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The Northman
Photograph: Universal

The best new movies and TV shows to stream this month in the UK

The best and most unmissable movies and TV series to watch in April

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Time Out Film
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April is full of the joys of spring: ‘The Northman’ is here to pillage its way onto our cinema screens, ‘Fantastic Beasts’ returns with a new villain – Mads Mikkelsen, no less – and streaming-wise, Gary Oldman makes one of his very rare small-screen appearances in Apple TV+’s blackly funny ‘Slow Horses’. Don’t miss the BFI’s blockbuster anime season, either: it’s running all month, showcasing the best in Japanese animation, Ghibli and all. 

The best new films and series to watch this month

Slow Horses
Photograph: Apple TV+

Slow Horses

Spy thrillers are making the kind of noisy comeback that characters in spy thrillers would probably find profoundly unprofessional. Alongside ITV’s recent Ipcress File revival and the upcoming ‘Operation Mincemeat’ (see below), it’s part of an espionage revival that fits the times quite nicely. This one – an Apple TV+ series based on the Mick Herron book series – is funny, unconventional and boasts Gary Oldman as a grimy but still brilliant spy master sent out to pasture.

April 1, Apple TV+

  • Film
  • Animation

The BFI’s blockbuster anime season gets into full swing in April with a programme curated for completists and newbies alike, featuring all the Studio Ghibli fare you’d expect to find rubbing cuddly Totoro-shaped shoulders with deeper cuts and new talent. Head to London’s South Bank and get anime-ted. 

Until May 31, BFI Southbank

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Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Photograph: Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Things to recommend this 1930s-set third helping of magizoology include more of Jude Law’s enigmatic wizard and the ever-watchable Mads Mikkelsen replacing Johnny Depp as supervillain Grindelwald. Fans will not need much persuading. 

In cinemas Apr 8.

  • Film
  • Action and adventure

If you prefer your period fare to feature axe-swinging, disembowelment and hairy people with no respect for boundaries, Robert ‘The Witch’ Eggers’s Viking odyssey is for you. Alexander Skarsgård is a beefy Norseman on a quest for revenge against the man who killed his dad and stole his mum – and his kingdom. 

In cinemas Apr 15.

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  • Film
  • Thrillers

The true-life story of Operation Mincemeat – an epic wartime deception involving a repurposed corpse with a back story – is reimagined in John Madden’s spy thriller. Adapted from Ben Macintyre’s book, it follows British intelligence wonks Ewen Montagu (Colin Firth) and Charles Cholmondeley (Matthew Macfadyen) as they concoct the plan, assemble a team and go to worth pulling the wool over the Nazis’ eyes.

In cinemas Apr 15.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Making his two bonkers roles in ‘Adaptation’ seem pretty standard, this deeply meta comedy finds Nicolas Cage playing Nicolas Cage, a Cagier version of himself, and re-assuming some of his classic characters to help the CIA take down a villainous superfan. His late-career revival continues in fine style.

In cinemas Apr 22.

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Downton Abbey: A New Era
Photograph: Credit: Ben Blackall / © 2021 Focus Features, LLC

Downton Abbey: A New Era

Triiiing! The Dowager Countess requests your presence for another big-screen trip to Downton. Maggie Smith’s no-nonsense matriarch is setting the Crawley clan, their servants, the people who carry their luggage and probably several bemused French people on a mysterious mission to the Riviera. It’ll be the best kind of April-improving fluff. 

In cinemas Apr 29.

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