Every Day In Kaimukī: Directed by: Alika Maikau
SYNOPSIS: Naz, a cynical and charismatic 20-something, has spent his entire life in tranquil O’ahu, Hawaiʻi, skateboarding with his friends and hosting a nightly radio show where he spotlights emerging musicians. When his girlfriend Sloane nabs the chance to move to bustling New York, Naz begins preparing for their big move, planning every detail down to his cat’s absurd flight plan. Even when dreaming about what life outside the island might look like, however, Naz wonders whether uprooting his world is the right decision, and if anywhere will ever really feel like home when he’s always been an eternal outsider.
Every Day in Kaimuki is the definition of an indie film. A fairly simple story with what I believe to be a bare bones crew and bare bones filmmaking. You can tell that this is a labor of love done on an extremely low budget. That doesn’t make it a bad thing. I honestly kind of enjoyed that. There was a type of charm to the film that comes with the low budget. I have the most respect for people that just go out and make films and to make one of the feature length, that is an achievement. You then add the other obstacle of filming during a pandemic, I bow down to you and to everyone who has been making films for the past few years.
The performances were ok. They seemed a little bland and generic at times. This film was constructed like half feature and half documentary so I didn’t expect the greatest acting I’ve ever seen. I think the thing that is done best here is the sense of surroundings and the building of atmosphere. You can tell that the writer, director and everyone involved have been in Hawaii for awhile and knew the area, the people and the way of life. It was like being transported to the island with cinematography, sound and set design. Really well done.
The writing works on many different levels. This is an extremely relatable story for someone around my age and in a situation I was in not so long ago. The key themes of the film deal with the questions of what do you want to do with your life, moving on from things that are comfortable and taking leaps of faith to go beyond that comfort zone. Our main character is put through the mental tornado of figuring out what he wants from life and if leaving the place he’s always lived to go across the world is the right decision. That conflict is something that was conveyed really well in the film.
FINAL: Every Day in Kaimuki is a mega indie film that tackles serious themes that everyone has dealt with at one point in their lives. The atmosphere created by Alika Maikau is fabulous and the constant low-key turmoil of our main character is both very real and extremely relatable to so many. A film that won’t leave a huge impact in terms of changing filmmaking, but one that tells a simple story that relates to so many.
15 for Writing: 10
15 for Performances: 9
10 for Entertainment: 7
10 for Direction: 7
10 for Emotions: 7
5 for Cinematography: 4
5 for Score: 4
5 for Pacing: 4
15 for Technical: 14
5 for Rewatchability: 3
5 for Automatic: 5
Every Day In Kaimukī: 74/100 | Grade: C
Jack Lautaret is a banana meter approved film critic, the founder of the Jack Lautaret YouTube Channel and host of the Finatic Film Review Podcast. He is a member of the Online Film and Television Association. Twitter: @JackLautaret