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Cinema: What’s on this April
Image Credit: Photo courtesy of STX Entertainment Motion Picture Artwork © 2017 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved. PHOTO CREDIT – NICOLA DOVE

Cinema: What’s on this April

31 March 2017 | Edd Elliott

It’s April and the sun is slowly appearing from behind the clouds. You don’t want any of that though, do you? You’d much prefer to be sitting quietly in a darkened room – getting a tan is so 2016. Peer ahead to the cinematic delights on offer next month with our handy guide.

Blockbusters
 
If you feel like having your block busted over the next few weeks, your options are slimmer than usual. The big release at the start of the month is The Fate of the Furious, the eighth – I repeat, the eighth – edition of the Fast & Furious franchise. How did it come to this? Having languished in ignominy with Furious 3/4/5, the motor-fuelled series is now more overwrought than ever, and this latest offering promises – wait for it – cars racing submarines. Lap it up: early indications suggest Fate is the last movie for Dominic Torreto & co. The other multiplex stonker closing April off is Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2. The first film proved a cult hit, and expectations for the sequel are perilously high. Can director James Gunn guide this jukebox space vehicle into safer solar systems? We shall see.
 
Many of the other big releases for April are comedies. From Britain, Their Finest collects an all-star cast for a period romp – does the British film industry do anything else these days? A rag-tag bunch of misfits must band together to make a WWII propaganda film, the picture stars Gemma Arterton, Bill Nighy and heart-throb Sam Claflin. Finally, Going in Style continues the trend of geriatric cappers with three OAPs – played by Morgan Freeman, Alan Alder and, of course, Michael Caine – robbing a bank to reclaim their pensions. Normally this form of satire sinks into the cinematic pits, but Going in Style is directed by Scrubs hubby and general goof-ball Zach Braff, so there may be some glimmer of hope yet. It opens on 7 April.
 
 

Art-house
 
Venturing into the Curzons and Picturehouses of this world and there’s a healthy crop of local and international cinema out this April. Following up on the recent Age of Shadows, Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden continues the Korean takeover. The stylish guts-and-gore director made his fame with underground hit Oldboy, the film that single-handedly removed octopuses from restaurant menus world over. This latest film is a psycho-sexual drama exploring the intrigues of an aristocratic home during Korea’s period of Japanese occupation – it is released on 14 April. There are also two poet biopics out soon: Pablo Larrain’s Neruda, a comedy-drama based on the Nobel Prize winning poet’s flight from Chilean authorities; and A Quiet Passion, English film-making legend Terence Davies’ look at the greatest of American wordsmiths Emily Dickinson – it’s a passionate and heart-felt affair.
 
In the documentary category, Raoul Peck delivers a searing and timely release I Am Not Your Negro. The film charts the life and speeches of novelist James Baldwin, one of the most important and influential activists of the 1960s US civil rights movement. Lots of links are drawn to today’s political climate, the film is released on 7 April. Out two weeks later is Letters From Baghdad, a survey of the life of Gertrude Bell. A largely unknown name now, Bell was an immensely important figure for the late British Empire in the Middle East, and a huge believer in the local culture. She was friends with T.E. Lawrence and knew Winston Churchill. Narrated by Tilda Swinton, it’s not a movie to miss.

 

One-off & special screenings
 
Let’s get local: there’s a whole bunch of amazing one-off screenings happening in regions near you. Picturehouse are making a full nationwide screening of adrenaline-fuelled odyssey Mad Max: Fury Road in its new Black & Chrome edition. Watching George Miller’s 2015 bonanza was like having steroids injected into your eyeballs – any excuse to see it again on the big screen, chrome or otherwise, should be taken! It crashes into cinemas for one day only – 30 April. On the same day, lots (but not all) Picturehouses are showing One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Milos Forman’s adaptation of the Ken Kasey’s novel was one of the defining films of the American New Hollywood era – but its messages are looking increasingly apt for today’s world… And if you need more Jack Nicholson, down at the Watershed in Bristol there is a re-screening of The Shining on 23 April as part of their Film Scores season.
 
A few more local screenings: The Bristol Cube has a special showing of era defining French film La Haine, also on 23 April; The Oxford UPP shows largely forgotten Tarantino gem Jackie Brown in their cosy screening room on 2 April; and there will be (sometime this month) a full release of Mulholland Drive. David Lynch’s mind-mangler was recently voted the best film of the 21st Century – a slightly dubious choice. But if you are set on seeing this folding narrative again, keep your eyes peeled for the screening dates, to be announced soon.

 

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