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Welcome to Heat Vision Download, a monthly column from The Hollywood Reporter looking at upcoming movies, TV shows, books and games in the genre space.
April is keen on offering a mix of fresh entertainment and nostalgic favorites from a new MCU series and to the return and revitalization of a beloved pokémon game. Over on Disney+, Avengers fans who just binged all of WandaVision can dive straight into The Falcon and the Winter Soldier starring Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. Feeling a little tapped out from superhero drama? Find comfort in the resurgence of Pokémon Snap which debuts on the Nintendo Switch at the end of this month.
Check out more of Heat Vision’s recommendations for what you can stream, play and read in April below.
WHAT TO WATCH
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (New episode each Friday through April 23 – Disney+)
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) team up in an adventure that will test their abilities and patience. Kari Skogland serves as the all-new series’ director and Malcolm Spellman is the head writer.
Thunder Force (April 9 – Netflix)
Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer star in Ben Falcone’s new comedy that follows two childhood best friends who reunite as an unlikely crime-fighting superhero duo.
Arlo the Alligator Boy (April 16 – Netflix)
An animated movie musical about a boy who is half human and half alligator heads to Netflix in mid-April. Arlo (voiced by Michael J. Woodard) is a wide-eyed, curious kid who leaves his sheltered life in the swamp to search for his long lost father in New York City. Grammy-nominated artist Mary Lambert, Flea, Queer Eye‘s Jonathan Van Ness (Queer Eye), Annie Potts (Designing Women), Brett Gelman (Stranger Things), Vincent Rodriguezz III (Crazy Ex Girlfriend), and Jennifer Coolidge (Best In Show) also lend voices to the musical directed by Ryan Crego.
Shadow and Bone (April 23 – Netflix)
Adapted from Leigh Bardugo’s “Grishaverse” novels, the fantasy-adventure series is set in the Kingdom of Ravka, which faces a terrifying threat known as the Shadow Fold. Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li), a young soldier and orphan who is training among the elite army of magical soldiers known as Grisha, might be the key to uniting the war-torn world after discovering an extraordinary power.
Yasuke (April 29 – Netflix)
The new Netflix Original anime by LeSean Thomas (Canonbusters) is set in war-torn feudal Japan and follows Yasuke (LaKeith Stanfield), a historical samurai of African origin who fought for Nobunaga Oda.
WHAT TO PLAY
Outriders (April 1 – PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, Stadia)
The new role-playing game developed by People Can Fly and published by Square Enix lets players create custom characters from four classes: Trickster, Pyromancer, Devastator, or Technomancer. In Outriders, an expedition team trying to colonize the alien planet Enoch encounters a massive energy storm during their search for a mysterious signal that may offer hope for humanity’s future. The storm grants both Enoch’s inhabitants and the colonists superpowers.
New Pokémon Snap (April 30 – Switch)
The sequel to the 1999 N64 classic where players snapped pictures of pokémon is headed to Nintendo Switch at the end of the month. With New Pokémon Snap, players control a photographer who travels through a region named Lental, filled with jungles, sandy beaches and plenty of beloved pokémon.
Returnal (April 30 – PS5)
The psychological horror video game developed by Housemarque and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment is set in a futuristic sci-fi setting where players control Selene, a space pilot, stranded on an alien planet and stuck in a time loop. Each time they die, Selene is resurrected to continue trekking across the planet where they encounter extraterrestrial entities and unique environments.
WHAT TO READ
The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky (April 13 – Holt Books for Young Readers)
New York Times-bestselling author Goldy Moldavsky’s new twisty YA thriller centers on a mysterious club with an obsession for horror. When Rachel, who is a horror aficionado, joins a new school, she is recruited by the school’s club, a mysterious society of students who orchestrate elaborate pranks inspired by urban legends and movie tropes. But when the pranks begin to escalate and grow competitive, things take a deadly turn, leaving Rachel to attempt to win a game that could come with consequences if she loses.
The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes (April 20 – Tor Books)
Described as “The Expanse meets Game of Thrones“, author J.S. Dewes offers a sci-fi adventure about soldiers who stand between humanity and annihilation. Readers learn about the edge of the universe known as “The Divide” which is collapsing and taking everyone and everything with it. The Sentinels, known as the recruits and exiles, are the only ones who can stop it and humanity’s last chance.
The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird (April 27 – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
In author Christina Sweeney- Baird’s upcoming dystopian thriller, she chronicles a story that proves to be rather timely amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. In The End of Men, Sweeney-Baird transports readers to the year 2025, where a mysterious virus has broken out in Scotland –only the lethal virus is learned to only affect men. When Dr. Amanda MacLean reports this phenomenon, she is dismissed. But when her warning is heard, it is too late and soon the virus becomes a global pandemic, leaving a women’s world. The story offers first-person accounts of the surviving women who must carry on following the virus’s consequences.
The Marvels (April 28 – Marvel Comics)
Written by Kurt Busiek with art by Yildiray Çinar, The Marvels #1 will offer a new saga set in the spectacular 616 that spans decades and will range from grand adventure to intense human drama, from street-level to cosmic, and star everyone from Marvel’s very first heroes to the superstars of tomorrow. New heroes and villains to enter the scene include Threadneedle, Warbird, and Kevin Schumer.
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