April arrives with a wide array of film choices for whatever cinematic palate you may have. This month also marks the birthday of Mary Willa Allen, Managing Editor here at Oklahoma Magazine. Please plan accordingly, as she honestly deserves all the gifts and more. [Editor’s note: Is he biased because he’s my brother? Yes. Is he still correct? Also yes!

For your action thriller, take a look at Monkey Man. Written and directed by Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) in his directorial debut, the film follows a man working in an underground fight club who begins a journey of revenge against the corrupt leaders responsible for his mother’s death. Described as “John Wick in Mumbai,” the film was originally going to be a straight-to-Netflix release until Jordan Peele (Get Out) decided it was so good it needed to have a theatrical opening. We’ll see how it does when it releases on April 5.

For more action but with a different angle, check out Civil War. Written and directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina), the story sees a dystopian United States embroiled in a second civil war between the American government and the “Western Forces,” led by Texas and California. The cast includes Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Nick Offerman, and tells an allegorical story about the very real and very polarized present. Hopefully it won’t feel too on the nose when it hits theaters on April 12. 

If you want a monster horror flick, Abigail should do nicely. The plot follows a group of kidnappers who must watch over the daughter of a very powerful underworld figure in order to gain a $50 million dollar ransom. However, the girl turns out to be a vampire, aiming to hunt them down one by one. The trailer has a lot of cheese going on, but if it’s anything like 2022’s M3GAN, in which the filmmakers are in on the joke, it could potentially be a very fun and campy ride when it comes out on April 19.

If you’re on the hunt for a spy comedy, make sure to find time for The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. Directed by Guy Ritchie (Snatch), known for his British crime capers, the film is billed as the true story about a secret World War II origination called the Special Operation Executive. Founded by Winston Churchill as a means to fight the Nazis in an irregular fashion, the group’s actions helped to change the course of the war for the better. The trailer indicates Ritchie’s usual flair for the flashy, along with comedy and a dynamic cast including Henry Cavill, Eiza Gonzalez and Alan Ritchson. It releases on April 19.

Finally, for those with a love for steamy romantic sports films – a niche category to be sure – check out Challengers. Starring Zendaya as Tashi Duncan, a talented tennis player, the movie follows her husband, a Grand Slam champion, going up in a Challenger event against her former lover. The trailer shows off some tennis, flirting, anger, jealousy and Zendaya’s unmatched charisma. Directed by Luca Guadagnino (Bones and All), the film looks ostentatious, sexy and entertaining. It’ll be a perfect addition to your cinema calendar when it releases on April 26.

Monkey Man; photo courtesy Universal Studios

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