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Why Everything Everywhere All At Once is a strong contender for film of the year - plus a look ahead to Top Gun: Maverick



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Mark Walsh looks at the latest releases, in an article sponsored by Cambridge Arts Picturehouse.

Everything Everywhere All At Once. Picture: A24 (56663821)
Everything Everywhere All At Once. Picture: A24 (56663821)

Everything Everywhere All At Once

Do you ever look back on your life and wonder what might have been? What if you’d had cereal instead of toast this morning? What if you’d followed your dream and gone to swim with dolphins? What if you had massive sausages instead of fingers?

Well, maybe you haven’t wondered about the last one, but Daniels have, and they’ve set about exploring the infinite possibilities of the universe with a film that’s equal parts thrilling and dramatic, hilarious and thought-provoking.

Daniels – the collective name for writer / directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert – had only one possibility in mind to star in their travel through the multiverse, Michelle Yeoh. In her multiverse of an acting career, she’s been a martial arts star, a Bond girl, a Star Trek captain and even played “Santa”, so who better to play the only woman who can save every one of these parallel universes? She plays Evelyn, facing a tax audit of the laundromat she runs with her husband Waymond, who suddenly discovers the ability to travel between different universes. In these she has been everything from a martial arts master and a chef to a movie star, but there may not be any where she has a successful relationship with her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu).

Everything Everywhere All At Once. Picture: A24 (56663817)
Everything Everywhere All At Once. Picture: A24 (56663817)

With a supporting cast including Ke Huy Kwan (returning to acting after an early career most famous for Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom and The Goonies), James Hong and Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniels’s exploration of life’s unlimited possibilities explores everything from love to nihilism and truly feels as if no possible outcome is left unexplored.

The film has a boundless energy, and is likely to leave some audiences crying with tears of laughter while others are caught up in the emotional crisis between Evelyn and Joy.

It’s an epic, magnificent film that’s completely unexpected from directors whose only previous work of significance was the Daniel-Radcliffe-corpse movie Swiss Army Man. Prepare to be moved, bewildered and supremely entertained in the first strong contender for film of the year.

  • Everything Everywhere All At One is now showing.

Top Gun: Maverick

There are two types of people in this life: those to whom if you say, “I feel the need,” they will instantly affirm with you, “the need for speed", and people who should probably then skip to the next film.

For those in the former group, chances are you haven’t lost that loving feeling for Tony Scott’s Eighties cheesefest where pilots with unparalleled skill and nicknames of varying degrees of success are sent to the danger zone after being trained with the best of the best. So far, so clichéd, yet this belated sequel has actually ended up being one of the year’s most anticipated films.

Thirty-six years after Maverick and Iceman first launched themselves off an aircraft carrier faster than the speed of sound, Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer are returning to mentor a new generation of pilots. Iceman has become an admiral, but Maverick has resolutely resisted anything approaching promotion; this might mean he’s the ideal man for the job when his old rival needs someone to prepare a group of talented rookies for a specialised and dangerous mission.

In the three decades since the original, Tom Cruise has remodelled himself as one of the world’s foremost action movie stars, so it’s no surprise that he and the other pilot actors underwent rigorous training before filming at high speeds in real planes. Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy, Oblivion) takes over the directorial reins, and a team of writers including Mission: Impossible scribe Christopher McQuarrie have upped the emotional stakes, with one of the rookies (Miles Teller) playing the son of Maverick’s original co-pilot, Goose. Top Gun: Maverick looks set to deliver the perfect blend of turbocharged action and throwback sentiment in a film which looks set to take our collective breath away.

  • Top Gun: Maverick opens on May 25.

A-Ha: The Movie

Here’s a piece of trivia to lodge somewhere at the back of your brain, just in case it comes up at a pub quiz next time you’re there.

What was A-ha’s only UK number one? You’d think maybe Take On Me, with its iconic animated video, or maybe their Bond theme The Living Daylights, but in fact it was their second single, The Sun Always Shines On TV.

Take On Me did top the charts around the world, including the USA, and Thomas Robsahm’s documentary explores the history and dynamic of Norway’s most famous pop trio.

His film follows guitarist Pål Waaktaar-Savoy, keyboard player Magne Furuholmen and singer Morten Harket over a four year period, exploring both the band’s meteoric rise to success – partly fuelled by their own self-belief – and the tensions that have also existed within the group over their four decade career.

Having split up in 2010, they reformed a few years later and the film features candid interviews with the band as well as stage performances of all those chart-topping greatest hits.

  • A-Ha: The Movie opens on May 20.

Culture Shock and Gaspar Noé Presents

One of the shock-jocks of modern French cinema, Argentine-born director Gaspar Noé has provoked strong reactions across his career with acclaimed films including Irreversible, Enter The Void, Love and Climax, and while his latest Vortex marks a more restrained impulse, his examination of the difficulties of approaching the end of life using a split-screen technique throughout is his most compelling film to date.

He’s curated a season of films under the Culture Shock banner which show the breadth of his cinematic influences. Michael Haneke’s Amour (showing June 6) is a film from a kindred spirit who’s also pushed cinematic boundaries to their limits and explores similar themes to Vortex around dementia and death. The season also includes Umberto D (May 23), Vittorio De Sica’s neorealist classic about a man and his dog facing eviction from their apartment, Tokyo Story (May 30), Yasujirō Ozu’s masterpiece about an elderly couple visiting their children, and Sunset Boulevard (June 13), Billy Wilder’s darkly comic noir starring Gloria Swanson as a fading silent film actress.

The Culture Shock season also features a chance to catch another masterpiece, Dutch director Paul Verhoeven’s English language debut Robocop (May 25), here restored to the director’s original vision. Sharply satirical, comically violent and endlessly quotable, it deserves its place in this series of films showcasing directors at the peak of their powers.

Read more from Mark Walsh

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