Features and Columns · Movies

What’s New on VOD for April 2020

Life without movie theaters means an entertainment industry pining to give us even more options at home
Vod April
By  · Published on April 8th, 2020

Welcome to the voluptuous new world of VOD, folks — a world where hot new titles once slated for a theatrical release come straight to your semi-quarantined homes and every movie once scheduled for the summer is suddenly on your doorstep or in hibernation.

Is it ideal? No. Cinephiles everywhere are mourning the loss of the theater experience. But we movie lovers also find ourselves in an unprecedented, perpetual movie marathon situation, so it’s not all bad. Theaters will be back eventually, and in the meantime, while we’re busy not going outside, we can hunker down with some fresh fare and long-awaited post-theatrical arrivals.

April is a pretty terrific month for VOD releases. There’s plenty of junk to go around, as usual, but it’s a unique month. It’s our first full month of a primarily locked down, COVID-19-aware United States. As a result, distributors are experimenting with VOD tactics and expediting releases, which means there’s a lot to chew on. Below, you’ll find a table with all the releases, but first, a few highlights.

Celebrated Film Festival Titles

Calling on the ghosts of such festivals as Toronto, Venice, Berlin, Telluride, and the past two Sundances, April offers a stately crew of indie darlings. They include a stark, heartbreaking tale of an underage teen getting an abortion: Eliza Hittman’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always (April 3rd), which collected awards at Sundance and Berlin before a very brief limited theatrical release last month.

There’s also Malgorzata Szumowska’s stunningly gorgeous horror picture The Other Lamb (April 3rd), which premiered at Toronto last fall. Also from Toronto, we now get meaty men smacking bodies in period piece candlelight in the form of Justin Kurzel’s as yet unreleased True History of the Kelly Gang (April 24th).

Other standouts include the Sundance premiere To the Stars (April 24th) and Kitty Green’s Harvey Weinstein-inspired drama The Assistant (April 28), which had a brief but celebrated limited release at the end of January following its debut at Telluride last fall.

Doc Life

April is a promising month for new documentaries, too, many of which could spill over into the festival fare slot above. There’s Slay the Dragon (April 3rd), which covers the mundane yet catastrophic political process of gerrymandering. And don’t sleep on the basketball film A Kid From Coney Island (April 7th) or Roberto Minervini’s What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? (April 7th), two docs that for one reason or another offer the serious potential for an engrossing at-home screening.

Bonafide Badassery

Two theatrical releases, in particular, will be landing on VOD in April that were well-received for their no holds barred badassery. Underwater (April 14th) sees the likes of Kristen Stewart and Vincent Cassel gearing up in aquatic super suits — absurdly large, and bulky enough to qualify for intentionally ironic praise — to plunge into the deep unknown of the ocean where horrifying creatures dwell. And Bad Boys For Life (April 21st) is…well, have you seen the other two Bad Boys movies? Also, I need to mention True History of the Kelly Gang again because it overwhelmingly exceeds the badassery inclusion requirements.

Butt Boy

Need I say more? (No, but really, it’s better than you think. And out on April 14th)

Without further ado, the list:

April 1Impractical Jokers: The MovieComedy
April 3Almost LoveRom-com
April 3Brahms: The Boy IIHorror
April 3Lazy SusanComedy
April 3Never Rarely Sometimes AlwaysDrama
April 3Rogue Warfare: The HuntAction
April 3Slay the DragonDocumentary
April 3The Other LambHorror
April 7CatsMusical
April 7Dead by DawnHorror
April 7DolittleAdventure
April 10Sea FeverThriller
April 10Stray DollsCrime
April 10The Lost HusbandRomance
April 10Trolls World TourAnimation
April 12Mortal Combat Legends: Scorpion’s revengeAnimation
April 14Butt BoySci-fi
April 14Green RushThriller
April 14Just MercyDrama
April 14The Rhythm SectionThriller
April 14UnderwaterHorror
April 17AbeFamily
April 17Bad TherapyComedy
April 17Behind YouHorror
April 17The QuarryThriller
April 21Bad Boys for LifeAction
April 21IP Man 4: The FinaleAction
April 21Like A BossComedy
April 21The Last Full MeasureWar
April 21The TurningHorror
April 21Why Don’t You Just Die!Comedy
April 24To the StarsDrama
April 24True History of the Kelly GangDrama
April 28DreamkatcherHorror
April 28Guns AkimboAction
April 28The AssistantDrama

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Luke Hicks is a New York City film journalist by way of Austin, TX, and an arts enthusiast who earned his master's studying film philosophy and ethics at Duke. He thinks every occasion should include one of the following: whiskey, coffee, gin, tea, beer, or olives. Love or lambast him @lou_kicks.