An Unusual Slate: April 2016 Movie Preview

M: So, let’s see what April has to offer in the way of “major” releases… a Christian movie sequel (a bit of a first), another horrible looking Melissa McCarthy vehicle (cone on Hollywood, she’s funny, let’s get her some good material), a terrifyingly awesome looking new version of an old Disney classic, the Barber Shop crew taking on drive-by shootings, a sequel/prequel (I can’t even tell) to a Snow White movie that wasn’t particularly successful or well reviewed, and another rom-com-interconnected-story-centered-around-a-holiday crapfest. Summer movies can’t get here soon enough.

E: May movies (often the cream of the warm weather crop) can’t get here soon enough. That lot sounds pretty lame.

M: I don’t get it. What’s different between the beginning of May and April? Not even colleges are out of school until late May, and those early May blockbusters don’t usually last into mid-to-late June when lower grades get out. Spread the wealth, already!

E: Yes please!

M: And it turns out, the undercard, the limited releases, contains a pretty enticing looking slate of films. So strange.

E: So C is finishing writing her dissertation this week, and will not be joining us. Better luck to us all preparing for May, when she’ll merely be defending it! Or not so much. Not to mention June, when we’re all preparing for her wedding…

M: Yeah, if you thought the March “preview” was late…. but we digress. On to April’s unusual slate!

Week 1 – God’s Not Dead 2, Meet the Blacks, Everybody Wants Some!!, Miles Ahead

Week 2 – The Boss, Hardcore Henry, Before I Wake, Demolition

Week 3 – The Jungle Book, Barber Shop: The Next Cut, Criminal, Green Room, Colonia

Week 4 – The Huntsman Winter’s War, Elvis & Nixon, A Hologram For The King, Tale of Tales

Week 5 – Mother’s Day, Keanu, Ratchet and Clank, The Man Who Knew Inifinity, A Beautiful Planet

April 1

God’s Not Dead 2 (wide)

M: The original centered around a Christian student standing up to an atheist professor at a college. This sequel takes things a step further. A public school teacher, played by Melissa Joan Hart, quotes the Bible in response to a student’s question about non-violence, and how it relates to Jesus’ command to “love thy enemies”. In Law&Order-ripped-from-the-headlines fashion, a student in the class texts their parents about it, and the situation blows up into a court case that involves the ACLU, an attempt to prove that Jesus existed, and apparently a concert by the Christian band Newsboys (who happen to sing the song “God’s Not Dead”).

E: “Singing God’s not dead, No, His children aren’t afraid!” Ahem. No, I don’t like that song or anything. Not that it’s the one that gets sung in the movie.

M: No, it’s “God’s not dead, he’s surely alive. Living on the inside, roarin’ like a lion.” Ahem. Not that I like that one or anything.

E: What I genuinely don’t like is all the inflated rhetoric. Christians are being persecuted… we’re at war… It’s too melodramatic and too much for me.

M: While I probably don’t feel exactly the same as you in general about this topic in society, I agree in this context. The melodrama is through the roof.

E: Christians under the rule of ISIS/DASH are being persecuted.

M: Given the recent news stories, this could not be more true.

E: For these grim-faced American Christians to use that phrase, “we’re at war,” with the cartoon liberals swearing they hate everything that believers stand for? This turns me off big time.

M: Because you’re a liberal. I will say, the line that Jesse Metcalfe, who plays Hart’s young crusading attorney, delivers “If the rights of Christians are subservient to all other rights, then they aren’t rights at all” rung very true to me.

E: Metcalfe seemed like the most realistic part of the trailer, which feels like a weird thing to say.

M: VERY. Meanwhile, Ray Wise plays the evil opposing counsel (which is not weird to say), and Robin Givens, Duck Dyansty‘s Sadie Robertson, original Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson, and the late Fred Thompson round out a solid cast.

E: Fred Thompson? How old is this movie?

M: He just died last year, E. Movies don’t come out immediately, you know this. Alan Rickman was in a movie that came out last month, and is probably in several still in the pipeline.

E: I guess. It feels like longer ago, somehow.  And oh, the type-casting: how hilarious is it that scenery-chewing Ray Wise goes from literally playing the Devil to playing the God-hating monstrous ACLU lead counsel?

M: A friend of mine and I were talking about Wise and how type-cast he is. He does, however, appear to be in a lot of Christian movies.

E: Do you suppose this is because he seems so devilish, or because he actually is Christian?  A curious question.

M: I think a bit of both.

Meet the Blacks (limited)

M: I’m assuming this is supposed to be a spoof comedy, not another film in the Purge series, but it’s not 100% clear from the trailer. Let me clarify. It’s clear that it’s not an actual horror movie. And Boxofficemojo lists it as a comedy. What’s not clear is if it’s actually funny.

E: Especially considering that one of the main characters is played by Mike Tyson.

M: He was pretty funny in that video of him falling off a hoverboard.

E: *snort*

M: Mike Epps stars as the titular Mr Black, the head of a new money family moving into Beverly Hills right before the night of the purge, which is announced on TV by President George Lopez. Epps crack a couple lines in the trailer that I think are supposed to be jokes.

E: In case you’re as confused as I was by this, readers, Meet the Blacks is a very, very specific horror movie spoof; it riffs off the Ethan Hawke vehicle The Purge, about a dystopian near-future where once a year the totalitarian government allows a sort of violent overnight free for all, in which mask wearing citizens can commit any crime they like. In this version, the intended crime victims are the nouveau-riche Black family. The attempts at humor revolve solely around racial stereotypes and, as M said, didn’t make me laugh.

M: Exactly.

E: I guess you know if this movie is for you, though.

Everybody Wants Some!! (limited)

M: The trailer for this states repeatedly that this is Dazed and Confused, but set in the 80’s. The trailer for this romp through the early days of a college freshman’s frat-boy experience of booze, drugs and girls looks like it will live up to that. There was, however, no sign of Matthew McConaughey.

E: Signaling that he has reached an age where even Hollywood (or at least director Richard Linklater) thinks he’s too old to creep on high school girls.

M: Whoa whoa whoa, I think you’re giving them too much credit. It was probably just a scheduling conflict. You know what really gets me with this?

E: What’s that, bro?

M: That writer/director Richark Linklater, who not surprisingly also wrote and directed 1993’s Dazed and Confuzed, last project was Best Picture Oscar nominee (and likely second place finisher) Boyhood, for which he was nominated (and also likely a close runner-up) for best director. Not exactly cut from the same cloth, these two.

E: Well, given the fact that one of them is a comedy and the other isn’t, I can still see some similarities. You haven’t seen Boyhood, have you? Linklater has a pretty specific vision of what everyone does in high school and you do see it represented in Boyhood, too. But let me talk more for a moment about the fact that they’re calling this an 80’s movie, when it’s really got that 1980 transitional moment going on when everything still looked like the late seventies (witness the characters listening to 1979’s “My Sharona,” the mustaches and the baseball t-shirts) and not actually classic 80s fashion.

M: Yeah, this is definitely not a height of the decade, One Crazy Summer-era 80’s movie, that’s for sure.

E: But it definitely feels like a type of movie relatively popular in the 80s — the college keg fest, like Animal House (again, from 1978) and Revenge of the Nerds (1984). If you don’t mind the totally sexist stuff, or the hazing, or the cast of mostly unknown 30 year olds masquerading as college students, then whatever.

M: I actually thought a few parts of it, like Freshman baseball, looked funny.

E: Horrifying, but funny.

M: Exactly, not real-life funny, goofy movie funny. Overall, though, I’ll wait for reviews and recommendations, without holding my breath.

Miles Ahead (limited)

M: Hooooo. This was not what I expected when I started watching the trailer for this Miles Davis biopic. Written, Directed by and starring the great Don Cheadle, this seems to focus more on the later life of Davis, and a scuffle with his record label that involves theft and attempted murder. Ewan McGregor co-stars.

E: Attempted murder? Say what now?

M: Watch the trailer. There’s heavy involvement by Davis’ handgun.

E: Okay, reporting back: this trailer is fascinating, really fascinating.

M: Totally, right?!?

E: We travel back in time between flashes of Davis’s early stardom (performing on stage, then meeting, wooing and eventually losing his wife) to his older, frizzy haired, reclusive incarnation, both radiating confidence. As he ages, though, Miles’s cool turns hot; we don’t see him lose control, but he’s certainly willing to push extreme boundaries to recover the master tapes he believes belong to him and not his record label.

M: It made me realize how little of Davis’ story I know, and made me want to learn about it.

E: That’s a Quibbling Sibling for you: faced with anything unusual, what we do is research! I was totally intrigued. I’d like to see this. Not in the theater, but some time.

M: Definitely.

E: And I really like Cheadle, so I’d like to support his endeavors.

April 8

The Boss (wide)

E: You can blame Melissa McCarthy’s husband Ben Falcone for this Girls Scouts gone rogue comedy, since he wrote and directed it. And McCarthy herself, since Falcone pretty much only has the chance to make movies because he’s married to her. After their last outing together, Tammy, was such a critical disaster, you’d think that he wouldn’t be able to rebound so quickly with another dud.

M: Well, I don’t think studios necessarily care if crude comedies are a critical disaster if they make money. So, inexplicably, Tammy must have made money. Well, maybe explicably. It was probably super cheap to make.

E: Meh. Cheap as a horror movie?

M: I don’t think reality TV is as cheap as a horror movie, so that’s not a fair bar.

E: Maybe. You’d think all that gore would cost something.  Anyway, I really, really want to support female lead films in general, and I adore McCarthy’s most recent hit, Spy, (as well and McCarthy herself and costar Kristen Bell) but this story of a nasty mogul/ex-con and her sweet former employee taking over local cookie sales just didn’t make me laugh.

M: Every time I watch the commercials I feel like it’s McCarthy parodying Donald Trump, and I’ve seen too much of him over the past year, so I’m instantly turned off.

E: Yet another reason to stay far, far away from this movie. I will say, though, the Girl Scout cookie is ripe for the comedic picking. It doesn’t look like this is the movie to do it, but I’d be happy to be wrong.

M: Oh, definitely.

Hardcore Henry (wide)

E: In a million years I can’t imagine going to see this ultra-violent video game of a movie, told from the first person perspective.  First of all, the filming style makes me want to vomit.

M: More than just a video game of a movie, this is literally intended to be a first person shooter film. I’ll likely never see it either, but I do give them credit for trying something different. Other than the first person gimmick, though, this looks like virtually every Jason Statham vehicle, and shares the basic plot points of most first person shooters.

E: Aiming for a Total Recall style, a man wakes up from the dead, resurrected by his hot scientist wife (Jennifer Lawrence look-alike Haley Bennet). Before he can remember much about himself or their lives together, a cartoon villain bursts into the room, and his wife smuggles him out while being taken captive herself. Henry aims to get her back with the aid of an inexplicably helpful tech expert played by Sharlto Copley. Tim Roth stops in for a pep talk as Henry’s dad.

M: Yeah, I feel like this is a good moment to step up on a soap box. I’m clearly getting old, because now every time I see a commercial for some game like Mobile Strike, with characters gleefully snapping other characters’ necks, or shooting them in the head, I feel like the game should include unskippable scenes of those characters’ funerals, replete with grieving widows and children and stuff. Ok, old man rant over.

Before I Wake (wide)

E: I think we might have previewed this one before – the story of a foster child whose nightmares may become real was supposed to come out last year.

M: Good memory sis, we totally did, back in September.

E: It stars Thomas Jane and Kate Bosworth as the foster parents in over their heads.  And of course everything’s a complete disaster. Like the foster care program needs this kind of press?

M: None of us were interested then, none of us are now, either.

Demolition (limited)

E: When this trailer started, I had thoughts about where it was going to go. I don’t even know why, but I expected it to be some sort of thriller.

M: Because it totally leads in like a thriller trailer. It starts off all lighthearted and focuses you on something trivial, then…. WHAMMO!

E: It could be the name, too.  Instead what gets blown up here is Jake Gyllenhaal’s life. His wife’s death numbs him, and sets him on a path of self discovery that involves a friendship with a customer service representative and her young son, possibly wrecking his career, and literally dismantling his house. If he takes the pieces of his life apart, he reasons, he’ll be able to figure out how to put everything back together. Can he?

M: As someone who has a side of him that likes to tinker with things, I loved the line “If you want to fix something, you have to take everything apart and figure out what’s important.” I love how they apply it to not only him taking apart technological things in the trailer, but to his life, marriage, etc.

E: This totally reminded me of the time you got suspended in high school for trying to fix a broken calculator.

M: To be accurate, I *almost* got suspended. I was able to talk my way out of it, thankfully.

E: Ah — I thought you were suspended but then got the suspension reversed.  Either way, that was totally where my head went.

M: Good to know.

E: Anyway, I like Gyllenhaal in thoughtful roles, and I’d like to check this one out. Again, not in the theaters, but I’m definitely intrigued by it.

M: I like Gyllenhaal in most roles, so we’re on the same page.

April 15

The Jungle Book (wide)

E: I can’t quite decide how I feel about this one.

M: I know how I feel. I think it looks amazing. Stunning. Awesome. And scary as crap.

E: I’m sure you’re in the majority, but I might be waiting for the reviews to know what a live action version of the Kipling-inspired classic animated feature will go.

M: Can we really call this “live-action”? I mean….

E: So much depends on the CGI. And the script. A live action version will, necessarily, need to tread more closely to reality than the goofy/scary original did with its talking, singing animals. Can it be a whimsical fantasy when the animals look real?

M: I don’t think they’re going for whimsical. Like virtually everything else these days, I think they’re going for gritty/realistic.

E: Yes, but my point is, the original was whimsical. And that’s what I like about it. On the other hand, with King Louie I’m not sure the filmmakers were going for reality; he’s preposterously large.

M: The original was part whimsical, and part scary. But let’s move on… the people involved are amazing, from Jumangi‘s Jon Favreau directing…

E: He’s made Iron Man and Elf, and you go for Jumanji? Really? I’m particularly puzzled by this because I can’t figure out why you think he’s involved with Jumanji at all. He certainly didn’t direct it.

M: Oh geez, my bad. I always remember that he directed Zathura, and that movie reminds me so much of Jumanji, that I am constantly thinking he directed it, too. And I thought it was most relevant given the CGI animals. However, yes, Elf and Iron Man are much better feathers in his cap.

E: Especially compared to a movie he had nothing to do with.

M: Too true. Anyway, the voice talent includes the incomparable Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Bill Murray as Baloo, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa (fantastic twist there), Christopher Walken as the aforementioned King Louie, Lupita Nyong’o and Giancarlo Esposito. Good stuff.

E: It is, but let me use this moment to complain that Hollywood seems to be incapable of casting Oscar winner (and red carpet queen) Nyong’o’s body in addition to her voice. Incredible stupidity. Get over whatever’s holding you back, people!

Barber Shop: The Next Cut (wide)

E: A feel good addition to the comedy series sees the barbershop crew vowing to take back their neighborhood from gangs. The humor is broad, but over all it looks sweet.

M: The trailer looks a bit too preachy and campy at times, but that could just be the trailer, and I commend Ice Cube and company for trying to send the right message.

E: I really can’t believe that you’re going to call this preachy after (sort of) defending God’s Not Dead 2. They’re not even in the same universe of preachiness.

M: Um, I didn’t remotely defend the preachiness of GND2. However, there’s a difference between a Barber Shop comedy and a movie that’s sole purpose is to preach. The one you don’t expect it from has a different standard to hold up to. Anyway, let’s move on to the good parts of this, because there are several.

E: Like the cast, which can’t be argued with; in addition to Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, and a veritable hip hop who’s who: JB Smoove, Eve, Niki Minaj and Common star, just to name a few.

M: And Winston from New Girl, Lamorne Morris! Who, I just realized, I’ve been watching for five season without even once learning what his name was. Which, for a Quibbling Sibling, is downright…

E: Shocking? Appalling? Lame?

M: No, it’s….

Criminal (wide)

M: See what I did there?

E: Yes, you’re very smart. Shut Up.

M: As you wish.

E: Deadpool and Wonder Woman team up for — wait, no, it’s not a Marvel/D.C. crossover. It’s way, way weirder than most comic book plots.

M: I’m not sure your comic book knowledge is that deep if you think that. If you’re referring to comic book movies, then maybe, but we have seen a similar concept once or twice recently.

E: Okay, maybe I exaggerated that a little bit. So, to explain it. Ryan Reynolds is a government agent, see? And he gets killed after moving a potential witness. A group which includes Two-Face Harvey Dent…

M: …the bad Tommy Lee Jones version, not the good Billy Dee Williams one, or the excellent Aaron Eckhart variety, mind you…

E: …yes. Well, Jones is no stranger to high concept films. Anyway, he and and Commissioner Gordon…

M: …the great one, Gary Oldman…

E: …somehow implant Reynolds’ memories into a criminal, played by Kevin Costner of all people.

M: We went over this a while back, Costner, other than just having one of the biggest ego’s in Hollywood (anywhere, really), is aiming for the “Liam Neeson in Taken” career path.

E: Gadot is Reynolds’ gorgeous wife. We only see Reynolds’ agent in flashback, but we’re told that having his memories makes grungy ex-con Costner a better man. As does the idea of saving Gadot (seen in a golden haze, smiling with all her heart, the wind in her hair, standing on a beach) and her daughter.

M: I’m a sucker, I know, but I actually really like the look of this. Oldman’s presence helps, but the trailer is tense and it hits the right chords for me.

E: Huh. Well. I can’t really say how I’d feel about it if it weren’t Costner in the lead. Stuff gets blown up artistically. It’s more interesting to me than Hardcore Henry…

M: …which isn’t saying much….

E: …but there’s that old familiar self-righteousness, self-promoting feeling that all Costner’s films carry, which I don’t appreciate.

M: Fair enough, as I can’t argue with that even a little. I’m still intrigued.

E: Fair enough.

Green Room (limited)

M: I only included this because Patrick Stewart is in it. Sorry sis.

E: If I were into horror movies, I would consider this story of a band who stumbles into what looks like a satanic ritual and gets held in a green room (dressing room) awaiting some sort of twisted fate. Should they stay? Should they run, when they’ve been told it’s certain death to leave?

M: Run. Always run.

E: Duh. As M mentioned, Patrick Stewart costars as one of the bad guys, ruthless and indifferent.

M: The trailer claims we’ll loathe him and a whole bunch of other negative words, but that we’ll never forget him. Well, duh, it’s Patrick Stewart. No *&$# we’ll never forget him, he reached that status a long time ago. The thing is… they’re talking about the role. And in Stewart’s distinguished career, I’m willing to bet this one will be forgotten.

E: Well said, M.

Colonia (limited)

E: I can’t figure this one out. Emma Watson infiltrates a religious cult, presumably to save her boyfriend Daniel Bruhl. But where is she, and when? The 40s? The 70s? Presumably somewhere in Europe, where there are tunnels (perhaps connecting the prison to the cult’s compound) but where?

M: I can help you out there. It’s set in Chile, during the coup of 1973. And the cult is just a front for a secret prison that no one ever escaped from, the Colonia Dignidad.

E: Ah. Thank you. That’s helpful. I didn’t get that at all from the trailers, and I watched several different ones in the attempt.

M: Yeah, in good Quibbling Sibling fashion, I did some research after watching the trailer.

E: It’s a well-made looking mystery, though I’m not sure much is more mysterious than the claim that the film is based on true events.

M: Obviously, as big Potterphiles, it was Watson that drew us to this. But Bruhl has proven to be a very talented actor, and the story looks interesting. Like E said, the “based on true events” is an allure, too. I definitely want to catch this one some day.

April 22

The Huntsman Winter’s War (wide)

E: I’m pretty sure this is a prequel, the origin story of Charlize Theron’s wicked queen, though how they managed to pull in some of the new actors I’m just not sure.

M: I’m pretty sure you’re right, but definitely would have had to have seen Snow White and the Huntsman to know for sure. Or I’d need to care enough to look it up, which I don’t. Especially since we know who wins in the end.

E: That part’s pretty depressing, actually. I loved a lot of the look of the first movie, and again, I want movies built around women (be they adventures or comedies) to succeed. And I adore Emily Blunt.

M: Agreed on Blunt, and don’t forget Jessica Chastain as “The Warrior”.

E: I don’t. Her character looks amazing. But can it be any good? The first movie was a bit of a let down. And how they went from having critical and box office – well, the original didn’t flop, but I don’t think it managed limp to very impressive number and certainly had disappointing reviews – to suckering in so many more talented actresses?  I’m confused.

M: I passed on both it and it’s counterpart, Mirror Mirror.

E: Okay, those two movies are nothing alike, but I guess there’s no reason for you to know that.

M: They came out at the same time, and are both Snow White movies. I think that’s something. The point is, I don’t feel like I missed out. I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not going to feel like I missed out by skipping this one, too.

E: No, which is a shame. There was so much potential there.

Elvis & Nixon (wide)

M: Where to start, where to start. Too many thoughts, I’ll let you lead off, E.

E: I can do that. Amazon gets into the feature business with this story of the most requested photo in the national archives, which rather implausibly isn’t the moon landing, or an inauguration, but (as the title makes manifest) Richard Nixon shaking hands with Elvis Presley.

M: Which, if it weren’t true, would be ridiculous. Being true, it’s just sad.

E: Being true it’s freaking weird is what it is.

M: I wonder how relevant this factoid is now, in the days of digital photograph and the internet. I’m guessing the National Archives receive very few photo requests these days. Anyway…

E: The filmmakers imagine a fanciful meeting in which the King (Michael Shannon) begs Nixon (Kevin Spacey) to use him as a secret agent. Since he’s been in 31 movies, he declares, he’s clearly a master of disguise and costumes.

M: I wonder if they made that out of whole cloth, or if there’s anything to back it up. It’s one of the many things I found utterly absurd with this trailer.

E: You have to think he’d be a handy asset, even if he wasn’t smart enough for the job. After all, everyone really did want to meet him.

M: Well, that’s certainly true, but I find it hard to believe he’d be able to do anything “covert”. That aside, this looks so campy. Shannon looks incredibly wrong as Elvis.

E: Totally. I can barely look at him.

M: Spacey doesn’t look that bad as Nixon, but knowing he’s staunchly left-wing, and seeing several jabs at Nixon in the trailer, I can only imagine the rest of the movie is rather merciless and disrespectful toward a former president, albeit a disgraced one.

E: You’re worried that the movie won’t be nice enough to Nixon? For real?

M: Not nice, respectful. I respect the office, even when I’m not crazy about the individuals that held it. Anyway, old man rant #2 over. Colin Hanks and Johnny Knoxville are prominently involved. The whole thing just looks preposterous, and lower quality than the Amazon series I’m watching, The Man In The High Castle. I think I’ll stick with the series.

A Hologram For The King (limited)

E: Tom Hanks stars in this adaptation of the Dave Eggers novel about a Boston businessman hoping to sell holographic meeting technology to the King of Saudi Arabia. Instead the journey proves to be less straightforward than he imagined.

M: Eggers’ The Circle has been on my to-read list for a while now, so I’m already intrigued.

E: I won’t lie, it looks rather wonderful.

M: I’m glad to hear you say that, because I was thinking the same thing, and wondering if I was just being a sucker again.

E: Despite what we said in the opening, I’m surprised and slightly embarrassed to admit there are actually more worthwhile films opening this month than I thought.

M: It’s mostly the little films, but yes. As for this, Hanks starts out as a pitchman, in a hilarious looking commercial using the Talking Heads’ Once In A Lifetime (a favorite of mine), and ends up getting caught up in the King’s project to build a sprawling city in the desert around an incredible palace. Along the way he has an anxiety attack, may or may not fall in love with an Arabian doctor played by Sarita Choudhury, and may or may not get the deal for the holographic messaging system done. But he will rediscover his purpose and joy for life, or something schmaltzy like that. But it looks like good schmaltz.

E: It so does. I love Tom Hanks; is it weird to say that I want to support his movies?

M: No, that’s totally normal. So normal that you’re forgetting that you said it about Don Cheadle above, too. 🙂

E: Well, I guess I mean that we don’t think of megastar Tom Hanks as needing support, but it bugs me that many of his recent movies didn’t get the respect they deserved.

M: It’s weird. He’s still a huge name, but I’m not sure he’s still a “megastar,” if you know what I mean.

E: I do, I think. He was a wonder and delight in Saving Mr. Banks, which was unfairly smeared in an Oscar campaign. Having seen it after it was in theaters, I’m rather sorry I didn’t go for Bridge of Spies. It was one of the best movies of last year, and I think undeserved by its marketing. If this is anywhere near as good, it’ll be very much worth the time.

M: Dad said the same thing about Bridge, which I was totally uninterested in because of the marketing. But you know what this does have going for it?

E: What’s that?

M: Even though his character is from Boston, after his many horribly failed attempts, Hanks doesn’t bother trying to do a Boston accent! YAY!!!!

E: Agreed. I so appreciate that. Also? See Bridge of Spies. And Saving Mr. Banks. They’re really great.

Tale of Tales (limited)

E: Interconnecting fairy tales told in full Medieval costumes; the king (Toby Jones) who looks for aspirants to enter a tournament for his daughter’s hand, the queen (Salma Hayek) who eats the heart of a sea monster in order to finally bear a child, the king (Vincent Cassels) whose bride mystically becomes young to ensnare him.

M: The visuals of this are gorgeous. The plots look convoluted and weak, though.

E: Yeah, and I can’t get past Hayek’s queen in black gnawing at the raw organ at a banquet table. They’re really going for the freaky, pre-Disney fairy tale. Highly creepy and gross.

M: It doesn’t help that it’s basically the last image of the trailer, but I’m not sure that would have made a difference. Ugh!

April 29

Mother’s Day (wide)

E: I can not even believe they went after Mother’s Day. Valentine’s Day, New Years Eve, Christmas – fine. But don’t Love, Actually Mother’s Day. (Okay, first of all, you can’t really Love, Actually anything; none of the subsequent holiday compilation rom-coms were remotely as good as that one is. But seriously? Mother’s Day? What’s romantic about Mother’s Day? As a mother, I will tell you. NOTHING.

M: First of all, you’re totally forgetting when I made that insanely good stuffed french toast from a Top Chef recipe for Mrs M and everyone for Mother’s Day, that was totally romantic….ish. Second, I’m less concerned about them “Love, Actually-ing” Mother’s Day, even though I’m far less fond of that movie than you. I’m more concerned about them Valentine’s Day-ing Mother’s Day. And that I just finished watching the trailer and am still waiting for something that made me even chuckle. Or made me interested. Blech.

E: In case you are interested…

M: I’m not.

E: I was talking to our readers, bro.

M: Oh, sorry. Continue.

E: Yes, well, the movie centers around a budding romance between Jennifer Aniston (single mom of two sons) and Jason Sudekis (single dad of two daughters), Kate Hudson’s problematic relationship with disapproving mother Margo Martindale, and Britt Robertson’s search for her birth mom, who may be Jennifer’s potential boss, Oprah like talk show diva Julia Roberts in a heinous wig.  If that’s not enough of a cast, there’s also Timothy Olyphant and Sarah Chalke (who is either Hudson’s roommate or her wife, I can’t tell) and Jon Lovitz.

Keanu (wide)

M: Ok, let’s start out with this… the Taco Bell commercial I had to sit through before the trailer was funnier than the Mother’s Day trailer.

E: I believe you. I’m not sure how that impacts this film, though.

M: It doesn’t, I just wanted to take a parting shot at Mother’s Day. Why don’t you tell the readers about this one.

E: Ok, it’s another surprising spoof, this time from comedians Key and Peele.

M: I rarely watch their show, just because of scheduling, but I LOVE Key and Peele.

E: Remember that movie John Wick from a few years ago? The one in which Keanu Reeves plays this reclusive hitman who snaps when the Russian mob kills the dog given him by his late wife? Where he goes out and kills everyone? Well, in this movie Keanu is the name given to a kitten who comforts Jordan Peele’s character after a bad break up. Though he and his best friend are the white wine spritzer types, they team up to track down Keanu and steal him back.

M: And switch back and forth from stereotypical black and stereotypical white characteristics. Hilariously.

E: Yes, there’s a boatload of profanities and liberal use of the n word, but unlike Meet the Blacks, this trailer made me laugh.

M: I included the clean-ish trailer, but yeah, the movie itself will not be kid-friendly. But lines like “That’s my s#$t right there!” when George Michael’s “Freedom” comes on? It will be funny.

Ratchet and Clank (wide)

E: Sci fi epic about a lombax (cat/fox-like alien) named Ratchet and his robot friend Clank who attempt to prevent a troupe of evil soldiers from wiping out the galactic rangers. Did I mention that this is an animated movie?

M: You know it’s based on a wildly popular, though older, video game right?

E: Of course. Duh. I totally knew that.

M: Well, I for one really enjoyed the snarky humor of the trailer. From starting out with the classic movie trailer announcer voice saying “In a world….” then the animated world getting blown up, and the announcer saying “Uh, in another world…” to the jokes about the lombax not being a man, I enjoyed cracked up a few times. Not that I think this will actually be good, but I’ll probably watch it on Netflix with my kids some day, and not mind.

The Man Who Knew Infinity (limited)

E: I’m a sucker for stories of academic achievement. I’m a sucker for true stories. I’m a sucker for stately British universities. And honestly, I’m also a sucker for Dev Patel and his soulful eyes. So this story of a poorly educated Indian genius who forms an unlikely friendship with professor/mentor, Jeremy Irons, just gets me. I so want to see this one.

M: I’m a sucker for most of those things as well (Dev Patel’s eyes do nothing for me, however). I LOVE the look of this, and it might be the film I’m most looking forward to from this month. The whole math genius part certainly speaks to the math major in me, as do the times in the preview where he couldn’t explain why he could finish the proofs, just that he knew and it made sense. It looks both challenging and beautiful, with racism and nationalism, as well as intellectual pride and arrogance, but also overcoming, achievement, love and friendship. Yeah, totally a sucker for this type of stuff.

E: Costars are the delightfully droll Stephen Fry, Jeremy Northam and Toby Jones, as well as newcomer Devika Bhise.  The very thought of this makes my heart happy.

A Beautiful Planet (limited)

M: Another one that I’m excited for!

E: We told you the small releases are more appealing this month. Check out the trailer for this Jennifer Lawrence-narrated documentary about the world as seen from the international space station, seriously. It’s absolutely glorious.

M: Since seeing Star Wars when I was four, space has fascinated me, so this is totally in my wheelhouse. The shots where you can see the atmosphere? Gorgeous. The shot of the lightening storm from above, seeing the white pops within the giant cloud formation? Incredible!

E: I’m going to be stalking this at our local IMAX theaters for sure.

M: My guess is that this will become a regular at the Boston Museum of Science, so I think we might have to catch it there together with our families.

E: Totally. I’m absolutely hoping it ends up at the MOS Omni-theater with its massive domed surround screen. And on that note, we’ve reached the end of April.

M: May promises Captain America: Civil War, and a slew of other tent-pole movies, so we’ll see you in a month, with a likely very different type of preview!

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This entry was posted in TV.

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