Friday, March 31, 2017

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In April (2017)

According to Cat

20 - We Don't Belong Here (April 4th)

Tag Line: Every family has its secrets.
Production Companies: Premiere Entertainment Group, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Director: Peer Pedersen
Writer: Peer Pedersen
Actors: Catherine Keener, Anton Yelchin, Kaitlyn Dever, Maya Rudolph, Riley Keough, Annie Starke, Justin Chatwin, Molly Shannon, Cary Elwes, Austin Abrams, Michelle Hurd, Sarah Ramos, Adrian Enscoe, Mary Quick
Genre: Drama
Rated: R

I was intrigued by this trailer. Aside from the fact that I am really digging Riley Keough’s (The Runaways, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Discovery) look in this movie, it’s got several more substantial things in its favor.

This is one of the final movies filmed with Anton Yelchin (Rudderless, Experimentor, Trollhunters) prior to his accidental death. I have enjoyed him immensely in any role I’ve seen him in and am very curious as to what he brought to his part within the dysfunctional family depicted here.

We often see Molly Shannon (Hotel Transylvania, Life After Beth, Nerdland) in roles of a more comedic nature, though she has branched out to show more of her range in the past. This is definitely not looking like one of those more lighthearted roles. From what we can see in the trailer, it looks like her character goes through some heavy emotion. I like seeing her ‘out of the box’ that her 117 episodes of Saturday Night Live (1975-) and projects of that nature generally puts her in.

Add Cary Elwes (Toys in the Attic, Behaving Badly, Sugar Mountain) in what appears to be some sort of creepy stalker-like role, and I’m sold.

19 - Bethany (April 7th)

Tag Line: A real American horror story.
Production Companies: Brilliant Screen Studios, Grit Film Works
Director: James Cullen Bressack
Writers: James Cullen Bressack, Zack Ward
Actors: Stefanie Estes, Zack Ward, Tom Green, Shannen Doherty, Anna Harr, Leon Russom, Kevin Porter, Keith Jardine
Genre: Horror
Rated: Unrated

I have to say that the trailer for this movie looked really trippy. Shannen Doherty (Kiss Me Deadly, Burning Palms, Back in the Day) is an interesting choice for an abusive mother whose memory is haunting her daughter as she’s moved back into her childhood home. It looks like it’s a haunting in a literal sense as much as it is a flashback to her past.  This film also has Tom Green (Bob the Butler, Swearnet: The Movie, Uploaded) in a role far removed from his inane comedic background. I can’t recall the last time I saw him in a serious part. Either it wasn’t memorable or I’ve yet to see it. The trailer teased me enough that I really want to watch this and see if the pieces come together better than the main character’s fractured psyche.

18 - Rupture (April 28th)

Tag Line: To survive, you must learn what you're made of.
Production Companies: Ambi Pictures, BondIt, Tango Pictures
Director: Steven Shainberg
Writers: Brian Nelson, Steven Shainberg
Actors: Noomi Rapace, Peter Stormare, Kerry Bishé, Michael Chiklis, Lesley Manville, Paul Popowich, Ari Millen, Joel Labelle, Percy Hynes White, Sergio Di Zio, Morgan Kelly, Jean Yoon, Jonathan Potts, Brendan Jeffers
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: Unrated

I want to learn more about what the intended results are for this ‘rupturing’ process that occurs in this movie. This looks to be heavy on the horror and thriller side in a ‘get out alive if you can’ type situation; but it’s the sci-fi element that’s drawing me in.

Ari Millen (Exit Humanity, Hellmouth, Farhope Tower) is no stranger to genetic manipulation fiction from his roles in Orphan Black (2013-). I’m interested in seeing what he does with this film.  Put him together with the intense presence that both Peter Stormare (Penguins of Madagascar, Clown, John Wick: Chapter 2) and Michael Chicklis (Eagle Eye, The Shield, American Horror Story) bring to the table; and Noomi Rapace’s (Beyond, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Prometheus) character has her work cut out for her in pulling off her attempted escape.

This looks like it might just tread the borderline with the cringe-factor enough to keep you squirming even as you don’t dare look away.

17 - Smurfs: The Lost Village (April 7th)

Tag Line: A whole new world awaits.
Production Companies: Columbia Pictures, Kerner Entertainment Company, LStar Capital, Sony Pictures Animation, Wanda Pictures
Director: Kelly Asbury
Writers: Stacey Harman, Pamela Ribon, Peyo
Actors: Ariel Winter, Joe Manganiello, Michelle Rodriguez, Julia Roberts, Ellie Kemper, Mandy Patinkin, Rainn Wilson, Demi Lovato, Jake Johnson, Jack McBrayer, Danny Pudi, Gabriel Iglesias, Tituss Burgess, Gordon Ramsey, Meghan Trainor, Jeff Dunham, Kelly Asbury
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG

Instead of trying to make a third live-action Smurf movie, given the poor performance of the existing sequel and other factors; the powers that be decided to go full-on CGI animation this time around to reboot the property again.

With the voice cast they’ve got lined up, I’m really hoping that this movie lives up to expectations. Just a few of the noteworthy names among the cast are: Joe Manganiello (True Blood, Knight of Cups, Pee-Wee's Big Holiday), Julia Roberts (Charlie Wilson's War, Larry Crowne, Money Monster), Mandy Patinkin (Criminal Minds, The Queen of Spain, Homeland), Jack McBrayer (Wreck-It Ralph, Bad Night, Wander Over Yonder), Gabriel Iglesias (The Nut Job, The Book of Life, Norm of the North), and Michelle Rodriguez (Avatar, Resident Evil: Retribution, Turbo). Rodriguez has been a busy lady, featuring in three of the movies in this list! Rainn Wilson (The Stream, Cooties, Backstrom) voices the villainous Gargamel, and Gordon Ramsay (Kitchen Nightmares, Hell's Kitchen, Phineas and Ferb) is even featured as Baker Smurf.

I think the concept for the movie looks interesting, and looks to answer some of the burning questions that have been circulating ever since the cartoon first came into homes on Saturday mornings.

16 - Spark: A Space Tail (April 14th)

Tag Line: Adventure goes bananas.
Production Companies: ToonBox Entertainment, Redrover Co. Ltd., Gulfstream Pictures, Shanghai Hoongman Technology Co.
Director: Aaron Woodley
Writers: Doug Hadders, Robert Reece, Adam Rotstein, Aaron Woodley
Actors: Patrick Stewart, Susan Sarandon, Jessica Biel, Hilary Swank, Athena Karkanis, Jace Norman, A.C. Peterson, Ivan Sherry, Aaron Woodley, Jason Deline, Rob deLeeuw, Jordan Pettle, Shannon Perreault, Evan Taggart
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG

This animated feature looks like it’s going to be lots of fun.

I am pretty much automatically down for anything that has Sir Patrick Stewart (A Million Ways to Die in the West, Green Room, Logan) in it. I’m already sold; but just to add icing on the cake, Susan Sarandon (The Meddler, Hell and Back, Feud: Bette and Joan) and  Jessica Biel (Hitchcock, Bleeding Heart, A Kind of Murder) are featured voices as well. This is also the first animated voice role for Hilary Swank (The Gift, Million Dollar Baby, You're Not You).

Cast aside, the plot looks interesting, the animation is well done, and it should be a great family movie during this time when kids seem to have quite a bit of time out of school between late Spring Breaks and Easter breaks, etc. It’s refreshing to see something new like this that isn’t piggybacked onto an established franchise.

15 - Sleight (April 28th)

Tag Line: You can change the cards you're dealt.
Production Company: Diablo Entertainment
Director: J.D. Dillard
Writers: J.D. Dillard, Alex Theurer
Actors: Jacob Latimore, Seychelle Gabriel, Dulé Hill, Storm Reid, Sasheer Zamata, Michael Villar, Brandon Johnson, Cameron Esposito, Andrew Fitzpatrick, Jay Walker, Frank Clem
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
Rated: R

I read where someone described this movie as what might happen if you blended up Iron Man (2008) and Chronicle (2012). I can see that.

While the struggle to survive the streets type recipe isn’t anything new; this is definitely an original concept with the magician angle here. I love projects where the protagonists utilize good old ingenuity to solve their problems in an interesting and unexpected way.

14 - Unforgettable (April 21st)

Tag Line: When love ends, madness begins
Production Company: DiNovi Pictures
Director: Denise Di Novi
Writers: Christina Hodson, David Leslie Johnson
Actors: Rosario Dawson, Katherine Heigl, Whitney Cummings, Geoff Stults, Cheryl Ladd, Robert Wisdom, Jayson Blair, Simon Kassianides, Mitch Silpa, Isabella Kai Rice, Aline Elasmar, Kincaid Walker, Marissa Morgan, Alex Quijano
Genre: Thriller
Rated: R

Rosario Dawson (Seven Pounds, Daredevil, The LEGO Batman Movie) and Katherine Heigl (Killers, The Nut Job, Jenny's Wedding) bring the intensity in this dramatic relationship thriller. I was riveted by the trailer and want to see how this unfolds. While one might think that a movie like this could be on the predictable side, it looks like there might be some twists in there that deviate from the usual ex getting revenge or harassing the new wife recipe.

13 - Born In China (April 21st) 

Tag Line: Narrated by John Krasinski
Production Company: Chuan Films, Disneynature
Director: Chuan Lu
Writers: David Fowler, Brian Leith, Phil Chapman, Chuan Lu
Actors: John Krasinski, Xun Zhou
Genre: Documentary
Rated: G

I am not generally one to add documentaries to my top 20 lists, but this one was well deserving. I mean, have you SEEN the trailers? The little squeaky baby panda alone is worth the price of a ticket to get that in movie surround-sound. The landscapes are breathtaking, and this production crew were able to capture some gorgeous and often elusive animals in their native environments. It’s a wonderful movie for spring and great for all ages.

12 - Voice From the Stone (April 28th)

Tag Line: Silence is calling.
Production Companies: Zanuck Independent, Code 39 Films, Producer Capital Fund
Director: Eric D. Howell
Writers: Silvio Raffo, Andrew Shaw
Actors: Emilia Clarke, Marton Csokas, Caterina Murino, Remo Girone, Lisa Gastoni, Kate Linder, Edward Dring, Giampiero Judica, Nicole Cadeddu, Antonella Britta
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Rated: R

I love seeing Emilia Clarke (Spike Island, Terminator Genisys, Me Before You) branch out into more roles outside her iconic Khaleesi in Game of Thrones (2011-). Her dynamic with Marton Csokas (Noah, The Equalizer, Into the Badlands) looks really interesting.  I’m left intrigued and disturbed after watching the trailer.

Am I the only one that sees the resemblance to the crack in the wall (that was so much more) from Doctor Who (2005-)??

11 - Gifted (April 7th)

Tag Line: From the director of "500 Days of Summer"
Production Companies: FilmNation Entertainment, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Grade A Entertainment
Director: Marc Webb
Writer: Tom Flynn
Actors: Jenny Slate, Chris Evans, Octavia Spencer, Mckenna Grace, Julie Ann Emery, Lindsay Duncan, Keir O'Donnell, Glenn Plummer, John Finn, John M. Jackson, Joe Chrest, Jona Xiao, Candace B. Harris, Maia Moss-Fife
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG-13

Chris Evans (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Snowpiercer, Before We Go) gets to play a superhero of a different flavor in this movie – as an uncle taking care of his late sister’s brilliant little girl and his fight to let her have a childhood instead of pushing her to advance academically. I have a feeling that this one will require some tissues – there were so many feels just from the trailer. 

10 - The Promise (April 21st)

Tag Line: Empires fall. Love Survives.
Production Companies: Rafael Catering, Babieka, Survival Pictures, Wonderful Films
Director: Terry George
Writers: Terry George, Robin Swicord
Actors: Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Angela Sarafyan, James Cromwell, Charlotte Le Bon, Tom Hollander, Tamer Hassan, Rade Serbedzija, Michael Stahl-David, Numan Acar, Marco Khan
Genre: Drama, History, Romance
Rated: PG-13

This epic historical tale of war and romance opened to standing ovations at the Toronto International Film Festival. The movie is set during the Armenian Genocide (and the Turkish government is apparently not happy about it to the point where they allegedly hired internet trolls to flood the web with bad reviews). The love story doesn’t seem to overshadow the tale of those caught in the conflict. I expect this one will both keep audiences at the edge of their seats and also have people reaching for the tissues.

9 - The Assignment (April 7th)

Tag Line: One job changed it all.
Production Company: SBS Films
Director: Walter Hill
Writers: Denis Hamill, Walter Hill
Actors: Michelle Rodriguez, Sigourney Weaver, Caitlin Gerard, Tony Shalhoub, Terry Chen, Anthony LaPaglia, Paul Lazenby, Lia Lam, Paul McGillion, Ken Kirzinger, Zak Santiago, Adrian Hough, Lauro Chartrand, Caroline Chan, Alex Zahara, Sergio Osuna, Chad Riley
Genre:  Action, Crime, Thriller
Rated: R

This is the second of three movies featuring Michelle Rodriguez (Fast & Furious, Machete, Milton's Secret) in this month’s list; though this is the only one where she’s the lead. This is actually her first lead role since Girlfight (2000), and I am excited about it.

I love a good gender-bend story, and this tale of revenge takes that concept to the next level.

On top of that, this film reunites Rodriguez with Sigourney Weaver (WALL·E, The Cabin in the Woods, Chappie). I can’t wait to see if their characters actually get to face-to-face in this story. I can only imagine there will be an electric atmosphere on the screen. Tony Shalhoub (Monk, Movie 43, Pain & Gain) is a pleasant surprise in this cast, as well. He does the quirky roles so well, but also is great with the more serious side. I’m interested to see how his character fits in with this explosive dynamic already present. 

8 - The Lost City of Z (April 14th)

Tag Line: In 1925, Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazon in search of a myth. What he discovered became legendary.
Production Companies: Keep Your Head, MICA Entertainment, MadRiver Pictures, Plan B Entertainment, Sierra / Affinity
Director: James Gray
Writers: James Gray, David Grann
Actors: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, Edward Ashley, Angus Macfadyen, Ian McDiarmid, Clive Francis, Pedro Coello, Matthew Sunderland, Johann Myers, Aleksandar Jovanovic, Elena Solovey
Genre: Action, Adventure, Biography
Rated: PG-13

I’m going to put aside the fact that I absolutely adore Charlie Hunnam (Cold Mountain, Sons of Anarchy, Crimson Peak) for a moment. He’s a large factor in why I want to watch this movie, though there are other bankable actors among the cast such as Robert Pattinson (Little Ashes, Remember Me, Queen of the Desert), Sienna Miller (Foxcatcher, High-Rise, Burnt), and Tom Holland (How I Live Now, In the Heart of the Sea, Captain America: Civil War).

The main reason why this is high on my personal must-see list is that it has that wonderful film noir feel that harkens back to those old fashioned adventure tale classics like King Solomon's Mines (1950) or The African Queen (1951). It’s a period piece and based on a true story –so that only adds to the appeal. 

I can only imagine the tales that they must be able to tell from filming this movie (and I’m hoping some of that makes it onto the Blu-ray special features). Hunnam lost a good bit of weight for this role and even had to allegedly be dissuaded from sleeping and eating in the war-scene trenches to keep his immersion in his character. Nearby farmers reportedly became alarmed at the amount of gunfire they heard from the production and reported it to their local media outlets. I’m sure this just scratches the surface – not to mention the challenges of actually filming in the jungle. 

7 - Free Fire (April 21st)

Tag Line: All guns. No control.
Production Companies: Film4, Protagonist Pictures, Rook Films
Director: Ben Wheatley
Writers: Amy Jump, Ben Wheatley
Actors: Enzo Cilenti, Sam Riley, Michael Smiley, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer, Sharlto Copley, Babou Ceesay, Noah Taylor, Jack Reynor, Mark Monero, Patrick Bergin, Sara Dee, Tom Davis
Genre:  Action, Comedy, Crime
Rated: R

How cool is it that the writer and director for this movie took inspiration from video games?! It’s said that games such as Counter Strike were influences here. He also made a replica of the warehouse set using Minecraft when he was planning out dimensions.

I digress. 

This movie, set in 1978, looks absolutely hilarious. It’s a shoot-em-up flick in its pure form and draws from all that ‘70s craziness. This film seems to have a limited scope of setting but provides a vast amount of entertainment. I laughed so hard just from watching the trailer. 

6 - Mine (April 7th) 

Tag Line: Stand Your Ground.
Production Companies: The Safran Company, Roxbury, Sun Film, Mine Canarias, Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali (MiBAC)
Directors: Fabio Guaglione, Fabio Resinaro
Writers: Fabio Guaglione, Fabio Resinaro
Actors: Armie Hammer, Annabelle Wallis, Tom Cullen, Clint Dyer, Geoff Bell, Juliet Aubrey, Luka Peros, David Kirk Traylor
Genre:  Thriller, War
Rated: Unrated

Do you think you could stand in one spot for hours or maybe days? Armie Hammer’s (The Lone Ranger, The Man From U.N.C.L.E, Call Me By Your Name) character has to do just that after an unfortunate step taken while crossing a desert mine field.

This movie looks to be seriously intense – not just from the standpoint that it is set during armed conflict, but even on a psychological level. I know I’ll be on the edge of my seat to see whether or not this soldier is able to make it to the end of the film alive. 

5 - Going In Style (April 7th)

Tag Line: You're never too old to get even.
Production Companies: New Line Cinema, Village Roadshow Pictures, Warner Bros.
Director: Zach Braff
Writers: Theodore Melfi, Edward Cannon
Actors: Morgan Freeman, Joey King, Ann-Margret, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Peter Serafinowicz, Christopher Lloyd, Matt Dillon, John Ortiz, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Maria Dizzia, Katlyn Carlson, Josh Pais, Melanie Nicholls-King, Camiel Warren-Taylor
Genre:  Comedy, Crime
Rated: PG-13

Morgan Freeman (The Lego Movie, Lucy, London Has Fallen) is in this movie. I could mic drop here, really. Who wouldn’t pay just to hear that man talk for a couple hours? Seriously.

Okay, so there’s more incentive to go see this film; I promise. The premise of this movie reminds me of one of the heists featured in a White Rabbit Project (2016-) episode where a group of well-aged gentlemen pull off an epic robbery. I don’t know that this movie is based on any sort of true story, but the very concept is ripe with all sorts of comedic potential – that this film seems to have employed to its full potential if the trailer is any indication.

This movie is actually a modernized remake of the 1979 movie featuring the legendary George Burns (Oh, God!, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Radioland Murders) and Art Carney (Firestarter, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Last Action Hero). I’d say they picked an excellent cast to follow in their shoes with the likes of Freeman, Sir Michael Caine (The Prestige, Inception, Kingsman: The Secret Service), and Alan Arkin (Grosse Pointe Blank, Argo, Love the Coopers). 

I can’t wait to see all the geriatric Robin Hood-esque shenanigans.

4 - The Circle (April 28th)

Tag Line: Knowing is good. Knowing everything is better.
Production Companies: Imagenation Abu Dhabi FZ, Likely Story, Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation, Playtone, Route One Entertainment
Director: James Ponsoldt
Writers: James Ponsoldt, Dave Eggers
Actors: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Karen Gillan, Claudia O'Doherty, Patton Oswalt, John Boyega, Ellar Coltrane, Elvy Yost, Ellen Wong, Glenne Headly, Nate Corddry, Frederick Koehler, Abraham Lim, Poorna Jagannathan
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: PG-13

I find the sci-fi element of this movie intriguing. The novel that this film is based on is definitely going on my to-read list. The story seems to lean towards the development of a Big Brother sort of setup via use of cutting edge technology and information gathering.

Aside from the fact that there’s a stellar cast including Emma Watson (Noah, The Colony, Beauty and the Beast), Tom Hanks (Bridge of Spies, Sully, Inferno), and Karen Gillan (Gaurdians of the Galaxy, The Big Short, In a Valley of Violence); there’s one more name that would tip this over the edge for me even if I didn’t already love the concept. 

This is Bill Paxton’s (2 Guns, Edge of Tomorrow, Nightcrawler) final movie. As a longtime fan of his, I’m not ready to say “game over, man!” I want to take this final ride with him on the big screen.

3 - Leap! (April 21st) 

Tag Line: Life's greatest adventures begin with a single...
Production Companies: Quad Productions, Main Journey, Caramel Film, Gaumont, M6 Films, Canal+, Ciné+, M6, W9, 6ter, Téléfilm Canada, SODEC, Radio Canada, Angoa
Directors: Eric Summer, Éric Warin
Writers: Eric Summer, Laurent Zeitoun, Carol Noble
Actors: Elle Fanning, Nat Wolff, Carly Rae Jepsen, Maddie Ziegler, Terrence Scammell, Tamir Kapelian, Joe Sheridan, Elana Dunkelman, Shoshana Sperling, Jamie Watson, Bronwen Mantel, Mel Brooks, Alona Leoine
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: Unrated

Out of all of the animated movies coming out this month (and there are quite a few), this looks to be the most heartfelt and adorable. It actually reminds me a little of one of our recent Foreign Film Friday reviews for a movie that Selina and I absolutely loved. You won’t have to have that as a reference, though, to appreciate this tale of taking chances, adventure, ingenuity, and following dreams.

2 - Colossal (April 7th)

Tag Line: There's a monster in all of us.
Production Companies: Toy Fight Productions, Brightlight Pictures, Sayaka Producciones Audiovisuales, Voltage Pictures
Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Writer: Nacho Vigalondo
Actors: Dan Stevens, Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Tim Blake Nelson, Austin Stowell, Agam Darshi, Rukiya Bernard, Hannah Cheramy, Miho Suzuki, Sarah Surh, Christine Lee, Andrew Tait
Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Rated: R

What would you do if you discovered that there was a giant monster that was mimicking your every move? Would you try and save humanity through your marionette skills or would you start cranking up the appropriate Blue Oyster Cult song with which to take out Tokyo?

This movie looks quirky, funny, and very entertaining. 

1 - The Fate of the Furious (April 14th)

Tag Line: Ride or die. Remember.
Production Companies: Itaca Films, One Race Films, Original Film
Director: F. Gary Gray
Writers: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson
Actors: Vin Diesel, Charlize Theron, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Scott Eastwood, Michelle Rodriguez, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, Helen Mirren, Kristofer Hivju, Tyrese Gibson, Kim Evans, Ludacris, Luke Hawx, Don Omar, Tego Calderon, Eden Estrella
Genre:  Action, Crime, Thriller
Rated: PG-13

Does this one really need explanation? I don’t think it does. If I must, it can really be summed up easily.

It’s the 8th installment in this franchise and there’s a chase scene across ice involving a submarine and torpedoes.

Pure gearhead action adrenaline gold. 

Movies to Look out For
According to: Selina

We Don't Belong Here - 20
Bethany - 19
Ozzy - 18
Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story - 17
The Assignment - 16
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - 15
Rupture - 14
Unforgettable - 13
Their Finest - 12
The Promise - 11
Sand Castle - 10
Gifted - 9
Voice from the Stone - 8
Sleight - 7
Going in Style - 6
Mine - 5
Colossal - 4
Leap! - 3
The Fate of the Furious - 2
The Circle - 1

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