Buy, Rent, or Wait: April 2021

Theatrical releases are still a bit of a rarity due to the impact of the pandemic, which means that it can be difficult to learn which films are coming out soon as they’re now delivered through various different platforms. So we’re casting our eyes further afield than just your traditional cinema to find five upcoming new releases for the month. Some will still find their way to the silver screen, but others will be available from the comfort of your home. Our job will be to make wild guesses based on their synopsis and trailer as to whether they’ll worth your time, separating them into one of three categories:

Buy: This film is worth multiple viewings and maybe even a purchase of a hardcopy!

Rent: A movie in this category will be worth the cost of admission, whether that’s an actual ticket or a few dollars as a video on demand.

Wait: This means the film isn’t really worth any additional effort on your part. If you happen to catch it on broadcast television or on a streaming service you’re already paying, then maybe it’ll be worth your time. Or maybe not even that!

So let’s see what April 2021 has to offer!

Last Month’s Results

Before we get to our film predictions, let us take a look at the outcome of our March predictions!

1. Raya and the Last Dragon

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 94%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 87%

IMDB Score: 7.5

Box Office

Budget: $100+ million.

Worldwide: $83 million

The score from both critics and audiences alike on Rotten Tomatoes is surprising given the film’s tepid reputation which stemmed mostly from its lack of pre-release buzz and the movie’s questionable moral lesson. While it’s an enjoyable flick that is worthy of a watch, the lack of excitement and anticipation may cause many to decide to hold off until it’s available for general viewing on Disney +. 

Our review!

2. Coming 2 America

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 49%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 40%

IMDB Score: 5.3

The original may have been a hit, yet this style of comedy might be past its due date with many reporting a tired storyline with lacklustre jokes. That said, there will be a niche following amongst fans. 

Our review!

3. Boss Level

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 73%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 78%

IMDB Score: 6.9

Box Office

Budget: $45 million.

Worldwide: $1.3 million

Releasing on Hulu in the States and in cinemas overseas, Boss Level offers a fun affair with a time loop plot, where its enjoyment is dependent upon the audience’s ability to leave their brain at the door. 

Our review!

4. Zack Snyder’s Justice League

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 71%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 95%

IMDB Score: 8.2

Long awaited and long debated, people finally got to see Zack Snyder’s vision for the Justice League. Epic in scale and length, many DC fans will find this film to be truly satisfying, negating the need to see the 2017 version even though Snyder’s cut is too heavy to watch on repeat. 

Our review!

5. Godzilla vs. Kong

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 79%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 95%

IMDB Score: 6.9

Box Office

Budget: $160 million

Worldwide: $132 million

For a movie about a giant ape fighting a giant lizard, it’s strong first week at the box office is proving there’s still some hope for cinemas. The premise might be dumb, but this film wonderfully fleshes out the heart of Kong, will appeal to Godzilla fans, and is an absolute spectacle on the big screen, especially in the 3D/4D format. 

Our review!

And now for the films releasing this month!

Voyagers

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: April 8, 2021

Distribution: Theatrical release.

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

Director: Neil Burger

Starring: Colin Farrell, Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp

While Voyagers might be overshadowed by some of the more light-hearted movies this month, there is a lot of respectable talent attached to this production. In many ways, Voyagers could be received in a similar fashion to Director Neil Burger’s previous works (Divergent, Limitless, The Illusionist, The Upside); solid films but none of them immediately spring to mind when it comes to recalling the great works of cinema. Likewise I have no doubt Voyagers will be a decent flick worth a watch that’s lead by a talented cast, though it seems to touch on a concept that has been explored in other science fiction movies already (emotionless, scientific progress vs. humanity’s somewhat destructive innate desires). It will be interesting to see what Burger will bring to this concept and whether he will explore new ideas. There is a chance this film could take the classic thematic route of pitting conservatism against more hedonistic/individualistic desires; it’s possible it’s all an allegory for religion verses “freedom,” or maybe the film might buck the trend and demonstrate just how destructive some behaviours can become as opposed to glorifying all emotional expression. From the outset it seems Voyagers has the capacity to be a thematically satisfying film, though it’s a question as to whether it’ll lazily rely too much on its hedonistic representation as an attempt to appeal to wider audiences, as opposed to taking a harder, more critical approach.

Prediction: Rent

Thunder Force

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: April 9, 2021

Distribution: Netflix

Synopsis: 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. (IMDB).

Director: Ben Falcone

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spencer, Jason Bateman

Actor turned director Ben Falcone is once again generating his own work by creating a project alongside his wife, Melissa McCarthy. While their past projects together have been light-hearted comedic pieces that have seen reasonable success, Thunder Force is slightly different. Despite being good friends in real life, this will be the first time McCarthy acts alongside Oscar winner, Octavia Spencer; a pairing which has the potential to be an absolute hoot. It’s also blending comedy with the superhero genre. The latter is over-explored in cinema nowadays, but hopefully this film will poke fun at tropes, keep some things real, all while providing some much-needed representation for middle-aged women in this subgenre (and as someone that is quickly moving into this demographic, I’m certainly appreciative of the effort). It’s not going to be a masterpiece, and hopefully there will be plenty of laughs outside of what has already been shown in the trailer, but if it simply delivers an enjoyable time, then it’ll be worth a watch on the streaming service.

Prediction: Rent

Mortal Kombat

 

Rating: R

Release Date: April 23, 2021

Distribution: HBO Max and simultaneous theatrical release.

Synopsis: 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. (IMDB).

Director: Simon McQuoid

Starring: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson

Mortal Kombat’s release has been recently delayed a week though it is for good reason. Warner Brothers has seen great success recently with their theatrical release of Godzilla vs. Kong and is likewise predicting a similar result with Mortal Kombat, and so the extra week is to ensure they aren’t cannibalizing their own profits at the box office. It seems these B-grade franchises are a good bet in the industry at the moment. Most people have at least heard of Mortal Kombat in passing. While there are some hardcore fans out there that adore certain characters, it’s generally an uncomplicated franchise that’s easier to pick up than most. It will also appeal to gorehounds, action movie aficionados, and anyone craving a martial arts tournament flick. Director Simon McQuoid is a newcomer to the film industry and no doubt wasn’t originally going to receive so much attention to this project, but here we are where Mortal Kombat will be part of the decision making process as to whether cinematic releases can continue. Good times. There are some pros and cons to this type of story: the battle to the death nature of the plot easily raises the stakes, though tournament flicks can be tricky in regards to pacing due to the need to flesh out so many characters. I’m predicting it’ll be more of a mess as it’s a story that requires decisive decisions on where to focus the audience’s attention, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be entertaining on some basic level. If it includes the score from the original movie, then you can do anything and it’ll still feel epic. That said, this is a long-awaited film for Mortal Kombat fans, and it has the potential to be the quintessential movie for them, which is why I’m predicting a buy for that demographic.

Prediction: Buy

Without Remorse

Rating: R

Release Date: April 30, 2021

Distribution: Amazon Prime

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

Director: Stefano Sollima

Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Jodie Turner-Smith, Jamie Bell, Guy Pearce

Similar to this month’s Voyagers, there’s a lot of talent behind Without Remorse. It’s based off a book by best-selling author Tom Clancy, and co-written by Taylor Sheridan — who brought us his gripping modern American “Frontier” trilogy (Hell or High Water, Wind River, Sicario) — and Will Staples who has made a name for himself as a writer in the video game industry. To finish it off, it is lead by Michael B. Jordan who always delivers a great performance and has a tendency to pick decent projects. It will be genuinely surprising to see this film flop in terms of quality. However it’s equally difficult to see how this film will manage to stand out from the rest of the crowd. We’ve just had Boss Level and Nobody, and while Without Remorse will certainly be the more serious and higher calibre film of the bunch, it needs to present something truly unique in order to emerge from John Wick’s massive shadow that managed to single-handedly define modern revenge action flicks. I predict it’ll be a great watch but the details will quickly blur into the plethora of other films that share a similar plot and tone.

Prediction: Rent

The Mitchells vs. The Machines (Connected)

Rating: PG

Release Date: April 30, 2021

Distribution: Netflix

Synopsis: A quirky, dysfunctional family’s road trip is upended when they find themselves in the middle of the robot apocalypse and suddenly become humanity’s unlikeliest last hope. (IMDB).

Director: Michael Rianda, Jeff Rowe (co-director) 

Starring: Olivia Colman, Eric André, Maya Rudolph, Danny McBride

I must admit that I haven’t been following this movie closely. When the first trailer dropped, it provided me with the impression it was a road trip movie that touched upon the importance of making a connection without the use of technology. While I didn’t instantly judge the film to be poor, the film’s seemingly “technology is bad” moral did feel rather bland. However the newest trailer shows that this could all be part of the movie’s first act. Now we’ve got a quirky apocalyptic scenario, and while it all feels a bit childish, the personalities of the main cast are really starting to shine through, and I’m starting to get the sense there’ll be a lot of jokes that will appeal across multiple demographics. This trailer has completely reframed the film, promoting the fact it’s from the same animation studio that delivered Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and The LEGO Movie, whilst it’s also created by the same folks who helm Gravity Falls. Now I’m digging the style, humor, and plot, and I’m getting pumped for this! To be honest, it’s refreshing to be presented with an animated film that’s not trying to push an idealized or political agenda. I think this is going to be a lot of fun.

Prediction: Buy

Thanks for joining us for Buy, Rent, or WaitLet us know your predictions in the comment section. Join us in May for our next edition!

Are you looking forward to any of these films? What are your predictions? What film are you looking forward to most in April?

Juliana Purnell

After obtaining a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts, Juliana Purnell has enjoyed a successful acting career, working within theme parks, businesses, and on film sets. She has also taken on crew roles, both in film and theatrical productions. When Juliana isn't working, she enjoys watching movies of all genres at the cinema, writing, and playing with Samson, her pomeranian.

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