The 10 Must See Movies of April 2014

By  · Published on April 1st, 2014

The 10 Must See Movies of April 2014

Studio Canal

We’re not even halfway into 2014 and already this is proving to be a terrific year for movies. In March alone we had a slew of quality films: Enemy, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Raid 2, and Bad Words.

This month is even better. What’s nice about this March and April is that they’ve given us some quality blockbusters that we’d expect from the summer without having to wait for the heat. While Noah had its flaws – a lot of them, to be exact – it was a grand and ambitious drama with the scope of a summer movie. A more consistent summer film is opening this week, and if you pay any attention to the world, you know which.

A hint: it’s the one about a super soldier who was frozen for over 60 years and is now fighting a man with a metal arm that’ll make a gazillion dollars. The movie, not the guy with the metal arm. Not sure what his day rate is.

The Marvel juggernaut isn’t the only movie you need to see this month, though. There are two movies in particular that will surely stand the test of time: Under the Skin and Only Lovers Left Alive. Those are experiences, not just movies. Before the busy summer movie season begins, make sure to make the time for them, in addition to these other eight Must See Movies:

The Retrieval

Opens in theaters April 2nd

Chris Eska’s The Retrieval premiered over a year ago at SXSW. Thirteen months later, Eska’s film has managed to stick with the people who attended its premiere. This story of a young boy (Ashton Sanders) who has to bring a wanted man (Tishuan Scott) back to his boss during the Civil War is really moving. Not enough praise can be given to Sanders and Scott.

Captain America: The Winder Soldier

Opens in theaters April 4th

Tied with Captain America: The First Avenger as Marvel’s best film. The studio has Chris Evans to thank for that. Due to the boy scout nature of the titular character, there’s a lot of heart in these movies, and Evans play it all so honestly. He’s Marvel’s MVP, but it’s a good thing he’s surrounded by people who match his talent.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is an example of a popcorn blockbuster done right. Unlike, say, the third act of The Avengers, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and Iron Man 3, this sequel doesn’t end with a bunch of CG suits bashing each other and characters shooting at faceless aliens. The action is grounded and personal. Future Marvel films should take note of the Russo brothers work on this film.

Read Our Review

Under the Skin

Opens in theaters April 4th

This is only Jonathan Glazer’s third film, but he makes some seasoned pros look like amateurs by comparison. Under the Skin is as every bit as accomplished as Sexy Beast and Birth, and yet, as his track record dictates, it couldn’t be more different from them. Glazer can do it all as a filmmaker, apparently. He certainly knows how leave an impression, and “an impression” is arguably an understatement in the case of Under the Skin. This is a haunting film filled with terror and beauty. It’s not for everyone, but you can’t easily dismiss Glazer’s intentions or Scarlett Johansson’s magnetic performance as an alien on an unspecified mission. This is truly a movie that shows you its story.

Dom Hemingway

Opens in theaters April 4th

Dom Hemingway reveals a new side of Jude Law. Law has always been one of those actors that doesn’t get enough credit because of his fame. He’s a movie star, but he’s also one of our finest actors. Dom Hemingway is his most transformative and entertaining role yet, playing the potbellied, foul mouth, unhinged criminal who shares his name with the title. Writer/director Richard Shepard (The Matador) gives Law no shortage of juicy material to bring to life. Each line that comes out of his mouth is vulgar poetry.

Draft Day

Opens in theaters April 11th

Ivan Reitman had a rough 18 years. After Dave, none of his films caught on like Ghostbusters, Stripes or Meatballs. Reitman not making another classic wasn’t the problem. It was the fact that none of his movies between Dave and No Strings Attached were any good. His newest film, Draft Day, starring Kevin Costner as the Clevaland Browns’ general manager, is just an all around good film. This is another step forward for Reitman, showing us that his glory days aren’t so far behind him. That sentiment applies to Costner as well. He’s on a roll right now.

Only Lovers Left Alive

Opens in theaters April 11th

Only Lovers Left Alive is a gorgeous movie. It’s genuinely romantic, funny, and director Jim Jarmusch shoots Detroit with a grimy beauty. Even non-Jarmusch fans should, at the very least, be won over by Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as the two vampire lovers, Adam and Eve. Their romance is surprisingly human, which makes Only Lovers Left Alive something special. This is a great love story.

Read Our Review

Read Our Interview with Swinton

Joe

Opens in theaters April 11th

Ivan Reitman isn’t the only step-losing director who has a new movie coming out this month. David Gordon Green lost some of his arthouse fans with Your Highness and the unforgivably unfunny The Sitter. He won those early supporters back with his last film, Prince Avalanche. Those admirers should also appreciate Joe.

While Green’s film is somewhat of a tonal mess, it’s willingness to go from comedic to bloody extremes is part of its charm. If one of those shifts doesn’t strike a chord, at least we have Cage’s marvelous performance to focus on. This coming-of-age crime drama feels familiar, but Green and Cage, in their best moments, make it feel new.

Read Our Review

Transcendence

Opens in theaters April 18th

If cinematographer Wally Pfister knows one thing, it’s how to craft a beautiful shot. Even if Transcendence’s script, which was featured on The Blacklist, isn’t up to snuff, at least we can anticipate a visually engaging movie from Christopher Nolan’s frequent collaborator. Besides a well-crafted sci-fi film, hopefully we’ll see some big ideas and a performance we haven’t seen from Johnny Depp before, playing a man whose mind is uploaded to a computer. Funnily enough, even with that concept, this looks like the most grounded performance Depp has given in years.

Blue Ruin

Opens in theaters April 25th

“The beauty of film festivals is that the vast majority of the movies exist outside the vacuum of movie blogs, magazines, and water cooler conversations. They’re unknown quantities, and while many are destined to stay that way, each year a handful of titles explode from the periphery to mesmerize, entertain, and impress unsuspecting viewers. Welcome to Blue Ruin,” Rob Hunter declared in his review at Fantastic Fest, which is exactly why I have stayed in the dark on this highly-praised thriller.

Considering the film’s acclaim and all the talk of its “devastation,” I recommend you all do the same until experiencing Blue Ruin for yourselves.

Locke

Opens in theaters April 25th

Tom Hardy in a car for 85 minutes. One location movies are tough to pull off, especially if that single setting is a car since it’s not the most cinematic of places. But if it’s Hardy behind the wheel, then there’s already plenty to keep your eyes on. Locke is Steven Knight’s second directorial effort. He’s a very good writer and is starting to prove his talent as a director. His first film, Redemption, showed promise, but Locke, based on some glowing reviews, sounds like an impressive step forward.

What are you looking forward to the most in April?

Longtime FSR contributor Jack Giroux likes movies. He thinks they're swell.