Pain and Gain Red Band

This is the month we’ve been building towards ever since the start of 2013. This year was made for this month. Why did the Mayans postpone their destruction of our dear Earth? So they could see what Michael Bay‘s small movie was like. Pain and Gain is his first non-Transformers movie in nearly eight years, and it’s about time the Mayans and the rest of us saw it. That Hasbro series had its moments, but not in the way The Rock and The Bad Boys films did.

Pain and Gain looks to fit into that half of Bay’s career. Summer comes early with his dark, ‘roided up comedy, and the same can be said for the movies we’re seeing from Danny BoyleShane Carruth, and Joseph Kosinski.

In fact, Kosinski’s Oblivion is the only blockbuster on the list. April is shaping up to be a huge month for smaller movies.

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Trance

Trance Red Band Trailer

Opens April 5th

Some of Trance‘s early reviews have compared it to Boyle’s only two critical and box office misfires, A Life Less Ordinary and The BeachThose movies have become wiser with time, but they’re still associated as the black marks of Boyle’s career, so take those comparisons for what you will.

Those are the director’s most in-your-face movies, and a storyteller as energetic as Boyle knows how to do that style with skill, not obnoxiousness. The high stakes heist concept for Trance opens itself up perfectly to his unhinged side.

Watch the red band trailer

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Simon Killer

Simon Killer

Opens April 5th

The makers of Shortbus and Martha Marcy May Marlene have made another movie unafraid to put its audience in an awkward spot. The lead in Simon Killer is not an easy protagonist to get onboard with, and he will either enthrall with curiosity or infuriate. Maybe both.

Either way, it’s a fascinating movie that shows some of the darker streets and more misogynistic sides of Paris where a recent college graduate meets up with a prostitute.

Watch the trailer

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Upstream Color

Upstream Color Teaser Trailer

Opens April 5th

Shane Carruth returns after nine years as a writer, director, and whatever other jobs are available on a film crew. In the vein of his first mind-bender, PrimerCarruth’s ambitious efforts paid off. Upstream Color is a poetic, gorgeously made love story dealing with an identity crises and much more. The movie is a lot to take in, but it earns all the attention a viewer can give it because the finished result is exceptional.

Watch the trailer

Read the review

Read an interview with Carruth

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Oblivion

Oblivion Trailer Screenshot

Opens April 12th

Tron: Legacy was lacking in many ways. Based on his commercial work, director Joseph Kosinski can make better than that light show, and Oblivion could prove he has more in him than exploring the less involving bits of The Grid. The trailers showed potential for another satisfying Tom Cruise vehicle where Morgan Freeman stars as Morgan Freeman’s exposition hotline. We don’t see many daylight science-fiction movies that aren’t all rainy and gloomy, so Kosinkski’s adventure movie already has something going for it.

Watch the trailer

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Antiviral

Antiviral AFI FEST

Opens April 12th

Antiviral was definitely made by David Cronenberg‘s son. Dad’s knack for grotesque high-concepts, straight-faced silliness, and economical framing is in Brandon Cronenberg‘s movie, and yet he still owns it with a unique signature. Antiviral is an entertaining and horrifying view of celebrity obsession, taken to the most extreme degrees. Right now we live in a world where some eat celebrities up, and in the future they will literally be eating them…at least that’s the future Antiviral shows us. So hopefully that happens.

Watch the trailer

Read the review

Read an interview with Brandon Cronenberg

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Pain and Gain

Pain & Gain

Opens April 26th

Finally, Michael Bay’s “small” movie. Recently $30 million or so became small, but that’s more like pocket change to Bay. He could fund himself plenty of Pain and Gains if he wanted to, and by the month’s end we’ll find out if that’s a positive thing. The incredible true life story and Bay’s sensibility should go together impressively, though. The trailers have promised something different from the auteur, and whether we love the movie itself, kudos on Bay for finally making this passion project.

Watch the trailer

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At Any Price

At Any Price

Opens April 26th

At Any Price has been hailed as being Ramin Bahrani‘s best film to date by more than a few people, which speaks volumes considering his three other films – Chop ShopMan Push Cart, and Goodbye Solo – were major critical hits. Barhani’s movie about ambition and family values seems like a good place for Zac Efron to prove himself as more than a face and Dennis Quaid to turn in a career best performance. So far reviews have indicated the movie accomplishes both for Efron and Quaid.

Watch the trailer

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Mud

Mud

Opens April 26th

Mud, which debuted almost a year ago at the Cannes film festival, marked the third entry of Jeff Nichols already terrific career. His Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter were quietly powerful films, while Mud sits slightly more on the surface with its old-fashioned entertainment. It successfully blends coming-of-age with thriller undertones with a powerhouse performance from Matthew McConaughey.

Watch the trailer

Read the review

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Honorable Mentions: 42 (Brian Helgeland returns to the director’s chair), It’s a Disaster (Kate is a big fan) and To the Wonder (not even Malick’s diehards are adoring this…)

What are you excited for this month?


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