March is shaping up to be a solid month for film in New Orleans. The main act, of course, is the nationwide release of the New Orleans-shot 21 Jump Street. The film does not seem to cleave too strictly to the premise of the original series, which featured a pre-funny-hat Johnny Depp; but it does appear to have some merits all its own. For one thing, Channing Tatum has the opportunity to showcase his comedy chops (which, so far, have been rather wasted on films like The Dilemma). It remains to be seen whether or not Jonah Hill will deviate from his wheelhouse of foul-mouthed yet vulnerable incredulity. The film also co-stars a laughably thuggish Ice Cube, whose “mother—-ers” aren’t quite as convincing as they were back when the series was on TV (not that he was on the show – he was too busy swearing more convincingly in Boyz n the Hood at the time). The film opens March 16.
If you don’t care for the unlikely-buddy-cop formula, peppered though it may be with pop icons from the late 80s and early 90s, there are plenty of other silver screen selections around town this month.
The Old U.S. mint, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Museum, will present a “Jazz Film Screening” today at 2 p.m. The Hogan Jazz Archive’s Bruce Raeburn will lead a discussion on the history and ramifications of New Orleans jazz.
In conjunction with the Tennessee Williams Festival, the New Orleans Film Society will present a special outdoor screening of A Streetcar Named Desire on Friday, March 9 at the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art (1 Collins Diboll Circle, City Park). Beginning at 5 p.m., there will be a concert by the Ramblin’ Letters in the garden, and the screening begins at 7.
On March 13, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities will screen Backlash: Race and the American Dream, probing at the question of how an outspoken Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard could earn such overwhelming popular support. They’ll offer a reception with wine and refreshments at 6 p.m., followed by the screening at 6:30 and a discussion immediately afterward.
NOFS keeps the movies coming with Yeleen, an original Malian film (the title means “brightness”) that follows the adventures of a young man with unusual abilities as he quests through 13th-century Mali. Yeleen plays at the New Orleans Healing Center (2372 St. Claude Ave.) at 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 18. NOFS has also organized a screening of the documentary Gerhard Richter Painting at the Contemporary Arts Center on March 20 and A Por Por Funeral for Ashirifie (with an introduction by Michael White) at Tulane University on March 23. They finish out the month with a 3-day run of The Innkeepers at Chalmette Movies (8700 W. Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette) from March 25-27.
And one last film to mention: On March 23, NOMA will screen Mr. Dial Has Something to Say, a documentary that examines the role that race relations play in the art world. Mr. Dial speaks at 7 p.m. in NOMA’s Stern Auditorium.