The awards season has passed, and films are arriving in theaters with no main purpose other than to entertain. For the next month, here are some of the films keeping audiences heading to the theaters. March offers an unusual bunch of films telling creative, quick-paced stories. While the release list is small, there are still gems. Here is The Badger Herald’s March movie preview:

The Grand Budapest Hotel

In theaters now

After great success with “Moonrise Kingdom,” director Wes Anderson returns with another colorful, artsy and comical film that continues to revel in the quirkiness of his filmmaking. Ralph Fiennes (“Skyfall”) plays a hotel manager mentoring anew lobby boy, played by newcomer Tony Revolori. Of course, what’s a Wes Anderson film without an adorable young romance story? Saoirse Ronan (“The Host”) plays the romantic interest for Revolori’s lobby boy. As they have their adventures at the legendary European hotel, they encounter several other characters, including former “Moonrise Kingdom” stars Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray and Edward Norton. Although released in the U.S. but not currently in Madison theaters, this looks to be one of the most promising films of this month.

Bad Words

In theaters March 14

Directed by and starring “Horrible Bosses” actor Jason Bateman, “Bad Words” tells the story of a spelling bee loser who seeks to claim the grand prize as an adult by finding a loophole through the rules. Bateman’s character is greedy and desperately looking for the win after a long-time grudge. While on his journey to victory, he meets young spelling bee candidate Rohan Chand (“Lone Survivor”), who sees a friend in Bateman, and the two start a friendship of words and laughs. The film also stars Kathryn Hahn (“We’re the Millers”), Beth Grant (“The Mindy Project”) and Allison Janney (“The Way, Way Back”). “Bad Words” should provide many comical moments and an important lesson about moving on from the past.

Need for Speed

In theaters March 14

“Need for Speed” stars Aaron Paul as Tobey Marshall, a street racer just released from prison after being set up by a business associate. To get his revenge, he joins a cross-country race, and when his enemies gather word about Marshall’s return to driving, it becomes an intense race. While there’s no Bryan Cranston (“Argo”), the film should fulfill that void “Breaking Bad” audiences may be feeling since the series finale. The film also stars Imogen Poots (“That Awkward Moment”), Dominic Cooper (“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”) and Scott Mescudi, also known as Kid Cudi.


In theaters March 21

The latest fantasy series to hit theaters, “Divergent” illustrates a divided world based on individual virtues. When Beatrice Prior, or “Tris,” played by Shailene Woodley (“The Spectacular Now”) looks to be assigned, she learns that she is considered “Divergent” and cannot be placed into a particular faction. On the clock to find out why Divergents are so dangerous, Tris looks to save herself and others just like her. The film also stars Zoe Kravitz (“X-Men: First Class”), Kate Winslet (Labor Day”) and Miles Teller, who shared the screen with Woodley in “The Spectacular Now.” Similar to “The Hunger Games,” the release of the first film in a trilogy in March should provide a good start to the series’ impending success.


In theaters Mar. 28

The first film from Darren Aronofsky since his success with “Black Swan,” “Noah” shares the story of Noah and the ark in full adventure mode. The oft-told story has been heard before: rain is predicted to come, and Noah, played by Russell Crowe (“Man of Steel”), must take measures to protect his family and animals by building an ark. The film also includes “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” stars Emma Watson and Logan Lerman, as well as Anthony Hopkins (“Thor: The Dark World”) and Crowe’s “A Beautiful Mind” co-star, Jennifer Connelly. The cinematography and artistic design for the films looks beautiful and should tell this well-known story in a way never quite seen before.