Release Radar – April 5th, 2024

Between seeing the movies and actually sitting down to map this all out, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. That said, overall, this might be the strongest release weekend of the year so far. So, let’s get straight to it.

New In Theaters

Monkey Man

Director(s): Dev Patel | Writer(s): Paul Angunawela, John Collee, Dev Patel

Stars: Dev Patel, Sharlto Copley, Pitobash

Having just gotten home from seeing this one today, I can confidently say it was even better than advertised. It’s much more than a John Wick replica. If you are interested, you won’t be disappointed and I’ll leave it at that.

The First Omen

Director(s): Arkasha Stevenson | Writer(s): Tim Smith, Arkasha Stevenson, Keith Thomas, Ben Jacoby (story), David Seltzer (characters)

Stars: Nell Tiger Free, Ralph Ineson, Sonia Braga

I like Nell Tiger Free from her years on Servant and it seems like this is going to be a similar character to some degree, so I am going to hold out hope that the film can utilize that. The original film was one of my formative horror experiences, so I can be optimistic. Plus, Charles Dance and Bill Nighy didn’t even make top billing so I’ve got them to look forward to as well.

Wicked Little Letters (Expands)

Director(s): Thea Sharrock | Writer(s): Jonny Sweet

Stars: Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Timothy Spall

Yeah, I covered this one in its limited release. I’m still trying to figure out when and where not to double up. Anyway, it’s more readily available now.

Limited Release

Epic Tails

Director(s): David Alaux | Writer(s): David Alaux, Eric Tosti, Jean-François Tosti

Stars (voices): Kaycie Chase, Christophe Lemoine, Emmanuel Curtil

It seems like there’s an animated film for everything. However, there’s not a lot on deck for kids right now as spring break is ending/over. So, this could be a good option for the family.

Strictly Confidential (+VOD)

Written & Directed by: Damian Hurley

Stars: Georgia Lock, Lauren McQueen, Freddi Thorp

Some movies just give off that straight-to-video vibe, and this is one of ’em. That’s not to say it will be bad but Damian Hurley makes his directorial debut and gets to direct his mother Elizabeth in the process. It might be worth a watch just for the nepotism.

Model House (+VOD)

Written & Directed by: Derek Pike

Stars: Scout Taylor-Compton, Ryan Merriman, Kyra Santoro

It’s a cabin-in-the-woods horror film, but those get made a lot for a reason. It’s like the coming-of-age flick of the horror genre. Director Derek Pike has made a lot of music videos and directed some shorts and a TV movie, but this is the first “feature film” so I am hoping to see the style make this one worth the investment.

The Greatest Hits (Hulu April 12th)

Written & Directed by: Ned Benson

Stars: Lucy Boyton, David Corenswet, Retta

Sci-Fi meets romance in this Hulu original that gets a brief theatrical run. If I am going to spend time with rom-coms, this is the kind of movie I prefer. This is one I can watch with my wife too, but we will likely wait for it to hit Hulu.

Kim’s Video

Written & Directed by: David Redmon, Ashley Sabin

Stars: Isabel Gillies, Robert Greene, Eric Hynes

Especially because of the recent visibility of the importance of physical media


Director(s): Brittany Snow | Writer(s): Becca Gleason, Brittany Snow

Stars: Courtney Eaton, Thomas Mann, Dave Bautista, Gina Rodriguez, Kid Cudi

I’ve been a fan of Brittany Snow for a long time and after seeing her in an Oscar-nominated short last year, it’s nice to see her stock on the rise with this directorial debut. When I wrote about Asphalt City, part of that was related to this sense of despair that’s connected to the American youth thanks in large part to social media. Plus, this is something my wife and I can watch together.

The People’s Joker

Director(s): Vera Drew | Writer(s): Vera Drew, Bri LeRose

Stars: Vera Drew, Griffin Kramer, Lynn Downey

I can’t wait to see the comic book purists throw a conniption fit over this movie, but the truth is that most of those people wouldn’t even know this exists. It’s a very low-budget indie, that’s not going to be on a lot of people’s radars. Vera Drew is all in on the project and it’s a big swing to go after a beloved property. This will be hard to find, but if I see the chance I am taking it.

International Marketplace

Dancing Village: The Curse Begins (LA premiere April 4th)

Director(s): Kimo Stamboel | Writer(s): Lele Laila, SimpleMan

Stars: Aulia Sarah, Maudy Effrosina, Jourdy Pranata

It’s cool to see this getting the red carpet treatment in LA, but it won’t be readily available anytime soon. This will be one I have to circle back to when it gets a proper release, because it looks like my kind of creepy.

*The Beast – Editor’s Pick*

Director(s): Bertrand Bonello | Writer(s): Bertrand Bonello, Guillaume Bréaud, Benjamin Charbit, Henry James (short story)

Stars: Léa Seydoux, George McKay, Guslagie Malanda

It’s going to take some time to really get a grasp on if I want to keep an “International Marketplace” but for now I will use it to showcase stuff like this that gets a limited US release too. Léa Seydoux is a great actress that hasn’t quite crossed over into the American mainstream but a project like this could be the catalyst because it has all the Cronenberg DNA a boy could want. Monkey Man was really good and you couldn’t go wrong by choosing that, but this is at the top of my to-do list and that’s why it gets my Editor’s Pick.

Housekeeping for Beginners

Written & Directed by: Goran Stolevski

Stars: Samson Selim, Mia Mustafi, Dzada Selim

This one first came across my radar last year and I feel like I have been waiting on it for a while. Goran Stolevski is an interesting filmmaker and this just presents as genuine and heartfelt in all the right ways. I may have to catch this at my local indie theater, but I will try.

Chicken for Linda!

Written & Directed by: Sébastien Laudenbach, Chiara Malta

Stars (voices): Mélinée Leclerc, Clotilde Hesme, Laetitia Dosch

This is an animated film I can get behind because it is designed for both kids and adults. I really like the animation style compared to the same CGI cartoons that have become the norm. This one will probably be tough to find too, but I’m game!

Coup De Chance

Written & Directed by: Woody Allen

Stars: Lou de Laâge, Niels Schneider, Anna Laik

Streaming & Digital

The Glenarma Tapes (VOD/Digital April 2nd)

Director(s): Tony Devlin | Writer(s): Tony Devlin, Paul Kennedy

Stars: Warren McCook, Sophie Hill, Ryan Early

Found footage is a tough horror genre due to oversaturation, but it can still be a very effective style in the right hands. That said, this movie was finished and premiered near the end of 2022 in Ireland but it’s been a slow release process. I will remain hopeful, but it’s going to be hit or miss.

Mister Sleep (VOD/Digital April 2nd)

Director(s): Robert Hollocks | Writer(s): Amy Reinhart Bailey, Robert Hollocks

Stars: Kate Dailey, Bronsonn Taylor, Robert Hollocks

Not to be confused with Doctor Sleep, this has all the wonderful hallmarks of B-movie horror. I don’t know if this is a sequel but there’s a lot of talk about this character coming back. I’m not interested enough to rent it, but there could be a time where I watch this for fun in the future.

Killing Me Softly With His Songs (VOD/Digital April 2nd)

Director(s): Danny Gold | Writer(s): Danny Gold, Michael Mayhew

Stars: Crìstian Alejandro, Edesio Alejandro, Jason Alexander

Charles Fox is the man you don’t know behind so many of the songs you do. It reminds me of the Carol King musical in that way. As I have said many times over the past few years, we are living through the Golden Age of music documentaries. If that’s you’re thing, you are living well.

Música (Prime Video April 4th)

Director(s): Rudy Mancuso | Writer(s): Dan Lagana, Rudy Mancuso

Stars: Rudy Mancuso, Camila Mendes, Francesco Reale

I don’t know who Rudy Mancuso is but I am always a fan of folks who go all in on their projects and we get that here with Rudy writing, directing, and starring. On top of that, it’s a true story. However, there is a surprising lack of music in this trailer. I don’t know if that’s just following the recent trend of musicals not advertising themselves as such like we saw with Wonka, Mean Girls, or The Color Purple…but I hope there’s music.

The Tearsmith (Netflix April 4th)

Director(s): Alessandro Genovesi | Writer(s): Erin Doom

Stars: Simone Baldasseroni, Caterina Ferioli, Sabrina Paravicini

The idea of a creature that dresses in shadow and fashions tears out of crystal is a lot more interesting than this apparent high school romance. Meh.

Scoop (Netflix)

Director(s): Philip Martin | Writer(s): Samantha McAlister, Geoff Bussetil, Peter Moffat

Stars: Gillian Anderson, Rufus Sewell, Connor Swindells, Kate Fleetwood

If I am going to watch something new on Netflix this weekend, it’s definitely going to be the one with Gillian Anderson and Rufus Sewell. I don’t care for or understand the infatuation with the British Royal Family, but tying in the Epstein scandal makes this topical and timely at least. But I am not in it for that.

The Antisocial Network: Memes to Mayhem (Netflix)

Director(s): Giorgio Angelini, Arthur Jones

It was only a matter of time until the 4Chan documentary came about. However, given the current state of the nation and of the world at large, this could be a fascinating look at the phenomenon. Okay, Netflix. I can get behind this too.

How to Date Billy Walsh (Prime Video)

Director(s): Alex Pillai | Writer(s): Alexander J. Farrell, Greer Ellison

Stars: Sebastian Croft, Maisie Peters, Nael Ameen

Imagine Hogwarts, but replace the magic with horny teenagers. Not really my thing, but if I had to pick one streaming teen romance to watch this weekend, it would be this one.

Girls State (Apple TV+)

Director(s): Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss

Stars: Faith Glasgow, Cecilia Bartin, Nisha Murali

Not only is it good to see more young people taking an interest in civics, but it’s even better to see this done by young women for young women. The Boys State documentary from the same filmmakers won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Documentary, so you should feel safe that the same kind of quality will be on the table here. It could make for a good double feature this weekend.

Yannick (Mubi)

Written & Directed by: Quentin Dupieuex

Stars: Raphaël Quenard, Pio Marmaï, and Blanche Gardin

This one rides the line between something I would put in the new “International Marketplace” section of the Radar, but I’m going to leave it here this time. Quentin Dupieuex is a wonderful weirdo who has made a lot of strange but incredibly entertaining films. Smoking Causes Coughing was one of my favorites from last year and he’s at it again right away. Mark me down as a yes for this one!

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