A warm-ish March Friday can mean only one thing: It's time to kick off the big-ticket spring/summer movie season. This year we begin with aliens attacking Los Angeles. For the ladies, there's a sweet young girl beset upon by wolves and wolfish men.

3 Backyards

This dreamy drama, from Judy Berlin director Eric Mendelsohn, reunites Mendelsohn with his Berlin star Edie Falco, who plays one of the protagonists in this triptych about souls struggling, searching, and discovering on Long Island. So far the film has earned strong reviews, so if you're in the mood for an American Beauty-esque tale without all the preciousness, or an American I Am Love experience, this might be the movie for you this weekend. I'm gonna check it out at the IFC. (Limited release)

Battle: Los Angeles

And now for something completely different. Here's the tale of an alien invasion, told from the shaky-cam perspective of a group of Marines fighting for their lives in America's biggest strip mall, Los Angeles. Aaron Eckhart plays their leader, while Bridget Moynihan plays a woman swept up in the frenzy. This movie has not been well-reviewed, but that probably doesn't matter for something like this, does it? I'm fairly confident things blow up. Enough said. (Wide)

Black Death

This movie looks awesome! The indefatigable Sean Bean stars as a knight in 1348, the year the Bubonic Plague spread to central and western Europe, who goes from town to town killing people he suspects are practicing black magic (thus causing the plague, in his opinion). A young monk tags along and violence and moral questioning and scares ensue. Seems cheesy and maybe low-budget? Maybe, but look at this: New York Times Critics' Pick, sucka. (Limited; also available on demand, which is how I'm going to watch it)

Certified Copy

The wonderful Juliette Binoche, who won the Cannes prize for Best Actress for this role, stars in this romance about an English writer falling in love with a French woman in Tuscany. Sneak some wine into the theater? (Limited)

Elektra Luxx

This movie might seem somewhat familiar, as it's something of a spin-off of writer/director Sebastian Gutierrez's 2009 film Women in Trouble. Here Carla Gugino gets the main focus, when her character, porn star Elektra Luxx, finds out she's pregnant. Gutierrez also wrote Snakes on a Plane, so make of that what you will. (Limited)

I Am

Back in 2007, movie director Tom Shadyac (Liar Liar, Bruce Almighty, Patch Adams) suffered bad injuries in a cycling accident, causing him to question the nature of the world and how to make it a better place. Thus this documentary was born, which follows Shadyac as he talks to great minds — Noam Chomsky, Desmond Tutu, Howard Zinn (RIP) — and learns about himself and the world. So, it's therapy with famous people? (LA today, NY on 3/18)

Jane Eyre

Up-and-coming Australian actress Mia Wasikowska stars in this chilly adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's landmark 1847 novel. Wasikowska plays an orphaned girl who, escaping abusive caretakers, goes to work as a governess for a scary dude named Rochester who has a crazy lady living in his attic. Do they fall in love? Does a house burn down? You'll have to watch (or, y'know, read) to find out. (Limited)

Kill the Irishman

Ray Stevenson (Rome), Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter), and Val Kilmer (the Blimpie's on 42nd Street) star in this crime drama type thing about an Irish gangster guy in '70s Cleveland. I'm guessing people want to kill him. (Limited)

Making the Boys

This documentary features interviews with everyone from Dan Savage to Edward Albee, about the origins of The Boys In the Band, the controversial play that was made into an even more controversial movie that was, by many people's estimation, the first "mainstream" depiction of homosexuality to be released in the United States. This all went down (ergh) 1968-1970, in the heady New York days of Stonewall. So, important stuff. (NY)

Mars Needs Moms

Perhaps in 40 years Mars Needs Moms will be viewed as an important piece of the Mars movement. But that's a big perhaps. Likely we'll forget in a few months that Mars ever needed anyone, let alone moms. (Wide)


Rashida Jones, among others, stars in this drama about couples and infidelity and sexual mores and whatnot. Seems like fitting material for Rashida Jones, right? Right? (Limited)

Red Riding Hood

In this Twilight spin-off, Bella travels back in time and dyes her hair to solve the mystery of who's the werewolf who's eating everyone in town. Is it dark menace Shiloh Fernandez? Is it dreamy blonde Max Irons? (Seriously well done, Jeremy.) Is it Virgina Madsen? No, it's probably not Virginia Madsen. Anyway, Bella figures out about how sex is dangerous and then goes back to the future and stares chastely at Edward. (Wide — but not, like, wide.)