Everything Everywhere All at Once has an intriguing title. The story seems simple, a family that owns a laundromat needs to organize their business. Diedre Beaubeirdra (Jamie Lee Curtis) is investigating the family’s documents for their tax filing. She becomes a menacing monster terrorizing Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) throughout the multiverse.
Out of that simple nugget of a story, Evelyn is distracted by her tangled life. She can’t pay attention to what’s going on but denies her wandering attention. Through the film she finds what her life could have been.
Threaded through the story is humor and the ridiculous possibilities of life. Evelyn finds a way to lighten up each situation. She draws strength from the universes that she visits. Her ability to bring silliness is disarming. The film shows flashes of Evelyn in the different lives that comes from alternative choices. She can switch realities that are linked together so that Evelyn acquires new skills or memories.
When the action stops abruptly, there’s just the emotions of the Evelyn and her daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu). Their chase ends in a stalemate, and they try to sort out what life means. They sit on the edge of a canyon watching the peaceful beauty.
The energy of the film grows out of control with montages of rapid cuts. The screen flits between brief views of Evelyn in many universes. She speeds through possibilities until she has found the resource that the current quandary needs. Googly eyes are used to represent mischief, inner sight and traversing life’s complexity.
The film balances humor, terror and sentimental feelings as the situation turns dangerous and then ludicrous and then emotionally difficult. A path through the multiverse is not easily mapped out. An app on the phone that the universe jumping version of her husband, Waymond Wang (Ke Huy Quan), helps find the right path. The red pill is pressing a green button on the earpiece of a Bluetooth headset. Evelyn learns there she has so many possibilities because of her imagination and flexibility.
Eventually, she still can’t pay attention but is willing to come “back to earth” and acknowledge her quirks. The changes might not stop, but her zany character is game to find a way through them.
Terminator: Dark Fate is action packed and intense. The protagonists are always in danger of being killed by a Terminator sent to kill a young woman. She is important in fighting the coming machine war. The Terminator leaves plenty of collateral damage as he strikes out. Fortunately, the target of the assassin has plenty of help to make it through.
Despite the action, there was very little in the movie that was enjoyable. Dealing with a dystopic future can’t be treated as fun. The film shows a future world that would be horrific, but do I really want to be taken there?
There’s enough horror in our potentially dystopic future. We have some people building up the world now, while many others are doing their worst to let it falter. Terminator: Dark Fate starts with a beach covered with human skulls that just inoculates against striving to solve the problems of today.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was the bright spot in the movie. He had an acerbic aura that briefly lightened up the atmosphere. Describing himself as being good at telling jokes was one funny break in the movie.
Terminator: Dark Fate ramps up with more and more destructive ways to be killed. After so long, it just gets tiring. One asks: “When is it going to be over?”
In Gemini Man, we meet a 50-year-old assassin who is retiring. Henry Brogan (Will Smith) starts the movie carrying out an astounding assassination on a train. After his retirement, strike teams attack him to “tie up loose ends.” The Gemini company attempts to kill Brogan, but he foils their plans. Brogan has an almost mystical level of vigilance that lets him escape. His gun acts with unbelievable precision. Without Brogan’s perfection as an assassin, the secret agencies would have been able to kill him.
On a fantasy/realism scale, Gemini Man takes a different turn than many movies. Commonly, a film tries to have realistic people who have physical fights that don’t injure the film’s heroes. In contrast, Gemini Man has heroes rooted in fantasy, possessing amazing skills and sketchbook characters. This film aspires to realism by showing real injuries after its knock-down fights. Smith and his allies undergo sutures and clean their wounds after the fights.
After the strike team fails, a mysterious figure comes to kill Brogan. That man is quickly revealed to be a clone of Brogan, 25 years younger. After their initial gunfight and chase, Brogan learns that the attacker is genetically identical to himself. Gemini had created the clone, Junior, to build a perfect soldier.
Gemini Man has successfully simulated a younger Will Smith with computer modeling. Junior is indistinguishable from a 25 years younger Will Smith. It’s commonplace to make an actor look older, but Gemini Man’s filmmakers worked hard at renewing the youth that Smith once had.
One conceit in the movie is that the genetic duplication of the character leads to identical struggles, weaknesses and attitudes. It works ok for making the plot flow, but it is another way the film is filled with caricatures.
Gemini Man was an average quality action movie. I went mainly to see the cloned Will Smith. It was an entertaining movie and left me with a positive feeling as I was leaving the cinema.