The post-awards season slump is starting to pass, but it’s not quite time for the craziness of a blockbuster summer. April offers an interesting mix of many exciting independent films, some of which were even screened this past weekend during the Wisconsin Film Festival (which continues through this Thursday, April 10) and were well-received by audiences. Also in addition to the indies come a new “Avenger” and Disneynature film. Here is the The Badger Herald’s April film preview.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
In theaters now
Since “The Avengers,” audiences have been treated to a third “Iron Man” film and a second “Thor” film. In this new Marvel production, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) returns with his patriotic shield to fight the Winter Soldier, played by Sebastian Stan (“Gossip Girl”). This time, the Avengers leader is getting even more of a fight than he previously bargained for. Along the way he receives help from Nick Fury and Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow), played by former Avenger cast mates Samuel L. Jackson (“Django Unchained”) and Scarlett Johansson (“Her”).
The film also brings Hollywood icon Robert Redford (“All is Lost”) to the Marvel family. As production begins for 2015’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” you can catch the latest stepping stone to that story.
In theaters now
In this comedy-crime drama film, Jude Law (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”) is far from the heart-throbber golden boy that audiences swooned over in previous films. Instead, he’s just coming out of prison and, after keeping his mouth shut, is starting to collect what he deserves. Bringing tons of energy and partying to the streets of London, he is often a hot mess, wandering around with blood on his face and missing his clothes. The film also stars Richard E. Grant (“Downton Abbey”) and Demian Bichir (“Machete Kills”) in this colorful, action-packed film. The film is also directed and written by Richard Shepard who previously directed and wrote “The Matador.”
“Dom Hemingway” is one of the most exciting and daring indies of this film season and definitely worth seeing.
In theaters April 9
Two words: Nicolas Cage. He returns for a serious role in this adaptation of the 1991 novel of the same name directed by David Gordon Green, whose previous work includes “Pineapple Express” and last year’s indie success, “Prince Avalanche.” Cage plays Joe, an ex-convict looking to stay out of trouble. When he comes across a young boy, played by Tye Sheridan (“Mud”), who faces many threats at home, Joe must decide whether to stay out of the way or make an effort to help the young boy and his family. A film of morals and ethics, “Joe” received its premiere at the 2013 Venice Film Festival and additionally screened at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Also one of the audience favorites at the Wisconsin Film Festival, it is a new Nic Cage film all fans and cinema enthusiasts should see.
The Railway Man
In theaters April 11
In this World War II drama film from the Weinstein Company, Colin Firth plays Eric, a veteran struggling to move forward from the horrors of the battle. The film presents his story as a young British soldier forced to surrender to the Japanese and help build a railroad. The memories of trying to survive continue to haunt the later Eric and damage his relationship with his wife, played by Nicole Kidman (“Stoker”). However, when he eventually learns of the Japanese soldier who tormented him the most during his imprisonment, he seeks out the soldier for revenge and answers. Based on a true story, this film looks to offer superb acting and innovative storytelling that all audiences will enjoy.
In theaters April 18
From the Disneynature label comes another Earth Day special. After great success with other films such as “Earth,” “Oceans,” “African Cats” and “Chimpanzee,” the studio is now releasing “Bears.” This documentary follows a bear family from Alaska, demonstrating the growth of young cubs as they start to navigate their way through a new world. The film is also narrated by popular and comical film and voice actor John C. Reilly (“Wreck-It Ralph”). The film is beautiful and offers great visuals of the bears in many different habitats. It’s the perfect film for all audiences, especially young children who want to discover parts of the world they’ve never seen before, all from the safety of their local movie theater.