Well, February went fast didn’t it? Well, it does have fewer days than the rest of the months but, I’m sure for GAME OF THRONES fans (and those tired of winter) it didn’t go by fast enough. Now, you just have to wait through this coming month before seeing your favorite show once again. Know that, while you wait for 03.31, there is other fare on HBO to while away the time. Of course, this post will point out those choices. So, let’s look at March 2013.
March has five Saturdays so that is five movies new to the channel airing in primetime. Now, I’m curious as to just how many people actually watch movies on HBO. Since there are so many outlets in which to catch a movie do people actually wait to catch them on HBO? I don’t really think so but, this might prompt an HBOWatch poll in the future to find out the answer.
Theatrical Movies: For February I was really out of touch by only knowing 1 out of 4 of the Saturday Movie premieres; I improve greatly, however, in March. I know 5 out of 5, though I didn’t see any of them in the cinema. The titles are SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS; PROJECT X; THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL; ROCK OF AGES and SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN.
In chronological order we begin with Robert Downy Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes & Watson in SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS coming 03.02. Of course, this is the 2011 sequel to their first venture in 2009. Naturally, it was inevitable that the title character would encounter Professor Moriarity if the movies were to continue and so that nemesis appears here played by Jared Harris. It seems the dastardly villain is responsible for bombings that spark turmoil and stress and Holmes is on the case. Though this Guy Ritchie sequel got mixed reviews its box office was strong enough to consider a third go around. And, since you are sinking money into receiving HBO already this is a good enough stylized action movie with classic characters to watch on a stormy March evening.
The next weekend, 03.09 offers us a total 360 with the modern day tale of debauchery called PROJECT X. It is all about sex, drugs and rock-n-roll for the teens in this picture. Some critics cited it as the modern “Animal House” premise. It stars three young bucks in the biz Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper and Jonathan Daniel Brown. Their characters want to throw the biggest birthday bash they can muster and videotape it for posterity. The shindig blows up to be bigger and wilder than they imagine. Teens or those who can reflect back to their own party bashes back in the day might get a chuckle out of this one, for the rest, not so much. Oh, a bit of trivia, the title just was a temporary name placed on the script that ended up sticking when the creators ended up not coming up with anything better and that says a lot about this movie. An older generation might go for the next Saturday’s premiere on 03.16. It is a called THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL. It is described thus – Seven British seniors move to a retirement residence in India that doesn’t come quite as advertised. Calling the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel a dump is a kind understatement but for the new arrivals, it soon reveals an enchanting side as they experience life in a wildly different culture. Among the seven are characters played by Dame Judy Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson. Like the movie from the previous weekend this feel good piece probably will appeal to those heading into the “twilight years” who want to feel that seniors still can live life rich and hard.
Also living life rich & hard are rock stars like Stacee Jaxx. He is the hard rock character personified by Tom Cruise in ROCK OF AGES which debuts 03.23. The movie is based on a 2006 Broadway musical and features a soundtrack of familiar rock melodies sung by the cast. They include “Sister Christian,” “Jukebox Hero,” “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and more. The movie got mixed reviews for which I can understand because the plot is a trite, overused one of the girl, here played by Julianne Hough, looking for fame and getting involved in a club where she just might find it. Though it might be fun to hear the soundtrack of this one I have no desire to see a Tom Cruise movie. As for the last movie to premiere in March, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN, I’ve seen it and don’t care to again. Its starting date is 03.30 and if you like a CGI-fest or Charlize Theron than this is for you. It puts an interesting spin to the Snow White story and offers some cool effects and a great performance from the since retired Bob Hoskins. As for Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth, I think they’ve done better. But, you can decide for yourself.
Okay, I took one for the team last month. I watched not one, but two rom-coms with my spouse and I must say THE FIVE YEAR ENGAGEMENT and WANDERLUST were not total wastes of time; the time spent scored me points with the Mrs. Just goes to show if you can chisel out the time from the busy schedule you can always find a kernel of entertainment on HBO. We leave this segment now with the Trailer of the month from PROJECT X. Is it lame or not? It’s your call.
Originals: As usual it is the originals that are the most exciting programming on the network. Each of the comedies we have been laughing through are concluding in March but at different times. GIRLS has three (3) more episodes to go. They run Sundays at 9:00pm on 03.03, 03.10 & 03.17. The episodes are titled “It’s Back,” “On All Fours” and “Together.” Who’s together by season’s end you might ask? You’ll have to wait to see. You don’t have to wait much longer however for the conclusion of this season of ENLIGHTENED. The last episode, entitled “Agents of Change,” airs on 03.03. Abbadonn is going down. Are you prepared, hell, are Amy and her cohorts prepared? We will soon find out. Also on the originals front is REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER. He is still holding court Friday with episodes airing 03.01, 03.08, 03.15 and 03.22. The big dramatic series two play out beginning 03.31 of course is GAME OF THRONES. It needs no description really for everyone at HBOWatch knows what this is all about. However, I offer the text that HBO has written regarding the upcoming Season Three and their accompanying picture of choice.
The next HBO Films production is also “must-see” TV for me. HBOWATCH has been tracking HBO Films: PHIL SPECTOR since it started production and it is now ready to premiere on 03.24, a Sunday, at 9:00pm ET. You can be certain a review will posted about this movie focusing on a music mogul whose life took a bad and odd turn. Al Pacino and Helen Mirren star. Here is the link to the Trailer if you missed it.
Sports: The only Sports programming listed in the HBO Guide for March is an installment each of THE FIGHT GAME WITH JIM LAMPLEY and REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL. Mr. Lampley talks boxing on 03.09 and Gumbel & company cover the sports on 03.19. However, there are a couple of bouts not listed that are televised. On 03.09 HBO CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING offers a triple header with the CLOUD/HOPKINS, ARREOLA/STIVERNE and THURMAN/ZAVECK fights. Then on 03.16 duking it out is BRADLEY/PROVODNIKOV and VARGAS/OMOTOSO. Closing out March on 03.30 is BOXING AFTER DARK offering a RIOS vs. ALVARADO II bout. Oh, there is also CORNERED:MICHAEL BUFFER which is a fourteen minute chat about the career of the ring side announcer that has been preset at many of HBO’
s televised bouts.
Other Movies & Shows: Again, my resources aren’t revealing what all is available in March and I had to explore to find that three documentaries and a number of late night movie debuts are also noteworthy in March. HBO Documentary Films offer the interested viewer the following: Academy Award Nominee KING’S POINT airs 03.11; AMERICAN WINTER (pictured) airs 03.18 and FALL TO GRACE airs 03.28. They cover, respectively, the topics of a Florida retirement community and what it says about elderly living today, eight families and their struggles with the economic downturn and the road to redemption for former Governor Jim McGreevey. HBOWATCH will have a review of each as they air. It seems that the parent channel also wants to show installments of the YOUNGARTS MASTERCLASS that usually premieres on HBO Family. In March you can see another installment with award-winning playwright John Guare. It premieres Monday, 03.04 at 7:30pm ET.
HBO, as of late, has gotten in the habit of premiering movies in late night for insomniacs or people who will record anything. Coming to the network in March are titles I have never heard of that might be good flicks. If anyone watches one let us know. They are ASYLUM BLACKOUT, in which, as the title implies, a blackout occurs at an
asylum that leaves the staff locked in with the weapon-wielding patients; ARTICLE 99 about doctors fighting the system starring Keifer Sunderland and Ray Liotta; THE REVENANT who is a slain soldier that comes back to life and is out for blood; MUHOLLAND FALLS about a LAPD vigilante squad out on the streets (okay, now that sounds familiar) and FLED that offers the old convicts escaping in handcuffs premise with Laurence Fishburne and Steven Baldwin. They are all listed as first-run movies to HBO and all air after midnight. Other titles picked at random that are being offered include HBO Sports Documentary: RUNNING REBELS OF UNLV chronicling the program under a controversial coach; an alternate world in SUCKER PUNCH, GARFIELD: THE MOVIE voiced by Bill Murray and Ben Stiller’s ALONG CAME POLLY.
HBO’s Other Platforms: As usual we offer a few items from the other channels in the HBO network. HBO Latino has a new film called THE PELAYOS, (don’t know why it is not called EL Pelayos) it means the WINNING STREAK. It is a caper piece based on a true story of a family attempting to scheme a casino out of major dinero. It premieres 03.04. HBO Family has Martin Scorsese’s big band musical from 1977 NEW YORK, NEW YORK starring Liza Minnelli. But, be prepared it is 163 minutes
long. HBO Signature is still running THE SOPRANOS every weeknight at 8:00pm ET. Monday, 03.01 offers Episode # 63 “The Test Dream” and ends with Episode # 83 “Kennedy and Heidi” on Friday, 03.29 That is the episode that sees Christopher’s demise. That leaves only three episodes left to air in April. It also airs good movies like BLUE VELVET and PATCH ADAMS in March. HBO Comedy: This channel gives us the romantic comedy about Olympic hopefuls trying to connect in CUTTING EDGE and re-airs THE PEE WEE HERMAN SHOW ON BROADWAY and THE LIFE AND TIMES OF TIM. HBOGO: The search engine on the streaming site offers first run movies for the upcoming month. Here is a sampling: BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY with Tom Cruise; Richard Pryor in BREWSTER’S MILLIONS; John Grishman’s THE RAIN MAKER and THE SUNSET LIMITED. Also, listed as Last Chances before exiting the site are THIS MEANS WAR and a few others. Cinemax : The sister channel to HBO is the last place to look this session. The movies it wishes to feature this month are Geena Davis in THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT on 03.02; EL GRINGO which actually has the tagline – He’s not in Acapulco any more, airing 03.09; WRATH OF THE TITANS on 03.16; CHERNOBYL DIARIES has thrill seekers going to the nuked zone showing 03.23 and Sean Bean stars in CLEANSKIN on 03.30. He is a special agent on the hunt for a ‘cleanskin’ or a terrorist with no prior offenses against him. Check out Mr. Bean. Also, if you got Cinemax then check out the Season Finale of BANSHEE on 03.15.
Actually, there proves to be quite a bit to check out in the month of March. So, hit your favorite channel and your favorite site, HBOWatch, and enjoy.