EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE (2022)

A24 does it again.

It is a rare occurrence for me to see a film at the cinema twice in a short period of time and I am lucky that this film was popular enough to remain showing at the cinema on its first run. I saw this one three months apart and after seeing it earlier in the year in April I knew I had seen one of my favourite films of the year, I wanted to revisit to see if I still felt the same way.

I did. Even moreso, if possible. I have yet to see one that has topped it this year.
In the 3 months between seeing it I had listened to the soundtrack by Son Lux many times and so when watching it for the second time I was very familiar with the music which gave me a deeper experience.

Son Lux is an experimental musical band that was originally the brainchild of Ryan Lott, and transformed into a three piece on their fourth album Bones and now includes Ian Chang and Rafiq Bhatia. Listening to their soundtrack of this film led me to listening to some of their earlier pieces. They are definitely worth a listen and this soundtrack is brilliant featuring flute playing from Andre 3000 from Outkast and the song This is a Life featuring Mitski and David Byrne being a stand out track. Listen below:

This film crosses genres and manages to defy categorization. What is it?
It is a sci-fi, kung-fu, action film, romantic comedy and a family drama and manages to skate between each with ease and skill. This is no easy feat.

Stephanie Tsu, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan

Written and directed by The Daniels, Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, they weave a wonderful tale about a Chinese-American family going through an existential crisis whilst being audited by the tax office and consequently thrust into the multiverse.

Michelle Yeoh is wonderful as usual and here she plays Evelyn Wang and gets to show off many sides to her acting abilities, most notably her comedic skills, Ke Huy Quan plays Waymond Wang (Evelyn’s husband) and he returns to the world of acting after many years (this is a long way from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies), Stephanie Tsu plays their daughter, Joy Wang and gives one of the most enjoyable, entertaining and unhinged performances I have seen for a while, she has a lot of fun with the character, James Wong plays Evelyn’s father Gong Gong, the actor still going strong at 92 years young. Also starring is the wonderful Jamie Leigh-Curtis as the tax auditor assigned to Evelyn Wang’s case and she is brilliant. Her comedy timing is spot on and she shows again why she is one of the most entertaining actors out there. Special mentions go out to Jenny Slate and her dog and Harry Shum Jr and his raccoon.

The film reminds me of the joke;

‘A Buddhist monk, visiting New York City for the first time in twenty years, walked up to a hot dog vendor, handed him a twenty dollar bill, and said,
“Make me one with everything.”
The vendor pocketed the money, and handed the Buddhist monk his hot dog. The monk, after waiting for a moment, asked for his change. The vendor looked at him and said, “Change comes from within.”
With a wistful smile, the monk walked away.’

A film with everything on it if you will but it never feels overloaded. The multiverse aspect is used to the fullest extent and the images and ideas come in thick and fast.

It takes quite a film to affect me in such a way; this film managed to tread un-mined areas.
It was a surprise. There were moments that were unexpected and definitely came out of left-field. This is another reason that I loved it. The film made my eyes leak both times, even more so the second time. It moved me, film should move you, in one way or another, surely that’s the point of it. It is art, after all.

This is a film about limitless possibilities and the idea that the grass is rarely greener.
We are exactly where we are meant to be.
If you don’t like it, change it.

Michelle Yeoh knows Kung Fu

In essence this film is about, love, laundry and taxes with a dash of mental health.
Isn’t everything all about mental health in the end?
It is about hope, acceptance, bagels, family, the infinite possibilities, the choices we make, our dreams and our realities.

A quick note about the production and distribution company A24. Founded in 2012 they have gone from strength to strength and are now a well established company that is, at least for me, a benchmark of quality, they co-produced with HBO, the excellent tv series Euphoria and the also brilliant recent fare, Irma Vep, notable films on their roster include: Enemy, A Most Violent Year, Ex Machina, Amy, Room, The Witch, 20th Century Women, The Florida Project, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Lady Bird, Hereditary, Midsommar, The Lighthouse, Minari, The Green Knight, After Yang, X and recently Alex Garland’s nutty horror film Men. I get excited when I see the logo. It usually means I’m in for a treat and this treat was absolutely delicious.

Jamie Leigh-Curtis, Stephanie Tsu, Michelle Yeoh and James Wong

Everything Everywhere All at Once is a truly beautiful film that is funny, moving, surprising and exciting.

Do yourself a favour, go ahead, watch it and be moved.

2 hours and 19 minutes

5/5

US (2019)

us

 “Who are you?”

“We’re Americans”

A scathing attack on the polarising, binary state of American (and many other countries’) politics and today’s society or just a straight up horror film? You decide.
Commentary on class, race and privilege is on show here but never gets in the way of a good ‘ole scare.

It’s clear Jordan Peele has lots to say and chooses to do it via the often maligned or nichey, horror genre. Not usually the normal route for the passing on of opinion and criticism, although George A Romero did it brilliantly with ‘…the Dead’ zombie series as did John Carpenter with They Live and it’s attack on consumerism. Any shopping mall within the world at the moment doesn’t seem so different from the zombie overrun one in Dawn of the Dead and looking at the way the advertising hordes are after your mind and your money, how far are we really away from many aspects of They Live?

Peele delivered a cutting commentary of the deep wounds of racism and the current effects of the race relations in the magnificent Get Out and now he tackles the ‘Us and Them’ opposites of the way the country is in the uber-relevant midst of in 2019.

The film begins in 1986 with Adelaide Wilson, a young girl on holiday with her parents in Santa Cruz. She strays away from them and enters a funhouse that will forever change her. Cut to present day and now played by Lupita Nyong’o, she is heading to her old family vacation home in Santa Cruz with her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) and her two children, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex). Adelaide is apprehensive about returning to the place of the disturbing incident from her childhood but tries to get in the spirit of the trip. They meet their aspirational friends Josh & Kitty Tyler (Eric Heidecker and Elisabeth Moss) and their twin daughters, Becca (Cali Sheldon) and Lyndsey (Noelle Sheldon) at the beach close to the eerie funhouse from Adelaide’s childhood and things take a strange turn from here.

I will not reveal anything more about the plot. I had been excited about this for a while and stayed away from any information about the narrative or even the set up.

No trailers, no reviews, no nuttin’. Recently I’ve been trying to see films with as little information as possible to maximize my own enjoyment. I managed to do so pretty well with Captain Marvel. Again, not trailers, no reading, no nuttin’. No mean feat. It’s a fun experiment.

Hands across AmericaHands Across America

There is commentary here about the duality in humans and shadow and light plays a big part, the fear of the other and the self adorned illusion that these are separate and not two sides of the same coin. This division is happening in America and across the world.
We seem to be in an “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet” place and this is definitely on show here.

Lupita Nyong’o continues to shine and add to her stellar collection of work and it’s great to see Winston Duke getting a bigger turn and more coverage, his comedy chops are on display here and his star is also on the rise. Elisabeth Moss (always brilliant) and Tim Heidecker (of Tim & Eric fame) who owns the best named boat in film to date ‘The B’Yacht’Ch’, have a LOAD of fun as the protagonists friends and the two main kids (Joseph & Alex) feel rooted in the world, as crazy as it gets.

There are plenty of scares and eerie tones at play and the soundtrack by Michael Abel works very well with the images. Anthem is especially strong as a creepy theme. Not to mention the killer tunes and beautiful placement in the film.
Luniz, anyone? N.W.A., anyone?

Whilst not as tight or sparky as his debut, his sophomore effort shows that Peele is no fluke. His knowledge of cinema and horror films, and referencing amongst others, Hitchcock, Kubrick and Spielberg, is real and I’m looking forward to watching this new director’s work as he traverses through the map of this business called film-making.
And all this from one half of the mighty Key & Peele sketch comedy duo.
Who’da thunk it? I had 5 on it.

It’s not about drugsIt’s a dope song.”

4/5