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April Showers
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Reviews & Ratings for
April Showers More at IMDbPro »

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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Over-hyped, underdelivered.

5/10
Author: inferno272 from Georgia
24 June 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of those films where the trailer gets your expectations way too high for the actual film. When watching the trailer you are expecting just the most epic, heart wrenching masterpiece about a school shooting. Instead the movie is really about a supposed tragic love story that is tragic because of a school shooting. It's almost like the shooting, and the reactions of some of the traumatized kids are afterthoughts to this "love lost" story. Which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing if you cared for the characters at all. But the 2 main characters, April, and her love interest, whose name I am forgetting right now and who really needs a haircut in the worst way, just aren't likable. You don't really CARE that April is killed in the movie. You don't really care that the greasy hippie is in pain. What I seemed to care more about was the kid whose life was being turned upside down because he happened to be friends with the killer...except that the director spent far too little time on this, significantly more interesting aspect of the film, and instead tried to fulfill the cliché "pretty people in suffering" aspect that you come to expect from movies nowadays. I expected a lot from this movie, and I gave it a 5 mainly because of a really great trailer that gets you very interested in the watching the film, however the film itself is something I wouldn't really recommend watching unless you're an avid movie watcher who enjoys watching everything you can get your hands on.

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

A wasted opportunity

1/10
Author: a1_andy_11 from United Kingdom
11 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When I picked this film out I was expecting to feel some kind of connection with our main character, and to empathise with what happened to him and come away with some kind of minute understanding of what effect the events from that day had on him.

None of the above happened; the film did a terrible job at helping us relate to our main character and his close friends. Even though this film is depicting true events, for the viewer to care and connect with a character there still has to be some kind of character development. This is a key reason as to what made this film so poor. It's like switching on the news and seeing 20 people killed in Iraq. Yes I am sorry for their families and it's a shame it happened, but I don't care because those people are so loosely connected to me.

The acting was average and the score seemed to drone on with little variation. What we are left with is just the events as they happened on the day, which even then were poorly told. There was no tension or fear when the shooting began, and I didn't feel the kind of frenzy I imagine you would get in a situation like that when you don't know what is going on.

Then once the shooting had taken place the film spent an hour and 10 minutes showing people crying. I love films, and I get immersed in a good film - if it is sad I will generally cry. I did not feel a thing watching this film.

1/10

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely pointless

1/10
Author: Alan Dague-Greene from Colorado
20 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I find it incomprehensible that a movie about such an important subject could end up being so inept, but that's exactly what this is. As other reviewers have said, the shooting takes place early in the film, and then we are treated to slow motion tears for the next hour.

This isn't a film about the shooting itself, that's plain to see. But unfortunately, it's not about anything else, either. The contrived love story is devoid of meaning or motivation, and gives the audience nothing to anticipate or mourn. The main character is completely unlikable as the good- looking, do-nothing romantic, and the object of his affections is equally vacuous.

The film aims to honor anyone who has been subjected to such tragedy, whether they're a victim or a survivor. But the aim is disingenuous. So many details are lifted directly from the Columbine shooting, it's impossible to think of this film as anything but a re-enactment that gets a few obvious details totally wrong.

For a film that faces the senselessness of school violence, look no further than "Elephant": it is understated, poignant, brilliantly performed, and unbearably tragic.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Not enough depth to have a true impact.

3/10
Author: Moviereviwer1983 from Australia
8 July 2012

Based on his real life experience of surviving the Columbine High School Massacre, writer and director, Andrew Robinson comes up with a retelling, titled "April Showers" which promises to deliver something that will make us all think. I applaud Andrew for achieving something that must have been very hard to do. To relive these terrible events in an effort to outline how some of these survivors coped and how some didn't through such a troubling time , was a courageous thing to do. with solid Cinematography and passable acting, the film really should have delivered what it was striving for, but unfortunately, due to some real problems, it falls quite hard. To start with, for a film of this nature to work, we really have to connect with the characters. Unfortunately, the film prevents us from getting acquainted with the people involved, through lack of story development. The Massacre happens in the first five minutes of the film, so we are thrust into the deep end before knowing anything. So instead of the emotional strain that the viewer should be feeling, we can separate ourselves from them. I compare it to hearing something on the news, which takes place over the other side of the world. Yes its shocking, but there isn't as much impact for us, as opposed to having a relative or friend in the actual tragedy. This film didn't allow us to really care what was going on, which makes the second half of the film rather boring, as we try our best to connect with those grieving, but just can't. My other problem is that the main focus of the film, the relationship between Sean and April, takes the gloss away from the only really interesting character, one that is going through post traumatic stress. There is just no allowance for any chemistry between the romance of the lead two, and like the majority of the film, it just feels like its eating away the run time, as opposed to actually building a solid platform of emotion. If the film was done in way that we have development and then the tragedy, I feel it could have worked. But as a result of impatience and maybe a lack of experience, the director chose a different path that ultimately hurts it and prevents it from being a memorable experience. Ordinary at best, but a courageous move from the director.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Starts Well But Sputters And Dies

3/10
Author: drpakmanrains from United States
28 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really wanted to like this film. I like serious independent films, and am interested in stories about school and problems of teens and growing up. While this was based on the Columbine shooting, after the scenes during the killings, the movie focused on the after effects on a number of the students affected. Unfortunately, the characters were not well developed, the sound was often drowned out by background noise or music, and mostly we just see long sad stares, with minimal dialog. Spoiler alert: The ending credits showing the names of the victims of all school shootings through 2008 was a highlight, but not enough to make the film worth the time. While I shed a tear or two, it should have been much more emotional. "Lifted", in 2010, honors our fallen heroes in a far more effective, entertaining, and emotionally powerful film.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Prettily-shot crap

2/10
Author: LadySylvester from United States
10 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don't even know how much I can write about this artsy little film. I went into it only knowing that it was written and directed by a Columbine survivor.

So why did it seem so unrealistic?

The acting, for the most part, was very after-school-TV-special. I can only imagine that most of the "teen" actors were chosen for their ability to cry on command. And Tom Arnold's superb performance is not only crammed into the beginning of the movie, but never thought of again (shame!). In fact, of the at least fifteen people killed in the massacre (look at the number of crosses put up!), April seems to be the only one who "matters" - her funeral at the end is full of clichés ("she lived every day to the fullest" - come on, now) and she's really the only victim mentioned by name at all.

The first half-hour of the movie is chaos. People are running everywhere and there are some gunshots, but where's the shooter? Does anyone care? The dialogue is usually either so inept or so muffled and quiet that I couldn't make out why hordes of kids were running through the woods. And I find it very, very hard to believe that of all the "survivors" in the school, not one of them could identify the shooter. It all seemed like an afterthought.

From what I could gather of the "police investigation," the cops are seen arresting a kid named Ben and asking Sean (our greasy "hero") a few questions about him. Well - surprise, surprise! - Ben's not the shooter. In fact, he was with Sean during the whole ordeal! (This is the problem with changing such a key fact about the case: Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold took their own lives after the massacre. What do you do with a still-living shooter whom apparently nobody has seen? Well, if you're the characters in this film, you sit around and mope, then spray-paint "KILLER" on the house of some kid rumoured to have something to do with it. Again: come on, now.)

The cinematography is worth mentioning - the whole movie is filmed very artistically. I probably would've liked it more if I'd simply watched it without audio!

I couldn't identify with most of the characters. Why make brooding Sean the hero if all you want to do is film him shirtless, staring out a window on a rainy day? Ooh, he punches a mirror. Aah, he can't form a meaningful connection with a girl. Who cares?

April's not much better. Ooh, look at how pretty and blonde she is! Aah, she even writes in a diary! Too bad she has absolutely no character traits. No positive ones, no negative ones. She's just... there.

Jason was interesting (save for his melodramatic freak-out in the grocery store), and I would've liked to see more of Ben. It broke my heart at the end of the movie to see Ben packing his stuff and leaving... how do you get over being falsely branded a killer? Too bad it's all glossed over in favour of more languorous scenes of Sean moping.

Everything interesting, in fact, is glossed over (like the great performances by Tom Arnold and Ileana Douglas). I can only handle a few minutes' worth of weepy B.S. - with "April Showers," I got an hour and forty-four.

For crime scholars and others interested in knowing more about Columbine and the psychology of school shooters, skip this one and watch a documentary or something instead (I'd recommend "Zero Day," a mockumentary that's chilling, darkly funny, and ultimately heart-wrenching). For young people who think their parents "just don't understand what they're going through" and enjoy long, prettily-shot takes of shirtless guys staring off into infinity, I'd say pick this one up.

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Not a "Chick-Flick", but a very "Human-Flick" True Story

7/10
Author: KissEnglishPasto from Pasto, Colombia
17 October 2013

......... ........... ............ ............ .............. fromPasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA...and ORLANDO, FL

Based on actual events, April Showers draws us into the center of a tornado funnel cloud of events, by offering us a rather unique perspective…that of one of the survivors of violence unhinged.

Mass shootings at U.S. schools, like it or not, form a malignant presence on our cultural landscape. This film, if nothing else, accentuates the following inescapable truth: A shared episode of on campus mindless violence will divide the lives of all those present into "Before and After".

April Showers, obviously, is a labor of love. It was produced, written and directed by survivors. This simple reality makes the film incomparably original in a number of ways, but is simultaneously the source of April's one big flaw.

Let's focus on the positive elements first. Unlike any other movie about school shootings, almost all of the violence is off-camera. No endless loop slow-mo's of exploding blood packets here! Also, never before have I seen a portrayal of those left behind in the wake of a tragedy like this, in such total shock as to be not only speechless, but practically paralyzed, days after the event. These excruciatingly awkward bouts of on-screen silence contribute to making April painful to watch at times. Sometimes very In-Your-Face aggressive about driving home a point, but just when you're ready to throw in the towel and say, "Enough already!" the Director manages to back off.

You must be patient with this movie. About halfway through, I was almost ready to give up on it. When all was said and done, it was an extremely satisfying experience. Two hours after viewing, I decided it was most definitely a good movie. It could have been a really great one! The big flaw I mentioned earlier: April needed more character development before pulling the proverbial rug out from under the viewer's feet. The film provided a lot more development later on, though. Perhaps the Director's intention was to add to our sense of bewilderment and confusion, but it was almost a deal-breaker for me. One other disappointment: Tom Arnold and Illeana Douglas had less than 10 minutes on-screen time between the 2 of them! 7.5*, rounded down to 7*.....ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!

KissEnglishPasto@Yahoo.com

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic... but not without its flaws

9/10
Author: Erin from Australia
28 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Involves very minor spoilers.

To start off I have to say that I waited for about a year and a half for this film to be released in Australia, so when I came across it accidentally at the video store I work at I almost had a heart attack. I immediately hired it. I was not disappointed.

The first 30-45 minutes set during the actual shooting was completely engaging and tense, it was brutal and totally heart-wrenching. The students actions in the school are varied, there are those who act heroically and some who don't, just like what I imagine it would be like in the real situation.

The film slows down a bit in the second half when we follow the survivors trying to deal with their own issues and tragedies, especially those of Kelly Blatz's Sean (Blatz puts forward an amazing performance) dealing with the death of his friend, April and Daryl Sabara's Jason who tries to deal with being labeled a hero. This part of the film doesn't have as much punch and emotional impact as the first part, but it deals with the characters realistically and sensitively.

I do have some small issues, though. Firstly, April isn't given enough back story, I never really felt like I knew her well enough for her death to make a huge emotional impact. It all came from Sean's reactions. Her relationship with Sean isn't developed enough, either, there are only two or three short scenes with them together so we never really know who she is. I also felt that there were so many others characters that needed a voice. There are some students that have beautifully tragic stories, but are pulled out of the film so quickly (eg. The boy who stays behind to help his teacher, Sean's friend who finds a girl he knows, dead or close to, in the developments). I won't go into the other issues I have with it, you can figure out your own, but these are the main problems I found.

Overall it was a gorgeous, moving film that could never have been made with such meticulous attention to character and detail without a director who had actually lived the experience. Robinson knows what he is writing and he never exploits his characters or uses too many clichés. I highly recommend 'April Showers', but only if you enjoy films that have you close to tears.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Many questions, but seemingly no answers

Author: risephoenixrise-118-977463 from Omaha, NE
11 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Please do not misunderstand me. The tragedies that befell Columbine High, Santana High, and Millard South--which is a local school in my area--are some of the most terrifying histories in my lifetime. The young people that suffer trauma from these events stretch beyond their schools and communities. These school shootings marked the end of an innocence where adolescence was once associated with discover, exploration, and the joy of it all.

A retelling of the events of a school shooting has a challenge to tell the story with purpose. What hurts this film the most is that we are told the ending in the first few minutes. I won't give away what happened (not that you need my help), but we already know what is going to happen. This film mopped itself into a corner because there were no surprises. The viewer would need a darn good reason to keep watching through such a depressing story. I can only assume this film follows the Tarantino-inspired trend, to tell the story out of sequence. That worked for "Pulp Fiction" because there was more than one plot, and each story were distinct. In "April Showers" the characters were all going in the same direction, so it made little sense to tell the story out of sequence.

The actors are relatively unknown, but work hard and play their roles well. Tom Arnold and Ileana Douglas, as superb thespians as they are, did not need to carry these kids. They acted as well as they could under the circumstances.

What's unfortunate is that the film was so focused on the tragedy, it failed to connect us to the characters. By the end of the film, I still didn't learn anything about most of the principal cast. A story's tragedy is only effective when people we know and love suffer. Even the namesake of the film, April, was a wooden character that showed no charisma nor personality to warrant our affection--she was just the pretty blond girl, and that's why we're supposed to care(?) The screenplay did little, if at all, to make me care about the characters.

The single-most effective subplot involves Jason, a socially inept misfit, whom had become traumatized by the shooting. Throughout the film we witness his trauma worsen to levels of insanity. Portrayed by Daryl Sabara, we constantly wonder what the deal is with Jason up until he bears his soul in the climax--the pivotal, heartbreaking moment of the film. His development was paced well and left us wondering what would happen next. Everything Jason reacts to is for a reason, and a very shocking reason at that.

Without giving us time to understand the characters, we were pushed right into the incident. By then it was too late for us to sympathize with the flashbacks. We watched the horror of their lives in danger, and we barely had a chance to know their names. As we continue watching the second act of the film, we are watching the community agonize over the incident. With most dramatic stories, we are hoping for a payoff. Not all payoffs have to be happily ever after, but each character's ending were almost predictable, and we watch the characters suffer with absolutely no hope in sight.

The biggest complaint I have is the editing. Most scenes with music are mixed so high, you cannot hear the dialogue. With a story so somber, the characters are required to speak softly. It's hard to make out the conversation. Sometimes I wonder if music was even necessary for some scenes. A well performed story needs no gimmicks to polish it, and rather than letting it's talent shine, the score distracts from the story.

By the end of "April Showers", you are still asking the same questions. Why on Earth would someone do this? What became of these kids? What can we do to prevent this? How did it happen in the first place? It doesn't answer any single one of those questions. Perhaps there are no answers. We are left to hope and pray that there are no more tragedies like this, ever again.

I am only able to give this 4 stars out of sympathy. This is a subject that remains sore with the creators; they wanted us to know the grief they endured. But without any payoff or closure to the story, we are only given this story to relive the pain. That would be fine for a documentary. Unfortunately for the viewer, we have to consider the entertainment value of a film. Works of fiction need some sort of answer as to why we sympathize with the characters unless it is a horror film. This is not a horror film, and it is not a documentary, so it is hard to understand why we watched. If you choose to watch "April Showers", know that you will be brought to a sad, depressing place where you will experience the fear, the chaos, the heartbreak, and the trauma of these students. The one thing it will not provide is a sense of relief.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

disregard those who say this movie is pointless, its powerful

10/10
Author: dominiquesmith_13 from United States
1 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

WATCH IT. ~~~~~ read I'm not going to tell u about the movie. just the emotion. not sure if thats considered a spoil. just finished watching this. I'm 23 years of my name date. for all that said like me, " I wish they would show a school shooting movie, or things like this in a more realistic deeper way."

i said that many times. this movie does that. and i cry on small stuff., yet even my strong willed guy cried, through the whole movie. definitely the ending. if u don't care about people hurting even mentally and just want to see death, find another movie. this is something much deeper and breaks it down for u, day by day. its based on a real life thing.

WATCH IT. see. and get back to me.

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