Entertainment

'The Matrix Resurrections' Is an Exhilarating Return to a Great Series

Mr. Anderson, welcome back. We missed you.

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

For some of us-a lot of us, as this sort of thing increasingly becomes the norm-the thought of yet another blockbuster franchise harnessing familiar IP to make a guaranteed buck results in more inward groaning than breathless fannish excitement. Take The Matrix, for example, the Wachowski sisters’ cyberpunk masterpiece that rolled all of society’s anxieties about the growing power of the digital realms into a martial arts action epic with an effortlessly cool late-’90s aesthetic. As fantastic as the 1999 original is, it was both inevitable that there would be sequels and also impossible that they would engender the same sense of wonder. To this point, the first two sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, weren’t particularly well received by critics or fans, though in the years since they’ve been redeemed in the eyes of both groups as we all discovered the errors of our ways. But still: returning to the Matrix? After all these years? The Matrix Resurrections is worth the trip.

It’s difficult to write about what makes this movie as great as it is without spoiling all the good stuff, but we’ll give it a shot: Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is a brilliant game designer whose finance-minded partner Smith (a delightfully slimy Jonathan Groff) is pressing him to make a sequel to his seminal game The Matrix, and the pressure is weighing on his mind, causing him to have hallucinations and psychotic breaks. At least, that’s what his therapist (Neil Patrick Harris in electric-blue glasses, har har) tells him. But when familiar characters from the world of his game show up, telling him it’s all real and that, by the way, that gorgeous lady in the coffee shop he has a crush on (Carrie-Anne Moss) is crucial to his escape, Thomas has to make a choice between accepting the reality he was given and demanding to be shown the truth.

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

To say that this movie feels simultaneously like returning to a home you’ve always known and traveling to a place you’ve never seen before would maybe scratch the surface of what it’s like to watch it. Lana Wachowski, directing solo this time around, has turned an already fantastic idea for a sequel into an often hilarious (and sometimes downright pissed-off) meta-commentary on the nature of IP-driven entertainment and on returning to places that once were familiar but have now evolved beyond anything you could have imagined. Warner Bros., the studio with which the Wachowskis have always had a tumultuous relationship, is acidly name-dropped. Chad Stahelski, Keanu Reeves’ longtime stunt double and director of the John Wick films, appears as a Neo stand-in. Thomas Anderson’s therapist owns a black cat named Deja Vu and routinely prescribes Thomas bottle upon bottle of shiny blue pills.

I can’t get into how many other familiar faces return for this movie, or how many familiar characters appear with new faces, or what makes the completely new characters (Jessica Henwick’s blue-haired gunslinger Bugs in particular, as well as Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s spin on a classic) such fantastic additions to a world that grows in complexity every time we visit, not unlike a runaway computer program. I also won’t get into the ways in which Resurrections further examines the cosmic arm-wrestling match between choice and destiny introduced in the first Matrix, before turning even that on its head in a series of final twists. I won’t talk about any of that because this is the sort of movie that begs to be experienced firsthand, as you grin in glee and disbelief at what the heck did they just do? Can they even do that?? Did that really just happen?? This movie finds joy in retreading old ground and picking out threads here and there to weave into new pathways, unexpected twists and turns, and an endless array of surprises-in other words, the Platonic ideal of a franchise sequel. Welcome back, Matrix series. We missed you.

The Matrix Resurrections premieres on HBO Max and opens in select theaters Dec. 22. Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Entertainment

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.

Victoria

Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.

Queensland

BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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