LOS ESPOOKYS. Even as blockbuster movies continue spiraling into a pit of staleness — eight of the 10 highest-grossing films last week were remakes or sequels — streaming channels climb on to more creative heights. Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, YouTube, et al., offer such bounty that a person would almost trade the summer sunshine for the winter darkness that's more conducive to show bingeing.
Fortunately, you don't need much time to delight in HBO's ridiculous new comedy Los Espookys. The show, with two episodes out as of this week and new ones to come on Sundays, chronicles the challenges faced by horror enthusiast Renaldo and his friends as they build a business based on creating scary scenes. We're clued in immediately that what's to come will be the absurd played straight as Uncle Tico (Fred Armisen) arrives at his niece's goth-themed quinceañera. He marvels at the décor and, when she tells him that her brother and his friends created the magic, encourages Renaldo to put his talents to professional use, explaining that just as Tico knew parking cars was his destiny, horror is Renaldo's.
Tico's sincerity and passion for parking continue to weave throughout the episodes, a plus for fans of Armisen's warmth-infused deadpan delivery, but Renaldo and his friends are the real stars. Making up the rest of the crew are Andrés, the blue-haired brooding heir to a chocolate fortune; Ursula, a dental assistant and technical genius; and Ursula's sister Tati, an oddball even by Los Espookys standards, who bounces from one odd (naturally) job to another while playing whatever role the team assigns her. In the first episode, that includes the part of a possessed orphan in Los Espookys' first assignment. The local priest, you see, is upset the new, hot young priest with the inexplicably glossy lips is getting all the attention and decides performing an exorcism will put the focus back on him. That's where Los Espookys comes in. Like I said, ridiculous and delightful. In Spanish with English subtitles. 30M. HBO.
ALL IS TRUE. The list of movies I'm interested in seeing generally excludes sequels, remakes, movies adapted from books, movies in which the main guy — it's always a guy — is going to pull one last heist before going straight, movies featuring torture, dead children or Nazis, movies with all-male ensemble casts, movies made by men who have a history of raping, assaulting and/or harassing women or other men (see: trash-ass Luc Besson), and movies that hang their existence on some misguided sense of shock value as actual value, especially when "shocking" has been done to death.
However, after seeing the preview for Toy Story 4 while waiting for one of the few now-playing movies not in any of the above categories, I would make an exception. It looks great and as if the magic of the first three — a rare trilogy that exists without a misstep — carries right on through to this latest chapter.
Another movie that promises to be excellent if the trailer is on mark at all is The Last Black Man in San Francisco. I definitely recommend checking that one out when it finally opens here in July after an unfortunate delay.
Also worth watching: the trailer for The Dead Don't Die. Adam Driver? Delicious. You don't really need to watch the actual movie — just enjoy the tasty bites of the trailer and move on to one of Jim Jarmusch's better works such as Paterson (more Driver!), Ghost Dog or Night On Earth, then indulge your Bill Murray crush with The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons From A Mythical Man.
Continuing the trailer experience, The Biggest Little Farm and Honeyland should pique your interest if you're into beautifully shot stories about people near and far living in ways you likely never will — you'll want a big screen to do them justice.
The final trailer before the main feature announced enemy-of-Netflix Pedro Almodóvar's new film Pain and Glory, starring my boyfriend Antonio Banderas and the equally beautiful Penelope Cruz, which I will surely see because, well, my boyfriend.
Why so much trailer love? Because I'm sure that any of the movies previewed ahead of All Is True, the Kenneth Branagh vehicle that I actually showed up for, would be a better way for you to spend your time. As expected from Branagh, All Is True boasts much Serious Acting and Theatre. Characters emerge from darkness into light as if coming in from the wings. Branagh, as Shakespeare, unfurls soliloquys at every chance — clearly no one has told him no for a long time. He and Ian McKellen (as the Earl of Southampton in a wig reminiscent of Owen Wilson as Hansel in Zoolander) recite Sonnet 29 to each other in what comes off as a Elizabethan era version of Who Wore It Better? (SPOILER: McKellen.) We get Metaphor in the shape of a garden the Bard tends in memory of his dead son. And there's much ado about how women exist only as the property of men and vessels for sons, but the movie weirdly only reinforces this idea, giving superficial generosity to women worthy of more complex roles. A far lovelier and more profound mediation on a father's grief for his lost son exists in George Saunders' novel Lincoln in the Bardo. Also, when the only black character in your film plays the role of monster? Methink'st thou art a general offence. PG13. 101M. MINOR through June 27.
— Jennifer Savage
See showtimes at www.northcoastjournal.com or call: Broadway Cinema 443-3456; Fortuna Theatre 725-2121; Mill Creek Cinema 839-3456; Minor Theatre 822-3456; Richards' Goat Miniplex 630-5000.
ANNABELLE COMES HOME. More scary doll stuff for folks who find Chucky too playful. R. 106M. BROADWAY, FORTUNA MILL CREEK.
HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE (2004). Hug your kids if you can and take them to this amazing Hayao Miyazaki animated fantasy. PG. 119M. MINOR.
JAWS (1975). Look into a rubber shark's dead eyes instead of Stephen Miller's for a sec. PG. 124M. BROADWAY.
PHOENIX, OREGON. Pals (James Le Gros and Jesse Borrego) open a bowling alley in their hometown to escape a funk. R. 108M. BROADWAY.
THE RIVER AND THE WALL. Documentary about traveling the U.S.-Mexico border and the environmental and human impact of a border wall. NR. 97M. MINIPLEX.
THE SOUVENIR. Tilda Swinton, Honor Swinton Byrne and Tom Burke star in a drama about a young filmmaker's relationship with a sketchy older man. R. 120M. MINIPLEX.
YESTERDAY. Himesh Patel stars as the only person who remembers the Beatles. With Lily James and Kate McKinnon. PG13. 116M. BROADWAY, MILL CREEK.
ALADDIN. Live-action Disney remake with (hopefully) less racism and a hotter Jafar than the original. Starring blue Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott and Marwan Kenzari. PG. 128M. BROADWAY.
ANNA. Trash-ass Luc Besson returns to lady assassin stories with Sasha Luss and Helen Mirren. R. 119M. BROADWAY.
AVENGERS: ENDGAME. Back with additional scenes that won't make the time travel any easier to figure out. PG13. 188M. BROADWAY, FORTUNA, MILL CREEK.
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM. John Chester's documentary about starting a sustainable farm has great, if unflattering, footage that could have done without his voiceover narration. PG. 91M. MINOR.
CHILD'S PLAY. Aubrey Plaza and Mark Hamill take a stab at rebooting the killer doll horror. R. 90M. BROADWAY, MILL CREEK.
THE DEAD DON'T DIE. Director Jim Jarmusch puts the dead in deadpan with Adam Driver and Bill Murray in a zombie-filled comedy-horror. R. 105M. MINOR.
GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS. Kaiju cage match for the planet with Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan and Ghidorah. With humans Vera Farmiga, Ken Watanabe and Millie Bobby Brown. PG13. 131M. BROADWAY.
MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL. Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth dip out of Asgard to revive the alien-friendly franchise and suit tailoring with Emma Thompson. PG13. 104M. BROADWAY, FORTUNA, MILL CREEK.
ROCKETMAN. Elton John biopic promising sex, drugs, glittering sunglasses and rock 'n' roll with the greatest hits soundtrack to match. Starring Taron Egerton. R. 121M. BROADWAY, MILL CREEK.
SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2. This sequel lacks the charm, inventiveness and sweetness of the original, despite a strong cast that includes Patton Oswalt, Jenny Slate, Kevin Hart and Harrison Ford. PG. 86M. BROADWAY, FORTUNA, MILL CREEK.
TOY STORY 4. Go ahead, little toys (lights cigarette), see if I have any soul left to crush. Starring Tom Hanks. G. 100M. FORTUNA, MINOR.
X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX. Simon Kinberg's do-over of the Marvel plot where Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) turns dangerous, has the cast but not the character development and emotional power it needs. With James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. PG13. 113M. BROADWAY.
— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill