Cats, cooties & Mother's Day 

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Let's get the obvious question out of the way first: yes, Keanu Reeves does play the voice of the cat in Keanu, but not for the entire movie. From the minds of successful Comedy Central stars Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele (I'm unfamiliar with these guys, but apparently their show is hot stuff) comes a movie that seems to be about two gentle, sweet dudes forced into the hood on a mission to retrieve "the cutest kitten in the world," a.k.a. Keanu.

Keanu looks like some kind of action comedy with healthy dose of wisecracking gangsterism mixed with skits lampooning common entertainment stereotypes... or something. This was way too far off my radar to take in a pre-screening, but from the trailer it looks like a forced culture-clash skit that runs way too long. Apparently, the kitten rules it though, and the tone is said to be inspired by Keanu Reeves's catalogue of films (particularly John Wick), and Anna Faris cameos.

My guess is the story is pretty weak but if you like Key and Peele, this will probably be fine. In an intensely creative choice of casting, director Peter Atencio selected Wu Tang Clan's Method Man to play... a drug dealer. Word is Keanu does voice the cat through a drug-trip sequence so that is a pretty big draw. Good luck.

Also opening and guaranteed to rank high on the list of "Shittiest-movies-the-Village-8-has-ever-ruled-'No Passes'-on" is Mother's Day, which comes from Garry Marshall, director of Valentine's Day (and also Pretty Woman but that was 26 years ago. Lately Marshall has also managed to direct New Year's Eve).

Considering he doesn't need to worry about Halloween and Groundhog Day (already the best), this dude is only five or six movies away from completing the "Holiday Challenge" — Hollywood's version of a really epic pub crawl. Marshall is already 81 years old, though, so he better pick up the pace and make Labour Day followed by 4/20 to truly cement his legacy.

Mother's Day stars Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, and Jason Sudekis as the hapless nice guy while stuff happens, relationships are tested and blah blah blah... Don't take your mom to this unless it is her idea. I'd rather dig a tick out of my nutsack with a grapefruit spoon than force my mom to sit through this nonsense.

(Side note: Tick season is kicking in and there seems to be more of those crawling bastards out there than ever before. Be sure to check your kids, pets and nutsacks thoroughly after any extended play in the bush. Those bloodsuckers carry some terrible diseases that you don't want to get. Be vigilant!)

Back indoors, the third and final new flick this week is Ratchet & Clank, which had no pre-screenings, but from the trailer it's apparently based on a video game and I can see it's visually derivative of Megamind, Guardians of the Galaxy, that old tv show Dinosaurs, PAW Patrol on acid, Frank Miller's Big Guy robot, Wall-E, and maybe The Tick.

They're all pretty good sources but jumbled all together with crappy music it kinda looks like double helpings at the suck salad bar. Of course, kids rarely know the difference, but in a week when the incredibly stunning The Jungle Book is still playing in 3D there is definitely a stronger family experience available.

Speaking of The Jungle Book, fans might like the 17-minute interview with director Jon Favreau online at The writer/star of Swingers talks about his career, remakes, audience trends, and spends 10 minutes exploring the creative saga behind adapting The Jungle Book, which may be the best remake to come out since John Carpenter's The Thing in 1982 (which itself was remade a few years ago but who's kidding who? There's only one John Carpenter).

Since not everyone has a job anymore, the download of the week is Cooties because it's only a buck on iTunes. This one is straight up B-grade horror/comedy (a cafeteria food virus turns elementary school kids into zombies) but the teacher-heroes are played by solid acting talent and it's kind of so-bad-it's-good.

B-grade fans will find a definite charm in watching a movie full of clichéd teachers destroying an entire school full of (infected) kids.

Happy Mother's Day.



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