April was a big month for the 2014 movie year, starting the spring off with a host of Hollywood blockbusters that caused moviegoers to flock to theaters. Although the most promising movies are generally released in the summer, this year took everyone by surprise as some of the year’s most anticipated films were released in the spring, spanning a large variety of genres. From a new type of action film to the critically acclaimed Marvel superhero production, the following are the top five theatrical releases from the month of April.
This action film, released on April 25, is unique for a number of reasons. First, it is one of the late Paul Walker’s last action films before he was killed in a tragic car crash. Second, it is the first Hollywood film to concentrate heavily on the revolutionary sport known as parkour, a physical discipline that focuses on overcoming obstacles using only the human body. “Brick Mansions” also marks parkour creator David Belle’s first major appearance in a Hollywood production. In the film, Walker plays an undercover cop who investigates a dangerous, isolated neighborhood with the help of an ex-convict played by Belle. The movie is a remake of the French film “Banlieue 13,” which starred David Belle in the same role.
This R-rated horror film directed by Mike Flanagan was released on April 11, and it offers up enough thrills and chills to keep any moviegoer enthralled. In the movie, a woman tries desperately to exonerate her brother, who is accused of murder. According to her, a supernatural phenomenon involving an evil antique mirror that has caused her family to suffer for years is the true cause of the killing. The haunted mirror story may seem familiar, but “Oculus” nails this supernatural staple with a fast-paced plot and chilling imagery, reminding viewers why this plot point is so popular in the first place.
The 2011 animated family film “Rio” was a huge box office hit, and the 2014 sequel was released on April 11 to capitalize on that success. The film follows Blu, a Spix’s macaw who was raised as a pet in Minnesota, and his mate Jewel, a native to Brazil, as they travel to the Amazon to rediscover their roots. After flying to the forest with their three chicks, they stumble upon Jewel’s long-lost family and discover that they are not the last of their kind. “Rio 2” offers the same energetic music, beautiful animation and laugh-out-loud humor that made the first film such a success, and children who enjoyed “Rio” are sure to love the colorful cast of new characters introduced in the sequel.
This sci-fi drama released on April 18 stars Johnny Depp and marks the directorial debut of renowned cinematographer Wally Pfister. Dr. Will Caster is a groundbreaking researcher in the field of artificial intelligence, but when he is nearly assassinated by a radical anti-tech group, he makes the decision to upload his consciousness to a supercomputer to preserve his mind. Despite his wife’s insistence that the consciousness is truly Dr. Caster, other researchers become increasingly worried as his thirst for power grows. “Transcendence” is visually stunning thanks to Pfister’s direction, and the intriguing plot is perfect for the intellectual moviegoer.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
Captain America’s newest adventure was easily the most highly anticipated theatrical release of April, and it did not disappoint. On April 4, audiences flooded theaters to watch the second installment in the “Captain America” film series, which was directed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo. Unlike the first film, which often felt like more of a historical drama than a superhero film, this sequel is reminiscent of an espionage thriller. Near the beginning of the film, audiences are greeted by a number of fast-paced action films as the Captain rescues the hostages of a pirated S.H.I.E.L.D. ship. However, he soon discovers that not all is as it seems when a S.H.I.E.L.D. member is gravely injured. He teams up with fellow Avenger Natasha Romanoff, also known as Black Widow, and they set out to discover the secrets behind the government agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D. Before they can get to the bottom of things, they must face a mysterious foe known as the Winter Soldier.
Other notable films that came out in April include “The Quiet Ones,” “Draft Day” and “A Haunted House.” This strong beginning to the movie year promises plenty of blockbusters to come, and audiences are eagerly waiting to see what the future seasons hold.