Friends Rell and Clarence (Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key) go in search of a kitten named Keanu stolen from Rell’s apartment. But, when their journey takes them into the heart of the 17th Street Blips gang, these two relatively suburban and harmless gents will have to throw down and get street cred fast, not only to rescue Keanu but also to stay alive. Directed by Peter Atencio and written by Jordan Peele and Alex Rubens this 98 minute romp at times feels like an extended Key And Peele skit that unfortunately, despite the shorter run time, still feels about ten minutes too long, some scenes droning on considerably longer than they should. The comedic hit count moves at a reasonable pace, albeit this is familiar territory for the duo, it’s still fun for fans and lightly peppered with a few cameos. Maybe worthy of a matinee, Keanu is rated R.
Circling several families and three generations leading up to Mother’s Day, a caricature snapshot of life in 2016 looks at the ails and social complexities for families in our time. Directed by Garry Marshall (Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve), again imbued Marshall style with a star studded cast including heavy hitters such as Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Garner, John Lovitz, the list goes on. Told in multiple interweaving storylines, again a very Marshall trait, this simple setup and telegraphed film leads the audience down a perfectly milquetoast path with hints of problematic social undertones to create a bland story about family, acceptance, and understanding all tied up with a nice little bow and a few chuckles, end result, meh, you’ll probably forget it a few hours after you watch it, there just isn’t enough nutritional value to this Mother’s Day brunch. Mother’s Day is rated PG-13.
It’s 1959 and young reporter Ed Meyers (Giovanni Ribisi) is given the chance to visit with his literary idol, Ernest “Papa” Hemingway (Adrian Sparks) at his estate in Cuba. Coached by Papa, his wife Mary (Joely Richardson), and a host of characters/friends who’ve chosen to surround the Hemingways Ed begins to develop his own literary voice. But, in the midst of the Cuban revolution, an investigation by the F.B.I., and personal ghosts, not everything is peaceful in the Hemingway compound. What lessons will Ed learn from his mentor before a full boil is reached? Directed by Bob Yari, based on true events, and filmed on location in Cuba this biopic offers a telling reveal on one of America’s great writers of the 20th century, his eccentricities and insight to his creative inspiration. Meanwhile, the carrier for all of this is a simple love/coming of age story which proves to be static and predictable. From an acting standpoint Ribisi is an easy watch, however Sparks’s interpretation of the material feels overacted and one dimensional, not really connecting with his character. From a technical standpoint, the film feels proficient, the end result could easily sit as weekend fodder for the biography channel, just not strong enough to garner attention for you cinema dollar. Papa Hemingway in Cuba is rated R.