Essays

5 Must See Movies to Watch In Theaters: April 2016

You have a lot of choices in theaters this month. Here is our monthly power rankings for new movies in theaters.
By  · Published on April 1st, 2016

You have a lot of choices when it comes not only to which movies you’re going to watch each month but also where and how you’re going to watch them. Blu-ray, DVD, streaming, cable, Laser disc — the future is now, and the options are endless, but the best way to see a film remains on the big screen in a quality theater.

With that in mind we’re going to offer up our suggestions for the five films each month that you should seek out at the movie-house near you. Some we’ve already seen and loved, others we simply suspect and hope will be worth the trip. Keep reading to see our picks for the top five movies to watch in theaters this month.

5. Everybody Wants Some!!

Release Date: April 1st

Director/Writer: Richard Linklater

Cast: Wyatt Russell and a bunch of even less recognizable newcomers

Why is it a must-see? Linklater has had his fair share of hits (Before Sunset) and misses (Bad New Bears), but his last three features have him on something of a critical roll with Bernie, Before Midnight, and Boyhood all racking up the acclaim. He’s stepping outside of his comfort zone this month though with his first feature that doesn’t begin with the letter ‘B.’ His latest is being billed as something of a spiritual sequel to his beloved 1993 film, Bazed and Confused, and early reviews have been effusive in their praise for its joyous and funny look at young lives in the early ’80s.

4. Criminal

Release Date: April 15th

Director: Ariel Vromen

Writers: Douglas Cook, David Weisberg

Cast: Kevin Costner, Scott Adkins, Robert Davi, Alice Eve, Gal Gadot, Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Oldman, Michael Pitt, Ryan Reynolds

Why is it a must-see? I’ve never denied being utterly in the bag for Costner, and even though he hasn’t exactly been making the best film choices recently — you have to go back seven years for his last real winner, 2009’s The New Daughter — this trailer has me stupidly hopeful yet again. Vromen’s English debut, The Iceman, is something of a sedate drama, but the action and plot here look both ludicrous and entertaining — perhaps unsurprising as it’s written by the guys who gave us Michael Bay’s The Rock. The cast doesn’t hurt either, but if you need one more reason to watch consider this — it’s the third entry in Ryan Reynolds body-swap trilogy following The Change-Up and Self/less. You know you have to see how it all ends.

3. Louder Than Bombs

Release Date: April 8th

Director: Joachim Trier

Writers: Joachim Trier, Eskil Vogt

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne, Isabelle Huppert, Amy Ryan

Why is it a must-see? Trier and Vogt previously gave the world Reprise and the devastating, beautiful perfection of Oslo, August 31st, and Vogt’s solo debut, Blind, is magically brilliant in its own right. So yes, anything the two collaborate on is automatically a must-see for me (and should be for you too). The “truth” being hinted at in the trailer seems pretty clear, but equally clear is the knowledge that Trier and Vogt’s films are about far more than plot turns. Bring on the gorgeous visuals and utter depression!

2. The Invitation

Release Date: April 8th

Director: Karyn Kusama

Writers: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi

Cast: Logan Marshall-Green, Michiel Huisman, John Carroll Lynch

Why is it a must-see? Grief and paranoia work to chip away at a man’s sanity in this beautifully-crafted and gorgeously-shot dramatic thriller, and the result is a film that takes hold early before slowly squeezing your nerves tighter and tighter until the end credits roll. The cast is pitch perfect too, and they ease viewers into the evening with a feeling of oddly comical discomfort. It’s the second-most tension-filled film of the year (so far), and I recommend avoiding any trailers aside from the one above if possible. Just see it blind with someone you used to love. [Read my full review.]

1. Green Room

Release Date: April 15th

Director/Writer: Jeremy Saulnier

Cast: Anton Yelchin, Macon Blair, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Patrick Stewart, Mark Webber

Why is it a must-see? Blue Ruin showed the wonders that Saulnier could do with a simple revenge premise, and he achieves a similar slice of magic with the siege film. The two movies are similarly terrific genre exercises, but while the former is something of a slow-burn this is an exercise in pure intensity and tension. Once the setup is complete the movie just moves forward with both speed and brutal power resulting in entertainment that doubles as a workout for your heart and nerves. As with The Invitation, I recommend avoiding any trailers aside from the teaser I’ve attached above. [Read my full review.]

Other releases of note this month: The Boss, Demolition, Elvis & Nixon, The Family Fang, Hardcore Henry, A Hologram for the King, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, I Saw the Light, The Jungle Book, Keanu, Men & Chicken, Miles Ahead, Sing Street

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.