Filed under "Movies"

This Is How I Fight

5 October 2022 • Filed under ,

Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All At Once

Ideas don’t need to be new to be powerful. That’s the great thing about art: anyone can express an idea in their own way and give it new life.

Watching Everything Everywhere All At Once was pretty overwhelming. If you’re not familiar, the film follows haggard laundromat operator Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) as she bounces across parallel universes, guided by her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) from “the alphaverse” to stop their daughter Joy/Jobu Tupaki (Stephanie Hsu)—also from the alphaverse—from destroying everything by jumping into a giant, nihilistic everything bagel. I know, it’s a lot.

The film is a bonkers, surreal romp designed to navigate complex subjects and pull the viewer into Evelyn’s drinking-from-the-firehose experience of discovery & eventual awakening. There is plenty of subject matter to digest as the film barrels ahead: the importance of even the smallest choices, the struggle for true intimacy, the search for approval, choosing hope over despair, and the self-discovery and unconditional acceptance of others in Evelyn’s redemptive arc, just to name a few. And, yes, that’s all important. It’s especially good that Evelyn learns from her experiences and chooses to atone. That’s the hopeful takeaway for all of us: it’s never too late to wake up and evolve.

Then there’s Waymond.

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What Moves You?

2 March 2022 • Filed under ,

A moment of self-discovery. (Columbus, 2017)

A while back, I stumbled upon the film Columbus. It’s mainly a story about the relationship between Casey, a recent high school graduate who feels obligated to continue living at home to help her mother, and Jin, whose aged father—a respected architecture professor—has collapsed into a coma on the eve of a lecture he was scheduled to give in Columbus.

The film watches Jin and Casey’s paths cross in Columbus, and challenge each others’ perceived roadblocks—Jin questioning Casey’s actual need to stay stuck in Columbus instead of going to architecture school, and Casey challenging Jin’s emotionally distant relationship with his father.

Since architecture is part of the connective tissue between these two characters, and Columbus is full of architectural gems, Casey takes Jin to many of her favorite structures throughout the film. One of those is the Irwin Union Bank & Trust. There’s a scene where Casey begins to rattle off a sort of tour guide exposition about the bank, but Jin cuts her off.

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Carbine Action.

26 November 2006 • Filed under ,

With the Thanksgiving holiday now behind us, there is clearly only one logical theatrical choice to usher in the imminent Christmas season.

Get thee to a television set.

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Movie Time.

30 May 2006 • Filed under ,

It seems that some movies these days are too content to be mediocre. Too many times I leave the theatre thinking “I could have done better than that.” And that’s sad, because I supposedly know nothing of filmmaking, really. But what I do know is a good story; plotlines, surprising reveals, dialogue, character development, subtlety. Ah, subtlety. The Da Vinci Code rammed subtlety down my throat. But I digress. In light of my disappointment with today’s modern cinema, I have come up with three very plausible theories to explain Hollywood’s shortcomings:

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7 November 2004 • Filed under

Not that I had any doubts in my mind, but The Incredibles is incredible indeed.

Pixar once again reaffirms my faith in the future of animation with another entry in a growing list of “cartoons” that I do not have to be embarassed to have in my DVD collection. In a genre of film where animation often plays second fiddle to the blatant marketing of plush dolls and plastic playsets, The Incredibles rises above the fray and proves that, truly, cartoons can be intelligent.

What has always attracted me to Pixar’s stellar work has been their attention to the process of good filmmaking. While it seems that many other films (animated or not) rely on star power or the newest special effects, Pixar sticks to the tried and true art of filmmaking. The story and the script are at the heart of the film, and the amazing animation simply fleshes out the project and gives it a face.

Still, if all you are is simply a fan of great animation, The Incredibles does not disappoint. In addition to a top-notch script, the rendering style and attention to detail are superb. Camera movements, texture maps, and character expressions are all delightfully unique and entertaining.

Fun Fact: I actually graduated from college with an electronic graphics degree focusing on 3D animation. Thusly, animated films of this sort have always warmed the cockles of my heart when done well, and inspired furrowed brows and wrathful fist-shaking when done poorly. But all geekdom aside, The Incredibles is exactly what the name says: incredible.

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9 October 2004 • Filed under

I think I may have just seen the most beautiful film of my life.

Hero is an English-subtitled film starring Jet Li as an ancient Chinese warrior with supernatural fighting skills. The film begins as a story of his great accomplishments in defending his kingdom from foreign assassins, but soon takes on a whole new dimension as the characters discover what it truly means to be a hero.

Hero treads familiar ground in its action sequences, picking up where Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon left off. But far from a simple continuation of those special-effects techniques, Hero succeeds in breaking new visual ground. The symbiotic relationship of clenched-fist anticipation and stunning visual treatment take this film further than its producers’ predecessor.

There is an awesome truth in the way color underlies the storytelling; it exposes the lies, alludes to the possibilites, and reveals the final, heroic truth. The sheer saturation or the color is, at times, impossible to describe. The characters are complex and true; even while in direct opposition to each other, they exhibit trust in and honor for each other. And the ending? Well, you just won’t see it coming.

So do yourself a favor, especially if you are at all a person who is inspired visually. Take time on a carefree weekend evening and go see Hero. It will inspire you.

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Some Quality Recommendations From Me To You.

7 July 2004 • Filed under ,

Some awesome entertainment-related items have come to my attention that you may be interested in learning about:

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© Jared Christensen

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