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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

March 31, 2009 at 12:56 PM

Coming in April: Crowe, Foxx and more

In the movie business, April isn’t necessarily the cruellest month (that would be January or August, when the turkeys get dumped), but it’s also betwixt and between: just missing the big box-office summer season, and too early in the year to count on Oscar buzz. As I look at the upcoming month’s releases, only a few stand out. With luck, that means that some terrific movies are hiding under the radar. But here are a couple of prominent April releases that look promising:
“State of Play” (April 17). OK, so the title’s kind of generic (it’s based on a BBC miniseries of the same name), but this one looks nicely chewy. Kevin Macdonald (“The Last King of Scotland” — and, alas, no relation) directs; Tony Gilroy (“Michael Clayton,” “Duplicity”) is among the writers, and the cast includes Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Helen Mirren, Viola Davis, Robin Wright Penn and Jeff Daniels. Story involves investigative reporters (yes, on a newspaper!) working to help solve a murder. Crowe’s been up and down lately (“American Gangster,” “3:10 to Yuma” — good; “A Good Year,” “Body of Lies” — bad), but I’m working on a theory that he’s always good when his hair is long. See below, and note that old-school mug of pencils:

(Photo courtesy Universal Pictures)
“The Soloist” (April 24). This one got pushed from last year’s fall season, which is sometimes a bad sign, but we’ll see. It’s Joe Wright’s “Atonement” follow-up, and a very different kind of movie: A reporter (Robert Downey Jr., playing real life L.A. scribe Steve Lopez) befriends a street musician (Jamie Foxx). Downey last played a journalist in “Zodiac,” and practically stole the movie; let’s see if he can do it again. And the movie has Catherine Keener in it, which is pretty much always a sign of quality.
“Anvil! The Story of Anvil” (April 17). Sight unseen, this documentary seems to have a certain “This Is Spinal Tap!” vibe to it, which is always a good thing. (Maybe because the main character is named Robb Reiner.) But it’s not a mockumentary; it’s the real story of an obscure yet beloved Canadian metal band. The film has won awards at a number of festivals, and sounds like an audience favorite.
And then there’s “Hannah Montana: The Movie” . . . but I need to go eat lunch now.

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