmonds. In such recent work as A Very British Scandal and Paddington 2, Grant’s been having a ball playing larger-than-life characters, and his antagonist appears to be another addition to his rogue’s gallery of characters you love to hate.
Scream VI (March 10)
Last year’s Scream brought the Ghostface franchise back to life with a reboot/sequel that mixed some veterans (Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette) with some fresh blood (Jenna Ortega, who is a much bigger star now thanks to Wednesday) to great results. It’s no surprise that a sequel should follow, and like the criminally underrated Scream 3, the bloodshed moves away from Woodsboro and to a new location: New York City.
Like Jason Voorhees before him, Ghostface will slice and dice in the Big Apple, with some new bodies to maim and the return of a franchise fan favorite to menace once again: Hayden Panettiere’s Kirby from Scream 4. The trailers show this sequel has promise, and the new location (Subways! Fire escapes! Subsidized rent!), coupled with Ortega’s increased role, indicate this Scream will be one to remember.
65 (March 10)
There’s no doubt that 65 has the best hook of any 2023 movie: Adam Driver battles dinosaurs … with guns. How is this possible? Does it matter? The 65 in the title refers to 65 million years BC, which is the era spaceman Driver mistakenly travels in time to when he crash lands his ship full of passengers on a deserted planet, which he quickly finds out is Earth (cue the Planet of the Apes theme). To return home, Driver must protect the other survivor of the crash, a child named Koa, and battle all sorts of prehistoric monsters.
If the premise isn’t enough to sell you on this film, maybe some of the creative team involved will. The movie is written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, who wrote the original A Quiet Place — so they know a thing or two about creating character-driven stories and generating effective suspense. Joining them is legendary composer Danny Elfman, whose scores for Batman and The Nightmare Before Christmas prove he can craft a memorable tune or two. The film’s main appeal, however, comes down to this: Kylo Ren runs amok in Jurassic Park. If that’s not enough to get you to watch this, I don’t know what can.
Inside (March 17)
You know that old saying that an actor is so good, you can watch him or her read the telephone book and still be entertained? Well, Willem Dafoe is going to test that, and succeed, with the new psychological thriller Inside, which puts the ex-Green Goblin in a room and lets him chew the scenery … or, at the very least, tear some in two with his bare hands.
Dafoe stars as an art thief who is stuck inside a New York penthouse after a heist he was pulling goes terribly wrong. Alone and unable to call for help (because, you know, he’s a criminal who is trying to steal millions of dollars worth of art), he has to find a way to escape or die trying. This kind of high-concept movie can only work with the right actor, and Dafoe fits the bill. In movies as diverse as Light Sleeper, Shadow of the Vampire, and The Florida Project, he’s proven to be one of the best actors around, and I can’t wait to see what he does in this pressure cooker of a film.
John Wick: Chapter 4 (March 24)
Who says the third time is the charm? Lionsgate is banking on the number 4 with its popular franchise built around John Wick, who is still mourning that damn dog! The fourth installment, er, chapter promises more guns, bullets, double-crosses, and cool-looking action cinematography, and it will have the time to pull all that off. John Wick: Chapter 4 will clock in at around two hours and 49 minutes, which seems way too long to me, but what do I know? I’m just an entertainment reporter.
Returning with Reeves is his Matrix co-star Laurence Fishburne as The Bowery King, alongside an impressive roster of John Wick vets and new additions to the franchise that includes martial arts master Donnie Yen as a blind assassin, It actor Bill Skarsgård as the main antagonist, Ian McShane as Wick’s friend Winston Scott, and rock musician Rina Sawayama as the mysterious Akira. Filmed in Paris, Berlin, Japan, and New York City, John Wick: Chapter 4 promises a globe-spanning journey, with blood being splattered on famous monuments. The director, Chad Stahelski, helmed the previous three John Wicks, so if you liked those movies (and chances are you did), then you will probably like this one.
Tetris (March 31)
What’s the most popular video game of all time? For a long period, the answer was Tetris. (It’s been overtaken by Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto.) Everybody who had a Game Boy and a pulse played Tetris. The game is still played today on computers, mobile phones, and next-gen systems. There’s even a cool reboot game called Tetris Effect that marries good old-fashioned Tetris gameplay with a terrific soundtrack and psychedelic visuals.
After all these years, the video game is still relevant, and thanks to Apple TV+, everyone will find out just how such an addictive video game came to be. Black Bird‘s Taron Edgerton stars as Henk Rogers, the Dutch entrepreneur who secured the rights to distribute Tetris and, in the process, helped create a global phenomenon. I know that sounds dry, but the trailer promises all sorts of action, including thick Russian accents, spying (?!?), dudes playing tennis with thick mustaches, and tanks rumbling down a snowy Moscow street. There’s a lot more to this tale than meets the eye, and Tetris will help fill in those blanks.