Top 10: Films not to miss in April 2014

Peter Parker faces off against Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2

After an awesome March, the world of cinema is now moving into April with another host of great releases. There are some top blockbusters hitting screens, as well as some really exciting indies.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier stamped its mark on last month and superheroes are set to take centre stage again in April as The Amazing Spider-Man 2 arrives. The Hunger Games is also set to meet its match when Divergent rolls in on the back of impressive business in America.

Here’s my top ten.


10. Divergent (out now)

Shailene Woodley and Theo James in Divergent

Hot on the heels of The Hunger Games and other various failed franchises based on popular young adult novels, Divergent is the latest attempt at dystopian sci-fi for teens.

In a society divided by personality traits, Shailene Woodley (great in The Descendants) plays a young girl who takes the test that should define her life… and doesn’t fit anywhere. As a threat to the established order, she must conceal the fact that she’s “Divergent”.

It’s not the best of premises, but Woodley is a solid actress and there’s always the chance of another Katniss Everdeen.



9. The Quiet Ones (Apr 11)

Sam Claflin stars in found footage horror film The Quiet Ones

Sticking with The Hunger Games, star Sam Claflin is going British for the latest Hammer horror film. Mixing conventional narrative with found footage (yawn) trickery, The Quiet Ones stars Jared Harris as a professor aiming to create a poltergeist.

It seems interesting enough and the cast is solid, with Claflin rocking The Hunger Games and Harris playing an awesome Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows. Hopefully it can match up to The Woman In Black, which was a gem in the revived output of Hammer.



8. The Love Punch (Apr 18)

Emma Thompson and Pierce Brosnan play a divorced couple in The Love Punch

We’re back to the “grey pound” again. It’s The Best Exotic Marigold Caper as Emma Thompson and Pierce Brosnan play a divorced couple who unite to get back their retirement money by stealing a priceless diamond.

These type of movies pop up every few months nowadays and they’re always entertaining fare. The trailer teases some solid giggles and a tone of nice comic relief. Could be a nice Sunday afternoon relaxation trip.



7. Noah (out now)

Russell Crowe leads an all-star cast in Noah

The biblical epic is back with a bang as Darren Aronofsky takes on a $125m adaptation of the Noah story, starring Russell Crowe as the titular beardie builder. Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Logan Lerman and Emma Watson complete the starry cast, with Ray Winstone playing a snarling villain.

Reviews have called Noah everything from sublime to ridiculous, but with Aronofsky at the helm, it was never going to be a straight adaptation of the source.

Next up: Ridley Scott takes on Exodus.


6. Locke (Apr 18)

Tom Hardy in the trailer for thriller Locke

Taking a break from beating up Batman and being Mel Gibson, Tom Hardy takes the lead in this high concept indie about a Welsh bloke in a car.

Staying almost entirely in its one location, Locke is a thriller from Eastern Promises director Steven Wright. It chronicles a series of phone calls received by Hardy’s construction manager as he drives home on the M6.

With an intriguing high concept under its belt and a real star in the lead role, this could be one of the surprise successes of the year.



5. The Double (out now)

Jesse Eisenberg plays two roles in The Double

After making us laugh for years as Moss in The IT Crowd, Richard Ayoade burst onto the scene as a movie director with the smart comedy Submarine. The natural next step, of course, is to adapt Dostoyevsky.

The Double features Jesse Eisenberg as both a bland, lonely employee and his brash, outgoing doppelganger. It’s a great starting point for comedy and the film has drawn comparisons with the visual style of Terry Gilliam and David Lynch.

Just a shame about the limited release.



4. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Apr 16)

Andrew Garfield is back in The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man was a polarising film. There’s little doubt that it was too soon to reboot the Spider-Man universe, but Andrew Garfield was solid in the lead role and Marc Webb’s film was a lot of fun.

Garfield, and love interest Emma Stone, return for the sequel as Spidey must do battle against a number of villains, including Jamie Foxx as Electro and Dane DeHaan as some incarnation of Green Goblin.

Expect lots of stuff to blow up and Garfield to quip at every possible opportunity.



3. Calvary (Apr 11)

Brendan Gleeson stars as a threatened priest in Calvary

Brendan Gleeson is one of the great comic actors of his generation, whether he’s swearing through In Bruges or glugging down Polyjuice Potion in the Harry Potter movies. He has reunited with The Guard director John Michael McDonagh for the black comedy Calvary.

Gleeson is a priest, who has his life threatened during confession. A galaxy of interesting faces pop up, including just about every Irish comic actor currently working, and there will definitely be laughs.

With five-star reviews flooding in, this is one to watch.



2. Transcendence (Apr 25)

Johnny Depp is more machine than man in Transcendence

When someone can cast Johnny Depp in their debut film as director, it’s clear they’re a big deal in Hollywood. And Wally Pfister – long-time cinematographer and Christopher Nolan collaborator – is definitely a big deal.

Transcendence stars Depp as an AI researcher who is implanted into a machine when anti-tech protesters mortally wound him. Those around him are unable to stop the machine from becoming more powerful than they could possibly imagine.

Trailers showcase an intriguing directorial vision and the concept is really clever. Fingers crossed for a sci-fi classic.



1. The Raid 2 (Apr 11)

Iko Uwais reprises his role in actioner The Raid 2

Indonesian martial arts flick The Raid was one of the best films of 2012, with its jaw-dropping fight choreography and beautiful simplicity. Ahead of the inevitably disappointing English language remake, original director Gareth Evans has made a sequel.

Iko Uwais returns as Rama, now exploring the deeper criminal network around the first film’s antagonist. Expect blades, bullets and blood to fly as the film escalates into something truly crazy.

Here’s hoping for another instant classic.



Let me know which of these films you have seen or plan to see in the comments section below. Are there any exciting releases I haven’t mentioned?

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