April movie preview: Morbius, Sonic the Hedgehog and Nic Cage as Nic Cage
CHICAGO - Spring is officially here, and you know what that means: It’s time for vampires, wizards, witches and meta comedies galore! Okay, so this April is a bit of an eclectic month for movies. As the box office slowly roars back to life, big blockbusters like "Morbius," "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" and "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" are joined by throwback thrillers like Michael Bay’s "Ambulance" as well as ambitious original projects like the sci-fi extravaganza "Everything Everywhere All At Once."
Indeed, weird is the name of the game for April, as Judd Apatow gets meta on Netflix, Karen Gillan plays a pair of deadpan clones and Nicolas Cage stars as himself in the new action comedy "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent"
Here’s what’s headed your way, cinematically speaking, in April 2022.
Morbius (in theaters April 1)
After the massive success of its "Venom" franchise, Sony hopes to further flesh out its "Spider-Man"-adjacent universe with "Morbius," the long-delayed tale of a vampiric antihero. Jared Leto stars as the titular Michael Morbius, a doctor who accidentally turns himself into a (literal) bat man while trying to cure his rare blood disease. But according to FOX film critic Caroline Siede, "[There’s a] general sense of desperation that hangs over the film, which seems like it’s in full damage-control mode from the moment it begins. Whatever scrap of originality may have initially motivated this project has been trimmed down to something vague (and vaguely palatable) designed to get audiences in and out in under two hours. ... Innocuous at best and laughable at worst, ’Morbius’ has no legs — or wings — to stand on."
Read Caroline Siede’s full review of "Morbius."
Rated PG-13. 108 minutes. Dir: Daniel Espinosa. Featuring: Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Tyrese Gibson, Al Madrigal, Michael Keaton.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Jared Leto in "Requiem for a Dream"
The Bubble (streaming on Netflix April 1)
The Bubble. (L to R) Keegan-Michael Key as Sean Knox, Karen Gillan as Carol Cobb, Leslie Mann as Lauren Van Chance, David Duchovny as Dustin Mulray, Guz Khan as Howie Frangopolous, Iris Apatow as Krystal Kris, Pedro Pascal as Dieter Bravo in The Bubb
This deeply meta comedy from writer/director Judd Apatow is a movie made during the pandemic... about making a movie during the pandemic. Specifically, the fictionalized cast and crew are filming "Cliff Beasts 6," a thinly veiled riff on the "Jurassic Park" franchise. But it’s the behind-the-scenes antics that really take center stage as the production team seals themselves off on a closed film set in England and goes a little stir-crazy in the process. Expect in-jokes about Hollywood and plenty of famous faces making fun of their own industry.
Rated R. 126 minutes. Dir: Judd Apatow. Featuring: Karen Gillan, Pedro Pascal, Leslie Mann, Fred Armisen, David Duchovny, Keegan-Michael Key, Kate McKinnon, Guz Khan, Iris Apatow, Maria Bakalova.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Karen Gillan in "Not Another Happy Ending"
Better Nate Than Ever (streaming on Disney+ April 1)
"Better Nate Than Ever" (Photo: Disney+)
Theater kids rejoice! This charming looking family film follows Nate Foster (Rueby Wood), an over-the-top 13-year-old who dreams of performing on Broadway. "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series" breakout Joshua Bassett plays Nate’s skeptical older brother, while Lisa Kudrow is on hand as his struggling actress aunt. The whole thing promises to be a toe-tapping, time-stepping, exuberant musical adventure about following your dreams and finding yourself along the way.
Rated PG. 94 minutes. Dir: Tim Federle. Featuring: Rueby Wood, Joshua Bassett, Aria Brooks, Lisa Kudrow, Norbert Leo Butz.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Lisa Kudrow in "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion"
The Devil You Know (in theaters April 1)
"The Devil You Know" (Screenshot: YouTube)
"Things Never Said" writer/director Charles Murray sure knows how to fill out a cast. This thriller centers on Marcus (Omar Epps), a man recently released from prison who is determined to create a fresh start for himself with the support of his family (notably character actor extraordinaire Glynn Turman). But when he discovers that his brother (William Catlett) is somehow in possession of an item linked to a recent horrific crime, things get complicated — especially once a jaded detective (Michael Ealy) shows up on the family’s doorstep. It’s perhaps not the freshest premise in the world, but great actors can make even stale stories sing.
Rated R. 116 minutes. Dir: Charles Murray. Featuring: Omar Epps, Michael Ealy, William Catlett, Glynn Turman, B.J. Britt, Theo Rossi.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Michael Ealy in "Jacob’s Ladder"
Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood (streaming on Netflix April 1)
Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood - Milo Coy as Stan. Cr: Netflix © 2022
Director Richard Linklater returns to his beloved rotoscoping animation format for this sweet nostalgia trip back to 1969. Inspired by his own childhood in Houston in the 1960s, "Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood" pairs a showy framing device about a kid astronaut with a slice-of-life look at suburbia on the edge of the Space Race. More narrated docudrama than narrative feature, "Apollo 10½" does at times feel like an older relative monologuing at you about every minute detail from their childhood — from what they ate for dinner to what they watched on TV. ("Let me tell you about life back then. It was a great time to be a kid," Jack Black's narrator explains early in the film.) But that myopia is also part of its charm.
Read more about "Apollo 10 1/2" in FOX’s SXSW movie round-up.
Rated PG-13. 98 minutes. Dir: Richard Linklater. Featuring the voices of: Milo Coy, Jack Black, Glen Powell, Zachary Levi, Josh Wiggins, Lee Eddy, Bill Wise.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Richard Linklater directs Jack Black in "Bernie"
You Won’t Be Alone (in theaters April 1)
Noomi Rapace appears in "You Won't Be Alone" by Goran Stolevski, an official selection of the World Cinema: Dramatic Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Branko Starcevic.
In his debut feature, experimental filmmaker Goran Stolevski looks at the world through the eyes of someone looking at the world through the eyes of many someones. Critics at the Sundance Film Festival buzzed about the unique premise of "You Won’t Be Alone," in which a young girl in 19th century Macedonia is unwillingly transformed into a shape-shifting witch. It’s a setup that demands a strong ensemble cast, anchored by Swedish actress Noomi Rapace (the first on-screen Lisbeth Salander in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and its sequels).
Rated R. 109 minutes. Dir: Goran Stolevski. Language: Macedonian. Featuring: Sara Klimoska, Anamaria Marinca, Alice Englert, Felix Maritaud, Carloto Cotta, Noomi Rapace.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Noomi Rapace in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (in theaters April 8)
Hey parents, it’s once again time to spend two hours trying not to stare at Sonic the Hedgehog’s teeth! This sequel to 2020’s "Sonic the Hedgehog" sees Idris Elba join the voice cast as Knuckles, otherwise known as the red one. Both Ben Schwartz (as Sonic, the blue one) and James Marsden (as a non-hedgehog regular human man) return, as does Jim Carrey, doing the Jim Carrey thing as the villainous Dr. Eggman.
Rated PG. 122 minutes. Dir: Jeff Fowler. Featuring: Ben Schwartz, Jim Carrey, James Marsden, Idris Elba, Colleen O'Shaughnessey, Tika Sumpter.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Five seasons of "Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog"
Ambulance (in theaters April 8)
(from left) Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and Danny Sharp (Jake Gyllenhaal) in Ambulance, directed by Michael Bay.
Love or hate him, you hear the name Michael Bay and you know what you’re going to get. Crashes! Explosions! Actors having intense conversations while driving and/or holding weaponry! This time around, it’s Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II facing off as a pair of brothers on the lam. Abdul-Mateen plays a veteran who can’t keep up with his wife’s medical bills; Gyllenhaal is his criminal brother with a bank heist in mind. When things go sideways, they need a new getaway vehicle. Guess what they choose? Hint: It’s the title.
Rated R. 136 minutes. Dir: Michael Bay. Featuring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza González, Garret Dillahunt.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Michael Bay’s "Armageddon"
Everything Everywhere All At Once (in theaters April 8)
(L-R) Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan. Photo Credit: Allyson Riggs/A24
After opening in limited release in March, "Everything Everywhere All At Once" expands nationwide in April. So what can you expect? Well, the title says it all, really. Michelle Yeoh stars as an everyday woman who suddenly discovers access to a multiverse of worlds where other versions of herself exist as chefs, movie stars, martial arts masters and even cartoon characters. This trippy movie is the long-awaited sophomore feature for "the Daniels" (directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), who made a major splash with 2016’s "Swiss Army Man" a.k.a. the Daniel Radcliffe farting corpse movie. And in her review of "Everything Everywhere All At Once," FOX film critic Caroline Siede calls it "a transcendently singular film that remixes familiar genre tropes into something that feels wholly new and quietly revolutionary."
Read Caroline Siede’s full review of "Everything Everywhere All At Once."
Rated R. 140 minutes. Dir: Daniels. Featuring: Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, Jenny Slate, Harry Shum Jr., James Hong.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Michelle Yeoh in "The Lady," Ke Huy Quan in "The Goonies" and Jamie Lee Curtis in "A Fish Called Wanda"
Father Stu (in theaters April 13)
Mark Wahlberg stars in this true life story of boxer-turned-priest Stuart Lon, who later developed a degenerative muscular disorder. Wahlberg’s been a long-time creative champion for this particular story, which he originally started developing with frequent collaborator David O. Russell back in 2016. Now "Father Stu" finally arrives just in time for the Easter season.
Rated R. 124 minutes. Dir: Rosalind Ross. Featuring: Mark Wahlberg, Jacki Weaver, Mel Gibson, Teresa Ruiz.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Mark Wahlberg in "We Own the Night"
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (in theaters April 15)
What is Dumbledore’s secret? Is it the secret of why there are so many of these movies? Regardless, here comes the third installment of the "Fantastic Beasts" franchise, which once again sees Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander and Jude Law’s young Albus Dumbledore facing off against the forces of darkness (and Mads Mikkelsen subbing in for Johnny Depp). Next up? An entire two more movies.
Rated PG-13. 142 minutes. Dir: David Yates. Featuring: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Callum Turner, Jessica Williams, Katherine Waterston, Mads Mikkelsen.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Eddie Redmayne in "My Week with Marilyn"
Dual (in theaters April 15)
Karen Gillan appears in DUAL by Riley Stearns, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.
Karen Gillan leads this unusual dark comedy set in a near-future sci-fi world in which terminally ill patients are encouraged to make clones of themselves who can go on living in their place. It’s the latest project from writer/director Riley Stearns, whose drily arch worlds make him America’s answer to Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos ("The Favourite"). While Stearns’ 2019 karate comedy "The Art of Self-Defense" examined toxic masculinity by way of a deadly dojo, "Dual" uses its clone tech premise to satirically explore the crushing mundanity of everyday life.
Read more about "Dual" in FOX Digital’s Sundance movie round-up
Rated R. 95 minutes. Dir: Riley Stearns. Featuring: Karen Gillan, Aaron Paul, Beulah Koale.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Karen Gillan in the horror mystery "Oculus"
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (in theaters April 22)
‘Nick Cage’ greets ‘Javi Gutierrez’ with a ‘Palm Hold Fist’ salute as he arrives in Mallorca, Spain. | Credit: Katalin Vermes
Get ready for one of the most surreal movies of the year: This new meta action comedy from writer/director Tom Gormican stars Nicolas Cage as a fictionalized version of himself — one that’s ostensibly a little bit heightened, although given Cage’s famously over-the-top personality, who can really say. Add in Pedro Pascal as a Cage-obsessed Spanish billionaire plus Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz as two CIA agents with a mission for Cage, and you’ve got a movie every bit as off-the-wall as the Hollywood legend himself.
Read Caroline Siede’s feature on the SXSW world premiere of "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent"
107 minutes. Dir: Tom Gormican. Featuring: Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal, Sharon Horgan, Tiffany Haddish, Ike Barinholtz, Alessandra Mastronardi, Jacob Scipio, Neil Patrick Harris.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Nic Cage in "Leaving Las Vegas," "Guarding Tess" and "Peggy Sue Got Married"
The Northman (in theaters April 22)
Alexander Skarsgård stars as Amleth and Anya Taylor-Joy as Olga in director Robert Eggers’ Viking epic THE NORTHMAN, a Focus Features release. Credit: Aidan Monaghan / © 2022 Focus Features, LLC
"The Lighthouse" director Robert Eggers goes full viking for this revenge thriller, which sees abundantly bearded Alexander Skarsgård seek revenge for his murdered father. "The Northman" reunites Eggers with stars Anya Taylor-Joy("The Witch") and Willem Dafoe ("The Lighthouse"); it also marks Björk’s return to the screen for the first time since 2005.
Rated R. 136 minutes. Dir: Robert Eggers. Featuring: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Björk, Willem Dafoe.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Willem Dafoe in "The Boondock Saints"
The Bad Guys (in theaters April 22)
"The Bad Guys" (Screenshot: YouTube)
You might think this latest DreamWorks animated feature was titled "The Bad Guys" just so the trailer could use Billie Eilish’s song "Bad Guy" (which, of course, it does). But the name actually came from the film’s source material: an Australian children's graphic novel series that first launched in 2015. Sam Rockwell lends his voice to "the big bad wolf" a.k.a. Mr. Wolf, the leader of a crime gang who decides to try being good for a change. But can Mr. Snake (Marc Maron), Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos), Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson) and Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina) actually rehab their images? There's only one way to find out.
Rated PG. 100 minutes. Featuring the voices of Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Anthony Ramos, Craig Robinson, Awkwafina, Richard Ayoade, Zazie Beetz, Lilly Singh, Alex Borstein.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI KIDS: "Surf’s Up," "An American Tail" and "Playmobil: The Movie"
Crush (streaming on Hulu April 29)
Paige Evans (Rowan Blanchard) and AJ Campos (Auli'i Cravalho), shown. (Photo by: Hulu)
Rowan Blanchard and Moana herself, Auli’i Cravalho, lead what co-writer Kirsten King has proudly dubbed Hulu’s "very gay rom-com." Chemistry is the name of the game in this teen romance, which centers on a young artist who’s forced to join her high school track team. She hopes it’ll at least be a chance to pursue the girl she’s long had a crush on. But when a different teammate catches her eye instead, this story is off to the races. (That’s a track team pun for you.)
Dir: Sammi Cohen. Featuring: Rowan Blanchard, Auli’i Cravalho, Megan Mullally, Aasif Mandvi, Michelle Buteau, Isabella Ferreira, Tyler Alvarez, Teala Dunn, Rico Paris.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: The classic queer girl rom-com "But I’m A Cheerleader"
Left, from top: "Women of the White Buffalo;" "Let the Wrong One In." Center: "Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off." Right, from top: "Metal Lords;" "All Old Knives."
FOR CHRIS PINE FANS: Chris Pine has not one but two movies coming out this April. "The Contractor" (in theaters and VOD April 1) is an action thriller about a former Green Beret who turns to private military contracting. Meanwhile, "All Old Knives" (in theaters and on Amazon Prime Video April 8) pairs Pine with Thandiwe Newton as spies and ex-lovers who meet over dinner to hash out a mission gone wrong.
FOR HORROR LOVERS: "Let The Wrong One In" (in theaters and VOD April 1) is an Irish vampire horror-comedy perfect for April Fools’ Day. "Choose or Die" (Netflix, April 8) turns a 1980s computer game into contemporary horror. "The Cellar" (in theaters and Shudder April 15) brings a spooky Irish basement to life. And "Virus: 32" (Shudder April 21) delivers gritty zombie thrills from Uruguay.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: The zombie action of "Train to Busan"
FOR DOCUMENTARIES: Tony Hawk takes to the half-pipe in "Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off" (HBO Max, April 5). SpaceX takes to the sky in "Return to Space" (Netflix, April 7). Arthouse director Andrea Arnold takes to the farmyard in "Cow" (in theaters and VOD April 8), a multi-year look at the life of a humble dairy cow named Luma. And Lakota women take center stage in "Women of the White Buffalo" (VOD April 12), a documentary about life and activism on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
FOR COMING-OF-AGE TALES: Two teenage misfits decide to become heavy metal musicians in "Metal Lords"(Netflix, April 8). A recent high school grad tries to embrace her youth in the rom-dram "Along for the Ride" (Netflix, April 22). And a teen delinquent (Miya Cech) befriends a surly magician (Rhea Perlman) in "Marvelous and the Black Hole" (in theaters April 22).
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Joey King in the coming-of-age dramedy "Summer ’03"
FOR THE ARTHOUSE CROWD: For something really off the beaten path, check out "Memoria," the abstract Tilda Swinton drama that plans to permanently forgo a DVD or streaming release and instead play on a "never-ending" theatrical tour, one screen at a time, starting April 1. (The full schedule can be found on the film’s website.)
FOR ACTION THRILLS: Lena Heady protects a kid in "9 Bullets" (in theaters and VOD April 22) while Liam Neesonplays an assassin with memory issues in a movie fittingly titled "Memory" (in theaters April 29).
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Lena Heady in "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies"
FOR ROMANTICS: Lynn Chen and Pooya Mohseni lead "See You Then" (in theaters April 1; VOD April 19), a moving LGBT+ story about two exes who meet up years after an abrupt break-up.
FOR WWII DRAMAS: Keira Knightley lends her voice to "Charlotte" (in theaters April 22), an animated biopic about German-Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon. Plus Ben Foster stars as real-life concentration camp survivor Harry Haft in the boxing drama "The Survivor" (HBO Max, April 27), which will release on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day).
More great movies streaming (for free!) on Tubi
Howard High (2022): A modern-age "Bring It On," "Howard High" is an energetic teen musical that follows a high school performance group who must compete against a rival school in order to save their arts program. The crowd-pleasing film from "You Got Served" director Chris Stokes is inspired by his 2020 TV mini-series of the same name, which is also streaming on Tubi. With its talented cast of up-and-comers, "Howard High" shines a light on the challenges that school arts programs face in underfunded neighborhoods — all through the power of song and dance. "Howard High" is a Tubi Original. Rated TV-14. 102 minutes. Dir: Chris Stokes. Featuring: Chrissy Stokes, Veronika Bozeman, Lindsay Diann, Jarell Houston, Dylan Mooney.
Domingo (2020): From Mexican director Raúl López Echeverría, this feel-good comedy follows Domingo (Eduardo Covarrubias), a 55-year-old man living in a poor suburb near Guadalajara. When his wife abruptly leaves him, Domingo decides to do everything in his power to achieve his lifelong dream of becoming a professional soccer commentator. Soon enough, his impassioned weekly commentaries on local amateur matches are changing lives throughout his neighborhood. "Domingo" is a Tubi Original. Rated TV-MA. 95 minutes. Dir: Raúl López Echeverría. Language: Spanish. Also featuring: Martha Claudia Moreno, Jesus Hernandez.
10 Truths About Love (2022): Camilla Belle stars as Carina Franklin, a thriving romance columnist who has her own love life totally figured out — at least until her longtime boyfriend dumps her. Even worse, her editor insists on giving her column a "male perspective" and hires a writer named Liam (David Lafontain) to balance her out. When the two new co-workers clash, Liam sets out to demonstrate that his tactics work by helping Carina win back her ex. Of course, in trying to prove each other wrong, Liam and Carina might just realize how right they really are for each other. "10 Truths About Love" is a Tubi Original. Rated TV-14. 90 minutes. Dir: Brian K. Roberts. Featuring: Camilla Belle, David Lafontaine, Jennifer De Lucia, Karn Kalra, Paula Rivera, David Keeley.
About the writer: Allison Shoemaker is a Chicago-based pop-culture critic and journalist. She is the author of "How TV Can Make You Smarter," and a member of the Television Critics Association and the Chicago Film Critics Association. She is also a producer and co-host for the Podlander Presents network of podcasts. Find her on Twitter and Instagram at @allisonshoe. Allison is a Tomatometer-approved Top Critic on Rotten Tomatoes.
About the writer: Caroline Siede is a film and TV critic in Chicago, where the cold never bothers her anyway. A member of the Chicago Film Critics Association, she lovingly dissects the romantic comedy genre one film at a time in her ongoing column When Romance Met Comedy at The A.V. Club. She also co-hosts the movie podcast, Role Calling, and shares her pop culture opinions on Twitter (@carolinesiede).
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