April is definitely here — rain is hammering forcibly against the window as we type. But not to worry, the cinemas are warm, dry and furnished with comfy seats. There's fresh popcorn too. All you need now is a guide to the best of April’s upcoming movies, many of which are chock full of marvellous London talent. And maybe an umbrella to get you there. Ruth Sloss rounds-up what's coming up:
Director: Carol Morley / Certificate: 15 / Release Date: 24 April
Stars: Maisie Williams, Florence Pugh, Maxine Peake, Greta Scacchi
Premiering at last year’s London Film Festival, acclaimed director Carol Morley’s moodily atmospheric and blackly comic The Falling finally goes on general release. Set in the oppressive world of a 1960’s girls’ school, it sees pupils begin to exhibit strange, unexplained fainting fits that quickly spread amongst them like plague. Explores notions of burgeoning sexuality and youthful impressionism it gained plaudits for its young cast and earned Florence Pugh a Rising Star nomination.
A Little Chaos
Director: Alan Rickman / Certificate: tbc / Release Date: 17 April
Stars: Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenearts, Stanley Tucci
You may not be aware that the venerable, statesman-like Alan Rickman, he of inimitable, mellifluous voice, is an Acton boy. How he grew up to become quite so marvellously grand is beyond us. Now, for only the second time in his long career, he steps behind the camera to direct, as well as star. A study in overcoming sexism, as well as an examination of the relationship between nature and art, A Little Chaos follows the true story of how a female landscape gardener (Kate Winslet) designed a garden at Versailles. Rickman, natch, plays The Sun King himself, Louis XIV.
Woman In Gold
Director: Simon Curtis / Certificate: 12A / Release Date: 10 April
Stars: Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Bruhl, Katie Holmes, Charles Dance, Elizabeth McGovern, Frances Fisher
Director and Londoner Simon Curtis began his career at the Royal Court Theatre, assisting the likes of Danny Boyle before moving on to work at the Donmar Warehouse. Theatre’s loss was cinema’s gain when he released his acclaimed, Oscar nominated debut, My Week With Marilyn. Now he tackles the true life tale of a Polish refugee who, with the help of a young lawyer, sued the Austrian government for the return of Gustav Klimt painting of her aunt stolen by the Nazis.
The Water Diviner
Director: Russell Crowe / Certificate: 15 / Release Date: 3 April
Stars: Russell Crowe, Olga Kurylenko, Yilmaz Erdogan, Cem Yilmaz, Jai Courtney
Russell Crowe makes his directorial debut this month with The Water Diviner. Bearing in mind his fearsome reputation we’re wondering if he had to cast himself in the lead role simply because no other actor was willing to stand in the firing line. We can’t begin to imagine the virtual slanging matches he must have had with himself, but clearly they worked as this emotional tale of a man’s search for his missing sons after the Battle of Gallipoli scooped Best Film at the Australian Film Institute Awards.
While We’re Young
Director: Noah Baumbach / Certificate: 15 / Release Date: 3 April
Stars: Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver, Amanda Seyfried
Where you loathe hipsters or are a hipster yourself, you should like While We’re Young — a marvellously witty and insightful deconstruction of relationships that’s set in NYC but could just as easily be present day Dalston, such is its hilariously accurate skewering of all things trendy. Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts play married 40-somethings obsessed with a far too-cool-for-school younger couple. Both timely and timeless, you’ll cringe and laugh out loud simultaneously. Don’t miss it.
Director: Ryan Gosling / Certificate: 15 / Release Date: 10 April
Stars: Iain De Caestecker, Christina Hendricks, Saoirse Ronan, Matt Smith, Eva Mendes, Ben Mendelsohn
There are definite cliques going on in La La Land and Lost River features one of the most exclusive. Ryan Gosling, aka Coolest Man In Hollywood, drums up family and friends for his directorial debut, a self-penned action fantasy following a mother and her two sons on a dark journey to an abandoned, underworld city. It’s divided the critics but that hardly matters with such a luminous cast list including significant other Eva Mendes, plus old muckers Christina Hendricks and Ben Mendelsohn, who shared screen space with Gosling in Drive and The Place Beyond The Pines respectively. But most curious of all is the appearance of Matt Smith, from which we can only conclude The Gosling is a closet Whovian. Who knew?
Director: Andrew Niccol / Certificate: 15 / Release Date: 10 April
Stars: Ethan Hawke, January Jones, Bruce Greenwood
The impending general election got you feeling political? Sharpen your ears and minds and take in this thought-provoking assault on the US military’s use of drone strikes. A timely anti-war movie in the same realist vein as the likes of The Hurt Locker, it stars Ethan Hawke as a mentally scarred pilot struggling to come to terms with his job and colleagues.
Director: Daniel Espinosa / Certificate: 15 / Release Date: 17 April
Stars: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnerman, Gary Oldman
Hammersmith boy Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace are reunited onscreen following marvellous thriller The Drop (but sadly minus the adorable puppy who stole every scene), taking on another dark tale. Set in the Soviet Union during the Stalin era, Tom plays Leo Demidov, a security officer who decides to investigate a series of child murders, supported by his wife (Rapace). Unfortunately, the highly controlling state don’t take quite so kindly to Leo drawing attention to such horrific acts and he finds himself a marked man.
Director: Gerard Barrett / Certificate: 15 / Release Date: 17 April
Stars: Toni Collette, Jack Reynor, Will Poulter
Hands up who still snickers with delight at the recollection of Will Poulter’s utterly incongruous rendition of TLC’s Waterfalls in We’re The Millers? Having established himself as a bit of a comic genius, Glassland, winner of the Special Jury Prize at Sundance, is something of a change of pace for Hammersmith lad Will. A moving study of a troubled family in Northern Ireland, Reyor plays John, a young taxi driver struggling to cope with an alcoholic mother (Collette), disabled younger brother and selfish best friend Shane (Poulter). Bleak, but powerful.
Avengers: The Age Of Ultron
Director: Joss Whedon / Certificate: tbc / Release Date: 24 April
Stars: Robert Downey Jnr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson,
2015’s blockbuster season kicks off with arguably the biggest franchise of them all as the Avengers assemble for their latest adventure. It might sound like a big-budget washing powder ad but we’re assured it’s something to do with saving the planet from a megalomaniac bad guy — y’know, the usual day’s work for a superhero. Hackey’s finest Idris Elba, Harlesden boy Paul Bettany and RADA graduate Tom Hiddleston take their places amongst the rest of an eye-watering cast.