The summer movie season is almost upon us but before that happens; we have to contend with April’s silver screen offerings, which we must admit looks quite promising after Oscar fever.
As we look ahead to the rest of the month, we can expect some fast paced action flicks, comic-book-to-screen adaptations, sequels no one asked for and more!
Here’s the skinny:
Week of 7 April
The Stars: Bradley Cooper, Anna Friel, Robert De Niro, Abbie Cornish
The Story: Cooper stars as a down-and-out writer Eddie Morra who chances upon an old friend who offers him an experimental drug (not Viagra) that allows him to use 100% of his brain and become a perfect version of himself. Soon Morra takes Wall Street by storm, parlaying a small stake into millions. His accomplishments catch the eye of mega-mogul Carl Van Loon (De Niro), who invites him to help broker the largest merger in corporate history. But they also bring Morra to the attention of people willing to do anything to get their hands on his stash of the drug. With his life in jeopardy and the drug's brutal side effects taking their toll, Morra dodges mysterious stalkers, a vicious gangster and an intense police investigation as he attempts to hang on to his dwindling supply long enough to outwit his enemies.
The Buzz: Directed by Neil Burger andbased on the novel The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn, Limitless’ premise of unlimited brainpower, unparalleled awareness juxtaposed against a backdrop of paranoia and Faustian pacts has the makings of a hit. Shia LaBeouf was originally casted to play Morra until the actor met an accident. Limitless paves the way for Cooper to be taken seriously as one of Hollywood’s leading man but then again, he has that Hangover sequel coming up real soon.
inSing.com says: Looks like April is the month of techno-thrillers with Limitless and later Source Code (see below). It’s a refreshing to see Bradley Cooper all scrubbed up in playing the drugged up alpha male here. That said, judging from the trailer Limitless looks like a thrill ride if you’re into the smart fast-paced action flicks.
April has gone to the birds with another computer-animated feature Rio about nerdy macaw parrot who leaves the comforts of his cage in small-town Minnesota and heads to—where else—Rio. But it seems that the movie tie-ins, especially the Angry Birds Rio game, have been more attention than the flick itself. The Farelly Brothers return to direct Hall Pass—a comedy about two friends whose wives grante them a "hall pass," one week of freedom to do whatever they want... no questions asked
Week of 14 April
The Stars: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Hayden Panettiere, Anthony Anderson, Mary McDonnell, Marley Shelton
The Story: Intended as the first film in a new horror trilogy, this Wes Craven sequel finds Sidney Prescott (Campbell) returning home to promote a book on the anniversary of the town's first brutal murder. But a new killer is on the loose, and soon Sidney and her family are targets.
The Buzz: After one long decade, the Wes Craven horror franchise is back. Scream 4 stars an ensemble cast that includes Emma Roberts (Nancy Drew), Adam Brody (The OC), Hayden Panettiere (Heroes), Rory Culkin (Igby Goes Down), Nico Tortorella and Erik Knudsen (Beastly). Campbell, Arquette and Cox are the only returning main cast members from the previous films.
inSing.com says: Did anyone see this coming? After the first Scream and maybe the sequel, the whodunit-slasher genre has been done to death. Nonetheless, Ghostface and Wes Craven have their loyal following fans we’re pretty sure they waiting to see what twists and turns Craven has in store this time around.
Also Opening:Asian movies abound this week starting with Norwegian Wood. Based on a novel by Haruki Murakami, the movie is melancholic tale that centres on young college freshman Toru Watanabe (Ken'ichi Matsuyama), whose developing relationship with childhood friend Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi) drags into the present a terrible event both would rather bury.
Week of 21 April
The Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga
The Story: When decorated soldier Captain Colter Stevens wakes up in the body of an unknown man, he discovers he's part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train. In an assignment unlike any he's ever known, Stevens learns he's part of a government experiment called the "Source Code," a program that enables him to cross over into another man's identity in the last eight minutes of his life.
With a second, much larger target threatening to kill millions in downtown Chicago, Stevens re-lives the incident over and over again, gathering clues each time, until he can solve the mystery of who is behind the bombs and prevent the next attack.
The Buzz: Intricately plotted, visually inventive and compellingly portrayed, Source Code, directed by Duncan Jones, takes audiences into one of the last frontiers, a world that has fascinated scientists and fiction writers for centuries: time travel. Lead actor Jake Gyllenhaal returns to the time travel canon (anyone remembers Donnie Darko?), and tries to redeem himself after his bad-hair-day raising stint in Prince of Persia.
inSing.com says: Another techno-thriller this month to sate all you adrenaline junkies lest Justin Bieber’s shot at the big screen turns you off. Gyllenhaal’s turn as helicopter pilot Stevens sees the actor taking on meatier roles.
Bawdy Brit comedian Russell Brand has been really busy these few months, first lending his voice for Hop and now starring in a leading role in Arthur. Brand reinvents the role of loveable billionaire Arthur Bach, an irresponsible charmer who has always relied on two things to get by: his limitless fortune and the good sense of his lifelong nanny and best friend Hobson (Helen Mirren), to keep him out of trouble. We also see Nick Cage returning to the big screen with Drive Angry, a 3D action thriller about a man… driving angrily.
Week of 28 April
The Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings
The Story: The mighty Thor (Hemsworth), a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and is forced to live among humans.
A beautiful, young scientist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), has a profound effect on Thor, as she ultimately becomes his first love. It’s while here on Earth that Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.
The Buzz: For a comic book movie, it boasts an impressive cast of heavyweights include Kenneth Branagh taking the director’s chair as well as Oscar winners Portman and Hopkins, playing opposite the relatively unknown but perfectly cast Hemsworth as the God of Thunder himself.
inSing.com says: From the Thor trailers, we can see that a lot of the action takes place here on Earth with a healthy dose of light comedy, especially surrounding Thor himself and his interactions with humans. Initial reports for this movie have been positive so far. After Iron Man, Thor is the second Marvel movie in anticipation of the Avengers film (Captain America: The First Avenger is the third). If you’re a comic geek and grew up reading the comics, this movie is a definite must-see for fanboys.
If you like slasher flicks, then this one’s for you. Cult Japanese auteur Takashi Miike is back with another blood-swords-and-gore fest 13 Assassins, an epic movie about shoguns and samurais. Not as gory but perhaps still gut-turning is Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester in The Roommate, a psychological thriller about a deranged college freshman (Meester) who becomes obsessed with her new roommate.
(Note: All release dates are subject to change; all information correct as of press time.)