Spring Movie Preview: 20 Notable Upcoming Films

  • Publish Date: March 6, 2014
  • Comments: ↓ 4 user comments

Key March and April releases

Below, our editors have selected the 20 most notable films heading to theaters this spring, listed in alphabetical order.

Alan Partridge Watch trailer
Comedy | April 4 | Directed by Declan Lowney

Having already appeared in multiple radio and TV series, a web series, live shows and even in his own book, Steve Coogan’s beloved character finally makes the jump to the big screen in the self-titled Alan Partridge. Earning solid reviews during its U.K. run (as Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa), the film finds our hero hosting a mid-morning show on North Norfolk Digital radio until a media conglomerate takes over the station and fires his co-worker, D.J. Pat (Colm Meaney), who promptly takes the station hostage. Will Alan be able to save himself or, perhaps, someone other than himself?

Bad Words Watch red-band trailer Watch green-band trailer
Comedy | March 14 | Directed by Jason Bateman

Jason Bateman makes his feature directorial debut with this story of Guy Tribly (Bateman), a 40-year-old with a photographic memory who, thanks to a loophole in the rules, competes in a spelling bee, wins, and makes it all the way to nationals. There, he forms an unlikely bond with a 10-year-old fellow competitor (Rohan Chand). Kathryn Hahn plays a reporter documenting Guy’s quest, and Allison Janney and Philip Baker Hall have supporting roles. Solid reviews greeted the film when it premiered in Toronto last fall.

Blue Ruin Watch trailer
Thriller | April 25 | Directed by Jeremy Saulnier

This festival favorite follows Dwight (Macon Blair), a homeless man, as his quest for revenge becomes bloodier and more out of control with each inept action he takes. Writer-director Jeremy Saulnier’s second feature won the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight and the good buzz continued in Toronto and at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Saulnier, who shot Matthew Porterfield’s I Used To Be Darker and Putty Hill, also serves as his own cinematographer.

Breathe In Watch trailer
Drama | March 28 | Directed by Drake Doremus

Also by this director:

71 Like Crazy (2011)
56 Douchebag (2010)

Writer-director Drake Doremus’ follow-up to 2011‘s Like Crazy is just now getting a theatrical release despite pleasing critics when it premiered at Sundance back in 2013. The breakout star of his first film, Felicity Jones, plays Sophie, an exchange student who causes problems for her hosts, the Reynolds family. The strong cast includes Guy Pearce as Keith Reynolds, a music teacher who still yearns for his glory days as a musician, and Amy Ryan as his wife, whose focus has shifted away from her husband and to their college-bound daughter (Mackenzie Davis).

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Watch trailer #1 Watch trailer #2
Sci-fi/Action-Adventure | April 4 | Directed by Anthony Russo & Joe Russo

Also by this director:

46 You, Me and Dupree (2006)
61 Welcome to Collinwood (2002)

In this sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger, Chris Evans returns as Steve Rodgers, a superhero adjusting to the modern world and life as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. This time he teams up with Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and Anthony Mackie’s Falcon to unravel a conspiracy and face off against the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). Robert Redford joins Marvel’s world as Alexander Pierce, as does Emily Van Camp as Agent 13 and Frank Grillo as Crossbones. Returning players include Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, and Toby Jones as Arnim Zola, while the Russo brothers (best known for their work on TV comedies like Arrested Development and Community) take over for director Joe Johnston. Will their background directing TV sitcoms bring a lighter mood to the proceedings? If the trailers are any indication, probably not, but one can hope.

Divergent Watch trailer #1 Watch trailer #2
Sci-fi/Action-Adventure | March 21 | Directed by Neil Burger

Also by this director:

59 Limitless (2011)
53 The Lucky Ones (2008)
68 The Illusionist (2006)
60 Interview with the Assassin (2002)

Summit Entertainment tries to capture Twilight-like franchise magic again with this first film of a planned trilogy based on Veronica Roth’s popular YA series (the second film, Insurgent, is already scheduled for a March 20, 2015 release). Shailene Woodley stars as Tris Prior, a 16-year-old girl who discovers she doesn’t fit into one of the five factions of futuristic Chicago society—Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave) and Erudite (the intelligent). Instead, she’s Divergent, and this puts her life at risk. Luckily, she has Theo James’ Four, a fellow Divergent, on her side. Neil Burger (Limitless) directs, and the supporting cast includes Kate Winslet, Maggie Q, Miles Teller, Jai Courtney, Zoë Kravitz, and Ansel Elgort.

Enemy Watch trailer
Thriller | March 21 | Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Also by this director:

74 Prisoners (2013)
82 Incendies (2011)
61 Polytechnique (2009)
65 Maelstrom (2002)

Jake Gyllenhaal re-teams with his Prisoners director, Denis Villeneuve, for this adaptation of José Saramago's novel The Double. Gyllenhaal plays two roles: Adam Bell is a history professor with a girlfriend (Mélanie Laurent), and Anthony Claire is an actor with a pregnant wife (Sarah Gadon). After Adam sees Anthony in a movie, he tracks his doppelgänger down, initiating a series of dangerous events for both men (and the women in their lives). The existential thriller received good early reviews at last year’s Toronto Film Festival where it earned notice for its distinct look, unique score, and enigmatic story.

The Grand Budapest Hotel Watch trailer Watch cast trailer
Comedy/Drama | March 7 | Directed by Wes Anderson

Also by this director:

84 Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
83 Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
67 The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
62 The Life Aquatic w/ Steve Zissou (2004)
75 The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
86 Rushmore (1998)
60 Bottle Rocket (1996)

Jumping in time (1985, 1968, 1932) and aspect ratios (2.35, 1.85, 1.33), Wes Anderson’s follow-up to Moonrise Kingdom stars Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustave, a concierge at the titular hotel, and newcomer Tony Revolori as Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. Together, they get caught up in a battle for a family fortune and the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting. Once again Anderson has created his own stylized world, with a some returning players (Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson) and a few welcome rookies (Saoirse Ronan, F. Murray Abraham, Jude Law and Tom Wilkinson). Early reviews indicate that the director, working for the first time from his own script, has topped himself for the third straight time.

Jodorowsky's Dune Watch trailer
Documentary | March 7 | Directed by Frank Pavich

Long before David Lynch adapted Frank Herbert‘s sci-fi novel Dune, Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky had his own vision for translating the book to the big screen, but due to various factors, the project never came to fruition. Frank Pavich's documentary looks at what might have been, using interviews with the would-be director, his collaborators (including artist H.R. Giger of Alien fame), and supporters like Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn. According to the good early reviews, those interested in a once-forgotten bit of movie history will be happy to discover Jodorowsky’s Dune for themselves.

Joe Watch trailer
Drama | April 11 | Directed by David Gordon Green

Also by this director:

73 Prince Avalanche (2013)
39 The Sitter (2011)
31 Your Highness (2011)
64 Pineapple Express (2008)
67 Snow Angels (2008)
63 Undertow (2004)
71 All the Real Girls (2003)
81 George Washington (2000)

Many critics saw last year’s Prince Avalanche as a welcome return to form for director David Gordon Green. This year, he gets to prove them right with this adaptation of Larry Brown’s novel about the eponymous ex-con (Nicholas Cage) who is just trying to stay out of trouble until he meets Gary (Tye Sheridan of The Tree of Life and Mud), a kid he feels he needs to protect. Once again, Green works with cinematographer Tim Orr to bring the South to life in what early reviews have deemed a high point in the erratic career of the film’s star.

Le Week-End Watch trailer
Comedy/Drama | March 14 | Directed by Roger Michell

Also by this director:

55 Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)
57 Morning Glory (2010)
82 Venus (2006)
61 Enduring Love (2004)
72 The Mother (2004)
69 Changing Lanes (2002)
73 Titanic Town (2000)
66 Notting Hill (1999)

When it premiered in Toronto last fall, this third collaboration (following The Mother and Venus) between director Roger Michell and writer Hanif Kureishi earned very good reviews from critics. Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan star as Nick and Meg, a long-married British couple visiting Paris for the first time since their honeymoon in hopes of re-igniting their relationship. Over the two days, they bicker, make up, and meet up with an old acquaintance played by Jeff Goldblum. C’est la vie.

Locke Watch trailer
Thriller | April 25 | Directed by Steven Knight

Also by this director:

43 Redemption (2013)

With his second directorial effort (following the disappointing Jason Statham vehicle Redemption), writer-director Steven Knight proposes that all you need to make an interesting film is Tom Hardy, a BMW, and a phone connection. Hardy plays Ivan Locke, a construction foreman whose life becomes more complicated with each mile he drives between between Birmingham and London. Hardy is the only star seen on screen for the duration of the film, with supporting voice turns via the telephone coming from Ruth Wilson as his wife, Ben Daniels as his boss, and Olivia Colman as his assistant.

Muppets Most Wanted Watch trailer Watch song trailer
Family/Comedy | March 21 | Directed by James Bobin

Also by this director:

75 The Muppets (2011)

This sequel to 2011’s The Muppets does not star Jason Segel or Amy Adams, but director James Bobin is back, as is writer Nicholas Stoller. And there are plenty of new actors ready to interact with our favorite felt characters as they tour the world and get entangled in a European jewel-heist. Ricky Gervais stars as Dominic Badguy, second fiddle to criminal mastermind and Kermit impostor Constantine, while Tina Fey plays a prison guard and Ty Burrell appears as an Interpol inspector. After winning an Oscar for “Man or Muppet,” Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie once again provides original songs for the film, with the first one being the appropriately meta number “We’re Doing a Sequel.”

Noah Watch trailer
Adventure | March 28 | Directed by Darren Aronofsky

Also by this director:

79 Black Swan (2010)
81 The Wrestler (2008)
51 The Fountain (2006)
68 Requiem for a Dream (2000)
72 Pi (1998)

After the more intimate dramas The Wrestler and Black Swan, director Darren Aronofsky goes epic (in scope and budget) to tell the biblical story of Noah’s ark. The roughly $125 million film is a major risk for Paramount and for the director, who won the battle over the release of his cut but could lose the war if it fails to bring in faith-based audiences like Son of God. A recent change to the marketing of the film could prove to be a smart adjustment or a costly overreaction, but a few things are certain: Russell Crowe stars as Noah alongside Anthony Hopkins as Methuselah. Ray Winstone plays his nemesis, and Jennifer Connelly, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Douglas Booth have supporting roles.

Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 Watch trailer
Nymphomaniac Vol. 2
Drama | March 21 / April 4 | Directed by Lars von Trier

Also by this director:

80 Melancholia (2011)
49 Antichrist (2009)
71 The Boss of It All (2007)
46 Manderlay (2006)
59 Dogville (2004)
61 Dancer in the Dark (2000)
47 The Idiots (2000)
76 Breaking the Waves (1996)

After receiving good reviews during its European release, Lars von Trier’s eight-chapter, two-part chronicle of a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac’s sexual experiences will finally screen in U.S. theaters over the next two months. (As with von Trier's previous film, Nymphomaniac will actually hit VOD ahead of its theatrical release, with the first film available today, and Vol. 2 debuting on March 20th.) The marketing campaign has been clever, with increasingly risqué “appetizers” for chapters 1-4 and 5-8, as well as a secret screening at Sundance and the premiere of the uncut version of Volume I at the Berlin Film Festival. The controversy king has remained mute since pledging in 2011 that he would “refrain from all public statements and interviews,” but his film, starring Stacy Martin and Charlotte Gainsbourg as Joe (young and old, respectively), will surely trigger plenty of conversation.

Only Lovers Left Alive Watch trailer
Horror/Drama | April 11 | Directed by Jim Jarmusch

Also by this director:

41 The Limits of Control (2009)
79 Broken Flowers (2005)
65 Coffee and Cigarettes (2004)
67 Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai (2000)
58 Dead Man (1996)

Seen by many critics as a return to form after 2009’s The Limits of Control, Jim Jarmusch’s latest follows Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton), two vampires who have been in love for centuries. When the story begins, Eve is spending time in Tangiers with fellow vampire (and playwright) Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt), until she decides to join Adam in Detroit where he’s passing time as a musician. Causing trouble for the couple is Mia Wasikowska as Eve’s sister, Ava, while Anton Yelchin plays Adam’s go-between, and Jeffrey Wright appears as a doctor who supplies what vampires need most.

The Raid 2 Watch trailer
Action | March 28 | Directed by Gareth Evans

Also by this director:

73 The Raid: Redemption (2012)

Writer-director Gareth Evans’ sequel to the action-packed cult hit The Raid: Redemption picks up hours after the original film, with Rama (Iko Uwais) going undercover to protect his family and expose the criminal underworld at the heart of the corruption in Jakarta. So far critics agree that Evans has orchestrated action scenes with a variety of locations and a beautiful brutality that top the first film, but they disagree on his success at navigating a larger story and a longer running time.

Transcendence Watch trailer #1 Watch trailer #2
Sci-fi/Thriller | April 17 | Directed by Wally Pfister

Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer of choice, Wally Pfister, moves into the director’s chair for the first time with this story of Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp), an artificial intelligence researcher whose mind is uploaded into a computer after an assassination attempt by R.I.F.T. (Revolutionary Independence From Technology). Kate Mara plays one of the leaders of the anti-technology extremists while Rebecca Hall co-stars as Caster’s wife and Paul Bettany plays his best friend. The supporting cast also includes Nolan veterans Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy as well as Clifton Collins Jr. and Cole Hauser.

Under the Skin Watch red-band trailer Watch green-band trailer
Sci-fi | April 4 | Directed by Jonathan Glazer

Also by this director:

50 Birth (2004)
79 Sexy Beast (2001)

Jonathan Glazer’s first feature film in a decade is a loose adaptation of Michel Faber's 2000 science fiction novel about an alien (Scarlett Johansson) tasked with capturing humans for her home planet. The film received both boos and cheers at the Venice Film Festival last year, but its unique visuals (Glazer employed a guerrilla shooting style on the streets of Glasgow, using up to eight hidden cameras to capture Johansson interacting with the public) and unusual score by Mica Levi of Micachu & the Shapes have been embraced by a majority of critics.

Veronica Mars Watch trailer Watch first 2 minutes
Drama/Comedy | March 14 | Directed by Rob Thomas

Thanks to a revolutionary Kickstarter campaign, a loyal fan base will once again be friends with Veronica (Kristen Bell), Logan (Jason Dohring), Wallace (Percy Daggs III), Mac (Tina Majorino), Piz (Chris Lowell), and Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni). The seven-year journey from TV screen to cineplexes will be nine years to the characters, as writer-director Rob Thomas brings Veronica back to Neptune for a high school reunion and one last case, plus some witty repartee with Ryan Hansen’s Dick Casablancas, Ken Marino’s Vinnie Van Lowe, and Francis Capra’s Eli ‘Weevil’ Navarro. If you’re not near one of the 270 theaters that will show the film, don’t worry; it will be be made available simultaneously online. Until then, check out the first two minutes of the film here. It serves as a sort of "previously on" segment to catch you up with the characters' lives.

What do you think?

Which films are you looking forward to this spring? Let us know in the comments section below. For a frequently updated listing of all upcoming film releases by date, including films arriving later in 2014, visit our Movie Calendar.

Comments (4)

  • silasbodnick  

    The new captain America movie seems to have a darker tinge to it than the previous Marvel films. I sure hope that it does because I love the character and I really have high hopes for it.

  • FleshWorld  

    VMars and Noah look good, but geez is Hollywood seemingly ceding a lot of ground to TV in terms of creativity and exploration. We're stuck with a lot of risk averse garbage. I would love to see some of these studio heads return the same type of daring that they had in the 70s. I won't be holding my breath.

  • TheQuietGamer  

    Bad Words, the new Captain America, and The Raid 2 are the ones I'm looking forward to. I'm curious to see how Noah will turn out as well.

  • LamontRaymond  

    Mark me down for Nymphomaniac (both parts), Grand Budapest Hotel, Under the Skin, Veronica Mars, Noah, and Bad Words. Not a bad line-up for this time of year. Thanks for the run-down!

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