Culture | What we’re watching and reading this April
We're all staying home, so we've provided our top films on demand, TV and books to keep us all entertained during April.
By Christopher Kingston
It’s been a very tough few months for the film industry, with loads of great films we’ve been looking forward to seeing being delayed. Due to the Coronavirus hitting the UK, many films due out have been affected – with the release dates for the new James Bond film, No Time to Die, and The Secret Garden both being pushed back, among many others.
Don’t panic though. In a self-isolation special, we’ve pulled together the top films on demand, TV and books that are keeping team HLN entertained during isolation.
Joaquin Phoenix won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Arthur Fleck. Desperately pursuing a career in stand-up comedy, he finds people laughing at him for all the wrong reasons and is driven down a destructive path. This film has had plenty of praise but wasn’t without some controversy, as it tackles subjects such as mental health and bullying. Joker is a near-perfect take on an iconic villain and boasts an outstanding lead performance from Joaquin Phoenix. It’s visually impressive and has one of the best haunting musical scores to a film that I’ve heard in a long time. Joker is also a tribute to films like Taxi Driver and The King of comedy – make sure you look out for Robert De Niro as talk show host Murray Franklin.
Sky Store and DVD
Another Academy Award win for Renee Zellweger, who won Best Actress for her portrayal of Judy Garland. Set during the last few months of her life, we see Judy attempt to make her big musical comeback. Zellweger does a fantastic job in the role and really captures her heartbreak and struggle as she tries to get people to remember her. Showcasing some of her best-known iconic songs, Judy celebrates the voice and the pizzazz of the world’s greatest entertainer.
Amazon Prime and DVD
Charlize Theron plays a high-powered presidential candidate, Charlotte Field, who falls for Seth Rogen’s journalist, Fred Flarsky. As she prepares to make a bid for the presidency, Charlotte impulsively hires Fred as her speechwriter, a role he is wildly unprepared for. However, the two make an unlikely comedic pair, despite having nothing in common, and sparks fly as their unmistakable chemistry leads to a round-the-world romance and a series of unexpected and dangerous incidents.
Netflix and DVD
If you don’t like your movies to be too heavy, then why not try something a little lighter in tone. “Fighting with my Family” is inspired by a documentary on Channel 4 of the same name. Saraya-Jade Bevis, played by Florence Pugh (Little Women), becomes a star of the WWE. You don’t have to be interested in wrestling to enjoy this one, we promise! Also starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Stephen Merchant, Fighting with My Family is a heartwarming and smart comedy that proves everything is worth fighting for when it comes to family.
Fighting with My Family
Amazon Prime and DVD
This feel-good comedy stars comedy genius Jillian Bell as the titular Brittany, so you know it’ll be good. Tired of being overweight and single, Brittany decides to get in shape and run the New York marathon. As she races towards her goal, she loses her weight but learns some hard home truths about herself and others along the way. It’s a funny and smart comedy, and we highly recommended giving it a watch.
Brittany Runs A Marathon
One for the adults and younger ones to enjoy, especially now schools have shut and parents are trying to occupy their little ones. Following on from the TV series and movie, this sequel sees Shaun and his friends befriend a playful alien as it lands near Mossy Bottom Farm. A spoof on film’s like ET and Men in Black, there’s something for everyone to enjoy – good fun to be had by all the family.
A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Lennie James (Line of Duty/The Waking Dead) leads an impressive cast, including Susanne Jones (Doctor Foster) and Stephen Graham (Line of Duty). The second series of this Sky original drama sees James’ character searching desperately for his missing daughter as he is accused of abducting her. Set 14 years after the events of the first series, this is one we’ve been waiting for.
Save Me Too
Sky Atlantic / Now TV – 1st April
If you like your superhero shows – Arrow, The Flash, Super Girl and The Legends of Tomorrow – then this is one’s for you. We follow Kate Kane, played by Ruby Rose (John Wick 2), as she returns to Gotham City. Batman is missing and crime is at an all-time high. She must become Gotham’s new guardian, taking on the moniker Batwoman.
If you enjoyed the latest Harley Quinn movie, you’ll be pleased to hear that she returns in her own animated series. Be warned though – this is strictly not one for younger viewers thanks to its distinctly adult humour throughout. Harley Quinn, after dumping the Joker, attempts to join the Legion of Doom and make it as a major supervillain with help from her crew Poison Ivy, Clay Face, King Shark, Doctor Psycho – oh, and Frank the Plant. Starring an array of recognisable voice talent, including Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) voicing Harley Quinn.
E4 – coming soon
Self Made tells the previously untold and highly irreverent story of Madam C.J Walker, the world’s first female self-made millionaire, going from poverty-stricken washerwoman to black haircare pioneer and mogul. Based on a true story, Self Made shows how she overcame hostile turn-of-the-century America. Wonderfully inspiring, and perfect for people who want to follow their dreams.
Previous hosts of Project Runway, Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum have gone on to host Amazon’s new fashion competition, Making the Cut. The contestants are competing for $1,000,000 cash prize, and each week the episode’s winner’s designs will be available to buy on Amazon.
Making the Cut
If you like true crime, you will love this seven-part series. Set in the world of big cat owners, a rivalry between big cat eccentrics takes a dark turn when an animal park boss, Joe Exotic, is caught in a murder-for-hire plot. Starring a host of characters which you won’t believe are real (you may remember Joe Exotic from Louis Theroux’s Americas Most Dangerous Pets), this is almost like watching a big-budget Hollywood movie and has already become a fan favourite.
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness
A far cry away from their time hosting The Great British Bake Off, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc play best friends Fran and Jamie who stumble into a career in contract killing. Each episode follows the pair as they try to carry out their hit, derailed by incompetence, bickering, and inane antics. As each hit goes south, the (anti)heroes are thrown into one bizarre misadventure after another. Think Killing Eve without the Killing. Highly recommended.
Following the story of Camp Jened, a Summer camp for disabled youths in the early 1970s, Crip Camp is a rousing documentary series that looks at teenagers with disabilities, follows the disability rights movement and tackles the misrepresentation of people with disabilities in the media. Released under Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company “Higher Ground”, we love the idea that the former President and First Lady are bringing attention to these issues that have long been ignored.
A lifetime of love. Six months of silence. One last chance. Maggie has plenty of ideas as to why her husband has gone quiet, but it will take another heartbreaking turn of events before Frank finally starts to unravel the secrets that have silenced him. Is this where their story ends? Or is it where it begins? With characters that will capture your heart, The Silent Treatment celebrates the phenomenal power of love and the importance of leaving nothing unsaid.
Pretending focusses on April, a relatively kind, normal girl who’s struggling to get past date five. She creates an alter-ego, Gretel, and morphs into the confident, problem-free woman she’s always wanted to be. When she’s Gretel, she’s in control – but can April control her own feelings? The new honest and hilarious novel from Holly Bourne, bestselling author of “How Do you Like Me Now?”. Pretending is funny, dark and has rave reviews from Dolly Alderton and Marian Keyes – it’ll be going straight to the top of our reading lists.
The lives of Rosalie Douglas and daughter Maddie are forever changed when they meet Jed at a bereavement support meeting after mourning the death of her son. Jed moves into their home and suddenly their lives are transformed. But beneath the surface, a dangerous obsession takes place – one that has deadly consequences. If you enjoyed the Channel 5 three-part drama starring Julie Graham, then we highly recommend reading the book that inspired the series.
A search for her missing son and a toxic mystery that threatens the globe. The Eyes of Darkness is a gripping thriller following a mother’s search for her son – a journey that unlocks the deadliest of secrets. Despite being released way back in 1981, this book is doing the popularity rounds again thanks to its spooky prediction of a virus that sounds eerily similar to the Coronavirus. What do you think?