Jakob Salvati

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

Movie studios typically release their biggest films during the summer, which leaves April out in the cold. A look outside the major studios, however, reveals several promising films set to release during the under-appreciated spring month. James Franco dons an orange jumpsuit in his role as a sociopathic convicted murderer in his upcoming film “True Story,” Blake Lively reminds us of her eternal beauty in a drama about a woman who can’t age past 29 years old in “Age of Adaline,” and 7-year-old Jakob Salvati realizes his magical abilities in a father and son World War II drama.

True Story

Jonah Hill and James Franco switch gears from the ridiculous humor of their last collaborative effort “This Is The End” to a dark psychological thriller entitled “True Story.” Based on actual events of the early 2000s, “True Story” follows an ex-New York Times journalist (Hill) who finds himself involved with a convicted murderer (Franco) who has mysteriously assumed his identity. Ironically, the New York Times said in a 2013 article that the film's portrayal of events is not wholly true, but rather relies on the dramatics of Hollywood.

National Release Date: April 17

Where: Violet Crown

Little Boy

This movie is the definition of heartwarming. In “Little Boy,” a young boy realizes his literal ability to move mountains in an attempt to bring his father home alive from World War II. Painfully cute 7-year-old Jakob Salvati stars as the little boy, carrying most of the film with his blue eyes, charisma and charm. The film has the magical quality and attention-to-detail of a Disney classic, but it comes from Mexican filmmaker and UT radio-television-film alumnus Alejandro Monteverde.  

National Release Date: April 24

Where: Regal Westgate

Roar

Drafthouse Films is re-releasing this hidden gem from 1981 for one week in Austin. “Roar,” the self-proclaimed “most dangerous film ever made,” follows a wildlife preservationist who lives among a pack of untamed animals including lions, tigers, cheetahs and elephants. Animal trainers warned husband and wife producing duo Tippi Hedren and Noel Marshall that the film was a suicide mission, but the duo continued with production in hopes that the film would raise awareness about overhunting. “Roar” is a must-see simply for its novelty. The footage is all real, evidenced by the trailer’s claim that the cast and crew endured at least 70 documented attacks from the animals on set — none of which were fatal.

National Release Date: April 17 - 23

Where: Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar

The Age of Adaline

Another twist on the fountain-of-youth plot, “Age of Adaline” showcases Blake Lively as a woman eternally stuck as a 29-year-old struggling to find her place in an ever-changing world. The epic romantic drama will be rife with melodramatic dialogue and “deep” realizations about the meaning of life, but the movie is sure to be of higher quality than the Nicholas Sparks alternative, “The Longest Ride,” which is also showing this month. Given the choice between the two, go with "Adaline." 

National Release Date: April 24

Where: TBD

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

If you can make it through the entirety of this trailer, I commend you. Paul Blart is back for a sequel that is strikingly similar to the original, a 90-minute “comedy” about the antics of a run-of-the-mill mall cop. In the sequel, Paul Blart, played by Kevin James, finds himself involved in a Las Vegas heist while attending a Security Guard Expo. “Mall Cop 2” promises the return of the segway and the wornout run-into-glass-door slapstick stunts.

National Release Date: April 17

Where: AMC Barton Creek Square 14