Spring has finally sprung, despite the best efforts of Storm Katie to throw a spanner in the works, and London’s parks are full of daffodils. But there's still a nip in the air so it's not quite pub garden time yet. Not to worry — we've a host of golden celluloid to tide you over instead. April brings a mix of feel-good blockbusters, cerebral drama and a strange glut of Parisian action movies. Here's our pick, many with a Londony twist.
Eddie The Eagle – London Talent
Director: Dexter Fletcher Certificate: PG Release date: 1 April
Stars: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Christopher Walken
Hands up who still thinks of Dexter Fletcher as Spike, the cocksure American from Press Gang? That’ll be everyone then. So prepare to be shocked by the news that Spike is now 50 years old (how old does that make YOU feel?) and that Spike is in fact a Londoner! Mr Fletcher hails from Enfield and has reinvented himself as a well-respected director. His latest offering is a biopic of ski-jumping underdog sensation Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards. Resolutely upbeat, cheery and feel-good, it’s saved from cheese overload by a marvellously dry performance from Hugh Jackman as Eddie's trainer.
The Man Who Knew Infinity – London Talent
Director: Matt Brown Certificate: 12A Release date: 8 April
Stars: Dev Patel, Toby Jones, Jeremy Irons
The always-smiling London lad Dev Patel takes on the true story of Srinivasa Ramanujan, a self-taught, gifted and poor Indian mathematician who won a place at Cambridge University to study mathematics after writing to one of its professors. Tapping into the recent trend for eccentric genius (The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything) it also highlights the inherently privileged and exclusive history of the UK’s top educational establishments.
Criminal – London Set, London Talent
Director: Ariel Vromen Certificate: 15 Release date: 15 April
Stars: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Alice Eve, Tommy Lee Jones, Ryan Reynolds
Ryan Reynolds — currently the hottest of hot property having taken over the world as Deadpool — lends star power to this gritty action thriller. He plays a dead CIA agent whose memories are implanted into the body of rogue convict Kevin Costner in an attempt to try and solve a case — now that must have been one serious morning-after headache. Despite the US feel of the cast, it was filmed around our capital with Londoners Alice Eve and Gary Oldman on hand to provide support.
Eye In The Sky – London Set, London Talent
Director: Gavin Hood Certificate: 15 Release date: 15 April
Stars: Helen Mirren, Arron Paul, Alan Rickman
The late Alan Rickman's last onscreen film appearance reminds us how hypnotic and authoritative that inimitable voice was. Rickman plays a high ranking military official caught between a frustrated British army colonel (Helen Mirren) desperate to unleash a missile on a Kenyan terror cell to prevent a suicide bombing, and the nervous Whitehall government ministers who have to sanction her actions. An intelligent exploration of the moral rights and wrongs of drone warfare, it's also an eye opener into just how sophisticated military technology has become.
The Jungle Book – London Talent
Director: John Favreau Certificate: TBC Release date: 15 April
Stars: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson
It takes a very, very brave or very, very foolish man to remake one of the best loved Disney classics of all time. Fans may already be divided on whether Jon Favreau’s big budget, part live-action, part CGI version is actually necessary, but there is no denying the cleverness of the voice casting. Londoner Idris Elba, having warmed up by voicing Chief Bogo in Zootropolis, takes on the iconic role of Shere Khan the tiger whilst dulcet-toned Scarlett Johansson is an inspired choice for Kaa the snake. No doubt a new generation of little Londoners will lap it up, despite what their parents may think.
The Sweeney: Paris – London inspired
Director: Benjamin Rocher Certificate: 15 Release date: 15 April
Stars: Jean Reno, Alban Lenoir, Caterina Murino
Yes, you read that right. Classic London TV show, dubiously transported to the big screen in 2012, has now crossed the channel. Before you exclaim "Sacre Bleu, Guv!" this can only be a good thing as Ray Winstone’s Cockney grumblings have been Francophiled into the infinitely cooler form of Jean 'Leon' Reno. We’re really hoping he i) brings a pet plant and ii) drives a classic Citroen DS. Clearly this has franchise written all over it, so get your votes in now – The Sweeney: Rome starring Luca 'Montalbano' Zingaretti in a Ferrari Dino, anyone?
Bastille Day – London set, London talent
Director: James Watkins Certificate: 15 Release date: 22 April
Stars: Idris Elba, Richard Madden, Kelly Reilly, Charlotte Le Bon
You wait months for a Paris set action thriller, then two come along at once. Or maybe you don’t. Either way, we're racking them up in April as Hackney's favourite son Idris Elba traverses La Manche as a CIA agent who, investigating a bombing campaign, unravels a large scale conspiracy in the French capital. Despite the mainly Parisian location, scenes were also shot against the backdrop of Greenwich's beautiful Naval College.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa Certificate: 15 Release date: 22 April
Stars: Tina Fey, Martin Freeman, Margot Robbie, Alfred Molina
Based on the memoires of a female news reporter, Whisky Tango Foxtrot sees Tina Fey depart her normal comedy comfort zone for Kabul, as Afghan war correspondent Kim Baker. Even more disconcertingly, cuddly Martin Freeman reinvents himself as a foul mouthed, womanising Glaswegian press photographer. Once you've got your head around the casting, WTF doesn't quite have the cerebral chops it aspires to, but is still an interesting take on being a woman in one of the most culturally and politically hostile environments on earth.
Captain America: Civil War
Director: Anthony Russo / Joe Russo Certificate: TBC Release date: 29 April
Stars: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie
Hot on the heels of Batman v Superman, it's Captain America Vs Iron Man as the two Avengers have a bit of a tiff in Marvel's latest juggernaut blockbuster. Under political pressure to succumb to government accountability, the Avengers fall into two camps — anti-government led by Captain America and pro-government led by Iron Man. Doubtless many will claim this is erudite, contemporary political satire but really it's just an excuse for another superhero smackdown. The fanboys have never had it so good.
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée Certificate: 15 Release date: 29 April
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper, Judah Lewis
Jake Gyllenhaal continues to rack up Oscar bait roles with this latest tortured turn as investment banker Davis Mitchell who falls apart after his wife dies in a car crash. Taking an eccentric and proactive approach to grief, Davis finds solace in writing an ongoing series of complaint letters to a vending machine company as well as destroying anything and everything he can get his hands on, including his house. Critical response has been mixed, but it's won Jake the SXSW Audience Award so he's clearly doing something right.