Spring usually brings genre films that are too small or offbeat to be big summer blockbusters but too commercial to be fall awards movies. This month we get a sci-fi thriller from a legendary rock star’s son, a remake of a Dudley Moore classic, a stoner historical comedy from the Pineapple Express gang and Twilight’s R-Patz in a period romancer.
Source Code (Apr. 1) David Bowie’s son Duncan Jones directs his sophomore effort after his provocative indie scifi Moon. In Source Code, Capt. Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up on a Chicago commuter train with no knowledge of how he got there. Minutes later, the train blows up, killing all on board including Colter. He wakes up in a high-tech lab and is told by Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), that he is part of a secret military program, Source Code, and has been implanted into the body of a passenger to find and disable a terrorist bomb on the train before it explodes. Thus begins a cycle where Stevens is sent back again and again, trying to stop the terrorist – and failing. But getting closer with each try. Toward this end, he attempts to gain the trust of fellow passenger, Christina (Michelle Monaghan), who initially dismisses Stevens but increasingly comes to believe him. Together they attempt to stop what could be a chain of bombings threatening millions.
Scream 4 (Apr. 15) Just like a typical horror film baddie who keeps coming back no matter how many times he’s killed, you can’t keep a good horror franchise down. Eleven years after the first Scream trilogy ground to a halt in self-parody, the series rises again with director Wes Craven and principals Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette onboard for another prospective trilogy. Sidney Prescott (Campbell), now the successful author of a self-help book, returns home to Woodsboro to find Sheriff Dewey (Arquette) and Gale Weathers (Cox) married. Things don’t stay peaceful long of course, as a new Ghostface appears and the killings in Woodsboro resume. Younger actors like Emma Roberts, who plays Jill, Sidney’s cousin, Hayden Panettiere and Rory Culkin are introduced as the series tries to reboot for another two planned movies.
Arthur (Apr. 8) Russell Brand stars at the title character in this remake of the 1981 Dudley Moore comedy. Arthur Bach is a perpetually intoxicated man-child whose lack of maturity is exceeded only by his vast fortune. The only restraining force in Arthur’s life is the good sense of his steel-willed nanny, Hobson (Helen Mirren). However, Arthur’s playboy lifestyle is threatened when his fed-up family presents him with a choice: Marry society girl Susan Johnson (Jennifer Garner) who they hope will settle down Arthur, or lose his inheritance. Arthur reluctantly agrees, but then he meets Naomi (Gret Gerwig) a working-class girl who captures his heart. Does Arthur agree to the arranged marriage that ensures his lifestyle and everlasting adolesence or does he risk everything for love and become a man?
Your Highness (Apr. 8) The gang that brought you stoner action comedy Pineapple Express returns with stoner medieval comedy Your Highness. Danny McBride and James Franco star as Thadeus and Fabious, princes of the kingdom. While the good-looking older brother Fabious embarks on valorous missions doing good for the people of the kingdom, dumpy second banana Thadeous contents himself with a life of strong weed, liquor and comely maidens. But when Princess Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) is kidnapped by an evil wizard, Thadeus is forced to end his life of leisure and joins Fabious in rescuing the princess. On their journey the pair join forces with a mysterious warrior, Isabel (Natalie Portman) with an agenda of her own. Expect clunky good humor, total lack of pretentiousness and copious cussing as usual David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) directs.
Water For Elephants (Apr. 22) Based on Sara Gruen’s bestselling historical romance. Told in flashback from the point of view of 93-year-old Jacob Jankowski, Water For Elephants tells the story of young Jacob (Robert Pattinson), a veterinary student in the Great Depression who leaves school after his parents die in a car accident and joins a circus run by the charming but cruel August (Christoph Waltz). Starting out as a menial worker, Jacob eventually becomes the circus’ de facto vet but is appalled by August’s abusive ways with animals and circus workers alike, particularly a new elephant, Rosie. August takes a liking to Jacob, who meets August’s wife, Marlena (Reese Witherspoon) and falls in love. Marlena slowly warms to young Jacob. August’s suspicions of their relationship grow and his unpredictable behavior turns violent, leading to a melodramatic conflagration under the big top.