New movies this month on Netflix, Prime, HBO Max
A crazy quarantine comedy, a takedown of a once-iconic American brand, and a good old-fashioned spy thriller are all on the agenda this month.
Available April 1:
Shot during the 2020 shutdowns and deftly weaving COVID protocols into the narrative itself, Judd Apatow’s latest comedy is a meta riff on making movies during a pandemic and a satire on shallow blockbuster cinema. It’s October 2020, and a group of actors have gathered on a film set in England to shoot “Cliff Beasts 6,” a bloated, sticky imitation of “Jurassic Park,” only to find that the daily headaches shooting a movie during a plague is just the beginning of their problems, as drugs, paranormal activity and possibly delirium begin to take their toll on set. As usual with Apatow, the cast is multi-layered and surprising, and includes David Duchovny as the star of “Cliff Beasts”, Keegan-Michael Key as an actor who likes to do his own stunts, and Kate McKinnon and the chef studio producing the film within the film.
Available April 8:
Heavy metal’s hold on America’s youth may not be as strong as it was during its heyday in the mid-’80s, but it’s been enjoying an underground revival lately, aided by nostalgia and a proper rejection of the tame genre of music. force-fed on commercial radio. “Metal Lords,” about two teenage boys who form an unlikely metal number with a cellist in the marching band — and encounter the inevitable creative and romantic friction — captures that underground zeitgeist for long hair, ripped T-shirts and bass drums. It’s directed by Peter Sollett, who knows a thing or two about music-driven teen comedies (“Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist”), and with Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello producing, you know that it will capture the textures of hard rock with authenticity.
Available April 19:
White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch
Cue the schadenfreude, because not since the Fyre Festival documentary has been given a rotten idea of such a fitting cinematic takedown. Alison Klayman’s latest documentary (“Jagged,” “Take Your Pills”) takes a look at arguably the most iconic suburban clothing line of the ’90s and Aughts, from its salacious marketing campaigns to serial lawsuits, discriminatory hiring practices and the culture of exclusion that has reduced the brand to a shell of its former dominance. Looking back, it’s hard to imagine a less enlightened company than Abercrombie & Fitch, but, I hope the film asks, do we consumers deserve the blame for buying into it? (Netflix did not release a trailer.)
ON AMAZON PRIME
Available April 8:
All the old knives
There’s always time to slip into a twisty, time-jumping spy thriller, especially when Chris Pine and Thandie Newton lead the cast. They play CIA agents Henry Pelham and Celia Harrison respectively, who shared more than a security clearance about 10 years earlier, around the time a hijacked plane took the lives of everyone on board. Now, Henry has arranged a dinner date with his ex-flame, under suspicion from his supervisor (Laurence Fishburne) that she might have been a “mole” working with the terrorists. Paranoia, spy lingo, bedroom date – it’s all here en masse, directed by Janus Pedersen and written by Olen Steinhauer, adapting his own bestselling novel.
Available April 27:
Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson’s latest outing (“Diner,” “Rain Man”) appears to be his most important film in two decades. It’s the factual chronicle of Polish Holocaust survivor Harry Haft (already widely acclaimed Ben Foster), who boxed in concentration camps to amuse his captors, and who is rediscovered in postwar Germany. by a journalist (Peter Saarsgard) eager to tell his story and promote a latent career in professional boxing. Eerie black and white flashbacks of the Holocaust contrast with the muted colors of late 1940s Europe for an understated, layered meditation on sacrifice, compromise and survival. Starring John Leguizamo and Danny DeVito, “The Survivor” will be released on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
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