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April Showers, Movie Flowers

By Jean Teller, Sr. Assoc. Editor

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Jean TellerWell, it looks like April showers won’t bring many blossoms known as movies this month. I only see three that I’m putting on my must-see list. Sigh. But wait, May brings lots of blooms – I may be living at the Cineplex come May 1.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I put together a list of a few April releases that may tempt you to head for the theater.

Fast & Furious: New Model, Original Parts.

Fast & Furious: The fourth in the franchise, this movie reunites Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster as they reprise roles from The Fast and the Furious (2001). Agent Brian O’Conner (Walker) and fugitive Dom Toretto (Diesel) return to the streets of Los Angeles, reigniting their feud until a common enemy brings them together. I love the tag line: New Model, Original Parts. Rated PG-13, Fast & Furious opens April 3.

Adventureland: While comedies aren’t usually on my list, Adventureland might be an exception to the rule. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and Ryan Reynolds, among others, this angst-driven comedy tells the tale of a recent college grad working at his hometown amusement park, and how the supposedly nowhere job helps him prepare for real life. Rated R, Adventureland opens April 3.

The Escapist: Only in limited release, this British film stars Brian Cox, Damian Lewis and Joseph Fiennes. Cox portrays a man serving a life sentence without parole who plans a daring escape to visit his estranged and terminally ill daughter. First released at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2008, The Escapist had its DVD premiere last month in the United Kingdom, so please no spoilers! The Escapist opens April 3 (I’m not sure when it goes into wide release).

State of Play: An excellent cast makes State of Play a must-see in my book. Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright Penn, Jason Bateman, Jeff Daniels, Harry Lennix, Viola Davis and Helen Mirren star in the political thriller. Based on a BBC miniseries, State of Play focuses on the friendship between a reporter (Crowe) and a politician (Affleck) after the senator’s aide (and mistress) is killed. Mirren takes the role of the hard-hitting newspaper editor to the next level. Not yet rated, State of Play opens April 17.

American Violet: Based on astonishing true events, American Violet examines corruption in a small Texas town through the life of Dee Roberts, a 24-year-old African American single mother. An extensive drug bust puts Roberts (played by unknown Nichole Behaire) in jail, faced with pleading guilty to being a drug dealer and getting to go home a convicted felon, or fighting the charges and risking a long jail term as well as the custody of her young daughters. Also stars Alfre Woodard, Will Patton, Michael O’Keefe, Tim Blake Nelson and Xzbit. Rated PG-13, American Violet opens April 17.

Following whales is only part of the Disneynature release earth.

earth: This documentary follows three animal families – whales, elephants and polar bears – in the same way as the television series Planet Earth. Originally released in 2007, the British version of the film has made it around the globe and is already available on DVD in some parts of the world. Timed to correspond with Earth Day, the U.S. version is part of the Disneynature series and is narrated by James Earl Jones. Rated G, earth opens April 22. Another website is set to go live April 1.

The Soloist stars Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.

Alien Trespass looks campy and fun.

The Soloist: Based on an incredible true story, The Soloist stars Robert Downey Jr. as LA Times writer Steve Lopez, a journalist unsure of his place in the world, both professionally and personally. Jamie Foxx brings his musical and acting gifts to the role of Nathaniel Ayers, homeless and mentally ill yet with remarkable musical talent. The two men meet, and while a story is all Lopez is looking for in the beginning, the friendship that evolves changes both men and their lives. Rated PG-13, The Soloist opens April 24.

Other movies find themselves in limited release in April, and a few caught my attention. Check out Alien Trespass and Gigantic, opening April 3; Is Anybody There? which opens April 17; and The Garden, a documentary opening April 24. Oh, and Mom and Dad, be careful the weekend of April 10: Hannah Montana: The Movie opens.