In his Reddit AMA, Keanu Reeves was gracious, verbose, and formal. He discussed his new movies 47 Ronin and Man of Tai Chi, which is his directorial debut. He also listed some of his favorite things, which all seemed fitting for the famously morose actor. Read some of the best answers from the AMA here.
A little-known fun fact: "For a long time in Los Angeles when I first moved there, when I was 20 years old, it was such a new world and so I saw some guys at a gas station once who had hockey equipment in their car, and I asked them what they were doing, and they said they were playing street hockey, so I asked them if I could play. So I became involved in a street hockey game that took place every weekend for over 10 years, every weekend, red versus black. We would take holidays off and sometimes summers, but the game was going on for over 10 years. That was cool to be a part of. It was a cool thing to have happen. Made some friends."
On filming 47 Ronin: "You know, shooting 47 Ronin was a great experience. It's a story that is very special and close to the Japanese actors, and I could feel that and respected that during the course of the filmmaking. And it brought another element to the filming, it heightened it even more than it usually is. Which was great."
Props he's kept from his movies: "I think I have a coat from the first Matrix. I have the sword from Hamlet, I kept a lot of working scripts, I have the jersey from The Replacements, I've got Constantine's lighter and watch, I have Bill & Ted's shorts (Ted's shorts), I used to have the leather jacket from My Own Private Idaho but I gave that to a friend. And I think that's it."
His reaction to being asked about his favorite movies: "AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! Here's some: Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, A Clockwork Orange, Stroszek."
On the memes devoted to him:"My first experience with that was Sad Keanu, and I thought it was funny!"
On the Sad Keanu picture: "I think that a picture can tell a thousand words, and none of them can be right. Or true. I'm absolutely a very happy person."
His favorite books: "Where do I begin? Here are some. As a kid, we can start with the Count of Monte Christo. We could start with the Lord of the Rings. Then we could get into finding as a teenager getting into Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, Notes from Underground, The Brothers Karamazov, we could get into Jim Thompson, we could go into some William Gibson, then we could do In Search of Lost Time by Proust. And then just getting into the works of Philip K. Dick and recently I was reading Don Delillo, Cosmopolis, I like Updike's the Rabbit Series."
On stargazing: "I believe the other night we had an eclipse of the moon! Which was cool. In the cities, I wish you could see more of the stars, but I always love when I'm in places where you can see that blanket, that twirling, twinkling. That is one of my favorite things."
On his lifestyle: "You know, I've been very fortunate in my life. Which I am grateful for. And I guess it's just to my tastes to keep life as simple as I can."
On air guitar: "You know, I'm not an air guitar afficionado. But once in a while, the air guitar comes out. Especially when you first hear (especially for me) that chord or that moment in the song when the electric guitar cuts in, or blazes out, once in a while you just got to strum all those strings in the air."
His favorite form of martial arts: "You know, I love all martial arts. I don't practice any particular form or style, but yeah, I don't have a favorite...But it was great during the making of Man of Tai Chi, to spend time with the leading man Tiger, who has studied Tai Chi since he was a kid, and it was great to talk about how we could bring some of the ideas of Tai Chi into the story of Man of Tai Chi, and some of the philosophies."
What he's been listening to: "The music I'm listening to right now? Let's see, I just got the new Nine Inch Nails recording. I really like this other band Metz, just got their first album which was great. And I've been listening to a song that I really like from LCD Soundsystem, and the song is 'Someone Great.'"
On Bill and Ted: "Working on Bill & Ted was certainly an excellent adventure. I love those characters. I love the spirit of the film. I like the eternal goodness of these characters. I always thought of them as beautiful fools. They bring a wonder and naivete to the harsh realities of the world. I found them fun to play, and also working with Alex Winter was a great experience. We shared the same view of these characters and the film, and we had a lot of laughs making those movies. And Alex and I are friends."
Read the rest of Keanu's interview here.
A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.
Chloe (voiced by Drew Barrymore) is a diamond-drenched pampered pooch who lives the high life in Beverly Hills. Beloved by her owner Aunt Viv (Jamie Lee Curtis) and adored by the landscaper’s Chihuahua Papi (George Lopez) she is left with a babysitter niece Rachel (Piper Perabo) when Viv takes off on vacation. Rachel impulsively departs on a last-minute weekend romp to Mexico with Chloe who not only gets lost south of the border but ends up in some very bad company. Saved from certain death in a dog fight she hooks up with a street-savvy German Shepherd (Andy Garcia) harboring a dark secret from his past life as a police dog. Along the way her diamond ID collar is swiped by a conniving rat (Cheech Marin) and his accomplice a very fidgety Iguana (Paul Rodriguez) leading to major chaos as all of them are pursued by the vicious El Diablo (Edward James Olmos) a Doberman out for revenge and one very disoriented Chihuahua. Will Rachel and Papi be able to find her in time before clueless Aunt Viv’s return? That’s the burning question. Basically a talking dog movie with a heavy Spanish accent Beverly Hills Chihuahua doesn’t exactly shy from stereotyped Mexicans but since this is a canine Babe it manages to get away with just about anything simply because these pooches are just so darned cute. The voice cast which features such Latino stars as George Lopez Edward James Olmos Paul Rodriguez Cheech Marin and Andy Garcia is perfectly cast lending a lot of fun to the proceedings especially Lopez as the lovably loyal Papi and Marin as a jewel-thief rat. Barrymore is also ideal as the ultra-rich and spoiled Chloe who is the equivalent of a canine Paris Hilton. The human actors are basically wallpaper with Curtis given little dimension in her relatively brief screen time and Perabo spending most of the film searching for the pup she carelessly misplaced. Manolo Cardona does nicely as the family gardener who helps out in the search. But it’s the remarkable real dog stars that steal this show. You have to wonder how their trainers led by Birds And Animals Unlimited’s Mike Alexander pulled some of this stuff off. These animals are more three-dimensional than most real thesps we’ve seen lately and actually do seem to be mouthing their lines (including some very clever dialogue). The old show-business adage says to never work with kids or animals--they take center stage everytime. In this case director Raja Gosnell and the group of talented trainers behind the cameras have proven the saying absolutely right. Dominating the breezy 86-minute time the bulk of the movie is devoted to stars of the four-legged variety and Gosnell makes it look easy with inventive camera angles giving us the POV of all the various dog stars who seem to be taking on the distinct personalities of the “characters” they are playing particularly the soulful down-and-out ex-police dog Garcia voices. You really do wonder what this dog’s deep dark secret is and the relationship forged between him and Chloe is genuinely real. It’s a tribute to Gosnell’s talents and the entire behind-the-scenes team that Beverly Hills Chihuahua turns out to be the family delight it is.