There are currently eleven wide release films scheduled to be released in April, with close to another two dozen limited releases which include several festival darlings from prominent directors. Here are the ten that I am looking forward to the most, excluding Avengers Endgame because that is a obvious given (and also the best birthday present ever).
The latest Disneynature Earth Day release is Penguins, and follows Steve, a penguin who journeys with is colony of other male penguins to find a suitable nest, as well as a life partner to start a family. The film is narrated by Ed Helms, and is from the same filmmaking team that brought you other Disneynature films like Bears and Chimpanzee. Penguins will be released nationwide on April 17th.
Every few years or so Hollywood likes to re-hash the body swap/younger version sub-genre to remind audiences that this can be a funny concept if done right. Little is this years version and stars Regina Hall, Issa Rae, and Marsai Martin as the younger version of Hall. This is the second feature film directed by Tina Gordon, who made her directorial debut with Peeples in 2013. Little will be release nationwide on April 12th.
#8: The Best of Enemies
A film that fells like it is built for awards consideration, The Best of Enemies is a biographical drama starring Oscar winner Sam Rockwell and Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson as Klan leader C.P. Ellis and civil rights activist Ann Atwater. The film takes place during the school integration fight in Durham, North Carolina in 1971, and is the screenwriting and directorial debut of Robin Bissell (whose E.P. credits include Free State of Jones, The Hunger Games, and Seabiscuit. The Best of Enemies will be released nationwide on April 5th.
#7: Teen Spirit
The first of two films on this list I saw at TIFF in 2018, Teen Spirit stars Elle Fanning as British teen Violet who is an aspiring singer that wants to try out for a reality show that shares the title of the film. The film is elevated from the usual Cinderella-esque nature of these kinds of films by an amazing supporting performance by Zlatko Buric as Violet’s mentor and coach. Teen Spirit is the directorial debut of The Handmaid’s Tale star Max Minghella, and have a limited release beginning on April 12th.
#6: The Curse of La Llorona
Brining the tale of the Weeping Woman to the big screen, The Curse of La Llorona stars Linda Cardellini as a mother and social worker who has to try and explain the unexplainable. Produced by James Wan and is the feature length debut of Michael Chaves (who will also be directing The Conjuring 3), The Curse of La Llorona will be bringing the scares to the big screen when it’s released nationwide on April 19th.
Rebooting a comic book franchise is no small feat. Sometimes you get Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, sometimes you get Fan4stic. The latest is Hellboy, a reboot of the two feature-length films starring Ron Perlman in as the titular half-demon and directed by Guillermo del Toro. Stepping in his massive stone fist is Stranger Things star David Harbour, and co-stars Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, and Daniel Dae Kim. Directed by Neil Marshall (The Descent), Hellboy will be released nationwide on April 12th.
#4: Pet Sematary
Going from a comic reboot to a horror reboot, Pet Sematary is a retelling of the classic Stephen King novel that first made its way to the big screen in 1989. Starring Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, and John Lithgow, Pet Sematary follows a family who moves to a small town with a big secret about what happens in the woods. Pet Sematary will be released nationwide on April 5th.
#3: High Life
Two things I never though I would utter in the same breath are “Claire Denis” and “sci-fi thriller” but here we are with her latest High Life. The second film on this list I first screened at TIFF last year (which I was extremely fortunate to attend the red carpet world premiere of), the film stars Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Andre Benjamin, and Mia Goth. The less I say about the film the better it will be for you, and A24 did a great job with the trailer in order to make the film look enticing but not giving away anything. This is a film in the same vein as Suspiria (2018) and Climax that divides audiences and stoke plenty of conversation. High Life will be beginning its limited US release on April 5th.
Going away from the Snyderverse and starting with more lighthearted fare first with 2017’s Wonder Woman and continuing to Aquaman, Shazam! is the newest film in the DC(EU) that has garnered a lot of early praise from advanced screenings. The film stars Zachary Levi as the superhero who turns into an adult after his fourteen year-old version of himself shouts the magic word (the younger Billy is played by Andi Mack actor Asher Angel). Co-starring Djimon Hounsou, Mark Strong, Adam Brody, and Meagan Good, Shazam! will be released nationwide on April 5th.
#1: Missing Link
For some people, it’s an actor or actress that they will see everything they star in. For others, it may be a director or a particular Cinematic Universe. For me, it’s Laika Entertainment. The newest film from the creators of Kubo and the Two Strings and Coraline is Missing Link, starring Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, and Zach Galifianakis. Jackman and Saldana star as two explorers who are on a voyage with Mr. Link (Galifianakis) to find his ancestors in Shangri-La. Written and directed by Chris Butler (who also directed 2012’s Paranorman), Missing Link will be release nationwide on April 12th.
What are the April 2019 films you are looking forward to seeing? Leave a comment below, and give me a follow on twitter and instagram @moviebirb.