The snow is melting, the birds are chirping, and the clocks have been turned forward. Now there's just one thing left before film fans can really celebrate the coming of summer: The arrival of the year's first big Hollywood blockbuster.
Unfortunately, though, that's still a whole month away. While we're totally stoked for May to arrive with its bounty of films like 'Thor,' 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' and 'The Hangover Part II,' we've managed to find a few gems this month in theaters, on TV and on Blu-ray, that should make this April a spring to remember.
So don't worry about summer just yet, because with out Movie Lover's Guide to April, there will be plenty of reasons to break out the popcorn this month as well.
The Best of April: Movies in Theaters
April hasn't traditionally been known as a month for great blockbusters, but there have been exceptions in the past -- remember 'The Matrix'? Will any of this year's crop of releases rise above the rest? Here are the top candidates to break out of the pack:
• April 1 -- 'Hop' brings together two of everyone's favorite things: Russell Brand and jellybean-pooping CGI Easter Bunnies. Okay, so you may not have realized those were among your favorites, but once you catch this comedy about what happens when the Easter Bunny goes AWOL, chances are you'll be hopping down the bunny trail ... to laughs.
• April 1 -- 'Source Code' is like crossing 'Blackhawk Down' with 'Freaky Friday' by way of 'Groundhog Day': Jake Gyllenhaal plays a soldier sent back in time over and over to occupy another man's body in order to prevent a terrorist attack. In the process, he also prevents a boredom attack for the audience.
• April 8 -- 'Your Highness' is like the chocolate and peanut butter of the April movie landscape: It combines two great tastes that go great together, comedy and fantasy. It also brings together a dream cast that includes James Franco, Natalie Portman and the always awesome Danny McBride. Let the quest begin.
• April 8 -- 'Arthur' delivers the second Russell Brand comedy in as many weeks; this time around, the spindly Brit re-imagines the iconic Dudley Moore role of Arthur, a lazy trust-fund baby forced to join the workforce when his inheritance dries up. Bonus points for Helen Mirren as Brand's long-suffering nanny.
• April 15 -- 'Rio' is another musical comedy, but this one has something going for it that few animated hits can claim: An all-star lineup of recording superstars that includes will.i.am and Jamie Foxx. The music isn't the only thing 'Rio' has going for it, though; with a cast that also features Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway and Jane Lynch, 'Rio' has some of Hollywood's hottest actors as well. And here you thought it was for the birds.
• April 15 -- 'Scream 4' has been a long, long time coming, but you know what they say: Some things are worth waiting for. And though it's been over a decade since 'Scream 3' terrorized audiences, fans are still over the moon for the chance to see Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette fight sadistic pop icon Ghostface again. Let's just hope we don't have to wait until 2020 for 'Scream 5.'
• April 22 -- 'Apollo 18' isn't the seventh sequel to 'Apollo 11;' instead, it's one of the most buzzed about indie horror movies in recent memory, thanks to a found footage viral campaign featuring grainy clips of astronauts encountering aliens back in the 1970's. Or ... something like that. We had our eyes covered for the last half of the trailer.
• April 22 -- 'Water for Elephants' has pretty much everything going for it: It's based on an acclaimed novel (by Sara Gruen), it has multiple Oscar winners (Christoph Waltz and Reese Witherspoon) and lush period costumes to die for. And, oh yeah, a little somebody by the name of Robert Pattinson is also in it too, if that means anything to you. The line forms here.
• Other top releases include 'Super' (April 1), 'Insidious' (April 1), 'The Conspirator' (April 15), 'Madea's Big Happy Family' (April 22) and 'Fast Five' (April 29).
The Best of April: Movies on DVD
April is a pretty good month for DVD and Blu-ray releases, because all the studios want to get their hits out before people start hitting the beach and the theaters again. Here are some of the biggest crowd-pleasers in a crowded field:
• April 5 -- 'TRON: Legacy' would be reason enough to head down to the DVD shop, especially since it has a number of bonus features teasing a possible third installment in the popular Disney franchise. But when you add in the fact that 'TRON' will also finally be available on Blu-ray the same day, well, let's face it: Your evening just got booked.
• April 12 -- 'Cars' and 'The Incredibles' are two of the most popular and acclaimed of Pixar's many, many hit films -- and on April 12 you can get Pixar cubed, as each film comes out with a special double combo pack featuring the movies on both Blu-ray and DVD.
• April 15 -- 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1' comes out on Blu-ray just in time to get you ready for this summer's climactic finale, 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.' This may be the end of the series, but thanks to the magic of DVD, the franchise can now live forever in your home theater collection.
• April 19 -- 'The King's Speech' arrives on Blu-ray and honestly, there's not a whole lot more that needs to be said. After all, the movie did a pretty good job of providing its own sales pitch when it won four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for star Colin Firth. What else do you need to know?
• Other top releases include 'Taxi Driver' (April 5), 'I Love You Phillip Morris' (April 5), 'Country Strong' (April 12), 'Rabbit Hole' (April 19) and 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' (April 26).
The Best of April: Movies on TV
The best thing about April may be the great line-up of movies playing this month, which includes everything from animated hits to indie darlings to all-time classics. The worst thing about April? There are only 30 days this month to enjoy them all:
• April 6 -- 'Treasure of the Sierra Madre' isn't just one of the coolest movies of all time, with a great performance by Humphrey Bogart as an increasingly paranoid gold digger; it's also the origin of one of the most famous lines in movie history. Just remember: You don't need no stinkin' badges to tune in to this classic at 5:45PM ET on TCM.
• April 15 -- 'Ocean's 12' is the black sheep of the 'Ocean's' trilogy, but that doesn't mean it doesn't provide a good time. And what better way to spend your Friday night than by hanging out with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts and company at 5PM ET on AMC?
• April 23 -- AMC lays down the law starting at 5PM ET with an action movie marathon featuring some of the top movies in law enforcement history: 'U. S. Marshalls,' 'Die Hard' and 'Speed' all feature the authorities dropping the righteous hammer on nefarious perps. Looks like someone did need a stinkin' badge after all.
• April 30 -- 'An American in Paris' won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1951 thanks in large part to a mind-blowing 16-minute dance sequence featuring the legendary Gene Kelly hoofing it through the City of Lights. Catch a true classic on TCM at 8PM ET.
• Other top picks include 'Transformers' (ABC, April 2 at 8PM), 'Apocalypto' (IFC, April 10 at 8PM), 'Couples Retreat' (Cinemax, April 12 at 8PM), 'Se7en' (AMC, April 17 at 3:30PM) and 'Roman Holiday' (TCM, April 29 at10 PM)
The Best of April: Movies on Demand
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But when the film world gives you lemons, well, you can still order a five star movie meal thanks to the power of On Demand. Here are some of April's main courses:
• HBO helps you get ready for summer with some of the biggest blockbusters of the past few years, including 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,' 'Terminator: Salvation,' 'Sex and the City 2' and 'The Wolfman.'
• Cinemax answers with a somewhat more offbeat line-up of hits and cult favorites, including the snakes-in-a-jungle thriller 'Anaconda,' 'Duplicity,' last year's remake of 'Clash of the Titans' and the quirky indie smash 'I'm Not There,' which features everyone from Heath Ledger to Cate Blanchett playing pop icon Bob Dylan.
• Instant Netflix continues the hit parade with a line-up of selections that includes 'Star Trek,' 'Crank 2' and 'Young Victoria,' among others.