Oh, April – not quite the end of late-winter prestige section, not quite the official kick-off month of summer moviegoing! Assuming such seasonal categories even mean anything any more – the month’s big-ticket events are no less than the Marvel Universe’s ultra-mega-super-crossover-apalooza Avengers: Infinity War and the Rock and a giant ape fighting monsters courtesy of a vintage video-game adaptation. And arthouse movies like the Orthodox Jewish-meets-sapphic romance drama Disobedience and the neo-neorealistic gem The Rider could have easily held their own during rhymes-with-Schmoscarbait season. You get all this plus a tense-as-hell horror movie, raunchcoms and stoner-comedies, an elliptical take on European colonialism and a grotty revenge flick for the ages. Thanks for having our back, April. Here’s what you’ll be seeing at a theater near you over the next stellar, stand-out moviegoing month.
Avengers: Infinity War (Apr. 27th)
Roll call: Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Man, Black Panther, the Hulk, Black Widow, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and many, many more converge for what sounds like the spandex-clad equivalent of It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. This grand coalition of heroes has united to combat the encroaching menace of Thanos (Josh Brolin in purpleface) and his reality-warping Infinity Stones, and while Marvel is keeping plot details under lock and key, a guy doesn’t go through all the trouble of collecting these cosmic goodies and then not cleave the fabric of existence in two. The most handsomely-paid ensemble in super-cinema history will have to muster all of their strength to beat back this power-mad goliath – and at a 156-minute run time, there might be time for a joke or two as well.
Blockers (Apr. 6th)
As a parent, you want to believe your teenager possesses the maturity necessary to make the right decisions when it comes to their first brushes with sexual activity. But sometimes, you’ve got no other choice than to tumble into a long night of comic hijinks in an effort to prevent your spawn from punching their V-card. After Ike Barinholtz, John Cena and Leslie Mann find out their daughters are pursuing the age-old ritual of getting laid on prom night, they pool wits to stop their darling children from making a mistake. It’s a clever gender-flip on the usual horny high school raunchfest, and the rare hard-R comedy to give a trio of young women (Kathryn Newton, Gideon Adlon and Geraldine Viswanathan) the chance to claim some filthy territory back from the boys.
Disobedience (Apr. 27th)
After earning an Oscar win for the trans-rights drama A Fantastic Woman just a few weeks ago, Chile’s Sebastián Lelio is already back with another tale of love persecuted by hegemony. A twofer of Rachels (McAdams and Weisz) portray women infatuated with one another, much to the consternation of their London-based Orthodox Jewish community. Yes, they’ve each got their baggage: Weisz left the insular world ages ago and is only returning to bury her father, McAdams has a husband (Alessandro Nivola) who’s up for the rabbi position. No, they cannot deny their unruly passions. (And whatever you’ve heard about the mouth-spitting scene, it’s all true.)
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami (Apr. 13)
Fashion revolutionary, androgynous Bond villainess, boundary-pushing hitmaker – these are but three of the hundred selves that comprise the enigma known as Grace Jones. Sophie Fiennes’ new documentary collects archival footage from a 10-year period of following this singular personality, following Jones as she returns home to Jamaica to visit family and tours her live show around the globe. It’s a candid portrait of an artist who’s still challenging conventional notions of blackness, femininity and black femininity.
A Quiet Place (Apr. 6th)
“As long as they can’t hear you, they can’t kill you.” In this carefully composed new horror flick from director-cowriter John Krasinski – starring here alongside real-life wife Emily Blunt – silence is survival. The spouses head up a decidedly different sort of family, communicating with children Millicent Simmonds (so wonderful in last year’s Wonderstruck) and Noah Jupe via sign language and elaborately set up codes while carefully avoiding … well, the question of just what is stalking this twisted domestic setup should be discovered on your own. Trust us, it’s worth it. Just, y’know, whatever you do, don’t sneeze. Or fart.
Rampage (Apr. 13th)
“Big things fighting other big things’ season is already in full swing (though let us never speak of Pacific Rim Uprising ever again) and this update of the arcade video game classic throws the artist formerly known as the Rock, a gargantuan albino gorilla and a coterie of hulked-out monsters into the mix. Dwayne Johnson is an unusually beefy primatologist alarmed to find that his silverback buddy has grown to Kong-esque proportions. He not only has to bring the gorilla-gone-wild back to his senses – our man also has to stop the other mutated, frenzied beasts before they completely lay waste to major metropolitan hero. A tall order to be sure, but if anyone can do it, it’s this guy!
The Rider (Apr. 13th)
Cannes favorite Chloé Zhao commingles reality with fiction in this indie drama set on a Lakota Sioux reservation in South Dakota. 20-year-old cowboy Brady Jandreau plays 20-year-old cowboy Brady Blackburn, both of whom get a metal plate implanted in their cranium after a riding accident nearly crushes the skull. The movie writes through the real ex-rodeo star’s journey to acclimate to a duller sort of life: trudging through a daily rehab routine and training in the hopes of getting back on horseback. Quiet, moving, tender, unforgettable.
Super Troopers 2 (Apr. 20th)
Welcome back, o lovably incompetent Vermont state troopers! The Broken Lizard comedy troupe pulled off a surprise cult hit with their 2001 stoner comedy, and the ardent fanbase that’s spent the interim years demanding a proper follow-up has finally won out. The Green Mountain State’s finest get caught up in an international situation when they set up a new outpost located smack dab in the middle of a contested area between the United States and Canada. Surely, their flagrant lack of professionalism and enduring love of cannabis will not help diplomatic relations between the North American neighbors. Have a very happy 4/20!
You Were Never Really Here (Apr. 6th)
Anyone for a sleek, expressionistic take on Taxi Driver from a team-up between a top-notch filmmaker and one of ouir finest modern actors? Seven years out from her last feature We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lynne Ramsay now guts the man-on-a-rampage thriller like a fresh fish, courtesy of a tale about a hammer-wielding hitman (Joaquin Phoenix) on a mission to rescue an innocent girl from an upscale brothel. Looking like a slab of thoroughly tenderized chuck steak, Phoenix punches his way through a sick conspiracy in one of the standout performances in his storied career. It’s a keeper, this one.
Zama (Apr. 13th)
Deep in the jungles
of 18th-century South America, Don Diego de Zama is hacking some Euro-colonialistic order out of the savage thickets that will one day be
known as Paraguay. Before he can claim and tame the land for Spain, however, he has to keep from losing his mind, Conrad-style. Esteemed Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel (The Headless Woman) visualizes his slow descent with all
manner of stylistic aplomb, from cinematography so lush it borders on the alien
to dreamlike vignettes punctuated by violence and surrealism. Not to sound too hyperbolic, but this is the arthouse treasure of 2018 you need to unearth ASAP.