Film and TV

Mama Mia! That's A Spicy Spring Movie Preview!

Strange things are afoot at the High Table.
Strange things are afoot at the High Table. Lionsgate
We're two months into 2023, which means it's no longer possible to return it for as refund. It also means football season (except for the XFL) is over, baseball season has yet to start, and March Madness is still a couple weeks away.

What better time to think about upcoming movies?

There have already been some early-year cinematic successes (M3GAN, Cocaine Bear) and some inevitable letdowns (QuantumMODOKia), but — in the words of Lt. Col. Frank Slade — we're just gettin' warmed up.

Here then, are the movies to watch (or avoid, no judgment) for the spring of '23.
Creed III (March 3)
We don't concentrate as much on the BCU (Balboa Cinematic Universe) as we do its comic book equivalents, even though it's much more entertaining overall than ... well, DC's at any rate. This is the first in the long-running series without Sylvester Stallone's Rocky (though it's not Michael B. Jordan's fault), and apparently won't be the last.

Scream VI (March 10)
AKA "Ghostface takes Manhattan." Maybe I'm misremembering, but sending an iconic slasher to the Big Apple didn't work out so well the last time they tried it.

65 (March 10)
Adam Driver has been a busy dude for the last decade, and this feels like he just wanted to do something big and dumb after White Noise and The Last Duel.

This would be a good place to make a "bigger and dumber than The Last Jedi?" crack, but i'm far too mature for that.

Shazam! Fury Of The Gods (March 17)
2019's Shazam! was one of the lone bright spots for Warner Bros.' lurching efforts to generate some enthusiasm for the DCEU. Fury of the Gods has the potential to continue that streak, depending on 1) what new DC Studios CEO James Gunn feels like doing with the character, and 2) whether star Zachary Levi leans harder into his apparent anti-vax bullshit.

John Wick: Chapter 4 (March 24)
Much respect to Keanu Reeves and Chad Stahelski for taking what first appeared to be a one-off revenge flick and turning it into a bananapants mythology where assassination is the primary driver of the economy and Lance Reddick has an English accent.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (March 24)
I'm not sure how 14-year old me would react to superheroes being the primary driver of 21st century box office and an actual movie about D&D that wasn't a cautionary tale hitting theaters. I suspect it would make me even more of an insufferable nerd than I already was.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie (April 5)
After graduating from college, I spent the several months waiting tables and riding my mountain bike as I tried to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. I also played Super Mario Bros. for a couple hours every morning.

In retrospect, that should've been a clear indicator that I was clinically depressed. Anyway, I haven't decided if I'll be seeing this.

The Pope's Exorcist (April 14)
If we can't get a sequel to Master and Commander *or* The Nice Guys, then "battling demons with a hilarious Italian accent" and Unhinged are the "Russell Crowe kicking ass" content we're left with. And we  were grateful, damn it.

"A Vatican conspiracy." You don't say?

Renfield (April 14)
What if Dracula's right-hand man wasn't an insane, bug-eating lackey, but rather a thoughtful, under-appreciated bug-eating lackey with an overly demanding boss? Nicolas Cage as the Count is just the icing on the cake.

Evil Dead Rise (April 21)
After months (okay, years) of speculation about what shape the next Evil Dead movie would take (would Bruce Campbell's Ash return? Would they merge his story with Mia Allen's?), it looks like the Necronomicon has traveled from Michigan to Los Angeles to make the acquaintances an entirely new group of victims. But will anyone be able to tell the Deadites apart from the heavily Botoxed denizens of SoCal?

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (April 28)
Lost, I think, in all the talk about sanitary belts (then pads) and chants of "we must increase our bust" is how Judy Blume's book dealt with issues of faith and religious identity. Blume held out on allowing her novel to be adapted for almost 50 years, but finally relented for legendary producer James L. Brooks and Edge of Seventeen director Kelly Fremon Craig. This should be a good one.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 5)
Expect some uncharacteristic finality in the third entry of the GotG series, given how ready so many of the principal actors are to move on and — as mentioned above — trilogy writer/director Gunn is now CEO at Marvel's rival company. My guess is, at the least, we won't be seeing any more Drax, Rocket, or Gamora in Phase 5.

Fast X (May 19)
"The end of the road begins."

That's good, because for a while the franchise has felt more like a Robert Earl Keen song than a Boyz 2 Men one.

Disney's The Little Mermaid (May 26)
It's been a few months, so the "f*ck your feelings" crowd has moved on from the abiding trauma caused by a mythological brown-skinned sea creature to something more legit, like debating which M&Ms they want to have sex with.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar