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7 Films New to Netflix to Watch In April, Including ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ and ‘Casting JonBenet’

"Kubo and the Two Strings" is about to tug on more than two heartstrings.

“Kubo and the Two Strings”

The hits keep on coming from your friendly neighborhood streaming giant, Netflix, which announced a fresh round of titles hitting the airwaves next month. Ranging from never-before-streamed comedy specials to historical classics to critically acclaimed kids’ films, these titles are sure to keep you cooped up and entertained throughout mud season. Enjoy.

1. “Richard Pryor: Live & Smokin'” (available April 1)

The first of only four specials ever filmed by the legendary comedian, this 45-minute stand-up set from 1978 was released on VHS in 1985 and has never been available to stream before (legally). Almost universally revered by comedians of all stripes, this special has stayed relatively obscure due to an uneven performance from Pryor. Still, you can learn from a genius even on a bad day.

2. “Across the Universe” (available April 1)

Across the Universe

‘Across the Universe’

Even Rachel Wood and Jim Sturgess anchor this visually enchanting Beatles movie musical from visionary Broadway director and choreographer Julie Taymor (“Titus”). Set in Greenwich Village the 1960s, it features a cast of characters named after Beatles songs and includes a magical mystery bus tour with a heartwarming love story at its center. While the concept may sound a little throwback to some, this impressionistic treat is the perfect balance of cutting-edge nostalgia for spring.

3. “An American Tail,” “An American Tail: Fievel Goes West,” and”An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster” (all available April 1)

Children of the ’80s will always hold a special place in their hearts for Fievel. This animated immigrant “tail” about the adorable Mousekewitz family’s journey to America boasts the voice talents of Christopher Plummer, Dom DeLuise, and Madeline Kahn. For the just as ebullient sequel, “Fievel Goes West,” John Cleese, Jon Lovitz, and Amy Irving joined. (Only Deluise returned for subsequent sequels.) With imminent threats to America’s reputation as a safe haven for immigrants, one must never doubt the power of singing mice to make a difference.

4. “Schindler’s List” (available April 1)

Steven Spielberg’s epic historical drama is based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of over one thousand jews during the Holocaust. It stars Liam Neeson as Schindler, supported by Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley, and won seven Oscars in 1993, including Best Picture. When news headlines begin to feel overwhelming, revisiting this vital rendering of darker times in history will be not only cathartic, but crucial.

5. “Kubo and the Two Strings” (available April 8)

“Kubo and the Two Strings”

This stop-motion fable about a one-eyed boy in mythical Japan was made by Laika, the Oregon-based animation house behind hits like “Coraline” and “ParaNorman.” Called “the best animated film of 2016” by IndieWire’s own David Ehrlich, it is a beautifully rendered, emotionally sharp epic about the power of storytelling as a tonic for grief. Though the film had a long theatrical run, those who sorely missed out have a second chance to experience the magic that is “Kubo and the Two Strings.”

6. “The Prestige” (available April 21)

Before “The Dark Knight” trilogy, Christopher Nolan directed Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman in this mystery thriller from 2006 about rival magicians in late 19th century London, whose pursuit of the perfect stage illusion leads them down a dangerous path. The film also stars Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine, and Piper Perabo, not to mention an electric David Bowie in a rare contemporary acting role. The film takes on heightened poignance in light of the singer’s death early last year.

7. “Casting JonBenet” (available April 28)

“Casting JonBenet”

Kitty Green’s hotly anticipated hybrid documentary received raves out of Sundance, and is inspired by the infamous murder of six-year-old pageant queen JonBenet Ramsey. 20 years after the murder, Green stages a casting call for young actresses to play the late child beauty pageant queen, interviewing the fresh hopefuls and their parents about the murder and its relevance today. IndieWire’s Eric Kohn called the film “A darkly entertaining look at how gossip can fuel legend to the point where truth loses its relevance.”

The rest of the incoming films:

“A Weekend with the Family” (Available April 1)
“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (Available April 1)
“Boy Bye” (Available April 1)
“Born To Be Free” (Available April 1)
“Cool Runnings” (Available April 1)
“Gremlins” (Available April 1)
“Only for One Night” (Available April 1)
“Scooby-Doo” (Available April 1)
“Something’s Gotta Give” (Available April 1)
“Thunderstruck” (Available April 1)
“Trouble with the Curve” (Available April 1)
“Tropic Thunder” (Available April 1)
“The Tenth Man” (Available April 1)
“The D Train” (Available April 2)
“The BFG” (Available April 6)
“El Faro De Las Orcas” (Available April 7)
“Win It All” (Available April 7)
“El Elegido” (Available April 14)
“Sandy Wexler” (Available April 14)
“Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey” (Available April 15)
“Slam” (Available April 15)
“A Plastic Ocean” (Available April 19)
“Sand Castle” (Available April 21)
“Tramps” (Available April 21)
“The Secret Life of Pets” (Available April 22)
“Phantom” (Available April 23)
“Long Nights Short Mornings” (Available April 24)
“The 101-Year-Old Man Who Skipped Out on the Bill and Disappeared” (Available April 25)
“Trust” (Available April 26)
“A Murder in the Park” (Available April 28)
“Rodney King” (Available April 28)
“Small Crimes” (Available April 28)

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