March Movie Preview

We’re finally getting some good movies this month! March will be Disney’s first big tests for 2020 with the release of Pixar’s Onward and their live-action Mulan remake. Winter horror movies continue to be released and some of the first indie darlings will launch as well. Here are five movies I’m most excited for or intrigued by coming out this month.  

Onward (Mar. 6)

Rating: PG
Starring: Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer

Two teenage elf brothers receive a gift from their deceased father and must go on an epic quest to bring him back for one final day.   

Why I’m excited: It’s Pixar, what more do you need? The more I’ve learned about this story, the more excited I get. It should be a heartfelt journey of family and saying goodbye. And casting Tom Holland and Chris Pratt as brothers was a genius move on Pixar’s part, too.   

See this if you liked: Up, Inside Out, Toy Story

First Cow (Mar. 6)

Rating: PG-13
Starring: John Magaro, Orion Hall, René Auberjonois

A lone explorer and a Chinese immigrant start a successful business with a special cow in the Oregon Territory.  

Why I’m excited: A24 has given us some of the best movies of the past decade, and just the title First Cow is enough to interest me in this movie. Other than that, I don’t know anything about this movie. But A24’s stories are often portraits of humanity, connection and the human experience that are full of emotion and heart.     

See this if you liked: Room, Moonlight, Lady Bird

The Hunt (Mar. 13)

Rating: R
Starring: Betty Gilpin, Ike Barinholtz, Emma Roberts, Hilary Swank

Twelve strangers wake up in a mysterious clearing to find out they’re being hunted by a small group of wealthy elites and must fight back to survive.    

Why I’m excited: The Hunt was originally scheduled to come out last year but was put on hold after recent mass shootings. The film is supposed to be incredibly political and specifically targets the current political climate. It’s expected to make everyone angry, so I can’t wait to see what it actually says.

See this if you liked: Joker, Get Out, The Purge

A Quiet Place Part II (Mar. 20)

Rating: PG-13
Starring: Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Djimon Hounsou

After a tragedy strikes their home, a family must fight for survival in a world of silence.

Why I’m excited: The first A Quiet Place was a surprising hit, and I really loved its interesting premise and how the characters were able to survive. All the actors were incredible, so I’m excited to see what they do next. Hopefully Part II doesn’t ruin the uniqueness of the original and is able to naturally build on the story.   

See this if you liked: A Quiet Place, Us, The Invisible Man  

Mulan (Mar. 27)

Rating: PG-13
Starring: Liu Yifei, Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Gong Li, Jet Li

Mulan takes her ailing father’s place in the Chinese army and must pose as a man to defy tradition and save her family and country.   

Why I’m excited: This Disney remake seems to be the first one that really has a point of existing. Other remakes have taken the original stories almost verbatim and changed as little as possible. Making Mulan a more epic and grounded war story should pay homage to the original Chinese legend as well as the Disney classic.

See this if you liked: Beauty and the Beast (2017), Aladdin (2019), Cinderella (2015)

Five cheesy and heartfelt rom coms for Valentine’s Day

Romantic comedies have a bad rap. Usually belittled as “chick flicks,” rom coms have a lot of fun and don’t usually take themselves too seriously. Sometimes there’s nothing better than watching two attractive people laugh, argue, fight and fall in love over an hour and a half. The stories may all be basically the same, but we still love them. 

Everyone has that one rom com they come back to over and over again like visiting old friends. There are dozens of classics, like When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, Pretty Woman and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. So with Valentine’s Day coming up, here are some classic and under-rated romantic comedies to add to your watchlist.  

What’s Your Number? (2011)

The setup: Ally (Anna Faris) finds a magazine article claiming that women who have more than 20 romantic partners are less likely to get married. Shocked at her personal number, Ally – along with her neighbor, Colin (Chris Evans) – tracks down her previous relationships in the hopes of rekindling a long-lost flame that will settle down with her.

What’s Your Number is pretty bold in its central concept, and it toes the line in its message at times. But Faris and Evans are so ridiculously charming and their relationship feels natural and inevitable. Plus, there’s an incredible set of actors portraying Ally’s former lovers: Chris Pratt! Anthony Mackie! Martin Freeman! Zachary Quinto! Andy Samberg! Joel McHale! It’s fantastic.

Cheesiest line: “Being in love means being yourself.”  

The Notebook (2004)

The setup: A Romeo and Juliet-style love story of Noah (Ryan Gosling) and Allie (Rachel McAdams), who fall in love before being separated by World War II. Years later, they reunite and have to rekindle their love after life took them in different directions.

You know it. You love it. The Notebook is the seminal rom com for the Millennial generation and turned Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams into superstars. It also launched (along with A Walk to Remember) the never-ending parade of Nicholas Sparks-based love stories. Everyone came for Gosling and McAdams but stayed as sobbing messes over the older version of the couple years later.  

Cheesiest line: “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.”

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)

The setup: Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) prepares to reopen her mother’s hotel in Greece. As she reminisces about her mother’s early days on the island, we see a young Donna (Lily James) meet three men, each of whom could potentially be Sophie’s biological father.

This movie has no right to be as charming as it is. The first Mamma Mia was a decent hit, using the songs of ABBA to tell the story of Sophie tracking down her birth father. In this sequel, we get like six love stories, including how Sophie’s mother met her three potential fathers, and the story is wild but incredibly heartwarming. And the ABBA music is somehow even better this time around. The younger cast is fantastic and it’s easy to see the returning cast from the first movie has such a love for this story and these characters.

Cheesiest line: “That’s the best kind of party, little girl.”  

The Proposal (2009)

The setup: Book editor Margaret (Sandra Bullock) learns she’s in danger of being deported back to Canada, so she coerces her personal assistant Andrew (Ryan Reynolds) into a fake marriage.

This movie is insane and I love it so much. The Proposal is a textbook example of the classic rom com trope of two characters who initially hate each other slowly fall in love over the course of the movie. Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock are so, so good together in this and have great comedic chemistry. Bullock especially shines – the way she pronounces “Alaska” when she learns that’s where Andrew is from will forever be burned into my brain. And let’s not forget the iconic Betty White stealing the show.

Cheesiest line: “So Margaret, marry me, because I’d like to date you.”

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

The setup: Laura Jean Covey’s (Lana Condor) life gets turned upside down when her secret love letters are mailed out to the boys she used to love. She strikes a deal with Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centieno) to fake-date in order to make her current crush jealous.

This movie uses a lot of tried-and-true rom com clichés, but they’re used so convincingly that they feel fresh. Condor and Centineo are incredibly charismatic and hold the movie together. You know where this story is going, but you just enjoy the ride because the cast is so fun. A special shoutout to Laura Jean’s little sister, Kitty, who is truly delightful.

Cheesiest line: “You gonna break my heart, Covey?”

Predicting the 2020 Oscars

The Oscars are almost here! 2019 was the year I really started to pay attention to movies that weren’t just Marvel or Star Wars, and there have been some incredible movies released this year (and some not-so-great ones). This is also the first year where I’ve seen every movie nominated for Best Picture, so I can finally make a truly informed decision!

The nominees this year are generally good choices, but there are a few snubs that are just baffling. As excited as I am for Parasite, Knives Out, Florence Pugh and Greta Gerwig’s nominations, I am just as frustrated at the lack of nominations for The Farewell, Jennifer Lopez, Lupita Nyong’o or any female directors.

2019 seems like a year pulled in two directions – honoring the past and leaning into nostalgia or trying to look to the future and tell new kinds of stories. So here are the nominees for some of the biggest Oscar categories, along with who I’d like to win and who I think will end up taking a trophy home.

Best Picture

Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

What I want to win: Having seen all nine of these movies, there’s only one that I really did not at least partially enjoy. Seven of the nine take place in real or fictional historical eras, while the other two are modern stories. My top two that I would love to win are Parasite and Little Women.

What will win: 1917 seems to have the most momentum going into the awards.

Best Director

The Irishman — Martin Scorsese
Joker — Todd Phillips
1917 — Sam Mendes
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — Quentin Tarantino
Parasite — Bong Joon-ho

Who I want to win: Bong Joon-ho makes every second of Parasite as fascinating and engrossing as I’ve ever seen.

Who will win: Sam Mendes having the guts to make 1917 a “one-take” movie was a bold choice but it pays off so well.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Irishman — Steven Zaillian
Jojo Rabbit — Taika Waititi
Joker — Todd Phillips and Scott Silver
Little Women — Greta Gerwig
The Two Popes — Anthony McCarten

What I want to win: Greta Gerwig revitalized a 150-year-old novel and made it feel current for Little Women. Folding the timelines on top of each other highlighted the highs and the lows of the March sisters. Would also not be upset with a Taika Waititi win.

What will win: This one is really a toss-up. Gerwig has a good chance to win, and it would be nice for the Academy to recognize her here since they didn’t nominate her for Best Director. I think Jojo Rabbit will ride the surprise wins from the BAFTAs and the WGA awards and win.

Best Original Screenplay

Knives Out — Rian Johnson
Marriage Story — Noah Baumbach
1917 — Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — Quentin Tarantino
Parasite — Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won

What I want to win: Knives Out!! But honestly this is a truly competitive category. All five of these movies had interesting and unique stories that were laid out well. I’d be happy with any of these winning.

What will win: I’m gonna go out on a limb and say Parasite will win (which it deserves).

Best Leading Actor

Antonio Banderas — Pain and Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio — Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Adam Driver — Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix — Joker
Jonathan Pryce — The Two Popes

Who I want to win: Adam Driver ridiculously good in Marriage Story and I’d love for him to take home a trophy for his work here.

Who will win: It’s going to be Joaquin Phoenix. He’s won every acting award this season for Joker, and regardless of how I feel about the movie as a whole, his performance was next-level.

Best Leading Actress

Cynthia Erivo — Harriet
Scarlett Johansson — Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan — Little Women
Charlize Theron — Bombshell
Renée Zellweger — Judy

Who I want to win: This is another very competitive category. Saoirse is electric in Little Women and Scar Jo commands the screen in Marriage Story. A Cynthia Erivo win would be incredible too.

Who will win: This is Renee Zellweger’s to lose. Judy is a fine movie but her transformation into Judy Garland was spectacular.

Best Supporting Actress

Kathy Bates — Richard Jewell
Laura Dern — Marriage Story
Scarlett Johansson — Jojo Rabbit
Florence Pugh — Little Women
Margot Robbie — Bombshell

Who I want to win: Florence Pugh is delightful in Little Women and I love everything about her.  

Who will win: Laura Dern is a force to be reckoned with in Marriage Story and will add an Oscar to her growing collection for her work in this role.

Best Supporting Actor

Tom Hanks — A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Anthony Hopkins — The Two Popes
Al Pacino — The Irishman
Joe Pesci — The Irishman
Brad Pitt — Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Who I want to win: Buncha old white men. All are very talented actors, and have been for a long time. Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers is the only performance on this list that really drew me in.

Who will win: Brad Pitt is his charismatic Brad Pitt self in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and he’ll win his first(!?) Oscar this year.

Best International Feature Film

Corpus Christi — Poland
Honeyland — North Macedonia
Les Misérables — France
Pain and Glory — Spain
Parasite — South Korea

What I want to win: Parasite has this in the bag.

What will win: Parasite has this in the bag.

Best Animated Feature Film

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Missing Link
Toy Story 4

What I want to win: The big shock here is Frozen II not getting nominated. I would love for How to Train Your Dragon to get some love here out of respect to the entire trilogy. Klaus was a surprise hit and Missing Link somehow won the Golden Globe, so this could be a toss-up.

What will win: Toy Story 4

Best Original Score

Little Women
Marriage Story
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

What I want to win: I truly love all these scores, but I have to vote for Star Wars. The poetry of John Williams winning for Rise of Skywalker when he hasn’t won for a Star Wars movie since 1977 would be incredible. Little Women’s soundtrack is beautiful and classic and 1917’s score does a great job of building the tension throughout the movie.

What will win: Joker’s score is one of the most enjoyable parts of the movie for me, so I won’t be upset when this wins.

Best Original Song

“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” — Toy Story 4
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” — Rocketman
“I’m Standing With You” — Breakthrough
“Into the Unknown” — Frozen II
“Stand Up” — Harriet

What I want to win: Nothing in Frozen II was ever going to match the might of “Let It Go,” but “Into the Unknown” was a powerful display of Idina Menzel’s talent and has lodged itself in my head since the movie came out.  

What will win: I wish Rocketman had been nominated for more awards, but this song is great and catch and really connects with the theme of the movie, so I’ll be happy when Elton John wins with “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again”