By Kristen Lopez | The Playlist March 3, 2014 at 4:46PM
The dolorous effects of winter are slowly, ever so slowly, making way for the bright world of spring. Until then, and especially if you’re in one of the regions still covered in snow, you’re probably spending quite a bit of time at the local multiplex. Since February was so short we’re adding an additional two movies to tide you over this month, so hopefully you’ll have a backlog of entertainment for when you can come out of hibernation.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Synopsis: Gusatve H. (Ralph Fiennes) is the revered concierge at the Grand Budapest Hotel. When a priceless painting goes missing Gustave, and the hotel’s reputation, come under scrutiny.
What You Need to Know: Since his 1996 debut, “Bottle Rocket,” Wes Anderson’s cachet as a director has increased with three Oscar nominations; two for Best Screenplay, although none for Best Director. Anderson’s work usually contains a slew of stars and 'Grand Budapest' is no different with Fiennes leading a cast which includes Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Léa Seydoux and Jude Law, to name a few. Our own Jessica Kiang saw the film during the Berlin Film Festival, giving it a “B+” review and praising it for possessing “something sweet in the film’s sadness.” Some audiences find Anderson too hipster or esoteric, but if it garners as much critical praise as 2012’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” it should open better than Anderson’s earlier work.
Release Date: March 7th in limited release, expanding on March 14th (Rollout dates here)
Synopsis: A university lecturer (Jake Gyllenhaal) watches a film and discovers a man who looks just like him. Determined to meet the mysterious doppelgänger, he sparks a series of events which could prove dangerous.
What You Need to Know: After his off-kilter performance as Detective Loki in last year’s “Prisoners,” Jake Gyllenhaal is embracing his dark side, re-teaming with that film's director, Dennis Villeneuve, for “Enemy.” This gloomy tale of double identity received an “A” from our Rodrigo Perez during TIFF last year. Perez elaborated, saying the film is “profoundly unnerving,” “challenging” and “sometimes abstract.” If Gyllenhaal keeps it up, we could see him earning an Oscar nomination down the line.
Release Date: March 14th in limited release
“Ernest & Celestine”
Synopsis: A mouse named Celestine and a bear named Ernest form an unlikely friendship which goes against the fear their respective communities have for each other.
What You Need to Know: The distributors behind “Ernest & Celestine,” GKIDS, have predominately overseen the stateside release of Studio Ghlibi’s slate of films (though "The Wind Rises" was handled by Disney). While GKIDS still fosters a relationship with Studio Ghlibi, they’ve garnered Oscar nominations for three of their films, solo: “Kells,” “Chico and Rita,” and “A Cat in Paris.” Their latest film is the delightful “Ernest & Celestine,” with this entering the Best Animated Feature category alongside big studio films like last night's winner “Frozen” and “The Croods.” The trailer for the movie is sweet, and showcases the beautifully unique animation the studio is being acclaimed for. Hopefully, the studio continues to branch out after their latest nomination to become a top contender against the bigger distribution companies.
Release Date: March 14th in New York and Los Angeles
Synopsis: Veronica Mars, (Kristen Bell) high school sleuth, has put her detective days behind her since graduating. As she struggles to make her way in the world of law, she’s forced to return to her hometown of Neptune for her high school reunion. Unfortunately, Neptune remains riddled with issues, compelling Veronica to dust off her skills as a detective.
What You Need to Know: Back in 2004 a little show named “Veronica Mars” took to the airwaves and slowly gained a devout cult following. After three seasons the show went off the air, but audiences yearned for further adventures with the girl detective. Attempts to compel Warner Brothers to turn the series into a film proved futile, so creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell turned to Kickstarter in 2013 to raise funds. The response was bananas, gaining the film its funding (and then some) within forty-eight hours, breaking a ton of Kickstarter records. The film was shot in just 23 days, and critics are interested to see audience response (and box office tallies) to decide whether or not Kickstarter-funded movies have potential. The movie hasn’t hit theaters, but there are already plans for a spin-off web series and other ways of bringing the show back to fans. If “Veronica Mars” succeeds at the box office, maybe there’s hope for other shows to make it to the silver screen?
Release Date: March 14th in limited release