2009 Winter Movie Preview: April
Fast & Furious (April 3)
If you were one of the 16 people who watched the "Fast and Furious" sequels and cared that the original cast wasn't together for more street racing action, good news: the fourth installment, christened simply "Fast & Furious" reunites Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster, and Michelle Rodriguez in a plot that...well, who cares, really? If you're going, you're going for the cars -- something not-so-subtly acknowledged by the studio in the film's poster, which relegates the cast to reflected images on a waxed & polished hood. Looking for some fast-paced harmless escapism before "Crank 2" comes out? Here you go.
Dragonball Evolution (April 8)
Akira Toriyama's "Dragonball" manga was so popular that it became an anime series -- which was even more popular, thus leading to this live-action adaptation starring Justin Chatwin, James Marsters, Emmy Rossum, and (a clearly deep in debt) Chow Yun-Fat. "Dragonball Evolution" is one of the spring's most anticipated movies...for all the wrong reasons: Fanboys have been sniggering at leaked photos for months, and the international trailer launched a tidal wave of "EPIC FAIL" comments on movie-nerd message boards the moment it leaked. Can ironic ticket purchases make a film a hit? We'll find out on April 8.
Observe and Report (April 10)
It's a good year to be a mall cop, apparently -- 2009 will bring us not one, but two movies about the much-maligned enforcers of retail law. If you're only going to see one (and really, one is all you need), Seth Rogen's dark comedy "Observe and Report" is the one to watch; Jody Hill's screenplay is so darkly funny that rumors have been churning for months about Warner Bros. getting cold feet about releasing it as is. On April 10, your other choices are "Hannah Montana: The Movie" and a drama starring Renee Zellweger as a social worker. Let's reward Warners for proving the doubters wrong, shall we?
Crank: High Voltage (April 17)
"But wait," you might be asking yourself. "Didn't Chev Chelios buy the farm at the end of the first 'Crank'?" The answer, apparently, is no -- and anyway, it doesn't make any difference when you're talking about a movie whose chief appeal is pulse-pounding, non- stop action and Amy Smart's naked breasts. The plot doesn't make a lick of sense, but so what? We repeat: Pulse-pounding, non-stop action. And Amy Smart's naked breasts.
State of Play (April 17)
Offering the polar opposite of "Crank: High Voltage's" utterly visceral thrill ride is "State of Play," a self-described "blistering thriller" starring Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck as a reporter and Congressman on opposite sides of a Capitol Hill scandal involving a brutally murdered "assistant." With a supporting cast that boasts such high -profile names as Helen Mirren, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright Penn, and Jason Bateman -- not to mention a script co-written by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Tony Gilroy, and Billy Ray -- "State of Play" looks like this season's sure bet for fans of thinking man's action flicks.
The Goods: The Don Ready Story (April 24)
Admittedly, we don't know much about "The Goods: The Don Ready Story," but based on a few facts we've been able to learn, we're confident it's destined for awesomeness. To wit: It's being produced by Will Ferrell's Gary Sanchez Productions, it stars Jeremy Piven and Alan Thicke, and its synopsis begins with the sentence "Who is Don Ready? Salesman? Lover? Song Stylist? Semi-professional dolphin trainer? Ready is all of the above, except for a dolphin trainer." We'll meet you at the theater.
The Soloist (April 24)
This based-on-a-true-story drama might have been pushed back from its original '08 release date, but don't go thinking it was a question of the movie's quality -- "The Soloist," which takes a look at the life of a homeless, schizophrenic violin prodigy named Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, and his friendship with Los Angeles Times reporter Steve Lopez, was getting Oscar buzz before Paramount bumped it to the spring. Expect lots of beautiful music -- and stellar performances from Robert Downey Jr. (as Lopez) and Jamie Foxx (as Ayers).