No beating around the bush, kids. It’s only April, but Daniels (“Swiss Army Man”) “Everything Everywhere at Once” (A24-AGBO-Ley Line Entertainment-IAC Films-Year of the Rat, 2022, 140 min) (A24-AGBO-Ley Line Entertainment-IAC Films-Year of the Rat, 2022). I’ve seen it this year. It might be better than any movie that hasn’t been released yet.
Here we have a multiverse epic starring Hong Kong legend Michelle Yeoh (“Tomorrow Never Dies”) as Evelyn Quan Wang, a scattered middle-aged woman with family and tax issues. You know, that old chestnut. No surprises, but you’ll get to see amazing performances from a great cast, with Jamie Lee Curtis picking as the IRS agent, and 93-year-old veteran James Hong (“The In-Laws” and “Chinatown”) as Yeoh’s father, Gong Gong Wang. The less you know about entering, the better, so that’s all you’ll get from me.
But yeah, this is the live-action animated movie that really hits the sweet spot. It might just be the 2022 indie “Pulp Fiction.”
Directors I Can Live Without: Frank Miller, Guy Ritchie… and Michael Bay.
Bay has been making big movies for nearly 30 years, but the only movies I like are “The Rock” (1996) and “Pain & Gain” (2013). Oftentimes, Bay is poor guy Tony Scott, making for brilliant artistic epics ruined by Neanderthal conspiracy and unfortunate racist and sexist humor. I love Transformers, but in every movie, some humans say something bigoted or rude, and bam! I am outside. I made it to about 30 minutes in Transformers: Age of Extinction (2013), and when comedian Tom Lennon couldn’t laugh, I was saved. If you had Tom Lennon in your movie to be funny and he wasn’t funny, I wouldn’t use you.
So no one was more surprised than I actually found myself amused by a picture of Michael Bay. People usually go to his films for technically superior action sequences, not compelling and absorbing acting by his actors, but two dynamic and compelling performances are actually driving Bay’s latest film, “Ambulance” (Universal-New Republic Pictures-Bay Films-Endeavour). Content – X-Entertainment Project, 2022, 138 min). This says something from the man who committed “Pearl Harbor” (2001) and “The Island” (2005).
Cash-strapped Yahya Abdul-Mentin II (“we”, “Candyman”) goes to his old friend Jake Gyllenhaal (“Spider-Man: Far From Home”) to ask for a loan, and Gyllenhaal makes him the driver for a bank robbery in exchange for a big cash cut. The mission goes south, a policeman is injured and the two men drive a nearby ambulance and kidnap EMT technician Eza Gonzalez (“Baby Driver”). Playing in near real time, “Ambulance” looks like Bay’s version of “Speed” (1994); The movie goes through kinds of mayhem keeping the ambulance running, but it would just be crazy work for Bee without Gyllenhaal’s obsessed crook and Gonzalez’s ingrained realism. They don’t just drive the ambulance, they drive the story, and you can also have three car flips that make you scream “Stop!” There in the theater.
As a superhero movie, vampire movie and horror movie, Daniel Espinosa’s “Morbius” (Sony-Columbia-Marvel-Arad Productions-Matt Tolmach Productions, 2022, 104 min) is a triple failure. It really sucks on all three levels. Jared Leto plays a brilliant scientist with a terminal blood disease who decides that the best cure is to let vampire bats feed on him. (So what did you think was going to happen? Maybe I’m not that good after all.)
I only read Spider-Man comics for a few years in the early ’70s, but I was there when Morbius the Living Vampire was a new character, along with a Shaft-inspired vampire hunter and Super Fly called Blade. All of the Morbius adventures I’ve read have been better than this movie, and my 10-year-old could have suggested a more suitable choice of title character than Jared Leto. (Basically, anyone other than Jared Leto.) Morbius is clearly suffering from committee reasoning and aimless reshoots. There is one effective horror sequence in the middle of the movie involving Morbius, a frightened nurse and a long corridor with flashing lights, but that’s it.
We get incorrect movies like “Morbius” not because someone has a great idea for a Morbius movie, but because Sony-Columbia’s Spider-Man rights details allow them to make movies about any characters in the Web-Slinger Universe, like bugnuts from the “Venom” movies . (I can see it now 10 years later when they have exhausted every other option: “Daily Bugle: The Movie.”)
Even Morbius deceives his origin story. Vampire movies are all about setting the rules, but the movie doesn’t know its rules.
What is Morbius and what can it do? No one who made this movie had an idea, considering that Leto’s character could see themselves in mirrors. When he flies, he leaves big clouds of CGI vapor trails, thoughtful and later, just plain dumb, like the rest of the movie.