The 2016 Film Release Calendar: April

Every January, I preview all the films that are scheduled to come out for that year. I go through the existing release calendar, month by month, and guess how much or how little I’m going to like each of the films.

The major benefit is that it allows me, come the end of the year, to see which movies ended up surprising me for better or for worse, or which ones I had wildly disproportionate expectations for. It also gives me a chance to know what’s coming out and what to look forward to.

I also take all the films that are filming or in post and theoretically able to come out that year and preview those too, along with all the films from the previous year(s) that have yet to come out that I’ve been tracking. In all, I end up previewing more films than pretty much anyone else, I’ve been told.



An American backpacker gets involved with a ring of drug smugglers as their driver, though he winds up on the run from his employers across Munich’s high-speed Autobahn.

This got pushed from fall because of the Relativity bankruptcy.

The director also made Welcome to the Punch, which I didn’t see.

Felicity Jones, Nicholas Hoult, Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley star.

I’m gonna stick with 3 stars here, and not downgrade. Because this is a legal reason, and not a legitimate pushed date. This seems like the kind of action movie I enjoy.


Samara returns with a familiar video tape to strike terror again in the third film of the Ring series, Rings.

Oh great, another Ring movie. Still haven’t really seen the first one. (And by that I mean, I might have seen it when it came out, but can’t remember a goddamn thing about it except the parts that were parodied in all the Scary Movie films.)

So I’ll be skipping this.

(But on the off chance, 2.5 stars.)

The Dark Horse

An emotionally charged and inspiring drama about a man who searches for the courage to lead, despite his own adversities – finding purpose and hope in passing on his gift to the children in his community.

I was excited to see this for December, but they pushed it at the last minute. I hear it’s good.

I’m gonna say 3 stars, but I hope it can be 3.5. The April date doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence up front. But this kind of story could be good. Or it could be The Soloist.

Green Room

A young punk rock band find themselves trapped in a secluded venue after stumbling upon a horrific act of violence.

This is Jeremy Saulnier, who did Blue Ruin, which was great.

I hear this is badass. So automatically, this gets 3.5 stars.

Plus I hear it’s single location, which is also very promising.

Really excited for this one.

Miles Ahead

An exploration of the life and music of Miles Davis.

Don Cheadle directs and stars in this. Oh, and he co-wrote it too.

Usually not overly promising when actors do everything on passion projects.

This got a late 2015 festival play, but is getting released in April. Which leads me to believe this doesn’t quite come together.

3 stars.

It’s gonna play at Sundance, so if this gets good notices there (and maybe pushed later to October), then 3.5 seems like a more appropriate guess. But the way things are sitting now, I have to go 3 and let this prove its better.

Before I Wake

A young couple adopt an orphaned child whose dreams – and nightmares – manifest physically as he sleeps.

Horror movie. They pushed it from the fall. Relativity. This is Flanagan and Howard, who did Oculus.

Don’t think I’m gonna see this, but if I do, 2.5 stars.

The Boss

A titan of industry is sent to prison after she’s caught for insider trading. When she emerges ready to rebrand herself as America’s latest sweetheart, not everyone she screwed over is so quick to forgive and forget.

Starring Melissa McCarthy.

Written by Melissa McCarthy and her husband, who also directs.

In case you weren’t sure, they also made the masterpiece known as Tammy together.

1 star.

Did you see the trailer? This is practically Unforgivable NOW.


A successful investment banker struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash.

This got bumped from the fall.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper, Naomi Watts.

Jean-Marc Vallée directs. Between The Young Victoria, Dallas Buyers Club and Wild, I have to assume a minimum of 3.5 stars. Even if this is disappointing, it’s 3 stars.

Amityville: The Awakening

A single mother moves her three children into the haunted house not knowing of the house’s bloody history.

I was automatically gonna say skip, but the cast is Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bella Thorne, Cameron Monaghan and Thomas Mann. How’d they get that cast?

So maybe this isn’t an automatic skip, but it’s a likely skip. But I will say 2 stars in the event that it’s not a skip.

Barbershop: The Next Cut

It’s been more than 10 years since our last appointment at Calvin’s Barbershop. Calvin and his longtime crew are still there, but the shop has undergone some major changes. Most noticeably, our once male-dominated sanctuary is now co-ed.

I don’t even remember the first two Barbershop movies.

I’m sure it’ll be fine.

But because Nicki Minaj is in it, I say 2.5 stars.


The memories & skills of a deceased CIA agent are implanted into an unpredictable and dangerous convict.

This is the same director as The Iceman, which was fair. The writers made some movies in the 90s. Which means that either this is a throwback or really dated, doesn’t it?

Starring Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, Alice Eve, Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones and Michael Pitt.

Okay. Based on the cast alone, this can’t be less than 3 stars. This seems like it’ll end up like Self/less. Which is also Reynolds. Is there a high concept sci-fi movie he’ll turn down?

Everybody Wants Some

A group of college baseball players navigate their way through the freedoms and responsibilities of unsupervised adulthood.

This is Richard Linklater’s spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused.

Hmm… this is tough. I guess I have to go 3.5 stars, because it’s Linklater. The trailer made me think it could be closer to 3, but sometimes you gotta trust the director.

The Jungle Book

An orphan boy is raised in the jungle with the help of a pack of wolves, a bear, and a black panther.

It’s Favreau. It’s The Jungle Book.

Bill Murray is Baloo. Christopher Walken is King Louie. Idris Elba is Shere Khan. Scarlett Johansson is Kaa. Lupita Nyong’o is Raksha (wolf mother). Ben Kingsley is Bagheera.

How can you argue with that?

I’m saying 3.5 stars. I hope it’s 4. 3 would be somewhat disappointing. But Favreau is a good director, and he’s assembled a hell of a cast here. So I’m thinking this will be worthwhile.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War

As two evil sisters prepare to conquer the land; two renegades – Eric the Huntsmen – who previously aided Snow White in defeating Ravenna, and his forbidden lover, Sara set out to stop them.

“That Snow White movie made money. We should make a sequel. But the star had sex with the director. Okay, so we’ll just do a prequel. Bring back the two characters who aren’t Snow White. That way people can’t complain that we fucked up the story again.”

That’s basically how this went.

Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron return. Jessica Chastain and Emily Blunt are now here too. Which — what the fuck? How do you get that cast?

Did you see the trailer? This looks awful.

2.5 stars.

Really not looking forward to having to sit through this.


Friends hatch a plot to retrieve a stolen cat by posing as drug dealers for a street gang.

Key and Peele movie.

I have seen some of their skits. Some of them are funny. Others fall flat. This feels like it could go either way.

I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say 3 stars, but I’m not feeling too confident about that 3.

UPDATE: A red band trailer has just been released and seeing exactly what this is going to be, 3.5 stars is now the guess.

It looks like the kitten is going to be the best part of this movie. In a good way.

The Meddler

An aging widow from New York City follows her daughter to Los Angeles in hopes of starting a new life after her husband passes away.

Lorene Scafaria directs. Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World were both really good movies.

Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne star. J.K. Simmons is also in it. Hmm…

Based on her track record, this is an easy 3.5 stars.

And based on that track record, I’m excited for this movie.

Mother’s Day

Intersecting stories with different moms collide on Mother’s Day.

Garry Marshall, slowly working his way through all the holidays!

And giving us mediocre ensemble films for every one.

I was gonna jokingly say, “Which one is this? Aniston? Julia Roberts?” But it’s both. It’s actually both.

I don’t even care who else is in this.

2.5 stars. Just let’s get this over with.

Ratchet & Clank

Ratchet and Clank tells the story of two unlikely heroes as they struggle to stop a vile alien named Chairman Drek from destroying every planet in the Solana Galaxy. When the two stumble upon a dangerous weapon capable of destroying entire planets, they must join forces with a team of colorful heroes called The Galactic Rangers in order to save the galaxy. Along the way they’ll learn about heroism, friendship, and the importance of discovering one’s own identity.

This was a video game. I’ve never played it, but I recognize the title. Why not just make a Crash Bandicoot movie? That’s what I want to see.

I don’t care about this. I can’t imagine this will be any good.

2.5 stars. I probably won’t care.

But Sylvester Stallone, John Goodman, Paul Giamatti, Rosario Dawson and Bella Thorne are voicing characters. So there’s that. I guess.

Same Kind of Different As Me

A modern-day slave, an international art dealer, and the unlikely woman who bound them together.

I get nervous at the phrase “modern day slave.” Especially when that character is Djimon Hounsou. Also in this are Renee Zellweger, Jon Voight and Greg Kinnear.

When’s the last time Renée Zellweger made a movie?

This doesn’t seem like it’s gonna be particularly good at all.

2.5 stars.

– – – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is May.

One response

  1. Mike, I remember that you listed both Barbershop movies as well as its spin-off Beauty Shop as Unforgivable movies, in your Top Tens of the Decade page for 2000-2009.

    April 12, 2016 at 12:29 am

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