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It has been a year since Disney+ launched in the UK, just after the announcement that the country was set to enter a national lockdown in the hope of containing the coronavirus. Few expected that we would still be in lockdown 12 months on, but that's how things have transpired and now Disney+ is a major player in the streaming wars.
This month, the service's adult-focused Star platform is set to debut the frontrunner for the Best Picture Oscar in the shape of Chloe Zhao's Nomadland. Meanwhile, Marvel fans can continue to enjoy The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and the Star archive continues to broaden with a handful of classic movies.
Here's everything coming to Disney+ and Star this month...
Original movies coming to Disney+ in April
Nomadland (Star, 30 April)
In a chaotic awards season delayed due to COVID-19, Chloe Zhao's Nomadland has emerged as the clear frontrunner. The movie emerged victorious from the Golden Globes, was one of few Hollywood favourites to rank highly in the BAFTA nominations and has all of the momentum going into the April ceremony. Starring Frances McDormand, the movie tells the story of a woman who takes up a nomadic lifestyle when she loses her job in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
Disney+ is opting to premiere the film on its platform in the week after the Oscars, hoping for a big rush to see it if it does indeed leave the ceremony with an armful of awards. Zhao's next project? The small matter of the Marvel blockbuster Eternals, which is set for a cinema release in November.
Original TV coming to Disney+ in April
Filthy Rich (Star, 9 April)
This soapy, Gothic drama focuses on Kim Cattrall as the wife of a Christian TV mogul. When he dies in a car crash, she jockeys with his various illegitimate children for control of the business. Based on a series from New Zealand, it aired on Fox at the tail end of 2020 and is now showing up in the UK as a Star Original.
Solar Opposites S2 (Star, 9 April)
The first season of adult animated sitcom Solar Opposites was part of the sizeable catalogue unveiled by Disney when Star launched in February. The second season is now arriving, a few weeks after its US premiere via Hulu. This second run focuses again on a family of aliens who take refuge in America and try to decide whether it's a good place to live.
Fans will be pleased to know that Solar Opposites has already been renewed for a third season.
Big Shot (16 April, weekly)
The underdog sports drama is a well-worn and reliable trope of American storytelling, and it's in full effect with Big Shot. John Stamos plays a basketball coach ousted from his high-profile job shepherding a college team. As is so often the way with stories like this, he takes on a similar job further down the ladder in an attempt to work his way up, only to find it's better than he expected. This time around, it's a fairly unspectacular team representing an all-girls high school.
Grown-ish (Star, S1-2 on 16 April, S3 on 30 April)
One of several spin-offs of the popular ABC sitcom Black-ish, this focuses on the Johnson family's eldest daughter Zoey (Yara Shahidi) as she flies the nest and goes to college. Among the supporting cast are real-life siblings Chloe and Halle Bailey — the latter of which is set to lead Disney's live-action take on The Little Mermaid.
As Marvel's second Disney+ show continues to air weekly, the streamer is preparing to unveil a look behind the scenes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. In the wake of similar shows looking in detail at WandaVision and The Mandalorian, this will lift the lid on showrunner Malcolm Spellman and director Kari Skogland's creative process.
Secrets of Sulphur Springs (30 April)
A few months after premiering on the Disney Channel, this family-orientated mystery series is arriving on Disney+. It tells the story of 12-year-old Griffin as he and his family move into a dilapidated hotel, which is supposedly haunted by a girl who went missing decades earlier. Along with his new schoolfriend, Griffin finds a portal which takes them back in time, where they discover the secrets of the disappearance.
Movies coming to Disney+ in April
The Help (Star, 2 April)
Written and directed by Tate Taylor, this movie won multiple prizes at the Oscars in 2012. It depicts the relationship between a white journalist, played by Emma Stone, and several Black maids during the 1960s. Octavia Spencer won an Oscar for her performance as Aibileen Clark, while Viola Davis was also nominated.
Gnomeo and Juliet (2 April)
Before 2011, nobody thought they needed a movie in which the timeless story of Romeo and Juliet was reimagined through a society of garden gnomes. Many still had questions about that after 2011, to be fair. But for those who were won over, this is a hugely enjoyable animated caper with some memorable voice performances by the likes of Jason Statham and Michael Caine.
Father of the Bride/Father of the Bride Part II (Star, 9 April)
Six months or so after the cast staged a reunion over Zoom, both of the Father of the Bride movies are now arriving via Star. The first film follows Steve Martin’s character as he takes a dislike to his daughter’s (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) fiancé and refuses to give her away at the upcoming wedding. The second sees him spin into a crisis at the prospect of becoming a grandfather.
Dangerous Minds (Star, 9 April)
Despite mixed reviews on its release in 1995, Dangerous Minds went on to be a solid box office hit, Michelle Pfeiffer stars as a former Marine who takes on a teaching gig at a difficult school in which crime and racial segregation are huge issues. If nothing else, this film gave the world Coolio's Grammy-winning hit Gangsta's Paradise.
Predators (Star, 16 April)
One of many attempts to revive the Predator property into a franchise, this 2010 effort follows a group of mercenaries who find themselves placed on an alien planet which serves as a game reserve for violent alien creatures. Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins and Laurence Fishburne are among the starry ensemble cast,
Baby's Day Out (Star, 16 April)
Penned by 1980s romcom maestro John Hughes, this 1994 comedy follows a trio of criminals who kidnap the infant son of a wealthy couple. When the little lad escapes from their clutches, they chase him through New York City.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (23 April)
It has become trendy to quip that "Tim Burton has made his movie again" whenever the master of the macabre delivers one of his quirky, dark tales. Certainly, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is quintessential Burton in style, focusing on a children's home locked within a time loop to preserve a single, happy day for its inhabitants. Eva Green is the titular headmistress.
Morgan (Star, 23 April)
Kate Mara and Anya Taylor-Joy lead this 2016 sci-fi effort, in which Taylor-Joy is the titular character — an artificial being infused with nanotechnology. Mara's corporate risk manager must make a decision as to whether Morgan will be allowed to live.
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (Star, 23 April)
Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley returned to their most memorable TV creations in 2016 for this feature-length outing in which the duo find themselves on the run after being implicated in the death of supermodel Kate Moss. It's a 90-minute parade of outrageous comedy and cameos from some of the biggest names in popular culture.
White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf (Star, 30 April)
The sequel to Disney's 1991 Jack London adaptation, this adventure again focuses on the wolfdog White Fang. Ethan Hawke's hero from the first movie hands the dog over to a friend, who tries to help a Native American tribe whose sacred land is at risk due to miners.
The Big Year (Star, 30 April)
This 2011 comedy is set in a cut-throat world of high intensity sporting endeavour — competitive bird-watching. Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin play a trio of birders taking part in a Big Year, which entails spotting and identifying as many birds as possible in North America. Critical reviews were positive, but its box office receipts were disappointing given the star power on the poster.
25th Hour (Star, 30 April)
This thriller unites the directorial skill of Spike Lee with the writing of Game of Thrones co-helmer David Benioff, who adapted his own novel for the big screen. Edward Norton leads the cast as a man experiencing his last day of freedom before he is incarcerated for dealing drugs. The movie achieved broad critical acclaim and made several lists of the best films of the decade. It joins another Lee movie — Summer of Sam — in the Star catalogue.
Armageddon (Star, 30 April)
Michael Bay certainly can't be faulted when it comes to noisy, apocalyptic carnage. In 1998, he took on the subject of the end of the world in this sci-fi actioner. Bruce Willis leads a group of astronauts sent to prevent a giant asteroid from colliding with the Earth. Come for the chaos, stay for the Aerosmith track.
TV coming to Disney+ in April
Bob's Burgers S1-10 (Star, 2 April)
One of the most acclaimed animated sitcoms of recent years, Bob's Burgers focuses on the Belcher family and the burger restaurant they run. With a movie adaptation on the way soon — it was delayed as a result of COVID-19 — and an 11th series also happening, now is a good time to binge your way through the whole thing.
Grey's Anatomy S16 (Star, 2 April)
Grey's Anatomy is, quite simply, a TV behemoth. Showrunner Krista Vernoff, who took over the reins when creator Shonda Rhimes left in 2017, has continued to shepherd the ongoing juggernaut, which is now the longest-running primetime medical drama in American TV history.
Mira, Royal Detective (2 April)
Featuring the first South Asian protagonist in the history of Disney Junior, Mira, Royal Detective follows a commoner who is appointed to her titular role by the queen of a fictional kingdom. She joins her mongoose sidekicks to help people throughout the land.
Dinosaurs S1-4 (9 April)
Famed for its devastating finale and its commentary about climate change, this cult 1990s show is arriving on Disney+ to shock a whole new generation of children into caring about the world around them. With the Henson Company involved, its use of puppets has aged very well indeed.
Criminal Minds S1-15 (Star, 9 April)
Police procedural series often have a very long shelf life, and Criminal Minds was certainly an example of that — running from 2005 until 2020. All 15 seasons are now being added to Star, with news already breaking that Paramount+ is working on a revival series. The world of TV moves very fast indeed.
Fosse/Verdon S1 (Star, 23 April)
Set over the course of five decades, this show follows a unique and fruitful creative relationship. Sam Rockwell plays legendary choreographer and filmmaker Bob Fosse, while Michelle Williams portrays dancer and actress Gwen Verdon. Williams won an Emmy for her performance.
Dino Ranch (23 April)
Another Disney Junior series making the jump to the streamer, Dino Ranch does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. It's a Western story, with dinosaurs. Instead of horses, the various characters ride different dinosaurs as they navigate adventures.
9-1-1 S3 (Star, 30 April)
One of the few Ryan Murphy creations not to reside on Netflix, this procedural series follows various different first responders working in Los Angeles. The stories are often ludicrous, but they're always dramatic.
Running Wild With Bear Grylls S5 (2 April)
Britain's most prominent adventurer is joined by some of the most famous people on the planet, including Channing Tatum and Brie Larson, as he travels through hostile and extreme environments.
Wicked Tuna Y9 (2 April)
Bluefin tuna is big business for commercial fishermen. This reality series focuses on competing businesses from Gloucester, Massachusetts as they take to the seas in search of the lucrative catch.
Earth Moods (16 April)
A year into a pandemic, we could all do with a bit of calm and tranquility. That's the raison d'être of this series, which takes viewers to multiple locations, where they can bask in the sounds of the natural world.
Secrets of the Whales (22 April)
James Cameron serves as exec producer for this four-part miniseries — filmed over the course of three years — exploring the lives of some of the marine world's biggest creatures. Sigourney Weaver serves as narrator.
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