Guns, monsters, and self-realization come together in our most anticipated movies of the month.
Is April the beginning of the summer movie season? Universal has been making that case for a few years now by opening their Fast and the Furious movies this month, and you can’t argue with their summer-sized box-office results. Happily there are plenty of smaller films hitting theaters in the coming weeks too from all manner of genres including drama, horror, comedy, and the hybrid that is Nacho Vigalondo’s latest.
Keep reading to see which movies we’re most excited for this month!
10. The Circle (4/28)
Pros: Has a film ever looked this good on paper? Director James Ponsoldt (The End of the Tour), writer Dave Eggers (Where the Wild Things Are), cinematographer Matthew Libatique (The Fountain), composer Danny Elfman, a cast that includes Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, Karen Gillan, John Boyega, Ellen Wong, Glenne Headley, Patton Oswalt, and Bill Paxton…
Cons: But no one’s talking about it. There’s zero buzz on the film, and the trailers have done little to create excitement. I’m including it here due to that long list of pros, but there’s a big old question mark hanging over this one.
9. Unforgettable (4/21)
Pros: Rosario Dawson and Katherine Heigl face off over a man! Director Denise Di Novi’s making her feature debut after decades spent producing films as diverse as Heathers, Ed Wood, and A Walk to Remember.
Cons: It feels every bit like a ’90s thriller, and while that’s not meant to be derogatory it is a reminder that most ’90s thrillers are fairly bland. The hope is that this one has the over the top nature of Curtis Hanson’s The Hand That Rocks the Cradle.
8. The Void (4/7)
Pros: A bloodthirsty cult and monsters that remind favorably of films as diverse as John Carpenter’s The Thing, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, and Stuart Gordon’s From Beyond lead to a siege situation straight out of Assault on Precinct 13! Yes, there are some original touches too. [My review]
Cons: The script is a big weakness here as the strength of the set-pieces and visuals is let down by a story and characters who never quite come together.
7. The Lost City of Z (4/14)
Pros: Writer/director James Gray (The Immigrant) turns his eye towards an early 20th century exposition film based on a true story of discovery. Advance word has been generally positive, and the film looks to offer an authentic-feeling period adventure.
Cons: They’re still trying to make Charlie Hunnam a thing.
6. The Student (4/14)
Pros: Modern day Russia isn’t exactly the first place you expect to find a compelling tale about religion and faith, but this trailer suggests otherwise. The danger of belief – as in what a person does with that belief – is the focus here, and combining that theme with attractive visuals and an increasing tension may make for one of the year’s most unexpectedly powerful tales.
Cons: The film played Cannes last year but hasn’t made much of an impression since.
5. The Fate of the Furious (4/14)
Pros: The eighth film in the increasingly absurd franchise comes from director F. Gary Gray (The Negotiator), and in addition to the series regulars also includes Charlize Theron and a return by Kurt Russell.
Cons: There’s a fine line between dumb fun and simply dumb, and after reaching the pinnacle of the former with Fast Five the series has been sliding towards the latter ever since. The plot just gets nuttier and nuttier and seems to be riffing on an old episode of G.I. Joe cartoon, and not for nothing, but this three-minute trailer mentions “family” three times.
4. A Dark Song (4/28)
Pros: This quiet little horror film is currently sitting at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and everyone I know who’s seen it has good to great things to say about it. The trailer looks effectively creepy as well.
Cons: I’ve missed this one at three or four film festivals now, and I can’t help but wonder if some otherworldly force is trying to protect me from it.
3. The Transfiguration (4/7)
Pros: Fresh takes on the coming of age genre are hard to come by, but Michael O’Shea’s feature debut manages something special with its blend of teenage angst, doomed romance, and a terrifically atmospheric vibe reminiscent of Let the Right One In. [My review]
Cons: It’s a definite slow burn, and that won’t appeal to everyone.
2. Colossal (4/7)
Pros: As with the film above, Nacho Vigalondo’s (Timecrimes) latest takes an initially familiar setup and immediately twists it in fresh and unique ways. Avoid descriptions if possible, and maybe even skip the trailer above. Just go in blind knowing only that it features great performances from Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis, blends romance, comedy, and kaiju to perfection, and isn’t shy about touching the darkness. [My review]
Cons: There are some bumpy script issues, particularly in the second act as things slow down with some repetition.
1. Free Fire (4/21)
Pros: Come on. The director of Kill List makes a single location action film with a cast including Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Michael Smiley, Cillian Murphy, and Noah Taylor? I refuse to believe this will be anything less than awesome.
Cons: Sharlto Copley also stars.