New Month, New Movies!
Hard to believe, but a quarter of the year is in the books and we’re starting the spring box-office season. This time of year is always a bit difficult to categorize in the movie business – Oscar season is officially over, and summer blockbuster season for movies is a way off. But the spring often produces some surprises – and late-April will start bringing out some of the heavy hitters that want to get a jump on Memorial Day that is the unofficial start of the blockbusters. There certainly is a major release at the end of this month. Read on!
This weekend has four nationwide releases – and one directed by one of Greater Rochester’s own! We’ll start there. Pittsford native John Curran directs the movie ‘Chappaquiddick.’ The term is synonymous with political scandal of the deepest and darkest dimensions before Watergate, Iran-Contra, or Monica the Intern. It is the name of the Massachusetts island where Senator Ted Kennedy’s car went off an unsteady bridge in July of 1969. A 28-year-old campaign worker, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned in the accident, although Ted Kennedy made it out of the car and left the scene before calling authorities – ten hours later. It is an incident that plagued the Senator for the remainder of his days and was perhaps the main reason that he never attained the U.S. presidency or the nomination for the office as did his older brothers. The excellent actor Jason Clarke stars as Kennedy, with Kate Mara as Ms. Kopechne, and the great Bruce Dern as father Joe Kennedy. Other nationwide films opening this weekend include a comedy, ‘Blockers,’ where parents try to thwart their high school daughters’ plans to have a very eventful prom night, and a suspense-thriller, ‘A Quiet Place,’ where a rural family is stalked by a killer. Emily Blunt and husband John Krasinski star in the latter; John Cena in the former. The final release this weekend is a thriller entitled ‘You Were Never Really Here’ with Joaquin Phoenix as a troubled military veteran turned brutal ‘fixer’ specializing in rescuing kidnapped girls. His latest assignment is to find the daughter of a U.S. Senator. Phoenix’s performance netted him the Cannes Festival’s Best Actor Award, so he must be amazing in it – they don’t give those honors away for nothing!
April 13th has three coast-to-coast releases. One is an animated feature from the Fun Academy production company called ‘Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero.’ It tells the true story of a bull terrier who bonds with American ‘doughboy’ soldiers in World War One. It has the voice talent of Gerard Depardieu and Helen Bonham Carter. ‘Rampage’ is based on a video game from yesteryear. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is back as a scientist trying to save the world from animals that have been transformed into ferocious monsters by experimentation went awry. One of the animals is a silverback gorilla that The Rock has raised and cared for since its birth. So he must simultaneously save the world from his old friend and save his old friend from the world. One thing is for sure – the CGI creatures in the trailers look fearsome and thrilling! The final offering for the week is a thriller based on a game of ‘Truth Or Dare’ that becomes supernaturally charged. It was bound to happen with that volatile game! The official title of the movie is ‘Blumhouse’s Truth Or Dare.’
April 20th – that beloved day among the more…ummm… laid-back segment of our society – brings three more nationwide films – a kid’s animated movie, a comedy sequel, and a nature documentary. Owen Wilson narrates the nature doc about those brilliant and beloved creatures: Dolphins (the title of the film.) The animated feature is a turn on a nursery rhyme. Or is it a fairy tale? Or a children’s game? It’s ‘Duck Duck Goose!’ What more needs to be said? How can it be anything but great? And somehow we survived 17 years without a sequel to 2001’s Super Troopers, but we finally have it! It’s a comedy-crime follow-up to the cult favorite. Super Troopers-2 carries an R-rating with a lot of adult humor and situations, so be sure to think twice before bringing the younger family members and getting caught in that most uncomfortable of spots!
The final weekend of the month has four movies showing on screens across the country. For the third week in a row, there’s an animated movie. This one is ‘Animal Crackers’ with the voice talent of Emily Blunt and John Krasinski – the same couple from ‘A Quiet Place’ being released on April 6th. There’s an Amy Schumer comedy this weekend: ‘I Feel Pretty.’ Amy’s character is an insecure young woman who suffers a fall and awakes as the most confident woman in the world – totally changing her whole approach to life. The third film is a thriller from Lionsgate called ‘Traffik.’ It stars Paula Patton, Luke Goss, and Buffalo-native and SUNY Brockport grad William Fichnter, one of Hollywood’s most reliable and interesting actors. And finally, as mentioned in the introduction, the blockbuster dropping this week is ‘The Avengers: Infinity.’ Get ready for two and a half hours of super-hero havoc with no fewer than a dozen of the Marvel heroes making contributions. Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, The Hulk, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Captain America, and – get ready for it – Black Panther – will all be in the house! Marvel certainly must be chomping at the bit for this release now that ‘Black Panther’ recently became the highest-grossing super-hero movie of all time. Congrats to the whole team and Chadman Bostwick in particular, a fantastic actor who deserves the recognition.
That’s a buffet with interesting variety in April! Maybe our extended winter will help boost some of the box-office numbers. By the time ‘The Avengers: Infinity’ comes out, it better be true spring weather or we’re really in trouble! That movie will pack houses in all climates.
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