The biggest complaint that I hear about the movies that open each week involves what people see as the endless parade of mindless entertainment. I mean, how many superhero movies can one see in a lifetime?
That complaint, of course, doesn't apply to the Magic Lantern, Spokane's enduring art-house movie theater. The Lantern continues to show a range of quality films, its current lineup comprising several Academy Award winners.
But neither does the complaint always apply to the area's mainstream theaters. The various Regal Cinemas show special lineups of Fathom Events features that include everything from Japanese anime to the Bolshoi Ballet. And Spokane's downtown theater chain, AMC River Park Square, brings in a regular rotation of alternative film — from documentaries to art-house to foreign-language offerings.
Alongside several showings of "Captain Marvel," the latest superhero flick that opens on Friday, AMC will also show a Spanish-language film translated as "Everybody Knows" (or in Spanish "Todos lo saben").
The film stars two Oscar-winning actors, the married couple Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, and is directed by the Iranian-born filmmaker Asghar Farhadi (the Oscar-winning director of 2011's "A Separation"). The story involves Cruz's character returning from Buenos Aires to her former home city of Madrid, only to be forced face past family secrets that emerge when her daughter is kidnapped.
Here are some critical comments:
Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: "There's a lovely sense, throughout the film, of how real life sometimes interrupts things, the way a child's prattling disrupts the pretty wedding ceremony, or how even in the midst of grief breakfast must be made."
Anthony Lane, The New Yorker: "The movie is not to be skipped. You should sample its mixture of bacchanal and gall, and revel in Farhadi's dependable deftness, as he sketches and frames his collection of characters."
Kate Taylor, Globe and Mail: "As he transfers his talents to a European setting and Spanish-speaking cast, Farhadi loses none of his remarkable ability to observe close relationships collapsing under stress."
People can complain. But the quality is out there, amid all the alien attacks and other examples of mind-numbing cinema — all of which, let's be honest here, can on occasion be pretty much all we want from a movie.
Just not all the time.