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Here are 6 movies to see this spring

<em>Civil War</em> imagines a second civil war has broken out in the United States. Kirsten Dunst stars as a journalist in the film, which comes out April 12.
Murray Close
Civil War imagines a second civil war has broken out in the United States. Kirsten Dunst stars as a journalist in the film, which comes out April 12.

Most years in early spring, Hollywood is figuring out how to keep its box-office momentum going. This year, January was so lackluster that film studios will have to jump-start moviegoing from scratch.

Happily, they have lots of strategies. Here are six that look promising:

Dune: Part Two, March 1

Hollywood's guiding principle is that what'll work is what has worked — meaning sequels — and this continuation of Frank Herbert's epic sci-fi saga is easily the classiest entry in a season that will include a fifth Mad Max, a 10th Planet of the Apes, and a monster mashup that qualifies as both King Kong 13, and Godzilla 38. Timothée Chalamet finally gets to ride a giant sandworm as we rejoin his Paul Atreides and Zendaya's Chani in mid-rebellion on the desert planet Arrakis. They're joined by newcomers Austin Butler, Christopher Walken, Léa Seydoux and Florence Pugh.

Love Lies Bleeding, March 8

A tale of love, sex, blackmail and murder from Saint Maud director Rose Glass, this torrid thriller finds an introverted gym manager (Kristen Stewart) falling head-over-heels for an ambitious bodybuilder (The Mandalorian's Katy O'Brian). They're about to run off to Vegas together, but the gym manager's crime boss dad (Ed Harris in a truly terrifying haircut) has other plans. Sundance late-night audiences went nuts, as did critics.

Monkey Man, April 5

Dev Patel is an action hero? That's how he sees himself, as he's not just the star but also the co-writer and director of this John-Wick-like revenge thriller. He plays Kid, an anonymous employee of an underground fight club who trains feverishly to avenge his mother's death. Patel's backed up in his directing debut by pros behind the camera — Jordan Peele as producer and fight choreographer Brahim Chab (who's worked with Jackie Chan and Jean-Claude Van Damme).

Civil War, April 12

The brainchild of Alex Garland, who wrote the dystopian thrillers 28 Days Later and Ex Machina (he also directed the latter), this politically-charged drama follows journalist Kirsten Dunst into an all-too-plausibly alarming near future. A U.S. President is refusing to step down, 19 states have seceded from the Union, and a "Western Forces" army is descending on Washington, D.C., for a Fourth of July showdown.

Sasquatch Sunset, April 12

Possibly the oddest of the spring's comedies (which is saying something in a season that includes Problemista, IF and The American Society of Magical Negroes) is this year-in-the-life chronicle of what may be North America's last family of Sasquatches. It stars Jesse Eisenberg, Riley Keough, and several other famous folks you won't recognize because their faces are covered in fur and they speak only in grunts. The film, directed by the Zellner brothers David and Nathan, is absurdist, epic, experimental, and by all accounts both hilarious and poignant.

The Fall Guy, May 3

Ryan Gosling plays a semi-retired stunt coordinator in an action comedy directed by stunt coordinator-turned-director David Leitch (Deadpool 2, Bullet Train). Gosling's character, Colt, has been dragged in to work on a film starring the world's biggest action star, Tom Ryder (a riff on Tom Cruise?), for whom he used to double. When Ryder goes missing, Colt's pressed to use his stunt skills to bring him back, even as he stands in for him while being directed by Colt's ex-girlfriend (Emily Blunt). Action (and comedy) ensues, and it looks decently over-the-top from the trailer.

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Bob Mondello
Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.