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15 Films to See in April

Written by on April 4, 2017 

10. Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (Joseph Cedar; April 14)

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Synopsis: Norman Oppenheimer is a small time operator who befriends a young politician at a low point in his life. Three years later, when the politician becomes an influential world leader, Norman’s life dramatically changes for better and worse.

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Why You Should See It: Joseph Cedar (Footnote, Beaufort) makes his English-language debut with Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, and while it seemed to get lost in the shuffle during a fall-festival debut, it’ll now arrive this month. Led by Richard Gere, it looks to be a uniquely crafted, witty drama with perhaps shades of A Serious Man. There’s also the impressive supporting cast of Charlotte Gainsbourg, Josh Charles, Michael Sheen, Lior Ashkenazi, Dan Stevens, Steve Buscemi and Hank Azaria.

9. Graduation (Cristian Mungiu; April 7)

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Synopsis: A film about compromises and the implications of the parent’s role.

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Why You Should See It: Romanian director Cristian Mungiu, who won the Palme d’Or back in 2007 for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, returned to Cannes last year with Graduation and now it’ll finally get a release. As we said in our review, “Neither blackly comic like his debut, Occident, nor as searingly incisive as his Palme d’Or-winning masterpiece 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, Graduation is a well-acted and efficiently directed but schematic rehash of themes that Mungiu and his fellow new-wavers have expounded time and again over the last decade.”

8. Mimosas (Oliver Laxe; Apri 14)

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Synopsis: A dying Sheikh travels across the Moroccan Atlas in a caravan escorted by two rogues.

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Why You Should See It: One of the highlights of last year’s Cannes Film Festival, we said in our review, “A “religious western” is how Moroccan-based Spanish director Oliver Laxe describes his second film, Mimosas. It’s a spiritual, ambiguously plotted journey through the Atlas Mountains, and those willing to give in to its mystical embrace and gorgeous visuals should find it a sensual, engrossing watch.”

7. Your Name (Makoto Shinkai; April 7)

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Synopsis: Two strangers find themselves linked in a bizarre way. When a connection forms, will distance be the only thing to keep them apart?

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Why You Should See It: The highest-grossing anime film of all-time is making its U.S. debut this month, and despite the attention its accrued thus far, I’ve largely avoided learning more about the plot beyond its body-switching conceit. So I’ll make this short and say I’m seeking it out, and will be curious if it makes a similar splash here in the states.

6. Free Fire (Ben Wheatley; April 21)

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Synopsis: Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs turns into a shootout and a game of survival.

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Why You Should See It: His ambitious Ballard adaptation High-Rise was perhaps even more divisive than past films, but now Ben Wheatley is getting down and dirty with his follow-up. We said in our review, “The gunfire alone risks perforating your eardrums as John Denver blares from a 1978-era van’s eight-track, but I think it’s the surprising wealth of comedy that ultimately gets the blood pumping and synapses triggering. Wheatley and wife/writer Amy Jump’s latest isn’t for everyone — fair warning to Hardcore Henry detractors, Sharlto Copley refuses to quit his shtick — but those willing to break free from a desire for plot complexity will undoubtedly be entertained. This is low-brow Reservoir Dogs, extreme genre action meant to energize you with an insane cast of characters hell-bent on killing each other on principle. Although that briefcase of money is appealing too.”

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