Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to April

“Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2”

Who: Kevin James, Neal McDonough, D.B Woodside and Raini Rodriguez
What: Paul Blart heads to Vegas with his teenage daughter before she heads off to college. But safety never takes a holiday, and when duty calls, Blart answers.
When: April 17th
Why: “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” was hands-down one of the worst movies of 2009, but it also made a pretty penny compared to its modest budget, so it was only a matter of time before Kevin James’ idiotic character returned for another adventure. Though it was nice of the studio to give moviegoers six years to recover from the first film, I’m already dreading having to sit through another 90 minutes of James making an ass of himself. There wasn’t a single funny moment in the original, and judging by the trailer for this movie – which includes James getting in a fight with an exotic bird, punching an elderly lady in the stomach and being kicked by a police horse – that streak will continue.

“Unfriended”

Who: Matthew Bohrer, Courtney Halverson, Shelley Hennig and Renee Olsted
What: A group of online chat room friends find themselves haunted by a mysterious, supernatural force using the account of their dead friend.
When: April 17th
Why: Horror movies love a good gimmick, and you have to hand it to the makers of “Unfriended,” because the idea of an entire film taking place on a computer screen during a Skype conversation between friends is just crazy enough that it might work. Though the initial premise sounds a lot like “I Know What You Did Last Summer” for the Facebook generation, there seems to be a supernatural force at work that’s killing these kids. Unless, of course, the whole thing is just an elaborate prank to get back at them for their involvement in the death of their classmate, in which case “Unfriended” could be a clever piece of social commentary about the dangerous effects of cyberbullying. Plan for the worst and hope for the best.

“The Water Diviner”

Who: Russell Crowe, Olga Kurylenko, Jai Courtney and Isabel Lucas
What: An Australian man travels to Turkey after the Battle of Gallipoli to try and locate his three missing sons.
When: April 24th
Why: Russell Crowe has gotten to the point in his career where he can single-handedly get a movie greenlit, and there’s no better proof than his directorial debut. Though many people are probably familiar with the Battle of Gallipoli by name, it’s a part of World War I history that very few know anything else about. That may benefit “The Water Diviner” in some ways, since audiences will go into the film with lowered expectations, but it also makes it an incredibly hard sell. In fact, it’s hard to imagine the movie getting made at all without Crowe’s involvement, and although that likely extended to him playing the lead role, it would’ve been more interesting to see what he was capable of behind the camera without the distraction of acting.

“The Age of Adaline”

Who: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Amanda Crew and Ellen Burstyn
What: A young woman born in the early 1900s is rendered ageless after an accident. After years of a solitary life, she meets a man who might be worth losing her immortality.
When: April 24th
Why: The allure of Blake Lively confounds me, because while she’s obviously an attractive woman, her acting ability leaves much to be desired. Since breaking out on the TV drama “Gossip Girl,” Lively’s film work has been pretty unspectacular, despite working with directors such as Ben Affleck and Oliver Stone. That mediocrity seems poised to continue with “The Age of Adaline,” because although she’s surrounded by some great talent (including veterans like Harrison Ford and Ellen Burstyn, and rising stars like Michiel Huisman), the movie looks like a sappy Nicholas Sparks novel wrapped up in a gimmicky plot device with shades of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “The Lake House.” And with Lively at the center of it, the film was doomed from the start.

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