Spring is in the air and with it a renewed sense of purpose for moviegoers. We have a packed April full of hidden gems so let’s take a look at them…
FILM OF THE MONTH: EVERY DAY – 4 stars (out 20th April)
Credit: Vertigo Releasing
David Levithan’s cherished novel comes to the big screen through the eyes of director Michael Sucsy who delivers an absorbing romantic drama full of magic and heartbreak. It focuses on Rhiannon (Angourie Rice), a teenager who falls in love with someone named A. The only problem is, A transforms into another person every day. A story like this could have been dragged down with needless exposition but Suscy allows the romantic side of things do the heavy lifting. Make no mistake, Angourie Rice is going to be the best actress of her generation, and her ability to change gear and make you invested in her character is both admirable and amazing. There’s great support from a cast of up and comers too. An intelligent and beautifully structured romance that tackles some big issues and lingers long in the soul.
LOVE, SIMON – 4 stars (out 6th April)
Credit: 20th Century Fox
The most important Hollywood romantic comedy to land for quite some time, Love, Simon is a glorious ode to classic John Hughes movies, and the first to feature a gay character as its lead. Simon (Nick Robinson) lives a great life, surrounded by good friends and a loving family. The only problem is that he’s been keeping a big secret – he’s gay and is scared to go public with the news. A particularly annoying classmate finds out and blackmails Simon to help him get together with one of his friends. Fearing the worst, Simon reluctantly agrees… if just to preserve the trust he has built with an anonymous person on the internet known as Blue, whom he has struck up a strong bond with over emails. Robinson delivers a star-making turn here and is magnetic onscreen. The 80’s-tinged soundtrack is superb, the cast are all great and the story has genuine heart, clear of cliché.
READY PLAYER ONE – 4 stars (out now)
Credit: Warner Bros
Steven Spielberg returns to sci-fi fantasy with a bang in this brilliantly breath-taking spectacle. It’s 2044 and the world is plunged into a climate and energy crisis, with many living in poverty. Their only escape is the Oasis, an online virtual world where you can literally do anything you want. The platform’s late creator (Mark Rylance) hid an Easter Egg in his creation granting the person who finds it untold riches and the power to control the Oasis. Enter Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) a teenager who, under his online guise of Parzival, seeks to win the quest. But his actions attract the attention of a media empire headed by Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), who will stop at nothing to gain power. Full of pop culture references that will blow your mind, this is exactly how big budget cinema should be. Throw in an amazing cast and a truly stunning sequence that takes place in the world of a very popular horror movie, and you have one of the finest films of the year.
BLOCKERS – 4 stars (out now)
On face value, this crassly titled sex-comedy should have been an epic fail (Blockers is preceded by the picture of a cockerel on the poster to signifying the theme of the story). Parents John Cena, Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz team up to prevent their daughters (the excellent Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan and Gideon Adlon) from actioning a sex-pact on their prom night. Tracking the girls and their beaus down over the course of one crazy night, the parents and the teenagers get more than they bargained for. This has an unbelievable amount of heart, is genuinely funny and the cast are led superbly by director Kay Cannon, who finally gives us a sex comedy from the teen female perspective. Kudos to the Kehoe brothers for scripting the clever story, and look out for Gary Cole and Gina Gershon’s scene-stealing cameo too.
MIDNIGHT SUN – 4 stars (out now)
Katie (Bella Thorne) has a rare skin disorder which means that she can’t be out in sunlight. Cared for by her Dad (Rob Riggle), Katie has had a crush on a boy she has seen from her bedroom window since she was a child. After a chance encounter one night, she meets Charlie (Patrick Schwarzenegger) and the two soon fall in love. But keeping her condition a secret could be their undoing. Thorne really should be a bigger star than she is, and does well here. Patrick Schwarzenegger certainly has his father’s charm, and Arnie’s son makes a strong case for himself with a solid performance. This won’t be to everyone’s taste but it evokes a bygone era of 80’s romantic dramas that shamelessly tug at the heart-string, and approaches its story with so much sincerity that it’s hard not to love. The young teen market will get the most out of this, but don’t let the cynics deter you – this unashamedly wears its heart on its sleeve, and I commend that.
GHOST STORIES – 3.5 stars (out 6th April)
Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman’s popular stage performance comes to the big screen in this effective and suitably British chiller. After receiving a mysterious summons to investigate 3 unexplained cases, Professor Goodman (Nyman) gets more than he bargained for, and unearths some scary demons from his past in the process. To tell more would give too much away, but the cast are great, including Martin Freeman, Paul Whitehouse and Alex Lawther, with the scares plentiful and, at times, quite brilliant.
ISLE OF DOGS – 4 stars (out now)
Credit: 20th Century Fox
inIf you like Wes Anderson films, then you’ll love this too. Using stop-motion animation, we join a group of dogs marooned on a trash-heap island after a mysterious virus spreads across Japan. A young boy named Atari crash-lands on the island and together with the dogs (voiced by Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton and Bob Balaban) goes in search of his own lost pooch. Sweet, hilarious and frequently offbeat, with Anderson’s unique style and vision used to great effect here.