NOTES FROM THE BACK ROW
Woah ... Is Keanu Reeves our biggest star? KEANU REEVES IS HAVING a moment. While John Wick 3 continues slaying the box office as one of the best action flicks of the decade, Reeves also shows off his lesser-known comedic chops in Always Be My Maybe, an Ali Wong-driven romantic comedy that dropped on Netflix last week. Reeves’ bit is hilarious—he delivers a sense
BY FEET BANKS of comedic timing and physicality we haven’t seen since Bill & Ted—and while the flick doesn’t quite hold the momentum of its first half it definitely holds up (for a romantic comedy). Keanu is burning up the internet as well; a clip of him flooring talk show vet Stephen Colbert with his insight on what happens when we die has gone viral, and the tactical training videos for Wick 3 are highly impressive as well. Who knew watching 53-year-old Keanu and co-star Halle Berry tearing up a shooting
X-MEN Sophie Turner and Jessica Chastain in Twentieth Century Fox’s Dark Phoenix. PHOTO DOANE GRAGORY
range could be so satisfying? (It’s all about the double tap). All this has spurned a flood of think pieces as the entertainment world re-evaluates Reeve’s career—were all those surf-bro “whoa” criticisms of his acting valid? Or were
an uncommon instance where the sequels outshine the original, and popular culture embraces a character who kills a few hundred people every flick, usually with a more-thannecessary number of bullets to the face. Does that count as charisma?
Beyond his body of work, Reeves is also the rare celebrity that has avoided scandal. we missing what some are now calling a “restrained intensity of character?” It’s hard to stand behind everything Keanu has made (he can’t really hang with Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate) but take another look at Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula from 1992 and you might be impressed. While the latest New Yorker headline might be a bit much (“The World Doesn’t Deserve Keanu Reeves”) there’s no denying that Reeves has pulled off something no other action star ever has. He’s hit action film critical mass on three separate occasions, starting with Point Break/Speed in the early ‘90s, again with The Matrix franchise at the turn of the millennium, and then again with the John Wick franchise, which is also
Beyond his body of work, Reeves is also the rare celebrity that has avoided scandal. The stories and videos of his private life that do pop up are generally about how awesome and charitable he is (Reeves rents van and entertains everyone after a flight to L.A. is grounded in Bakersfield! Reeves donates millions to children’s hospitals! Etc.). And with Bill & Ted Face the Music slated for a 2020 release, Reeves will revive another cult classic franchise built around his talents. He’s getting into a position in popular culture similar to where Bill Murray is, almost universally loved not only for the work, but also for who he is and how he lives his life. John Wick 3 is still playing at the Whistler Village 8.
Also playing, new this week, Dark Phoenix is an X-Men movie retelling one of that comic’s most popular stories—that time Jean Grey got hit with a solar storm and became so powerful her teammates had to decide if it was OK to kill a friend in order to maybe save the world. The X-Men have long floundered in the shadow of Marvel’s ridiculous Avengers movies (that Sony owned the rights to the X-Men and pumped out a bunch of crappy flicks at the start of the millennium didn’t help). What little momentum they have built since the Days of Future Past reboot in 2014, is supposed to climax here and Dark Phoenix boasts a stacked cast led by Sansa Stark Sophie Turner (who does her best with little support), but in the end the story is rushed, the characters are jangled and the whole thing is just not very good. Dark Phoenix tries to rise from the flames, but the franchise as a whole is going down in them. Also opening, The Secret Life of Pets 2 doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but if you like talking animals enough to watch a sequel, that probably won’t matter to you will it? (Bonus info: Harrison Ford, anchor of two great adventure franchises himself, voices a rooster. Watch out Keanu! It can fall to shit pretty fast.) n
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Pique Newsmagazine for June 6, 2019