Superheroes, sexy superstars and the supernatural are at the center of this month’s big and small releases.
These films are fast and furious, funny, and nefarious (among other non-alliterative adjectives).
The sequel to Marvel’s 2011 blockbuster “Captain America: The First Avenger” has finally arrived, bringing with it the return of the adorable Chris Evans as the lead superhero. His nemesis: Bucky Barnes (played by Sebastian Stan of TV’s “Gossip Girl” and “Once Upon a Time”), aka The Winter Solider. This installment looks even better than the first, as it is not slowed down by back-story and offers far more thrills. (Can’t get enough Marvel action? Watch ABC’s “Agents of Shield” for a weekly dose of comic book-inspired storylines.)
You’ve never seen Scarlett Johansson quite like this before. The sultry actress stays sultry, but is so much more in this indie creation from the director of “Sexy Beast” and “Birth” (which should give you an idea of what kind of picture this is). The trailer for “Under The Skin” is fairly vague and artistic, but compelling enough to make you want to see what this thing is really about. I know I want to.
Are you ready for some football? We may just be coming off March Madness in the real world, but not on the big screen. A-listers Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner, the ever-wry Denis Leary and character actor Frank Langella share screen time in this flick about a draft pick who could change the fate of the Cleveland Browns (which could have used some saving more than once, as NFL fans will tell you). Even if you’re not into jockstraps and concussions, sports stories have a way of drawing you in, and this one looks to be no exception.
Goodness forbid a month goes by without a vampire film in theaters. But this picture isn’t for teens and is led by a team of actors who can actually act—I mean it this time. The amazing Tom Hiddleston (who plays Loki, my favorite character from the “Thor” franchise) and the extremely versatile Tilda Swinton (“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “We Need to Talk About Kevin”) are immortals in love who celebrate life through music and art—Renaissance bloodsuckers, if you will. Mia Wasikowska (“Alice in Wonderland,” “Jane Eyre”) and screen-and-stage legend John Hurt also star.
The often attractive (Willy Wonka withstanding) Johnny Depp looks downright scary (electrode corn rows and all) in this violent sci-fi thriller about a leading A.I. researcher who seeks to computerize his own knowledge, thoughts and emotions after receiving a deadly medical prognosis. Paul Bettany (“The Tourist,” “The Young Victoria”), the one-and-only Morgan Freeman, Cole Hauser (“2 Fast 2 Furious” and TV’s “Chase”) and Kate Mara (TV’s “House of Cards” and “American Horror Story”) make for a compelling supporting cast.
One of the only family-friendly films coming out in April, “Bears” (not to be confused with “The Bear,” a 1988 nature documentary that proved embarrassing for this writer when the subjects engaged in a very vocal love scene I was forced to watch with my parents—I remain scarred) is another Disney doc about one of nature’s beloved creatures: the grizzly bear. The footage for this latest release (see “African Cats,” “Chimpanzee”) is supposed to be breathtaking, having been shot in the mountains and on the shores of Alaska.
Fans of the late Paul Walker will want to see this, the last movie he made before his tragic death just a few months ago. It’s just a shame Walker doesn’t show more range in his final work, where he once again portrays an undercover cop seeking justice who is unable to keep personal feelings out of the equation and ends up helping an ex-con in the process. But he looks good doing it. (If you’re interested in seeing Walker in a non-typecast role, check out an oldie but a goodie: “Eight Below.”)
The third movie in recent memory to go by this title, the 2014 version is the most comedic, featuring Cameron Diaz (love her or hate her, you know who she is); Judd Apatow’s wife, Leslie Mann (“This is 40,” “Knocked Up”); Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton (whose two other IMDb credentials aren’t worth mentioning) and Lady Gaga’s boyfriend, Taylor Kinney (aka the hottie from TV’s “Chicago Fire”). In short: Man cheats on wife, mistress accidentally meets wife, wife and mistress become friends, wife and mistress unite in revenge plot against husband when they discover he has ANOTHER mistress. (You know … typical everyday stuff.)
Horror fans, step right up, and get your fix with this spooky tale of college students who are asked to document, er, create a poltergeist. (Carol Anne? Where are you?) Olivia Cooke (TV’s “Bates Motel”) is freakishly pale and disarming as the object of paranormal affection in this release, which claims to be “based on true events”—much like the recent rash of highly popular blockbusters about investigators in this genre.