Metro Weekly

Film: Spring Arts Preview 2024

Somewhere on this list is the 2024 film you've been waiting for -- and your wait is almost over.

Femme – George MacKay and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett

This time last year, none of us had ever heard the word Barbenheimer. Barbie, listed in our 2023 spring movie preview, and Oppenheimer, which was not, had yet to assert their primacy over the year’s box office and pop culture conversation.

Few conceived those two films would spark a phenomenon that rippled through media, fashion, merchandising, music, and awards show after awards show after awards show.

After all the hype and hot takes, red carpet looks, historic victories and milestones, the Barbenheimer convo only really finally abated with the Oscar wins that shuffled Barbie, Ken, and Oppy off the stage in March, ushering cinema into the spring/summer season.

Now, new cinematic fascinations await, new soundtracks of the summer, your next new favorite character or performance, some star-making smash that’ll keep the world talking until 2025. Somewhere on this list, or left off of it, is the 2024 film you’ve been waiting for, and your wait is almost over.


Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire — Two of the biggest box office titans of all time team up (again) to kick off the spring/summer blockbuster season, and take down a new subterranean threat to all life on the planet. Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard returns, with stars Rebecca Hall as a badass Kong whisperer, and Brian Tyree Henry as a conspiracy podcast host whose paranoid speculations in the last movie turned out to be not so outlandish. What unknown creatures in the MonsterVerse will they lead us to next? A warrior band of Kong-like apes appears to be only a hint of the weirdness that awaits deep inside the Hollow Earth. (3/29)

Dogman — Gun-slinging French filmmaker Luc Besson loads up both barrels for this New Jersey-set action thriller starring Nitram‘s Caleb Landry Jones in another freakout role. Jones is DogMan, a jewel thief and dog lover and drag queen who has trained his beloved dogpack to go out and steal for their master. Twenties star Jojo T. Gibbs plays the police psychologist enlisted to examine DogMan in hopes of getting to the bottom of his crimes. (3/29)

A Cat’s Life — This weekend offers equal time to dog and cat lovers. Go ballistic with Besson and his cast of canines, or tag along with a “small cat on a big adventure,” as promised by the kid’s feature A Cat’s Life. Also directed by a French filmmaker, wildlife documentarian Guillaume Maidatchevsky, the film follows a young Parisian girl who takes her city kitten on a trip to the country, where the wide-eyed feline gets lost in a forest full of wild friends and fierce predators. Hopefully, the film’s U.S. distributor plans to release a version in the original French with subtitles, because the chirpily dubbed English in the trailer sounds a mess. (3/29)


Monkey Man — Dev Patel might forever be the Slumdog Millionaire, but he has long since proven his vast capabilities onscreen in a variety of roles. However, the one role he’s craved — action hero — the British star says he had to create for himself in the new crime thriller Monkey Man, which he also directs. An actual black belt in taekwondo, Patel gets his John Wick on and showcases his martial arts skills in this revenge tale, co-produced by Jordan Peele. (4/5)

Wicked Little Letters — If you were going to make a dark, witty comedy about a 1920s English village scandalized by the profane missives of an anonymous letter writer, it would be a shame not to cast the great Olivia Colman as the uptight village matron desperate to expose the identity of the poison pen culprit. Thankfully, theater and film director Thea Sharrock did cast Colman, along with Jessie Buckley, Timothy Spall, Anjana Vasan, Malachi Kirby, Lolly Adefope, and Gemma Jones in this quirky mystery based on true events that stunned a nation. (4/5)

Femme: George MacKay

Femme — Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping adapt their 2021 award-winning short into a feature that’s already garnered a British Independent Film Award for Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, as drag performer Jules, and George MacKay as closeted punk Preston, who starts out as Jules’ tormentor before the tables turn. A revenge thriller that takes a deep dive into London’s drag and queer culture, Femme feels real and risqué. (4/5)

Música — A colorful romantic comedy, “from the musical mind of Rudy Mancuso,” about a content creator balancing two love interests and his sound-warping synesthesia. Singer and Youtube star Mancuso composed the soundtrack, co-wrote the script with Dan Lagana, directs, and also leads a cast that includes Camila Mendes, Francesca Reale, J.B. Smoove, and an awkward puppet sidekick. (4/5, Prime Video)

The First Omen — This prequel to The Omen (1976), or The Omen (2006), follows an American novitiate (Nell Tiger Free) at a Catholic orphanage in 1970s Rome who uncovers a plan to bring forth the Antichrist. Bill Nighy, Charles Dance, and Sonia Braga co-star as Church elders either hiding something, or hoping to save the world from the devil’s spawn, in director Arkasha Stevenson’s feature debut. (4/5)

The People’s Joker — A festival sensation directed and co-written by Vera Drew, this extremely unofficial Joker parody stars Drew in the phantasmagoric tale of a queer kid from Smallville who moves to Gotham City with dreams of becoming a standup comic, and fully realizing their trans identity, even if it means running afoul of Batman. (4/5)

Housekeeping for Beginners — Filmmaker Goran Stolevski beautifully explored queer romance in 2022’s Of an Age. Here, he turns his perceptive eye to a story of family struggle. Lesbian Dita (Anamaria Marinca) finds herself suddenly thrust into the position of raising her girlfriend’s two daughters, and has to make the best of a situation she never foresaw for her life. (4/5)

Civil WarEx-Machina auteur Alex Garland’s latest, starring Kirsten Dunst, Priscilla‘s Cailee Spaeny, and Nick Offerman as POTUS, appears tailor-made to divide opinions over its harrowing depiction of a devastating war between the U.S. military and the secessionist forces of Florida, Texas, and California. (As if!) Will Garland’s polemic hit too close to home, or fall too on the nose? And why do they have to destroy the Lincoln Memorial for this pointless war? (4/12)

Sting — This creepy-crawly creature feature from Kiah Roache-Turner could turn out to be the surprise of the season. Alyla Browne (who also appears as a young Furiosa in George Miller’s upcoming Fury Road prequel) stars as Charlotte, a shy 12-year-old whose pet spider develops a monstrous appetite, and a talent for getting out of its pen and terrorizing her whole apartment building. Based on promo shots of Sting creeping through air vents, across bedroom ceilings, and into one quivering victim’s gaping mouth, the arachnophobic should probably steer clear. (4/12)

Sweet Dreams vs. Sweet Dreams — It’s almost unheard of, but this week sees the release of two films with the same title, Sweet Dreams. So, here’s a quick rundown to ensure no one winds up watching the wrong film. One Sweet Dreams stars Johnny Knoxville as a recovering alcoholic in a Bad News Bears-style comedy of errors and redemption. The other Sweet Dreams is a mannered, gorgeously shot Dutch-Swedish arthouse period satire of life on a colonial sugar plantation in the Dutch East Indies, and, to be honest, a Sweet Dreams double feature might be the best solution for avoiding any potential mix-ups. (4/12)

Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare — A year ago, Guy Ritchie’s war epic Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant, opened to some of the best reviews of the director’s career, and tepid box office. We’re betting the box office will be much kinder to the bros (and one dame) of the Ministry, a ragtag unit of Britain’s Special Operations Executive, the real-life WWII-era espionage and sabotage agency that aided the Allied victory in Europe. Henry Cavill, due for a redeeming hit after the awful Argylle, lets loose as madman Sgt. Gus March-Philips, leading the exceptionally easy-on-the-eyes team of Alan Ritchson, Eiza González, Henry Golding, Alex Pettyfer, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and Babs Olusanmokun into war against the Nazis. (4/19)

Abigail — A highly organized crew of kidnappers, including Melissa Barrera, Giancarlo Esposito, and Angus Cloud (in one of his final roles), holds a rich man’s daughter for ransom inside a remote mansion, where they discover that the innocent-looking ballerina they abducted is, in fact, a vampire. Reimagining the 1936 Universal horror classic Dracula’s Daughter, this update from dynamic directing duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (Scream VI) looks ready to draw blood and audiences. (4/19)

We Grown Now — Sony Pictures Classics has high hopes for writer-director Minhal Haig’s festival award-winning, slice-of-life dramedy portraying the struggles of growing up in Chicago’s Cabrini-Green housing projects in the early ’90s. Told through the eyes of 8-year-old best friends Eric (Gian Knight Ramirez) and Malik (Blake Cameron James), the film features Jurnee Smollett, Lil Rel Howery, and S. Epatha Merkerson as the grownups in the boys’ fast-changing lives. (4/19)

Challengers: Mike Faist, Zendaya and Josh O’Connor

Challengers — Zendaya trained for months with an elite pro tennis coach prepping for her role as a tennis phenom in this romantic sports drama from always-provocative filmmaker Luca Guadagnino. But something tells us the film will be judged less for the Dune diva’s athletic form, and more for how the tantalizing love triangle with co-stars Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor as rival tennis pros plays out. (4/26)

Breathe — Director Stefon Bristol marshals an intriguing cast, with Jennifer Hudson, Milla Jovovich, Quvenzhané Wallis, Raúl Castillo, Common, and Sam Worthington in a sci-fi thriller about survivors on an air-depleted Earth battling over scant oxygen supplies and all-important filtration systems. (4/26)


The Idea of You — Anne Hathaway and Red, White & Royal Blue‘s Nicholas Galitzine look like they’re having a ball in this rom-com as lovers — she a gallery owner, and he a 15-years younger pop superstar — who meet-cute at Coachella, and try to enjoy a hot and heavy affair despite the jealous fans and prying media attention. (5/3, Prime Video)

The Fall Guy — Action fans will be served plenty this season, with Ryan Gosling gearing up to join the fray as stuntman and action choreographer Cole Seavers in this loud, fast, explosive adventure from Bullet Train director David Leitch. Loosely based on the ’80s television series starring Lee Majors, the film co-stars Emily Blunt and Winston Duke, and, fortunately, found a role for Majors. Unfortunately, neither he nor Gosling sing the famous theme song, “Unknown Stuntman,” on the movie soundtrack. That honor goes to Blake Shelton. Shoulda been Gosling. (5/3)

I Saw the TV Glow

I Saw the TV Glow — Strange things are afoot in writer-director Jane Schoenbrun’s queer-leaning horror-thriller about two teens, portrayed by Brigette Lundy-Paine and Justice Smith, whose shared obsession with a supernatural TV show takes a scary turn after the show is canceled. (5/3)

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes — All hail Proximus Caesar, ruler of the ape civilization that humble chimp Caesar established centuries prior. Set 300 years after the last film in the rebooted franchise, Kingdom introduces a new ape hero, Noa (Owen Teague), who will no doubt rise up against the tyrant Proximus Caesar (Kevin Durand), who has taken to enslaving other clans. We’ll miss motion-capture legend Andy Serkis as Caesar, but director Wes Ball (The Maze Runner movies) may prove there’s plenty of life left on the Planet of the Apes. (5/10)

IF — I-F stands for “imaginary friend” in this hybrid live-action and animated family fantasy-comedy featuring Ryan Reynolds as the upstairs neighbor of a girl who gains the ability to see people’s imaginary friends. Heralded by the trailer as an adventure “from the imagination of John Krasinski,” the film promises a wholesome dose of big-screen whimsy, with a heavy dollop of heart. (5/17)

Back to Black — Amy Winehouse was a one-of-a-kind talent, who left a complicated legacy and a trove of treasured music. The late Grammy winner’s songs form the spine of this biopic, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, and made with the cooperation of the singer’s estate. English newcomer Marisa Abela stars as Winehouse, with Jake O’Connell as her infamous beloved Blake Fielder-Civil, and Eddie Marsan as Mitch Winehouse, dad and confidant to the self-proclaimed Daddy’s Girl who died in 2011. (5/17)


Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga — A Mad Max movie with no sign of Max Rockatansky, this addition to George Miller’s long-running post-apocalyptic action franchise focuses on Max’s Fury Road companion Imperator Furiosa, originated by Charlize Theron in that 2015 Oscar-winning hit. Anya Taylor-Joy takes on the role for this explosive prequel charting Furiosa’s hard road back home after being abducted from her people by a Biker Horde led by Chris Hemsworth’s Warlord Dementus (wearing Nicole Kidman’s nose from The Hours, apparently). Miller reassembled most of his lauded Fury Road design team for what is sure to be a bang-up trip through the Wasteland. (5/24)

The Garfield Movie — Not to be confused with 2004 hit Garfield: The Movie, which featured Bill Murray voicing the titular lasagna-loving cat, this animated father-son story, directed by Mark Dindal (The Emperor’s New Groove) stars Chris Pratt as the voice of Garfield, and Samuel L. Jackson as cat daddy Vic, Garfield’s biological father. Does Garfield also have an adopted father? Do we have to see the movie to find out everything we’ve never wanted to know and never asked about his hapless owner Jon Arbuckle (Nicholas Hoult)? (5/24)

Ezra — In this earnest dramedy, Bobby Cannavale takes on a rare lead role as a standup comic who lives with his dad (Robert De Niro), while trying to co-parent his autistic son Ezra (William Fitzgerald) with his ex-wife (Canavale’s real-life partner Rose Byrne). The story opens up into a road movie adventure sure to pluck the heartstrings. (5/31)


The Crow — Director Rupert Sanders revives the undead superhero with Bill Skarsgård as murdered musician Eric Draven, who rises from the dead to become The Crow and wreak vengeance on his killers and evildoers throughout his city. FKA Twigs co-stars as Eric’s fiancée Shelly, in a violent action remake that has a hard act to follow in Alex Proyas’ atmospheric cult hit original. (6/7)

Inside Out 2 — Riley, the heroine of Disney-Pixar’s 2015 hit, returns in this sequel with a whole new set of teenage emotions to go along with the Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Tony Hale), and Disgust (Liza Lapira) she already knows well. Maya Hawke, June Squibb, Lilimar, and Ayo Edibiri join the cast for a story about Riley figuring out her new friendship with hockey teammate Valentina. (6/14)

Bad Boys Ride or Die — You’d have to be ride or die for this Will Smith-Martin Lawrence buddy action-comedy franchise to still be down with the Miami detective duo who never do things by the book, but always get their man. The plots of these films can’t compete with Smith’s real life for intrigue or entertainment value, but they keep trying. (6/14)

The Bikeriders — Delayed from its original December 2023 release date, writer-director Jeff Nichols’ Sixties crime drama based on true events finally hits screens. Tom Hardy offers his best Wild One-era Brando impression as leader of the Vandals biker gang, with Jodie Comer as biker babe Kathy, who narrates the gang’s rise and fall, precipitated partly by her livewire hubby Benny, played by Austin Butler and whatever was left of his Elvis voice at the time. (6/21)

Thelma — This action-comedy caper from writer-director Josh Margolin, starring June Squibb as a scammed elder determined to get back what was taken from her, was a big hit at Sundance. The film, which co-stars White Lotus breakout Fred Hechinger as Thelma’s sympathetic grandson, and recently departed Shaft icon Richard Roundtree as the nursing home pal who accompanies her on her quest, was riding an impressive 100% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes until one curmudgeon in sixty came along to pan it. That one guy might be right, or the ever-delightful Squibb might just pull off one of the year’s most charming performances. (6/21)

A Quiet Place: Day One — Writer-director Michael Sarnoski (Pig) takes the reins for this installment of the alien invasion franchise, following two successful films directed by John Krasinski. Returning to the roots of the sci-fi saga, this prequel depicts the day the Earth stood still in shock and horror at the arrival of insect-like creatures that ravage the planet, and plague survivors Lupita Nyong’o, Joseph Quinn, Alex Wolff, and Djimon Hounsou. (6/28)


Despicable Me 4 — You know the drill. Steve Carell voices former supervillain Gru, in the latest sequel in Illumination’s animated comedy franchise, where, this time, Gru, his family, and his Minions must go on the run from escaped criminal Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell) and femme fatale Valentina (Sofia Vergara). Let the games begin. (7/3)

National Anthem — A refreshingly upbeat snapshot of rural queer life, this indie drama, directed and co-written by Luke Gilford, features Charlie Plummer as a New Mexico construction worker who joins a community of queer rodeo performers (including Eve Lindley, Mason Alexander Park, and Rene Rosado) living “their own version of the American dream.” Seems we’re all going country this summer. (7/12)

Twisters — Brace for the big one, we guess, as Top Gun heartthrob Glen Powell takes the highway to the danger zone playing a gung-ho storm-chaser who calls himself the Tornado Wrangler, in this sequel nobody was really pining for, but that Minari director Lee Isaac Chung might actually spin into a thrilling summer blockbuster. (7/19)

Deadpool & Wolverine — Ryan Reynolds is back as wisecracking Wade Wilson, the Marvel Comics superhero mercenary known as Deadpool, making his official debut in the MCU with a third R-rated entry, directed by frequent Reynolds collaborator Shawn Levy. Tasked by the mysterious Time Variance Authority with single-handedly saving the many timelines in the MCU multiverse, the Merc with a Mouth ultimately teams up, as the title gives away, with Hugh Jackman’s X-Man, Wolverine, also making his MCU debut. The mutant duo, along with a bevy of fan-favorite cameos, should come out on top of the superhero summer box office ahead of minor leaguers like Lionsgate’s The Crow reboot and Sony’s Kraven. (7/26)


Harold and the Purple Crayon — Casting Zachary Levi as the face of a kids’ fantasy movie must have looked like money in the bank to somebody, somewhere, before the debacle that was Shazam! Fury of the Gods. But now, adapting Crockett Johnson’s beloved illustrated book series about a preschooler and his magical purple crayon into a live-action fantasy with Levi as an adult Harold wielding his magic purple crayon just seems really bold, and not in a good way. (8/2)


Borderlands — Director Eli Roth got lucky with the cast for this sci-fi action-comedy video game adaptation starring Cate Blanchett as the leader of a band of misfit interstellar marauders, including Kevin Hart, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ariana Greenblatt, Florian Munteanu, and Jack Black voicing a robot named Claptrap. The trailer is a post-apocalyptic gas. Hopefully, they can keep up the fun for the full 102-minute runtime. (8/9)

Alien: Romulus

Alien: Romulus — Cailee Spaeny and Isabela Merced lead an intrepid group of young survivors on a distant world in this highly anticipated sequel, set between the events of Ridley Scott’s Alien and James Cameron’s Aliens. So, while Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley was out there floating through space in hypersleep, these folks were battling for their lives against facehuggers and chestbursters on another planet. Director Fede Álvarez reports Scott loved an early cut of the film. Now it’ll be up to moviegoers to render a final verdict. (8/16)

Kraven the Hunter — Aaron Taylor-Johnson, rumored to be in the running as the next James Bond, appears well-cast in the title role in Sony’s next Spider-Verse entry, following the flop of Madame Web. A big-game hunter with superhuman abilities, Kraven is a much better-known character than Madame Web, generally more interesting as an action movie protagonist, and this film, directed by J.C. Chandor, couldn’t possibly be worse than its franchise predecessor. Could it? We’ll be seated for this last splash of summer escapism before the hectic, election-fueled autumn arrives to steal our peace. (8/30)

André Hereford reviews film for Metro Weekly. To read his reviews throughout the year, subscribe to Metro Weekly’s free online magazine and newsletter.

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