(More) Films I Watched This Week: Everything Everywhere All at Once & The Lost City

Hi there! Hope you’re having a fabulous week. I already posted a film review this week for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but I’ve seen a couple other great films over the last few days that I just had to talk about as well. There’re just so many amazing films out there!

There’s often talk of how saturated cinemas are nowadays by films based on existing IP, and I think there’s a lot of validity to that conversation. On the other hand, both of the films below are original stories and also thoroughly entertaining big-screen experiences – I hope they do well commercially. Right, there’s a lot to discuss about these films, so let’s get into it!


Everything Everywhere All at Once

Watched May 132022

The multiverse is in vogue right now – and offsetting all the comic book movies is Everything Everywhere All at Once from A24, directors/writers Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert delivering a more self-contained take on the concept. It’s certainly refreshing to see a more human-led example that only has one story to tell, instead of any need to connect to other movies before or after; it means that everything (and indeed anything) is in service of one singular story.

As seems to be becoming more of a trend recently, the film is split into three sections, all focused on main character Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh). Their life is frenetic, juggling running a laundromat whilst struggling to maintain relationships with her family. An already busy day gets far more complex when her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) suddenly channels a version of themselves from another universe, shocking Evelyn with the information that there’re countless other realities and versions of themselves. A strong force is threatening the existence of the entire multiverse, and despite her apparent lack of expertise, Evelyn is key to stopping it.

I’d been really excited for this film, as it’s had such great word of mouth building behind it. The amount of creativity packed in is certainly astounding, with a whole smorgasbord of different realities and versions of Evelyn. The idea of being able to channel other versions of yourself by “verse-jumping” is ingenious, and allows for breathless action scenes where characters are learning new on the go. It challenges you to keep up, and I really enjoyed that. Characters with a mastery of verse-jumping can perform mind-bending feats. Just as a random note, the mix of ordinary office locations with surreal sci-fi encounters reminded me a lot of the video game Control!

What didn’t land as well for me was some of the attempts at humour in these fights, which just weren’t to my tastes with their crudeness (though I’m sure others will enjoy them more). After a gradual build-up in the first act of the film, I sadly found my focus wavering in the middle. Style starts to overcome substance for a little while, showing off repeated multiversal combat scenes against characters we don’t know that well. Much like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it was the final act that I enjoyed more, where Everything Everywhere All at Once starts to use the multiverse to say something meaningful about the main characters and their relationships, ultimately leaving the audience with some thought-provoking ideas to think about.

So, whilst this wasn’t quite the home run that it seems to have been for others, it’s certainly one-of-kind, telling a heartwarming story in eclectic fashion, with endless visual imagination and awesomely flexible performances from the cast. It’s just that some of the chosen humour and set pieces didn’t work for me as well as I hoped. Still, as an example of big-concept human drama, there’s a lot to love here! I’ve also got a feeling that, when available, clips and stills from this film will quickly become viral online…

8/10

Rating: 8 out of 10.

The Lost City

Watched May 142022

After viewing multiverse-centric stories of various success, The Lost City was a delightful palette cleanser that pleasantly surprised me. From the trailer, I expected an occasionally cringe-y, relatively throwaway action adventure – but happily, I was very wrong! Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) is a disillusioned writer of romantic fiction who gets kidnapped and taken to a faraway island by the nefarious Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe). Abigail wants Loretta to find the real-life version of a lost city that features in Loretta’s books. However, Alan (Channing Tatum), the cover model for the character of Dash in Loretta’s books, sets out to rescue Loretta and prove they have real-life skills, with help from Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt).

It’s a really fun set-up that leads to plenty of action and humour amongst the camps and jungles of the island. However, what I was really impressed by was the solid character arcs, in particular for Loretta and Alan. They noticeably grow as people over the film as they tackle both the situation and their own personal pasts, and it’s very rewarding to see their relationship develop – and crucially, it’s far from a damsel-in-distress story. These factors anchor the story emotionally, and every set piece and joke works better for it.

Bullock is wonderful here, really selling how much Loretta has been through and why they’re so closed off from the world. A lot of the brilliant, dry humour (which is very much to my tastes!) comes from Bullock, and the film gives her plenty of moments to play that sarcasm off of. There’re plenty of times when I (and plenty others in the cinema) were laughing along with scenes, and it was just a really enjoyable time; even otherwise generic moments of coincidence in action scenes are nicely undercut by the intelligent, self-aware writing. Tatum has a mix of charm and charisma which works so well for this role, Pitt is magnetically gruff, Radcliffe has a watchable corniness to their villainy, and the less prominent characters get moments to shine too.

Combine all this with a genuinely beautiful island setting, a vibrant soundtrack, and striking costume choices, and this rom-com-meets-Indiana Jones adventure left me grinning. I highly recommend The Lost City, and think it utterly succeeds at becoming the film it is trying to be!

9/10

Rating: 9 out of 10.

For some people, I imagine it’d be hard to imagine giving The Lost City a higher score than Everything Everywhere All at Once, but this is a good example of how I look at writing reviews. Personally, I think one of the most important factors is judging how successful the film/game/etc. is at matching the pitch. In the very subjective world of reviews, this is possibly one of the main objective ways of looking at something; and in this case, I think there was some opportunity untapped within Everything Everywhere All at Once, whilst The Lost City delivered on every aspect of the story it was telling, and actually exceeded my expectations with how it combined different genres together.

That’s just me, though, and part of the joy of talking about films, games, and more is how we all have different opinions. Have an amazing day!

2 thoughts on “(More) Films I Watched This Week: Everything Everywhere All at Once & The Lost City

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