So far, I’d argue that 2014 is off to a much stronger start at this point than 2013 started, which could make for another great year in film, hopefully. However, while March didn’t quite live up to the hype overall, it was still solid, and April also looks to be in that same boat. The first weekend brings us the next step in the Marvel Universe, Scarlette Johansson seems to bring another solid performance in Under the Skin and we finally see Johnny Depp without make-up on. I’ll say that again. We finally get to see Johnny Depp WITHOUT make-up and a crazy costume. There are some other small films to watch out for that should be really fun, including Tom Hardy’s latest.
Anyway, let’s get into it: A list of some of the top films that are being released this month.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Stars: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson
Synopsis: Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier.
Our Take: Captain America: The Winter Soldier looks incredibly awesome. The commercials have perhaps saturated this a little bit, it’s hard to not be excited for this. Marvel is awesome and this looks terrific!
Under the Skin
Director: Jonathan Glazer
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Paul Brannigan, Lynsey Taylor
Synopsis: An alien seductress preys upon hitchhikers in Scotland.
Our Take: We’ve heard some really great things about this and Johansson looks to continue her great acting of recent, which has us very excited.
Director: Richard Shepard
Stars: Jude Law, Richard E. Grant, Demian Bichir
Synopsis: After spending 12 years in prison for keeping his mouth shut, notorious safe-cracker Dom Hemingway is back on the streets of London looking to collect what he’s owed.
Our Take: Jude Law looks really great in this and while early reports don’t indicate positive signs, this could be interesting, at least on a performance level.
Director: David Gordon Green
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan, Ronnie Gene Blevins
Synopsis: An ex-con, who is the unlikeliest of role models, meets a 15-year-old boy and is faced with the choice of redemption or ruin.
Our Take: Nicolas Cage was in a movie last year that no one saw called The Frozen Ground and he was actually pretty descent in it believe or not. This film looks pretty good and we’ve heard good things, so let’s hope Cage can carry that momentum over.
Director: Ivan Reitman
Stars: Kevin Costner, Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Garner
Synopsis: The General Manager of the Cleveland Browns struggles to acquire the number one draft pick for his team.
Our Take: It should be very interesting to see what Reitman does here giving his background but this looks like it could be a fun, yet predictable film. The NFL draft is a crazy thing each year and this environment should be interesting. But it’s the Browns, so maybe it’s one you skip.
Director: Carlos Saldanha
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Jemaine Clement
Synopsis: It’s a jungle out there for Blu, Jewel and their three kids after they’re hurtled Rio de Janeiro to the wilds of the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, and meets the most fearsome adversary of all: his father-in-law.
Our Take: The first Rio was silly and fun and you can expect much of the same here. This probably won’t have much depth but will be a good family film.
Only Lovers Left Alive
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Stars: Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska
Synopsis: A story centered on two vampires who have been in love for centuries.
Our Take: While vampire films have really worn their welcome, this one looks interesting, mostly because of the cast and early reports haven’t been terrible. That being said, approach this at an arms length.
Director: Wally Pfister
Stars: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman
Synopsis: A terminally ill scientist downloads his mind into a computer. This grants him power beyond his wildest dreams, and soon he becomes unstoppable.
Our Take: Holy lord, Johnny Depp without makeup! This will be a film to see on that along, but also because this is Pfister’s first film after being a well-known respected cinematographer.
Director: Daniel Stamm
Stars: Ron Perlman, Mark Webber, Pruitt Taylor Vince
Synopsis: A cryptic phone call sets off a dangerous game of risks for Elliot, a down-on-his luck salesman. The game promises increasing rewards for completing 13 tasks, each more sinister than the last.
Our Take: The premise isn’t necessarily anything new and Ron Perlman should be great in this world. For horror fans, this could be interesting, but otherwise a predictable horror film.
The Other Woman
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Stars: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Synopsis: After realizing she is not her boyfriend’s primary lover, a woman teams up with his wife and plots mutual revenge.
Our Take: This looks like your typical woman-gets-revenge story and the acting looks terrible. Diaz isn’t a favorite of ours to begin with and this will most likely be one we skip.
Director: Camille Delamarre
Stars: Paul Walker, David Belle, RZA
Synopsis: An undercover cop tries to take down a ruthless crime lord with access to a neutron bomb by infiltrating his gang.
Our Take: This is Paul Walker’s last full length-film to come out and while it will be great to see him one more time, outside Fast & Furious 7, this film looks formulaic and predictable. It could be a fun action flick though.
Director: Steven Knight
Stars: Tom Hardy, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott
Synopsis: A successful construction manager’s life is drastically changed by a series of phone calls while he drives.
Our Take: I’ll see anything Tom Hardy does.
Of course we didn’t cover everything here, but there are several honorable mentions worth nothing here, including Oculus, which is another horror film that seems to fit the mold of what we’ve seen lately. However, I do think the horror fans will show up and this film is worth keeping an eye on. Another film worth nothing is Cuban Fury, and while this is a small film, this stars Nick Frost without Simon Pegg. Frost has been in Pegg’s shadow for so long and seeing Frost front and center is worth catching up with. And since this is the year of the Bible with Son of God, Noah and Exodus coming out in 2014, let’s add Heaven is for Real to the mix. This film is based on a true story and should garner some box office results from the Christian demographic. I’m personally more curious to hear from those who are skeptical, given it’s premise.
What do you think about these films? Does April look good to you at all? Leave us a comment below!