April Film & Blu-Ray Tip Sheet

Monster movies, monster companies, monster talent, and some noodles. This month provides a solid mix leaning primarily on the lighter, comedic side for you escapists, but with enough commentary and underlying message that you take something more from the experience than a new punchline.

New Theatrical Releases:

Colossal

Release Date: April 21st
Director: Nacho Vigalondo

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis

IMDb Summary: A woman discovers that severe catastrophic events are somehow connected to the mental breakdown from which she’s suffering.

Why I Am So Excited: From the start, the mixture of monster movie and comedy in a non-parody light piqued my interest. Now reviews are coming out discussing subtle messages concerning issues of power, femininity and even men’s rights activism? I need to see a movie that can bring all this together. Not to mention Anne Hathaway apparently drawing on her performance from the phenomenal Rachel Getting Married for the part. This is set to be a truly unique experience, and as with all monster flicks, one best enjoyed on the big screen.

New Theatrical Releases:

The Circle

Release Date: April 28th
Director: James Ponsoldt

Starring: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega

IMDb Summary: A woman lands a dream job at a powerful tech company called the Circle, only to uncover a nefarious agenda that will affect the lives of her friends, family and that of humanity.

Why I Am So Excited: The movie’s source material, Dave Eggers’ 2013 novel of the same name, is one of the best contemporary novels I’ve read in a while. Following Mae (Emma Watson) and her rise through a technology company reminiscent of Google in both its idyllic-seeming campus and disturbing amount of knowledge, the book draws heavily on Mae’s inner thoughts. This is why I must see this movie: how does a director translate material with such a heavy play between inner thoughts and outer actions into, well, all action? How to we make the non-verbal verbal? Though I’m not sure how I feel about Watson’s casting, Tom Hanks as one of the enigmatic leaders and John Boyega as a mysterious presence are near perfect to fill their parts. Bringing a story of this scale, both literal and symbolic, to the big screen will be a challenge, and one I’m excited to witness.

New On Blu-Ray:

Toni Erdmann

Release Date: April 11th

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Director: Maren Ade

Starring: Sandra Hüller, Peter Simonischek

IMDb Summary: A practical joking father tries to reconnect with his hard working daughter by creating an outrageous alter ego and posing as her CEO’s life coach.

Why It’s Worth Getting: The buzz followed this film from Cannes to TIFF and beyond. Nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe and many more, the question remains, what makes this movie worth owning? Answer: the performances. The chemistry between Hüller and Simonischek makes them an effortlessly believable daughter and father pair, making every comedic, ridiculous, heart-wrenching moment that unfurls all that more poignant. This one’s a keeper.

Criterion Release of the Month:

Tampopo

Release Date: April 25th

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Director: Juzo Itami

Starring: Ken Watanabe, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Nobuko Miyamoto

IMDb Summary: A truck driver stops at a small family-run noodle shop and decides to help its fledgling business. The story is intertwined with various vignettes about the relationship of love and food.

Why It’s Worth Getting: Tampopo! The hit that no one saw coming but everyone loves. It originally hit North America in 1985, but has since had a comeback in the public eye through 4K restoration, gaining a TIFF run last year and now a Criterion nod. Gangsters, noodles and comedy make the self-described “Ramen Western” worthy of a second look.

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