Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to April

april

The upcoming summer movie season promises to be one of the biggest in years, so it’s a bit of a surprise that studios are limping (rather than sprinting) into that period with such a humdrum selection of films. Not even the few blockbusters that have smartly moved away from the summer madness – “The Jungle Book” and “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” – are very enticing, and that pretty much sums up all you need to know about April’s new releases. See a matinee if you must, but you’d be better off saving that money for the busy months ahead.

“The Boss”

Who: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage, Kristen Schaal and Kathy Bates
What: After she’s arrested for insider trading, Michelle Darnell emerges from prison ready to rebrand herself as America’s new sweetheart.
When: April 8th
Why: The last time Melissa McCarthy and husband Ben Falcone collaborated on a movie, it resulted in the groan-inducingly bad “Tammy,” and there’s not much evidence to suggest that “The Boss” – which sounds like a raunchy remake of the 1989 comedy, “Troop Beverly Hills” – will be any better. If you’re a fan of McCarthy’s over-the-top antics, then you’ll probably love her latest character, because it’s basically just another variation of the same obnoxious and mean-spirited jerk that she’s been playing for years. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very funny the first time, and no amount of ridiculous outfits or wigs is going to change that.

“Demolition”

Who: Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper and Heather Lind
What: A successful investment banker struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash.
When: April 8th
Why: Jake Gyllenhaal has really turned around his career over the past few years with films like “Nightcrawler” and “Prisoners,” so it only seems fitting that he would team up with Jean-Marc Vallée, the Canadian-born director partially responsible for Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Reese Witherspoon’s (“Wild”) recent career revivals. Though early reviews for “Demolition” have been mixed, this looks like yet another great showcase for Gyllenhaal as he continues to reinvent himself as a serious actor who’s willing to take risks. The April release date will likely kill any chances for an awards run, but it’s still the month’s best prospect.

“Hardcore Henry”

Who: Sharlto Copley, Tim Roth, Haley Bennett and Ilya Naishuller
What: When he’s resurrected from death with no memory, Henry must save his wife from a powerful warlord who plans to destroy the world.
When: April 8th
Why: Despite generating plenty of positive buzz at SXSW and Fantastic Fest, “Hardcore Henry” sounds like the kind of gimmick-driven concept – in this case, an entirely first-person action movie – that would work better as a short film. While the trailer promises enough over-the-top stunts and violence to give the “Crank” series a run for its money, it’s hard to imagine that the movie will be able to survive solely on its POV gimmick for 90-plus minutes. “Hardcore Henry” will no doubt appeal to gamers and diehard action fans who appreciate its B-movie cheesiness, but for everyone else, this has “direct-to-video” written all over it.

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