Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to April


April has always been an odd month for new releases, particularly now that the spring movie season doesn’t really exist anymore, at least not in the minds of studios. Instead, everything seems to be split into two groups: films that fit the summer mold and those that don’t. But while moviegoers will be pretty limited with their options this month, it’s definitely one of the more promising Aprils in recent memory.


Who: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Jessica Lucas and Lou Taylor Pucci
What: Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods.
When: April 5th
Why: Remakes are always a worrying proposition, especially for fans of the original film, but when it was announced that Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert were behind the modern-day update of “Evil Dead,” there was a collective sigh of relief. After all, who better to trust then the trio responsible for the 1981 cult original? It’s also nice to know that the film isn’t just a rehashing of Raimi’s first movie, but rather a whole new story with new characters in an otherwise familiar setting, and if the early buzz from the film’s world premiere at last month’s SXSW festival is any indication, Fede Alvarez’s remake/reboot/sequel (whatever you want to call it) has everything horror fans could possibly want – namely, the gooey red stuff, and plenty of it.


Who: James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel and Danny Sapani
What: An art auctioneer mixed up with a group of criminals teams up with a hypnotherapist in order to recover a lost painting.
When: April 5th
Why: Danny Boyle’s follow-up to “127 Hours” can’t get here quick enough, especially after being delayed by the director’s other engagements on stage (the National Theatre production of “Frankenstein”) and for his country (the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony). His new movie is a return to roots of sorts, reteaming with frequent collaborator John Hodge (“Shallow Grave,” “Trainspotting”) for the kind of gritty, edgy crime thriller that he cut his teeth making in the mid-90s. It’ll be interesting to see what Boyle brings to the genre now that he’s a more mature and wiser filmmaker, because “Trance” looks a lot more experimental than his recent work, and despite its “Inception”-like premise, that’s probably the most exciting thing of all.


Who: Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Lucas Black and Christopher Meloni
What: The life story of Jackie Robinson and his history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers under the guidance of team executive Branch Rickey.
When: April 12th
Why: Baseball movies and biopics have never really been my cup of tea, but I’d be lying if I said that “42” hasn’t grabbed my attention. Maybe it’s the trailer’s unconventional use of Jay-Z’s “Brooklyn (Go Hard),” or the gutsy decision to cast relative unknown Chadwick Boseman in the lead role, but writer/director Brian Helgeland’s baseball drama certainly displays a lot of promise. Helgeland hasn’t exactly had the best luck in recent years, but both “A Knight’s Tale” and “Payback” are underrated guilty pleasures, and though “42” would probably be released later in the year if the studio believed it had any shot at being an Oscar contender, that shouldn’t affect the potency of the story. Plus, who doesn’t want to see Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey?


Who: Simon Rex, Ashley Tisdale, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan and Jerry O’Connell
What: A couple begin to experience some unusual activity after bringing their newborn son home from the hospital, only to discover that they’re being stalked by a demon.
When: April 12th
Why: It’s been seven years since the last “Scary Movie” was released in theaters, and quite frankly, not much has changed in that time. These stupid parody films are still being produced for dirt cheap, and even if they bomb, the studios make out like bandits. The real losers are the actors themselves, because this is the type of movie where careers go to die, as evidenced by the involvement of former stars like Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan and Heather Locklear. And the fact that “A Haunted House” (starring “Scary Movie” co-creator Marlon Wayans) spoofed many of the same films only a few short months ago makes this fifth installment even more pointless, although I’m not entirely sure that’s possible.

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