Hoping that none of the regular readers of this blog realized we missed an entire monthly preview, we're back with a look at the movies coming out in April, a month which seems somewhat slower than March with only seven wide releases over the four weeks leading up to the summer movie season.
Things kick into high gear pretty quickly with the release of the long-awaited remake of Evil Dead (Tristar / Sony Pictures / FilmDistrict - April 4) with original creators Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell producing a new take on the horror classic of a group of kids who go to a cabin in the woods and end up facing a demonic identity. It stars Jane Levy from "Suburgatory" along with Shiloh Fernandez and Lou Taylor Pucci, and it's likely to bring in diehard horror fans as well as the younger moviegoers looking for thrills similar to the Raimi-produced The Grudge remake a few years back, although this one is a very hard R and not for the squeamish.
Tom Cruise makes a rare April appearance starring in the sci-fi action thriller Oblivion (Universal - April 19) from TRON: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski, based on a little seen graphic novel about seemingly the last man on earth. Originally, the movie was going to open in IMAX a week early ala Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, although it now has a weekend on its own to presumably kick the summer off a couple of weeks earlier than usual. It also stars Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Melissa Leo.
It seems like we haven't seen Dwayne Johnson appearing in a movie for a couple of days now, so those who still want more of what The Rock is cooking can turn to Pain & Gain (Paramount - April 26), a crime comedy that pairs him with Mark Wahlberg and no less than director Michael Bay in what's being seen as a smaller movie for the master of big budget disaster and destruction, this one based on the real crime plot by a couple of body builders to kidnap a wealthy businessman.
Steven Spielberg's summer blockbuster classic Jurassic Park 3D (Universal Pictures - April 4) returns to theaters this month with the enhancement of a 3D rerelease similar to last year's Titanic and Star Wars: Episode I, and it may actually bring in a lot of younger people who never got to see the original movie in theaters as well as those excited for Jurassic Park 4.
With the baseball season starting this month, it makes sense that we get a baseball movie, in this case 42 (Warner Bros. - April 12), the story of Jackie Robinson as told by Oscar-winning filmmaker Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River) with Harrison Ford playing Branch Rickey, the Major League Baseball exec who broke the color barrier to allow Robinson to play baseball.
There've been quite a few sequels over the past few months and maybe there's someone who wanted to see a Scary Movie 5 (Dimension Pictures - April 12), although opening so soon after original "Scary Movie" star Marlon Wayans' A Haunted House, it may seem redundant, even with appearances by Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan. This one's probably going to be for the morbidly curious TMZ crowd and the easily amused with these types of dumb comedies not doing very well this year.
Who knows how The Bucket List screenwriter Justin Zackham got such an impressive cast for his already-delayed romantic comedy The Big Wedding (Liongsate - April 26), but just the names of Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace, Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams may be enough to get an audience even if it's being dumped in the last weekend of April.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Danny Boyle returns with the thriller Trance (Fox Searchlight - April 4), written by Shallow Grave and Trainspotting screenwriter John Hodge and starring James McAvoy, Vince Cassel and Rosario Dawson. It involves McAvoy playing an auctioneer involved in the theft of a piece of art by Goya, but when he double-crosses the gang boss and is beaten up, he can't remember where he hid the piece of art, so he must go to a hypnotherapist (Dawson) to uncover its whereabouts.
Jeff Nichols' third film Mud (Roadside Attractions - April 26) stars Matthew McConaughey as the title character, a seemingly homeless man who enlists the help of two young boys, each from dysfunctional families, to help him reconnect with his girlfriend, played by Reese Witherspoon.
Oscar-nominated filmmaking legend Terrence Malick's new movie To the Wonder (Magnolia Films - April 12) is an abstract romantic drama starring Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Olga Kurylenko and Rachel McAdams about the way four lives connect.
Fans of Malick will also want to check out the new film from Shane (Primer) Carruth, Upstream Color (April 4), an equally abstract romantic film about two people who meet on a train and discover they have a shared experience they're trying to come to terms with.
Rob Zombie also returns in April with his latest horror spectacle The Lords of Salem (Anchor Bay Films - April 19), starring his wife Sheri Moon Zombie as a Salem, Massachusetts DJ who becomes caught up in mysterious occurrences involving the town's witch trials hundreds of years after the fact.
That's it for this month and the end of the spring movie season as things start to get real as May kicks off the summer movie season with lots of big franchise sequels and other fun stuff. Look for another Long Distance Box Office soon and our Summer Box Office Preview towards the end of April.
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