March 8, 2019 at 3:05 pm PDT | by BRIAN T. CARNEY
SPRING ARTS 2019 MOVIES: Smells like ‘Teen Spirit’

Brie Larsen as ‘Captain Marvel.’ (Photo courtesy Marvel)

Now that the Oscars are over, movie theaters and new releases are in bloom.

The season got off to a frightening start with “Greta,” a stylish thriller written and directed by Neil Jordan (who won an Oscar for the LGBT classic “The Crying Game”). The dazzling Isabelle Huppert plays a lonely widow whose interest in her new friend (Chloë Grace Moretz) slowly turns sinister.

Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Grace Moretz in ‘Greta.’ (Photo by Jonathan Hssion for Focus Features)

March 1 marked a somber cinematic milestone. Tyler Perry has announced that he’s hanging up his wig and retiring the character of Madea after her appearance in “A Madea Family Funeral.”

On March 15, writer/director Sebastián Lelio, creator of the Oscar-winning trans drama “A Fantastic Woman” and the lesbian drama “Disobedience,” returns with “Gloria Bell,” a reworking of his 2013 Spanish language film. The movie stars Julianne Moore as an older woman searching for love in the dance clubs of Los Angeles. The supporting cast includes John Turturro, Brad Garrett, Sean Astin, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Holland Taylor.

Also slated for a March 15 release is “Giant Little Ones,” an intimate drama about coming out and discovering love. Franky Winter (Josh Wiggins) and Ballas Kohl (Darren Mann) have been best friends since childhood, but their relationship takes an unexpected turn during Franky’s wild 17th birthday celebration. Maria Bello and Kyle MacLachlan (“Twin Peaks”) play Franky’s parents.

March 15 also marks the return of controversial queer photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Mapplethorpe’s provocative 1989 exhibition “The Perfect Moment” made headlines when the Corcoran Gallery of Art in D.C. decided his prints were too hot to handle and canceled the show. The new biopic “Mapplethorpe” stars Matt Smith (“Doctor Who” and “The Crown”) as the rebellious artist, with John Benjamin Hickey as his lover and patron Sam Wagstaff, Rotimi Paul as his lover and frequent model Ken Moody and Marianne Rendón as his lover and collaborator Patti Smith.

Two years ago, the multi-talented Jordan Peele scared audiences around the globe with “Get Out,” his searing indictment of pious white liberalism. This year he returns on March 22 with the home invasion thriller “Us” starring Elisabeth Moss, Anna Diop, Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke.

On April 6, HBO premieres “Native Son,” a powerful indictment of systemic racism in America based on the classic novel by Richard Wright. The screenplay is by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. The film is directed by renowned visual artist and first-time director Rashid Johnson and Ashton Sanders (“Moonlight”) plays Bigger Thomas.

On March 29, “The Brink,” a new documentary about conservative firebrand and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon opens. Director Alison Klayman, the youngest filmmaker included in the 2013 New York Times international list of “20 Directors To Watch,” also helmed “An Attack on Equality,” an examination of the rising number of hate crimes occurring in New York City.

With the arrival of “Captain Marvel” (March 8), “Shazam” (April 9) and “Avengers: Endgame” (April 26), caped crusaders will be everywhere this spring. On the anti-hero side, “Hellboy” stomps into the cineplex on April 12.

Jack Dylan Glazier and Zachary Levi in ’Shazam!’ (Photo by Steve Wilkie, DC Comics; courtesy Warner Bros.)

On May 3, the entire family can enjoy an animated musical adventure in “Ugly Dolls.” Moxy and her friends love their life in Uglyville, where weird is celebrated and strange is special, but curiosity leads them to explore what lies outside their town. The amazing voice cast includes such LGBT heroes and allies as Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Wanda Sykes, Gabriel Iglesias, Emma Roberts, Blake Shelton, Pitbull and Janelle Monáe.

Also for the entire family, Disney presents live-action remakes of its animated classics “Dumbo” (March 29) and “Aladdin” (May 24).

May 10 brings the comedy “The Hustle.” Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson star as female scam artists who team up to take down the dirty rotten men who have wronged them.

Some of the other new spring releases include “The Hummingbird Project,” a high-stakes business thriller with Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgård and Salma Hayek (March 15); Mike Leigh’s historic drama “Peterloo” (April 5); Elle Fanning singing in “Teen Spirit” (April 5); a remake of the Stephen King horror classic “Pet Semetary” (April 5); Seth Rogan and Charlize Theron in the comedy “Long Shot” (May 3); “Ask Dr. Ruth,” a documentary about the diminutive sex advisor (May 3);the biopic “Tolkien” with Lily Collins and Nicholas Hoult; and Octavia Spencer making her horror movie debut in “Ma” (May 29).

Maxine Peak in ‘Peterloo.’ (Photo by Simon Mein; courtesy Amazon Studios)

Finally, the spring film season comes to a fabulous finale on May 31 with the release of “Rocketman.” The movie is described as “an epic musical fantasy about the incredible human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years.” Taron Egerton stars as the flamboyant gay musician, Jamie Bell plays Bernie Taupin and Bryce Dallas Howard plays Elton’s mother.

Taron Egerton as Elton John in ‘Rocketman.’ (Photo by David Appleby; courtesy Paramount)

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