Cinema Dispatch: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Everything Everywhere All at Once and all the images you see in this review are owned by A24

Directed by Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert

I heard a lot of good things about this movie going into it, but what really grabbed my attention was finding out that this was directed by The Daniels. Their previous film, Swiss Army Man, was a pretty fantastic little indie film (that I did a pretty poor job reviewing despite giving it a good score) and I’d always wondered what they had been up to since then. You probably don’t need me to tell you if this movie is good given how far-reaching the praise has been for it (and the fact that I’m reviewing it almost a month after its release), but maybe my little voice out there in the universe will ultimately make a difference for someone! Is this as great as everyone says it is, or will I be the bearer of bad news that’s about to rain on everyone’s parade? Let’s find out!!

Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) is not very happy with her life. She runs a laundromat with her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), her father (James Hong) has health issues and needs to be taken care of, and her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) is bugging her about something when all she wants to do is keep everything from falling into chaos. Throwing a wrench into her plan is the IRS who is auditing her business, and the agent assigned to her case (Jamie Lee Curtis) is not exactly the most amenable to her stressful situation. Sometimes you just have to wonder where things went wrong and if there’s a better version of you out there. Fortunately for Evelyn though, she gets an answer to that question when her husband starts acting very weird and tells her to wear these wireless earpieces that end up sending her to alternate dimensions. It turns out that Evelyn may just be the key to solving some sort of inter-dimensional timey-wimey nonsense and that her husband is being controlled by a parallel version of him from the Alpha-verse that is able to hop dimensions and is searching for a way to stop a terrible threat that is about to shatter all of existence. Sort of a lot to drop on someone already struggling to make it through the day, but when the alternative is talking to someone at the IRS, it’s pretty easy to figure out which is the better option! Evelyn has to find the strength within her and put everything she holds dear on the line in order to save the future (or something like that), but can she juggle the problems of multiple versions of her life when she’s struggling just to deal with the one she’s got? What is this all-powerful threat that Evelyn needs to face, and is Alpha Waymond keeping some very important secrets from her? Can you apply deductions from businesses in an alternate reality, or do you need separate filings for each parallel universe?

“This may be a bit hard to believe.” “Let me guess. You’re from the planet Mars and the stream deck you tried to write off was for parts to rebuild your spaceship?” “I mean, you’re not TOO far off.”
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Cinema Dispatch: Turning Red

Turning Red and all the images you see in this review are owned by Pixar

Directed by Domee Shi

Pixar really hasn’t made anything that I thought was spectacular since Coco, which is a shame because it’s no secret that they’ve been the go-to studio for high-quality family entertainment. To see the studio focus more and more on sequels while their original work feels less inspired each year is just another reason why the world really did just come to an end in the last few years. That’s not even getting into the cowardice of Disney itself in the last few weeks, so there was certainly a lot of pessimism from me going into this one. With so much up against it, does this latest outing from Pixar manage to turn things around and make me appreciate them once more, or will I have to look to the Spider-Verse sequel if I want to see a great animated family film this year? Let’s find out!

Our story begins with Meilin “Mei” Lee (Rosalie Chiang) who has recently turned thirteen and is living her best life in the heart of Toronto in 2002. She gets good grades at school, she has three great friends named Miriam, Priya, and Abby (Ava Morse, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, and Hyein Park), and she has a fantastic relationship with her mother (Sandra Oh)! They work together at their temple, they watch Chinese dramas on TV, and it seems like nothing can possibly tear them apart! That is until puberty hits and with it comes an ancient family gift/curse which turns the women of their family in red pandas whenever they feel excessive emotions. Naturally being a giant furry creature is not conducive to Mei’s life goals and so she needs to keep it under wraps while her family puts together a ritual to rid her of the panda once and for all! Sounds simple enough, but the teenage years being what they are mean that life gets in the way pretty quickly; especially when Mei and her friends’ favorite boy band 4 Town are coming to town before the ritual can take place. This newfound power as well as the other changes happening to her have given Mei a new sense of independence which may help her and her friends get to the concert but is putting a serious strain on her relationship to her mother. Can Mei thread the needle between a goody-two-shoes overachiever and a rambunctious bad-girl without losing sight of what’s really important? How has her own mother’s experience with this gift/curse affected her, and is it only growing the divide between her and her daughter? If Mei’s mother is worried now, wait until she finds out what the internet is!

“Our gender-swapped Mario cosplay is off the hook!!”    “WAAA!”
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Turning Red”