Spring is finally (finally) just around the corner with summer nipping at its heels not long after. But then again, after nearly a year and some change since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, time feels like a linear progression of events and cycles and more like loose suggestion of, “Easter weekend? Sure I guess, why not!”
April finds Shrek 2 streaming on Hulu, just in time for the first film’s 20th anniversary, as well as a bunch of other fantastic picks like 28 Days Later, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Warriors, and Red Dawn.
Read on for 10 of the best movies new to streaming services in April. There’s something for everyone.
28 Days Later
Danny Boyle injected new life into the shambling corpse of zombie horror with his 2004 post apocalyptic film 28 Days Later. Set four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus in a clandestine testing facility spreads throughout the UK, transforming those infected into ravenous man-eating monsters, a handful of survivors attempt to band together and find sanctuary among the ruins of society. A sizable breakout film for several notable actors including Cillian Murphy (Inception), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), and Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who), 28 Days Later is a modern horror classic, and patient zero for zombie horror film’s second renaissance. —Toussaint Egan
28 Days Later is streaming on Hulu.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Paul Newman and Robert Redford shine and smolder as the titular protagonists of George Roy Hill’s landmark 1969 western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Written by the inimitable William Goldman (All The President’s Men, The Princess Bride), the story follows Butch and Sundance who, amid the waning years of the Old West and on the run in the wake of an attempted train robbery gone wrong, attempt to escape to Bolivia while staying just enough steps ahead of the law. The film, which was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 2003 and regularly sits among the list of the greatest American films ever produced, is a tense and enthralling adventure of mythic proportions. —TE
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is streaming on Hulu.
John McTiernan’s (The Hunt for Red October, Predator) 1988 film Die Hard is widely recognized as one of the greatest American action films not just of its time, but of all-time and, depending on which circles of post-ironic cinephilia you happen to travel in, one of the most heartwarming Christmas movies ever produced. Bruce Willis stars in a career-defining role as John McClane, an NYPD officer who attempts to rescue his estranged wife when she and her coworkers are held hostage by a group of German terrorists led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman). With nothing at his disposal but guts, guile, and a treasure trove of smart-ass quips and punchlines, John’s one-man war against Gruber and his team is a fantastically action-packed and entertaining film watch no matter what time of the year it is. Yippee Ki yay, motherfucker! —TE
Die Hard is streaming on Hulu.
Coming off the success of directing the first and third installments in the Saw horror series, 2010’s Insidious sees James Wan exploring a supernatural domestic horror plot akin to Tobe Hooper (and Steven Spielberg’s) 1982 classic Poltergeist or Stuart Rosenberg’s The Amityville Horror. Starring Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne, the film follows Josh and Renée Lambert who, in the wake of their son Dalton’s lapse into a coma in the wake of a tragic accident, suspect that their new home is infested with malevolent spirits that mean both them and their family harm. —TE
Insidious is streaming on Netflix.
My Cousin Vinny
My Cousin Vinny stars Scorsese regular Joe Pesci as Vinny Gambini, an inexperienced small-time lawyer who is called upon to defend his younger cousin Bill (Ralph Macchio) when he and his friend Stan (Mitchell Whitfield) are arrested on charge of murder and robbery while travelling down south to celebrate their acceptance at UCLA. Vinny will have to marshal all his rhetorical finesse and wit, including the automotive expertise of his chiding his fiancée Mona Lisa Vito, convince the Southern townspeople and judge presiding over the case of their innocence. From Clue director Jonathan Lynn, the 1992 comedy earned Marisa Tomei her first Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, and in the year since the film has been hailed by attorneys and legal professionals for its surprisingly (or depressingly, depending on which way you look at it) accurate depiction of courtroom procedure and trial interrogation strategy. —TE
My Cousin Vinny is streaming on Amazon Prime.
Situated alongside Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now and Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun, Oliver Stone’s 1986 Platoon is lauded as one of the defining works in the cinematic trifecta of Vietnam War film canon. Inspired by Stone’s own experience serving in the war, the film stars Charlie Sheen as Chris Taylor, a young naïve American who chooses to volunteer to fight in Vietnam instead of going to college. Stone’s film has been heralded by critics and historians as a shrewd and bracing examination of the brutality of war and the distressing mutability of virtue under duress. —TE
Platoon is streaming on Amazon Prime.
Hankering for some certified classic ’80s anti-Soviet agitprop starring a cast of plucky fresh-faced teens waging guerilla war against hapless paratroopers? Sure you are! John Milius’ 1984 film channels directly into the zeitgeist of fears and anxieties that plagued the West during the Cold War era and reifies them into the unthinkable: an invasion on American soil perpetrated by Soviet forces. Patrick Sawyze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, and Charlie Sheen star as a group of teens who, witnessing the invasion firsthand in their hometown of Calumet, Colorado, band together to resist the occupation, dubbing themselves the “Wolverines” after their high school mascot and pushing the invasion back on the eve of World War III. —TE
Red Dawn is streaming on HBO Max.
Somebody once told me that Shrek, the 2001 animated comedy starring Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy as a flatulent ill-tempered troll and his talking donkey of a best friend was celebrating its 20 year anniversary this year. Shrek 2, the 2004 follow up to the original helmed by returning director Andrew Adamson and joined by Kelly Asbury (Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron) and Conrad Vernon (Penguins of Madagascar), is considered by many to be the highwater mark for the franchise, honing in on the elements that made the original such a surprise runaway classic while deepening the exploration of Shrek’s relationship with his love interest Fiona through a “meet the parents” plotline filled with colorful characters and fairytale mischief. Much like ogres and onions, Shrek 2 has layers. —TE
Shrek 2 is streaming on Hulu.
Sneakers is the feel-good crime comedy of the 1990s. With a cast to rival Ocean’s 11, including Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd, Ben Kingsley, Mary McDonnell, River Phoenix, Sidney Poitier, and David Strathairn, matches old-school career criminals with whiz-bang hackers on a quest to procure a Thing. But the Thing an the plot machinations aren’t really the hook here — Sneakers is like a big, ’90s hangout movie full of retro tech and a dash of cynical Cold War sentiment. The banter is witty, the plans are elaborate, and by the end, the Republican National Committee will become completely defunded. If you’ve seen every heist movie masterpiece, it’s finally time to open your heart to the chill alternative of Sneakers. —Matt Patches
Sneakers is streaming on HBO Max.
Based on Sol Yurick’s 1976 novel of the same name, 1979’s The Warriors is a gripping urban action thriller and darkly whimsical interpretation of the real-life gang violence that gripped New York City throughout much of the mid-to late ’70s. Inspired by Xenophon of Athens’ Anabasis, the film follows the titular Warriors gang who, after being framed for the murder of a beloved gang elder known as Cyrus, must journey from the heart of North End of the Bronx back to their home turf of Coney Island in southern Brooklyn. Despite an initially lukewarm critical reception and plagued with controversy in the immediate wake of its release, The Warriors has gone on to achieve cult status as a touchstone of ’70s pop culture. —TE
The Warriors is streaming on HBO Max.