New movies in April include a live-action version of “The Jungle Book,” Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth in “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” and a stunning look at “A Beautiful Planet,” narrated by Jennifer Lawrence. Here’s a sneak peek at all the new movies in theaters in April. Note that release dates are subject to change.
EVERYBODY WANTS SOME
Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug use and some nudity | In Theaters 4/1 (limited; expands 4/8) | Ok for Kids 18+ | Paramount | Reel Preview: 3 of 5 Reels
Set in the world of 1980s college life, “Everybody Wants Some” follows a group of college baseball players as they navigate their way through the freedoms and responsibilities of unsupervised adulthood. Taking its title from a hit song off Van Halen’s 1980 album “Women and Children First,” this movie features an ensemble cast of Will Brittain, Zoey Deutch, Ryan Anthony Guzman, Tyler Hoechlin, Blake Jenner, Glen Powell and Wyatt Russell. The film is written and directed by Richard Linklater and produced by Megan Ellison of Annapurna Pictures, Richard Linklater and Ginger Sledge.
GOD’S NOT DEAD 2
Rated PG for some thematic elements | In Theaters 4/1 | Ok for Kids 9+ | Pure Flix | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels
This sequel to 2014’s “God’s Not Dead” centers on Grace (Melissa Joan Hart), a Christian teacher who’s forced before a judge for answering a question about Jesus in the classroom. With the principal and superintendent joining forces with a zealous civil liberties group, Grace faces an epic court case that could cost her a career she loves and expel God from the classroom. Directed by Harold Cronk, this movie also stars Ernie Hudson, Jesse Metcalfe and David White.
Not yet rated; likely R | In Theaters 4/8 | Ok for Kids 17+ | Drafthouse Films | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels
In this psychological thriller directed by Karyn Kusama, tension runs high when Will (Logan Marshall-Green) shows up to his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard) and new husband, David’s (Michiel Huisman) dinner party. The pair’s tragic past haunts an equally spooky present: Amid Eden’s suspicious behavior and her mysterious house guests, Will becomes convinced that his invitation was extended with a hidden agenda. Unfolding over one dark evening in the Hollywood Hills, “The Invitation” blurs layers of mounting paranoia, mystery, and horror until both Will – and the audience – are unsure what threats are real or imagined.
Rated R for language, some sexual references, drug use and disturbing behavior | In Theaters 4/8 | Ok for Kids 17+ | Fox Searchlight | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels
Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal), a successful investment banker, struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. Despite pressure from his father in law Phil (Chris Cooper) to pull it together, Davis continues to unravel. What starts as a complaint letter to a vending machine company turns into a series of letters revealing startling personal admissions. Davis’ letters catch the attention of customer service rep Karen (Naomi Watts). Amidst emotional and financial burdens of her own, the two form an unlikely connection. With the help of Karen and her son Chris (Judah Lewis), Davis starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.
Not yet rated; likely PG-13 or R | In Theaters 4/8 (Limited, VOD, Digital HD) | Focus World | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels
Hyperactive at the best of times, Martha (Anna Kendrick) has gone full-on manic since her latest breakup. She babbles, parties like a monster, cooks everything in sight, and is looking to do something terrible when she meets Francis (Sam Rockwell). To anyone else, Francis’s approach would come across as creepy, but Martha can’t help but be intrigued. They seem a perfect match: she’s bananas, he’s bananas … except he’s a deadly sort of bananas. He’s a professional assassin, and his services are solicited by a dubious client who’s being sought by an equally dubious FBI agent (Tim Roth). As the bodies pile up, Martha needs to decide whether to flee or join in the mayhem.
Rated R for sexual content, language and brief drug use | In Theaters 4/8 | Ok for Kids 17+ | Universal | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels
This comedy from director Ben Falcone stars Melissa McCarthy (who wrote the screenplay with Falcone and Steve Mallory) as “The Boss.” She’s a titan of industry who’s sent to prison after being nailed for insider trading. When she emerges ready to rebrand herself as America’s latest sweetheart, not everyone she wronged is so quick to forgive and forget. This movie also stars Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage and Kathy Bates.
Rated R for non-stop bloody brutal violence and mayhem, language throughout, sexual content/nudity and drug use | In Theaters 4/8 | Ok for Kids 18+ | STX Entertainment | Reel Preview: 2.5 of 5 Reels
Henry remembers nothing. Mainly because he’s just been brought back from the dead by his wife (Haley Bennett). Five minutes later, he’s being shot at, his wife’s been kidnapped, and he should probably go get her back. Who’s got her? His name is Akan (Danila Kozlovsky), a powerful warlord with an army of mercenaries, and a plan for world domination. Everyone wants Henry dead, except for a mysterious British chap called Jimmy (Sharlto Copley). If Henry can survive the insanity and solve the mystery, he might just discover his purpose and the truth behind his identity. Told from a first-person video-game perspective, “Hardcore Henry” is written and directed by Ilya Naishuller.
Rated PG for some thematic elements and mild language | In Theaters 4/8 (limited) | Ok for Kids 12+ | Paladin | Reel Preview: 3 of 5 Reels
Ruby Adams (Keenan Kampa) is a dancer from the Midwest with a scholarship to one of New York’s toughest performing arts schools. Johnnie Blackwell (Nicholas Galitzine) is an aspiring British musician, playing for money on subway platforms. Ruby’s world is classical and disciplined; Johnnie’s is improvisational and street smart. When these two young artists are thrown together, they immediately clash, but neither can deny the sparks that fly, or their shared ambition of trying to make it in the most competitive city in the world. When Ruby’s scholarship is threatened and Johnnie faces deportation, they join forces and enter a contest where winning – or losing – could change their lives forever. With the help of a dynamic dance crew called The SwitchSteps, they prepare to perform in a competition that unites their disparate worlds.
THE ADDERALL DIARIES
Rated R for language throughout, drug use, sexuality, and some aberrant and disturbing content | In Theaters 4/15 | Ok for Kids 18+ | A24 | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels
Directed by Pamela Romanowsky, this drama from producers James Franco and Robert Redford is adapted from Stephen Elliott’s true crime memoir released in 2009. It centers on the real-life investigation into the 2007 murder trial of Hans Reiser, accused of killing his wife, and the ensuing confession of his friend Sean Sturgeon. This movie stars Amber Heard Depp, James Franco, Christian Slater, Ed Harris, Wilmer Valderrama and Cynthia Nixon.
THE JUNGLE BOOK
Rated PG for some sequences of scary action and peril | In Theaters 4/15 (2D, 3D, IMAX) | Ok for Kids 7+ | Disney | Reel Preview: 4.5 of 5 Reels
Directed by Jon Favreau and based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories, this live-action adventure centers on Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voiced by Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-mentor Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) and the free-spirited bear Baloo (Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire. Also stars Lupita Nyong’o as the voice of the fiercely protective mother wolf Raksha, and Giancarlo Esposito as the voice of the wolf pack’s alpha male Akela.
BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT
Rated PG-13 for sexual material and language | In Theaters 4/15 | Ok for Kids 14+ | New Line, Warner Bros. | Reel Preview: 3 of 5 Reels
It’s been more than 10 years since our last appointment at Calvin’s Barbershop. Calvin (Ice Cube) and his longtime crew, including Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer), are still there, but the shop has undergone some major changes. Most noticeably, the once male-dominated sanctuary is now co-ed. The ladies bring their own flavor, drama and gossip to the shop, challenging the guys at every turn. Also, the surrounding community has taken a turn for the worse, forcing Calvin and crew to come together to save the shop AND their neighborhood. Directed by Malcolm Lee, this movie also stars Regina Hall, Anthony Anderson, JB Smoove and Nicki Minaj.
Not yet rated; likely R | In Theaters 4/15 | Ok for Kids 17+ | Summit | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels
“Criminal” is a story about the right man in the wrong body. In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative’s memories, secrets and skills are implanted into an unpredictable and dangerous death-row inmate. The hope is that he’ll complete the operative’s mission, but of course, nothing goes as planned. Directed by Ariel Vroman, this crime thriller stars Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Alice Eve and Gal Gadot.
Not yet rated; likely R | In Theaters 4/15 (limited; VOD) | Ok for Kids 17+ | Screen Media Films | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels
This political drama stars Emma Watson as Lena, a young woman whose husband (Daniel Bruhl) is abducted by Pinochet’s secret police during the 1973 Chilean military coup d’etat. Lena must join a dangerous cult in the sealed-off Colonia Dignidad area in order to rescue him. This movie also stars Mikael Nyqvist and Florian Gallenberger, who also directs.
Rated R for strong brutal graphic violence, gory images, language and some drug content | In Theaters 4/15 (limited; expands 4/22) | Ok for Kids 18+ | A24 | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels
This horror-thriller stars Patrick Stewart as a diabolical club owner who squares off against an unsuspecting but resilient young punk band. Down on their luck punk rockers “The Ain’t Rights” are finishing up a long and unsuccessful tour. They’re about to call it quits when they get an unexpected booking at an isolated, run-down club deep in the backwoods of Oregon. What seems like a third-rate gig escalates into something more sinister when they witness an act of violence backstage they weren’t meant to see. Now trapped backstage, they must face off against the club’s depraved owner, Darcy Banker (Stewart), a man who will do anything to protect the secrets of his nefarious enterprise. Directed by Jeremy Saulnier, this movie also stars Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, and Alia Shawkat.
Not yet rated; likely PG-13 or R | In Theaters 4/22 | Ok for Kids 16+ | RLJ Entertainment | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels
She was one of the century’s most extraordinary talents, a 15-time Grammy nominee and Grammy Hall of Fame Recipient. Her mesmerizing songs and passionate politics combined to make her the unforgettable Nina Simone (Zoe Saldana). But fame and fortune came with a price, and her later years were riddled with depression, alcohol abuse and isolation. Rediscovering the meaning of her life and work took courage, strength and one true friend: Clifton Henderson (David Oyelowo), the man who started out as her assistant and eventually became her loyal manager. With Clifton’s encouragement, the “high priestess of soul” began a courageous journey back to her music and herself. This biographical drama is directed and written by Cynthia Mort.
ELVIS & NIXON
Rated R for some language | In Theaters 4/22 | Ok for Kids 17+ | Bleecker Street | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels
Directed by Liza Johnson, “Elvis & Nixon” follows two men at the height of their powers who share one famous private moment in the Oval office. The film recounts the morning of Dec. 21, 1970, when the King of Rock ‘n Roll (Michael Shannon) showed up on the White House lawn to request a meeting with the most powerful man in the world, President Richard Nixon (Kevin Spacey). He had a very urgent request: to be sworn in as an undercover Federal Agent at large.
THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR
Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence and some sensuality | In Theaters 4/22 | Ok for Kids 13+ | Universal | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels
Long before the evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) was thought vanquished by Snow White’s blade, she watched silently as her sister, Freya (Emily Blunt), suffered a heartbreaking betrayal and fled their kingdom. With Freya’s ability to freeze any enemy, the young ice queen has spent decades in a remote wintry palace raising a legion of deadly huntsmen, including Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and warrior Sara (Jessica Chastain), only to find that her prized two defied her one demand: Forever harden your hearts to love. When Freya learns of her sister’s demise, she summons her remaining soldiers to bring the Magic Mirror home to the only sorceress left who can harness its power. But once she discovers Ravenna can be resurrected from its golden depths, the wicked sisters threaten the enchanted land with a dark force. This action-adventure is directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan and produced by Joe Roth (“Maleficent”).
A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING
Not yet rated; likely PG-13 | In Theaters 4/22 | Ok for Kids 14+ | Lionsgate, Roadside Attractions | Reel Preview: 4.5 of 5 Reels
Cultures collide when an American businessman (Tom Hanks) is sent to Saudi Arabia to close what he hopes will be the deal of a lifetime. Baffled by local customs and stymied by an opaque bureaucracy, he finds his footing with the help of a wise-cracking taxi driver (Alexander Black) and a beautiful Saudi doctor (Sarita Choudhury). Directed by Tom Tykwer and adapted from the book by Dave Eggers, this comedy drama also stars Ben Whishaw and Tom Skerritt.
RATCHET & CLANK
Rated PG for action and some rude humor | In Theaters 4/29 | Ok for Kids 8+ | Gramercy Pictures | Reel Preview: 3 of 5 Reels
Based on the “Insomniac Games” franchise, this animated movie centers on two unlikely heroes as they struggle to stop a vile alien named Chairman Drek from destroying every planet in the Solana Galaxy. Ratchet is the last of his kind, a foolhardy “lombax” who’s grown up alone on a backwater planet with no family of his own. Clank is a pint-sized robot with more brains than brawn. The Ratchet and Clank characters were first introduced in 2002, and the games quickly became a successful series for Sony’s PlayStation consoles. Directed by Jericca Cleland, voices include Bella Thorne, Rosario Dawson, David Kaye and James Arnold Taylor.
Rated R for violence and language, including a sexual reference | In Theaters 4/29 (limited, VOD, iTunes) | Ok for Kids 17+ | Focus World | Reel Preview: 3 of 5 Reels
Everyone wants Nick (an unrecognizable Vince Vaughn) dead. A desperate man, Nick takes out a life insurance policy on himself, payable to his estranged daughter (Hailee Steinfeld). But the policy doesn’t take effect for 21 days, and he might not live that long. Directed by Peter Billingsley, this action-thriller also stars Bill Paxton, Mike Epps, Jon Favreau, and Taraji P. Henson.
Rated PG-13 for language and some suggestive material | In Theaters 4/29 | Ok for Kids 14+ | Open Road Films | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels
“Mother’s Day” is the latest star-studded ensemble comedy from director Garry Marshall (“Pretty Woman,” “Valentine’s Day”). Bringing together Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts and Jason Sudeikis, it’s a celebration of mothers everywhere. This big-hearted comedy invites viewers to enjoy the laughter, tears and love as three generations come together in the week leading up to Mother’s Day. Also stars Britt Robertson, Timothy Olyphant and Hector Elizondo.
Not yet rated; likely R | In Theaters 4/29 | Ok for Kids 17+ | New Line, Warner Bros. | Reel Preview: 3 of 5 Reels
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, a.k.a. the popular comedy duo Key & Peele, star as Clarence and Rell, two cousins who live in the city but are far from streetwise. When Rell’s beloved kitten, Keanu, is catnapped, the hopelessly straight-laced pair must impersonate ruthless killers in order to infiltrate a street gang and retrieve the feline. But the adorable kitten becomes so coveted that the fight over his custody creates a gang war, forcing our two unwitting heroes to take the law into their own hands.
A BEAUTIFUL PLANET
Not yet rated; likely G | In Theaters 4/29 (2D, IMAX 3D) | Ok for Kids 8+ | Disney | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels
Directed by Toni Myers and narrated by Jennifer Lawrence, “A Beautiful Planet” is a breathtaking portrait of Earth from space, providing a unique perspective and increased understanding of our planet and galaxy as never seen before. Made in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the film features stunning footage of our magnificent blue planet – and the effects humanity has had on it over time – captured by the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender.
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.
Images used with permission of the studios and distributors.