I’m surprised there’s anyone left to fight, but on hand, we have Natalia Tena (Game of Thrones), Bill Skarsgard (Barbarian), Hiroyuki Sanada (The Wolverine), Scott Adkins (Accident Man), Clancy Brown (Thor: Ragnarok) and the legendary Donnie Yen (Ip-Man, Rogue One). They join the original cast that includes Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, & Ian McShane.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is set to release in theatres on March 24, 2023.
Released in 2000, The Watcher is one of those movies where a burned out FBI Agent finds himself locked in a game of cat-and-mouse with an overly verbose serial killer. The FBI agent doesn’t want to get involved and is struggling with a drug addiction. (It’s always either drugs or a wife who doesn’t feel like she knows him anymore.) The serial killer is surprisingly intelligent and well-spoken, despite the fact that most real-life serial killers are only a step or two away from blowing themselves up in a meth lab. Movies love the idea of a witty sociopath but it rarely happens in real life.
Anyway, you get the point. Probably just from reading the previous paragraph, you already know everything that happens in The Watcher. There’s not a single moment in this movie that will take you by surprise. In fact, this movie is so full of clichés that, when I watched it, I actually got mad at the film’s characters for not being able to figure out that they were all just characters in a predictable serial killer film. Seriously, if I woke up and discovered that I was only a character in a movie, I imagine that I would devote at least a few minutes to having an existential crisis. There is also a lot of random slow motion in this movie. The slow motion doesn’t create suspense or generate thrills or anything like that. It’s just kind of there.
Really, the only interesting thing about The Watcher is the cast. For a movie like this, it has a surprisingly good cast. James Spader plays the FBI agent. Marisa Tomei plays the agent’s therapist. (She’s also the only female character to have more than 10 lines in the entire movie. To be honest, it’s a role that anyone could have played but Tomei does her best with what she’s been given.) The serial killer, who is named David Allen Griffen because all serial killers have three names, is played by Keanu Reeves.
Keanu as a serial killer is strange casting. For the most part, Keanu’s appeal has always been that he comes across like someone who, to quote Mother Bates, wouldn’t hurt a fly. Keanu flashes his charming smile and speaks politely with his future victims and, at no point, does he make much of an effort to be a believable killer. Some of that may be because Keanu apparently didn’t want to do the film. Keanu has always said that one of his assistants forged his name on a contract, legally obligating Keanu to appear in this movie. That’s a strange story. When you hear it, you think to yourself, “This the type of thing that could only happen to Keanu Reeves.”
For more than Keanu, James Spader is convincing in his role. Spader spends the entire movie looking like 1) he’s going through massive drug withdrawal and 2) like he’s on the verge of losing his mind. So much of acting is expressed through the eyes and, throughout this movie, Spader’s eyes are bloodshot and exhausted. It’s a superior piece of acting and it’s hard not to feel that it’s probably more than this movie deserved.
That was my main thought when I recently rewatched the 1994 film, Speed. There’s a lot of reasons why Speed remains popular 28 years after it was initially released but I think a huge (if underrated) factor is that it’s just a good love story. At this point, everyone knows that the film is about a bus that has been wired to explode if it goes under 50 miles per hour. Most people know that Dennis Hopper plays Howard, the mad bomber, Keanu Reeves plays Jack, the cop who jumps on the bus and tries to figure out how to defuse the bomb, and Sandra Bullock plays Annie, the passenger who takes over driving the bus after the driver is incapacitated. (If you’re fan of the work of John Hughes, you might also know that Speed was the film where Ferris Bueller‘s Alan Ruck broke free of his Cameron typecasting and established himself as a dependable character actor.) Most people remember what the cops do in an attempt to trick Dennis Hopper and, for that matter, they also remember the one mistake that led to Hopper figuring out their ruse.
And yet, even though most viewers will know exactly what is going to happen, the film remains a fun watch because of the chemistry between Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. This was one of Sandra’s first major roles. This was also one of Keanu’s earliest attempts to helm a big budget, major studio action picture. (Director Jan de Bont insisted on casting him after seeing him in the film Point Break. The studio preferred Tom Cruise.) In Speed, both Keanu and Sandra are young, likable, attractive, enthusiastic, and they have smiles that light up the screen. As soon as Sandra takes over driving and Keanu tells her that she cannot allow the bus to slow down under any circumstances, the two of them just seem to belong together. The film’s enduring popularity is about more than just watching a bus try not to go under a certain speed. The popularity of Speed is also about watching the characters played by Keanu and Sandra fall in love.
Who would have guessed it? Well, certainly not whoever put together the film’s original theatrical trailer. Check this out:
As you can see, the original trailer doesn’t feature much of Sandra Bullock. For that matter, it’s not quite as Keanu-centric as you might expect it to be. Instead, the trailer is dominated by things exploding and Dennis Hopper’s over-the-top performance as the bomber. And make no doubt about it, Dennis Hopper is definitely an entertaining part of the film. There’s not a subtle moment to be found in his performance and that makes him the perfect for the role of a man whose response to a cheap retirement present is to go on a bombing spree. That said, the film belongs to Keanu and Sandra.
That said, it would be a mistake to ignore the other people on the bus. One of the things that I like about Speed is that the other passengers on the bus come together to survive their ordeal. They may start out as weary commuters but, by the end of the film, they’ve become a family. They may get annoyed with each other but, when it comes time to climb from one bus to another, they hold on to each other and they hug one another on the other side. The bomber, like all terrorists, thought that he could turn people against each other through his threats and his violence. Instead, the people came together provided one another with comfort and protection. There’s an important lesson there, one that’s even more important in 2022 than it probably was in 1994.
(On a personal note, I’m not usually a public transportation person. However, in high school, I would occasionally catch the DART bus — that’s Dallas Area Rapid Transportation — if it was raining. The buses were often not in particularly good shape. One that I boarded actually had a hole in the floor and, since it was raining, the passengers would have to hold up their feet whenever the bus splashed through a puddle. Personally, I was kind of amused by the weirdness of it all but I think I was the only one. Would the passengers of that bus bonded together to defeat a mad bomber? One can only hope.)
Speed may be a film about a bomb on a bus but, ultimately, it’s also a film about humanity at its best. And that’s why, after all this time, it remains a classic.
Coming to us straight from Comic-Con 2022, here is the teaser for the fourth film starring everyone’s favorite killer, John Wick! Keanu Reeves is back in John Wick: Chapter 4! And even better, Bill Skarsgard is with him!
(Or, actually, against him….)
Without further ado, here is the teaser!
Who would have thought that Keanu Reeves, who is apparently the world’s nicest movie start, would also turn out to be the most convincing action hero not named Tom Cruise?
It’s been more than 20 years since the original Matrix dazzled audiences. It looks like both Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are reprising their roles as Neo and Trinity, alongside some fresh faces in Candyman‘s Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Underwater‘s Jessica Henwick (sporting a fresh blue hairdo). Once again, Thomas Anderson is realizing the world around him isn’t quite what it seems. Just like before, others will show up to hopefully help him find his way, all to the tune of a sweet remix of Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit.
So, it looks like we might be in another cycle of the One here? Anyone who saw the Matrix Reloaded should recall that there were at least 6 previous Ones before Thomas Anderson, a.k.a. “Neo” came along. What I’m curious about is how this is going to be with all the background changes. The Wachowski’s have usually made their films as a pair, from Bound to Speed Racer to Cloud Atlas. This time around, Lana’s on her own in the directing duties, though we also have Sense8 writers Aleksandar Hemon and David Mitchell on board. That should bring some familiarity to fill in the space where Lilly Wachowski would be. My first thought is that it might be like a Christopher Nolan film without his brother Jonathan on board, but we’ll see how it goes. Musically, there’s also a change. Instead of Don Davis, we have Cloud Atlas‘ Tom Tykwer & Johnny Klimek on board.
The Matrix Resurrections also stars Jonathan Groff (Frozen), Christina Ricci (The Addams Family), Priyanka Chopra Jonas (Baywatch), Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl), Daniel Bernardt (Nobody, The Matrix Reloaded), Lambert Wilson (The Matrix Reloaded), Erindira Ibarra (Sense8), and Jada Pinkett Smith (The Matrix Reloaded)
The film will release in theatres and HBO Max this Christmas.
Conor O’Neill (Keanu Reeves) is a gambler who is going to be killed by his bookies unless he can pay off a $6,000 debt. When he finds out that he can make $500 a week just for coaching a little league team in the Chicago projects, he takes the job. He’s not planning on caring about the team but, of course, he does. He doesn’t expect to fall in love but when he meets his team’s 5th grade teacher (Diane Lane), he does. No one expects him to get his team to the championship but he does. When tragedy strikes one of his players, Conor and the team have to decide whether to keep playing or to give up.
Hardball is a movie that I wanted to like because Keanu Reeves is in it and the movie tells a good, heart-warming story. Hardball is really predictable, though, and the movie is so focused on Conor that you never really get to know most of the players on team or what winning the championship would mean to them. I wanted to know about the members of the team, all of whom were poor, black, and living in the most dangerous neighborhood in Chicago. (When Conor drops one of them off from practice, he’s told to duck whenever he walks by a window, just in case someone outside is shooting a gun.) There is one really powerful scene that drives home the reality of the danger that the kids on the team live with on a daily basis but other than that, the movie is almost all about the white coach and his problems. The team should be the heart of the movie but instead, Hardball focuses everything on Conor and whether or not he’s going to stick with coaching the team even when things get difficult. Even Conor says he’s done, everyone knows he’s not going anywhere.
The other thing that bothered me about Hardball is that, for a baseball movie, there wasn’t enough baseball. Conor didn’t spend any time discussing strategy with his players or doing any other coaching beyond telling his players not to trash talk each other and to always do their best. I understand that little league is not the same as major league baseball but I still would have liked to have seen more scenes of Conor actually being a coach and his players actually learning how to play the game.
Hardball‘s not all bad. It’s got a good heart and it’s got Keanu Reeves. I just wish it had more baseball.
Someone is targeting a squad of undercover narcotics detectives, killing them by taking them by surprise and breaking their necks before they even have a chance fight back. Lt. Dunne (Clu Gulager) doesn’t like seeing his best detectives getting murdered so he orders all of them — including Mandy Rust (Jennifer O’Niell) and Rollins (Superfly himself, Ron O’Neal) — to take martial arts training so that they can defend themselves. And who better to train them than karate champ and dojo owner, Matt Logan (Chuck Norris)? The no-nonsense Logan teaches the detectives a few moves and even starts a tentative romance with Mandy. But when his adopted son (played by future director Eric Laneuville) is murdered by the drug dealers, Logan goes from being a teacher to being an avenger.
Since today is Chuck Norris’s 80th birthday, it only seems appropriate to review one of Chuck Norris’s better films. A Force of One was made at a time when Chuck was still trying to make the transition from being the karate instructor to the star to being a star himself. Norris had been disappointed by his previous few starring vehicles, all of which strangely played down Norris’s martial arts skills. After his friend and student, Steve McQueen, told Chuck that he needed to specialize in playing strong, silent types, Norris followed his advise with A Force Of One, which features considerably less dialogue than Norris’s previous films but also a lot more fighting.
Though the character may be named Matt Logan, Chuck Norris is basically playing himself in A Force of One. In the scenes where he’s training the detectives and talking about why he’s personally so opposed to drugs, Chuck comes across as so earnest that it doesn’t matter that he’s not much of an actor. What he’s always lacked in range, Chuck makes up for in general badassery and A Force Of One features him at his most badass. Chuck’s final fight with the ninja assassin is one of his best.
Jennifer O’Neill got top billing in A Force Of One and she and Chuck actually have decent romantic chemistry. She seems to bring him a little bit out of his shell and she’s also actually believable as a tough cop. Because this was early in Chuck’s career and the script was co-written by police procedural specialist Ernest Tidyman, A Force Of One spends as much time following round the other cops as it does with Chuck and the squad’s camaraderie is believable. The cops are all played by good character actors like Ron O’Neal, Clu Gulager, Pepe Serna, and James Whitmore Jr. and they all give pretty good performance while, at the same time, not upstaging Chuck.
One final note: There’s a scene where Chuck and Jennifer O’Neill are in an evidence room. Keep an eye out for a box that is labeled K. Reeves. That’s a reference to director Paul Aaron’s stepson, Keanu Reeves, who worked as a production assistant on this film.
Yes, that is Keanu Reeves walking down a highway medium while Anthrax performs the song in this video. What is Keanu doing there? He was a long-time fan of Anthrax and he just happened to be available when this video was being shot. This video came out while Reeves was still riding high from The Matrix films and it is easy to imagine Neo wandering about aimlessly. It’s much more difficult to imagine the same thing happening to John Wick, who always has a destination in mind.
Other than the movie star cameo, this is a no frills video from Anthrax, one that lets the music do the talking. I’m not a huge Anthrax fan but I always appreciate relatively direct videos like this.
Knock Knock starts out as a satire of vapid male fantasies before then becoming a vapid male fantasy. It then transforms itself into a satire of vapid torture porn before then becoming vapid torture porn. And, in the end, your main response will probably be, “Eh, who cares?”
Keanu Reeves plays Evan, an architect who has a nice house, a nice family, and a nice dog. He also has an injured shoulder, which leads to him staying home while his wife and children spend the weekend at the beach. Evan is looking forward to having the house to himself, especially when it starts to rain. I mean, who wants to be at the beach in the middle of storm, right? That night, Evan is relaxing in his home when he hears someone at the door.
Two young women, Genesis (Lorenza Izzo) and Bel (Anna de Armas), are standing on his front porch, soaked. They tell him that they’re looking for the address of a party and that their phone has gotten wet and could they please come inside for just a few minutes and get online and find the correct address? Evan agrees. Genesis and Bel enter the house. They tell him that they’re models. They tell him about their girlfriends. They talk about their sex lives and Evan responds with a goofy smile. They ask if they can take off all their clothes and toss them in a dryer. Evan agrees. “Uh, I’ve got some robes,” Evan says and it’s a funny line because Keanu Reeves sounds sincerely bewildered when he says it.
Anyway, you can tell where this leading. It starts with a threesome and then it ends with the house getting destroyed and people getting buried alive and, to be honest, it gets a little bit boring after a while. Perhaps if Evan was truly a loathsome character, as opposed to just an awkward Keanu Reeves, there would be some sort of joy in watching Genesis and Bel taunt him while destroying his home and destroying his wife’s artwork but instead it just amount to a bunch of repetitive taunting. Despite all of their talk about how Evan represents the 1% and how quickly Evan was willing to cheat on his wife and potentially destroy his family, Genesis and Bel don’t come across as being revolutionaries or avenging angels. Instead, they just seem to be overcaffeinated with no real reason for doing what they’re doing beyond the fact that there wouldn’t be a movie otherwise.
Keanu Reeves gives a strange performance in this film. At the start of the film, he actually seems like he’s perfectly cast. When Genesis and Bel first show up at his door, there’s some genuine wit to found in his confused reaction to the two girls. But then, as the film progresses, Reeves has to start pretending to be desperate and that’s never really been his strong suit. Perhaps because he’s trying to keep up with the hyper performances of Lorenza Izzo and Anna de Armas, Reeves starts to shout every single line and it just becomes rather humorous before then becoming rather dull. “STOP IT! I COULD GO DEAF!” he shouts when the girls force him to listen to loud music. Later, when he curses the girls, he sounds like a cartoon character talking about how much he hates Bugs Bunny. I like Keanu Reeves but he’s just not a very good shouter.
I’ve defended Eli Roth in the past and I imagine that I’ll do so again in the future but it’s best to keep the door closed on Knock Knock.
Can one act stain your soul for all eternity? It turns out that if you attempt suicide, you’re going to Hell. Anywho, Constantine was a comic by Alan Moore (Watchmen) long before Keanu Reeves played the demon fighter. Full disclosure, I have purchased, but not read the comic. It’s long and I’m not sure if I can get through it for this horrorthon, but I WILL TRY!
Constantine was born with a “gift” that he could see demons among us. This drives him out of his mind; so, he commits suicide and is sent promptly to Hell. He’s tormented for what seems like an eternity, but in our time was just two minutes. He returns to Earth because paramedics revive him. Because he attempted to kill himself, he’s condemned to Hell when he dies. How do I know this?The “Half-Angel” Gabriel tells it to us in really clunky exposition. It turns out that Heaven and Hell are basically in a Cold War and can’t directly fight on Earth.
Constantine REALLY doesn’t want to go back to Hell. His solution is to fight demons for a living to get into heaven. He does an exorcism here and there and fights evil, but this isn’t his ticket back to heaven- as I was told by MORE exposition. Constantine is kind of a depressive and a little whiny at times. I guess that’s why I kept getting annoyed by him. Yeah, Yeah, your life sucks, but there’s no reason to do this all the time:
There’s a lot of these “I’m so broody Boohoo” moments in this film.
Like this one:
This one was a long trip to bummer time with a soupçon of anger:
Between the complaining, Constantine uncovers a plot that Lucifer’s son Mammon is trying to break into earth and cause a lot of trouble. Trouble….Trouble….that starts with M …. and ends with N, which stands for Mammon!
Constantine was entertaining, but it seems kinda all over the place at times. The parts that had him hot on the trail of Mammon and his evil plans were fun, but all the side plots and side characters were a mixture of goofy and dull. Overall, it was a good burgers and fries flick. Not to say that the comics or the cartoon (yep, there’s a cartoon, I know because of Google) aren’t awesome, but if they are the same quality as the movie, they are beach reads or I’m stuck on public transportation reading. There might be sequel. Will I watch it? Yes, because despite my snark, I’m basically 14.