Springtime — those months sandwiched between heavy Oscar fare and bloated summer tentpoles — isn’t the most celebrated time for movies. But just like the birds and tulips that surprise us each year, there are inevitably movies that thrill, haunt and keep us entertained. These are the movies we enjoy, then forget about until they show up during award nominations and we exclaim, “Oh yeah, I remember liking that!”
Between this year’s spring equinox and Memorial Day, we’ve got a remake, a Star Wars film, romance, intrigue and the inevitable appearance of Marvel movies (twice!). Whether you’re a fan of sports, history, humor or good old-fashioned mystery, you can find something to put on your entertainment schedule. Here’s a roundup and a sneak peek at movies we can look forward to seeing on the big screen soon.
Ready Player One, March 29
A movie about a teen playing games in a virtual world may not sound like your thing, but this Steven Spielberg project, adapted from a book by Ernest Cline, got good reviews among critics during the preview showings. It’s nonstop action and filled with references from the ’80s that have been thrilling pop culture nerds. A reviewer for Indiewire called it “Spielberg’s biggest crowd-pleaser in years” with “some of the most viscerally engaging filmmaking Spielberg has ever done.”
Tyler Perry’s Acrimony, March 30
Not much has been revealed about this psychological thriller about a spurned wife who decides to get revenge, but it’s hard to go wrong with a Tyler Perry picture. The word acrimony means “anger and bitterness,” so we can be sure we’ll be witnessing some intense emotional scenes. Taraji P. Henson and Lyriq Bent star as the wounded couple.
Gemini, March 30
When it debuted at SXSW, Gemini was on Rolling Stone’s list of movies to catch. It’s a neo-noir mystery about the murder of an actress and her personal assistant’s quest to find the killer. Known for his slow-burn, character-driven style, director Aaron Katz uses Los Angeles to full effect, making the city as haunting and alive as his actors. Lola Kirke stars as the assistant to Zoe Kravitz’s celebrity.
A Quiet Place, April 6
I do not do horror movies. I can’t even watch the trailers. But this John Krasinski-helmed project has me intrigued by its suspenseful trailer and creative premise. Krasinski stars opposite his wife, Emily Blunt, as a man who must keep his family silent to protect them from the monsters in their house. It can’t have been easy to direct a feature film with very little dialogue, but Krasinski may have drawn on his experience in Aloha, where he played a character who doesn’t speak. I just want the film to answer my one burning question: Why don’t they just move?
Chappaquiddick, April 6
Most of us recognize the name Chappaquiddick. We know it has something to do with a bridge, Ted Kennedy and an accident in which the passenger in his car, an unmarried woman, was killed. Chappaquiddick is the island where Teddy and friends attended a reunion of staff members who worked for his late brother Bobby. That’s the setting for this feature, which lays out the events of the night and the aftermath as the Kennedys scrambled to save the reputation of one of their golden sons.
Pandas, April 6
It’s panda bears. Need I say more? This Warner Bros. documentary features everything you ever wanted to know about the world’s most adorable mammals. But you may not be listening as you squeal at footage from a Chinese breeding facility and follow the journey of one special cub. You should listen, though, because the whole thing is narrated by Kristen Bell, the world’s most adorable (and funny) human.
Beirut, April 11 (limited release)
This spy thriller centers on a U.S. diplomat called back to the titular city, which he left after the murder of his wife. The trailer was met with backlash when it revealed what many consider a stereotypical espionage story with Middle Eastern villains and Western saviors. And some Lebanese are outraged by what they’re calling an inaccurate picture of the ancient capital city. If it gets viewers interested in the real history of the country’s decades-long civil war, though, that’s a very good result. Starring Jon Hamm and Rosamund Pike.
Borg/McEnroe, April 13
The film focuses on just one meeting between the two tennis greats, at Wimbledon in 1980, which some consider the greatest moment in tennis history. But the Björn Borg/John McEnroe rivalry went on for three years, during which they met 22 times on the court. The film is notable not only as a sports story but also for its use of both Swedish and English throughout. I’m hesitant to recommend anything starring Shia LaBeouf, but the character of McEnroe seems to fit his mercurial personality. Sverrir Gudnason, Stellan Skarsgård and Tuva Novotny also star.
Submergence, April 13
Based on a novel by J.M. Ledgard, Submergence is a romantic thriller about two people facing ultimate isolation. Alicia Vikander stars as an oceanic researcher getting ready to spend time in a submersible on the ocean bottom. James McAvoy is her new love, who is facing his own solitude as the captive of Somali fighters. It’s a tale of new romance and the tension between anticipation, desire and fear.
Avengers: Infinity War, April 27
The 19th Marvel film is set two years after Captain America: Civil War, which left the Avengers split over whether the government should control their actions. Each film has been giving screen time to more and more characters, and this one will combine just about every hero we’ve seen thus far, including the Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s just the first half of this epic superhero mashup, however, so don’t expect all the loose ends to be tied up.
Overboard, May 4
This premise, a working-class man convincing a rich woman with amnesia that they are married, was a hit back in 1987 with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. This time they’re turning the tables, with Anna Faris cast as down-on-her-luck Kate and Eugenio Derbez as wealthy playboy Leonardo.
Book Club, May 18
The idea that four women’s lives are changed by reading 50 Shades of Grey might sound a little thin. But this comedy stars Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen as book club friends who realize they’re not dead to desire. These ladies are all known for portraying the foibles of aging so well that it’s not hard to imagine their personal quests will rise above their inspiration.
Deadpool 2, May 18
Nobody has more fun marketing Deadpool than Ryan Reynolds himself, who began tweeting out ’80s-inspired images last month. This go-round promises the introduction of Deadpool’s more loose and lethal form of X-Men, known as X-Force, and Josh Brolin playing the main antagonist, Cable. The film is shot by John Wick director David Leitch, so expect more snappy action and a lot of violence. A ton of violence.
Solo: A Star Wars Story, May 25
It’s really hard to imagine anybody taking on the iconic role of Han Solo, but the actor who won the role, Alden Ehrenreich, was discovered by no less than Steven Spielberg himself. The director saw Ehrenreich perform in a video alongside Spielberg’s daughter and helped the young man land an agent. Fast forward a few years and Ehrenreich is piloting the Millennium Falcon alongside Chewie. The internet lit up with joy over the first preview a few weeks ago, which showed us not only the smart-aleck pilot but also Donald Glover as a young Lando Calrissian.