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

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980)

Empire_strikes_back_poster_vader

Obi-Wan: “That boy is our last hope.”

Yoda: “No. There is another.”

1980 couldn’t come quick enough after 1977 gave us Star Wars leaving us wanting more.

The Empire Strikes Back. Sounded ominous but boy did it sound like a lot of fun. As a 9 year old boy going to the Odeon Cinema in Chesterfield with my 6 year old brother this was so exciting. As with Star Wars we had to line up to get our tickets and boy was it worth it. I’m not going to spoil it for the 4 people who haven’t seen it but the reveal was like no other we had experienced. Noooooooooooooo.

This being the middle part of the trilogy it was purposefully darker (well, look at the title), yeah there would be adventure and fun but we were not to be molly-coddled as an audience. This was our generations ‘head in a box Seven’ moment and no-one could have seen it coming.

We were reintroduced to our heroes, Luke, Leia , Han, Chewie, 3P0 and R2 and the evil Darth Vader. We are introduced to new characters; the smooth as silk-Lando Calrissian and the Emperor but no-one expected the world, nay universe, to fall in love with a muppet. Enter Yoda, an 800 year old shaman, mystic Jedi who would teach young Luke the ways of the Force.

“Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter”

And so, many more quotes were released into the world that are as popular now as they were back then.

Just magical.

Here the director was Irvin Kirshner, with George Lucas taking an ever so-slightly back-footed Executive Producer role here, but make no mistake he was heavily involved in all aspects of this film. Written by Lawrence Kasdan (who also wrote the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark, Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens (along with JJ Abrams) and Leigh Brackett, here we get much more depth and layers in the characters. A New Hope set up the world and Empire took us deep within the heart of it.

This is the dark middle of the trilogy, limbs are lost and a massive reveal that made its way into the cultural pantheon regarding family was birthed.

The Empire Strikes Back immersed us firmly into the Star Wars universe and allowed us to get lost (and found) in the drama onscreen.

Another absolute classic.

5/5

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