Friday, April 1, 2022

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In April (2022)

According to: Selina

20 – Morbius (4/1)

Production/Distribution: Marvel Entertainment, B&H Film Distribution, Big Picture 2 Films, Columbia Pictures Corporation, Columbia Pictures, HKC Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment Iberia, Sony Pictures Filmverleih, Sony Pictures Releasing Argentina, Sony Pictures Releasing International, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures International (UPI), Disney+
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Writer: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Roy Thomas, Gil Kane
Actors: Jared Leto, Michael Keaton, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Matt Smith, Tyrese Gibson, Bentley Kalu, Corey Johnson
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: 1h 44min
IMDb Blurb: Biochemist Michael Morbius tries to cure himself of a rare blood disease, but he inadvertently infects himself with a form of vampirism instead.
Ok, look. Morbius has been postponed more times than I can count. Some of it has been because of COVID but not all of it.
I want to be very clear. I do not have faith in Morbius. I could make a blanket with all the red flags it’s putting out. I will be watching it, but only on stream and only if I don’t have to pay extra. It’s listed because of what other movies it’s tied to. If there were more films coming out in April that deserved this spot, Morbius wouldn’t be here.
19 – The Contractor (4/1)

Production/Distribution: 30WEST, Icon Films, STX Films, Elevation Pictures, STX International, Film & TV House, GEM Entertainment, Golden Village Pictures, Purple Plan, Cinemundo, Joy n Cinema, Leonine Distribution, Paramount Pictures, Showtime, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, The Searchers
Director: Tarik Saleh
Writer: J.P. Davis
Actors: Chris Pine, Gillian Jacobs, Sander Thomas, Toby Dixon, Dean Ashton, Dustin Lewis
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 1h 43 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A discharged U.S. Special Forces sergeant, James Harper, risks everything for his family when he joins a private contracting organization.
It seems like The Contractor will have a bunch of fun action sequences. I’ll be the first to admit that it looks a smidge mindless, but there’s nothing wrong with enjoying an action flick for the action itself.
There’s one part in the trailer where the main character seems to lose his gun. If he fully loses it, we might be in for some real fun where the fight choreography is concerned. It’s a long shot, but still possible.
Either way, I wouldn’t buy a ticket for The Contractor, but I would definitely look it up when it hits streaming.
18 – Memory (4/29)

Production/Distribution: Arthur Sarkissian Productions, Black Bear Pictures, Camera Hogs, Signature Pictures, Welle Entertainment, Briarcliff Entertainment, Elevation Pictures, Open Road Films (II), Telepool, STX International, The Searchers
Director: Martin Campbell
Writer: Dario Scardapane, Jef Geeraerts, Carl Joos, Erik Van Looy
Actors: Liam Neeson, Monica Bellucci, Ray Stevenson, Guy Pearce, Louis Mandylor, Stella Stocker, Ray Fearon, Lee Boardman, Taj Atwal, Antonio Jaramillo, Natalie Anderson, Harold Torres, Rebecca Calder
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: Unknown
IMDb Blurb: An assassin-for-hire finds that he's become a target after he refuses to complete a job for a dangerous criminal organization. A remake of the 2003 Belgian film 'The Memory of a Killer'.
There’s not a whole lot to say about Memory.
Liam Neeson (The Grey, The Marksman, Honest Thief) has a very specific set of skills. And he uses them approximately the same way in every film he’s in. I vaguely remember him retiring at one point, but that clearly didn’t stick.
I’m cool with that, though. Neeson films are rarely unique, but they tend to be decent ‘turn-your-brain-off’ films. If all you’re looking for after a long day of dealing with idiots at work is escapism, then his flicks are going to be the kind of thing you want to throw on.
I don’t expect a ton from Memory, but I do think it’ll be acceptable escapism.
17 – Reed’s Point (4/12)

Production/Distribution: Suzanne DeLaurentiis Productions, Uncork’d Entertainment
Director: Dale Fabrigar
Writer: Tricia Aurand, Suzanne DeLaurentiis, Sandy Lo
Actors: Joe Estevez, Clint Carmichael, Anthony Jensen, Evan Adams, Julia Kelly, Lanett Tachel, Giovannie Espiritu, Catherine Healy, Sasha Anne
Genre: Horror
Rated: Unrated
Length: Unknown
IMDb Blurb: A vehicle crash in the Pine Barrens leads to a missing teen which raises conspiracy theories about the infamous Jersey Devil legend. On the anniversary of the crash, Sarah Franklin, convinced her cousin Kelsey is alive, goes out to the crash site with Alex, Kelsey's boyfriend, to investigate. Things go downhill quickly as Sarah and Alex uncover what really lurks in the woods.
You don’t see a lot of the Jersey Devil in films. It’s there, of course. All the urban legends make the cut eventually, but there’s just not a whole lot of it. That gives Reed’s Point an instant unique-ness. The trailer helps, it’s well done and make it seem like a solid horror flick.
There is always that chance that it will rely too heavily on jump-scares, but I think it’s still worth a watch.
16 – Along for the Ride (4/22)

Production/Distribution: Screen Arcade, Netflix
Director: Sofia Alvarez
Writer: Sofia Alvarez, Sarah Dessen
Actors: Emma Pasarow, Andie MacDowell, Dermot Mulroney, Kate Bosworth, Belmont Cameli, Genevieve Hannelius, Laura Kariuki, Samia Finnerty, Paul Karmiryan, Ricardo Hurtado, Marcus Scribner
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 46 minutes
IMDb Blurb: The summer before college Auden meets the mysterious Eli, a fellow insomniac. While the seaside town of Colby sleeps, the two embark on a nightly quest to help Auden experience the fun, carefree teen life she never knew she wanted.
Netflix is absolutely bringing it this month. I’m going to be so angry if all these amazing trailers turn out to be dud films. I’m going to feel catfished.
That said, Along for the Ride seems like a cute coming-of-age film for older teens. It’s not revolving around the usual milestones that most of these flicks tend to touch on. We’re not seeing prom, or graduation, or the start of high school… it seems more focused on what this good kid feels like she’s missed by just concentrating on being good.
I feel like we’re seeing more of that in teen films lately, and I’m here for it. Sure, kids should pay attention in school and make good choices, but there’s more to life. No one wants to miss out on their childhood because they were so focused on being grown-up.
I will say that the trailer makes it seem like it could go down some problematic romantic roads – but there’s always the possibility of surprise.
15 – The Devil You Know (4/1)

Production/Distribution: Command, Tetrad Studios, BondIt Media Capital, Buffalo 8 Productions, Lionsgate
Director: Charles Murray
Writer: Charles Murray
Actors: Omar Epps, Michael Ealy, Vanessa Bell Calloway, William Catlett, Vaughn W. Hebron, Michael Beach, B.J. Britt, Ashley A. Williams, Murray Gray, Sarah Drescher, Conor Sherry, Sarah Minnich, Theo Rossi, Michael Cortez, Kristen Rozanski
Genre: Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 1h 56min
IMDb Blurb: After a lifetime of trouble, a man has the chance to turn things around with the love and support of his family. As he tries to do right, he finds himself spiraling back into the dark place he overcame.
On first glance this trailer looks a bit basic. If you give it another watch, though… you can see that there are some indicators that there’s more than meets the eye.
All the flashes of scenes shown where Omar Epps’ (House, Love & Basketball, Shooter) character seems to be fighting the need to do something bad indicate that it’s not that simple. When I saw that it was labeled a thriller, not a drama, I knew that meant we were likely in for some head fuckery.
There’s also a great cast behind, what I’m hoping will be, a really interesting story.
14 – As They Made Us (4/8)

Production/Distribution: Yale Productions, BondIt Media Capital, Bradley Pilz Productions, Buffalo 8 Productions, Carte Blanche, Cranium Entertainment, Film Mode Entertainment, Idiot Savant Pictures, Rolling Pictures, Screen Media Films, Slated, Vested Interest, Quiver Distribution
Director: Mayim Bialik
Writer: Mayim Bialik, Jonathan Cohen
Actors: Dianna Agron, Dustin Hoffman, Simon Helberg, Charlie Weber, Candice Bergen, Mellanie, Julian Gant, Sweta Keswani, Justin Chu Cary, John Wollman, Anastasia Veronica Lee, Oliver Patnode
Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Length: 1h 40 minute
IMDb Blurb: A divorced mom tries to make peace with her dysfunctional family as she finds a second chance at love.
What really drew me to As They Made Us was Mayim Bialik’s (Big Bang Theory, Call Me Kat, Master of a Good Name) involvement as writer/director. It will be her full-length feature film debut with those credits and I’m dying to see how she does. I’ve been a fan of hers since Blossom (1990-1995).
I’ll admit that it does look like it’s going to be the kind of film that breaks your heart. Clearly, one of the characters will die by the end. It also looks like it will have a lot of heart-warming family story to it. With a good balance, it could very well be worth it. The cast she collected to play that family is just about as good as it gets, too.
I doubt it will be the kind of thing that works as escapism, but if you’re into family dramas, this is one to watch.
13 – We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (4/22)

Production/Distribution: Dweck Productions, Flies Collective, Utopia, HBO Max
Director: Jane Schoenbrun
Writer: Jane Schoenbrun
Actors: Anna Cobb, Holly Anne Frink, Michael J. Rogers
Genre: Drama, Horror
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 26 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Alone in her attic bedroom, teenager Casey becomes immersed in an online role-playing horror game, wherein she begins to document the changes that may or may not be happening to her.
After the first part of the trailer, I was reasonably sure this was going to be a movie I skipped on. By the end, however, I was ready to sit down and watch the whole film.
I have a ton of questions. That’s something the trailer did very right. It gave me something to want to know and made me care about the answers. What’s the World’s Fair? Why is it dangerous? Can she quit? Why not? I’m interested in what becomes of the character we’re introduced to and why.
It’s a definite dark horse pick. Especially since it’s the non-documentary full-length feature film debut for director Jane Schoenbrun (Big Brother Volcano, Collective: Unconscious, A Self-Induced Hallucination). Still, I find myself having faith in it. Enough that I would shell out money to see it.
I’m very curious about We’re All Going to the World’s Fair. I think it’s something to watch.
12 – Yaksha: Ruthless Operations (4/8)

Production/Distribution: Sangsang Film, Netflix, Showbox/Mediaplex
Director: Hyeon Na
Actors: Sol Kyung-gu, Park Hae-soo, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Dong-kun Yang, Lee El, Jae-rim Song, Jinyoung Park, Soo-kyung Lee, Jongman Kim
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 2h 5 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Nicknamed after a human-devouring spirit, the ruthless leader of an overseas black ops team takes up a dangerous mission in a city riddled with spies.
Yaksha: Ruthless Operations looks absolutely bad-ass. Part heist, part spy, all intense action flick. I love that the main character is named after a legendary creature, as well. I feel like that’s going to factor in somewhere.
It is a long film, but I believe that’s because we’re going to get some twists and turns. Hard to pack all that, plus the action sequences into a shorter flick.
I almost always lean toward a positive perception of Korean cinema. I’m familiar with the exceptional cast, and the language always sounds like silk to my ears. So, I will admit to being bias here. Still, I think it’s the kind of action film that would likely appeal to any fans of the genre.
11 – Bubble (4/28)

Production/Distribution: Wit Studio, Warner Bros., Netflix
Director: Tetsurô Araki
Writer: Gen Urobuchi
Actors: Tasuku Hatanaka, Alice Hirose, Marina Inoue, Yûki Kaji, Shin'ichirô Miki, Mamoru Miyano, Sayaka Senbongi, Jun Shison
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 40 minutes
IMDb Blurb: After bubbles that broke the laws of gravity rained down upon the world. Cut off from the outside world, Tokyo has become a playground for a group of young people who have lost their families.
There’s nothing quite like a good anime trailer, is there? They take the wonder up to a thousand. Even a mediocre story can look absolutely epic through use of a well-edited anime trailer.
I’m easily affected, likely because I grew up on YouTube AMVs, still… there’s no mediocrity in the story backing up this particular trailer.
I’d have it up higher on my list, but I’m a little concerned. Netflix does prefer their anime to have a bit more fan service than I’d like. This doesn’t seem like the type of anime to do that, but it does affect its position on my list. As a ‘just in case’.

10 – Ambulance (4/8)

Production/Distribution: Universal Pictures, Bay Films, Endeavor Content, New Republic Pictures, Project X Entertainment, Cinemundo, Tulip Entertainment, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures Argentina, Universal Pictures International (UPI), Starz!
Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Chris Fedak, Laurits Munch-Peterson, Lars Andreas Pedersen
Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza González, Garret Dillahunt, Keir O’Donnell, Jackson White, Olivia Stambouliah, Moses Ingram, Colin Woodell, Cedric Sanders, A Martinez, Jesse Garcia, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Wale, Devan Chandler Long
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Rated: R
Length: 1h 16 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Two robbers steal an ambulance after their heist goes awry.
I’ve been looking forward to Ambulance since we did our stream discussing the movies set to come out in 2022. It sounded like a basic heist film at first, but the twist with the ambulance added to the phenomenal cast made me give it a second look.
I’ll be the first to admit there are some tropey aspects to the trailer, but I do believe that there’s enough shown to suggest it might not go the road most traveled.
The important thing to note is that it’s a remake of a Danish film. That means that expectations are, almost definitely, going to be subverted. There’s a cultural difference to consider, one that not everyone will be looking for. That said, it’s always possible that this remake could have been altered for American audiences – which would negate that.
Ambulance is still a film that looks like it could have some serious weight behind it. I’m looking forward to seeing it.
Of course, it is directed by Michael Bay (Transformers, 6 Underground, 13 Hours), so it could wind up being a brainless explosion-fest.
9 – The Revolution Generation (4/22)

Production/Distribution: Sustainable Films, Social Construct, Big Picture Ranch, Destiny Films, Greenwich Entertainment
Director: Joshua Tickell, Rebecca Harrell Tickell
Writer: Joshua Tickell, Rebecca Harrell Tickell
Actors: Corbin Bleu, Michelle Rodriguez, Shailene Woodley
Genre: Documentary
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 20 minutes
IMDb Blurb: It shows how young people can deploy their strengths to revolutionize the system as they confront both the US political crisis and the global environmental crisis.
Anyone familiar with my personal taste is likely close to death by shock after seeing a documentary not only land on my list, but in the top 10.
My problem with documentaries is that they’re boring. The vast majority of them utilize Ben Stein style narration. I get that they don’t want to use much flash because they don’t want to detract from the subject. Especially since a lot of documentaries zero in on intense subjects. For most of those projects, it would be disrespectful to add in the kind of narrator that might hold my interest. That said, my ADHD will not allow me to sit through any of them. I simply cannot concentrate through the monotone narration. I just prefer books on that kind of thing. My internal narrator is easier for me to listen to.
That’s not an issue here.
Michelle Rodriguez (Widows, The Fat of the Furious, Crisis) has a very easy voice for me to zero in on, and she seems to be the narrator. Her voice has a natural motion to it that keeps me focused. The subject is also something I’m significantly interested in. The movements that are focused on are very much personal interests of mine.
I avoid discussing politics with people who have the kind of closed minds that can never be changed. Whether or not I agree with them. So, most people think I have no interest in it. That said, people closer to me, know I’m active. This documentary hits me right in the soul.
It won’t appeal to everyone. Still, it’s one of the few documentaries that I will watch. And I believe I’ll enjoy it.
8 – Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood (4/1)

Production/Distribution: Minnow Mountain, Submarine, Detour Filmproduction, Netflix Animation, Soundcrafter, Netflix
Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Richard Linklater
Actors: Zachary Levi, Jack Black, Glen Powell, Josh Wiggins, Lee Eddy, Mona Lee Fultz, Jennifer Griffin, Brian Villalobos, Samuel Davis, Nick Stevenson, Bill Wise, Danielle Guilbot
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: 1h 37 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A coming-of-age story set in the suburbs of Houston, Texas in the summer of 1969, centered around the historic Apollo 11 moon landing.
How cute does Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood look? It’s got that A Scanner Darkly (2006) animation style, while fully embracing the imagination necessary to appeal to kids.
Sending a kid into space because the brains accidentally built a space shuttle too small? I love it.
The trailer really sells the setting and the story. I want to know exactly where it’s going because we don’t really get to see that.
Zachary Levi (Shazam!, Tangled, Chuck) and Jack Black (Goosebumps, The House with a Clock in Its Walls, Jumanji: The Next Level) being involved tells me that any comedy utilized is going to be 100% on point. And writer/director Richard Linklater (Boyhood, Before Midnight, Walking Life) is a giant in the industry. The chances of this flick not living up to standards, is exceptionally low.
7 – Metal Lords (4/8)

Production/Distribution: Bighead Littlehead, Netflix
Director: Peter Sollett
Writer: D.B. Weiss
Actors: Joe Manganiello, Jaeden Martell, Brett Gelman, Sufe Bradshaw, Isis Hainsworth, Michelle Mao, Katie O’Grady, Adrian Greensmith, Noah Urrea, Teddy Van Ee, Katie McCabe, Analesa Fisher
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music
Rated: R
Length: 1h 37 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Two friends try to form a heavy metal band with a cellist for the Battle of the Bands.
The entire trailer for Metal Lords is hilarious.
I grew up more on the punk side of things, but a lot of my friends were metal heads. A lot of the scene stuff in the trailer is super familiar and funny to me. I love that it’s a coming-of-age film that looks at an alternate group of kids. Way too many of the flicks we have now revolve around the popular kids and the nerds. Most other high school cliques are simply ignored.
I’m here for this one, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.
6 – Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (4/8)

Production/Distribution: Paramount Pictures, Sega Sammy Group, Original Film, Blur Studio, Marza Animation Planet, Paramount Pictures UK, Paramount Pictures Germany, B&H Film Distribution, NOS Audiovisuais, Paramount Pictures International, Toho-Towa, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures International (UPI)
Director: Jeff Fowler
Writer: Pat Casey, Josh Miller, John Whittington
Actors: Ben Schwartz, Idris Elba, Collen O’Shanussy, Jim Carrey, James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Natasha Rothwell, Shemar Moore, Adam Pally, Lee Majdoub
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Rated: PG
Length: 2h 2 minutes
IMDb Blurb: When the manic Dr Robotnik returns to Earth with a new ally, Knuckles the Echidna, Sonic and his new friend Tails is all that stands in their way.
Sonic the Hedgehog was unreasonably good for a video game film. I greatly enjoyed seeing it in theaters, and I’m so glad they made a second one.
I’m dying to see how Dr. Robotnik made it off the mushroom world, and what Knuckle’s place in this story will be. The cover art looks incredible, and the trailer is just as well done as the first.
The nostalgia is still there, as well. Recently, a retro arcade opened up in the mall near me, and I got to take my daughter to it. They had an original Sega, so I got to let her see me speed run the second Sonic game. She’s 4, so she didn’t entirely care, but she had fun for a while before dragging me away.
I might try to see this one in theaters, depending on the state of the world at the time.
5 – The Bad Guys (4/22)

Production/Distribution: DreamWorks Animation, Universal Pictures, B&H Film Distribution, Toho-Towa, Tulip Entertainment, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures Argentina, Universal Pictures International (UPI)
Director: Pierre Perifel
Writer: Aaron Blabey, Etan Cohen, Yoni Brenner, Hilary Winston
Actors: Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Awkwafina, Craig Robinson, Anthony Ramos, Richard Ayoade, Zazie Beetz, Alex Borstein, Lilly Singh, Barbara Goodson
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG
Length: 1h 40 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Several reformed yet misunderstood criminal animals attempt to become good, with some disastrous results along the way.
I love the story shown in The Bad Guys trailer.
People like to advise others to not care what people think of them. It’s good advice, but not as easy as all that. When someone is viewed as one thing and hears it repeatedly all their life, it’s difficult to not become that thing. Even if that’s not how they started. It becomes a little voice in their head telling them who they are. It’s possible to ignore, but not easy.
I don’t see a lot of kid’s movies touching on that. In this case, there’s some sharp animation and decent content backing up the lesson. I think, however, most of that lesson is for the parents. A reminder that what we say, and don’t say, to our kids matters. Sometimes more than we think.
The Bad Guys seems like it will be a film the entire family can sit down and watch.
4 – Barbarians (4/1)

Production/Distribution: Buckland, Media Finance Capital, Samuel Marshall Films, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, IFC Midnight
Director: Charles Dorfman
Writer: Charles Dorfman, Statten Roeg
Actors: Catalina Sandino Moreno, Tom Cullen, Iwan Rheon, Connor Swindells, Will Kemp, Inès Spiridonov, Steve Saunders, Tommy McDonnell
Genre: Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 29 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A dinner party in a country house that sees four friends come together for a birthday celebration. But as the night progresses secrets emerge and unsettling events begin to unfold around them.
I love a trailer that surprises me. Barbarians does that.
What looked like a slightly cringey, comedic friends-style drama/thriller, turned into something completely different half-way through. I went from bordering on boredom to sitting straight up in my chair.
I’m absolutely here for this flick. I have no idea what’s going on and I want to.
3 – The Survivor (4/27)

Production/Distribution: New Mandate Films, BRON Studios, Creative Wealth Media Finance, Pioneer Stilking Films, Dutch FilmWorks (DFW), Kinepolis Film Distribution (KFD), HBO Films, Home Box Office (HBO)
Director: Barry Levinson
Writer: Justine Juel Gillmer
Actors: Peter Sarsgaard, John Leguizamo, Ben Foster, Danny DeVito, Billy Magnussen, Vicky Krieps, Paul Bates, Anthony Molinari, Dar Zuzovsky, Charles Brice, Aaron Serotsky, Attila Arpa, Kingston Vernes
Genre: Biography, Drama
Rated: R
Length: 2h 9 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Post World War II, Harry Haft is a boxer who fought fellow prisoners in the concentration camps to survive. Haunted by memories and guilt, he attempts to use high-profile fights against boxing legends like Rocky Marciano as a way to find his first love again.
This trailer wasn’t available when we did our stream. Luckily, it came out a few days before I finalized my list, and I was able to view it.
I have always educated myself on World War II and the holocaust. Being Jewish, I’ve always kind of felt like it was important for me to understand the plight of those who came before. As a result, I’ve seen a LOT of films on the subject. Read a lot of books. Still, this is a new one for me.
I knew that stories like this existed, but I have never seen, or read, one from this perspective.
The trailer is harrowing, to say the least. It’s not going to be an easy watch. That said, I will be seeing it.
2 – The Northman (4/22)

Production/Distribution: New Regency Productions, Focus Features, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures International (UPI), Universal Pictures
Director: Robert Eggers
Writer: Robert Eggers, Sjón
Actors: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Ethan Hawke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Gustav Lindh, Elliott Rose, Willem Dafoe, Phill Martin, Eldar Skar, Olwen Fouéré, Edgar Abram, Jack Gassmann, Ingvar Sigurdsson, Oscar Novak, Jack Walsh, Björk
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Rated: R
Length: 2h 16 minutes
IMDb Blurb: From visionary director Robert Eggers comes The Northman, an action-filled epic that follows a young Viking prince on his quest to avenge his father's murder.
There are few things I love more than a good revenge story. The Northman looks like it’s going to be exactly that. A revenge story with killer action, tons of Viking goodness, and a dream-team cast. Not only that, but Robert Eggers’ (The Lighthouse, The Witch, Brothers) involvement as writer/director means there will almost definitely be a whole lot more below the surface. No way we’ve seen all the epicness there is in the trailer.
Watching the trailer, there’s not a single thing that gives me pause. I think The Northman is going to be blood-pumpingly awesome. Worth every penny of seeing it in theaters.
1 – The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (4/22)

Production/Distribution: Lionsgate, Saturn Films, Encore Films, Golden Village Pictures, Leonine Distribution, Ascot Elite Entertainment Group, Belga Films, Joy n Cinema
Director: Tom Gormican
Writer: Kevin Etten, Tom Gormican
Actors: Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal, Jacob Scipio, Demi Moore, Ike Barinholtz, Sharon Horgan, Neil Patrick Harris, Tiffany Haddish, Eli Jane, Lily Mo Sheen, Alessandra Mastronardi, Joanna Bobin
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 45 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A cash-strapped Nicolas Cage agrees to make a paid appearance at a billionaire super fan's birthday party, but is really an informant for the CIA since the billionaire fan is a drug kingpin and gets cast in a Tarantino movie.
I’ve been practically drooling in my wait for this film. For years I’ve been hearing about this crazy Nicolas Cage (Pig, Willy’s Wonderland, Color Out of Space) film where he plays himself as the person under pressure of the weight of massive talent. Every time I heard something new about it, it got crazier. The cameo’s, the odd and ridiculous plot-points, the trivia behind it all… and that was before Cage even agreed to be part of it.
At first, it sounded like a fever dream fan-made film. Then it hit that blacklist as one of the favorite unproduced screenplays of 2019 and the draw of it all heightened to unbearable levels.
I know a lot of it had to be scaled back because of COVID. The cameos, for instance, are not going to be as outlandish as they were supposed to be. Still, it is bound to be one of the craziest things ever seen.
It’s also impossible to ignore that the screeners are sitting at a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Movies to Look out For
According to: Cat
Reed’s Point .20
Along for the Ride .19
The Devil You Know .18
All the Old Knives .17
Jurassic Island .16
Maybe Someday .15
My Sweet Monster .14
Memory .13
Metal Lords .12
Barbarians .11
Bubble .10
Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood .9
The Contractor .8
Ambulance .7
The Unbelievable Weight of Massive Talent .6
Agent Game .5
The Bad Guys .4
Morbius .3
The Northman .2
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 .1
          What makes a movie eligible for Trust the Dice’s Top 20?

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Sing 2 (2021)

Streaming Service: Amazon Prime ($5.99)
Movie Name/Year: Sing 2 (2021)
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Length: 112 minutes
Rating: PG
Production/Distribution: Illumination Entertainment, Cinemundo, Toho-Towa, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures Argentina, Universal Pictures International (UPI), Universal Pictures, Netflix
Director: Garth Jennings
Writers: Garth Jennings
Actors: Matthew McConaughey, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly, Reese Witherspoon, Nick Kroll, Scarlett Johansson, Bobby Cannavale, Halsey, Bono, Eric André, Pharrell Williams, Letitia Wright, Chelsea Peretti, Garth Jennings, Angelo Arce, Adam Buxton, Katherine Kelloway, Jennifer Saunders, Peter Serafinowicz, Ayden Soria, Spike Jonze, Jason Schwartzman, Tara Strong, Edgar Wright, John Kassir, Wes Anderson
IMDb Blurb: Buster Moon and his friends must persuade reclusive rock star Clay Calloway to join them for the opening of a new show.

Cat’s Point of View:
I haven’t had a chance to see Sing 2 in a theater, so I’ve been waiting with bated breath for it to hit digital On Demand services – much like a singer awaits their musical cue to begin. I did list Sing 2 as the #3 on my personal Top 20 list for December 2021, after all. (You can read about Selina’s expectations for the film in her #5 entry.)
Needless to say, the day it became available to rent, the whole family piled onto the couch in the livingroom with popcorn in-hand and watched together. We even watched it a second time today.
Sing 2 defied the odds by surpassing the bar set by Sing (2016). This was definitely one of those times that the sequel outshined what had come before.

The story grabbed me hard and just held my attention with a vicelike grip through the whole production. I loved the music selections, the cast members were all on point, and I caught a serious case of The Feels.
When writer/director Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Son of Rambow, Sing) got together with the music department for Sing 2, they were firing on all cylinders. Every song brought an extra layer to the story and hit just right. My daughter was excited that Halsey (Teen Titans GO! To the Movies, A Star Is Born, If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power) had a character in the story. I, however, was absolutely giddy that Sing 2 had Bono (Across the Universe, Lost in London, Pandemica). I kept trying to sing along with the U2 songs during the movie and got shushed…a lot. (I couldn’t help it, and hey – we were at home, where silence doesn’t have an usher to enforce its golden status.)

Of course, one would hope for something like that with a director experienced with the music industry and the regular production of music videos. Jennings didn’t disappoint. I liked him before, but now I’m excited for his next big project…whatever that might be.
There was enough action and boogie to everything that Sing 2 would entertain and hold the fleeting attention of younger kids, while the deeper stories would easily connect with older audiences.

The visual spectacle would be best viewed on a big screen, so if you have a chance to find a theater that might still have it – go for it if you can. Otherwise, it would be a wonderful addition to a family night in. I know it was for me. 

It is unclear at the time of this review which streaming service that Sing 2 will eventually land on. Netflix was reportedly involved with the distribution in some way, but Universal's movies tend to release to Peacock. Just keep your eyes peeled if you need to wait til the rental exclusive period is over.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 71%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 98%
Metascore – 49%
Metacritic User Score – 6.7/10
IMDB Score – 7.5/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 5/5
Movie Trailer:

Monday, March 28, 2022

The King's Man (2021)


Streaming Service: Hulu
Movie Name/Year: The King’s Man (2021)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Length: 131 minutes
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: 20th Century Studios, Marv Films, Marv Studios, Forum Hungary, HKC Entertainment, Ukrainian Film Distribution (UFD), Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Argentina, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Finland, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Disney+
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writers: Matthew Vaughn, Karl Gajdusek, Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons
Actors: Gemma Arterton, Ralph Fiennes, Matthew Goode, Stanley Tucci, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Rhys Ifans, Daniel Brühl, Olivier Richters, Charles Dance, Tom Hollander, Djimon Hounsou, Harris Dickinson, Alexandra Maria Lara, Alison Steadman, Neil Jackson, Robert Aramayo, Branka Katic
IMDb Blurb: In the early years of the 20th century, the Kingsman agency is formed to stand against a cabal plotting a war to wipe out millions.

Selina’s Point of View:
If you’ve been reading for any length of time, then you know I’m a huge fan of The Kingsman (2014 -) series. That return to a more ridiculous spy characterization is right up my alley. So, I have been looking forward to this prequel for a long time.
There was minimal doubt that I would like The King’s Man. Aside from the possibility that the director might opt for a different tone, or the new cast might alter things too much, it was going to happen.
I love this series for all the reasons a more serious critic would hate it. I love that caricature aspect. The over-exaggeration of the action/spy genre is something I just adore. I grew up on all the shows, and movies, that offered up the near-invincible spy with the fancy-ass gadgets. Bringing that into modern times and mixing it up with new filming techniques and exceptional fight choreography is a total win in my book.

The convoluted conflict at the core of a plot that seems basic, but subverts expectations at the most random moments, is a bonus to me. The villains supporting their mostly anticipated motivations with their insane and absurd plots makes it fun. How many times do we have to see the same plan with the same reason behind it before it’s acceptable to see something a little preposterous to counteract it?
Kingsman films are top-tier escapism to me. There are enough scenes that dip into seriousness to make them feel like anything but a parody, while still giving off that ‘turn your brain off and enjoy’ flair.
The King’s Man was exactly all of that. It had moments of glory that sent a chill down my back, huge shocking moments that caused me to exclaim out loud, and great fight choreography. All of it was surrounded with just enough of that caricature feel to make it fit in with the series.

I did find Rasputin to be a bit more cringe than I had hoped for. I don’t know if what went down with that character was the director’s choice, or the actor’s, but the performance did dip a bit more into parody than I’d have preferred.
That was my only issue, though. The whole film did an amazing job explaining core reasons for the existence, and content, of Kingsmen. It was a phenomenal movie, and it did what it needed to as a prequel.
I’m happy to say I’ll be watching The King’s Man again as part of my rewatching of the series. I’ll also be keeping an eye out for the next film, set to be released sometime in 2023.
I will be a Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Stardust, X-Men: First Class) fan for life.

Cat’s Point of View:

The King’s Man landed squarely in the Top 10 of both Selina and my December 2021 Top 20 lists. In fact, our placements only varied by 1 spot. Following so many delays (mostly due to the pandemic), it was such a relief that this production finally hit screens large and small. I was doing internal cartwheels when it became available on Hulu and Xfinity’s On Demand.
I’ve always been a fan of the action spy-thriller genre. Cool gadgets, suave and quick-witted spies, and choreographed mayhem just does it for me. The Kingsman series just settles gloriously into that comfort zone. With this particular franchise, I adore the tailor shop front and all the references to the legends of King Arthur.
The 2nd movie had a little bit of a wobble with fan service over substance, but I still enjoyed it.

That brings me back to this particular installment. The King’s Man is a prequel telling us how the Kingsman Secret Service came to be. So much was packed into 2 hours that I am, frankly, surprised it wasn’t much longer. I honestly wouldn’t have minded. The King’s Man kept me so thoroughly invested in what was going on, I didn’t notice the passage of time. That’s a rare thing for my squirrelly ADHD and MS-addled brain.
Aside from the peek into the Kingsman’s history, the cast of this production was a real draw for me. I have been a fan of Ralph Fiennes (Spectre, Holmes & Watson, The Dig) since long before he lost his nose and waved a wand around. I was a freshman in college when The English Patient (1996) hit screens and caused an excessive need for tissues. His portrayal of the Duke of Oxford was everything I could hope it would be.

I’m also always excited to see Djimon Hounsou (Air, Captain Marvel, A Quiet Place Part II), Gemma Arterton (Murder Mystery, How to Build a Girl, Summerland), and Charles Dance (Johnny English Strikes Again, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Iron Mask). I didn’t even realize ‘til I looked at the credits that Tom Hollander (Tulip Fever, A Private War, Bird Box) played King George, Kaiser Wilhelm, and Tsar Nicholas. Bang-up job, there.
Though, I will say I was floored by a particular action sequence by Rhys Ifans’ (Serena, Official Secrets, Spider-Man: No Way Home) character of Rasputin. Who would have thought that such a despicable and horrible historical figure would be the center of one of my favorite scenes in this movie?! I’m dying to know if he actually performed the stunts or had a stand-in. I digress.

Some history buffs might have had their eyes twitching at the creative license taken with the story. I actually loved the blend of real-world elements and fantasy – spinning a conspiratorial web around the time of World War I and the horrors of that conflict.
The production value alone for The King’s Man was off the charts. This film was flat-out gorgeous.
I would recommend The King’s Man in a heartbeat. You don’t even have to see the other movies in the series before watching it – but after you do, you’ll probably want to.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – 44%
Metacritic User Score – 5.1/10
IMDB Score – 6.3/10
P.S. – There is a short additional scene in the middle of the credits.
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 5/5
Movie Trailer: