That calm before the storm you feel right now is because everyone's waiting to see how Avengers: Endgame is gonna crash-bang out of the corner they painted themselves in when they killed half their cast (and the world) at the end of the last movie.
Endgame hits the screens at the trustworthy Whistler Village 8 on Thursday, April 25, although there is apparently a five-minute "leak" video circulating the internet (and no, it's not just a clip of Thanos urinating) but other than that, directors Joe and Anthony Russo have worked tirelessly to attempt to bring at least some element of surprise back to the movies. So good on them; the Avengers have never really done it for me but I appreciate their efforts.
With that on the horizon, the only new flick in town this week is a child-snatching, haunted-house creeper called The Curse of La Llorona. For those unfamiliar with any Latin American horror mythology beyond the Chupacabra, La Llorona was a poor-but-beautiful young Mexican woman who caught the eye of a rich nobleman passing though her town. They were married and quickly pumped out some kids, then the nobleman ditched her after his extremely wealthy father eschewed him for "marrying down."
Enraged, La Llorona drowned her children in a river, then changed her mind, but it was too late. She threw herself into the water but was cursed to roam the Earth until she finds her kids and can accompany them to heaven. In the meantime, La Llorona will make life miserable for all who see or hear her wails of anguish and doom. Mexican parents used to use this tale to scare their kids into coming home before curfew, "If you're not back by 12, La Llorona will get you." (There are other versions of the legend but to hear her call is always a bad omen, or worse.)
With a backstory like that, it's too bad the movie isn't better. Expect plenty of shadows and lots of producer James Wan's now-commonly recognizable jump-scare style, but first-time director Michael Chaves never brings enough depth, mood, character or originality to the rest of the film. This one watches like a second-tier Conjuring movie (and that franchise is already second tier). La Llorona deserves better.
There's lots of action on the small screen this week, however. Game of Thrones' new season just hit HBO, cementing the show as the high king of serialized "Swords & Sorcery" stories (sorry Covington Cross). Are we willing to admit yet that much, so much, of that show's popularity comes from its open embrace of sex, nudity, and super old-fashioned whoring? Or is everyone still pretending it's the super convoluted politicking that keeps us coming back?
Beyoncé just dropped her latest concert-doc Homecoming on Netflix late Tuesday night (with a new live album to boot). In today's media-saturated environment, few people (if anyone) can match Beyoncé's talent for generating hype and then backing it up, and Homecoming, the film, written, directed and executive produced by the star herself, is a much-better-than-average concert doc with solid glimpses into the working life of one of the planet's biggest, smartest and savviest stars. And that marching band horn section ain't bad either.
This week's "Download of the Week" kicks off a mini-series of featured documentaries about how depraved, dangerous and downright crazy humanity can be. This week we're kicking things off with Mommy Dearest, Mommy Dead, a doc about a mother who convinces the world (and herself) that her daughter is sick with a litany of debilitating diseases so that they can defraud various charities and get free trips to Disneyland. This one is bonkers before you toss in the fake wheelchair, a festering feeding tube, murder and some BDSM Disney Princess memes, expect the unexpected and catch it on Crave/HBO. Welcome to the "Bottom of the Barrel" series. There's lots more to come.