The Film Fix: Previewing April’s Top Films in Theaters, Streaming

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By JONATHAN W. HICKMAN, Special to The Paper

Below are reviews and capsules of various films this month in theaters and/or streaming. Review rating … A “Fix” is recommended with a rating between 6 and 10. A “No Fix” is not recommended with a rating between 1 to 5.

In Theaters

Air (April 5) — Fix Rating 8/10 — Ben Affleck directs and plays the juicy role of Phil Knight, the visionary CEO of Nike. Affleck’s usual partner in the movies, Matt Damon, plays Sonny Vaccaro, the basketball-obsessed scout for the company who signs then-NBA rookie Michael Jordan to a ground-breaking shoe contract. 

While the high-flying Jordan is a character in the film, the narrative focuses on his genius mother, Deloris (Viola Davis), who was greatly responsible for the landmark deal. Even though “Air” is an April release, it’s likely an award contender in several categories, including Davis and Damon, who are terrific in this nostalgic take on a significant moment in business and popular culture history.

On a Wing and a Prayer (April 5) — Fix Rating 7/10 — Speaking of flying, “On a Wing and a Prayer” is a surprisingly effective telling of a harrowing true story. This inspirational film does start with some goofy, homespun, near-wince-inducing elements. But when things shift to the airplane, “Prayer” takes off. 

The film becomes a riveting life-and-death struggle as southern businessman Doug White (Dennis Quaid) and his wife (Heather Graham) must figure out how to land their plane when the pilot dies in mid-flight. “Desperate Housewives” star Jesse Metcalfe plays a pilot on the ground who figures out how to communicate with White and talk him back to earth.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (now playing) – Fix Rating 7/10 – Who knew that the role-playing game that was previously adapted unsuccessfully could be effectively rebooted? “Honor Among Thieves” is light, family entertainment. 

Chris Pine stars as Edgin, the leader of a band of thieves who embark on an epic quest. Edgin’s crew includes Holga (Michelle Rodriquez), his muscular enforcer, a hapless sorcerer named Simon (Justice Smith), and Doric (Sophia Lillis), a ferocious animal shape-shifter. They are assisted by Xenk (Regé-Jean Page), a gallant hero who can confront almost any threat. 

When Forge (Hugh Grant), a former member of Edgin’s gang, gains control of a kingdom, the thieves must work together to thwart his plans while doing pitched battle with a powerful sorcerer. The attractive cast and colorful visuals make this whimsical adventure work.

John Wick: Chapter 4 (now playing) – Fix Rating 9/10 – The 4th film in the blockbuster series could be the best Wick yet. This epic film, clocking in at almost 3 hours, has Wick (Keanu Reeves), once again, trying to untangle himself from the mysterious High Table. Everything is bigger in this action-packed installment. The “gun-fu” fight sequences are amazing, with one sequence shot from a bird’s eye view that is a highlight in this elegant action extravaganza.

Streaming Selects

PARAMOUNT+

Fatal Attraction (Season 1 starts on April 30) — Everything old is new again, as the 1987 erotic thriller gets a series update. What doesn’t ever get old is the edgy consequences of infidelity. Joshua Jackson takes on the role of Dan Gallagher, played by Michael Douglas in the original. Lizzy Caplan steps into Glenn Close’s shoes as Alex Forrest, the other woman, turned stalker after an affair. And Amanda Peet is Beth Gallagher, played by Anne Archer in 1987. Bunnies aren’t likely safe in this steamy reimagining.

HBO MAX

Barry (Season 4 starts on April 16) – This is the final season of the award-winning series about a professional killer named Barry (Bill Hader), who decides to change careers and become an actor. Of course, getting out of the murder game is nearly impossible as Barry gets deeper and deeper embroiled in bloody battles between criminal organizations requiring his brutal skills.

NETFLIX

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always (season 1, April 19) – The Rangers from the original 1990s series return to don the costumes and fight evil forces from their past. While the production values look higher end than previous efforts, this new refreshed series doesn’t abandon the cornball charm of the original. Plenty of fans are no doubt ready for “Morphin Time!”

APPLE TV+

Tetris (now streaming) Fix Rating 8/10 – Ever since “The Social Network” proved that business narratives could make for fascinating cinema, stories of the formation of a company and the contract negotiations continue to be popular. “Air” is a similar business procedural, and next month, we’ll see the movie “Blackberry” in theaters (it’s pretty good, by the way). “Tetris” is hugely entertaining.  

This 1980s set film follows Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton) and his efforts to procure the license rights to the famous game about falling blocks. But the inventor lives behind the Iron Curtain, and Henk has to travel to Russia and negotiate with shadowy government forces. It’s an engrossing and exciting film.

DISNEY+

Rennervations (season 1 starts on April 12) – Before Jeremy Renner’s near-death experience with a renegade snow plow, he headlined this reality series about repurposing old vehicles for underserved communities. It looks like a home show with a unique twist.

AMAZON PRIME

Dead Ringers (season 1, April 21) – Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz plays the role once inhabited by another Academy Award recipient Jeremy Irons in director David Cronenberg’s fantastically disturbing 1988 film by the same name. In this new approach to the Bari Wood novel “Twins,” Weisz plays the brilliant Mantle Twins, physicians who aim to change how women give birth. But anyone who experienced the Cronenberg gem will know that nothing goes as planned. The Mantles may be identical, but their personalities are starkly different, leading to an inevitable conflict. The trailers look deliciously devilish. 

Theatrical Teasers

Renfield  (April 14) – Nicolas Cage stars as Count Dracula, but this movie is about his loyal assistant Renfield (Nicholas Hoult). After years of doing whatever his boss demands and coping with a hostile work environment, Renfield decides to stand up and assert himself. Naturally, this does sit well with the Count, who will leave death and destruction in his path. Awkwafina plays a police officer who befriends Renfield on his journey of self-discovery and independence.

The Pope’s Exorcist (April 14) – Russell Crowe plays Father Gabriele Amorth, who works for the Vatican performing exorcisms. But when the Pope (Franco Nero) asks him to investigate the possession of a boy, Amorth uncovers a conspiracy that might undermine the church.

Evil Dead Rise (April 21) – This update of the Sam Raimi franchise thrilled audiences at the South by Southwest Film Festival. The cabin in the woods is replaced with an apartment building in a big city. The reuniting of two estranged sisters is interrupted by the arrival of demons that possess folks with evil. The trailers tease blood-curdling thrills and nasty horror. Bring on the Deadites!

Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World (April 28) – George Foreman’s story is long overdue for a proper cinematic telling. The trailers look promising as the film traces the history of the beloved boxer. “Big George Foreman” is directed by George Tillman, Jr. (see “The Hate U Give” and “The Longest Ride”), and Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker plays a prominent role.

 47th Annual Atlanta Film Festival + Creative Conference (April 20 – 30) — The 10-day festival kicks off at Atlanta’s treasured historic movie theater, The Plaza, with an opening night presentation of Sundance favorite, the action/comedy “Polite Society.” Among other notable screenings, Festival attendees will have an early opportunity to see “The Card Counter” director Paul Schrader’s latest crime drama “Master Gardener” starring Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver. For more information and tickets (in-person and virtually), visit: AtlantaFilmFestival.com.

Jonathan W. Hickman is an entertainment attorney, filmmaker, college professor, and novelist. More about Jonathan can be found by visiting: filmproductionlaw.com. Folks can also follow him at dailyfilmfix.com.

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