March 2016 will be remembered as the month that Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice finally hit theaters, and while the Zack Snyder film may have received a — ahem — mixed reception from critics and fans alike, at least most moviegoers can agree that the box office success of Disney’s Zootopia and surprise pseudo-sequel 10 Cloverfield Lane was well-deserved. The weeks ahead may not hold a film with as much hype behind it as the aforementioned superhero smackdown — as comic book fans bide their time until the May debut of Captain America: Civil War — but rest assured that there are plenty of worthwhile releases to check out at your local cineplex.
Here are 10 films to check out in April 2016:
Miles Ahead (Release Date: April 1)
Academy Award-nominated actor Don Cheadle stars as legendary jazz musician Miles Davis in Miles Ahead, which finally hits limited release this month after making its premiere at the New York Film Festival last fall. The project is a labor of love for Cheadle — who co-wrote and makes his directorial debut with the film — and looks to shake up the musical biopic genre with an intriguingly different approach to Davis’s life story.
Miles Ahead has actually been in development for more than a decade, and the film didn’t really gain traction until Davis’s nephew appeared at the artist’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, announcing that Cheadle would star as Davis in a forthcoming film. At the time, no such project was in the works, but considering the cultural significance of its central figure and Cheadle’s raw talent, it’s easy to see why that combination makes sense.
Check out the latest trailer for Miles Ahead.
Hardcore Henry (Release Date: April 8)
For decades, found footage filmmaking has been going strong, but just when moviegoers think they have seen it all, Hardcore Henry comes along. The film — from the mind of first-time feature director Ilya Nishuller — centers on a man who mysteriously awakens a cybernetic super-soldier as he hunts down the people who kidnapped his wife.
While that revenge-driven premise may seem a bit familiar, Hardcore Henry delivers its action-heavy tale strictly through the eyes of its main character, creating a first-person experience that literally puts audiences on the journey with Henry. Here’s hoping the film’s thrilling action sequences actually live up to its storytelling conceit.
Check out the latest trailer for Hardcore Henry.
The Boss (Release Date: April 8)
Melissa McCarthy may star as one of the four leads in Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot this summer, but before she straps on a proton pack, she’ll headline The Boss, the latest comedy from director Ben Falcone. In the film, McCarthy plays a business tycoon who must remake her image after she’s released from prison for insider trading.
Falcone — McCarthy’s real-life husband — previously teamed with the actress for the 2014 comedy Tammy, and while that release proved to be a hit at the box office, few would place it in the same league as other recent McCarthy films like Spy and The Heat, both of which were directed by Feig. The Boss is reportedly based on a character the actress was developing during her time with the Groundlings comedy troupe. So perhaps the film will emerge a winner.
Check out the latest trailer for The Boss.
Demolition (Release Date: April 8)
In recent years, few actors have delivered as compelling a string of performances as Jake Gyllenhaal. The Brokeback Mountain actor has consistently wowed audiences with remarkable turns in films like Prisoners, Enemy, and Nightcrawler. Now Demolition hopes to be another addition to his list of stellar projects.
The film follows a man who deconstructs his life in order to find new purpose following his wife’s death, and that heady concept — as well as supporting turns from Naomi Watts and Chris Cooper — could translate into powerful drama. Director Jean-Marc Vallée’s last two films — Dallas Buyers Club and Wild — both earned awards attention. So there’s a distinct chance that Demolition could be one of those few contenders that hits theaters early in the year.
Check out the latest trailer for Demolition.
Barbershop: The Next Cut (Release Date: April 15)
Twelve years have passed since Ice Cube and company took to the big screen in Barbershop 2: Back in Business. Now the actor/rapper and key members of the original cast — including Cedric the Entertainer, Eve and Anthony Anderson — return to theaters for Barbershop: The Next Cut.
This time around, Calvin (Ice Cube) and his co-workers are out to save the neighborhood, which has fallen on hard times in the years since the previous film. Although the Barbershop series has remained dormant for quite some time, director Malcolm D. Lee similarly revived his own property with The Best Man Holiday in 2013, making it even more likely that he can do the same for this popular comedy/drama franchise.
Check out the latest trailer for Barbershop: The Next Cut.
The Jungle Book (Release Date: April 15)
Disney once again cracks open the archives to translate one of its most beloved animated classics into a live-action adaptation (an approach they’ll repeat again with next year’s Beauty and the Beast). However, with Jon Favreau (Iron Man) at the helm and a voice cast that includes Bill Murray, Idris Elba and Scarlett Johansson, The Jungle Book could prove to be that rare case when a revisit is actually worth it.
Based on Rupyard Kipling’s stories, the new film incorporates a combination of live-action and CG to create a world where young Mowgli (Neel Sethi) interacts with a jungle full of talking animals. Still, Favreau’s take also aims to take a reverent stance on the original 1967 animated version by including a number of its unforgettable songs. For now, we’ll trust in the Mouse House that this one has what it takes to please longtime fans.
Check out the latest trailer for The Jungle Book.
Sing Street (Release Date: April 15)
A decidedly smaller film than most of this month’s other releases, Sing Street doesn’t feature a bevy of visual effects or any marquee stars. Instead, the film hopes to win the attention of moviegoers with its straightforward tale of a young man (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) who moves to London and starts a band in the hopes of winning over a girl.
Coming out this month in limited release, Sing Street earned overwhelmingly positive reviews upon its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, and its combination of a poignant coming-of-age story, original music and a charming young cast could help the film become a sleeper hit. Director John Carney similarly melded music and character-driven stories to great success in the Oscar-winning Once and the supremely underrated Begin Again.
Check out the latest trailer for Sing Street.
Elvis & Nixon (Release Date: April 22)
The last time a major release detailed a pivotal encounter involving President Richard Nixon, Ron Howard’s 2008 historical drama Frost/Nixon made it all the way to Oscar night. Now Elvis & Nixon — directed by Liza Johnson (Hateship, Loveship) — tells the story of the 1970 meeting between Nixon (Kevin Spacey) and Elvis Presley (Michael Shannon) at the White House.
The comedy/drama marks the first project to be acquired by Amazon Studios, and its two leads alone could make for a particularly entertaining bit of history. The meeting between Presley and Nixon ultimately resulted in the moment captured by the most requested photograph in the history of the National Archives, and with any luck, Elvis & Nixon could wring a fun, memorable cinematic experience out of the story behind it.
Check out the latest trailer for Elvis & Nixon.
The Huntsman: Winter’s War (Release Date: April 22)
Despite mixed reviews and disappointing domestic box office, Snow White and the Huntsman proved to be solid worldwide hit, earning nearly $400 million. However, a follow-up remained trapped in development, due in part to the scandal involving director Rupert Sanders and star Kristen Stewart. Ultimately, both were left behind in favor of a story centering on Eric the Huntsman, as played by Thor star Chris Hemsworth in the first film.
The Huntsman: Winter’s War incorporates both prequel and sequel elements to facilitate the return of Hemsworth and Charlize Theron’s Ravenna in a story that involves a feud between Ravenna and her ice-powered sister Freya (Emily Blunt). The film is directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, who served as visual effects supervisor on its predecessor, and with such a stellar cast (that also includes Jessica Chastain, Nick Frost and Sam Claflin), The Huntsman: Winter’s War could easily course-correct this budding franchise and set the stage for more adventures.
Keanu (Release Date: April 29)
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele may have wrapped their five-season run on the appropriately titled Comedy Central sketch show Key & Peele last fall, but the duo reunite on the big screen this month with Keanu. In the film, Key and Peele pose as drug dealers to infiltrate a gang and rescue a lost kitten. Hilarity ensues.
Key & Peele director Peter Atencio helms the film, which looks like it is targeting the same audience that found the duo’s show such a can’t-miss affair. Keanu has received mostly positive regards since its premiere at South by Southwest last month. So moviegoers looking for a late April laugh riot might want to mark their calendars.
Check out the latest trailer for Keanu.
While this month may feature few films that inspire the same fervent hype that accompanied some of this year’s biggest hits to date, April still has more than enough standout releases to keep moviegoers busy until summer movie season rolls around. From a new Disney adventure to fresh creative voices in the worlds of comedy, action and drama, this month brings several intriguing films that will be vying for their time in the spotlight.
Once again, here are the 10 films to check out in April:
April 1: Miles Ahead
April 8: Hardcore Henry, The Boss, Demolition
April 15: Barbershop: The Next Cut, The Jungle Book, Sing Street
April 22: Elvis & Nixon, The Huntsman: Winter’s War
April 29: Keanu