Okay, maybe not “dead” but I’m getting enervated expectation vibes from all but a few April films. It feels worse than January-February right now. I haven’t yet seen The Double Hour (opening Friday) or Water for Elephants (4.22) or Prom (which screened for karaoke-singing junketeers last weekend) or Atlas Shrugged (the Tea Party movie) or 13 Assassins or Stake Land or Rio but I’m scanning the list and muttering to myself, “This?”

And with May just around the corner the summer-crap tentpolers (Pirates of the Caribbean, Effin’ Thor, The Hangover Part II, Kung Fu Panda 2) will soon be ruling (smothering?) the conversation. Thank God for the diversion of the Cannes Film Festival.

Bertrand Tavernier‘s The Princess of Montpensier (IFCFilms) is the best film opening this weekend that I’ve actually seen, and Werner Herzog‘s Cave of Forgotten Dreams (IFCFilms, 4.29) is…okay, minor Herzog, but the unusually geological, take-it-or-leave-it 3D photography makes it worth catching in a theatre with glasses.

Almost everyone was underwhelmed by Robert Redford‘s The Conspirator (4.15) at last September’s Toronto Film Festival. (I was surprised by how History Channel lifeless it felt.) Atlas Shrugged, also opening on Friday, has barely been shown to press, but is apparently/obviously a Tea Party movie that will die a quick death. Scream 4 (4/15) is something you either pay to see or you don’t, but conversational buzz is probably not an option.

Water for Elephants (4.22) hasn’t screened for anyone I know and isn’t having press screenings until next Wednesday, or two days before opening.

What else? I wouldn’t see Incendies again on a bet. I still haven’t seen Morgan Spurlock‘s The Greatest Movie Ever Sold and won’t be seeing it until next week. Nobody wants to even acknowledge Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family (4.22). I respect and admire Takashi Miike and the quality that has reportedly gone into his 13 Assassins (4.29) but Asian battleswords have never been my cup of tea. All I remember about the Sundance 2010 showings of Mark Ruffalo‘s Sympathy for Delicious is Ruffalo stating that “we got our asses handed to us by the critics and we’re still here.”