https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Skpu5HaVkOc April 2015 is going to be an oddly balanced month in the dungeon dimension that is general cinema releases. For every couple of slower, low-key, or independent bit of cinema there’s a sudden flare of balls-well-and-truly-out action and explosions and things going really fast right by your ear. Some may call this balance a kind of yin and yang dichotomy; that this month’s better picks’ difference in mood and cinematic relation help balance April into a state of film zen hitherto unmet by other months we’ve absently walked through so far. Or, you know, such people may have just read that book on Daoist philosophy you got them for Christmas and gotten a bit too carried away. See for yourself, gentle reader…
April 3rd – Fast and Furious 7
What started out as a series about underground street racing has morphed (through the power of omitting definite articles) into being a description of an explosion with a number attached. The ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise has been progressively moving towards the action movie singularity, to the point where without my previous mentioning of its original intent it’d be hard to tell why all these people are driving cars near explosions, muscles, gadgets and Jason Statham. Given the untimely loss of lead Paul Walker last year in the making of this final chapter of the series, it’s up to Vin ‘Groot’ Diesel and co. to honour his memory with car chases, shootouts and things going ‘boom’ galore.
April 3rd – The Water Diviner
To Antipodeans or those with a few grains of World War One knowledge will know, the Gallipoli Campaign is one steeped in infamy. World War One has never been an easy subject, but given its recent centenary everybody feels cause to do it justice. One of those people is Russell Crowe, making his directorial debut with The Water Diviner, a tale of an Australian father who goes to Gallipoli after the war to find what remains of his sons who fought there. Say what you want about Crowe, this sounds like exactly the kind of sweeping paternal melodrama he could excel at.
April 3rd – While We’re Young
I want to play a quick word association game with you here, okay? What do you think of when I say Noah Baumbach? Feel free to put your associations in the comments section, but you want to know what I think of? If you put Wes Anderson and Jason Schwartzman in their own respective teleportation pods and Cronenberg them together, you’d get Noah Baumbach. I mean, just look at him! That said, the man knows how to make witty little indie films and this one seems to be no exception, especially with Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried bouncing off each other.
April 10th – John Wick
BANG! PUNCH! SHOOT! Don’t you ever feel the whole ‘middle-aged man loses his shit and shoots people’ thing is overplayed these days? SHUT UP! KICK! JUMP! CHASE! John Wick cares not for your assumptions, all it cares about is Keanu Reeves getting even with Alfie ‘Theon Greyjoy from Game of Thrones’ Allen’s crime guy for stealing his car and killing his dog. When a premise is as brazenly straight as that you might be thinking that the film could be a bit simple, but since its release in The States last year, John Wick has been making waves and impressed noises from audiences and critics alike. Now where was I? Oh yeah. FIGHT! EXPLODE! GUN! NOISE!
April 10th – Lost River
It’s a koan for the modern age: if Ryan Gosling is in the woods and nobody’s around to see him, will people still Google pictures of him? Probably, it IS Ryan Gosling after all. While he’s in said woods he might just get around to finally releasing his directorial debut Lost River, a tale of dark secrets, surreal subterranean worlds and a family’s descent into such unknowns. This one had been very divisive at Cannes last year, like an audio-visual marmite starring Christina Hendricks, Saoirse Ronan, Eva Mendes and former Doctor Who Matt Smith. Still, strong opinions are better than no opinions.
April 10th – Good Kill
Hey, you there! Did you like the ethical and philosophical issues raised by the likes of Gattaca, The Truman Show and even the ropier-than-a-pile-of-old-rope In Time but thought they could do with more drone strikes? Well it’s a good thing the writer/director of such films, Andrew Niccol, has teamed up with frequent collaborator, the so-hot-right-now Ethan Hawke, to produce the tale of a drone pilot becoming increasingly and horribly aware of the toll that his job takes not only on people half-way around the world, but on his own psyche.
April 17th – Child 44
I know Child 44 is a critically acclaimed novel by Tom Rob Smith from 2008 and this it’s inevitable movie adaption, but heck-damn the premise is so good I am willing to circumnavigate my cynicism about such adaptions. Child 44 sees Tom Hardy’s disgraced military police office Leo Demidov on the hunt for a child murderer in Stalinist Russia, but how can he when the state claims “there is no crime”? Alongside Hardy expect to see Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman, Paddy Considine, Vincent Cassel and Charles Dance acting until the scenery falls apart.
April 23rd – Avengers: Age of Ultron
Do I really have to inform you all of the next Avengers movie? In the past year we’ve upgraded from running around in our hype shoes to scooting around on hype skates to hurling ourselves down the slalom in a fully-fledged hype toboggan over this next step in Marvel’s movie-making money machine, so I mean, do I really? Oh okay, fine: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans and Hemsworth) find themselves fighting a monster of their own making, the robo-bastard Ultron (James Spader), his underlings Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and a seemingly endless army of his robo-clones.
April 24th – A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
Honestly? I just picked this one just for the title. Then I did some digging and found a little more about this peculiar Swedish film, the self-dubbed “final part of a trilogy about being a human being” after director Roy Andersson’s previous two films Songs From the Second Floor and You, The Living, A Pigeon…is a compilation of short, oddly comic tales about, well, goodness really knows at the end of the day. When you’re classifying your films about what it is to be a human being you certainly can’t say they’re being pigeon-holed (film’s title notwithstanding). If you fancy something a bit more peculiar to end your April with, you can do no stranger than this.