This month brings Amazonian exploration, shoot-’em-ups, boundary-pushing documentaries, kaiju battles, and more. Before the summer genuinely kicks off, and with it the Cannes Film Festival, there’s also a handful of films from last year’s outing. Check out our picks for what to see this month and chime in with what you’re most looking forward to.
Matinees to See: Win it All (4/7), Gifted (4/7), Mine (4/7), Their Finest (4/7), The Void (4/7), Aftermath (4/7), Salt and Fire (4/7), The Assignment (4/7), Queen of the Desert (4/7), The Student (4/14), By the Time it Gets Dark (4/14), Little Boxes (4/14), The Fate of the Furious (4/14), The Promise (4/21), Tramps (4/21), One Week and a Day (4/28), Obit (4/26), Buster’s Mal Heart (4/28), and Sleight (4/28)
15. The Circle (James Ponsoldt; April 28)
Synopsis: A woman lands a dream job at a powerful tech company called the Circle, only to uncover a nefarious agenda that will affect the lives of her friends, family and that of humanity.
Why You Should See It: With Smashed, The Spectacular Now, and The End of the Tour, James Ponsoldt has crafted a number of commendable dramas in his relatively brief career thus far, and his latest will find him stepping up his scope. Starring Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Karen Gillan, Ellar Coltrane, Patton Oswalt, and Bill Paxton in one his last roles, we hope The Circle isn’t as on-the-nose as its marketing suggests.
14. The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (Juho Kuosmanen; April 21)
Synopsis: The true story of Olli Mäki, the famous Finnish boxer who had a shot at the 1962 World Featherweight title.
Why You Should See It: After premiering at Cannes, where it won the Un Certain Regard Prize, Juho Kuosmanen‘s debut feature went on to become Finland’s Oscar entry, and it’ll now arrive this month. As we said in our review, “The Happiest Day In the Life of Olli Mäki is a boxing biopic that has no interest in the sport of boxing. Juho Kuosmanen’s dryly funny, blissfully sweet, and deceptively absorbing work revels in Olli Mäki’s psychological surroundings as he contends with the strangeness of national promotion, the accruing pressures of competing, and a burgeoning romance that’s feeling more permanent than he expected.”
13. Casting JonBenet (Kitty Green; April 28)
Synopsis: After two decades of media speculation and public fascination, filmmakers explore the macabre legacy of the world’s most famous child-murder case.
Why You Should See It: In 1996, the six-year-old JonBenét Patricia Ramsey was murdered in Boulder, Colorado, and in the 20-plus years since, the perpetrator has yet to be found. It’s a story that has captivated the world; now, a new documentary takes an intriguing angle with exploring the infamous unsolved murder. Looking to take a meta approach in forming a recreation of the surrounding events and those involved, it promises to be a powerful, dark experience.
12. My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea (Dash Shaw; April 14)
Synopsis: An earthquake causes a high school to float into the sea, where it slowly sinks like a shipwreck.
Why You Should See It: If you’ve become numb to various boss babies and talking cars that studio animation has to offer, the surrealist debut of Dash Shaw might be more up your alley. Following a group of students (including those voiced by Jason Schwartzman, Lena Dunham, and Reggie Watts), we said in our review, “Writer-director Dash Shaw’s hand-drawn picture is fun and slight without overstaying its welcome. It never runs out of energy and is constantly in a state of innovation and surprise, parodying pop-culture references as vast as Deep Blue Sea and Peanuts.”
11. Small Crimes (E.L. Katz; April 28)
Synopsis: A disgraced former cop, fresh off a six-year prison sentence for attempted murder – returns home looking for redemption but winds up trapped in the mess he left behind.
Why You Should See It: After producing and distributing his Sundance-winning drama I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore, Netflix is staying in the Macon Blair business. Their next collaboration isn’t one he directed, but rather wrote with E.L. Katz, who is making his directorial follow-up from the humorously brutal Cheap Thrills. Starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Robert Forster, Gary Cole, Jacki Weaver, Larry Fessenden, Pat Healy, and Blair himself, the SXSW premiere will hit Netflix this month.
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