10 films to lookout for this April

10 films to lookout for this April

This month at the movies, we will see Nazis invade from the moon in the eagerly awaited Iron sky; we’ll see the most unlikely league of extraordinary justice as several iconic superheroes team up in The Avengers. We will see the work of Joss Whedon everywhere. We will see salmon fishing blossom in the Middle-east in Salmon fishing in the Yemen; We’ll see not one but two organic Jason Segel slacker comedies in The five-year engagement and Jeff who lives at home; we’ll see Sean Penn do a Robert Smith from the cure impression in This must be the place . Plus this month, there are a pair of horror movies, both set in creepy houses – are there any other kind of houses in the movies? Just some of the films that are heading to cinemas this April.  If you are planning on visiting cinemas this month, there’s a good chance you’ll be seeing one of these films:-

Iron sky (released April 20th)

There’s a man on the moon, lots of them in fact, and women and they are Nazis! The trailer for this makes it look like an absolutely sensational Hollywood ‘B’ movie with a mega-budget. It’s actually a Finnish production that – as the other Filmfellas talked about in the podcast – partly raised the budget using an innovative process in the movie business called ‘outsourcing’, which involves soliciting online donations from anyone willing to get involved and even offering-out creative work such as graphic designing and story-contributing to fans of the concept around the world. This really is the people’s Nazi movie then. If it’s a hit financially, it may revolutionize the way films are made and help filmmakers on the fringe of the industry, which can only be a good thing. The story appears to have a fun tongue-in-cheek comedic value to it and it seems like a hard film to pigeon-hole given that it splices genres together as diverse as sci-fi, comedy, alien invasion movie, disaster movie and action film.  Nazis invading from the moon seems to be a corking idea to start a plot. Hands down, this is the most interesting film on release this month. The film has had a growing fan-base since production was completed last year; In America, 50,000 people put a pin in a clever promotional map on the Iron sky website,  indicating they want Iron sky to be distributed in their area. Put your pin in their map, March down to your local multiplex, bang your fist on the counter and in your best commanding military leader voice shout’ I demand to see Iron Sky’. Go on do it, do it! Seek it out and help change the way films are made. Click here to get your pin in the Iron sky map.

Cabin in the woods (released: out now) 

Discovering a cabin in the woods in movie-land is never going to lead to good things. If you’re a character in movie land and you discover a cabin, you should run-away! Run away, for sinister things are going to happen. The group of glamorous teens who discover a cabin in the woods in this horror movie are in for a big surprise, but it’s a surprise that promises a lot more than just your average, dangerous weapon wielding maniac, as this film puts a new twist on an old horror formula. To say anything more about the plot would be to risk revealing the surprises of what exactly is going on in this cabin. The story is written by Joss Whedon – the creator of the underrated Firefly, Serenity and yes, Buffy the Vampire slayer – so there must be some creative ideas buried in this particularly sinister cabin. And just look at that poster for a strong suggestion that this cabin is not all as it seems. Debutant director Drew Goddard has really gone for a full-blooded tone as the film has got an R rating in America.

This must be the place (released: out now)

If you are thinking: hmm, does that title have anything to do with The Talking heads? Well, you would be right as it does reference David Byrne and The Talking heads; their music supplies the soundtrack and ties-in with the retro rock theme of the film, embodied by Sean Penn’s central character: a gothic, quietly spoken shy and retiring former rock-star with a penchant for wearing stark make-up and unruly back-combed hair. Penn’s character is American but he is blatantly inspired by Robert Smith from The Cure.  The story could be engaging, it involves Penn’s character, a retired rock-star who lives off his royalties as he attempts to alleviate the boredom brought on by retirement by searching for a Nazi war criminal who humiliated Penn’s character’s Dad.  This looks like an offbeat, dry-witted road movie that aims to be quietly engaging. Penn though is somewhat of an acquired taste and his character here could be interesting, but he could also potentially be as squirm-inducing and irritating as his character in I am Sam.

Jeff who lives at home (released: April 20th)

This film is another low-key indie comedy that focuses on another thirty-something slacker who is aimlessly adrift and going nowhere in life. There is a fine line between comedy and tragedy which is usually why lay-about slackers provide pretty funny organic comedy – just look at the films of Seth Rogen for further evidence. The always affable and charming Jason Segel stars, alongside a face you’ll recognise as the dentist from The Hangover, Ed Helms. Susan Sarandon, a proven actress with great comedic ability, also stars. The plot follows Jeff who lives at home’s life changing epiphany as he realises what his destiny is, which has something to do with him tracking his brother’s (Helms) possibly adulterous wife.

Often this kind of organic film can provide true to life mirth as well as some unexpectedly moving human drama, wrapped up in a message offering some insight to life. Purely speculation of course, this film might equally be bland and boring. We will have to wait and see.

Headhunters (released: out now)

‘’This is Roger Brown, corporate headhunter, addicted to luxury, buried in debt, and hiding a secret life,  so states the trailer for this allegedly rip-roaring and intense Norwegian thriller.  Vacuous corporate arse-holes are just about the most hateful figures about in the modern world right now. Make one a hapless and desperate central character in a film in which said central character embroils himself in a dangerous criminal underworld, thus bringing a series of unfortunate events upon himself, is going to be entertaining to watch then, in a twisted sort of way.  This film looks like it has a Coen brothers crimes-going-wrong dose of wry humour to it, as well as a cautionary message about the dangers of making one’s life goal about the relentless pursuit of materialism.

The Scandinavians have proven themselves to be masters of hard crime dramas with films like The girl with the dragoon tattoo series. They can do dark and sinister complex stories very well. Look out for Headhunters in cinemas this month.

The Avengers (released: April 26th)

Thor, The Hulk, Iron man and Captain America have all been lucrative summer blockbusters over the last decade; it makes perfect financial sense to do a film with all of ‘the world’s mightiest heroes’ fighting crime together, but does it make good narrative sense? To be fair, Samuel L Jackson’s Avengers assembling character Nick Shield has popped up at the end of Iron man, Thor, and Captain America to tease interest towards this collaboration so it was obviously planned before most of the other superhero movies this connects to. Plus, the idea has been a favourite in Marvel comics since the sixties when superheroes would often team up to fight crime. The film does look spectacular and there is something exciting about seeing all those characters in the same blockbuster. But there are always problems putting an ensemble of well-known characters in a blockbuster. Whether director Joss Whedon has managed to get the balance right between the character driven clash of egos and the action, remains to be seen. If he has, The Avengers could be as sensational as The Watchmen, if he hasn’t, it could be as awful as Van Helsing. It seems to me that making this film work is less about the heroes, and more about establishing a credible threat from the villain. What villain is formidable enough to be a match for all those superheroes? Step forward Loki. Can the villain from Thor be a match for all the Avengers? Will The Avengers live up to its marketing hype? Expectations are high – all will be revealed when The Avengers storms into cinemas in a few weeks.

The five-year engagement (released: April 20th)

Commitment phobic people in 3-or more year-long relationships should probably not take their partners to see the second of the Jason Segel slacker comedies on my list. The trailer for this natural comedy looks hilarious and also suggests the pairing of Segel with likeable British actress Emily Blunt, is a match made in rom-com heaven. This seems far more spikey and less soft around the edges than the average rom-com. Segel and Blunt seem to have a lovely chemistry as well as a funny comedic spark together. What’s more, the film seems like a departure from the usual glossy Hollywood romances that give romantic comedies a bad name. There seems to be some message about how people make sacrifices in their personal life in the pursuit of career success. It also seems to capture something of the essence of a real relationship and actually tries to say something about what it is like to actually be in a romance with someone. It may even be influenced by excellent films about the fragility of romance like Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind and Before sunset. If the film is as consistently punchy and amusing as the trailer, it could be a classic romantic comedy.

Salmon fishing in the Yemen (released: April 20th)

Based on the novel by Paul Torday, this film is about the passion of a rich and ambitious sheik and his dream of transporting the cold water sport of salmon fishing to the desert. In terms of unlikely, near impossible projects, the ambition in this is up there with the time Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski worked together to transport opera to the jungle in the excellent Fitzcarraldo.  If it’s anything as good as that film it should be interesting. It’s definitely an original idea and given it is about bringing fish to a setting they were not designed to survive in, it is literally a play on the fish out of water story. Without seeing it, I suspect the sheik’s hard work and determination to reach his goal against all odds, is represented in the journey of the salmon, who famously work hard swimming against the stream  – just like the sheik – only to be caught, killed and packaged as a supermarket product, err, unlike the sheik. An alternative title clearly could have been: Swimming up-stream. Such a story might make for some interesting visual poetry and some romance about the importance of being ambitious and pursuing something against the odds, which is always an inspiring message. The film stars Emily Blunt as an opportunistic press security to the prime minister, alongside Ewan McGregor, as a sceptical fishing expert. The pair endeavour to help the Sheik realize his ambition and no-doubt there will be a bit of romance in the air between McGregor’s and Blunt’s chalk and cheese characters.

House at the end of the street (released: April 20th)

Moving house in the movies is just about an as inviting a prospect as spending time in a cabin in the woods. If you’ve found a house in movie land that isn’t possessed by ghosts or isn’t terraced with a pathologically insane asylum bound murderous crazy, than stay put – you’ve lucked out. If you move, you’ll surely find trouble awaits you and you will be fighting for your life pretty soon after the move. Such an ill-fate pair of movers come here in the delightful form of Elizabeth Shue and Jennifer Lawrence, as a mother and daughter combo who, move house only to discover that they moved in next to a house in which a small girl massacred her parents. Perhaps they should have done a little research before committing to their new home, as selling a house next to a scene of a massacre is going to knock a fair chunk off your property value – and in this cutthroat mortgage climate, you can’t afford to lose price value off your house. The volatile property market is the least of these girl’s problems though; they have to survive to the end of the film before they can think of shifting this death-trap of a home. It’s not an original idea but often this type of horror movie can still be frightening if the premise is well executed and the timing of the scares is pulled off to perfection. This looks like it could be an intense, seventies style horror film.

Marley (released: April 20th)

Decades after his death, the music and vibe of Bob Marley still defines a subculture around the world. Go to any chilled out beach town across the globe, from Jamaica to Indonesia and you’ll see a place made as a shrine to the God of Reggae. Marley has left an enduring legacy that is as popular today as it was when the dreadlocked Rasta master was still with us. I mention all this as the highly acclaimed documentary Marley is released in cinemas this month. The film is directed by a proven documentary film talent, Touching the void director Kevin Macdonald. Documentary filmmaking is going through something of a golden period right now. There was a time when people would only watch documentaries on television, but now there have been so many great documentaries like Senna (last year), Inside job and the films of Werner Herzog like Grizzly man and Into the Abyss (still on release) , that people are willing to pay money at the cinemas to see interesting documentary films. Well, why shouldn’t real life be just as thrilling as fiction?

Marley contains unheard Marley songs, a candid look at the iconic star from the people who knew him well, as well as unseen footage of the man himself. If you like Bob Marley and most people do, you must add this to your must see list of films this April.

Proceed with caution: 

Battleship 

The latest Hollywood blockbuster is yet further evidence that the movie producers in Tinsel-town are so desperate for ideas that they are once again willing to raid the children’s toy-box to provide weak premises to hang a bunch of set-pieces off. This film is based on the board-game Battleship, but will it be a hit or a miss? Personally, I hope this sinks without trace. Creating Movies based on board games is pretty desperate, whatever next: Mousetrap the movie? Guess who? Trivial Pursuit? How about boycotting the movie and playing Battleships with you mates and family? You never know, it might bring you closer together – those games still have charm, presumably, unlike this film. If you ask me, with this and Titanic 3D still on release, there are far too many films around this month about doomed vessels.

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About Filmfella Darren
Film critic, writer and long-time cinema appreciator. I write about cinema matters, because cinema matters. Like your clothes and your laptops, my articles were made in Taiwan.

5 Responses to 10 films to lookout for this April

  1. Mark Walker says:

    Hey fellas. I gave you mention for the ‘7×7 link award’ for the good work you are continually doing. It may be beneath the quality you guys deliver anyway but hopefully it’ll bring a fee more people to your blog. Here’s a link for a bit more info http://mrmarakai.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/7-x-7-link-award/

  2. Filmfella Darren says:

    Thanks Mark. We appreciate the positivity and all the thoughtful comments you’ve left. You are officially listed as the visitor who has left the most comments on our site. I think that makes you our number one fan!Thanks again for coming back to our website.

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