Whether you're building a Blu-ray library or just looking for something cool to watch, here are our top 10 picks for March 2012.
1 March, Roadshow, AU$39.95
When Doctor Who's Stephen Moffat takes on Sherlock Holmes, this is what we get. The unusual, lanky Benedict Cumberbatch is the perfect choice to play the startlingly well-dressed, uncomfortably perceptive genius "consultant detective", and Dr John Watson as a returned Afghanistan veteran is excellent. The cavorting, shrieking, mugging Moriarty is a bit much (dial it back, Moffat!), but, overall, BBC's Sherlock is an absolutely masterful adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's brilliant detective series in modern-day Britain.
7 March, 20th Century Fox, AU$34.95
What would you do if you discovered there was another Earth, another you ... and possibly a chance to go back and live a life where maybe you hadn't made the mistakes you've made? Another Earth, a film redolent with sci-fi possibilities, ignores the minutiae of the science involved, and instead concentrates on the very human possibilities and tensions that surround the people it could effect. The result is an understated, yet fraught film about regret, hope and redemption.
7 March, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, AU$44.95
Never let the truth get in the way of a good story. That's pretty much what's going on here. Look, the identity of the person who wrote the plays of William Shakespeare is hotly debated, and has been for a long time (note: it was probably William Shakespeare. Just a thought). Anonymous expounds on the idea: what if Shakespeare was actually a buffoon, and the plays were actually written by Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford? The result is an opulent Elizabethan intrigue that is a bit of good fun ... but by no means an actual historical conspiracy.
7 March, Madman, AU$34.95
"Without love, there is nothing." Peeking around the edges of a pervasively cloying message is a decent sci-fi romance set in a world coming apart. Ewan McGregor is a chef, Eva Green a scientist; as the world is overcome by a sickness that robs people of their senses, one by one, they come together in the midst of chaos.
9 March, Pinnacle Films, AU$32.95
By day, he works as a stunt driver for Hollywood films; by night, as a getaway driver for armed criminals. Behind the wheel, he is the car: between his brains, the car's muscle and the road exists a perfect symmetry. Although this looks like a recipe for lots of smash and boom — and there is some of that, as well as some pretty spectacular stunt-driving — Ryan Gosling's still waters run deep, and the film is one of unexpected style and strength.
15 March, 20th Century Fox, AU$44.95
Just when we thought the zombie fad was over, along had to come The Walking Dead and ruin everything. In the beginning, it was compelling; a film is a relatively short format to detail the day-to-day survival in a zombie apocalypse, so here was something fresh and exciting. It got a tiny bit formulaic, but it introduced a new kind of horror TV show we'd not seen before. And lo, it was good.
22 March, Universal, AU$44.95
It's always a strange move to put something abysmally nonsensical on any "best list", and Immortals is no exception. It does have a plot, something about gods and Theseus and the eternal battle between good and evil, but it's not really worth worrying about. The reason we did include the film is how stunning it looks: it's sumptuous, a visual extravaganza of battles and costumes and colours. It's the kind of film that is perfect at parties if you pretend your television is a moving photo-frame for the background. Just play "Ride of the Valkyries" in repeat with the movie's actual soundtrack on mute or something.
28 March, Paramount, AU$49.95
Giant robots beating each other up isn't necessarily awesome by default (see: Michael Bay's Transformers blow-out). Luckily, Real Steel (based on a story by I Am Legend author Richard Matheson) actually does have a solid backbone pulling it all together, along with some decent acting. The story is nothing new: down-and-out former-boxer-cum-robot-wars-dude has to bond with his kid and somehow pull himself out of crushing debt. The solution? A smiling robot to take on the robot boxing championships. It's a family film, so expect heart-warming-ness, but also some pretty smashing CG robot fights along the way.