Traditionally, it’s the summer that’s blockbuster season, but every year it starts earlier and earlier. It seems like this year it starts next week, and it was 15 degrees here last night. I’ve picked out the 10 movies I’m looking forward to the most in April and May, some of which you are already unable to escape, and some of which I hadn’t heard of until I started putting together this article. If you want more info, you can check out the trailers I’ve included for each film.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4)
I enjoyed the first Captain America movie, but Cap is far from my favorite character from the comic books or even the general Marvel franchise. Thus I was surprised when the trailer for this movie came out and it looked just… so… awesome. It’s sort of a mini-Avengers movie, in which Chris Evans co-stars with Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson, not to mention Robert Redford and, oh yeah, Anthony Mackie (who you might remember from The Hurt Locker) as THE FALCON, which is awesome. DC gets thoroughly blown up, helicarriers fall from the sky, and Captain America questions whether he’s even on the right side, which, let’s be clear, is the best Captain America.
Under the Skin (April 4)
Very few people are going to see this opening weekend instead of the other Scarlett Johansson movie, but this one has her as an “alien seductress” with a Scottish accent, so that’s hard to top. This movie looks way, way more bizarre than even that description would imply, which for me is a good thing but if it’s not for you I can’t really blame you. This film is getting the director, Jonathan Glazer, praised to the skies and compared to Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick is my favorite director of all time. This very strange-looking film might not be showing near you right away, but I’m sure it will show up through some vector eventually. That’s the great part about living in the future.
Only Lovers Left Alive (April 11)
Did you know there was a vampire romance starring Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton coming out? WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THIS? If I really need to say anything other than those two names, this trailer also has blood popsicles. I suppose the argument against this would be that we’re all just vampired out at this point, but seriously, watch this trailer and tell me this doesn’t look highly enjoyable.
Joe (April 11)
Nicolas Cage sure does know how to bring the “acting.” In this particular film, he appears to be doing a Southern accent that comes and goes even in the trailer. I am in for any Nicolas Cage movie that winks at the audience, and I’m in for any Nicolas Cage movie that takes itself deadly serious. I’m pretty much in for any Nicolas Cage movie. In this case he plays an ex-con who sort of accidentally takes a boy under his wing and “faces the choice between redemption and ruin.” It’s based on a novel. Mostly, Nicolas Cage gives another crazy performance.
Transcendance (April 18)
So, Johnny Depp is the world’s foremost expert on artificial intelligence. He gets shot by anti-AI terrorists (which is totally a thing). His lady friend uploads his consciousness into a computer so that he will live on. OK, that might be a movie on its own, but there are bits in this trailer that make me think that the ending to this movie is absolutely bonkers and really make me want to go see it. Add in the fact that this is an original Sci-Fi movie that takes on big ideas and isn’t based on any previous thing and I am all over that.
The Quiet Ones (April 25)
I can’t tell you that much about this horror flick except I got about twenty seconds into the trailer and went “NOPE,” which probably means my wife will absolutely love it. I can report that it has Jared Harris in it (aka the English guy in Mad Men), and is based on “actual experiments” from England in the 70s, which means it has lots of “found footage” bits. You might remember The Last Exorcism? This basically looks like that movie, but in England high academia instead of rural Louisiana.
Godzilla (May 16)
This is another one of those movies where the existence of the movie is totally inevitable, but the level of quality could range from “we’re not really trying” to “OMG AMAZING.” After seeing the trailer, my needle pointed discernably toward the latter. Godzilla looks so gosh darn big in this. And it looks like they take the human part of the story seriously, which is more important than you’d think in this sort of story. Bryan Cranston’s in this. He ain’t no Matthew Broderick. Another very good sign is that they are obviously keeping with the story’s Japanese roots, as opposed to just starting over. They even put the original kanji in the title card.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23)
I suppose there’s a possibility that this is a hot mess, but if so it will be a big honking hot mess. All of the X-Men are here. Old X-Men. Young X-Men. Time travel-y X-Men. Even just from a cast perspective: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Peter Dinklage, Ellen Page, and Anna Paquin are all in this movie, plus we wouldn’t want to forget Booboo Stewart as Warpath. This is easily my most anticipated movie of the next two months. The only negative I can think of is it’s directed by Bryan Singer, who’s made the mistake of taking himself way too seriously more than once, and so far everything I’ve seen makes me think this movie takes itself 100% super seriously. That can work, but it’s hard to pull off.
Maleficent (May 30)
Disney’s new thing seems to be doing live action versions of its old classic films, not even “reimaginings” or whatever but basically straight up live action remakes of things that were originally animated. This isn’t the most ideal thing in the world, but it’s probably a good idea on Disney’s part. This one has Angelina Jolie giving what looks like a very singular performance and also Sleeping Beauty singing to CGI birds. It will be very interesting to see how they handle having a villain as the main character.
A Million Ways to Die in the West (May 30)
Yeah, it’s a Seth McFarlane movie, and those aren’t for everyone. A lot of people HATED him on the Oscars, I was mostly indifferent. Yes, Family Guy jokes could easily be put together by manatees, but that’s a type of humor that appeals to me. This movie looks genuinely funny, and I like its style of basically treating a past time period in a contemporary way for laughs. It’s the sort of thing you see a lot in web videos and not a lot in feature films. And therein lies the real problem, which is that this feels like the sort of thing that might play better over 2 or 5 minutes than over 90. But we like goofy comedies in our house, and this looks appropriately goofy.
There are plenty of other movies to get excited about over the next two months, if your tastes are slightly different from mine. There’s even a Spider-Man movie I haven’t even mentioned yet, multiple decent-looking sports movies, and an absolutely terrible looking Adam Sandler movie. All in all, plenty of places to spend your moviegoing dollars this spring.