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On your screens in April: ‘Beau is Afraid’, a surrealist and funny black comedy starring Joaquin Phoenix

On your screens in April: ‘Beau is Afraid’, a surrealist and funny black comedy starring Joaquin Phoenix
What to watch in April. Images: Supplied

Maverick Life’s pick of films and series to look out for in April 2023 on Netflix, Showmax, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, MUBI and in cinemas.

Whirlwind adventure films

Florida Man 13 April on Netflix

Created by Donald Todd (This Is Us) and co-produced by Jason Bateman, Florida Man is a limited-series comedy crime drama about a struggling ex-cop (Edgar Ramírez) who returns to his home in Florida to find a Philly mobster’s runaway girlfriend. His increasingly futile attempts to do the right thing turn a little trip to the sunny city for shady people into a comedically disastrous odyssey 

Beau Is Afraid 21 April in cinemas

A24 has been having a pretty good time of it recently (see Everything Everywhere All At Once) so all eyes are currently fixed on this surrealist black comedy horror written, directed, and co-produced by Ari Aster. Joaquin Phoenix plays an anxiety-ridden man in an alternate present who embarks on a supernatural decades-spanning quest home after the death of his overbearing mother, and is forced to confront his (many) fears to get there. 

Ghosted 21 April on Apple TV+

A sexy and stupid action rom-com. Unsuspecting, tragically handsome Cole (Chris Evans, aka Captain America) falls for the mysterious, domineering Sadie (Ana de Armas, aka Marilyn) who turns out to be a dangerous secret agent. Before they even go on a second date, they’re flung into a high-stakes mission to save the world. You’ll enjoy Ghosted if waiting for Sadie to reply to Cole’s many, many texts is as dramatic for you as watching her kick baddies’ asses. 

Peter Pan & Wendy 28 April on Disney+

Another live-action reimagining of JM Barrie novel and the 1953 animated classic, but this time as a series and with Disney’s full backing and casting budget. Directed by David Lowery (The Green Knight), the show puts greater focus on Wendy (Ever Anderson) than the animated film did – a young girl afraid to leave her childhood home behind when she meets Peter (Alexander Molony). The big budgetary fork-out is for Jude Law, who plays Captain Hook. 

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Stunning animation for adults

The Triplets of Belleville: 7 April on MUBI

Sylvain Chomet’s hand-drawn satirical French period piece is an animated masterpiece that uses skilful caricature, period music and creepy, wacky humour to create a ridiculous, nostalgic, melancholy world equally likely to make you laugh or cry. It would not be overstating the calibre of the caricatures to describe this movie as a collection of tens of thousands of artworks in quick succession. The film pays tribute to Honoré Daumier and the many other French master caricaturists, who themselves would surely roar with laughter at its dark, cheeky satirical commentary.

Suzume: 14 April in cinemas

Written and directed by Makoto Shinkai, (Your Name) this anime fantasy epic takes on the raw trauma of earthquakes (particularly raw at the moment, given the devastation in Turkey) in an uplifting and beautiful way. Somehow, the ability to prevent a series of devastating natural disasters falls to a 17-year-old orphan on the southwestern island of Kyushu, and it’s all to do with opening eerie mystical doors. Funnier and lighter than his previous films, despite its heavy themes, the film grossed more than $100-million in Japan alone. If you’ve already watched all the Ghibli classics, this is your next adventure. 

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To keep your heart rate up

Yellow Jackets Season 2 1 April on Showmax

This horror-drama about a high school girls’ soccer team that survives a plane crash in the Nineties was nominated for seven Emmys for its first season. Elijah Wood joins the cast for the second season as a citizen detective who knows a little too much. Twenty-five years after the crash, the survivors are still trying to figure out whether the darkness of the accident is coming for them or from them. The show has a teasing mystery about it, often baiting the presence of a creepy supernatural force in the wilderness, and while a few of the questions left open from season 1 are answered, just as many new ones are posed. 

Dead Ringers 21 April on Prime Video

A psychological thriller drama miniseries, starring Rachel Weisz in both leading roles – twin gynaecologists who share everything from drugs to lovers in an experiment pushing the boundaries of medical ethics in an attempt to shatter antiquated health practices. The show is a modern take on David Cronenberg’s 1988 thriller of the same name starring Jeremy Irons. The show may not be quite as haunting as the film was, but the gender swap and modern themes make it an intriguing reimagining.

Citadel 28 April on Prime Video

The time is coming when copy-pasting the Bourne formula will no longer be profitable, but evidently not yet. Citadel is Prime Video’s answer to Apple’s Jason Bourne spinoff series, Treadstone. It’s a rather weak answer but if you like frazzled superspies then here’s your next fix. The Russo Brothers (Avengers: Endgame) cast Priyanka Chopra and Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) as a pair of spies from an independent global spy agency tasked to uphold the safety and security of all people. When the organisation fell at the hands of its equally vague malevolent counterpart, the agents’ memories were erased, until their help is called upon again. 

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Sports Flicks

Air 5 April on Prime Video and 7 April in cinemas

Ben Affleck directs this biographical sports drama about the partnership between Michael Jordan when he was still a rookie and Nike’s new basketball division – the creation of the Air Jordan brand that revolutionised sports fashion and American culture. It’s an inspiring rags-to-riches case study of the trials of the American Dream, akin to King Richard, and similarly, focuses largely on how a sports legend’s career was made with the help of a savvy parent’s vision, in this case Jordan’s uncompromising mother.

Boom! Boom! The World vs. Boris Becker 7 April on Apple TV+

A documentary by Alex Gibney (How to Change your Mind) full of achievements and controversies. Becker is considered by many one of the greatest players ever – a prodigy who had six majors under his belt by the time he was 17 and would go on to win 49 singles titles. Featuring interviews with John McEnroe, Novak Djokovic, Björn Borg and other big tennis names, it’s a treat for fans of the sport.

Big George Foreman 28 April in cinemas

The actual title for this biopic is almost as hefty as its titular subject: Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World. Khris Davis takes on the role of Foreman as he rises through the ranks, battering any fighter put in front of him. There’s a lot of discussion between Foreman and his boxing mentor and trainer, Doc Broadus (played by Forest Whitaker), about Foreman’s mental health, specifically the rage which overcomes him in and out of the ring. His journey from bullied child to professional athlete to preacher to heavyweight champion is every bit as emotional as it sounds. 

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Emotive Dramas

Transatlantic 7 April on Netflix

A miniseries by the creators of Unorthodox based on the novel The Flight Portfolio by Julie Orringer about the true story of the Emergency Rescue Committee – an international gang of secret activists who risked their lives to smuggle more than 2,000 refugees out of occupied France. The series is set in a villa at the edge of Marseille in the Forties, where the presence of mortal danger and all sorts of characters, including many artists on the Nazis’ most-wanted list, leads to unexpected collaboration and romances.

A Good Person 14 April in cinemas

Zach Braff (Bojack Horseman) writes, directs, and produces this drama about the survivor of a terrible accident (Florence Pugh) who years later becomes unlikely friends with the man who would have been her father-in-law (Morgan Freeman). It’s a film of little details that bites into big universal struggles. There’s a little bit of plot hand-holding but it’s forgivable for the witty banter between Freeman and Hugh. DM/ML

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