Despite cinemas being shut for the whole of April, I found a pretty good seam of new releases (giving myself a little more leeway with the film fight rules here). There are 12 films in the April Film Fight.
#FF20 The Platform is an allegorical horror that feels quite close to home.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) April 2, 2020
Set in a prison where the lower floors eat the scraps of the upper floors, the message seems simple; but it frequently shifts perspective.
Not subtle, quite bloody, but absolutely worth seeing.
#FF20 The Occupant is a solid thriller, taking a (gentle) swing at conspicuous consumption.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) April 6, 2020
Some neat shots and direction, but it's the lead performance that holds everything together as we begin to see his darker side.
Not amazing, but reliable and engaging throughout. Watch.
#FF20 Vivarium is an interesting rye, light-horror about a young couple moving to the suburbs... without really planning on it.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) April 15, 2020
The allegory is obvious but not offputting. The performances are solid. The scripting fun.
The film is a good length, ratching things up slowly. See!
#FF20 Lost Girls puts the right perspective on a series of murders: that of the victims and those left behind.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) April 15, 2020
Amy Ryan is fantastic as a struggling mother, who loses her somewhat estranged daughter.
Beautifully shot and paced. Difficult, but worthwhile.
The Jesus Rolls
#FF20 The Jesus Rolls is a spin-off no-one asked for, by people who should know better.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) April 15, 2020
There is no charm. There are no stakes. The film is about nothing. It doesn’t do or say anything.
Trying to coast on nostalgia doesn’t work, especially when done in such a mediocre way.
#FF20 System Crasher is a difficult drama about a young girl, whose trauma has made it so she can't interact peacefully within the system around her.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) April 15, 2020
Incredible performances, on a tough subject matter.
Very difficult. I broke down several times watching it. Stunning.
#FF20 Code 8 is a solid, sci-fi action film.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) April 16, 2020
Clearly made on a budget, but the effects work in context. The world is interesting and built without much exposition. The cast are fine for what they need to do.
Easy, fun, a little dumb. Pleasant enough.
Coffee And Kareem
#FF20 Coffee And Kareem is a bit of a mixed bag. Ed Helms is an ineffectual cop teamed up with a foulmouthed kid, who witnesses a murder.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) April 22, 2020
Fairly one note after that, but with the best gags coming from the supporting cast.
#FF20 Badlands is a fairly dull, generic Western.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) April 25, 2020
If you want cliched, stilted & expositional dialogue in every scene, overwrought music, and cheesy plotting, this is the movie for you.
Pointless. A waste of a good Bruce Dern. Skip.
#FF20 Sweetheart sees a woman stranded alone on a desert isand, but something appears at night...— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) April 30, 2020
For much of the film, it's dialogue-light. A great exploration of show-don't-tell, with some really neat shots.
The story plays out as you might expect but it's solid entertainment
#FF20 Rising High sees an unscrupulous man get rich and act badly.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) April 30, 2020
You've seen much of this before and done better (Wolf of Wall Street), but it's stylish in places, with some striking colour choices.
Too many montages aside, it works well enough. Okay.
#FF20 Extraction is a fast-paced action film, where Chris Hemsworth has to rescue a child from kidnapping.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) April 30, 2020
While the plot is so-so and it's a little underbudget, the action and fight choreography is top-notch. The extended chase in the middle had me giggling in places.
The April Winner
Given the sheer number of films, pretty much the entire gamut of good to excellent are here so picking a winner is tough. That said, it has to be System Crasher: a powerful, difficult look at trauma in children and the effects.