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15 Films to See in April

Written by on April 4, 2018 

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The calm before the Cannes and summer movie season storm, April has the makings of one of the best months of the year for movie-going. Featuring a top five selection of films that I imagine we’ll see a lot more of on year-end lists, there’s also exciting studio fare, Isabelle Huppert and Michelle Pfeiffer vehicles, and much more.

Matinees to See: Blockers (4/6), Lowlife (4/6), Big Fish & Begonia (4/6), Chappaquiddick (4/6), Pandas (4/6), Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami (4/13), Wildling (4/13), Borg vs. McEnroe (4/13), Godard Mon Amour (4/20), I Feel Pretty (4/20), Super Troopers 2 (4/20), The Devil and Father Amorth (4/20), and Ghost Stories (4/20)

15. Where is Kyra? (Andrew Dosunmu; April 6)

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Synopsis: In Brooklyn, New York, Kyra (Pfeiffer) loses her job and struggles to survive on her ailing mother’s income. As the weeks and months go on, her problems worsen. This leads her on a risky and enigmatic path that threatens her life.

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Why You Should See It: After giving one of the best supporting performances in last year’s mother!, Michelle Pfeiffer’s next leading role arrives with Where is Kyra?. The latest film from Mother of George director Andrew Dosunmu, reteaming with the incredible DP Bradford Young, follows the actress as a divorcee adrift in NYC trying find some semblance of clarity in her life. Dan Mecca said in his review from last year’s Sundance, “This is a more fully-realized performance than anything she’s done in some time. Physical in every conceivable way (without giving too much away), it’s the kind of turn that will hopefully draw attention back to this talented performer. Sutherland is also commendable as Kyra’s potential knight in shining armor, a good man with a past he’s continually trying to make amends for.”

14. A Quiet Place (John Krasinski; April 6)

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Synopsis: A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.

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Why You Should See It: With its inventive trailer playing before every tentpole the last many months, John Krasinski’s foray into horror will finally arrive this week. After a SXSW premiere that effectively frightened audiences, we’ll have to see if the hype holds up. At the very least, perhaps it will encourage audiences to seek out Millicent Simmonds’ breakout performance in Todd Haynes’ overlooked Wonderstruck.

13. Mrs. Hyde (Serge Bozon; April 27)

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Synopsis: A teacher who has been disliked by her colleagues and her students develops a nocturnal alter ego after she is struck by lightning.

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Why You Should See It: It’s always a good month when we see more of Isabelle Huppert on screen, and this month her NYFF selection arrives in theaters. “Mrs. Hyde, a socially bellicose, darkly humorous farce with aesthetic and spiritual echoes of both giallo horror and recent Kaurismäki, is the latest work of film critic-turned-actor-turned-director Serge Bozon,” Rory O. Connor said his review from Locarno last year.

12. Sweet Country (Warwick Thornton; April 6)

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Synopsis: An Aboriginal man goes on the run after he kills a white man in self-defense.

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Why You Should See It: Winner of the top prize at TIFF’s Platform section, Christopher Schobert said in his review, “What Sweet Country lacks in surprises is more than compensated for with emotional power and haunting images. The outback has rarely looked so harsh and unforgiving. Australian director Warwick Thornton, whose debut feature Samson and Delilah earned the Caméra d’Or at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, achieves something rather noteworthy here. He has created a film set in eerie, wide-open spaces that also feels utterly claustrophobic. There is nowhere for Sam and Lizzie to hide, and no place that feels the least bit welcoming.”

11. Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc (Bruno Dumont; June 13)

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Synopsis: Young shepherdess Jeannette, the future Joan of Arc, already carries the weight of the the French nation on her shoulders as she grapples with matters of the soul.

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Why You Should See It: Following his continually surprising Li’l’ Quinquin and Slack Bay, Bruno Dumont’s metal musical take on the Joan of Arc story is perhaps more fascinating in conceit than execution, but it’s no less worth seeing. Ethan Vestby said in his review, “It’s easy to imagine the “old-school” Bruno Dumont Joan of Arc film; faith, martyrdom, and the landscape of the French countryside intermingling to a wrenching finale, with Bresson and Dreyer certainly paid their transcendental cinema due. Though perhaps realizing their films weren’t the be-all, end-all in terms of representing the French icon, even if Preminger, Rivette and uh, Besson, had also offered their own takes that showed a portrait beyond the trial and subsequent burning at the stake, he finally set about making it, but as a new artist.”

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