Movies of the Week #38-39 (2022)

Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022): I wasn’t that surprised to find out that the previous movie of directors’ Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert was Swiss Army Man – it shares the same DNA of otherworldly-ness. But EEAaO is much more, setting itself apart with a creative riff on the Matrix, ripe with memorable characters, a very creative narrative and some stunning visuals. It’s essentially about a mother looking to pay her back taxes and reconnect with her daughter – and then, just like SAM, it’s a movie about depression and mental illness. I’ll let you experience the rest. 8

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022): For whatever reason, this week seems to be one of “movies like…”. Massive Talent is a lot like JCVD (the movie and the show), borrowing not only the concept, but also plot points. Well, thankfully, both work well, with Nick Cage being fetishized here as the pop culture icon that he is – in a tasteful way and alongside an equally charismatic co-lead in Pedro Pascal. You’ll come across several inspired moments of ironic hagiography (haha), which is the fuel that Massive Talent runs on, and these generally make up for the more prosaic plot, adding up to a fun run. 7

Prey (2022): Saying that a particular entry in the Predator series “stands out” is not the praise it should be. So even if Prey is a movie that looks good and provides the staple gore one expects of a Predator movie, it never quite rises above its predecessors. Set in the 18th century, it pits our friendly green blooded alien against a young Indian woman and many malefic French-speaking predators. Funny, how a throwaway moment in Predator 2 offered this set-up. Anyhow, the plot holds no surprises, while lacking all nuance in making its lead a strong female character (ah, where are the Ripleys of today?). There’s some enjoyment to be had, but I can’t really get on the hype train for this one. 6

Three Thousand Years of Longing (2022): George Miller’s follow-up to Fury Road (can you believe it?) is a genie-in-a-bottle kind of situation, starring Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba. It’s hard to fault the two as they traverse tales throughout time, in a grand tale of love and solitude. Unfortunately, the stories feel undercooked and the payoff is emotionally uninvolving, in what proves to be a watchable, but uninspired movie. 6

Fresh (2022): In the same vein as Promising Young Woman, Fresh poses an over-the-top plot about female exploitation, with a literal twist. Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar Jones lead this rom-com-thriller that goes through various tones, until settling on the unpleasant. I found it very difficult to stay interested, while also being put off by the whole set-up, not that I have anything against a bit of…freshness (spoiler). 5