The 2021 Film Release Calendar (April)

Hey, look at us, finally getting the rest of the Release Calendar done!

It’s gonna be a recurring thing starting next week. Now that Oscar nominations are coming Monday, and we’ve got some time before we need to get into the category breakdowns, so the Release Calendar is gonna get finished over the rest of the month. And then finally I can actually look to start watching stuff from this year in full, rather than what I’ve been doing, which is spot watching stuff to supplement the Oscar stuff. What a weird year.

Anyway, here’s April:

Shiva Baby

At a Jewish funeral service with her parents, a college student runs into her sugar daddy.

This was expanded from a short by writer-director Emma Seligman. And I have to be honest… I love that the run time is 77 minutes. That tells me they didn’t add too much fat in expanding it, as so many of these films do.

The trailer sets this up perfectly, especially with the blurb they have ‘claustrophobic Jewish humor with a sexy premise’. The idea is that a woman ends up at a shiva, where she has to deal with her family constantly asking about what she’s gonna do with her life, running into her ex-girlfriend and also unexpectedly having her sugar daddy and his wife and newborn child show up as well.

It seems incredibly indie, since it takes place almost in real time in a single location, and it feels like you’re gonna be cringing the entire time. I’m all in.

3.5 stars. Can’t wait for this.

Concrete Cowboy

A teenager discovers the world of urban horseback riding when he moves in with his estranged father in North Philadelphia.

Idris Elba and Method Man are in this. Which is just fascinating to me.

The premise doesn’t sound intriguing, but Idris is in it, so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.

3 stars.

Thunder Force

In a world where supervillains are commonplace, two estranged childhood best friends reunite after one devises a treatment that gives them powers to protect their city.

This is a Melissa McCarthy movie directed by her husband, and you already know how these go. Don’t need to see a trailer, don’t need to know anything else.

2 stars.

Her last movie got sold to HBO Max and this one’s on Netflix… she’s officially reached late state Adam Sandler.


A crew of astronauts on a multi-generational mission descend into paranoia and madness, not knowing what is real or not.

This is from Neil Burger, who made The Illusionist and Limitless. Stars Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp and Colin Farrell.

Oh, this is basically just the MTV version of that Claire Denis movie with Juliette Binoche and the fuck machine. It’s just horny kids fucking in space under some sort of weird experiment run by Colin Farrell.

I mean, sure.

3 stars. Might only be 2.5, since I don’t really care about this, but I’ll assume 3 because of Burger.

Mortal Kombat

MMA fighter Cole Young seeks out Earth’s greatest champions in order to stand against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe.

Well this should be fun. The best part about this movie is, knowing the 1995 version and knowing that video game movies are never good and knowing it’s not gonna be a good movie… there are absolutely no stakes or expectations for this, which is going to lead to the maximum level of enjoyment for most people.

The trailer looked like the kind of pure dumb fun we haven’t seen in nearly a decade in movies, and I for one am here for it.

This feels like a guaranteed 3 stars. It would really need to surprise me in how entertaining it is to get to 3.5, and based on that trailer I can’t imagine it dips lower than 3. So it’s pretty much all upside.

The Asset

This pic follows Anna and Rembrandt – two of the world’s premiere assassins who share a mysterious past from Vietnam. For years, they traversed the globe competing for high profile contracts. But when Anna’s mentor Moody is murdered, she and Rembrandt must form an uneasy alliance and return to Vietnam to track down his killer.

It’s directed by Martin Campbell and stars Maggie Q, Michael Keaton and Samuel L. Jackson. Why would’t I assume 3 stars on this automatically?

There’s no trailer for this, so something tells me this might not be coming out when it says it will. But whatever I know I’m getting 3 out of this so who cares when they release it.


A mother, Victoria, is trying to put her dark past as a Russian drug courier behind her, but retired cop Damon forces Victoria to do his bidding by holding her daughter hostage.

From the writer of Midnight Run and Bad Boys, whose started directing movies (The Poison Rose, that weird noir with Travolta and Morgan Freeman and Brendan Fraser, and The Comeback Trail, which is coming out sometime this year).

This stars Ruby Rose and Morgan Freeman. It’s either 2.5 or 3 based solely on that synopsis, even before I knew who made it. Trailer’s gonna let me know which I think I’m getting.

Oh, this is Collateral meets Taken. Okay then. I’ll bite.

3 stars. Seems generic but watchable.


A Canadian farmer takes on a giant corporation after their GMOs interfere with his crops.

Starring Christopher Walken. I’ve been waiting for this to come out. Director did Juanita for Netflix, which was decent.

really want to go 3.5 on this because of Walken, but I saw that trailer… it’s gotta be really charming to get there. I feel like I basically have seen the movie already. So I’ll say 3 stars and let it surprise me.

About Endlessness

Roy Andersson adds to his cinematic oeuvre with a reflection on human life in all its beauty and cruelty, its splendour and banality.

Been tracking this for a while because Andersson is on my Directors List. He’s probably best known for the film A Swedish Love Story, but also made Songs from the Second Floor and A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence. This is his new one and I’ve heard so many times that it was out only for it not to be out, plus the pandemic has made it a nightmare to try to figure everything out. But now, here we are. Finally gonna have a chance to see this.

It looks stunningly shot and appropriately existential.

I can’t tell if I should go 3 or 3.5 I’ll say 3.5 stars but I honestly have no idea what this experience is gonna be for me until I sit down and watch the movie.


Omar is a promising young musician. Separated from his Syrian family, he is stuck on a remote Scottish island awaiting the fate of his asylum request.

This just got two BAFTA nominations and sounds really solid.

I’ll go 3.5 stars. Could be 3, but I think there’s gonna be a charm here that carries it.

Four Good Days

A mother helps her daughter work through four crucial days of recovery from substance abuse.

This is from Rodrigo Garcia, who did Nine Lives and Albert Nobbs and Last Days in the Desert. It stars Mila Kunis and Glenn Close.

Seems festival-y. I have to guess 3 stars even though I hope it can be better.

In the Earth

As the world searches for a cure to a disastrous virus, a scientist and park scout venture deep in the forest for a routine equipment run.

This is a Ben Wheatley movie, and I’m always intrigued by whatever he makes, even if I’m not always in love with the finished product. Given that this is horror, I can’t go higher than 3 stars.

Things Heard and Seen

An artist relocates to the Hudson Valley and begins to suspect that her marriage has a sinister darkness, one that rivals her new home’s history.

This is by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, who did American Splendor, The Nanny Diaries, The Extra Man and Girl Most Likely. And I know that first one makes you think a certain level, but the rest of their stuff has been pretty ho-hum ever since that.

Its horror, which isn’t appealing to me, and it stars Amanda Seyfried, which, based on the things she usually ends up being in, doesn’t make me think there’s much of value here. But I’ll see what the trailer says.

Oh, no trailer yet. Okay then. So I gotta go 2.5 stars. Since it’s shocking to me if these types of horror movies manage 3 stars, let alone more than that. So I feel comfortable assuming I won’t give a modicum of shit about this.

Without Remorse

John Clark, a Navy SEAL, goes on a path to avenge his wife’s murder only to find himself inside of a larger conspiracy.

Michael B. Jordan in Tom Clancy. That sounds fun. The director did Soldado and this also has Jodie Turner-Smith, Jamie Bell and Guy Pearce.

I have to assume that since they sold this to Amazon during the pandemic and pushed it from the fall into the spring that I’m not getting more than 3 stars here. Plus, these movies always end up a flat 3 no matter what. But we’ll see if the trailer has anything to say about it.

Oh, this looks fun. I’m ready for this. I mean, not gonna be more than 3 stars, but at least it’ll be a good time.

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