Top 10 – Films not to miss in April 2015

James Spader stars as the eponymous villain in Avengers: Age of Ultron

With the post-awards season graveyard largely over, we’re creeping ever closer to the summer blockbuster season with April. In fact, it would be easy to argue that Avengers: Age of Ultron – which will definitely appear on this list – marks the beginning of the summer.

Alongside the latest franchise behemoth from Marvel, though, there are a handful of sweet comedies, an interesting musical documentary and the latest instalment in a franchise of petrol-headed mayhem.

Here are the ten films you shouldn’t miss in April 2015.

 

10. The Water Diviner (Apr 3)

Russell Crowe directs and stars in The Water Diviner

Russell Crowe has had a lengthy cinematic career in front of the camera, achieving virtually every accolade possible. With that in mind, it was perhaps inevitable that he would make the transition behind the camera, which he has done with sweeping drama The Water Diviner.

The film follows Crowe’s bereaved father as he attempts to recover the bones of his three sons, who were presumed dead at Gallipoli in the First World War. He is driven to look for answers by the suicide of his grief-stricken wife.

Trailers certainly suggest a dazzling visual flair to the film and it absolutely has to be better than its dreadful title.

 

9. Good Kill (Apr 10)

Ethan Hawke stars in Good Kill

Hot on the heels of last month’s terrific The Voices, Arrow Films are distributing Good Kill, which is a modern war film that couldn’t be more timely, focusing on drone warfare.

Ethan Hawke stars as a drone pilot who begins to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, despite never having actually been in the field. Driven by this psychological distress, he begins to question the morality and ethics of fighting with drones.

The film is directed by Andrew Niccol – perhaps most famous as the Oscar-nominated and BAFTA-winning screenwriter of The Truman Show. With such an intelligent filmmaker at the helm, this could be the complex war film that the genre so desperately needs in the wake of American Sniper.

 

8. Fast & Furious 7 (Apr 3)

Jason Statham is on villain duties for Fast & Furious 7

The Fast & Furious franchise is the Bruce Forsyth of cinema. However old it gets, it somehow remains entertaining and never seems to die.

This time around, Jason Statham has been added to the cast as the Big Bad of the latest entry – Fast & Furious 7. Statham plays Deckard Shaw, brother of the previous film’s antagonist, who wants to take revenge on Dom (Vin Diesel) and the rest of his crew.

At this point, we know what to expect from a Fast & Furious film and, with any luck, it will be just as entertaining as the previous entries in the franchise.

 

7. While We’re Young (Apr 3)

Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts play a couple in While We're Young

As a contemporary and collaborator of Wes Anderson’s, Noah Baumbach has a certain reputation for kook and quirkiness. His latest film, While We’re Young, looks set to continue a more mature phase in the career of Ben Stiller.

Stiller plays documentary filmmaker Josh, who is comfortable in his career and marriage to Naomi Watts. When they meet a younger couple (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried), their lives change completely as they rediscover their youth.

While We’re Young sounds like an interesting film that delves into issues of age and how to experience life. It has been getting rave reviews on the festival circuit and could be a great sleeper comedy.

 

6. Child 44 (Apr 17)

Tom Hardy appears alongside Gary Oldman in Child 44

During the reign of Stalin at the head of the Soviet Union, a disgraced security agent – played by Tom Hardy – is tasked with investigating a series of brutal child murders.

Child 44 seems like a rather bizarre film, casting the likes of Hardy and Gary Oldman as Russians in a detective thriller. However, the trailer showcases some brutal violence and Hardy is turning into one of the best character actors of his generation.

It’s a weird one, but it could be great.

 

5. The Salvation (Apr 17)

Mads Mikkelsen leads stylish western The Salvation

Mads Mikkelsen is an ice cool actor right now as a result of his role in TV’s Hannibal. He takes centre stage in Kristian Levring’s stylish western The Salvation

Mikkelsen plays a peaceful settler who finds himself being pursued by a notorious gang leader when he kills the people who murdered his family. The people in his town betray him and he must go it alone in an attempt to survive.

Based on the trailers, there’s a really unique visual style to The Salvation and Mads Mikkelsen is a reliable screen presence. This could be an excellent addition to a genre which is experiencing something of a renaissance.

 

4. Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (Apr 10)

Rock documentary Montage of Heck tells the story of Kurt Cobain

Montage of Heck is a documentary that arrives with a great deal of fanfare behind it. It is already being called “the definitive Cobain documentary” and seems to humanise the man behind the headlines.

Filmmaker Brett Morgen was given full access to Cobain’s personal archives as Montage of Heck is the first documentary made with the cooperation of the Nirvana frontman’s family. With the use of brand new footage, talking heads and intriguing artwork, the film tells the story of Cobain the human rather than Cobain the icon.

It’s a huge topic to take on, but with the buzz behind it, this could easily be the best documentary of the year.

 

3. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (Apr 10)

The original cast return for time travel comedy Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Despite its nutty premise, Hot Tub Time Machine was a minor financial hit in 2010 and did strongly enough on DVD to greenlight a sequel.

The central cast of the previous film reunite for this new story, in which they must return to their bizarre time machine in order to stop a horrible event befalling one of them.

The trailer showcases everything that made the first film a hit, with some delightfully offbeat humour and plenty of time travel shenanigans. This could be the film that breaks the rut of awful comedies which has plagued 2015 thus far.

 

2. John Wick (Apr 10)

Keanu Reeves is winning critical plaudits for John Wick

Keanu Reeves is one of the least reliable performers in Hollywood. For every smash hit he stars in, there is also a glut of under-performing vehicles like the dismal 47 Ronin. He is receiving excellent reviews, however, for breakneck actioner John Wick.

Paying homage to the work of John Woo, John Wick is a joyously violent action movie. Reeves plays the eponymous assassin, who returns to action when a gang of criminal thugs break into his home and kill his dog – a posthumous gift from his wife.

Reviews couldn’t be more positive and, after a huge run in US cinemas, a sequel has already been greenlit. John Wick could be the next big action franchise.

 

1. Avengers: Age of Ultron (Apr 23)

The gang are back together in Avengers: Age of Ultron

That’s right. It’s Marvel time, again. The superhero juggernaut is set to dominate cinemas once again as April gives way to May with its second mammoth team-up Avengers: Age of Ultron.

With SHIELD dissolving as a result of the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Tony Stark comes up with a new program to defend the Earth in the shape of Ultron (James Spader) – an AI. However, the plan backfires when Ultron decides that humans are the enemy.

Marvel have proven themselves to be incredibly reliable in terms of quality, so it’s difficult to imagine Age of Ultron being anything other than amazing – especially with Joss Whedon back at the helm of the project.

The band are back together and it’s going to be great.

 

Which films are you planning to see in April 2015? Are there any I missed or any you will definitely be avoiding. Let me know in the comments section.

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