Tagged: Keanu Reeves

“Replicas” with Keanu Reaves, hits home video in April

SANTA MONICA, CA (February 25, 2019) – Experience a completely modern twist on the Frankenstein myth when Replicas arrives on Digital April 2 and on Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital), DVD, and On Demand April 16 from Lionsgate. Keanu Reeves (John Wick franchise, The Matrix franchise) stars in and co-produces this sci-fi thriller from producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers). The mind-bending film also stars Alice Eve (Star Trek: Into Darkness, She’s Out of My League), Thomas Middleditch (TV’s “Silicon Valley”, The Wolf of Wall Street), Emily Alyn Lind (TV’s “Revenge”), Emjay Anthony (The Jungle Book, Bad Moms), and John Ortiz (Silver Linings Playbook, American Gangster, Bumblebee).

In this suspenseful sci-fi thriller, Keanu Reeves stars as William Foster, a neuroscientist on the verge of transferring human consciousness into a computer when his beloved wife (Alice Eve) and children are tragically killed in a car crash. Desperate to resurrect his family, William recruits a fellow scientist (Thomas Middleditch) to help secretly clone their bodies and create replicas. When William learns that he can only replicate three of the four family members, he makes a decision with fateful consequences.

Take home Replicas and dive headfirst into the twists and turns of this intense brain-churner with an audio commentary with director Jeffrey Nachmanoff and executive producer James Dodson, a making of featurette, and never-before-seen deleted scenes. The Replicas Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $24.99 and $19.98, respectively.

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REVIEW: 47 Ronin

47 RobinProperly channeling Japanese culture for American audiences has been a challenge given how different our tastes and expectations are. We find the content of much of their Manga and anime either not to our taste or outright incomprehensible. So, the challenge of adapting their bushido Edo-era and adding in some powerful fantasy into 47 Ronin was going to be a challenge. Mix in American performer Keanu Reeves as a half-breed you have an uphill challenge in making the film palatable to enough moviegoers to justify the $170 million budget.

It has some terrific concepts and incredible visuals but it’s a mess of a movie, with a long, sluggish middle that loses the audience. Even amazing CG and a strong Asian cast can’t support a messy script.

The story, in short: Lord Asano Naganori (Min Tanaka) is disgraced after the efforts of Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano), conspires with a shape-shifting witch (Rinko Kikuchi). He commits seppuku and Kira takes charge of Asano’s family by arranging for him to marry Asano’s daughter, Mika (Ko Shibasaki). She agrees to the marriage but extracts a promise to have a year to mourn her father. Asano’s 47 samurai has acknowledged the deviltry that befell their master and they become ronin, masterless samurai, vowing revenge. Enter Kai (Reeves), who just happens to be in love with Mika, who partners with Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada), the ronin’s leader.

While the action is swell along with some stuff I have not seen before, the characters are flat, one-dimensional. There are the brooding glances, clichéd dialogue, and predictable character beats that spoil the film’s potential. Much of this is a result of delays in shooting, studio interference and an emphasis on visual wonder and not enough on content. The film was a major bomb in the United States, bringing in under $40 million. As a result, you likely missed this last winter but can make up for it now with the Blu-ray release from Universal Home Entertainment. The video transfer is stunning with equally strong sound.

Clearly, the studio gave up on the film and went with a perfunctory suite of extras including four Deleted Scenes (8:00), which are interesting but easily excised; a brief Re-Forging the Legend (7:00); Keanu & Kai (4:00); Steel Fury (6:00), which looks at the film’s training, swordplay and battles; and Myths, Magic & Monsters (8:00).

The film is a curiosity and there are glimpses of what it could have been.

Bluegrass Films Options Graphic Novel ‘The Order’

Scott Stuber’s Bluegrass Films has optioned the graphic novel The Order from Arcana/Benderspink, and has set writer Brian Nathanson (The Many Deaths Of Barnaby James) to write the script.

The Order is a group of young men collared by the Vatican to join an elite team that travels the globe battling mysterious evil forces. Stuber will produce with Benderspink, and the project will be overseen by Michael Clear and Nick Nesbitt for Bluegrass Films and Jake Weiner and Christopher Cosmos for Benderspink. Sean O’Reilly of Arcana will serve as an executive producer.

Stuber’s coming off Ted and just wrapped the Seth Gordon-directed Identity Thief with Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman starring, and he’s producing the Carl Rinsch-directed 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves starring. Benderspink is in post-production on the Steve Carell-Jim Carrey comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and is in production on We’re The Millers, The Hangover Part III and Ride Along. Nathanson is repped by CAA and Mosaic.

Martha Thomases: Whedon and Women

Summer’s here and the time is right for geeking in the street. In a triumph of nerd culture, The Avengers may be the most successful movie of all time. Certainly, with the second week box office results breaking all kinds of records, there is more going on here than people who read comic books going opening day. There aren’t enough people who read superhero comics to make a movie that successful.

There are, however, enough shared values among comic book creators and movie creators to make a hit. In the case of The Avengers, a lot of the credit must go to Joss Whedon. Whedon earned his cred not only by writing awesome comics, but by producing Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Dollhouse.

Those shows had loyal fan bases (which didn’t overlap enough, or we’d still have the latter two on the air). They also shared a marvelous, matter-of-fact feminist sensibility.

The critical response? Not so much.

Most of the critical reviews single out Scarlett Johansson, saying she can’t act, or she’s only there to look pretty. One comment called her a female Keanu Reeves, which irked me for multiple reasons. I enjoy Keanu Reeves. I thought he was brilliant in My Own Private Idaho. And I really like Johansson in The Avengers. I believe she, like her character, has a brain in her head.

What I mostly enjoy about her character is the fact that her motivations are similar to those of her teammates. She wants to rescue her colleague, Hawkeye. Being on the team is part of her job, which she takes seriously.

The Black Widow is not on the team because she’s somebody’s girlfriend or sister. She’s not there to provide a love interest for a more important male character. She’s not there to be taken hostage by the bad guy (a role played, too some extent, by Hawkeye). She is not murdered and stuffed in a refrigerator. She doesn’t wear a costume that is more revealing than anyone else’s, or that defies the laws of physics to keep the film’s PG-13 rating. That’s reserved for the Hulk’s pants, which seem to grow when he does during the New York City battle.

Of course, she must be vilified.

In our popular culture, we’re very threatened by women who consider themselves to be just as able and just as interesting and just as important as men consider themselves to be. If women find meaning in their own lives, a huge market in cosmetics, plastic surgery, fashion and hair color dries up. If women think they can find meaning and value within themselves, they might only wear stiletto heels as a lark, and not proof of their femininity. They might have relationships with men they like, and not for status or validation.

The powers-that-be don’t enjoy that possibility. They’ve kept it out of almost all the other super-hero stories.

As fans and as feminists, we have an obligation to hold their feet to the fire when the inevitable sequels arrive. Joss can’t – and shouldn’t – have to do it alone.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman 

Water for Elephants

Why are we reviewing this failed adaptation of Sara Gruen’s 2006 novel, Water for Elephants? Well, we like circuses and my wife enjoyed the novel. We think Christoph Waltz is one of the more interesting actors to watch these days and frankly, we just plain like Reese Witherspoon, who hasn’t made enough solid films the last few years. Then there’s director Francis Lawrence, whose Constantine I thought was underrated. With the box office disappointment out this week on disc from 20th Century Home Entertainment, it was time to give it a look.

This Depression-era story tells of Jacob Jankowski (Robert Pattinson), a would-be veterinarian whose studies at Cornell were cut short given the economy. He hits the road, as did so many others, but only he stumbled across the Benzini Brothers Circus, run by August (Waltz) and featuring his wife Marlena (Witherspoon). They need a doctor on the cheap and he gains invaluable practical experience caring for the menagerie being carted from town to town.

Jacob also gets a hard lesson in life as he watches August abuse both wife and elephant and Jacob tenderly fills the void for both. Things go awry when August learns of Jacob’s interference with his life and profession, setting up an inevitable confrontation.

There’s plenty of drama here, plenty of atmosphere and themes to explore, but the power of the novel is sapped by a labored film adaptation in the hands of screenwriter Richard LaGravenese and director Francis Lawrence. While he struggled to successful bring Constantine’s snark to film, ruined by the Americanization to accommodate Keanu Reeves, he did Richard Matheson a disservice with I Am Legend so the jury was still out on his skills. This third flawed adaptation proves the man is tone deaf to the beauty inherent in the prose. All three films call for unique settings and moods but rather than feast on a bleak 1930s America, this feels like a typical Hollywood vision of that time.

In adapting the book’s rich characters and psychological interrelationships, Lawrence comes up short, robbing every character of their depth. The attractive cast is also the wrong cast and doesn’t give them enough actual direction leaving Waltz in need of restraint and Pattinson and Witherspoon mismatched, lacking any real spark between them. He does his best work with Rosie the Elephant which isn’t saying a lot. Had the circus performers and crew been allowed to do anything in the story, it could have been a rich ensemble piece and more satisfying look at this life on the rails.

The Blu-ray edition, not sent for review, contains plenty of featurettes while the DVD comes with just a Robert Pattinson Spotlight (yawn), a by-the-numbers piece on Reese Witherspoon, and the most interesting piece The Traveling Show: From Page to Screen. There’s also an audio commentary from Lawrence and LaGravenese but I just couldn’t care enough to finish it.

For those interested, the Blu-ray comes with the above plus Working Without A Net – The Visual Effects of Water for Elephants; The Star Attraction; Raising the Tent; and, Secrets of the Big Top.

Henry’s Crime

No doubt this has happened to you. Despite being voted “Most Nicest Guy” in high school, you’re in your 30s, stuck at dead end job, with no prospects in sight. Suddenly you get life’s wakeup call when you accidentally get involved in a failed bank heist thanks to Fisher Stevens. Then, when you refuse to name the real criminals, despite your pleading wife (Judy Greer) you wind up in jail for your transgression. You lose your wife and want her only to be happy. Then you meet some really offbeat folk that awaken you.

No? Well, that’s what happens to Keanu Reeves in Henry’s Crime, an offbeat and underrated little film that is now out on DVD from 20th Century Home Entertainment. There Keanu sits in prison, still wondering how he got there, when he is befriended by Max (James Caan), a long-term convict who teaches Henry that every man needs a dream and then to make his life about obtaining that dream. Of course, it’s hard to pursue a dream from behind bars. It takes Henry a year, but he gets out and takes those precious first steps towards something, perhaps for the first time in his life, real.

Henry’s dream? To rob the bank again but this time get it right. He recruits Max and his fellow cellmate to use an abandoned bootlegger’s tunnel to reach the bank. To get to the tunnel, though, Henry winds the lead in a theatrical company staging Chekhov’s, The Cherry Orchard. As the scheme develops, life tosses Henry a curveball when he falls in love with his leading lady (Vera Farmiga).

Keanu hasn’t been this charming and funny since the Bill & Ted movies, displaying a fresh side to his persona and a welcome one at that. This movie is more screwball comedy from an earlier era than a real crime drama. Director Malcolm Venville takes things slowly, probably too slowly, a vastly different tempo than you expect from the genre but he coaxes fun performances from his cast.

In other hands, this could have been a stronger film, with sharper performances and a tighter structure but it is still entertaining enough and worth a look. The DVD transfer is clean and the disc comes with no extras.

Surveying Keanu Reeves More Interesting Performances

Keanu Reaves is no stranger to the crime genre!  Films like Point Break and Street Kings come to mind, but we think he got his start officially in the TV crime drama, Night Heat.  In Henry’s Crime, which is out on Blu-ray and DVD today, Reeves stars as Henry Torne, a wrongly accused man who winds up behind bars for a bank robbery he didn’t commit.  After befriending a charismatic lifer (James Caan) in prison, Henry finds his purpose — having done the time, he decides he may as well do the crime.  But his outlandish plan to rob the very same bank spins wildly out of control, as he finds himself performing in a stage play and falling in love with the production’s seductive leading lady (Vera Farmiga).

To celebrate the release of Henry’s Crime, our pals at ThinkJam put together a list of our favorite law-breaking and abiding Keanu films. We know they skipped the obvious like Bill & Ted and The Matrix Trilogy but did they miss anything?

Speed – 1994

It all started with, “There’s a bomb on the bus!” This one really put Keanu Reeves on the blockbuster map. With its non-stop high action sequences, and bombs on the bus, train, Sandra Bullock, this movie is an action flick-junkie dream.

Street Kings – 2008

In this fast-paced action-crime film, Keanu portrays a disillusioned LAPD detective haunted by the death of his wife.  We love it when he breaks rules and butts heads.

Chain Reaction – 1996

How progressive.  This film about alternative energy delves deep into a sociopolitical dialogue that involves the FBI, CIA and basically Big Brother chasing our beloved scientists down!

Point Break – 1991                

Classic.  This box office success melded surfing with bank robbery, making it by far one of Keanu’s most bodacious films to date.  And orphan surfer girl Lori Petty just sweetens the deal.

Henry’s Crime – 2010

Working as a toll collector, Henry gets swept up in a crime he didn’t mean to commit.  Now that he’s done the time, he had a lot of time to think about reaping the rewards if he had

The Watcher – 2000

Mr. Reeves plays David aka your worst nightmare if you’re a woman.  Talk about a misleading first date.  Once you feel like you can trust a man, he’s meticulous about the way he kills you.

Constantine – 2005

Supernaturally tubular Keanu solves mythical crimes in this wild and epic film that plunges viewers into the afterlife and spiritual worlds beyond this realm.

Review: ‘A Scanner Darkly’

Rarely are Philip K. Dick’s stories appealing and accessible to mass audiences. You need fights and things blowing up and Arnold Schwarzenegger to really attract a crowd because the thought-provoking subject matter doesn’t always translate well from the printed page. As a result, it was a major mistake to release A Scanner Darkly on July 7, 2006, in the midst of the summer blockbuster season. The movie was certainly appealingly cast and was nicely marketed, but it opened small, never caught on and vanished from the public discourse. Instead, its competition the same weekend was the seasonal popcorn favorite Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.

And that’s a shame because in its own way, the movie is a well-made antidrug film whose message is told in a way its target audience might hear. After all, who could be hotter and hipper than Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey, Jr., and Woody Harrelson? Reeves was just coming off The Matrix trilogy so was a major star while people always liked Downey despite his personal battles with addiction.

Thankfully, the movie was rushed onto DVD that year and now, Warner Home Video has given us a crisp, swell-looking Blu-ray edition. One of the odder choices made by screenwriter and director Richard Linklater was to film his talented cast then rotoscope the entire feature. On the one hand, you might miss seeing the real actors but on the other, it also allowed the animators to play with reality just enough to further the story’s message. As we learn in “The Weight of the Line: Animation Tales”, the actors actually broadened their performances to give the animators something to work with and that also helps given the drug-induced state most of them live in.

In a near future, the hyper-addictive Substance D has become the drug of choice and undercover cop Reeves is sent into the sub-culture to make arrests and stop the supply. Wearing a camouflage suit that perpetually alters the personal traits of the wearer, Reeves goes about his job until he encounters a group of addicted misfits — Harrelson, Downey, Winona Ryder & Rory Cochrane. As we learn who these people are, we descend into their drug-haze which is seen by increasing paranoia and inability to think rationally.

Linklater wisely gathered his cast together for two weeks of rehearsal so they could become a cohesive acting troupe before letting becoming the druggies. Better, he let them modify and add to his script. Downey, for example, converted his lines into run-on sentences which informed his quirky performance while Reeves annotated the novel the film is based on.

It has been said that Dick wrote this work based on elements of his own life and one of his themes is the role of government in dealing with personal choice in taking the drugs. In adapting the work, Linklater twists and turns the events so it actually might require more than one viewing. Thankfully, the movie is so well translated to Blu-ray this will be more pleasure than chore.

The extras from the original DVD mostly remain, including the so-so commentary from Linklater, Reeves, Dick’s daughter Isa Dick Hackett, Producer Tommy Palloton and Dick historian/novelist Jonathan Lethem. “Weight” is a lengthy and fascinating look at the rotoscoping process and why it took twice as long as anticipated. Oddly missing is “One Summer in Austin: The Story of Filming A Scanner Darkly” which was a making of featurette.

Hollywood wrapup — Iron Man, Spider-Man, Scott Pilgrim, Cowboy Bebop

Hollywood wrapup — Iron Man, Spider-Man, Scott Pilgrim, Cowboy Bebop

A pile of Hollywood related comic items I didn’t get to this week, so let me get them out of the way:

* Emily Blunt in Iron Man 2?

* Keanu Reeves will be starring in a live-action version of Cowboy Bebop. It’s just been confirmed as going into production for Fox.

* The cast of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World expands.

* Sam Raimi wants Morbius for Spider-Man 4? By the time it comes out in 2011, everyone will think he’s ripping off Twilight.

* And finally, a cast photo for Wolverine:

Jaden Smith joins Keanu for Day The Earth Stood Still Remake

Jaden Smith joins Keanu for Day The Earth Stood Still Remake

Jaden Smith, the son of actor Will Smith, is the latest cast member to sign on for a remake of the 1951 science-fiction classic The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Smith will join Keanu Reeves, who has already signed on for the role of Klaatu, the alien who visits Earth and, in the original film, first utters the words "Klaatu, barada, nikto." The phrase was later borrowed – and forever enshrined in cult film history – by the Evil Dead film franchise. Jaden will play Jacob, the stepson of scientist Helen Benson, played by Jennifer Connelly.

According to Reuters:

"Klaatu’s arrival on Earth triggers a global upheaval as governments and scientists race to unravel the mystery behind his appearance. Jacob and Helen get caught up in Klaatu’s mission, coming to understand the ramifications of his being a self-described ‘friend to the Earth.’"

The film will be directed by Scott Derrickson.