Iconic action reboots, biblical epics and a quintessentially mad Nicolas Cage performance are among our top cinema picks this April
Animation: Isle of Dogs
Following an outbreak of supposedly incurable dog flu, Japan’s entire canine population has been exiled to nearby trash island. Suspecting something more sinister may be afoot, a savvy group of students take on the cat-loving mayor while a young boy named Atari flies to the island in search of his beloved hound, Spots. Bryan Cranston is superb as the gravelly voice of Chief, a stray who can’t help but become entangled in Atari’s plight because—as a fellow castaway astutely points out—“he’s a 12-year-old boy. Dogs love those”. With Wes Anderson’s signature heavy styling and star turns from Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Yoko Ono, Scarlett Johansson and Jeff Goldblum, Isle of Dogs is a triumph. If you’ve ever loved a dog, you will love this film.
Dreamy nostalgia, lush period costumes and raw human emotion bubbling beneath steely exteriors—Wonderstruck is everything we love about Todd Haynes. The film interweaves two stories set 50 years apart, both revolving around children in search of absent parents. Though it’s filled with great music and many a poignant moment, Wonderstruck’s slightly moralistic tone might leave a bad taste in your mouth.
A gripping, if slightly wobbly dramatisation of the 1976 hijacking of an Air France flight by Palestinian radicals and the daring rescue mission that followed. Though it features solid and assured performances by Rosamund Pike and Daniel Brühl, the recurrent artsy metaphors and cinematic truisms never quite allow Entebbe to hit home.
Romance: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Bored by the London circuit, writer Juliette Ashton (Lily James) needs a new story to inspire her. So when she receives a letter from the mysterious Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society detailing how the club formed because they had to hide a pig from the Nazis, she can’t resist a trip to the island. The chemistry between this character cast is magnetic. Prepare to be charmed by the island and humbled by the story of how ordinary people survived the war.
Comedy: Let the Sunshine in
True love is hard to find, as Juliette Binoche learns in this quirky comedy-drama. No matter how well a relationship starts off, something always gets in the way; an overblown ego, emotional unavailability, his wife—you name it. As her character moves from man to man—each tryst more disappointing than the last—it starts to dawn on her that Mr Right is virtually impossible to find. This quintessentially French, free-flowing vignette is punctuated with zesty laughs and enviable kisses—pure cinema joy. Look out for a batty cameo from Gérard Depardieu, too.
Talk show: My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman
What is it?
Talk show titan David Letterman returns with six hour-long conversations with notable individuals.
Why should I watch it? Given the sour nature of so much latter-day public discourse, it’s a pleasure to witness people who like one another shooting the breeze.
Best episode? The Obama chat is a strong open: a master questioner meets a disciple of diplomacy to pick over the past decade and where we’re headed.