Think for a second how awesome a month of film would be that includes an ex-Manchester United legend, Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut, a movie based on a best-selling book that also features two of The Dark Knight Trilogy’s best characters, and as well as that – the world’s most popular super heroes and ensemble of action-hero racing drivers since the turn of the century.
That right there has to be the most mouthwatering, jaw-dropping month of movies that could get any chocolate-noming person off their butts this Easter holiday and to their local cineplex. So tin foil your Cadbury eggs ‘cos this April you’re gonna be spending most of your time scoffing those delicious treats with a slice of cinematic goodness.
April’s Top Pick
Fast and Furious 7 (Dir. James Wan) – Released April 3rd
It feels like new installments to the Fast and Furious series come around so often that you could put them in every ‘Month in Film’ roundup. But there are a few reasons that make this 7th addition to the action-fuelled franchise really worth watching. Furious 7 will of course be the final adventure for the late Paul Walker, who tragically died in a car accident in late 2013. In tribute to Walker, co-star and real-life best friend, Vin Diesel, has promised fans the best one of the franchise yet, as they give Paul the sendoff he deserves.
Diesel has even said that the 7th sequel is so good that it could be a contender for best picture at the next Academy Awards. Although this may seem overzealous, early reviews of the newest entry to the series certainly suggest it is as brilliant as it’s being hyped up to be.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (Dir. Joss Whedon) – Released April 23rd
A few years ago many would roll their eyes at the prospect of as many Marvel films that have been released of late. Yet the powerhouse that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe has churned out some of the highest regarded Hollywood blockbusters since its inception with Iron Man in 2008. Following Joss Whedon’s excellent Avengers Assemble in 2012, our favourite group of superheroes band together once again to destroy humanoid robot Ultron, who builds an army of artificial intelligence and plans to drive the human race to extinction.
This Terminator-esque story hits UK screens on April 23 and, considering the imposing spectacle consistently presented by its predecessors, Marvel will be back with more awesomeness than you can shake Thor’s hammer at. To top it off, several sources have also confirmed that Disney will release a new trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens before every screening of the new Avengers. If Easter doesn’t spoil you rotten, then this surely will.
Stealing the limelight in the comedy stakes this month is While We’re Young (April 3rd), Ben Stiller’s latest comedy-drama about a middle-aged couple (Stiller & Naomi Watts) who try to find their younger selves again in their friendship with two 25-year-old hipsters (Amanda Seyfried & Adam Driver). Stiller provides a quality level of humour in essentially everything he does, and with a supporting cast as star studded as it is, While We’re Young looks like the comedy film to see this month.
Then there’s teen-comedy The DUFF (April 6th) which bases its story on the term Designated Ugly Fat Friend. The film follows Bianca Piper, who tries to overthrow the High School’s social ladder by enlisting the help of her more popular, football-playing jock friend, Wes. The DUFF is an Easy A style comedy, which also features everybody’s favourite Asian gangster from The Hangover, Ken Jeong.
Lastly, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (April 17th) is heading to cinemas, with Kevin James guaranteed to deliver more antics and outrageous over-the-top stupidness on the job. Following up from the first Mall Cop in 2009, Paul takes a holiday to Vegas with his family just when the casinos are being heisted. If an Adam Sandler production is the sort of comedy you’re into, then this should be the perfect choice this month.
First up on the drama roundup is The Water Diviner (April 3rd), a sentimental story about an Australian farmer, played by Russell Crowe, who travels to Turkey to locate his three missing sons after the Battle of Gallipoli. Having been gone for five years, Connor presumes his sons are dead, but wants to bring their bodies back home and put them to rest next to their mother, who committed suicide from the grief of their absence. The film truly does seem to be quite inspirational, and sad of course, but they usually tend to be the best ones.
Also out this month is Good Kill (April 10th) – another heartbreaking drama that observes the impact of contemporary warfare on soldiers. Ethan Hawke stars as Major Thomas Egan, who develops post-traumatic stress disorder even though his fight takes place outside of the battlefield – as a drone pilot bombing the enemy from afar. Similarly to the controversial American Sniper, Good Kill is a chilling critique of the ethics of war.
If a more cheerful drama is what you’re after, then look no further than Woman in Gold (April 10th), with Dame Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds. I say cheerful, and for a film about a Holocaust survivor battling the Austrian government for what was taken from her by the Nazis, that is some feat. But humour and lightheartedness prevail in a film that is based on a true story about Maria Altmann, a Jew who fought for over a decade to reclaim a famous painting of her Aunt.
Another drama released this month is Philippe Falardeau’s The Good Lie (April 24th). Starring Reese Witherspoon, The Good Lie is a story about a group of young Sudanese refugees who find a new life in America. Peppered with humour due to their cultural shift and divide from the people with whom they now stay, these investable characters – tormented by the horrors of their home in North Africa – make a compelling story which so far has been commended by the critics.
The most jovial drama to watch this month is A Little Chaos (April 17th), a British period romance with Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman. The story, set in 1600’s Versailles, is about a talented landscape designer who is approached to construct the gardens for King Louis XIV. With gorgeous costumes and breathtaking set design, Downton lovers will feel right at home with a drama of this nature.
Thrills and Chills
Imagine an alternate DC Universe in which Bane and Commissioner Gordon (Tom Hardy & Gary Oldman) fight alongside each other and have Russian accents. Sounds pretty weird, right? Well, your chance to see this materialise on screen (well, sort of) is in Daniel Espinosa’s Child 44 (April 17th). Based on Tom Rob Smith’s best-selling novel from 2008, this mystery thriller, set during Stalin’s rule of the Soviet Union, follows disgraced member of the military police Leo Demidov (Hardy), as he investigates the brutal killings of 44 children.
If this is too gruesome for you, then consider the new Keanu Reeves film John Wick (April 10th). Having just lost his wife, retired hit man John isn’t in the best mental state, so when some Russian gangsters take what’s left of his life, including his dog, a senseless amount of violence unfolds. John Wick has actually been given a considerable amount of praise from the critics so far, so unless of course you have a pet yourself, thriller-lovers will most likely enjoy Keanu’s latest flick.
If you’d rather not see 44 murdered kids or a poor pup in danger, then The Salvation (April 17th) should definitely satisfy. A Danish film with a rather stellar cast, it tells another revenge story set in the old West when the family of a peaceful Danish settler is murdered. Considering this settler is played by none other than Hannibal himself – the brilliant Mads Mikkelsen – then you can probably guess that he doesn’t stay so peaceful for long. Kristian Levring’s The Salvation also stars Eva Green and football legend Eric Cantona.
Lastly, if Eva Green isn’t gorgeous enough for you then you can see the stunning Kate Beckinsale take the lead in director Brad Anderson’s Stonehearst Asylum (April 24th). Famous for The Machinist, Anderson takes control once again in a film that’s similarly creepy. Stonehearst Asylum is set in a mental institution and features just as many spine-chilling mind-twists as Scorsese and DiCaprio’s 2010 thriller Shutter Island.
Best of the Rest
The best film to come out this month could in fact be a quaint documentary called The Salt of the Earth (April 24th), which captures action as vast as every other film released this month, for real. A story about one of the world’s greatest photojournalists, Sebastião Salgado, the film tells the tale of every amazing moment he has captured with his camera over the course of his career.
Also out this month is The Last Five Years (April 17th), a film hard to attach a genre to, but one which features rising star Anna Kendrick. A comedy/drama/musical, The Last Five Years is about two young creative-types and the struggle of their love affair
Definitely a must-watch for foreign film enthusiasts, Force Majeure (April 10th) is set in the French Alps and is about the strain of a relationship as a husband and father runs for his life as an avalanche comes hurtling towards the restaurant at which he and his family were enjoying lunch. After an anti-climactic end to the landslide, his family realise he’s not exactly the most protective, and they don’t let him live it down easily.
Last but not least is Lost River (April 10th), Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut. Gosling, famous for his performances in Nicolas Winding Refn’s films, has clearly taken some pointers from the Drive director, as Lost River conforms to that distinct neo-noir style. Featuring Christina Hendricks, Matt Smith and Eva Mendes, the film has some momentum from several exceptional actors in what is essentially a weird and wacky film about the discovery of an underwater utopia.