This Week’s Movie Menu (8 – 14 April 2024)

Things are heating up as the summer blockbuster season approaches, and this week’s collection of films hint at a strong year for film, especially when they include terrifying action epics, tragic singer biopics, bleak Glaswegian classics, and more…

Movie of the Week

 

Civil War (2024, dir. Alex Garland)

CAST: Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Cailee Spaeny, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Sonoya Mizuno, Nick Offerman, Jefferson White, Juani Feliz, Nelson Lee, Edmund Donovan, Karl Glusman, Jin Ha, Jojo T. Gibbs, Jesse Plemons, Jess Matney

CREW: Alex Garland (director, writer), Gregory Goodman, Andrew Macdonald and Allon Reich (producers), Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury (composers), Rob Hardy (cinematographer), Jake Roberts (editor)

PLOT: In the near future, the secession of several states from the United States has triggered a new American Civil War. As the country begins to fall apart from the conflict, a group of journalists including Lee (Dunst), Joel (Moura), Jessie (Spaeny) and Sammy (Henderson) travel from state to state documenting the horrifying events…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • Alex Garland’s fourth film as writer and director takes an unnerving look at a possible future in modern American instability
  • It shows what could happen if US society crumbles to dystopian dictatorships and a concerning rise of armed militias operating outside the law
  • Central to the film’s core themes is its emphasis on the importance of journalistic independence, represented by the likes of Kirsten Dunst and Cailee Spaeny
  • Its parallels to current American politics are hard to ignore, and have already caused a stir with viewers on both sides of the political spectrum
  • The film serves as a horrifying vision of what could happen if great care isn’t taken to preserving democracy as we know it

Civil War is showing in cinemas from Friday 12 April 2024

What’s Showing in Cinemas This Week?

 

Back to Black (2024, dir. Sam Taylor-Johnson)

CAST: Marisa Abela, Jack O’Connell, Eddie Marsan, Lesley Manville, Juliet Cowan, Bronson Webb, Ansu Kabia, Harley Bird, Matilda Thorpe, Sam Buchanan, Jeff Thomas Tunke

CREW: Sam Taylor-Johnson (director), Matt Greenhalgh (writer), Nicky Kentish Barnes, Debra Hayward and Alison Owen (producers), Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (composers), Polly Morgan (cinematographer), Laurence Johnson and Martin Walsh (editors)

PLOT: In the early 2000s, Camden-based singer Amy Winehouse (Abela) gets her big break as a unique jazz musician, and then later becomes a Grammy-winning international superstar, but the cost of fame soon drives her down a tragic path…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • The all-too-short life of singer Amy Winehouse is given the biopic treatment by director Sam Taylor-Johnson
  • Working from a screenplay by BAFTA-winning writer Matt Greenhalgh, the director focuses on Winehouse’s legacy as a passionate musician whose vocals and lyrics took the world by storm
  • Marisa Abela takes on the challenging lead role, and adds plenty of warmth and life to the tragic figure
  • Many important events in Winehouse’s life are covered here, including her legendary Grammy victory and her troubled relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil, portrayed by Jack O’Connell
  • It may open up some emotional wounds for those still mourning the singer, but it also invites viewers to celebrate Amy Winehouse and her immortal place within the world of music

Back to Black is showing in cinemas from Friday 12 April 2024

 

The Teachers’ Lounge (2023, dir. İlker Çatak)

CAST: Leonie Benesch, Michael Klammer, Rafael Stachowiak, Anne-Kathrin Gummich, Eva Löbau, Leonard Stettnisch

CREW: İlker Çatak (director, writer), Johannes Duncker (writer), Ingo Fliess (producer), Marvin Miller (composer), Judith Kaufmann (cinematographer), Gesa Jäger (editor)

PLOT: Carla (Benesch) is an idealistic teacher at a German school, where members of her class are questioned about a recent series of thefts. Soon, she decides to conduct her own investigation, which ends up having cataclysmic effects throughout the school…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • A seemingly normal school is the setting for an intense and thrilling German drama that keeps you guessing at every turn
  • It presents a stark social commentary on the fierce frustration of living under increasingly authoritarian regimes, with the school setting serving as a formidable alternative to the real world
  • The film received an Oscar nomination for Best International Feature Film, which it ended up losing to The Zone of Interest (the United Kingdom’s entry)
  • You’ll be left on edge as filmmaker İlker Çatak takes the viewer on an increasingly pressured journey through school life
  • With a smart focus on the real-world implications, this becomes a thriller that has plenty on its mind

The Teachers’ Lounge is showing in cinemas from Friday 12 April 2024

 

Bleeding Love (2024, dir. Emma Westenberg)

CAST: Clara McGregor, Ewan McGregor, Kim Zimmer, Jake Weary, Devyn McDowell, Vera Bulder, Travis Hammer

CREW: Emma Westenberg (director), Ruby Caster (writer), Mark Amin, Vera Bulder, Greg Lauritano, Clara McGregor, Mason Plotts, Christine Vachon and Cami Winikoff (producers), Rave Aartsen (composer), Chris Ripley (cinematographer), Autumn Dea (editor)

PLOT: After his daughter (C. McGregor) has a near-fatal overdose, her estranged father (E. McGregor) takes her on an impromptu road trip to a rehab facility in New Mexico. Along the way, they encounter a number of eccentric characters, and slowly start to rebuild their fractured relationship…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • It’s a father-daughter affair both on and off the screen as Ewan McGregor and his offspring Clara McGregor co-star in this gentle road-trip drama
  • Clara McGregor also contributed to the film’s story, in addition to serving as a producer for director Emma Westenberg
  • Both McGregors share a sweet chemistry that makes you root for them as they attempt to fix their fatal flaws
  • As the pair travel across the open plains of America, the beautiful backdrops provide an increasingly close parallel to the complex problems within the main characters
  • As if that wasn’t enough, it provides a great use of a certain track by Leona Lewis that also serves as the film’s title!

Bleeding Love is showing in cinemas from Friday 12 April 2024

 

Opponent (2023, dir. Milad Alami)

CAST: Payman Maadi, Marall Nasiri, Björn Elgerd, Ardalan Esmaili, Joonas Saartamo, Nicole Mehrbod, Diana Farzami, Magnus Mark, Arvin Kananian

CREW: Milad Alami (director, writer), Annika Rogell (producer), Jon Ekstrand and Carl-Johan Sevedag (composers), Sebastian Winterø (cinematographer), Olivia Neergaard-Holm (editor)

PLOT: Iman (Maadi) and his family are forced to flee Iran after a devastating rumour, and end up in a rundown hotel in northern Sweden. To gain local asylum for him and his family, and as a way of maintaining his position as the family patriarch, Iman joins a local wrestling club, where his fear and desperation takes a hold after the rumour resurfaces…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • The violent nature of fragile masculinity is a key topic of Iranian filmmaker Milad Alami’s engaging new thriller
  • It is a co-production between Iran and Sweden, with the latter submitting it as its official submission for this year’s International Feature Film Oscar (unfortunately, it wasn’t nominated)
  • Several other themes such as oppression, family, honour and desperation are carefully explored across a mysterious narrative
  • Expect to see some powerful visual subtext in the film’s numerous wrestling scenes, which suggest a rather surprising turn of events later on
  • You’ll be eager to see how exactly this particular story ends, regardless of whether it’s ultimately a straightforward or even a happy outcome

Opponent is showing in cinemas from Friday 12 April 2024

 

Close Your Eyes (2023, dir. Víctor Erice)

CAST: Manolo Solo, José Coronado, Ana Torrent, Petra Martínez, María León, Mario Pardo, Helena Miquel, Antonio Dechent, Venecia Franco, José María Pou, Soledad Villamil, Juan Margallo

CREW: Víctor Erice (director, writer, producer), Michel Gaztambide (writer), José Alba, Odile Antonio-Baez, Agustin Bossi, Pablo Bossi, Pol Bossi, Maximiliano Lasansky and Cristina Zumárraga (producers), Federico Jusid (composer), Valentín Álvarez (cinematographer), Ascen Marchena (editor)

PLOT: In the 1990s, revered Spanish actor Julio Arenas (Coronado) suddenly disappears in the middle of shooting his latest film. Twenty years later, a sensationalist television show tracks down the film’s director, and Arenas’s close friend, Miguel Garay (Solo) to assist them with an episode about the actor’s disappearance, which opens up some emotional wounds for the remorseful filmmaker…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • Víctor Erice, the acclaimed Spanish filmmaker behind the 70s classic The Spirit of the Beehive, returns with his first narrative feature in over forty years
  • It is a powerful ode to the magic of cinema, as well as a compelling mystery with plenty of surprises in store
  • The film was on the shortlist to become Spain’s official submission for the recent International Feature Film Oscar, though the country ended up going with J.A. Bayona’s Society of the Snow (which clinched the nomination)
  • Some thoughtful human drama dominates a number of tender and extremely well-shot scenes within various locations across Spain
  • Whether or not Erice decides to make another feature film after this one, it’s a fitting culmination to the filmmaker’s lifelong service to the art of film

Close Your Eyes is showing in cinemas from Friday 12 April 2024

 

Maidaan (2024, dir. Amit Ravindernath Sharma)

CAST: Ajay Devgan, Priyamani, Gajraj Rao, Rudranil Ghosh

CREW: Amit Ravindernath Sharma (director), Saiwyn Quadras, Aman Rai and Atul Shahi (writers), Akash Chawla, Boney Kapoor, Arunava Sengupta and Arunava Joy Sengupta (producers), A.R. Rahman (composer), Tushar Kanti Ray and Fyodor Lyass (cinematographers), Dev Rao Jadhav and Shahnawaz Mosani (editors)

PLOT: The story of Syed Abdul Rahim (Devgan), the esteemed football coach who helped revolutionise the sport in India…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • Syed Abdul Rahim, better known to Indian football fans as Rahim Saab, is the focus of this awe-inspiring new biopic
  • The film covers Rahim’s career across a decade, which saw – among other events – his team qualify for the semi-finals of the 1956 Summer Olympics, as well as many trials and tribulations to be overcome
  • Rahim is portrayed by acclaimed Hindi actor Ajay Devgan, who delivers a passionate performance as the unlikely coach who turned an entire sport around in his home country
  • Director Amit Ravindernath Sharma’s film is accompanied by an original score by Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman, who won for his work on Slumdog Millionaire
  • Football fanatics from across the world will be fascinated by this energetic retelling of a sporting legend that’s more influential than you may think

Maidaan is showing in cinemas from Friday 12 April 2024

What’s Showing At Home This Week?

 

The Greatest Hits (2024, dir. Ned Benson)

CAST: Lucy Boynton, Justin H. Min, David Corenswet, Austin Crute, Jackson Kelly

CREW: Ned Benson (director, writer, producer), Stephanie Davis, Shannon Gaudling, Cassandra Kulukundis and Michael London (producers, Ryan Lott (composer), Chung-Hoon Chung (cinematographer), Saira Haider (editor)

PLOT: After her boyfriend Max (Corenswet) is tragically killed, Harriet (Boynton) suddenly finds that listening to certain songs can literally pull her back in time, to cherished romantic memories with Max. However, as she starts using her new time-travelling skills to find a way that could save Max from meeting his cruel fate, she crosses paths with a new lover (Min) in the present…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • The power of music plays a very important role in this moving romantic drama with a time-travel twist
  • Lucy Boynton shares heartfelt chemistry with her two romantic interests, including The Umbrella Academy’s Justin H. Min and your brand-new Superman David Corenswet
  • It is the first feature for writer-director Ned Benson in ten years, after his multi-perspective drama The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
  • Some of the transportive songs in this movie include the likes of Nelly Furtado, Neil Frances, Jamie XX and more
  • With a plot that mixes The Time-Traveller’s Wife with High Fidelity, it’s an ode to past loves and great music all at once

The Greatest Hits is streaming exclusively on Disney+ from Friday 12 April 2024

 

Woody Woodpecker Goes to Camp (2024, dir. Jon Rosenbaum)

CAST: Eric Bauza, Chloe De Los Santos, Kershawn Theodore, Savannah La Rain, Evan Stanhope, George Holahan-Cantwell, Esther Son, Kushinka Jayewardene, Ian Rooney

CREW: Jon Rosenbaum (director), Cory Edwards, Jim Martin and Stephen Mazur (writers), Jon Kuyper and Janine van Assen (producers), Michael Lira (composer), Ross Emery (cinematographer), Jonathan Tappin (editor)

PLOT: After being kicked out of the forest, Woody Woodpecker (Bauza) finds a new home at Camp Woo Hoo, but is forced to spring into action when it’s threatened with closure…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • The beloved cartoon character comes to life once more in this fun-filled comedy for the whole family
  • It is the sequel to the 2017 live-action/CG hybrid film that was released theatrically in Latin America, where the character is insanely popular
  • The wacky bird himself is portrayed by a mixture of CG effects and the vocals of Eric Bauza, a modern-day superstar in the world of voiceover acting (he is also the current voice of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck among others)
  • Viewers young and old can expect plenty of goofy slapstick and crazy scenarios that should keep them thoroughly entertained
  • If the title suggests that it’s following the Ernest pattern of movies, then Woody Woodpecker Saves Christmas and Woody Woodpecker Goes to Jail can’t be too far behind!

Woody Woodpecker Goes to Camp is streaming exclusively on Netflix from Friday 12 April 2024

 

LaRoy, Texas (2024, dir. Shane Atkinson)

CAST: John Magaro, Steve Zahn, Matthew Del Negro, Megan Stevenson, Dylan Baker, Galadriel Stineman, Bob Clendenin, Brad Leland

CREW: Shane Atkinson (director, writer), Sébastien Aubert, Jeremie Guiraud, John Magaro, Elly Senger-Weiss and Caddy Vanasirikul (producers), Delphine Malaussena, Rim Laurens and Clément Peiffer (composers), Mingjue Hu (cinematographer), Sebastian Mialik (editor)

PLOT: After learning that his wife Stacy-Lynn (Stevenson) is having an affair, a depressed Ray (Magaro) decides to commit suicide – but just as he’s about to pull the trigger, he is mistaken for a hitman by a stranger who asks him to carry out a kill, plunging him down an even darker path…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • This dark and depraved crime comedy has enough laughs and thrills to overcome its more obvious influences
  • John Magaro, previously seen in the Oscar-nominated Past Lives, produces the film in addition to heading an ensemble cast that also includes Steve Zahn and Dylan Baker
  • It is the feature debut for director and writer Shane Atkinson, who only other major credit was for co-writing the 2019 comedy Poms with Diane Keaton
  • Some shocking violence is delivered with a half-serious attitude that makes it a whole lot of gruesome fun to watch
  • Until Netflix finally releases Hit Man in June, this should hold you over with its own gunman-for-hire comedy narrative

LaRoy, Texas is available to rent/buy on digital platforms from Friday 12 April 2024

 

Dagr (2024, dir. Matthew Butler-Hart)

CAST: Riz Moritz, Ellie Duckles, Tori Butler-Hart, Matt Barber, Emma King, Graham Butler, Hattie Chapman, Luca Thompson

CREW: Matthew Butler-Hart (director, writer, producer), Tori Butler-Hart (writer, producer), Tom Kane (composer), Pete Wallington (cinematographer), William Honeyball (editor)

PLOT: Louise (Moritz) and Thea (Duckles) are two fame-seeking friends who decide to pose as catering staff at a high-end fashion commercial in Wales, where they plan to steal the merchandise and post it online. However, they arrive to an empty manor, which soon becomes the location of a disturbing supernatural nightmare…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • Found-footage horror makes a mini-comeback with this terrifying tale of dark fashion shoots
  • The film was shot entirely on location in Wales last year, mostly at a stately country house where some creepy shenanigans inevitably go down
  • Just some of the limited number of cast members include Ellie Duckles, of Netflix’s The A Game, and Downton Abbey alumni Matt Barber
  • Its unnerving camerawork immerses the viewer into the horror right as it’s happening in front of their eyes
  • With its dabbling in folk horror, and in social commentary surrounding online notoriety, it’s a horror with brains as well as brawn

Dagr will be available to rent/buy on digital platforms from Monday 8 April 2024

What’s Returning to Cinemas This Week?

 

Ratcatcher (1999, dir. Lynne Ramsay)

CAST: William Eadie, Tommy Flanagan, Mandy Matthews, Michelle Stewart, Lynne Ramsay Jr., Leanne Mullen, John Miller, Thomas McTaggart, Jackie Quinn, James Ramsay

CREW: Lynne Ramsay (director, writer), Gavin Emerson (producer), Rachel Portman (composer), Alwin Kuchler (cinematographer), Lucia Zucchetti (editor)

PLOT: In 1973 Glasgow, 12-year-old James (Eadie) patiently waits with his family to be moved out of their derelict housing scheme, which is overrun by gang violence as well as litter due to a binman strike, and into a newly-built estate. After a close tragedy leaves James with a tremendous amount of guilt, he slowly comes to grips with his less-then-ideal situation…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • The directorial debut of acclaimed filmmaker Lynne Ramsay returns to cinemas in celebration of its 25th anniversary
  • It tells a profoundly realistic story of working-class life in 70s Glasgow, with scenarios that still ring true to this day within impoverished communities
  • Ramsey won the BAFTA award for Outstanding British Debut with this film, which was also up for the Outstanding British Film prize
  • As with the director’s later features like Morvern Callar, We Need to Talk About Kevin and You Were Never Really Here, it features subject matter that can be quite distressing but vital to watch
  • Experience this unique slice-of-life British treat on the big screen for the first time in a quarter of a century

Ratcatcher is showing in cinemas from Friday 12 April 2024

That’s about it for this week – be sure to come back next week for a whole new set of movies to work up an appetite for!

Want to see our past menus?

Want to find a specific film?

Search for it in the box below:

Sting (2024, dir. Kiah Roache-Turner)

A mysterious little spider soon grows to terrifying sizes…

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024, dir. George Miller)

A young Furiosa attempts to make her way home in a post-apocalyptic wasteland…

The Garfield Movie (2024, dir. Mark Dindal)

The lazy cat Garfield comes face-to-face with his long-lost father…

The Strangers: Chapter 1 (2024, dir. Renny Harlin)

A couple find themselves tormented by masked intruders…

IF (2024, dir. John Krasinski)

A young girl develops the ability to see people’s imaginary friends…

Hoard (2024, dir. Luna Carmoon)

A troubled teen begins a dysfunctional relationship with an older man…

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (2024, dir. Wes Ball)

Many years after the reign of Caesar, an ape-ruled kingdom comes under threat…

The Fall Guy (2024, dir. David Leitch)

A Hollywood stuntman winds up on an epic misadventure during his latest gig…

Tarot (2024, dirs. Spenser Cohen and Anna Halberg)

A group of teenagers find themselves haunted after messing with spiritual tarot cards…

The Idea of You (2024, dir. Michael Showalter)

A 40-year-old single mother begins a relationship with a much younger pop star…

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