Upcoming: April

With March swiftly coming to an end and cinema getting closer and closer to blockbuster season, it’s time to take a look at the impending month ahead, as Upcoming looks to tackle the films released in the UK over the course of April.

This Must Be The Place, Released 6 April

Kicking us off for this month is Paolo Sorrentino’s This Must Be The Place, starring Sean Penn as an aging rock star as he goes on the road to search for the Nazi torturer of his father who is claiming refuge in America. Having premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last May and having featured at Sundance at the start of this year the film has been met with a certain amount of critical praise and will clearly have a decent reputation to live up to.

With critics’ favourite Sean Penn at the helm on screen, his portrayal of a sombre, child-like retired rock star in the mould of The Cure’s Robert Smith has been much talked about for the star’s distinctive departure from the normal complex political performances he usually turns out evident in the major hit Milk and more recently opposite Naomi Watts in Fair Game. In these terms, the movie should prove interesting in terms of how Penn delivers in the role which takes him clearly out of his comfort zone that has seen him reach the top of his profession in combination with the juxtaposition of his bored rock star with the quest of finding the man who persecuted his father. The film should be intriguing to see if the admittedly uniquely yet clear mixing and matching of genres will work on screen, and whether or not Penn can carry the picture in a decidedly challenging character for the actor over the duration of the film.

Watch/avoid: Tentative watch as the critics have been praising it, yet the mixing and matching of genre make it a very unique but also a potentially odd viewing.

 

Battleship, Released 11 April

One of the more heavily hyped flicks of early blockbuster season is released by Universal this month in the form of the big budget, action-packed Battleship. Purportedly and rather ludicrously billed as being based on the Hasbro children’s game, it seems bizarre to state on your official website that the story of a film with a budget of 200 million dollars is inspired by a game with no overt narrative outside of blowing up the opposition’s ships in sea warfare. Obviously, this likely reveals the level as to which the story is set to develop, with the explosions and cool CGI probably replacing any semblance of plot and perhaps explains why the story is set to delve into utilising science fiction as a cheap crutch and provide a battle with an alien race instead of anything that takes any thought for the production team to conjure up.

A large reason why the film has received such a grand level of press however is for its cast list. Although Taylor Kitsch will probably do an adequate job in the lead, he is unlikely to set the world alight here. Instead his cast mates will steal the spotlight far more convincingly, with True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgard getting a big chance to prove himself on the big screen and Liam Neeson appearing in yet another bit role where he will undoubtedly prove himself again to be a capable and reliable hand. Perhaps the biggest addition to the cast in drawing the most attention to the flick is by far the inclusion of singer Rihanna in the film. While her role will more than likely be limited and receive a disproportionate amount of screen time in relation to the amount of hype behind her first screen role, Battleship will likely be remembered mainly for the singer’s appearance than anything else.

Watch/avoid: Avoid – Hollywood can’t get away with using such cheap tactics as marketing something as being based upon or inspired by a game with no ostensible narrative. With a budget of 200 million dollars, expect this to flop on a massive scale.

 

The Cabin in the Woods, Released 13 April

Written, directed and produced by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon who have credits of being part of the driving forces behind such television shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Lost and much more, The Cabin in the Woods is apparently set to reinvent the horror genre completely. Dissatisfied with the deluge of what has been labelled ‘torture porn’ in the style of the Saw series and probably fed up with the re-emergence of reality-based horror in the ilk of Paranormal Activity dominating the genre, Goddard and Whedon collaborated in what is being billed as a game-changer in terms of the horror movie as a brand.

Resorting to much more traditional approaches to the horror film, the trailer indicates the more familiar turn of a group of young people on a road trip who stop at a desolate cabin for directions, only events take a turn for the worse and a game of survival for the characters begins. While none of this seems particularly ground-breaking, the trailer alludes to a twist on the tried and tested formula and that this a movie that takes the foundation of all great horror films and builds on top of them in a different and unique manner that is both genuinely scary and truly original. The critics have been positively playing this film’s credentials up ahead of its release, and with Whedon’s track record, it very much has the potential to live up to these appraisals.

Watch/avoid: Obviously if scary movies aren’t your cup of tea, this is likely a big avoid, but otherwise the promise of a reinvention of the horror genre and the reliability of Whedon means this could be a surprise hit.


Marley, Released 20 April

If you’re living in the UK and have been swept up with all the sunshine from the past week, there is probably no film that will match the uplifting and mellow feel of this documentary detailing the life and times of the late Bob Marley. By far the most recognisable face of reggae music, Marley’s life and career have been celebrated and profiled many times since his tragic premature death, but promises of unseen footage and unearthed performances mesh with an intimate portrait of the man behind the music.

With a substantial amount of people who were close to the man himself participating in the picture, director Kevin MacDonald has publicly stressed his desire to make the conclusive and most complete biopic of Marley ever, and its performance at the Berlin Film Festival in February perhaps indicates that it will live up to MacDonald’s hopes. Clearly, documentaries aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, yet the subject matter of Bob Marley’s ostensibly positive perspective of the world is infectious, and this will likely be fairly comfortable watching material for a sunny afternoon whether you’re a fan of the man or not.

Watch/avoid: Definite watch if you’re a fan, otherwise it’s an insightful and light look at the man behind the instantly recognisable image which is well worth a look.


Avengers Assemble, Released 26 April

Titled simply The Avengers in the United States, this comic book movie is perhaps the most heavily anticipated film of the month in terms of having a vast audience in avid comic book collectors already having been salivating at the prospect of the big screen incarnation for almost four years after being commissioned in the wake of the runaway success that Iron Man turned out to be in 2008. Written and directed by the aforementioned Joss Whedon earlier in this column and with the substantial team put together within the Marvel juggernaut behind the movie, it seems that the film will be in very capable hands and dealt with in a manner that should make fans satisfied after such a long wait.

Moreover, the cast list is incredibly stacked with star power, and this may perhaps be part of the tactic of drawing in the mainstream audience which Marvel usually does so well. With Robert Downey Jr. reappearing as Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson attached as Black Widow and with last year’s attempts to make the Thor and Captain America characters earn name recognition with a mainstream audience, it appears that the core cast is absolutely bursting with stars. Add to this appearances from Samuel L. Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow and How I Met Your Mother’s Cobie Smulders and the only potential problem that could occur is if there is not enough room for each character to truly shine in what could become an oversaturated mess. Still, the level of spectacle will likely be incredibly high, and it is rare that Marvel misstep in adapting their stories for the big screen. It may also be interesting to take note of how well this performs in comparison to the summer’s blockbuster reboot of the Spiderman series and whether or not this release could affect attendance rates either positively or negatively later this year.

Watch/avoid: Watch for the spectacle. There’s been a lot of people impatiently waiting for the release date and Marvel’s rare disappointments in their outputs make this one to catch if you get the chance. Pick of the month.

 

Albert Nobbs, Released 27 April

After missing out on the prestigious Best Actress gong at this year’s Academy Awards in favour of Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady, Glenn Close’s performance that earned her nomination in the category arrives in the UK for general consumption. Receiving mixed reviews for the film as a whole while garnering universally positive sentiments for the legendary Close’s involvement, the drama based on a short story by Irish writer George Moore has been splitting critical audiences for a while now.

Depicting a woman posing as a man in order to afford her the opportunity to work for a living, Glenn Close purportedly offers a sterling performance as the dedicated and troubled Albert Nobbs, while Janet McTeer gained many plaudits for her supporting role in the picture. Although the concept of Moore’s original narrative potentially lends itself to descending into Shakespearian cross-dressing absurdity, the bleak subject matter and struggle of Nobbs’ story meshed with the stellar Close and a great supporting cast also including the wonderful Mia Wasikowska and the tenured Jonathan Rhys Meyers means that this is very much a serious and inevitably well-acted piece of drama.

Watch/avoid: Although it’s said to be splitting audiences and critics alike, the accomplished cast list lends itself to probably being a rewarding watch, although it seems that the subject manner by the end of the film is perhaps a little blue considering the rapid approach of summer.

 

That wraps up this month’s edition of Upcoming, please feel free to leave your thoughts of the films in the comments section below as well as any that you’re really looking forward to that didn’t make the list.

 

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~ by jrhett on March 29, 2012.

One Response to “Upcoming: April”

  1. […] character to truly shine in what could become an oversaturated mess’ (full article available here https://rhettmedia.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/upcoming-april/), and it’s clear that the issue was a problem in terms of muddying the movie. The integration of […]

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