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 RAID 2: BERANDAL (2014)

the_raid_2__berandal_poster__2014__by_camw1n-d72r7cr

 

Gareth Huw Edwards has done it again, only this time bigger.

Sequels are always tricky usually a pale imitation of the original but what Edwards has done here is raised the stakes and upped the scope of the first one.

The film begins almost immediately after the end of The Raid:Redemption and finds our hero being thrust into the more complex world of gangsters and corruption at the highest level. Here, he has to infiltrate one of the major crime syndicates in order to take them down.

Beranthal retains all the best of Redemption and expands on it making it a crime thriller as well as keeping the ultra violence of the fights, of which there are many incredible set pieces. The music, like the first one, brings to mind the music of John Carpenter’s films, moody synths and it fits into the composition of the film beautifully. We get an insight into the world of gangsters in Indonesia and the corruption that is behind it much more extensively than the first one.

Poor Rama (Iko Uwais), it seems like the skills he has have forced him into situations of which there are no escape, short of fighting his way through them to the very end. What is painful for him is an adventure for us.

At 2 and a half hours this is a roller-coaster ride that delivers on all counts bar a slight confusion of who some of the characters are, but that may be down to me.
I got there in the end.

It was with joy that Yayan Ruhian returns as a different character. He was brilliant as Mad Dog in Redemption and he also choreographed the fight sequences with Iko Uwais as he did for the first one. An incredible martial artist whose skills in Pencak Silat and other forms of martial arts are plentiful.
Special mentions go to Julie Estelle as Alicia ‘Hammer Girl’ and Vey Tri Yulisman as Baseball Bat Man who deliver some fantastic action sequences.

Edwards retains the extreme violence and comic book style of the first one and firmly places himself in the top end of action film directors. I wonder if, and when, he will make an English language film and how it will be. Time will tell.

This is definitely a film not for the faint of heart but if you are interested in martial arts and the action genre you should definitely check it out.

4/5

BUY ON BLU-RAY DVD HERE

DOWNLOAD THE FILM ON iTUNES HERE