Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)

Everything Everywhere All at Once
Director: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
Writer: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, James Hong, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tallie Medel, Jenny Slate, Harry Shum Jr.
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 5.5.2022

Plot:
Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) and her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) run a laundromat together, a business that has made it possible for them to raise their daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) but that hasn’t been going that well and that is currently being audited by IRS. A fact that Evelyn’s father Gong Gong (James Hong) isn’t allowed to know. But Evelyn and Waymond have to take him with them to the appointment with their auditor Deirdre (Jamie Lee Curtis). On the way there, Waymond starts behaving strangely though, giving weird instructions to Evelyn and finally telling her that he is from a parallel universe and the multiverse needs Evelyn to save it. Evelyn would rather not, but there is no escaping Jobu Tupaki.

I had extremely high expectations for this film. Not just because everything about it looked great, but also because I loved Swiss Army Man so very much. That, of course, also made me worried, because we all know how hard sophomore works have it when the first one is simply magical. In any case, I need not have worried. Everything Everywhere All at Once is an absolute delight.

The very colorful filmposter showing drawings of characters, various symbols and a whole lot of googly eyes arranged in a psychedelic circle.
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In the Shadow of the Moon (2019)

In the Shadow of the Moon
Director: Jim Mickle
Writer: Gregory Weidman, Geoffrey Tock
Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Cleopatra Coleman, Bokeem Woodbine, Michael C. Hall, Rudi Dharmalingam, Al Maini, Quincy Kirkwood, Sarah Dugdale
Seen on: 10.4.2022

Plot:
Locke (Boys Holbrook) is a police officer hoping for a big career move. When a mysterious killing spree hits Philadelphia, he connects the dots and traces the bodies and their unusual way of dying to a mysterious woman in a hoodie (Cleopatra Coleman). This realization is only the start of decades of obsession for Locke – and the end of his life as he knew it.

In the Shadow of the Moon has a couple of interesting ideas, but it didn’t quite win me over. I think that’s because it chose the – to me – wrong angle to tell its story.

The film poster showing half of Locke's (Boyd Holbrook) face. Superimposed over his shoulder is a street at night, a giant moon in the background, and Rya (Cleopatra Coleman) wearing a hoodie and holding a strang weapon in the front.
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Re-Watch: The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

The Matrix Revolutions
Director: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Writer: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Sequel to: The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Harry Lennix, Harold Perrineau, Jada Pinkett Smith, Gina Torres, Mary Alice, Nathaniel Lees, Helmut Bakaitis, Lambert Wilson, Monica Bellucci, Collin Chou, Essie Davis, Nona Gaye, Cornel West, Bruce Spence
Seen on: 1.11.2021

Content Note: ableism

Plot:
Zion is still under threat, and their time is running out. Meanwhile Neo (Keanu Reeves) is unconscious, and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) suspect that he is still in the Matrix, although his body isn’t plugged in. They start a desperate search for him. Meanwhile Neo learns more about The Matrix and his connection to it – knowledge that will hopefully lead to an end of the war between humans and machines. But whether he can achieve his goal before Zion is destroyed completely is still questionable.

Where The Matrix Reloaded was a step-down from The Matrix, The Matrix Revolutions is a plunge down for several stories. It’s a boring film that gives us an unsatisfying ending of the trilogy. I really hope that the new film will make up for it a little.

The film poster showiing Neo (Keanu Reeves) in the rain, but the raindrops are actually strings of Matrix.
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Re-Watch: The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

The Matrix Reloaded
Director: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Writer: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Sequel to: The Matrix
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Harry Lennix, Harold Perrineau, Jada Pinkett Smith, Gina Torres, Gloria Foster, Nathaniel Lees, Helmut Bakaitis, Lambert Wilson, Monica Bellucci, Randall Duk Kim, Steve Bastoni, Don Battee, Collin Chou, Essie Davis, Terrell Dixon, Nona Gaye, Roy Jones Jr., Shane C. Rodrigo, Cornel West, Leigh Whannell
Seen on: 1.11.2021

Plot:
Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) have joined and built up a strong resistance against the machines, both inside the Matrix and outside of it. When they learn about plans of a large-scale attack on Zion, the one human city left on earth, they only have a short time-frame to prevent it. Meanwhile, Neo is plagued by dreams of Trinity dying that feel an awful lot like visions. Seeking the Oracle (Gloria Foster) for help again, he learns of what is needed. But getting it isn’t easy, especially since Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) also picked up a few skills.

With the upcoming sequel to the original trilogy, I didn’t want to leave it at just watching the first film although I knew that the second film couldn’t keep up with the first. Unfortunately, even with some distance from the hype that the first film generated, The Matrix Reloaded is a disappointment.

The film poster shwoing Neo (Keanu Reeves) and behind him Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) in a brick-built tunnel opening.
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Re-Watch: The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix
Director: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Writer: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Gloria Foster, Joe Pantoliano, Marcus Chong, Julian Arahanga, Matt Doran, Belinda McClory, Anthony Ray Parker
Seen on: 1.11.2021

Plot:
Thomas Anderson, better known under his hacker name Neo (Keanu Reeves), receives a mysterious message that tells him to follow the white rabbit, just before there is a knock on the door and a customer with a white rabbit tattoo leads him away. This fateful encounter brings him to Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), probably the best known hackers in the world, always on the run from the law. They offer him a choice: Neo can follow them and learn the truth about the world, or he can forget about everything and stay trapped. What Neo doesn’t know is that Morpheus is convinced that Neo can save them all. In fact, Neo isn’t even aware that they need saving at first. But he soon learns better.

To say that The Matrix is a formative movie for filmmaking is probably putting it mildly. Seeing it again now, more than twenty years later, the footprint it left is very obvious – and understandable. It is still an awesome film.

The film poster showing Neo (Keanu Reeves), and behind him Cypher (Joe Pantoliano), Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). All dressed n black, wearing sunglasses and holding weapons.
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Droste no hate de bokura [Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes] (2021)

Droste no hate de bokura
Director: Junta Yamaguchi
Writer: Makoto Ueda
Cast: Kazunari Tosa, Riko Fujitani, Gôta Ishida, Masashi Suwa, Yoshifumi Sakai, Haruki Nakagawa, Munenori Nagano, Takashi Sumita, Chikara Honda, Aki Asakura
Part of: SLASH Film Festival
Seen on: 29.9.2021
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Plot:
After a long working day, café owner Kato (Kazunari Tosa) retires to his apartment above the shop, only to be greeted by himself on-screen, talking from the café downstairs two minutes into the future. Albeit only a short time into the future, this glimpse sets off a chain of events that will change Kato’s life forever.

Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes didn’t just win the festival competition this year, it also won my heart, becoming one of my favorites of the festival for sure. It’s smart, perfectly crafted and fun.

The film poster showing Kato (Kazunari Tosa) holding a screen that shows a refracting image.
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A Pure Place (2021)

A Pure Place
Director: Nikias Chryssos
Writer: Nikias Chryssos, Lars Henning Jung
Cast: Sam Louwyck, Greta Bohacek, Claude Heinrich, Daniel Sträßer, Daniel Fripan, Wolfgang Czeczor, Lena Lauzemis, Mariella Josephine Aumann
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 27.9.2021
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Content Note: (critical treatment of) white supremacy, fascism and cults

Plot:
When they were very small, Irina (Greta Bohacek) and her brother Paul (Claude Heinrich) came into the care of soap producer Fust (Sam Louwyck). That means, they started working in his factory and learned to revere him like a god, always hoping to be pretty and clean enough to make it from below (the factory) to above (his mansion). And it seems that Irina finally gets her chance at a turn in the light when Fust grows tired of one of his followers. Only that this means that Irina has to leave Paul behind.

A Pure Place starts off well enough, with building up the whole setting as a thinly veiled allegory for white supremacy. But then it gets lost in its own story, seems to turn in circles and never reaches a satisfying conclusion. Plus, there were some really problematic elements with regards to Irina and the male gaze that ruined the film for me a little.

The film poster, drawn comic-style, showing Irina (Greta Bohacek) as a greek statue with a snake and a goblet. Behind her we can see Fust (Sam Louwyck), his arms spread wide and his congregation with soap around their necks, some wearing hooded robes. In front of Irina we can see Siegfried (Daniel Sträßer) self-flagellating.
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In the Earth (2021)

In the Earth
Director: Ben Wheatley
Writer: Ben Wheatley
Cast: Joel Fry, Ellora Torchia, Reece Shearsmith, Hayley Squires, John Hollingworth, Mark Monero
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 26.9.2021
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Plot:
In the middle of a global pandemic, Martin (Joel Fry) arrives in a nature reserve to join his colleague Olivia (Hayley Squires) in research. Park ranger Alma (Ellora Torchia) is supposed to lead him to the scientist’s camp in the woods. As they walk, Alma realizes, though, that Martin has a bit more than a professional connection to Olivia. Before they arrive at the camp, Martin and Olivia get attacked, though. There is generally something strange going on in this forest.

I have written it before, I will write it again: Ben Wheatley and me is a combination that just doesn’t work. That’s also true for In the Earth that I found a little muddled at best, and boring at worst.

The film poster showing an obelisk-like boulder with a round hole at the top in the forest under a starry sky.
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2551.01 (2021)

2551.01
Director: Norbert Pfaffenbichler
Writer: Norbert Pfaffenbichler
Cast: Stefan Erber, David Ionescu
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 27.9.2021
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Plot:
In an underground world of tunnels and masked people, a man with the head of a monkey finds a little child with a sack over their head in trouble. He helps the kid – and after that, the kid doesn’t let go of him anymore, no matter how much he tries to shake them off.

I was really quite taken with 2551.01, an experimental SciFi with a comedic touch that has its very own style. It’s really not something you get to see everyday.

The film poster showing a yellow-tinted image of a table set for a feast, but one in rather destitute shape surrpunded by strange people. Below it is a purple-tinted image of a child wearing a sack over their head, cradling a doll.
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Lapsis (2020)

Lapsis
Director: Noah Hutton
Writer: Noah Hutton
Cast: Dean Imperial, Madeline Wise, Babe Howard, Ivory Aquino, Dora Madison, James McDaniel, Frank Wood, Arliss Howard
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 24.9.2021
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Plot:
Ray (Dean Imperial) tries to take care of his brother Jamie (Babe Howard) who suffers from a mysterious illness. Treatments for this illness are expensive and experimental, but Ray is determined to get his brother help. Even if that means having to go cabling – that is, laying miles and miles of cables through the forest on foot, a requirement for the new quantum technology that is taking over the world. Ray is suspicious of the technology and he needs to take an illegal short-cut to start working soon, but in his desperation, he will do anything.

Lapsis is a unique and very entertaining film. I really enjoyed it and its off the beaten path thinking and style.

The film poster showing a big golden cube with various cables potruding from it.
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