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Top 7 Movies of April 2012

20 Aug 2012
It's almost summer but we've got some blockbusters and indie delights for April
The post Christmas movie no man’s land is finally coming to an end as blockbuster season approaches, heralded by the likes of Battleship and The Avengers. Here’s our guide to what to look out for at theatres this month.APRIL 11Battleship After the disappointing John Carter we’re relying on Battleship to kickstart our bombastic summer movie season. From Peter Berg (the director of Hancock and Welcome to the Jungle) comes a sci-fi action flick that is based, to some small degree, on Hasbro’s long running board game. It’s just an excuse for explosions through really and comes from some of the minds behind the Transformers films. That might not be a recommendation to everyone but Berg has crafted some fine set pieces in the past and there’s an above average cast here, including Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgard, Taylor Kitsch and Brooklyn Decker. It’s also the acting debut of Rihanna.APRIL 13The Cabin in the Woods After too long in the wilderness, Joss Whedon is finally back on billboards this month for a duo of movies. First up, he’s taken on writing and producing duties for the long delayed The Cabin in the Woods. You can read Daniel’s rapturous review here but the basic set up sees a bunch of young attractive people head to a secluded Cabin where their lives, and the horror genre, are turned upside down. It’s violent, smart, nasty and outrageously funny and is bound to a be a hit with audiences. Cloverfield writer Drew Goddard directs and a young looking Chris Hemsworth stars, alongside great turns from Bradley Whitford, Richard Jenkins and Dollhouse’s Fran Kranz. A must see.11-11-11Saw II, III and IV director Darren Lynn Bousman has continued to court cult audiences in recent years with films like Repo! The Genetic Opera and the really rather good Mother’s Day. His latest, 11-11-11, concerns an author whose life has been destroyed by events that happen on when those numbers align. He travels to Europe to visit his dying father and things get steadily worse. The film has missed a November release date that might make it seem more relevant locally but word from its earlier release in the States doesn’t fare well for this genre offering.APRIL 20The Divide Director Xavier Gens earned some fans (well one – basically me) for his 2007 take on the Hitman videogame franchise – a daft and lurid action title featuring a bald and ridiculous Timothy Olyphant. He’s probably better known for his French language horror Frontier(s) – a particularly gory entry. His next is The Divide, a post apocalyptic thriller with some interesting ideas. I got the chance to see this at Horrorthon last year, with a great Q&A from star Michael Biehn, and it’s an unusual film. The basic plot traps a small group of survivors in a basement after an unexplained event and things unravel from there. While the situations were scripted, much of the dialogue and exchanges were adlibbed and it gives proceedings a unique kind of energy, though Biehn pointed out that it led to strained relations on the set. Worth checking out if you’re a genre fan looking for something a little new.Lockout Irish filmmakers James Mather and Stephen St. Leger put together an impressive short film back in 2004 called Prey Alone, which used plenty of green screen to tell a visually stunning tale, and they’re back with Lockout. The plot is basically Escape from New York, in Space – as Guy Pearce heads into a orbiting prison to rescue the President’s daughter. It looks like pure sci-fi nonsense, complete with one liners and an interesting aesthetic and matches a gruff Pearce with Maggie Grace (boo!) and Peter Stormare (yay!). Lockout is produced by Luc Besson – which used to be a sign of quality and now feels like something else. Check out the trailer and see what you think!APRIL 26The AvengersJoss Whedon may just have scripted The Cabin in the Woods but he’s on board as the director and writer for the biggest comic book hero mashup ever conceived by the minds of people who like to make money. Marvel Avengers Assemble is a massive undertaking – bringing together the studios most successful characters (plus the Hulk) to capitalise on the last four years of movies. That means you’ll get to see Captain America (Chris Evans) giving orders to Iron Man (Robert Downey jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Hulk (newly minted Mark Ruffalo) as well as puny humans Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). It’s a guaranteed win with audience already, before you add in the storytelling might of Whedon who finally gets his chance to step into the limelight. It’s going to be awesome.APRIL 27Damsels in Distress Writer/director Whit Stillman has been away for some time. In fact it’s been almost 14 years since his previous film The Last Days of Disco. Well he’s finally back this month with Damsels in Distress. Stillman fans will find plenty of familiar material in Damsels but it’s also the filmmakers most fanciful and fun film to date. The story focuses on four young women at an American college which is trying to adjust to co-education for the first time. Leading lady Greta Gerwig has convinced herself that it is her mission in life to ‘improve’ the idiotic men around her – which works out about as well as you would imagine. Damsels is not as autobiographical as Stillman’s other films but the fairytale age makes it the ideal entry point for many who will likely have never heard of the director. Stay tuned for our full review and interview with Stillman himself.That’s it for April, check back next month when we’ll be leading you into true silly season with looks at Men in Black III, Dark Shadows and The Raid!
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