Today we review two films that you should seek out if you appreciate quality genre films. For Sci-fi and a multiverse premise, there’s Everything Everywhere All At Once, and if you like a satire about corporate life and labor relations, seek out the Spanish film, El Buen Patron, which stars Javier Bardem.
Everything Everywhere All At Once (Video On Demand) – Yes, this is the indie film that the Sci-fi geeks have been raving about, and it’s the live action multiverse film that came out of nowhere to become the critics darling of late. It stars Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn, and in his comeback film after being a child star in Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom, and in The Goonies, Ke Huy Quan as husband Waymond. It’s directed by the Daniels, who offered us Swiss Army Man a few years back, so you know from the start this will be filled with heavy doses of weirdness, with jabs of nihilism, and splatters of outrageousness. After all, Swiss Army is the film that starred Paul Dano, and featured Daniel Radcliffe as a corpse that washes up on an island, and is propelled by flatulence.
With EEAAO, there is the deceptive start that has to do with a typical hard-working Chinese-American family. The daughter was born in the USA and had attitude in spades, and there’s the old father that’s being taken care of by Evelyn. Then from out of nowhere, we’re asked to suspend disbelief and go along on an unbelievable, crazy ride. It’s much like riding a roller coaster – you either love it and want more, or you shut your eyes throughout the ride. It’s not even worth trying to attach logic or coherence to the plot of the film, as just as the roller coaster ride, if you have to ask ‘Why take a ride’, you’ve already missed the point. This film does defy explanation, and I’m sure the Daniels are laughing their heads off reading the critics who try. Just watch this and enjoy!
El Buen Patrón (The Good Boss) (Video On Demand) – An insightful social comedy/satire about corporate life, and being on the top of that particular ladder, this Spainish film swept most of the major awards of the 2022 Goyas – the country’s equivalent of the Oscars or BAFTA. Best film, best actor, best director, original screenplay, score, and editing; this film written and directed by Fernando León de Aranoa, and starring Javier Bardem, was undoubtedly the Goyas big winner of 2022. At its heart, it’s about labor relations and the kind of meddling a company owner can indulge in, as he treats his company and its employees like family, like his children. And there’s irony here, as Blanco (Bardem) is married to Adela (Sonia Almarcha), but they are childless.
The plot revolves around the days preceding a visit from a selection committee that may award his company with a citation of excellence – something very important for him. The major complication that arises comes from an intern, Liliana (Almudena Amor), that Blanco takes a shine to, with disastrous results that even he could not predict. Meanwhile, there’s a manager who has domestic issues that are affecting his work, plus a disgruntled employee who’s been fired and now pickets the company’s gates. With the selection committee due any day for a surprise visit, one can imagine the stressful juggling act that Blanco takes on. Bardem is stupendous, acting with his facial expressions even when the lines are being said by the others in the cast. His magnetism glues the film together.