Must-see movies to check out this April

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Warren Beatty's Howard Hughes biopic and a WW2 drama with Gemme Arterton lead this month's movie picks

Table 19

Twentieth Century Fox
Out: 7 April (12A)

Best known for her role in the Pitch Perfect franchise, Anna Kendrick is one of Hollywood’s brightest comediennes. In this latest offering, she plays Eloise, a luckless lass relegated to the back-table at a wedding after splitting from the brother of the bride-to-be.

Sitting with a collection of oddballs, Eloise finds solace amongst her new dining companions, including Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant and The Office’s Craig Robinson.

Directed by Jeffrey Blitz, whose last feature was the quirky indie Rocket Science, Table 19 benefits hugely from the star presence of Kendrick, who can illuminate any set she walks on. With the goofy Merchant also on form, it’s an undemanding comedy – never quite top table – but charming nonetheless.  

The Handmaiden

Curzon Artificial Eye
Out: 14 April (18)

Elegant Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Thirst) is back with a beautifully-crafted adaptation of Sarah Waters’ Victorian novel Fingersmith.

Relocating it to 1930s Japanese-occupied Korea, it’s an erotically-charged tale that begins as a young serving girl (Kim Tae-ri) is planted in the service of a rich Japanese heiress (Kim Min-hee) by a suave conman (Ha Jung-woo) as part of an elaborate plan to swindle her.

The plot is labyrinthine at times, but with Park revelling in themes of betrayal and revenge, the result is an exquisite piece of work full of his trademark visual flourishes. Both the film’s leading ladies are also quite marvellous in their roles, forging a unique chemistry in what is an unforgettable and stylish melodrama. 

Rules Don’t Apply

Twentieth Century Fox
Out: 21 April (12A)

Legendary actor-director Warren Beatty returns with his long-gestating project about billionaire recluse Howard Hughes.

Written and directed by Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply is an intriguing comedy-drama that forefronts two youngsters who fall into Hughes’ orbit. Set in 1950s and ’60s Hollywood, Lily Collins plays Marla Mabrey, an aspiring starlet signed up by Hughes who becomes embroiled with another employee – her driver Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich).

With Beatty magnetic as Hughes, the film adeptly captures the man’s idiosyncrasies – from eating TV dinners to asking his staff to procure him obsolete flavours of ice cream.

Some may find the mix of comedy and dramatic beats jarring. But Beatty, who hasn’t directed since 1998’s Bulworth, hasn’t lost his quicksilver touch behind the camera or his compelling presence in front of it.  

Their Finest

Out: 21 April

A gentle yet moving World War 2-set tale, Their Finest is the latest film by Lone Scherfig, the Danish director who previously made An Education. Gemma Arterton plays Catrin Cole, hired to work for the Ministry Information Film Division and help script a rousing feature film to lift the spirits during wartime.

Exploring issues of sexism in the 1940s workplace, it’s done so in a clever and engaging way – with a script that carefully intertwines a blossoming romance between Catrin and her fellow writer, played by Sam Claflin.

Featuring a scene-stealing turn from Bill Nighy, as a vanity-riddled hammy old actor, there’s also a surprisingly shocking third-act twist. By the end, Scherfig’s film creeps up on you rather unexpectedly; you’ll be surprised how touching it is.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Walt Disney Pictures
Out: 28 April

Marvel’s 2014 space-set tale of a ragbag group of space pirates and superheroes, Guardians of the Galaxy, was one of the most enjoyable films to come out of the company’s stable so far.

This sequel – again directed by James Gunn – is set shortly after the original, with Chris Pratt’s half-human/half-alien Peter Quill – aka Star-Lord – on the hunt to discover his true parentage.

With Pratt’s co-stars Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel all returning (the latter two voicing the hugely popular CGI characters Rocket and Baby Groot), it promises to be another colourful, chaotic ride.

Veteran Eighties stars Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell also feature in key roles, making this one of the must-see movies of the season. 

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