Nope (2022): Jordan Peele’s latest is fine. It’s a better Twilight Zone ep than his Twilight Zone eps, but never gets as “Nope” as Get Out or Us. The “alien abduction is something else” story is adequate, OJ’s (Daniel Kaluuya) borderline-ASD behavior and animal training focus are useful protagonist skills, as is Emerald’s (Keke Palmer) perky extrovert energy, the actual thing revealed has a great design. Angel’s (Brandon Perea) backstory is zero, he’s there to be slightly useful and trail behind Keke (who wouldn’t?), and make us nostalgic for Fry’s Electronics RIP. “Antlers” Holst (Michael Wincott) is Werner Herzog but even more reckless. Sadly, the entire Jupe/Gordy plot is repetitive, slow, copied from Bojack Horseman (not really, but kinda?) and doesn’t illuminate anything you can’t learn from OJ. This could be a nice breezy 90-minute movie with flabby B-plot cut out, but instead it drags on over 2 hours. ★★★½☆ You know what would’ve improved this? Sightings/abductions start all around the world in the credits. This shouldn’t be a one-off, but the beginning.
Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022): Almost precisely a remake/ripoff of Jet Li’s The One but with Michelle Yeoh, a laundromat, a kinder ending. Michelle doesn’t do much/any of her own fighting or stunts, which is much of the pleasure of a kung fu flick. There’s some really good special effects, a lot of fun jokes. I like it for what it is, but I don’t love or need it. Michelle used to be one of the best kung fu fighters/actresses ever, go watch Police Story 3: Super Cop, Supercop 2, Wing Chun, or Holy Weapon to see her at her peak (CTHD was a little past that). Ke Huy Quan (Short Round, Data from the Goonies!) is great to have back, he should’ve been the New Indiana Jones in Crystal Skull. ★★★½☆ but the ½ is only out of nostalgia.
The One (2001): Jet Li has to play himself and a super-villain version of himself, with different martial arts styles, generally done by him and his stunt double switching places mid-fight! Romantic plot with Carla Gugino is OK. It was savaged by dumb-ass American reviewers who’d never seen a high-speed wire kung fu movie, they shat themselves because actual skilled fighting is scary, racists didn’t like Jet Li as the lead, and uneducated mooks didn’t understand “multiverses”, but 20 years later everyone loves excruciatingly slow tai chi with multiverses and CGI cartoons drawn on top. Fucking amazing film, reject conformity, watch good kung fu. ★★★★½