Music Video of the Day: Safe Home by Anthrax (2003, directed by Robert Carlsen)


“You have always been my safe home.”

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.

This is James Hetfield’s favorite Anthrax song.

Enjoy!

Horror Film Review: Knock Knock (dir by Eli Roth)


 

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.

Knock knock.

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.

Constantine, Review by Case Wright


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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:

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There’s a lot of these “I’m so broody Boohoo” moments in this film.

Like this one: broody 3.jpg

This one was a long trip to bummer time with a soupçon of anger:

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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.

 

Film Review: Replicas (dir by Jeffrey Nachmanoff)


Don’t even ask me to explain what’s going on in Replicas, a sci-fi film that was released way back in January to terrible reviews and non-existent box office.

Admittedly, this film has a plot and you can kind of follow it if you force yourself to.  And really, it’s not that unusual of a plot.  It’s another one of those things where a scientist is shocked to discover that his top secret research is actually being funded by the military and everyone in the audience is supposed to be like, “OH MY GOD!  NO!  NOT THE MILITARY!”  As you can probably guess from the title, the film is also about clones.  Have you ever noticed that bad sci-fi films always seem to involve cloning?

It’s not so much that the plot can’t be followed as that the film’s storyline just feels oddly underdeveloped.  Watching Replicas, you get the feeling that the filmmakers got bored with the plot and just decided to go ahead and make the movie, without thinking everything through.  As a result, the film touches on all of the ethical and philosophical issues that come along with cloning people but that’s all it does.  Instead of actually exploring any of those issues or trying to come up with an original spin on the story, Replicas just mechanically moves from one scene to another.

Keanu Reeves plays William Foster, a scientist who, along with his longtime friend and partner, Ed Whittle (Thomas Middleditch of Silicon Valley fame), has figured out a way to transfer a dead person’s mind into a robot’s body, hence bringing the person kind of back to life.  A big evil corporation has set up a lab in Puerto Rico for Foster and Whittle to do their research.  The problem is that every time that they put a dead soldier’s mind into an android body, the dead soldier gets pissed off and destroys the body.  Evil Mr. Jones (John Ortiz) demands that they figure out a way to keep the dead soldier from getting mad.  Somehow, it doesn’t occur to Foster or Whittle that Jones wants them to put the soldier’s mind in the android’s body so that the android can then be used as a weapon of war.

(Also, if you want to use androids as soldiers, why not just do some sort of remote control thing like they do with drones?  Seriously, I don’t think Jones has thought his evil scheme through.  The less complicated the better.)

Anyway, Foster and his wife, Mona (Alice Eve), and his three children decides to spend the weekend camping and things don’t go well.  In fact, they go so badly that Foster ends up crashing the SUV and his entire family ends up dead.  Not to worry though!  Foster’s a scientist and he knows how to create clones.  So, he’ll just clone his family.  Of course, to do that, he’ll have to pretend that they’re all still alive and, because he only has room for three clones, he’ll have to pretend like his fourth child never existed.

Does Foster succeed?  Well, the movie is called Replicas.  What’s weird is that it’s obvious that Foster’s going to succeed but the movie still spends an entire hour with Foster and Whittle trying to figure out how to bring the clones to life.  I understand the movie wanted to at least pretend like there was a chance that Foster might not be able to do it but, again, the movie is called Replicas.

Anyway, Foster does eventually resurrect his family but then he discovers that Jones is actually a bad guy and soon, Foster and the Replicas are fleeing for their lives.  It really doesn’t add up too much because the film doesn’t bother to really explore any of the issues that it brings up.  Potentially big moments — like Foster deleting his youngest daughter’s existence — happen but are never really explored.  You keep waiting for some sort of twist — like the clones turning on their creator or Foster discovering that he’s a clone himself — and it never happens.  Instead, the film turns into a rather standard if not very exciting sci-fi action film.

To give credit where credit is due, Keanu Reeves does appear to be taking the film seriously and he has a few scenes that suggest that the film would have been improved if it had played up the idea of Foster being a mad scientist.  The rest of the cast seems to be either bored or miscast but Reeves does try to bring some heart to the film.  Otherwise, Replicas is pretty forgettable.

Trailer: John Wick 3


Hi, everyone!

I have a theory about movies, specifically about the people who go to see the movies.  My theory is that audiences really like to watch Keanu Reeves kill people.

I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that Keanu seems to be pretty centered in real life.  He’s one of the few celebs about whom you never seem to hear anything negative.  Whenever Keanu’s in the news, he’s either volunteering at a homeless shelter or he’s in the park feeding ducks.  You never hear about Keanu acting obnoxious and pulling a star trip on anyone.  He seems to be at peace with both the world and his place in it.  While all the other celebs are on twitter being grumpy, Keanu seems like he should be hanging out on a ranch and having a beer with Kurt Russell and Jeff Bridges.

In short, real world Keanu seems to have reached a state of perfect zen.  So, it’s kind of fun to watch him tear through these action movies, battling either computer viruses or international mobsters.  The man who once known as Neo is now best known as John Wick.  When we first met John Wick, he won our hearts by avenging a dog.  Judging by the just released trailer of John Wick 3, he’s still a friend to animals.

He’s also still got people looking to kill him, of course.  Judging from the trailer, John Wick 3 looks like it will be an action spectacular.  You have to wonder about the mercenaries and killers who keep getting sent after Wick.  I imagine that, when they find out what they’re expected to do, a lot of them quit on the spot.  No one can kill John Wick.

And if you need proof, just check out the trailer below!

Here’s The Trailer for Keanu Reeves in Siberia!


The action film career of Keanu Reeves continues this July with Siberia!

In this one, Keanu’s a diamond trader whose partner disappears in Russia.  Keanu hops on an airplane so he can investigate.  I’m going to guess that it will all somehow involve the Russian mafia because almost everything does nowadays.

Personally, I think they missed an opportunity when they didn’t call this one, “John Wick in Siberia.”

I also think that someone needs to team Keanu and Liam Neeson up for an action film.  Speaking of Liam, did you remember to see The Commuter earlier this year?  It was surprisingly good.

Anyway, here’s the trailer for Siberia!

A Movie A Day #239: Act of Vengeance (1986, directed by John Mackenzie)


Act of Vengeance is an uncompromising look at union corruption and how it hurts the workers while benefitting the bosses.

The year is 1969 and the United Mine Workers of America is one of the biggest and most powerful labor unions in the country.  The UMWA was founded to protect the rights of miners but the current union president, Tony Boyle (Wilford Brimley), is more concerned with enriching himself and consolidating his own power.  Despised by the workers that he represents, Boyle has managed to stay in power through fixed elections and his own fearsome reputation.  When 80 West Virginia miners are killed in an accident, Boyle defends the owners.  That is the last straw for Jock Yablonski (Charlies Bronson), a lifelong miner and proud union man.  Yablonski runs against Boyle for the UMWA presidency and, when the election is stolen from him, Yablonski challenges the results.

Boyle’s solution?  Working through one of his supporters (played by Hoyt Axton), Boyle hires three assassins (Robert Schenkkan, Maury Chaykin, and a young Keanu Reeves) and orders them to kill not only Yablonski but his entire family too.

With a name like Act of Vengeance and a star like Charles Bronson, it would be understandable to assume that this is another Cannon action film where Bronson gets vengeance by blowing away the bad guys.  That’s not the case, though.  Made for HBO, Act of Vengeance is based on a true story of union corruption and murder.  There is violence but very little of it comes from Bronson.  Instead, this is a well-made docudrama about what happens when workers are betrayed by the very people who are supposed to be looking out for them.

Bronson grew up working in the mines and he never forgot the poverty of his youth.  He knew men like the men depicted in this movie and Bronson gives one of his most naturalistic performances as Yablonski.  Brimley is at his gruffest as Boyle and the performances of the actors playing the three hapless but deadly assassins also feel authentic.  Ellen Burstyn and Ellen Barkin are also well-cast as, respectively, Yablonski’s wife and the wife of the main assassin.