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15 Films to See in April

Written by on March 31, 2016 


The calm before the summer storm is here and April brings a number of top-notch films. While we remain curious to see Michael Shannon as Elvis, Tom Tykwer‘s latest feature, and a few others, we pared down what we’re most looking forward to (or can already recommend) into a top 15.

It should be noted that one of our top films to see last month, Midnight Special, will finally get a wide release this Friday, the same day The Witch is re-released to a perfectly numbered 666 theaters. Check out what we’re looking forward to most and let us know what you want to see.

Matinees to See: Miles Ahead (4/1), Standing Tall (4/1), Hardcore Henry (4/8), Wedding Doll (4/8), Rio, I Love You (4/15), A Hologram for the King (4/22), The Meddler (4/22), Sworn Virgin (4/22), and Elvis & Nixon (4/22)

15. Demolition (Jean-Marc Vallée; April 8th)


Synopsis: A successful investment banker struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash.


Why You Should See It: We don’t blame you if you also forgot about DemolitionJean-Marc Vallée‘s latest drama. It opened TIFF last fall and, instead of sneaking it in during awards season, Fox Searchlight waited until this spring to release the Jake Gyllenhaal-led feature. Reviews have been mixed, but, like most of his recent features, it sounds like it’s worth seeing for his performance.

14. The Family Fang (Jason Bateman; April 29th)

Synopsis: A brother and sister return to their family home in search of their world famous parents who have disappeared.

Why You Should See It: One of our favorites from last year’s TIFF, we said in our review, “The Family Fang provides fuel for a future auteur study of its director Jason Bateman: haunted by his past as a child actor, his work in front of and behind the camera frequently explores the effects of childhood on adults as they struggle to move through life. Explored in Arrested Development, his directorial debut Bad Words, this summer’s The Gift, and even Juno, this theme has never been sharper than in The Family Fang. In a refreshing take on material that in another hands might have seemed pedestrian or cheap, Bateman has crafted an effective portrait of a dysfunctional family that’s not entirely unlike the Bluth Family. Rabbit Hole playwright and screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire adapts David Wilson’s novel with a rich emotional precision and as funny as it is, the material takes the absurdity seriously.

13. Tale of Tales (Matteo Garrone; April 22nd)

Tale of Tales

Synopsis: Tales adapted from a 17th-century collection of fairytales.


Why You Should See It: Having the rare distinction of being sold on an image alone (see Salma Hayek gorging on a bloody heart above), Tale of Tales may not fully come together, but it sounds like it’s worth seeing for the caliber of participating talent. As we said in our review from Cannes last year, “A few negligible instances of ghastly CGI notwithstanding, the film is ravishing on every level. Costumes and make-up are lavish and uniformly stunning, the highly ornate indoor settings give each palace its own individually majestic flair, and the exquisite lighting of the exterior scenes, particularly those set in a moss-covered forest, endows the images with a painterly, otherworldly quality, conjuring a pitch-perfect aura of magic and reverie.”

12. Keanu (Peter Atencio; April 29th)


Synopsis: Friends hatch a plot to retrieve a stolen kitten by posing as drug dealers for a street gang.


Why You Should See It: For five seasons on Comedy Central, Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key‘s aptly named Key & Peele ushered in a fresh phase of comedy with countless memorable, hilarious sketches. Although they’ve been featured in many movies, the duo are now getting their own feature with Keanu, which follows their mission to infiltrate a drug cartel to get back their kidnapped cat. Coming from long-time Key & Peele director Peter Atencio, the premiere at SXSW was a bit mixed, but I happen to love their brand of comedy, so I can’t wait to check it out later this month.

11. Afternoon (Tsai Ming-liang; April 1st)


Synopsis: A conversation between Taiwanese auteur Tsai Ming-liang and his muse Lee Kang-sheng.

Why You Should See It: One of the best films we saw at Venice last year, we said, “It’s always been easier to review Tsai Ming-liang’s films than to make sense of them. Characterized by an often impenetrable language of silence and immobility, the Malaysian-born, Taiwan-based filmmaker’s work triggers all kinds of intuitive response that writers crave, yet those same writers might be hard-pressed to explain what they’ve just seen on screen. In this sense, Afternoon poses the exact opposite dilemma, in that it’s by far the most verbal and straightforward project from Tsai – but how do you assess, evaluate, grade something so close to life you’re not even sure what to call it in cinematic terms?”

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