April’s Trailer Recommendations

13 April, 2022

Are things really back to normal? According to the box office, it looks that way (the figures reported in March are better than those from March 2019!). One thing’s for sure, streaming platforms have not lost ground. In fact, HBO Max seems determined to dazzle us this spring. For this month’s trailer selection, we also picked two titles from the American Independent Film Festival program, which kicks off Friday, April 15.

The Baby (horror-comedy series created by Siân Robins-Grace and Lucy Gaymer)

We already know that HBO knows how to “sell” its productions, but … “this year’s most terrifying new comedy”? Consider us intrigued … And the trailer above does raise the expectations. Natasha (Michelle de Swarte) very much enjoys her life of doing what she wants, when she wants, but her whole world starts to crumble when she is unexpectedly landed with a baby in the most bizarre circumstances (dead cops, suddenly collapsing cliffs, etc.). Natasha doesn’t want the baby, but the universe seems to be conspiring for him to become a part of her life. And it all gets even more dreadful when it’s clear that the kid has superpowers …

Cool Fact: The Baby is a horror-comedy series, but its narrative ultimately revolves around a woman who doesn’t want to be a mother.

The series premieres on April 25, on HBO Max.

#dogpoopgirl (satire, dir. Andrei Huţuleac)

We may not agree with all the stylistic choices director Andrei Huţuleac made for his debut feature, but two things are certain: the topic the film tackles couldn’t be more relevant for the times we’re living in and Andreea Grămoşteanu’s performance is hard to top. The protagonist, Alina, decides to adopt a stray dog, only that the animal regurgitates food on the floor of a subway car and the other passengers’ violent reactions make her run away with the little one in her arms, without cleaning up its mess. The incident is caught on camera and the video goes online, and Alina wakes up in a twirl of events that threaten to destroy her life. The film is inspired by one of the first (and one of the most brutal) cases of online shaming, which took place in Seoul in 2005.

Cool Fact: #dogpoopgirl won two important awards, Best Picture and Best Actress, at the Moscow Film Festival last year. It also won the Best Debut Award at the 2021 Transilvania International Film Festival.

Coming out in cinemas on April 15.

The Staircase (true-crime drama miniseries created by Antonio Campos)

In 1995, Colin Firth’s wet shirt in BBC miniseries Pride and Prejudice instantly turned him into a worldwide star. Apart from Nostromo (1996), Firth has stayed away from TV series (although he has starred in several TV movies), that is, until this spring, when we’ll get to see him in The Staircase, an HBO miniseries based on a famous criminal trial in the US. It all starts in December 2001, when Kathleen Peterson’s (Toni Collette) life ends brutally after having fallen down the stairs of the sumptuous house she and her husband, crime novelist Michael Peterson (Firth), shared. The tragedy shakes up the entire family, and things become even more interesting (for us, at least) when the police begin to suspect that the accident is in fact a murder…

Cool Fact: The Peterson case has been covered before in the popular Netflix documentary series also called The Staircase, which is available in Romania as well.

The Staircase premieres on May 5, on HBO Max.

The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes (documentary, dir. Emma Cooper)

This year marks 60 years since the death of Marilyn Monroe, and perhaps the upcoming Netflix documentary will shed light on her demise, which has spawned many conspiracy theories. The documentary is mainly based on interviews with the star’s inner circle recorded in 1982, 20 years after the actress’ death, when US authorities were determined to close the investigation into her suspicious death. The interview tapes have never been heard before, and the context is more than promising: are Monroe’s close friends, unwilling to open up in the days after her death, more open to doing so two decades later?

Cool Fact: This year also sees the theatrical release of Blonde, the biopic starring Cuban actress Ana de Armas as Monroe.

The documentary premieres on April 27, on Netflix.

Flee (animated documentary, dir. Jonas Poher Rasmussen)

Flee is the first film in history to earn nominations in three major categories – Best Documentary Feature, Best Animated Feature Film and Best International Feature Film – at the Oscars. Amin Nawabi lives in Denmark and is about to marry his partner, and this important life event pushes him to confront his past and share his extraordinary journey, which starts with his escape from Afghanistan when he was just a little boy … Flee has received widespread critical acclaim for the way it depicts the refugee experience, and perhaps there is no better time to see this film than the present moment when millions of Ukrainians are being driven out of their country by the Russian invasion.

Cool Fact: Apart from scoring a hat trick at the Oscars, Flee won the Grand Jury Prize in the Documentary Competition at Sundance and the Best Film Award at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival (the most popular festival of the kind) in 2021.

Flee will be screening at the American Independent Film Festival (April 15-21).

Guilty pleasure

Honeymoon with My Mother / Amor de madre (comedy, dir. Paco Caballero)

When you’ve been stood up at the altar, you spend your night getting drunk with your best men/bridesmaids, breaking things, or crying your eyes out. But not José Luis. José Luis goes on his honeymoon (which has already been paid for) with … his mother. So many selling points, you don’t even know where to begin. The concern for financial efficiency? The fact that the mother pretends to be her son’s wife in order to have access to the free activities offered by the luxury resort? Or the fact that the son, despite the unfortunate experience, has the chance to re-evaluate his relationship with his mother? We don’t know which should come first, but surely lead actors Quim Gutiérrez and Carmen Machi had a great time on the set.

Cool Fact: Quim Gutiérrez, one of the most popular Spanish actors, has starred as a jilted groom before, in the 2011 super hit Primos, directed by Daniel Sánchez Arévalo.

The film premieres on April 29, on Netflix.

Oldies, but Goldies

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (science fiction, dir. Steven Spielberg)

Obviously, this movie needs no introduction. Still, we wonder how many of the Romanian moviegoers had the chance to see it on the big screen. Which leads us to …

Cool Fact: E.T. was the highest-grossing film of all time for 11 years, between 1982 and 1992 (for the film enthusiasts working in accounting, it should be pointed out that the figures are absolute and not adjusted for inflation), and was knocked off the top spot by another Steven Spielberg film, Jurassic Park (1993).

The classic masterpiece can be seen on the big screen at the American Independent Film Festival (April 15-21).

Ștefan Dobroiu
Born in Piteşti, Romania, in 1980, Ştefan is a graduate from the University of Bucharest, with a degree in Journalism and Communication Sciences. After trying his hand with financial journalism and photography (the latter still being very close to his heart), he put his career on a new path in 2006, when he became the senior editor of Cinemagia. He is also the Romania and Bulgaria correspondent for Cineuropa.org. At Films in Frame he recommends monthly the newest film trailers.